How Important is it to Buy Tools Made in the USA?

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that at no cost to you, we may earn a small commission for qualifying purchases.

Not all tools are created equal. For many years, tools that are manufactured in the United States have been considered some of the best tools on the market, with few exceptions.

In recent years, countries like Taiwan and China have taken steps to increase tool quality, and while they’re still (for the most part) not built to the same degree of performance and dependability as USA-made equipment, there are many overseas tools that are now worth investing in.

Note:  To see which tool brands are favorites with our readers, be sure to check out this poll. You may be surprised.

Made in the USA

tools-made-in-usaHeadquartered and (sometimes) manufactured in the United States, one of the best examples of the tool quality available in the USA is the Stanley/Black & Decker brand.

Although many people are not aware of it, this conglomeration is responsible for some of the most popular tools in use by amateurs and professionals alike, including brands such as:

This short list is only a small representation of the companies owned by the brand, but serves as an example of the type quality available and the different types of tools the company manufactures.

For example, Stanley is considered a home DIY tool while DeWalt is one of the most prolific tools on any construction site.

Another popular U.S. brand is Danaher, which manufactures equipment under the names Amprobe, Tektronix, Fluke, and others.

Or the APex Tool Group, which is responsible for Apex, Plumb, Lufkin, and the trademarked Crescent tool line.

Some additional “made in the USA” tool brands include:

Made In China

chinaChina represents a number of highly respected tool companies, such as Techtronic Industries Inc., the company which makes such top-rated tools as Ryobi, Milwaukee, and Homelite. This company also produces tools under the Ridgid brand name, under a licensing agree with Emerson Tools.

While Makita is not strictly a Chinese company, they do have manufacturing facilities in China, Germany, Mexico, and other locations.

Most tools available through brick and mortar giant Harbor Freight (including Central Pneumatic air compressors) are also manufactured in China, although these tools tend to be of a lower quality than you will find from other Chinese manufacturers.

Made In Taiwan

taiwanWhile Taiwan has made a reputation for cheaply made tools over the years, some manufacturers have increased the quality level over the past decade or so, earning a new reputation of high quality tools.

This list includes the well-known GearWrench brand, as well as Kobalt and Delta Power Equipment (which is headquartered in the USA but made in Taiwan). Some of the tools available through NAPA are made in Taiwan as well as tools from Blue Point, Genius, and more.

Made in Germany

germanyBosch is one of the first brands to come up in conversations regarding German tool manufacturing, and that particular brand includes the long-time favorite home and medium construction line of Skil tools.

Some other popular German brands include:

The Final Comparisons

While tools made in the USA are still the overall leaders in most quality comparison charts, you should also keep in mind that the US has a greater number of tool manufacturers than other countries, and not all tool makers are high quality.

Taiwan manufacturers have made great strides in improving the quality of tools and many are on par with those made in the US while not costing as much.

Additionally, German engineering has had an influence on equipment made all over the world, and many foreign and American made tools have their roots in exquisite German engineering and performance.

Over time, the best qualities of different manufacturers are adopted by their competitors or even improved upon, which means that the manufacturer’s name is less influential today than it might have been 25 years ago.

The USA is still the leader in quality and performance, and every professional tool collection will contain a large number of tools made in the USA, but there are leaders from other nations as well, and their contribution should not be completely ignored.

Related Posts:

Categories Misc

Comments

  1. I try to avoid products manufactured in communist countries but price and availability does determine my purchasing decisions.
    My favorite screwdrivers are Wiha, made in Germany. I also like my made in Japan Vessel Impacta screwdrivers.
    Favorite pliers are Knipex made in Germany.
    Favorite punches and chisels are made in USA Mayhew.
    GearWrench made in Taiwan for chrome sockets and ratchets.
    For impact sockets I tend to but Sunex or Grey Pneumatic as both are made in Taiwan. I also own GearWrench made in China impact sockets. All are great, only real difference I’ve noticed is the country of origin and quality of the cases.
    IMO it’s hard to beat Westling Machine socket organizers. They are a bit pricey but IMO well worth the price in the long run.
    Can’t beat the quality of made in the USA Trusty Cook dead blow hammers.
    Made in Mexico Wilton B.A.S.H hammers are excellent.
    Pretty hard to beat made in China US General tool boxes from Harbor Freight for the price with a coupon. Money saved on tool boxes leaves a person more money to spend on tools.
    Buying different brands for different tool types is, IMO, wise if you are looking for better tools. For instance I really like GearWrench, owned by Bain Capital, chrome sockets and ratchets but I personally don’t care for their pliers and screwdrivers. I tend to look for tools better than what Harbor Freight sells but I tend to avoid high priced tool truck products.

    Reply
  2. Unfortunately, while this article is at least partially true. It’s due to be noted that RATCHET AND SOCKET SETS that are made any of the Stanley Black & Decker companies are in fact NOT Made in USA.

    Reply
  3. Foreign manufacturers of tools are very quickly trying to take over the manufacturing of tools especially China just as foreign car makers have virtually taken over our car manufacturing. So if you are like myself and do not want to see this happen, if you can’t afford to buy new American Tools, buy the American brand used. I never thought I would see the day that China stole the craftsman tools but it is gone now and now have their brand in our NAPA Auto parts.
    I used to buy tools from NAPA when they had New Britain tools; later went to a branch of new Britain Challenger which later became Proto. All that line of tools was great tools Craftsman, New Britain, Challenger Proto they were all good tools because of the one thing they had in common; they were all made here by American citizens. So if you want too keep the one thing we have left, if u cant afford news ones like me, buy used Snap ON or mac the only too manufacturers of American tools left there is one more Cornwell they are not very well advertised. So please don’t let foreigners take over our tool market.

