If you are looking for the best brand of tools to outfit your arsenal with, two that you may have been looking at are Ryobi and Craftsman. After all, they are some of the most popular choices 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.
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. Sears originally had several lines of tools, and Craftsman was seen as their mid-grade line.
At this time, Craftsman tools can be bought in various locations such as Sears (the USA only), Kmart, Lowe’s, and various military and navy stores, as well as 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.
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 Hong Kong. At this time, it appears as though the vast majority of Ryobi power tools and outdoor equipment are manufactured and assembled in China. This 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 only manufactures 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 hand 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 for 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 their 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.
Which Brand Has Better Customer Service?
When it comes to customer service, the general online consensus seems to be that both brands leave something to be desired. Many customers online wrote about their negative experiences with both brands’ customer service, claiming that they were met with long wait times and unsatisfactory resolutions.
However, the negative reviews for Ryobi’s customer service seem to be more prevalent. While it seems as though neither is great, the general consensus amongst customers seems to be that Craftsman is slightly better in this regard.
Additionally, it’s important to note that the quality of customer service you receive can vary greatly depending on the representative, and as both of these companies are decently sized, they’re bound to have some variation in quality.
Which Brand Offers Better Prices?
In order to get an accurate sense of the pricing between power tool brands, our team put together the Handyman’s World Power Tool Brand Price Index, which takes the costs of three power tools – a cordless drill, angle grinder, and circular saw – and indexes them against the average of what we consider to be the top 15 power tool manufacturers.
As you can see in the 2023 version of our index, Craftsman scored 0.63, while Ryobi scored 0.67. This means that Craftsman is typically slightly cheaper than Ryobi, however, both brands are above average in terms of affordability.
Which Brand Has Better Design?
In terms of design, both of these brands are quite similar, with the difference coming mainly in the form of the colors that they utilize. Both manufacturers produce tools with sharp lines and rough exteriors, giving them a tough and capable appearance.
Craftsman tools feature a deep red color with black accents, while Ryobi’s color palette consists of a bright green with black accents.
Of course, at the end of the day, this all really comes down to personal preference, however, it is worth noting that the bright green that Ryobi uses may be slightly more visible on a job site.
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, so it really all depends on what you are looking for.
If you’re looking to completely revamp your power tool collection, a good place to start may be with the Ryobi ONE+ 18V 6-Tool Combo Kit. However, if you already have tools and are looking to for some accessories that could increase your range of capability, you may be interested in the Craftsman 100-pc Drill Bit Tool Case.
Which Brand Offers a Better Selection of Angle Grinders?
When it comes to angle grinders, it seems as though Craftsman has a slightly larger selection. While both brands have good options that should be fine for the average DIYer, craftsman does offer a few more options, especially in the way of kits.
You really can’t go wrong with either, but if you’re looking for a bigger selection with a better variety of purchasing options, we’d recommend going with Craftsman.
Which Brand Offers a Better Selection of Drills?
As far as drills go, Ryobi actually offers a slightly larger selection. Now, as with the previous category, both brands offer a good selection of tools to choose from, however, Ryobi has slightly more options.
Additionally, Ryobi seems to offer a better selection of drill bits and accessories, making them the better choice for anyone looking for the largest selection to choose from.
Which Offers a Better Selection of Circular Saws?
In addition to everything mentioned above, Ryobi does also offer a larger selection of circular saws. Now, Craftsman does have a few options that would be good for a lot of people, however, Ryobi offers a much larger selection of wheel diameters and purchasing options.
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.
Ryobi vs. Craftsman: Latest Developments
In order to stay up to date on all of the latest developments in the industry, we wanted to take a look at what these brands have been getting up to as of 2023.
Ryobi started off the year by expanding its collection of outdoor tools, releasing a new 80V HP Electric Riding Lawn Tractor, 18V ONE+ Compact Pruning Chainsaw, and 18v ONE+ Storm Kit, as well as a plethora of other tools.
Craftsman also expanded its lawn and garden selection, releasing a new line of 56V MAX Riding Mowers. Additionally, the brand returned as the title sponsor of the NASCAR Truck Series earlier this year.
Ryobi vs. Craftsman: Which Is Better?
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.