Stanley vs. Kobalt: Which of the Two Brands Is Better?

Stanley vs. Kobalt: Which of the Two Brands Is Better?

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If you are looking to buy some new power tools and hand tools, then one of the most important things to consider is the brand name that you go with. Of course, there are many different brand names out there, and two of the most popular ones are Stanley and Kobalt.

What we are here to do today, is to take a closer look at both of these tool brands to see which one is ideal for you. Let’s get to it and help you make a choice between Stanley and Kobalt for your next tools.

A Brief History of Stanley and Kobalt

First, we have Stanley. This company was first started in 1843, in New Britain USA, by a man named Frederick Stanley. He started out the company by producing a variety of hardware that was made out of iron, including things like hinges, bolts, and other such iron products. The cousin of Frederick Stanley, Henry Stanley, then founded the Stanley Rule and Level Company in 1857.

These two companies then merged together in 1920, and it was still known as Stanley Works at this time period. By 1937, Stanley had entered the British market when it acquired J.A Chapman. This was a producer of carpentry goods based in Britain. Stanley then merged with Black & Decker in 2010, into the company that we know today as Stanley Black & Decker.

Stanley Tools is generally seen as the flagship brand of tools owned by Stanley Black & Decker. Moreover, Stanley is also seen as one of the best budget tool lines in the world. Stanley focuses mainly on hand tools, mechanic’s tools, tool storage, and it does also produce some power tools.


Long Story Short…


Being part of the Stanley Black & Decker group, Stanley is one of the world’s best-known hand tool makers.


On the other hand, we had Kobalt, which technically speaking, is the house brand of the Lowe’s Home Improvement chain of stores. Lowe’s can be found all throughout North America, and these tools can be found in both retail centers and online.

The Kobalt line of tools was first started by J.H Williams and by Lowe’s, which were manufacturing partners at the time. To be specific, the Kobalt brand was created to be not only the house brand of tools for Lowe’s home improvement store but also to compete directly with the house brands of both The Home Depot and Sears, Husky and Craftsman respectively.

When compared to Stanley, Kobalt is not a huge company, but it does accumulate anywhere from $490 million to $600 million annually. Although, by best estimates, this doesn’t get anywhere close to what Stanley makes per year.

Kobalt may be very popular, but it’s nowhere near as diverse, large, or as old as Stanley.


Long Story Short…


Kobalt is a power tool line of Lowe’s, a well-known hardware store. Its tools are mainly targeted at DIYers.


Stanley vs. Kobalt: Which Offers Better Quality?

In terms of tool quality, Stanley is of course known as the best budget tool brand at this time. On one hand, you can assume that the word budget automatically implies low quality, but being the best budget line does mean something. Most people would agree that Stanley tools are just fine, nothing to get excited about, but also nothing to turn your nose up at. For the most part, these tools are seen as being more than fine for some home repairs, light work, and DIY tasks.

Although, most would also agree that while they are easy to use and comfy to hold, they probably cannot stand up to heavy-duty use on a daily basis. Stanley tools are partially made in the USA, up to 40%, although that’s a very generous estimate. The majority of the products are made in China, and even those made in the USA are actually just assembled in the USA with parts made in China and other such places.

When it comes down to it, more or less the same thing can be said about Kobalt tools, although in terms of quality, they might be slightly better than Stanley tools. People say that Kobalt tools are fairly durable, easy to use, and comfortable too.

Now, while some may use them for professional purposes, most would also agree that they probably won’t stand up to daily use on a busy jobsite. However, what does stand out are Kobalt hand tools and mechanic’s tools, which are said to be very durable. Although it does come to a tool-by-tool comparison, the reality is that Kobalt does likely have the better tools.

Stanley Tool Set

Which Offers a Better Warranty?

Stanley offers a full lifetime warranty for all mechanic tool sets, limited lifetime warranties on hand tools and garden tools, and either two-year or three-year limited warranties on most other products.

With Kobalt, the warranty you get depends on the specific tool in question. Here, you will find satisfaction guarantees, three-year limited guarantees, five-year limited guarantees, and some tools that come with lifetime hassle-free guarantees.

As you can see, Kobalt does have slightly better warranties on its tools.

Stanley vs. Kobalt: Which Has a Better Product Portfolio?

In the grand scheme of things, Stanley is the larger company and it does also have a much larger selection of tools across the board, especially when it comes to mechanic tools, hand tools, and tool storage. Although Kobalt is smaller, it does actually excel in the power tool department. That said, keep in mind that quantity and quality are not the same things.

Which Brand Offers a Better Selection of Hand Tools?

Although Kobalt hand tools are seen as being fairly top of the line when compared to Stanley, Stanley does appear to have the larger selection across the board. As an example, while Kobalt has 59 products listed in the screwdriver category, Stanley has 129. This theme can be seen in most product categories.

Which Brand Offers a Better Selection of Power Tools?

Stanley does make a decent amount of power tools, all of your basic stuff like drills but the lineup is still quite small when compared to the non-power tools. Kobalt does appear to have more power tools in most categories, and also has more powered outdoor and garden equipment too.

Kobalt Angle Grinder

Which of the Two Brands Should You Choose?

There are a couple of factors to consider here. On one hand, Kobalt does have a better tool quality than Stanley, but Stanley has a better selection of budget tools. Moreover, if you need anything non-powered, then Stanley is a good option, particularly in terms of selection, but Kobalt is the better option for power tools and garden equipment.


Now that you know what the main differences between Stanley and Kobalt are, you can make an informed decision between the two.

How Do Stanley and Kobalt Compare with Other Brands?

See how Stanley compares with: Black & Decker | Bosch | Craftsman | DeWalt | Husky | Makita

See how Kobalt compares with: Black & Decker | Craftsman | DeWalt | HuskyMilwaukee | Porter-CableRidgid | Ryobi