My baby steps into the DIY world were sockets, followed by ratchets as a logical continuation. I remember how years ago, my dad used to swear by Craftsman. These guys were THE Manufacturer for him.
Sadly, in recent years my experience has shown that Craftsman’s quality has been on a decline. I’ve seen quite a few other DIYers or contractors agree & disagree though.
At the same time, newer competitors – Tekton, Gearwrench etc. have popped up. Let’s compare Tekton vs Craftsman, a clash between old and new.
If you’re in a rush though and set on getting a full kit quickly, these are the two I’d recommend:
A complete 83-piece 1/2″ Drive Socket and Ratchet set *with* a breaker bar. A+
A huge collection of ratchets, sockets, extensions, bits & drivers, manual screw driver, allens, AND crescent wrench set. Amazing value given the Craftsman name.
Nothing puts me in a bad mood more than my tools failing me when I need them the most. If you have experienced it before, you must wonder what you might have done wrong to cause your tools to fail or get worn out prematurely.
By now, you must have grown tired of having to replace your recently purchased tools a few years or months after purchasing them. If you are looking for answers, this article is what you have long been waiting for. We recently reviewed different kinds of tools from 2 popular handheld tool manufacturers.
After reading the review, we hope that you will have gathered enough information to make an informed decision next time you go shopping for tools.
I won’t lie – I’m a sucker for Tekton’s combination wrenches. It’s like they invest much of their profits in research so that they can make their tools more robust which has led to better results and a reduction in work-related stress.
The slightly angled (~15 degrees) open end allows you to work with fasteners quickly, even if you’re short on space. I’m talking about this particular wrench set.
The quality extends to Tekton’s chrome socket sets with a 6 point design. These are manufactured in Taiwan. Don’t underestimate Taiwanese factories – they’re a cut above typical mainland Chinese manufacturers.
You will definitely enjoy working with a Tekton manufactured wrench; its anti-slip design grips the sides that are flat instead of only focusing on the corners making it easier to use. It also uses chrome vanadium steel, making it a very sturdy construction capable of handling demanding work on a daily basis.
It’s not only about the tools, though. It’s also where you keep them – the case itself. Tekton tools come with cases that are durable and portable enough to save you more space.
The tool manufacturer did all they could to ensure your work runs smoothly. You can neatly organize your Tekton tools in the toolbox and only choose the ones you intend to use depending on the type of work you’ve been tasked with.
The major downside to owning this type of wrench is that it’s more expensive compared to similar models from competitors.
A prime example of this combination would be this 1/2″ drive socket set:
What about the Classic, the Legend – the good ol’ Craftsman?
Despite the struggles, there’s still some life in grandpa Craftsman. The brand wins if you want more versatility and glance over the fact that in many cases you’re getting Made in China.
Their sets – like this one come with tools in various types and sizes.
They’re priced attractively and are perfect for starting contractors who need an all-in-one solution. Their design can feel slightly subpar to Tekton’s 6-point design which prevents rounding off, ensures more sturdiness, and has better longevity.
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Superior design that prevents rounding off. Tough, convenient, easy to work with. A+.
Tough wrenches made for fast DIY work even in extra tight spots. Convenient storage holder with folding handles too.
Tekton vs Craftsman:
Comparing the sockets
OK, let’s talk about a fundamental tool – sockets.
You need them to be durable, easy to read, and ergonomic to handle.
Tekton steamrolls over Craftsman with their chrome socket sets. Great Taiwanese manufacture, tougher vanadium steel construction, and a nice price tag to boot.
Tekton sockets also have a very foolproof 6-point design. It embraces the flat side of any fastener, instead of aiming for the corners.
What does that achieve?
Extremely minimized rounding off, which is what you generally want to see with your sockets. A rounded socket is a socket that makes things harder for you and slows you down.
Most other sockets – including Craftman’s, don’t have this design perk.
