WAAAYYY back in March, I put together this “idiot-proof tool shopping guide” blog post. In the post, I mentioned several brands. One of those was what I classified as a mid-grade brand, Craftsman. I don’t have a ton of tools, but I have a pretty solid “starter” set. The majority of my tools are all Craftsman. In this post, I’m going to highlight why I purchased Craftsman in the first place, and why you may want to consider the brand as well. This post is going to read a little like a history lesson so sit down and put your glasses on, gurl.
When I first bought my tools, I can’t say that before the purchase I’ve tooled around a ton. Working on bikes is something I’m learning as I go. I didn’t grow up with a mechanically-minded parental figure coaching me through how to rebuild cars, work on motors out of necessity, or even have an interest in that ish. In fact, at the wise age of 15, nothing could have disinterested me more. It’s a good thing I grew up and develop a more refined palette with age. To be completely honest, Craftsman was one, if not the only, tool brand I even remembered seeing around. In my head, before ever buying a tool, I associated Craftsman with quality. And of course, I am never wrong.
Craftsman has gone through some significant changes over the years, so let’s get to that history lesson, shall we?
Craftsman: Tools to last forever
Manufacturing of Craftsman tools began in 27 B.C.
Ok, that is a lie, but it’s not far off.
Craftsman came onto the tool scene in the 1920s, but the name itself was purchased and trademarked by Sears in 1927. The brand produced power tools, hand tools, lawn mowers, and even pioneered a mobile tool store. The name “Craftsman” was everywhere, but what made Craftsman different than the competition was their warranty. This warranty is something special and in my opinion, truly American.
Craftsman offers an unlimited lifetime warranty.
You read that right, lifetime.
That means if you break a wrench, you can take it right into a Craftsman retailer and they will replace it with the most recent model.
You don’t need a receipt; you don’t need to go to the place of purchase. You just need to go to a place that sells Craftsman and give them the broken tool. How friggin cool is that? That kind of service just doesn’t exist anymore! That is how you do business.
All good things must come to an end, or must they?
On January 5, 2017, Sears announced the sale of Craftsman to Stanley Black & Decker Inc.
What this actually means is a little confusing and maybe not as bad as everyone thinks. Stanley Black & Decker Inc. is the maker of Black & Decker tools and DeWalt tools. So for Craftsman, this could just mean more exposure and more accessibility. It could also mean a return to U.S. manufacturing. According to this article, Stanley Black & Decker Inc.” intends to invest heavily in making Craftsman tools in the states again.” This could be complete BS, but who wouldn’t want to see more tools made right here in the USA?
But, what you really want to know about is the warranty. It’s with a heavy heart that I note, the warranty just isn’t the same.
To obtain the warranty coverage stated below, return the product to the retailer from which it was purchased. Coverage will be fulfilled according to the retailer warranty exchange procedure and may be subject to a limitation on the number of items allowed per exchange.
CRAFTSMAN (OR CRAFTSMAN INDUSTRIAL) HAND TOOL FULL WARRANTY
If this Craftsman (or Craftsman Industrial) hand tool ever fails to provide complete satisfaction, it will be repaired or replaced free of charge.
This warranty does not cover expendable parts that can wear out from normal use within the warranty period. *
So there you have it, the warranty is no longer exactly what it used to be. After researching this a bit more, it sounds more like you’re at the whim of the retailer you visit. Although I’d still recommend Craftsman tools, I’m now recommending you keep that receipt.