Whether you are a hobbyist or a professional, if you are going to spend money on tools, you obviously want the best that the world has to offer. The first step to that is choosing the right brand.
Among the most popular, especially when it comes to consumer-oriented brands, are Craftsman and Black & Decker. Continue reading to figure out which of them is better for your specific needs.
A Brief History of Craftsman and Black & Decker
Craftsman first appeared in 1927 when it was created as the house tool brand of the popular retailer, Sears. Arthur Burrows, the head of the Sears tool division, bought the Craftsman name from Marion-Craftsman Tool Company for just 500 dollars. Today, Craftsman is known for making various lines of power tools of varying quality.
Now, what is very interesting to note, seeing as today we are also looking at Black & Decker, is that when Sears went out of business a few years ago, Stanley Black & Decker actually bought Craftsman. Yes, that is right, one of the brands we are comparing today owns the other.
Stanley Black & Decker bought Craftsman for a whopping 900 million dollars. The brand offers tools, work gear, and lawn and garden equipment. Craftsman is not a very large company, and at this time has somewhere around 1,000 employees. That said, Craftsman made close to 200 million dollars in sales last year.
Black & Decker is an American maker of power tools, hardware, home improvement products, and much more which is currently based in Maryland, USA.
In 1910, Duncan Black and Alonzo Decker founded the Black & Decker Manufacturing Company, at which time it was just a small machine shop, but it grew quickly, particularly after 1917 when the brand created and patented the handheld electric drill with a pistol grip and trigger switch.
Its parent company, Stanley Black & Decker, at this time, makes over 10 billion dollars. Keep in mind that this is a giant conglomerate company with around 30,000 employees worldwide, with various production locations. Besides Black & Decker and Craftsman, Stanley Black & Decker owns other popular brands including DeWalt, Bostitch, Facom, Porter-Cable too.
Craftsman vs Black & Decker: Which Offers Better Quality?
Craftsman is known for producing some pretty decent tools, more than good enough to be used for lighter-duty home and DIY use. One of the issues which some people have with this brand is that many of their products are made in China and Taiwan, both of which are not known for the highest quality standards.
That said, Craftsman does make some of its products in the USA, and as recently announced by Stanley Black & Decker, Craftsman is gradually attempting to move much of its production back to the USA.
Some examples of Craftsman products made in the USA include lawnmowers and garden equipment (Mississippi and Illinois), drills and fasteners (South Carolina), saws and hand tools (South Carolina), measuring tools (Connecticut), and tool storage solutions (Missouri).
All in all, while Craftsman tools are not regarded as being number one in quality, they are seen as being great for those that don’t use tools professionally. They are reasonably priced too.
That said, with more and more production moving back to the USA, a further increase in popularity can be expected for this brand. In fact, it seems like people like the Craftsman line of drills, fasteners, grinders, and other such tools, more than many of its other product lines.
What is interesting to note here is that the story is virtually the same with Black & Decker as it is with Craftsman. Let’s not forget that they are subsidiaries of the same company. Black & Decker, for the most part, has manufactured the majority of its products in China, but just like it is doing with Craftsman, it does appear to be moving some of its production back to the USA.
Keep in mind that including Craftsman facilities, Stanley Black & Decker operates over 30 production facilities in the United States.
Black & Decker is known for producing fairly decent products marketed towards the average Joe. These products are all sold for very reasonable prices and are seen as being ideal for basic and home use. People generally like Black & Decker products, especially their lightweight drills and cordless tools in general.
Which Offers the Better Warranty?
From what we can tell, many of Black & Decker tools are covered by one- and two-year limited warranties.
Seeing as Black & Decker owns Craftsman, it is fair to assume that the warranties are similar, which is true.
Speaking of power tools specifically, Craftsman offers three-year limited warranties and one-year limited warranties, with outdoor power tools sometimes coming with four-year limited warranties. Mechanic and hand tools from Craftsman generally have full lifetime warranties.
Based on the available info, it does appear as though Craftsman has slightly better warranties on its products than Black & Decker.
Craftsman vs Black & Decker: Which Has a Better Product Portfolio?
It is worth noting that because Black & Decker is so much bigger, it does make more products than Craftsman, especially when it comes to diversity.
Now, there is no denying the fact that Craftsman makes many different power tools, cordless tools, outdoor equipment, lawn and gardening equipment, hand tools, automotive tools, storage equipment, and more.
Black & Decker also makes all of these things, but even more, including things like home cleaning equipment, small appliances, and pet products too.
That said, in terms of the selection of power tools, Craftsman actually seems to outpace Black & Decker in some categories, but not in all. Who offers more products available seems to depend on the exact type of product. For instance, when it comes to grinders, Craftsman currently has seven available for sale on its website, compared to just five on the Black & Decker site.
Which Brand Offers a Better Selection of Drills?
In terms of drills, the Black & Decker site does have more options available than Craftsman, with Black & Decker having 24 options available, compared to the 13 available from Craftsman.
Which Brand Offers a Better Selection of Leaf Blowers and Other Outdoor Equipment?
Black & Decker currently has 12 leaf blowers available for purchase, compared to the 21 available from Craftsman. Black & Decker currently has 11 lawnmowers available for purchase, whereas Craftsman has nearly 100.
On the other hand, Black & Decker appears to have a few more hedge trimmers in its arsenal than Craftsman.
Other than that, Craftsman does have many more outdoor products to choose from, especially when it comes to things like snow blowers, log splitters, chainsaws, and other such heavy-duty equipment.
Which of the Two Brands Should You Choose?
Making a call here is really hard because both brands feature good products for home and basic use, and they come in at decent prices too, with both brands also offering pretty good warranties. In terms of quality, both brands appear to be fairly equal.
If you are looking for good power tools, Black & Decker might be the better option, which is also the case if you are looking for small appliances, cleaning equipment, and even pet and healthcare products too. However, if it is outdoor equipment that you are looking for, Craftsman is probably the better candidate.
Separately, if you are looking for tools for professional use, you should probably look elsewhere, at brands like DeWalt, another company belonging to Stanley Black & Decker.
The bottom line is that both Black & Decker and Craftsman are great brands if you are looking for a wide selection of products, all of which come in at decent prices.
Neither is the best option when it comes to heavy-duty use, though.