Whether you are looking for a few tools to do some DIY jobs around the house or you are a professional, you want the best tools that your money can buy. A key part in making sure that you end up with tools that last is choosing the right brands.
While there are more than a dozen power tool brands on the market, if you found yourself here, you are trying to decide between Craftsman and Milwaukee.
So, which of the two is better for you?
A Brief History of Craftsman & Milwaukee
Craftsman was originally created by Sears in 1927, and it was created as the house brand of tools for this large retailer. Arthur Burrows, who was at the time the head of the Sears tool department bought the Craftsman name from the Marion-Craftsman Tool Company for just 500 dollars.
The brand was intended to be the middle-tier of tools sold by Sears, and it was quite successful.
Sears also ran a customer loyalty program, the Craftsman Club, which started in 1991. However, the retailer has had troubles in the last few years, which led to it selling the Craftsman brand to Stanley Black & Decker, a company that owns the brand to this day.
At this time, Craftsman has somewhere around 1,000 employees with an estimated annual revenue of 600 million dollars.
Milwaukee is an American company that makes and sells power tools. It was originally started by A.H Peterson and Albert Siebert, who at the time created the A.H Peterson Tool Company.
In 1924, Siebert purchased all company shares and renamed it into the Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation. One of Milwaukee’s biggest historical accomplishments was that it manufactured all products to the standards of the US Navy, and thus became a large producer of goods for this branch of the government.
Also interesting is that Milwaukee was the company that invented and introduced the Sawzall to the market, a hacksaw with a reciprocating blade.
Currently, the Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation is owned by Techtronic Industries, a Hong Kong-based company. The company has roughly 4,000 employees with an estimated annual revenue of 3.7 billion dollars.
Craftsman vs Milwaukee: Which Offers Better Quality?
Craftsman is a very well known brand in the world of DIY. What we mean is that people who need tools for home use, basic repairs, and small DIY jobs really seem to like Craftsman tools. They are viewed as being fine for light and occasional use.
However, what many people do not like about Craftsman, something that may affect tool quality, is that many of the tools are made in Taiwan and China, the majority of them in fact. However, there are also a great number of tools that Craftsman makes in the USA, which do appear to be of a higher quality.
Moreover, the parent company, Stanley Black & Decker, announced that it is gradually moving production back to the USA, a good sign. Some examples of US-made Craftsman products include lawnmowers and garden equipment (Mississippi and Illinois), drills and fasteners (South Carolina), saws and hand tools (South Carolina), measuring tools (Connecticut), and tool storage (Missouri).
The bottom line is that Craftsman produces decent tools that are sold at reasonable prices.
When it comes to Milwaukee, the story is much the same as with Craftsman. Milwaukee is regarded as being a mid-level tool company. That said, the brand is preferred by many professionals..
Their tools are generally fairly durable and suitable even for heavier-duty use. That said, the vast majority of their tools is still manufactured in China.
Milwaukee also has a few production facilities in Europe and four facilities in the USA – in Wisconsin and Mississippi. Over the last few years, Milwaukee has been expanding its Mississippi facilities and has added hundreds of new jobs in this state.
Just like Craftsman, it looks like Milwaukee might be shifting production back to the USA, albeit very slowly.
Which Offers a Better Warranty?
Finding warranty info for Craftsman tools is not easy, but through our research, we have found that most of their tools are covered by either a one- or two-year limited warranty. Some, although very few, are even covered by a limited lifetime warranty.
On the other hand, Milwaukee offers limited one-, two-, three-, and five-year warranties depending on the product you get. In addition to that, it offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on some tools. Some tools even come with a limited lifetime warranty.
As it stands, Milwaukee does offer better warranties on its products across the board.
Craftsman vs Milwaukee: Which Has a Better Product Portfolio?
It does appear as though both of these companies make a very wide array of tools and products, everything from corded and cordless tools through lawn and garden equipment all the way to hand tools and storage solutions.
One thing that Milwaukee sells, which Craftsman does not, is jobsite apparel, or in other words, clothing.
Seeing as Milwaukee is the much larger company, it is safe to assume that it produces many more products, which for the most part is indeed the case. For example, Craftsman currently has six drills available for sale on its website, whereas Milwaukee has dozens of options available.
Which Brand Offers a Better Selection of Impact Drivers?
Just like with the selection of drills, the story with the impact drivers is exactly the same. Craftsman currently has six impact drivers listed for sale on its website, whereas the Milwaukee site has well over 20.
Which Brand Offers a Better Selection of Hand Tools?
The same can be said for hand tools too, with Milwaukee having a better selection across mostly all hand tool categories.
For instance, Craftsman has 19 models of pliers for sale, whereas Milwaukee has about three times that amount.
Which of the Two Brands Should You Choose?
When it comes to quality, Milwaukee comes slightly ahead of Craftsman in most instances. That said, for lighter-duty use, Craftsman is an option well-worth exploring too.
Another thing to keep in mind is that Milwaukee features a much larger selection of products, most of which have better warranties than Craftsman.
That said, both brands make good tools at reasonable prices compared to their quality.
While neither Craftsman nor Milwaukee is the highest quality producers of tools, they can still hold their own, and their products are perfect for the average Joe and even professions who needs reliable tools that can be purchased without spending a fortune.