Craftsman vs Milwaukee (Which is Better?)

In today’s time, the average DIY homeowner has a nearly endless array of power tools at their fingertips. Many of the industry’s best tool brands now produce their own competitive lines of battery-operated power tools, making it easier than ever for consumers to locate the perfect tool to meet their every need.

However, with this vast array of tools on the market, also comes the challenge of finding the best brand to choose.

Craftsman and Milwaukee are two of the industry’s top iconic brands, each of which carrying a distinct legacy of quality and service, thus becoming favorites of consumers the world over.

This leaves one to question which of these brands to invest their money in when attempting to locate the perfect power tool.

For this reason, we have assembled the following guide. Below is a side-by-side comparison of Craftsman and Milwaukee.  The information found within should assist consumers in making the best possible choice for their given situation.

History 

The Craftsman and Milwaukee tool companies have both been in existence for almost 100 years. During this time, both companies have strived to produce and market the highest quality tools to be found.   

The following is a brief summary of Craftsman and Milwaukee’s rise to prominence within the domestic tool industry.

About Craftsman Tools

Craftsman logo

The history of Craftsman tools dates back almost 100 years to 1927 when retail giant Sears decided to launch their own line of quality hand tools. Sears, Roebuck, and Co., which is Craftsman’s parent company, has actually been in existence since 1892.

Sears’ decision to market its own brand of tools came after the general public’s mindset of purchasing began to swing away from specialty stores, more to general retail stores. 

In the mid-1920s, Sears asked Tom Dunlap to develop a way to restructure their hardware department. Dunlap realized that mechanics and DIY enthusiasts alike prided themselves in the ownership of premium tools and equipment.

In order to satisfy this desire, Barrows eliminated Sears’ stock of bulky and dated tools, instead opting to produce his own “in-house’ line of hand tools, thus Craftsman tools began. 

Craftsman tools have been produced for Sears by a number of independent manufacturers over the years. Now it is often difficult for the consumer to have the knowledge of which manufacturer actually produced a tool, as most do not put their house marking on tools produced for other companies

However, companies such as New Britain, J.H. Williams, and S&K were all known to have produced early Craftsman hand tools.

Craftsman’s product line has expanded significantly throughout the years, eventually growing to include pliers, screwdrivers, saws, ratchets, sockets, wrenches, and a host of specialty tools.

Power tools have also served as a growing staple of Craftsman’s product catalog. Many of these particular tools were manufactured for Craftsman, by the likes of DeWalt, Emerson Electric, and Techtronic Industries.

Related: Craftsman vs DeWalt

About Milwaukee Tools

Milwaukee logo

Following the end of World War I, American automobile industrialist Henry Ford approached A.H. Petersen, a tooling manufacturer, with an unusual request. He asked Peterson to attempt to create a portable, lightweight 1/4″ drill. Using a Westinghouse engine, Petersen was able to create a 5-lb drill known as the “Hole Shooter”.

Peterson later launched the A.H. Petersen Company with A.F. Siebert, which subsequently went bankrupt as a result of an early factory fire that destroyed all of its assets. Although in 1924, Siebert bought the company’s left over assets and formally established Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation as a legal entity.

Engineers spent the next several years improving and repairing tools that were already on the market. They also spent a lot of time researching and experimenting with ways to make the “Hole Shooter” better and more durable. Milwaukee, too, put out a lot of effort in order for their products to meet government requirements. Several of Milwaukee’s equipment was made to the exact specifications of the US Navy.

In the 70s, Milwaukee was sold to Amstar, which led to further industrial development. The years after saw the creation of a number of new manufacturing facilities and warehouses, particularly in the south.

Techtronic Industries Company bought Milwaukee Tool Company in 2005 to which it has grown to employ approximately 1,000 employees throughout the world.

Read Also: Milwaukee vs Ryobi

Manufacturing 

Many consumers take into consideration the origins of any product in which they are intending to invest their money. This is why many consumers wish to know more about the manufacturing processes of their favorite tool company. 

The following is a brief description of Craftsman and Milwaukee’s current manufacturing practices.

Where Are Craftsman Tools Made?

Craftsman tools factory

Virtually all Craftsman tools were manufactured in the United States up until 2010. However, this is not the case today. China and Taiwan now produce most Craftsman power and hand tools, although a few lines are produced elsewhere.

Any Craftsman tools still produced in the United States are marked to clearly represent this fact on their packaging.

See Also: Craftsman Versus Kobalt Tools

Where Are Milwaukee Tools Made?

Milwaukee factory

With headquarters in Brookfield, Wisconsin, Milwaukee makes tools both domestically and overseas. The following cities in the US produce the majority of their tools that are “made in the USA:

  • Greenwood, Mississippi
  • Jackson, Mississippi
  • Kosciusko, Mississippi
  • Olive Branch, Mississippi
  • Blytheville, Arkansas
  • Mukwonago, Wisconsin

Outside of that, Milwaukee manufactures most of their portable, battery-powered tools overseas, mainly in China and Europe.

See Also: Milwaukee vs Ridgid Tools

Product Line 

Craftsman and Milwaukee each offer a comprehensive lineup of premium hand and power tools.

Therefore, we have compiled brief summaries of each brand’s current product offerings, allowing you, the consumer, to decide for yourself.

Craftsman

Craftsman power tools

Although throughout the years, Craftsman has offered a significant number of individual power tools, the company has recently begun to focus its efforts on the production of quality portable power tools. This most notably includes Craftsman’s new lineup of V20 Brushless RP power tools. 

The V20 line of tools features the use of 20-volt lithium-ion batteries, which are designed to provide ample longevity and power to take on any task.

This line of tools has now grown to include drills, grinders, sanders, blowers, impact drivers, saws, and even vacuums, and lights. Craftsman continues to increase its offerings within this lineup yearly.

