If you are looking for the best possible brand of tools to outfit your arsenal with, two brands that you may have been looking at are Ryobi and Craftsman. After all, they are some of the most popular ones out there.
With the two being similar in many aspects, though, it can be difficult to choose. If you’re finding yourself in that situation, you came to the right place. Continue reading to learn about which of the two brands is better for you.
A Brief History of Ryobi and Craftsman
Ryobi traces its origins back to 1943 when Yutaka Urakami founded Ryobi Seisakusho Co., Ltd. The company started off by producing die-cast products, and by 1961 had begun making printing presses. In the same year, it was listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. By 1968, the company began producing its own power tools, and by 1973, had changed its name to what we know it as today.
Something that can be a bit confusing here is who Ryobi is actually owned by. Ryobi Limited is a Japanese producer of automobile components, electronics, printing equipment, builder’s hardware, and power tools. The confusing bit is that both “Ryobi Power Tools” and “Ryobi Outdoor Equipment” are brands of Techtronic Industries licensed from Ryobi Limited. Keep in mind that Techtronic Industries is the same company that owns Milwaukee, AEG, Dirt Devil, and more.
In North America, particularly the USA and Canada, Ryobi power tools are sold primarily through the Internet and Home Depot. At this time, Ryobi has somewhere around 10,000 employees with yearly revenues exceeding 2.25 billion dollars.
Moving on to Craftsman, this is a company that was originally created by Sears, and it was intended to be its house brand of tools. However, as you might know, Sears has since suffered many losses, which is why today, Stanley Black & Decker owns the Craftsman brand.
In the very beginning, Craftsman was founded in 1927 by Arthur Burrows, specifically when he bought the right to use the Craftsman name from the Marion-Craftsman Tool Company for just 500 dollars. Sears originally had several lines of tools, and Craftsman was seen as the mid-grade line of tools.
At this time, Craftsman tools can be bought in various locations such as in Sears (the USA only), Kmart, Lowe’s, and various military and navy stores as well, plus online too, of course.
Craftsman is a relatively small company. At this time, it has somewhere around 1,000 employees, with annual estimated revenue of roughly 600 million dollars.
Ryobi vs. Craftsman: Which Offers Better Quality?
As mentioned above, Ryobi Power Tools is a brand owned by Techtronic Industries Company Limited, which is a company based in Honk Kong. At this time, it appears as though the vast majority of Ryobi power tools and outdoor equipment are manufactured and assembled in China. That is interesting since until the early 1990s, many Ryobi tools were made in the USA.
In total, Ryobi has 12 manufacturing facilities in six countries. One of those is located in the United States, in Indiana specifically. However, the Indiana location manufacturers only some accessories, but no actual power tools.
Seeing as most of the power tools are made in China, you may be worried about quality, but the general consensus is that these tools are some of the best in their price range. Although Ryobi is not seen as a high-end brand, it is also not seen as a low-end brand. For the reasonable prices that these tools come in at, they show themselves to have a fairly high level of durability and functionality.
Craftsman is a fairly reputable brand name in the world of tools and outdoor garden and lawn equipment. In terms of where specific products are made, it can be a bit unclear. For one, many Craftsman hand tools and power tools are made and assembled in both China and Taiwan, by the Apex Tool Group.
However, Craftsman also uses another manufacturer named Western Forge to make larger hand tools and mechanic’s sets, and these are made in the USA. Craftsman produces most of its lawn and garden equipment in Mississippi and Illinois, with select V20 power tools being made in South Carolina, along with saws, knives, and rolling workshops. Other USA locations of manufacturing include Connecticut and Missouri.
With all of that being said, Craftsman is known for being a middle of the road brand of tools. In other words, they are seen as decent tools for use at home and for DIY tasks, but may not be seen as the best option for heavy-duty and professional daily use. Many people enjoy Craftsman tools due to their fairly good level of quality and their mid-range prices.
At the end of the day, both brands appear to manufacture mid-grade tools at mid-level prices.
Which Offers the Better Warranty?
Ryobi has some decent warranties, with all power tools being covered by a two- or three-year warranty. Many of the hand tools come with a limited lifetime warranty, and most outdoor tools are protected by a five-year warranty.
Craftsman offers great warranties on mechanic’s tools, hand tools, automotive specialty tools, and more, usually full lifetime warranties. Most power tools are covered by one- or three-year limited warranties. While that’s acceptable, it’s also not the best in the industry.
Ryobi vs. Craftsman: Which Has a Better Product Portfolio?
Saying which brand has a better product portfolio is not easily done, as it really depends on the specific type of tools or products being looked at. For example, Ryobi offers nearly 40 combo kits available for purchase, whereas Craftsman has just over 10.
It appears as though Craftsman does manufacture a more diverse line of products in terms of automotive tools, accessories, and storage gear. However, Ryobi also makes home appliances and equipment such as vacuums. It all depends on what you are looking for.
Which Brand Offers a Better Selection of Power Saws?
As it seems, Ryobi does have a wider selection of saws than Craftsman. Ryobi has two to three times more miter saws, circular saws, and table saws than Craftsman does. This can also be said for various other types of saws, both corded and cordless.
Which Brand Offers a Better Selection of Drills and Impact Drivers?
Craftsman does have a good selection of drills and drivers. Currently, there are six drills and five hammer drills available on the site, with six impact drivers. However, just like with saws, Ryobi has many times more products available in these categories.
Which Brand Offers a Better Selection of Outdoor Equipment?
What can be said here is that Craftsman does appear to have the upper hand in terms of outdoor equipment.
For instance, Ryobi only has three chainsaws for sale on their site, whereas Craftsman has over 10. Ryobi has four snow blowers available for purchase, whereas Craftsman has 10.
The same can be said for most other outdoor equipment as well.
Which of the Two Brands Should You Choose?
When it comes down to it, both brands feature mid-level products at mid-range prices.
The real differences are in terms of warranty and product selection. In terms of warranties, Ryobi beats Craftsman, as well as in terms of the selection of power tools. However, if you are looking for outdoor equipment, Craftsman is the better brand.
Although neither brand is seen as high-end, both are ideal for basic at-home use and for light professional use.
People enjoy the mid-level prices of both brands, as well as the fairly wide selection of products.