If you are looking to upgrade your arsenal of tools, you might be having a bit of difficulty choosing between the many brands that are out there. Of course, you want the highest level of quality that your money can buy.
Well, two popular tools brands are Husky and Kobalt. With that said, if you were forced to choose just one of these tool brands, which one shoudl it be?
Let’s do a side-by-side comparison right now.
A Brief History of Husky and Kobalt
First off, we have Husky, which is an American manufacturer of tools. This brand produces mainly hand tools, storage equipment, pneumatic tools, and some power tools too. The Husky brand was first started by a man named Sigmund Mandl, who was a Czechoslovakian immigrant that moved to the USA in the early 1900s. The company really got its start, though, in 1924 when Sigmund Mandl created the first Husky wrench, a very special wrench designed as a high-quality mechanic’s tool.
By 1928, Sigmund Mandl and the Husky brand formed a rather large collaboration with the J.H. Williams Tool Group. The J.H. Williams Tool Group distributed this special Husky mechanic wrench inside of its own tool sets.
Then, in 1929, Sigmund decided to part ways with the company, at which time it was sold to the Olsen Manufacturing Company, which was based out of Kenosha, Wisconsin, USA. This is when the company first started being called the Husky Corporation. However, the Olson Manufacturing Company did not hold onto Husky for long, as in 1932 it was sold to the New Britain Machine Company based out of New Britain, Connecticut, USA.
Then in the 1980s, the New Britain Machine Company dissolved its line of hand tools, at which point the Husky name was sold to National Hand Tool, which in 1986 was purchased by Stanley Works (with Stanley works later merging into Stanley Black & Decker). However, Stanley Black & Decker then transferred the rights to these tools to The Home Depot. At this time, Husky is one of the smaller tool brands out there.
On the other hand, we have Kobalt, which is actually the house brand of the Lowe’s Home Improvement chain, with the tools being found all throughout North America. Right now, Kobalt tools can be found in Lowe’s and online. It is worth noting that Lowe’s is currently one of the largest home improvement stores in both the USA and Canada.
J.H Williams, along with Lowe’s, first started the Kobalt line of tools in 1998, thus making Kobalt a baby in terms of its age. The intention of the creation of Kobalt was for it to be a direct competitor with house brands of The Home Depot and Sears, Husky and Craftsman, respectively. At this time, Kobalt produces a variety of hand tools, mechanic’s tools, power tools, and storage tools.
The Kobalt headquarters are currently located in North Carolina, USA, and the Danaher Corporation makes its products, or at least the majority of them. Just like Husky, Kobalt is also not huge, and at this time has estimated annual revenues between 500 million and 600 million dollars.
Husky vs Kobalt: Which Offers Better Quality?
First, when it comes to Husky tools, these are generally seen as being average or middle of the line, nothing bad or terrible, but also nothing overly special. What is important to note is that there is a big difference between the hand tools and mechanic’s tools, and the power tools produced by this brand.
First, the power tools produced by Husky are seen as being just OK, or maybe a little better than that. When it comes to Husky power tools, what everyone agrees on is that they are best used at home for light repairs, small building jobs, and various crafts and DIY projects. That said, Husky tools are generally not seen as being tough and durable enough to be used on a fast-paced jobsite.
However, even in the face of limited durability, people do say that Husky tools are functional and comfortable.
On the other hand, Husky is known for its high-quality hand tools and mechanic tools, and yes, most would agree that Husky hand and mechanic tools rival the best brands out there in terms of quality. In terms of who makes Husky tools, this is all rather confusing, as several other players are involved, mainly Stanley Black & Decker, Western Forge, Apex Tool Group, and Iron Bridge Tools.
Although some Husky products are made in the United States, mainly hand tools; the majority of this brand’s products are made in China.
Then we have Kobalt, a brand that is also known for producing decent tools, maybe a little bit above average, but also nothing overly special. Kobalt tools are sold at Lowe’s and online, and are geared towards DIY enthusiasts, homeowners, and people looking to do light repairs.
Just like with Husky, Kobalt tools are seen as being functional and comfortable, and ideal for basic use, yet not quite durable or long-lasting enough to be used for heavy-duty and constant work.
These are not tools that most professionals would choose for daily work. Just like with Husky, Kobalt is however known for producing fairly high-quality mechanic’s tools.
In terms of manufacturing, while some Kobalt products – particularly its mechanic’s tools – are made in the USA and Germany, the majority are made in China.
In terms of comparison here, we would say that both brands are on par and about equal.
Which Offers a Better Warranty?
In terms of Husky, it provides lifetime warranties on its hand and mechanic’s tools. Most power and jobsite tools feature two- or three-year limited warranties.
In terms of Kobalt, some tools come with satisfaction guarantees, some with three- or five-year limited guarantees, and some come with lifetime hassle-free guarantees.
When it comes down to it, we would say that Husky has the slightly better warranties, particularly on the hand and mechanic’s tools side.
Husky vs Kobalt: Which Has a Better Product Portfolio?
In case you are wondering what the product portfolios of each brand is like, keep in mind that research on this front is not easy, as both brands are sold through their respective retailers, Lowe’s and The Home Depot. However, from what we can tell, the selection of products across the board is fairly even.
Now, in terms of power tools, neither brand excels past the other in any particular category. Let’s also keep in mind that neither of these two brands are particularly large.
Let’s compare these brands across several product categories to see how they stack up.
Which Brand Offers a Better Selection of Hand Tools?
When it comes to the hand tools, based on our research, it seems that both the Lowe’s and The Home Depot’s websites have well over 1,000 products listed from the respective brands.
With that said, it does seem as though Kobalt has the upper hand in terms of product selection, especially when it comes to large tool sets, such as mechanic’s tool sets.
Which Brand Offers a Better Selection of Power Tools?
What can definitely be said here is that Kobalt is the clear winner when it comes to the selection of power tools. Although Husky does make a few select power tools, in general, the selection is very limited, and certainly not nearly as diverse as the selection offered by Kobalt.
Which Brand Offers a Better Selection of Air Compressors?
When it comes to the selection of air compressors offered by these brands, they are more or less even. Right now, the Husky section on the Home Depot site has 12 options available, whereas the Kobalt section on the Lowe’s site has 11.
Which Brand Offers a Better Selection of Tool Boxes?
There is no denying the fact that Husky has the much better selection of tool storage options than Kobalt does.
Which of the Two Brands Should You Choose?
When all of the main points have been compared, both Husky and Kobalt are pretty even across the board.
Now, if you are looking for great hand tools and mechanic’s tools, both brands are top-notch, although Husky may be slightly better.
However, if you are looking for power tools and outdoor equipment, then Kobalt is the clear winner.
At the end of the day, both Kobalt and Husky are great brands to go with, particularly if you need hand tools and mechanic’s tools, with Kobalt also being great for power tools and outdoor equipment.
Either way, both brands produce decent products that come in at reasonable prices.