Craftsman (tools)

Product type Hand tools, power tools, lawn and garden equipment, work wear
a Sears Holdings subsidiary[1]
Country USA
Introduced May 20, 1927 (1927-05-20)
Related brands Evolv, Craftsman Professional, Craftsman Industrial, Companion, Dunlap

Craftsman is a line of tools, lawn and garden equipment, and work wear controlled by Sears Holdings. The brand is owned by KCD IP, LLC, a special purpose entity created by Sears Holdings for securitization purposes that also owns Sears house brands Kenmore and DieHard.[1]

The tools are sold in Sears, Kmart, as well as US military Army and Air Force Exchange Service stores, Summit Racing Equipment, Menards, W. W. Grainger, Ace Hardware, Montgomery Ward and Orchard Supply Hardware.[2][3][4]

Craftsman also shares a studio space with Kenmore at the Kenmore Craftsman Brand Live Experience in downtown Chicago at 233 W Huron. No tools are sold at this location but there are occasional shows and cooking demos held at this location.

In 2007, Craftsman was named "America's Most Trusted Brand" and brand with "Highest Expectations".[5] In 2009, the readers of Popular Mechanics named Craftsman their favorite brand of hand tools in their Reader's Choice Awards.[6] Craftsman is the official tool brand of NASCAR and the DIY Network.[7]

In October 2016 Sears accepted final bids to acquire its Craftsman brand.[8]


Companion logo.
Craftsman Evolv logo.

The Craftsman trademark was registered by Sears on May 20, 1927.[9] Arthur Barrows, head of the company's hardware department, liked the name Craftsman and reportedly bought the rights to use it from the Marion-Craftsman Tool Company for $500.[10] The brand's early customers were mostly farmers. Barrows' successor, Tom Dunlap, upgraded the quality of the tools and added chrome plating to them as America moved into the automobile age.[11]

Sears' tool line, like many of its other product lines, uses a "good, better, best" pricing structure,[12][13] with the Craftsman brand as the middle tier and Craftsman Professional or Craftsman Industrial as the highest tier. Craftsman Professional and Craftsman Industrial are marketed as being comparable to brands like SK, Snap on, Proto, Mac, and Matco. The standard Craftsman line is marketed as being comparable in quality to other mid-price brands including UltraPro (NAPA), Westward, Gray, Husky, and Kobalt. Sears also had its "Sears Best" line of hand tools for a time. The ratchets were known for having the finest teeth and shortest swing angle in the business.

The lowest tier was originally branded Sears. The company also used the Dunlap name for its lesser quality tools from the late 1930s until the late 1950s.[14] The Sears tool line was discontinued in the late 1980s and replaced by the Companion tool line. The Companion tool line was itself discontinued and replaced by the Evolv tool line in 2008,[15] with a focus on homeowners and DIYers. Evolv tools also have a lifetime warranty but require that the customer have the original dated receipt to enact it.[16]

Sears has never manufactured Craftsman products itself, instead relying on other manufacturers to make the products for them and then apply 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. Other times, Craftsman products are identical to models of other brands with a different name on them. Beginning in 2010, hand tools manufactured for Craftsman by Apex Tool Group such as ratchets, sockets, and wrenches began being produced 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 and these tools are US made. They appear 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 made the previous US made product before production switched overseas to Asia. Tool storage has typically been manufactured by Waterloo Industries, while air compressors were manufatctured by DeVilbiss Air Power (part of Dewalt), and formerly by Campbell Hausfeld.

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,[17] Moore Drop Forging,[9] Stanley,[18] Easco Hand Tools,[19] 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.[20] Many Craftsman portable power tools have been manufactured by Techtronic Industries. Many Craftsman bench and stationary power tools have been manufactured by Emerson Electric Company and DeWalt.[21] Craftsman-branded garage door openers are manufactured by The Chamberlain Group.

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. Tool chests and cabinets have typically been manufactured by Waterloo Industries. 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.

Since 1991, Sears has run the Craftsman Club customer loyalty program, one of the oldest such programs by a retailer.[22]


Most Craftsman hand tools are advertised as having an unlimited lifetime warranty.[23] This lifetime warranty program was instituted by Sears when they began selling the Craftsman line in 1927.[24] This warranty program requires no receipt or dated proof of purchase. If the owner takes the item into a local retail store, it may be replaced or repaired free of charge.[25] In some cases, such as ratchets, the customer may be offered a repair kit with which to repair the item or an already refurbished item.

The full text of the warranty is as follows:

If for any reason your Craftsman hand tool ever fails to provide complete satisfaction, return it to any Sears store or other Craftsman outlet in the United States for free repair or replacement. This warranty gives you specific legal rights and you may also have other rights which vary from state to state.[26]

Sears has reduced the warranty in effect on many Craftsman non-powered lawn and garden products including rakes, shovels, clippers, brooms, trowels, pruners, hoses, sprinklers, hose nozzles, and other small gardening hand tools. Previously it was a lifetime warranty which on August 2, 2012, was reduced to 25 years with receipt required.[27] The lifetime warranty does not include precision hand tools, such as calipers and torque wrenches,[28]

Many consumers have also been reporting problems when attempting to obtain warranty repair or replacement on tools that are covered by the full lifetime warranty. Sears' official position is that the warranty should be honored, and much of the problem may lie with individual sales associates.[26] In some cases Sears no longer sells particular Craftsman tools, (tape measures, and wood clamps are two examples), making it impossible to replace a tool sold with a lifetime warranty with a similar Craftsman tool that will continue the warranty.

