When it comes to American power tool brands, few are as recognized as Craftsman and DeWalt. While one is mostly a consumer-oriented brand, though, the other one is used by both DIYers and professionals.
In this article, I will help you decide between the two by taking you through the history of each brand, through their product portfolios, as well as talking about their products’ quality.
A Brief History of Craftsman and DeWalt
DeWalt was started in 1923 by Raymond E. DeWalt, the inventor of the radial arm saw in Leola, Pennsylvania. It grew quickly and was reorganized and reincorporated in 1947 as DeWalt Inc. It was sold to Black & Decker in 1960. Black & Decker started a major effort to rebrand its professional quality and high-end power tools to DeWalt in 1992.
As of 2001, DeWalt manufactured and sold more than 200 different power hand tools and 800 accessories.
Craftsman was launched in 1927 by Sears, who hired Arthur Barrows to head the company’s hardware department. The brand has evolved and expanded its offerings, but it has stayed true to its original purpose creating quality tools. An independent consumer survey in 2001 rated Craftsman number 1 among all American brands in quality.
Since then, DeWalt has also become a popular brand of tools for commercial contractors.
In 2013, DeWalt announced the Made in the USA initiative, and as of 2015, DeWalt has seven manufacturing facilities building DeWalt branded products in the United States. Namely, they are in New Britain, CT, Hampstead, MD, Shelbyville, KY, Greenfield, IN, Cheraw, SC, Charlotte, NC, and Jackson, TN.
Craftsman vs. DeWalt: Which Offers Better Quality?
Both Craftsman and DeWalt offer robust and high-quality tools. DeWalt has a large catalog of 20V power tools and has shifted its focus away from lower-powered and consumer-oriented 12V tools.
DeWalt currently manufactures its tools in the following countries: United States, Mexico, Brazil, China, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the Czech Republic.
They have also committed to making several of their tools in the US. Through that initiative, DeWalt makes 32 hand tools, 48 power tools, and 562 types of accessories in the United States with domestic and global materials.
Meanwhile, many Craftsman portable power tools are manufactured by Techtronic Industries, the same Hong Kong-based company that also manufactures for brands such as Milwaukee, AEG, Ryobi, Homelite, Empire, Stiletto, and Dirt Devil.
Which Offers a Better Warranty?
DeWalt offers several warranties, but most power tools come with the three-year limited warranty.
The three-year limited warranty means that DeWalt will repair any defects due to faulty materials or workmanship for three years from the date of purchase for free. This warranty does not cover part failure due to normal wear or tool abuse.
They also have a seven-year limited warranty for certain products, but you’ll need to verify which warranty your purchase qualifies for.
Their tools also are covered by a one-year free service contract, under which DeWalt will maintain the tool and replace worn parts caused by normal use, for free, any time during the first year after purchase.
As an added bonus, their 90-day money-back guarantee says that if you are not completely satisfied with the performance of your DeWalt power tool, for any reason, you can return it within 90 days from the date of purchase with a receipt for a full refund.
Meanwhile, Craftsman power tools come with a three-year limited warranty. Craftsman will repair any defects due to faulty materials or defects in workmanship for three years from the date of purchase for free.
Proof of purchase is required and this warranty does not cover part failure due to normal wear or tool abuse.
They also offer a 90-day money-back guarantee that says that if you are not completely satisfied with the tool, for any reason, you can return it within 90 days from the date of purchase with a receipt for a full refund.
Craftsman vs. DeWalt: Which Has a Better Product Portfolio?
Both Craftsman and DeWalt have large product portfolios.
DeWalt has nineteen 20V impact wrenches and impact drivers, and around a dozen hammer drills and drill/drivers.
Craftsman has twelve impact drivers and impact wrenches, and about eight cordless drills and hammer drills. Besides these, they both have a large selection of air tools, nailers, grinders, saws, heat guns, planers, jointers, lights, sanders, wet/dry vacuums, radios, etc.
Which Brand Offers a Better Selection of Drills?
Craftsman has a decent selection of drills to pick from. They have five cordless 20V drills, three 20V cordless hammer drills, a rotary hammer, and a few corded drills.
Meanwhile, DeWalt offers 20V Max and FLEXVOLT systems for its power tools. Dewalt has eight 20V Max drill/drivers and three 20V Max hammer drills.
Both brands have comparable catalogs, but DeWalt has a slight edge in this category.
Which Brand Offers a Better Selection of Hand Tools?
DeWalt offers a selection of axes, hammers, hand saws, torque wrenches, impact sockets, knives, blades, manual fastening tools, clamps, wood chisels, ratchets, piers, and many more items.
Similarly, Craftsman has a wide product catalog of hex keys, hand saws, measuring tools, nut drivers, pliers, cutters, hammers, screwdrivers, and other hand tools.
As such, besides being some of the best power tool brands, they are both great hand tool brands as well.
Which of the Two Brands Should You Choose?
In general, Craftsman tools are considered to be of lower quality than DeWalt, but they are also cheaper.
Another key point to note is that Craftsman tools tend to have more 20V options as opposed to 12V. While the latter might have less power, they are also lighter and much more portable, so keep that in mind when buying your tools.
Overall, I would opt for DeWalt over Craftsman power tools whether using them for DIY purposes or as a professional contractor. While you might end up paying a little more, chances are also that your tools will last longer.
Buying a quality power tool is an investment, and you should prioritize durability over cost, as long as the tool is within your budget.
While both DeWalt and Craftsman are fairly good brands, overall, the former is manufacturing what could be considered to be slightly better tools.
That said, you cannot go wrong by choosing either brand.
How Do Craftsman and DeWalt Compare with Other Brands?
See how Craftsman compares with: Black & Decker | Husky | Kobalt | Makita | Milwaukee | Porter-Cable | Ridgid | Ryobi | Stanley
See how DeWalt compares with: Black & Decker | Bosch | Dremel | Festool | Hilti | Husky | Kobalt | Makita | Metabo HPT | Milwaukee | Porter-Cable | Ridgid | Ryobi | Skil | Stanley | Worx