Tekton vs Craftsman Tools

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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 & disgree 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:

Complete Tekton Tool Set

A complete 1/2″ Drive Socket and Ratchet set *with* a breaker bar. A+.

Full Craftsman Tool Set

A huge collection of ratchets, sockets, extensions, bits & drivers, manual screw driver, allens, AND crescent wrench set. Amazing value given the Craftsman name.

I won’t lie – I’m a sucker for Tekton’s combination wrenches. 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 manufacture.

It’s not only about the tools, though. It’s also where you keep them – the case itself. Tekton cases are durable and portable enough to save you more space.

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.

Tekton Sockets

Superior design that prevents rounding off. Tough, convenient, easy to work with. A+.

Tekton 30-piece Wrench Set

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.

Tekton Sockets

Superior design that prevents rounding off. Tough, convenient, easy to work with. A+.

Craftsman’s strong point is that their sockets are very easy to read.

That might come 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 quality, 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 made for fast DIY work even in extra tight spots. Convenient storage holder with folding handles too.

Talking about manufacture 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 sentiment 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 manufacture 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.

Some thoughts on the future of Craftsman

That said, there are 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 facilites 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.

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