Two of the most recognizable names in the tool market are Husky and Craftsman. Both brands are good examples of modestly priced tool manufacturers with strong reputations for quality and durability. While they’re similarly positioned in terms of pricing and market segment, there are a number of major differences in the lineups of Husky vs Craftsman.
Let’s take a closer look at how Husky stacks up vs Craftsman, so you’ll have a good grasp on the strengths and weaknesses of each manufacturer.
Husky Wrench was founded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin back in 1924 by Czechoslovakian immigrant Sigmund Mandl. In just a few short years the company developed a major collaboration with the J.H. Williams Tool Group with Williams bundling Husky wrenches in their mechanics tools sets.
Shortly after, the Husky name was sold to the Olsen Manufacturing Company in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The company changed its name to the Husky Corporation and relocated to Kenosha.
Then in 1962, the Husky brand was sold once again, this time to the New Britain Machine Company of New Britain, Connecticut which itself was bought by Litton Industries in the 1970s. Litton dissolved its hand tool division in the 1980s, selling off Husky in the process.
Stanley Works acquired the Husky brand in 1986, and in 1992 began supplying the Husky brand exclusively to the Home Depot which remains the case until today.
Craftsman was founded back in 1927 when Sears decided to create a superior brand of tools to be sold through the Sears catalog as well as in retail stores. The head of the company’s hardware department, Arthur Barrows, purchased the rights to the name Craftsman from the Marion-Craftsman Tool Company for $500.
Sears used a “good, better, best” pricing tier structure for their tool lineup, with Craftsman being positioned as the middle tier brand. The highest tier was Craftsman Professional or Craftsman Industrial, while the lowest tier went by several different names over time including “Dunlap” from the 1930s to 1950s, “Companion” in the 1980s, and most recently “Evolv” starting in 2008.
In 2017, Stanley Black & Decker purchased the Craftsman brand for a total value of $900 million.
This led to an overhaul of the Craftsman brand and a rollout of the new Craftsman lineup at new retailers Lowe’s and Ace Hardware.
Husky vs Craftsman Comparison
Both Husky and Craftsman are known for being mid-tier tool manufacturers both in terms of price and overall quality. As such, they stack up similarly, with both manufacturers producing tools suitable for both DIYer and homeowner usage.
If we take a look at the tool offerings of each brand it’s clear Craftsman has a much more extensive lineup in terms of power tools as well as lawn and garden tools. The Husky brand is more focused on hand and automotive tools, which is where the Husky and Craftsman brands overlap.
As both brands compete in similar price and quality segments, we can easily compare them without needing to account for major differences in price points as you would when comparing two brands like Black and Decker and Dewalt.
Looking at the lineups of the Husky vs Craftsman we can see how they stack up against each other.
Husky’s lineup is focused on basic hand tools, pneumatic tools, automotive and mechanics tools, as well as tool storage, workbenches, workwear, and lighting. Noticeably absent from their lineup is power tools, which they don’t sell at all.
The lineup is primarily focused on hand tools, which they offer a wide variety of in terms of wrench, ratchet, socket, screwdriver, and mechanics tool sets. The tools are priced below the so-called ‘professional’ brands like Snap-On and MAC but offer quality that’s more than adequate for your average DIYer or garage tinkerer.
Craftsman’s lineup is significantly broader than Husky’s with a range of products from power tools to automotive and hand tools, to a wide assortment of outdoor equipment. They also offer tool storage, shelving, garage equipment, and air tools.
The lineup is clearly geared towards affordable tools for DIYers, with prices similar to what you’d find from tool makers like Ryobi, Porter-Cable, and Skil. There is significant overlap between Craftsman and Husky when it comes to hand tools and automotive tools, which is where you’re likely to find yourself debating between these two brands.
Taking a look at the pricing of both tool companies and you’ll find a lot of similarities. They’re both positioned similarly so this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone.If we look at the mechanic’s sets offered by each brand we can see basic sets sold at nearly identical prices. Craftsman’s 137-piece mechanic’s tool kit retails for $119.95, while Husk’s nearly identical 149-piece set sells for $112.90.
The same thing can be seen when examining the basic 4-piece pliers set sold by each brand. Craftsman’s 4-piece set kit consisting of needle nose, slip joint, groove joint, and diagonal pliers sell for 34.99, while Husky’s nearly identical set of the same pliers also sells for 34.99.
You’ll find a lot of this kind of overlap if you were to compare the catalogs of each brand, which leads me to believe that you’d probably find some of these products being manufactured in the same factories.
Both Husky and Craftsman have a solid reputation for tool quality, although you shouldn’t expect them to be on par with professional tier brands.
In my own experience using Husky hand tools, I’ve found them to be more than adequate for general DIY work, and have never one of their tools break on me. The mechanic’s tool kits are especially solid, with a quality level that definitely punches above its weight.
Exactly who manufactures Husky tools isn’t exactly clear, but we do know many of them are manufactured by the Apex Tool Group, the same company that makes tools for the Wiss, Allen, and Weller brands. Apex tools group has also made various Craftsman tools for Sears, so it’s no surprise there’s some overlap between the two brands.
At various times, Husky brand tools have also been made by Western Forge, Stanley, and Iron Bridge.
Craftsman tools are also more than adequate for most DIY type work and have a strong reputation for quality. When it comes to their hand and mechanic tool sets, I’d rank them just slightly below Husky’s offerings.
Both companies manufacture the majority of their tools in China and Taiwan, although Crafstman has some made in the USA tools – and seems to be focusing on expanding this lineup going forward.
Both Craftsman and Husky offer lifetime warranties on their hand tools, this includes wrenches, ratchets, sockets, screwdrivers, hammers, and mechanics tools sets.
Husky offers a 2-year limited warranty on all pneumatic tools and compressors, while Craftsman offers a 3-year limited warranty on pneumatic tools and a 1-year limited warranty on air compressors.
When it comes to Husky’s tool storage, warranties range from 2 to 5 years for boxes, pouches, and bags to lifetime warranties for cabinets and shelving. Craftsman offers similar warranties on these items, although they offer 10-year warranties on metal storage cabinets and chests.
Overall, there isn’t much separating the two brands when it comes to warranties so it’s hard to pick a clear winner here.
Which brand is best for me?
Now for the million dollar question – which brand is best for you?
The answer will largely depend on what segment of tools you’re looking for.
If you’re looking for power tools or lawn and garden tools then Craftsman’s your only option between the two. If you’re looking for hand tool or mechanics tools, then both Husky and Craftsman have solid offerings, but I’d give a slight edge toward Husky.
Featured image source.