Some local store locations institute a 'daily limit' on the number of Craftsman hand tools which can be exchanged per day under the Sears Lifetime Warranty. This issue was addressed in 2009 in an inquiry to Sears Holding by A corporate reply from then VP David Figler stated the Lifetime Warranty was to provide "complete customer satisfaction--period." His reply went on to state that a 'daily limit is not a valid reason for denying a customer's right to exchange their Craftsman tools under the Lifetime Warranty. Despite that letter and his assurance, individual stores currently [2015] have varying policies.

Power tools have a one-year warranty.[27]

After the merger, Kmart began selling Craftsman products and honoring the hand tool lifetime warranty.

Legal disputes

Craftsman tools came under fire in 2004 in a lawsuit accusing Sears of false advertising and consumer fraud for questionable use of the slogan "Made in the USA".[29]


From 1995 to 2008, Craftsman sponsored the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, a deal which began with the inception of the Truck Series. After the 2008 season, Craftsman withdrew from sponsoring the series and was replaced by Camping World.[30] In 2016, Craftsman returned to motorsports sponsorship, serving as the title name for the World of Outlaws, renaming the Sprint Car Series and Late Model Series to the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series and World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series, respectively.[31]



  1. 1 2 Berner, Robert (April 16, 2007). "The New Alchemy At Sears". BusinessWeek. Retrieved August 4, 2011.
  2. "Sears to sell Craftsman tools at all Kmart stores". The Associated Press. September 14, 2006. Retrieved February 22, 2010.
  3. "Craftsman Tools Now Available At AAFES". Regulatory Intelligence Data. September 20, 2000. Retrieved February 22, 2010.
  4. "Socket Set by Craftsman". Montgomery Ward. Retrieved May 14, 2016.
  5. "Hershey's Kisses Chocolate Candy Ranks No. 1 in Overall Brand Equity" (Press release). Harris Interactive. June 26, 2007. Retrieved February 22, 2010.
  6. "Craftsman(R) Named Favorite Hand Tools in Popular Mechanics Reader's Choice Awards". Sears Holdings Corporation. July 2, 2009. Retrieved February 22, 2010.
  7. "Craftsman(R) Tools: Now the Official Tools of DIY Network" (Press release). Sears Holdings Corporation. January 21, 2009. Retrieved February 19, 2010.
  8. Ledvina, Justin (2016-10-06). "Sears Close to Selling Iconic Craftsman Brand". Newsline. Retrieved 2016-10-12.
  9. 1 2 "A Tool Industry Timeline". Alloy Artifacts. Retrieved September 25, 2016.
  10. Sears Archives. "Craftsman: The Standard of Quality". Retrieved March 3, 2010.
  11. Joslin, Jeff (February 26, 2010). "Craftsman - History". Old Wood-Working Machines. Retrieved March 3, 2010.
  12. Duff, Mike (April 8, 2009). "Sears, J.C. Penney Launch Post-Martha Home Collections". BNET. Retrieved April 6, 2010.
  13. Manfer, Sam (April 6, 2010). "Good, Better, Best". Biz-Blog@SalesVantage. Retrieved April 6, 2010.
  14. "Early Craftsman Tools and Their Makers". Retrieved April 6, 2010.
  15. "Evolv trademark details". Boliven. Retrieved March 27, 2010.
  16. Sears Holdings Corporation. "Evolv hand tool warranty". Retrieved March 3, 2010.
  17. "Craftsman 'BE' and H-Circle Series Tools". Alloy Artifacts. Retrieved February 22, 2010.
  18. Campbell, W. Joseph (October 15, 1988). "Stanley Earnings Grow 11% Despite Weak Construction Industry". The Hartford Courant. Retrieved February 22, 2010.
  19. Sweeney, Paul (October 15, 1988). "Brothers Come of Age With New Bid". The New York Times. Retrieved February 22, 2010.
  20. Schmidt, Joanna (June 25, 1992). "Western Forge employees celebrate honors from Sears/Company named best of 10,000 suppliers". Gazette Telegraph. Retrieved March 27, 2010.
  21. Joslin, Jeff (February 26, 2010). "Craftsman- History". Old Wood-Working Machines. Retrieved March 3, 2010.
  22. "Sears and Craftsman(R) Introduce Craftsman Club Rewards" (Press release). Sears Holdings Corporation. August 6, 2009. Retrieved February 22, 2010.
  23. Lamb, Robert (January 18, 2001). "In search of the lifetime guarantee". USA Today. Retrieved March 3, 2010.
  24. Sears, Roebuck & Co. "Why Craftsman?". Archived from the original on June 28, 2002. Retrieved June 28, 2002.
  25. Cage, Chuck (August 8, 2006). "A Quick Comment on the Craftsman Lifetime Warranty". Toolmonger. Retrieved March 9, 2010.
  26. 1 2 Walters, Chris (March 25, 2009). "Sears Clarifies Craftsman Tools Warranty". The Consumerist. Retrieved February 19, 2010.
  27. 1 2 "Warranty Information". Retrieved September 11, 2012.
  28. Popken, Ben (March 19, 2007). "Clarification: Craftsman Lifetime Warranty Doesn't Apply To Rusty Tools". The Consumerist. Retrieved March 9, 2010.
  29. "Suit Hits Sears Made In USA Claim". December 8, 2004. Retrieved October 22, 2008.
  30. Schwarb, John (October 23, 2008). "Camping World to replace Craftsman as Truck Series sponsor". ESPN. Retrieved April 5, 2016.
  31. "Craftsman® Brand To Title World of Outlaws". World of Outlaws. February 1, 2016. Retrieved April 5, 2016.

External links

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