Typically, you would buy Craftsman tools at Sears but if you don’t have a Sears near by or the store doesn’t have what you want, you can buy Craftsman tools here.
A lot of people use Craftsman tools because their quality is decent and their prices are low compared to many other brands. They’re also known for the awesome warranty.
If you want to spend money on tools that are higher in quality, go for brands like GearWrench, Wilde, Williams, and Knipex. You might have never heard of these brands in terms of quality and value, you can’t go wrong with them.
A popular brand that you’ve likely heard of is Snap-On. They have some decent quality tools but they’ve a bit overpriced. A lot of people buy this brand but likely because of brand recognition.
Sears has never manufactured Craftsman products itself, instead relying on other manufacturers to make the products for them following Sears designs and specifications, and then applying the Craftsman brand name. Sometimes, the Craftsman branded items include exclusive features or functions that separate them from the manufacturer’s own brand or other brands that that manufacturer produces. At other times, Craftsman products are identical to models of other brands with a different name on them.
The hardline mechanic’s tools (wrenches, ratchets, and sockets) that make up the core of the brand have been made by a variety of manufacturers over the years, including New Britain, Moore Drop Forging, Stanley, Easco Hand Tools, Danaher Corporation, and most recently Apex Tool Group. Screwdrivers have been manufactured by Pratt-Read but are now supplied by Western Forge, who also supply pliers and adjustable wrenches.
Beginning in 2010, hand tools manufactured for Craftsman by Apex Tool Group such as ratchets, sockets, and wrenches began to be sourced overseas (mainly in China, although some are produced in Taiwan), while tools produced for Craftsman by Western Forge such as adjustable wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers and larger mechanic tool sets remain made in the United States. Sears still has an Industrial line which is sold through various authorized distributors. These tools are US made, appearing identical to their previous non-industrial US made counterparts, save for the “Industrial” name stamped on them. They are manufactured by Apex on the US production lines that previously produced the US product before production switched overseas to Asia.
Many Craftsman portable power tools have been manufactured by Techtronic Industries. Sears hand power tools have also been produced by DeWalt. Some, such as the corded and cordless drills, were indistinguishable, other than the color and decal labels. Many Craftsman bench and stationary power tools have been manufactured by Emerson Electric Company and DeWalt. Air compressors were manufactured by DeVilbiss Air Power (part of Dewalt), and formerly by Campbell Hausfeld. Tool storage has typically been manufactured by Waterloo Industries, while Craftsman-branded garage door openers are manufactured by The Chamberlain Group.
Some tools have codes on them that correspond to the manufacturer that produced the product for Sears (see Alloy Artifacts website reference below). Many major Sears Craftsman items also have a vendor prefix, which is typically the first three digits before the period or dash in the model number. These first three digits correspond to the vendor code, or the actual manufacturer contracted to make the product for Sears.