If you are looking to purchase a variety of tools, whether for home or professional use, chances are that you are trying to focus on a single brand. After all, there are battery compatibility benefits to enjoy among others.
While there are many different brands, this article focuses on two very popular ones – Kobalt and Milwaukee.
Which one is the better choice for you?
A Brief History of Kobalt & Milwaukee
Kobalt is actually the house brand of Lowe’s Home Improvement chain, and these tools can be found all throughout North America. They are sold exclusively at Lowe’s and online. Lowe’s and its manufacturing partner, J.H Williams, launched the Kobalt brand in 1998, with the specific intention of competing against the store brands of Sears (Craftsman) and The Home Depot (Husky).
Kobalt focuses primarily on hand tools, mechanic’s tools, and power tools. Lowe’s itself is based out of North Carolina, USA. The Danaher Corporation currently makes the majority of Kobalt power tools. Of course, Lowe’s is one of the world’s largest home improvement stores, particularly in the USA and Canada, and so Kobalt is a very popular brand, especially among homeowners.
On the other hand, we have Milwaukee, which has quite a rich history.
It was first started by A.H Peterson and Albert Siebert, who together created the A.H Peterson Tool Company. In 1924, Siebert purchased the remaining shares in the company and created the Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation, the name which it is still technically known as today.
Milwaukee focuses almost exclusively on power tool manufacturing and retail. Today, this brand is owned by Techtronic Industries, the same company which owns other popular brands such as AEG, Ryobi, Hoover, and Dirt Devil. What is interesting to note is that Milwaukee, in 1918, was the first brand to introduce the first lightweight and portable one-handed 1/4-inch capacity drill to the market.
Today, Milwaukee has over 4,000 employees and is ranked 6 out of 10 in the world of power tools.
Kobalt vs Milwaukee: Which Offers Better Quality?
Starting with Milwaukee, considering that the company places almost all its resources into its power tool business, it would be reasonable to assume that their tools are of high quality. And, surely, that is the case.
Its tools are made in several production facilities located in the USA, specifically in Wisconsin and Mississippi, with the Mississippi plants actually having undergone large expansions in the last few years. Now, Milwaukee does make many of its tools overseas, though, specifically in China. It also makes some in Europe
That said, it is well known for maintaining high production and manufacturing standards even when outsourcing production. What most people out there agree on is that Milwaukee is one of the best power tool brands hands down. That’s also the reason why the brand is one of the most expensive ones out there.
Kobalt is also seen as a fairly high-quality brand, although not quite at the same level as Milwaukee. Kobalt tools are marketed more towards DIYers, homeowners, and hobbyists, unlike Milwaukee which is marketed more towards professional tradesmen.
For this reason, Kobalt tools tend to be more basic, and they are definitely more affordable too. They are not bad in quality, they are just not intended for heavy daily use.
In terms of where Kobalt tools are made, the mechanic’s hand tools are made by JS Products in the USA, their new screwdrivers are also made in the USA, but most of the other tools are made in China, with a select few being made in Germany.
Which Offers a Better Warranty?
When it comes to the warranties offered by Milwaukee, they are so diverse that it is really hard to make a judgment in terms of how good they are. The company offers limited one-, two-, three-, and five-year warranties, money-back guarantees for 30 days on some tools, as well as limited and lifetime warranties on other tools.
What kind of warranty you get from this company really depends on the exact product you are buying. As such, make sure to take a closer look before hitting the “order” button.
When it comes to the warranties offered by Kobalt, they are also very diverse.
Some tools come with satisfaction guarantees, some with three- and five-year limited warranties, and some come with lifetime hassle-free guarantees.
In this regard, all things considered, Kobalt and Milwaukee seem to be very similar.
Kobalt vs Milwaukee: Which Has a Better Product Portfolio?
When it comes down to it, although Kobalt does have quite an impressive lineup of power tools, the selection of available products is not nearly as good as with Milwaukee.
For instance, when it comes to the total number of drills that each brand has for sale, you would be lucky to find 20 from Kobalt, whereas Milwaukee has three to four times that amount. Another good example of this is the selection of power tool combos, of which Kobalt only has a few, and Milwaukee has dozens.
This seems to be the case across the board. Milwaukee just has a better selection in general.
Which of the Two Brands Should You Choose?
When it comes down to it, both of these brands are regarded as being up there in quality. Now, if you are a professional who needs reliable and heavy-duty power tools to last for years to come, and you are willing to spend a good deal of money, then Milwaukee is the way to go.
However, if you are fine with a more basic selection of tools, you only need them for occasional home use, and you don’t want to pay a fortune for them, then Kobalt is probably your better bet between the two.
Whether you choose to go with Milwaukee or Kobalt, just remember to pay close attention to where the specific tools are made, how they are rated for quality, and what the warranty is like.
If you pay close attention to these main factors, you should have no problems finding the best tools for your needs.