Superior design that prevents rounding off. Tough, convenient, and easy to work with. A+.
Craftsman’s strong point is that their sockets are very easy to read.
That might come in handy with extra huge tool kits, but I still prefer Tekton’s overall improvement in design.
Here’s a good video showcasing things:
A case where Craftsman shines:
The huge tool sets
As with many other things, there are some exceptions to the rule.
Perhaps you are considering an entry into the DIY world with the aim to do diverse projects.
Or perhaps you’re a budding contractor on the road to building your professional experience.
If you want an affordable, yet rich beginner’s tool set, Craftsman offers more options. They have huge assortments with 200+ tools on very lucrative prices.
Check this 230-piece set, for example – it’s the best bargain they’ve had on the market yet.
Tekton’s portfolio is more limited and their kits usually lean on the smaller side of things. You won’t have the bulk discount effect to the extent of grabbing Craftsman.
Tekton vs Craftsman wrenches:
A very clear winner
Obviously, another important point of comparison here would be the wrenches themselves.
If Craftsman wrenches can be acceptable (read some reviews to see why), Tekton go out of their way to deliver both qualities, affordable prices, and durability.
I’m sorry if I sound like trashing Craftsman wrenches – they are OK, but we’re talking about a need for high quality.
Once again, a key benefit to Tekton tools is the 15-degree angled open end of the wrenches. You can flip them over easier so you can work with the fasteners more comfortably (and faster) in tighter spots.
To top things off, a lot of their wrench sets – like this 30-piece set (1/4 – 1″ or 8-22mm) come with convenient storage with a folding handle. A non-slip grip construction takes away any worries you might have about dropping your wrenches on the floor.
(Not that something would happen to the tough vanadium steel with chrome finish.)
Tekton 30-piece Wrench Set
Tough wrenches are made for fast DIY work even in extra tight spots. Convenient storage holder with folding handles too.
Talking about manufacturing quality…
Man, I remember the old times. Craftsman’s popularity was to a big extent because all of their tools were made on American soil.
Ultra-durable, high-end steel manufacture that would last you for generations.
Things have changed since then, and for the time being production has been outsourced to far-away China. There’s a tangible difference in quality that’s been widely discussed in DIY online communities.
You can see some similar sentiments among Amazon reviewers too.
One of the main reasons I’d vouch for Tekton right now is their Taiwanese manufacture.
But – Alex, isn’t that practically the same thing?
Well, not really. Taiwanese facilities stick to higher standards, so any manufacturing in them usually means you’re getting better quality than mainland China counterparts.
Hence why in most cases, when it comes to both sockets or ratchets, Tekton just brings better tools to the DIY table. As I said, this is only my personal opinion – but it seems a lot of other people agree with me too.
Tekton vs. Craftsman Tools: Warranty
Tekton not only beats Craftsman tools in making high-quality products but also in providing after-sales services. Tekton tool users don’t have to wait for ages for their tools to be repaired since the manufacturer makes and delivers spare parts relatively fast.
Unfortunately, Craftsman tool users are not quite as lucky. Since Stanley Black and Decker bought the company, its customer services have worsened. If you find Tekton tools too expensive, you better opt for Gearwrench. They have better customer care service and produce tools of superior quality to what is being offered by Craftsman.
Some thoughts on the future of Craftsman
That said, there is some interesting news on the horizon. Black & Decker bought out the brand after the Sears fiasco – another symbolic brand in modern American history falling down.
The guys over at B&D seem to have some revitalization plans for what Craftsman embodies. I’ve heard that they’re redirecting some of the production back to the US or at least switching to Taiwanese facilities like Tekton and other competitors.
It’d be great if the current struggles Craftsman has are only a temporary setback. While I don’t have anything against Tekton – I mean, their sockets and ratchets are KICKASS…
…Well, a part of me wants to see Craftsman rise again. I’ve had so much fun tinkering around with their tools. Looking forward to repeating that, hopefully.