This debate pops up all the time in online forums and among DIYers, and due to Kobalt’s low prices is not all that surprising. Whether or not Kobalt is actually a good tool brand is the subject of some debate, so let’s take a closer look at this tool brand.
Kobalt is a tool manufacturer owned by Lowes and manufactures power tools, mechanics tools, hand tools, and tool storage options. The quality differs somewhat depending on the category of tools you are talking about, as they differ somewhat.
Let’s take a closer look at the Kobalt tool brand, and how well they stack up against other budget brands and give you a better idea of whether these tools would be right for your needs.
Kobalt is a relatively new brand in the big scheme of things, having been established fairly recently in 1998. It was launched with the intention of competing with rivals Sears and Home Depot’s home brands Craftsman and Husky. These are mid-tier brands that are priced reasonably and targeted toward the homeowner/DIYer market segment.
Danaher Corporation produces the majority of Kobalt tools as of 2003.
Kobalt has its headquarters in Mooresville, North Carolina. The brand manufactures 5 main categories of tools including power tools, air tools, hand tools, storage and garage organization, and outdoor power equipment.
Kobalt has some of the better warranties among mid-tier toolmakers, offering 3 to 5-year warranties for power tools, outdoor power equipment, and garage and tool storage.
Kobalt’s hand and mechanics tools have lifetime guarantees, as well as garden tools and gloves, and hand and mechanics tools.
Overall Kobalt offers better warranties than most budget tool manufacturers, giving it an advantage over competitively priced brands.
Where are Kobalt Brand Tools Made?
Like most other toolmakers, especially those on the cheaper side, most of Kobalt’s tools are made in China. This is the case with most other modern tool manufacturers, including premium-tier brands like DeWalt, Milwaukee, and the like.
That said, simply being made in China is not an indicator of poor quality in itself.
Some of Kobalt’s tools are made in other localities. Their miter saws and some of their accessories are made in Taiwan, while many of the hand tools and mechanics tools are made in the USA. This is one reason their hand tools and mechanics tools are considered the best tools in their lineup.
Kobalt Product Portfolio
Let’s take a look at the full gamut of Kobalt products, so you’ll have a good idea of where Kobalt’s strengths and shortcomings lie.
Kobalt’s power tool selection is fairly extensive, with a solid selection of 24-volt Max tools as well as corded power tools. The 24-volt Max lineup is relatively new and is a huge improvement over previous models.
The 24-volt battery packs feature an extra cell over 18V/20V tools, which translates into a more powerful operation. The 24-volt lineup is particularly impressive because few other tool manufacturers offer a similarly powerful tool lineup. Only Hilti has a similar 22V pack and considering Hilti’s high price point this makes it all the more impressive.
When it comes to tool selection, Kobalt’s selection is solid, with a variety of circular saws, miter saws, jigsaws, reciprocating saws, table saws, and drills & drivers. There is also a solid selection of sanders, routers, grinders, planers, and oscillating multi-tools.
Outdoor Power Equipment
Kobalt has a solid selection of outdoor power equipment, including an impressive array of 80-volt yard tools including chainsaws, leaf blowers, electric lawnmowers, and string trimmers. They also have a solid selection of 40V outdoor equipment and some lightweight 12V power equipment.
There is also a solid selection of outdoor hand tools, including rakes, shovels, axes, tampers, pickaxes, and more.
Hand and Mechanics Tools
Hand and mechanics tools are another strong points for Kobalt, with an impressive array of pliers, bolt cutters, wire cutters, hammers, wrenches, you name it. These tools are regarded as some of Kobalt’s best and have a strong reputation for quality and longevity.
Storage & Work Benches
Kobalt also has a fairly decent selection of storage options and workbenches, including Jobsite tool boxes, a wide array of polyester tool bags, and a small selection of workbenches. This is not their strongest tool category, but they do offer a nice array of tool bags.
Kobalt has a solid selection of pneumatic tools, including air compressors, pneumatic grinders, impact wrenches, and sanders, as well as a solid selection of accessories. Their air compressors are particularly well regarded and reviewed,
Is Kobalt High Quality?
Overall, Kobalt tools are of decent quality and come at a price tag that makes them easily affordable to the average DIYer or homeowner. They aren’t suitable for professional tradesmen usage, but that’s also not what they’re designed for in the first place.
So, in short, Kobalt tools are not considered high quality. They are an entry-level/mid-range brand, which puts them on par with toolmakers like Craftsman, Ryobi, and Husky.