In North America, Kobalt is a fairly well-known brand of tools. Although it may not be a recognized brand anywhere else in the world, as far as North America goes, it is quite popular. If you are looking to upgrade your arsenal of tools, and you want some fancy new equipment for all of your building and repair needs, it is a brand that you might want to consider.
Today, we want to take a closer look at Kobalt as a tool brand, including its history, the quality of the products, the product portfolio, and more. Let’s figure out if this is the right brand for you.
As a brand, Kobalt is not particularly old. It was first introduced in 1998, and it was created by Lowe’s and its manufacturing partner, J.H Williams. For those of you who don’t know, Lowe’s is one of North America’s largest hardware, home improvement, and appliance stores.
In fact, Lowe’s was created as the house brand of tools for Lowe’s Home Improvement chains, and still remains as such to this day.
What is interesting to note is that the Kobalt tool brand was created with the intention of being a direct competitor to other major retailers and their own house brand, specifically to compete with Home Depot and their brand, Husky, as well as Sears and their brand of tools, Craftsman (no longer owned by Sears). These tools are sold exclusively at Lowe’s Home Improvement stores in North America and can also be purchased online.
At this time, the Kobalt headquarters are located in North Carolina, USA. The majority of products that Kobalt produces and sells are manufactured by the Danaher Corporation. The main focus of Kobalt can be divided into five major categories, which include power tools, hand tools, storage equipment, and mechanic’s tools, as well as outdoor equipment to a certain degree.
In terms of the size of Kobalt as a company, it is respectable, although not huge, especially not when compared to some of the really major tool brands across the world. When it comes to revenue, the estimated annual revenue of Kobalt is between $490 and $600 million.
Kobalt Tool Quality Overview
When it comes to Kobalt, these tools and various pieces of equipment are seen as being anywhere between average and above average in quality, especially when compared to some of the world’s leading tool brands and retailers.
Although Kobalt may not be a massive brand in the grand scheme of things, they do appear to produce some fairly decent products. Now, what does need to be said here is that Kobalt tools can be classified as good or pretty good, but most would agree that they are nothing excellent or special.
The general consensus about Kobalt tools is that they work well enough for basic building and repair jobs, that they usually have good battery life and decent internal components, and that they tend to be fairly versatile, as well as comfortable to hold and simple to use.
However, when it comes to overall durability and whether or not they will last for many years to come, this is questionable. While Kobalt tools tend to perform fine in moderate conditions, if they are faced with extreme tasks or daily heavy-duty work, or adverse conditions such as extreme heat and cold, they can start to wear out rather quickly.
For this reason, Kobalt tools are generally marketed towards homeowners, small-time contractors, basic repairmen, hobbyists and DIYers, and for general tasks around the house. That said, you are not likely to see many large contracting companies or building firms using Kobalt tools, as for the most part they just aren’t durable enough for anything heavy-duty.
On a side note, Kobalt’s hand and mechanic’s tools are regarded as being the best of the bunch, probably because there are no moving components that can break. So, in the grand scheme of things, Kobalt tools are fine for most purposes. Something else worth noting here is that Kobalt tools are not overly expensive.
The vast majority of Kobalt tools are produced in China. Now, with that being said, as far as tools made in China go, they are viewed as some of the better ones. People tend to be pleasantly surprised by the level of quality here, considering that the tools do come from overseas.
However, not all of Kobalt’s tools are made in China. Specifically, the mechanic’s tools are made in the USA, which is probably another reason why they tend to be very high in quality, better than the power tools and other items sold by Kobalt. There are also a select few products that are manufactured in Germany, but these are few and far in between.
In terms of Kobalt warranties, these are extremely diverse, and what sort of warranty you get depends on the exact product. Some of the most common warranties that you can expect from Kobalt include satisfaction guarantees, three-year and five-year limited guarantees, and some tools come with lifetime hassle-free guarantees. Considering that Kobalt tools are not too expensive, the warranties are pretty decent.
Kobalt Product Portfolio Overview
When it comes to the types of products Kobalt makes, these can generally be divided into a few different categories, as can be seen on Lowe’s website. Let’s take a look at each category to find out what can be expected in terms of product selection.
Kobalt Power Tools
Kobalt does produce quite an extensive line of power tools, with most of them being battery operated, all but the biggest ones, such as some of the larger saws. Kobalt produces a variety of saws, including portable table saws, various types of miter saws, jigsaws, circular saws, and other related types. Kobalt also produces a variety of drills and drivers, hammer drills, sanders and polishers, and routers. You can also purchase some combo kits. It’s not a massive selection, but more than enough for basic use.
Kobalt Air Tools
Kobalt does also produce a solid variety of air tools, not too many, but the ones they do have are regarded as being fairly good. Here you can expect to find a variety of air compressors, air impact wrenches, air grinders, and assorted accessories.
Kobalt Hand Tools
As mentioned before, one of the most popular Kobalt tool categories is hand tools. Here you can expect to find a variety of mechanic tools sets, such as wrenches, sockets, screwdrivers, and various household tools. In terms of selection, Kobalt has more hand tools than everything else put together, or pretty close to it.
Kobalt does also produce some storage equipment, including tool chests and tool cabinets, as well as tool boxes and tool boxes for pickup trucks.
Kobalt Outdoor Power Equipment
Finally, Kobalt also produces a variety of lawnmowers, leaf blowers, chainsaws, string trimmers, and more outdoor tools. However, keep in mind that they are all battery-powered. This brand does not produce gas-powered equipment.
Is Kobalt a Good Brand?
Yes, we would say that Kobalt is definitely a good tool brand. No, it’s not the best in the world, but absolutely above average. If you want a decent selection of tools that come in at great prices, and you don’t plan on being too rough with them, it’s a perfect brand to consider.
How Does Kobalt Compare with Other Brands?
If you are not convinced Kobalt is the right brand for you, make sure to also read my detailed comparison putting it side by side with other popular brands:
At the end of the day, if you are planning to buy new tools, as long as you don’t plan on using them for extreme purposes and you don’t plan on using them for twelve hours per day, every day, they should perform fine and last quite long too.