Craftsman tools have been an American tradition since the 1920s. Like many families, I grew up watching my father and grandfather work with Craftsman tools and my very first set of tools was from the same brand. In the midst of Sears’ colossal and current downfall, the iconic tool brand was sold to Stanley Black & Decker (SBD), who also owns DeWALT, Lenox, Porter Cable, and Stanley, among others, in early 2017. A couple months later, that sale was finalized.
A few weeks ago, Stanley Black & Decker officially welcomed Craftsman to their family, with an enormous product release party. Unfortunately, Construction Junkie was not in attendance, but we do have a lot of information to share.
First things first…what kind of customer will the new Craftsman brand be targeting? From press releases, it appears that homeowners, home builders, auto enthusiasts, and master mechanics will be most likely to buy. Some that attended the product release event described them as “entry level pro and a DIY-enthusiast” brand. What that means for SBD’s other brands, like Porter Cable, Black & Decker, and Irwin remain to be seen.
With the purchase from Sears, Craftsman now has the ability to be sold at many more retailers and Lowe’s appears to be the biggest player so far. In my local Lowe’s stores, there are already large Craftsman displays. You have to think this will be a major competitor to Home Depot’s Ryobi as more products are released.
Just like in the past, the Craftsman brand has a foundation in many different tool categories: mechanics tools, power tools, storage solutions, outdoor power equipment (OPE), and more. With Craftsman announcing 1,200 new tools at once, many were curious to see how much Craftsman influence and how much Stanley Black & Decker influence would go into the new designs.
The first thing you may notice with the new lineup of power tools is a new battery platform: the V20, as opposed to the 19.2 volt battery of Craftsman past. More than 100 power tools, including battery powered, pneumatic, and corded tools. Although re-skinned red and labeled Craftsman, you can certainly see a heavy SBD influence in many of these power tools. The new V20 Brushless ½” Drill/Driver looks very similar to DeWalt’s older model and the V20 18-gauge Finish Nailer looks very similar to the Porter Cable version. That’s not necessarily a bad thing and could be great tool for the value.
Some of the other cordless tools that will be released are oscillating multi-tools, impact drivers, sanders, circular saws, jig saws, a 7-1/4” sliding miter saw, and wet/dry vacuums. More information can be found on craftsman.com, but no pricing has been released yet.
Outdoor Power Equipment
What I saw from the product release coverage had me pretty excited about Craftsman’s OPE offerings, including both gas-powered and battery powered options.
On the battery powered side, Craftsman will offer 20 volt, 40 volt, and 60 volt tools, just like DeWalt does currently. There are only a few tools listed on the press releases and website, like the V20 axial blower and the 40V string trimmer, but I also saw pictures and videos of a 60V cordless lawn mower.
On the gas-powered side, Craftsman will offer a variety of push lawnmowers, riding lawnmowers, chainsaws, blowers, trimmers and pressure washers. Many of the lawnmowers will be powered by Briggs & Stratton engines.
Perhaps the most trusted of the lineups of Craftsman past has always been their mechanics tools. Highlighting this category are the 121-piece Gunmetal Chrome Mechanics Tool Set, 159-piece Mechanics Tool Set and 3/8-inch Drive 120 Tooth Gunmetal Chrome Ratchet. The mechanics tool sets will be covered by a full lifetime warranty with a hassle-free replacement policy.
Chances are you, your dad, or grandfather have a Craftsman tool chest in your garage or workshop. The new brand will feature many varieties of tool storage options that Craftsman customers have been accustomed to, like metal rolling cabinets, tool chests, and other organizers. With many of them made in the USA (with global materials), the lineup is highlighted by a 26-inch Wide 5-Drawer Tool Chest & Rolling Cabinet Combo, a 26-inch Wide 9-Drawer Open Till Tool Chest & Rolling Cabinet Combo, and a 41-inch Wide 12-Drawer Tool Chest & Rolling Cabinet Combo.
One of the things that I have found very interesting about many of the new Craftsman tools and accessories is that many of them will be compatible with their new VERSATRACK System, which is intended to be hung in a garage or workshop. Many different accessories will be offered for the VERSATRACK for handing ladders, sporting equipment, and tools. Many of the tools themselves will also come equipped with a VERSATRACK latching system, so no additional accessories will be necessary to keep your workspace organized.
The sale from Sears had many existing Craftsman customers worried about their warranties. The new Craftsman website confirms that all existing warranties will be honored and there are no immediate changes as to how those warranty items will be serviced. Going forward, Craftsman plans to offer similar warranties and those terms and conditions can be found on their website.