If you are planning to do some construction, woodworking, or general building, you might be looking to purchase some power tools. With that in mind, you are probably trying to figure out what the best brand to go with is. After all, you want the best tools that your money can buy.
In this article, I will help you decide whether Kobalt or DeWalt – or neither of those – is the right brand for you.
A Brief History of Kobalt and DeWalt
Kobalt actually happens to be the house brand of the Lowe’s Home Improvement chain of stores, and this brand can be found all throughout North America. At this point, Kobalt tools are sold exclusively online and at various Lowe’s stores. Keep in mind that Lowe’s is one of the largest home improvement store chains in both Canada and the USA.
The Kobalt brand was first launched in 1998 by Lowe’s and its manufacturing partner, J. H. Williams. The specific intention behind the creation of this brand was to compete with house brands of The Home Depot and Sears – Husky and Craftsman, respectively.
At this time, the focus of Kobalt is on hand tools, mechanic’s tools, power tools, and tool storage. Kobalt is currently headquartered in North Carolina, USA, with the Danaher Corporation manufacturing the majority of Kobalt tools.
Kobalt is not a massive company, at least not when compared to some of the other big players out there, with estimated annual revenues ranging between 490 million and 600 million dollars.
On the other hand, we have DeWalt, a company founded in 1923 by Raymond DeWalt, thus making it much older than Kobalt. What is interesting to note is that Raymond DeWalt invented the world’s first radial arm saw, and it quickly became one of the leading products sold by this brand. From that point on, DeWalt as a company grew exponentially, and in 1947, it was incorporated as DeWalt Inc.
Keep in mind that the DeWalt name was sold to The American Machine & Foundry Co. in 1949. However, this company did not own DeWalt for long, as it was then bought by Stanley Black & Decker in 1960, which to this day is the company that owns it.
It’s also interesting because DeWalt then became Stanley Black & Decker’s line of professional tools, and are still seen as being high in quality. DeWalt is a fairly large company that makes a variety of products including power and cordless tools, mechanic’s tools, and outdoor lawn and garden equipment.
At this point, DeWalt has around 13,000 employees with annual estimated revenues of 4 billion dollars.
Kobalt vs DeWalt: Which Offers Better Quality?
Generally speaking, Kobalt is seen as producing fairly decent tools. No, they are not seen as the best in the world, not by far, but also not nearly the worst. These tools are sold at Lowe’s mostly and are generally marketed towards homeowners, DIYers, and other such people.
People do say that Kobalt tools are functional, comfortable to use, and quite durable too. That said, they are not really seen as being ideal for heavy-duty or professional use. They’re intended more for basic use and light or occasional work. Don’t get us wrong, because Kobalt tools are not in any way low quality, but they just aren’t ideal for professionals or tradesman.
In case you are wondering where Kobalt tools are made, the mechanic’s tools are actually made in the USA, with a select few products being made in Germany. But, the vast majority of Kobalt tools come out of Chinese factories.
As for DeWalt, this brand is known for producing tools of a fairly high-quality level, likely better than Kobalt. DeWalt manufactures its tools in several countries across the world including Mexico, Brazil, China, Italy, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, and the United States.
In terms of the United States, DeWalt does produce a fair number of products there, as there are several USA production facilities the company owns. These locations include Connecticut, Maryland, Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Tennessee. American DeWalt factories, in 2014, produced over 62 million power tools.
People seem to be very happy with DeWalt’s USA-made tools, such as drills, impact drivers, reciprocating saws, and grinders. Generally speaking, DeWalt tools are not cheap by any means, but you get what you pay for, and indeed, these tools are seen as some of the top products in the world.
Which Offers a Better Warranty?
In terms of the warranties on tools, those offered by Kobalt are quite diverse in nature. Some of the tools come with satisfaction guarantees, some with a three- or five-year limited warranty, and some come with lifetime hassle-free warranties. Considering the fairly low prices that Kobalt tools come in at, this is not too bad at all.
With DeWalt, what kind of warranty you get depends on the exact tools. Here, you will find 30-day money-back guarantees, 3-year limited warranties, 7-year warranties, limited lifetime warranties, and even full lifetime warranties. By all means, DeWalt definitely offers better warranties on its products.
Kobalt vs DeWalt: Which Has a Better Product Portfolio?
In terms of product selection, both Kobalt and DeWalt produce a wide variety of hand tools, power tools, and outdoor equipment too.
Now, a big difference here is that DeWalt also produces a variety of work gear and clothing, as well as things like jobsite radios, ladders, lots of tool storage products, jobsite lighting, and more, whereas Kobalt sticks with power tools, hand tools, mechanic’s tools, and outdoor equipment.
With that being said, DeWalt does also appear to have a better selection of products than Kobalt across the board. Let’s take a look at some specific product categories as examples.
Which Brand Offers a Better Selection of Drills?
At this time, Kobalt has 4 drills and 3 hammer drills available for sale on its website, whereas DeWalt has many, many times that amount.
Which Brand Offers a Better Selection of Table Saws?
From what we have gathered, Kobalt has a very limited selection of table saws, extremely limited, whereas DeWalt has just under 10 models for sale.
Which Brand Offers a Better Selection of Impact Drivers and Wrenches?
Kobalt does have a decent selection of impact drivers and wrenches, and between the two has 25 options to choose from. On the other hand, Dewalt has well over twice that many for sale on its official site.
Which of the Two Brands Should You Choose?
When it comes down to it, if you are looking for good tools at reasonable prices, Kobalt may be the better option for you. However, if you are looking for higher quality tools, a great selection of products, and you don’t mind spending a bit of extra money, then DeWalt is the clear choice to go with.
DeWalt also happens to be the brand with the noticeably better warranties.
At the end of the day, if you are a professional or tradesman, you may want to stick with the higher quality brand, DeWalt, but if you just need some affordable tools for basic use, we would recommend going with Kobalt.
We hope that our comparison of these two brands has been able to help you come closer to a decision.