    Reply
    • Paul, I agree that it’s difficult to see Chinese and Taiwanese tools dominate the market. Many once 100% American brands are now manufactured in Asia or certain types of tools for a brand are still made in the US but others made overseas (making it extremely hard to update the list of brands above). I still remember when my daughter first started reading a couple years ago and asked me why everything was made in China. I couldn’t give her a good answer.

      But, I will say that even if a brand no longer manufactures its tools in America, they often have headquarters, warehouses, and buildings used for final assembly in some cases in the US so while it now may have foreign ownership, you are still supporting American workers here.

      I try not to get political here but at least Trump is trying to do something about Chinese tariffs to possibly even the playing field a bit.

      Reply
  4. Bottom line- American made tool are far and few between these days. Your ONLY choice left is “older” garage sale/auction tools. (Unless you are rich or all your tools remain in a well guarded shop and never need replaced).
    Many yrs ago third world countries had “somewhat skilled” workers putting in over 80 hrs a week… at less than a dollar an hour with no benefits. (Some at less than 10 cents an hour). Meanwhile we demanded $20, then $30… finally $40/hr PLUS almost that much in a benefit package to build a Ford or Chevy! You do the math!!! We cannot compete with that and they outnumber us 100 to 1.

    Reply
  5. I just know Quality in any thing went i see them or feel it in any thing. Feel it hit it with hand if a machine is tuff or make noise etc. Making the right decision is an good investment. Quality counts. Also look gor warranty. Example Sthil make good chain saws. Echo makes great stuff great engine but echo gives best warranty for 5 years. Most hand tools WARRANTY are life time but lowes craftsman i stayed away from you must have reciept YUCK 😝. Home depot tools husky must have reciept yuck 😝! I stayed away grom husky tools. I stayed with ARMSTRONG, PROTO ,WRIGHT TOOLS these tool division are no problem returning. If you beat them with a hammer that’s abuse and warranty is voided. Craftsman tools at sears no problem taking it back but sears died. These days i am staying on wright tools and Williams tools. Gear wrench i have some but must have reciept but i never returned one yet. Some people are too cheap they got what they psid for. Smart people buy Quality. For those who can not afford a new good Quality tool set its wise to go to a big outside flee market. Good luck.

    Reply
  6. Stanley Black & Decker bought Craftsman from Sears. They are sold in Lowe’s, Sears, and Ace Hardware. There are still Sears open (after Covid wears down). Sears still has rights for the Craftsman name for 15 years from 2017. They aren’t made in the USA. It seems they are from Taiwan, but there might others. Stanley B&D are supposedly working to move manufacturing the the USA.
    Please make correction if there are errors in this post

    Reply
    • I just picked up a set of Craftsmen screwdrivers in Lowe’s – around a half hour ago. The price was good. The screwdrivers were the upgraded versions with the soft handles.

      I looked on the back, and even without my glasses I could see “Made in China”.

      I then picked up a set of Kobalt screwdrivers. I looked on the back. “Made in China” was conspicuous.

      I put it all back. I am done playing along with this globalist crap. I’ll save up my money and buy from non-communists. Before you scoff, note that if I typed this while in China I would quickly become an involuntary organ donor. Death is large numbers is a tool used over the decades by any and all Communists/Leftists/Socialist/Marxists.

      Reply
  7. I wanted to add this to my post. Seeing how China has been so secret about the Covid-19, and how much of our medicines are made there and in India, I will do what I should have done years ago. Don’t buy Made in China. Vietnam, too. Communist run countries. Buy as much as I can find in the USA. Second choice would be countries that good allies of the USA. I will contact companies that don’t sell USA items and let them know I am leaving as a customer. I hope many others will do the same.
    When Japan destroyed our electronics companies and made items in Japan. Then along came China. They said, let’s make cheap anything forUSA companies. Then they started buying companies and real estate. IBM small computers are now Lenova made in China. I just learned China bought Smithfield that sells meat products. They have many meat products brand names. Ekrich and Nathan and more.
    I want to buy USA products, made by my neighbors!

    Reply
    • I will agree that we need to become less dependent on Chinese made products. Until more US companies move their manufacturing back to the states, it’s slim pickings on many products, especially when shopping on a budget.

      Reply
  8. I just stumbled upon another small US made tool company.
    Lang. http://www.langtools.com/ used to be A&E Tools.

    I orders a ratchet wrench set – lets see how it goes.

    This is from their web page – About us

    The Lang family has been making tools in Racine, Wisconsin since 1932. We understand professional hand tools – we understand how professionals use their tools.

    We are expert toolmakers. From our beginning 80 years ago, A&E has been committed to leading the way in automotive tools. We developed and patented the first Ratcheting Box Wrench, now a standard in every technician’s toolbox.

    Identifying what the customer needs, and what new tools will help the professional do their job better, faster, and easier has been A&E’s hallmark.

    At A&E / Lang Tools we take pride in manufacturing the highest quality products. Our customers are professional automotive technicians and industrial end users, along with consumers who demand professional grade hand tools. They won’t settle for anything but the best in their tools, and neither will we. Our family of toolmakers is deeply committed to quality, value, innovation, and most of all, to our customers.

    Reply
  9. I avoid buying anything made in china, but being in the Philippines it is very difficult to find things not made in china, including tools. Now, there is a ‘FLYMAN USA’ brand tool that seems to be gaining popularity here in the Philippines. I went to google search it to find out if it is in-fact made in the U.S.A. I could not find a thing about it’s manufacturer. I am aware that china is well known for it’s fakery, including naming items to make it appear made in a country other than their own or stores names to make it like It’s a Japanese or Korean store. Talking about pride in their products! 😀 I am wondering if you can help me figure this out. Thank you so much!

    Reply

Leave a Comment

shares