Craftsman also offers a number of corded power tools as well meant to help the DIYers tackle any home improvement projects including numerous bench-top sanders and saws. Many of these tools are available at a highly economical price point, thereby appealing to consumers on any budget.

See Also: Craftsman vs Ryobi Tools

Milwaukee 

Milwaukee circular saw

Milwaukee sells a wide range of power tools that are designed for use not only by professionals but also by amateurs at home. This equipment covers a broad range of applications, ranging from hobbies to construction work to automobile maintenance. Milwaukee’s portable power tools can be used with several different voltage settings, making them some of the most versatile out there.

The M12 series is one of the brand’s most popular line. Tools here are smaller and lighter than the commercial variations, making them perfect for DIY or hobbyist usage. That said, many professionals also use tools from the M12 lineup.

For consumers who want more power, Milwaukee provides its well-known M18 portable power tools. The current lineup contains over 200 models, ranging from impact guns to circular saws. Nailers, outdoor equipment, work lights, and industrial electrical crimpers are among the many popular M18-series products.

Milwaukee has been producing and marketing its own signature brand of hand tools for the discerning professional since 2010. Utility knives, screwdrivers, wrenches, tape measures, ratchets, pliers, hammers, and heavy duty drill bits are just a few examples of these durable hand tools.

Related: Milwaukee vs Porter-Cable (Comparison)

Technology 

Craftsman and Milwaukee have each exhibited a tendency to pioneer innovation, wherever it is found. This has helped take each brand’s success to the next level. 

The following are several high points, pertaining to the technical innovations of both Craftsman and Milwaukee tools. 

Craftsman

Craftsman battery

Two-Speed Gearbox

Many Craftsman power tools now feature unique two-speed gearboxes. This feature provides consumers with greater control when working in confined spaces, or with delicate materials.

With the use of this technology, one is also better able to prevent painful wrist torque that often comes as a result of binding in confined spaces.

V20 Technology

Craftsman has produced what they believe to be the perfect battery for their line of portable power tools. The V20 power packs are designed to provide extra power and longevity for whatever job it encounters.

Craftsman specifies that their V20 battery packs provide 25-percent greater battery life than any other battery pack of similar construction.

RP-Brushless Power

Craftsman’s latest line of portable power tools now features brushless 20V motors, designed to withstand significant demand and stress. Craftsman’s “RP” designation stands for “Runtime” and “Performance”.

The manufacturer states that each tool featuring this technology is capable of outperforming and outlasting all of the competition.

Milwaukee

Milwaukee battery

 

 

One Key App

The Milwaukee Tools One Key app is a great way to keep track of your tools and equipment. The app allows you to track the location of your tools, as well as the status of your battery life and warranty information.

You can also use the app to find nearby dealers and service centers, and to register for Milwaukee Tools events. The One Key app is a convenient way to keep track of your Milwaukee Tools products, and it’s a great resource for any owner.

REDLITHIUM Batteries

Milwaukee batteries are some of the most popular on the market, and for good reason. They’re known for their long life and high performance, making them a great choice for a variety of applications. Milwaukee’s REDLITHIUM technology is one of the main reasons for their success.

REDLITHIUM batteries are designed to deliver more power, longer run times, and better durability, even in cold weather conditions. They also feature built-in battery management systems that help to extend their life and keep them running at peak efficiency.

Warranty and Service

Warranty and customer service are both primary factors when one is looking to make a substantial investment in tools.  In fact, a tool is of little value, if not covered by a solid warranty that benefits the consumer.

The following is a summary of Craftsman and Milwaukee’s current warranty policies.

Craftsman

Craftsman warranty

Craftsman has always been known for the brand’s unparalleled dedication to customer service. This is a legacy that continues to this day, as many consumers still lean heavily upon Craftsman’s industry-leading warranty policy.

All Craftsman power tools come backed by a 3-year limited warranty. This policy protects against failure due to workmanship or material-related defects.

Within the first 3 years after purchase, if you should experience any issues of this nature, simply return your Craftsman power tool to your local retailer for free repair or replacement.

Craftsman warranties their hand tools for life, against any and all defects resulting from regular use. Should a repair or replacement be needed, your original receipt is not even required, simply return the tool for service. 

Craftsman also carries additional warranties on specific tools in their product lineup.

  • Work wear, limited lifetime warranty
  • Mechanics Tools, full lifetime warranty
  • Non-electric Automotive tools, full lifetime warranty
  • Outdoor Power Tools, 3-year limited warranty
  • Garage Door openers, 3-year limited warranty

Milwaukee 

Milwaukee warranty

Milwaukee portable power tools are covered by a 5-year limited warranty in most cases. This guarantee states that Milwaukee power equipment will be free of manufacturing and design defects for 5 years from the date of purchase.

All Milwaukee tools include a warranty without requiring you to register them. It’s worth noting, though, that this warranty does not cover failures resulting from normal wear and tear. Any attempted tool modification or repair by individuals who are not licensed will also invalidate this guarantee, thus removing any extended coverage.

The warranty protection given above does not apply to all Milwaukee power tools. In those situations, the tool in question will be covered by a separate individual warranty noted by Milwaukee.

Examples of these in include the M18 heat gun and the M18 FUEL DA random orbital polisher. These are both covered by a 3-year warranty, but the REDLITHIUM laser level is only covered for two years.

Craftsman vs Milwaukee: And The Winner Is…

Milwaukee logo

Craftsman and Milwaukee are both quite historic, in terms of their legacy and long-standing presence within the tool industry. However, these two brands largely cater to different consumer bases, thereby leading to a certain amount of distinction between each.

Simply put, Milwaukee builds tools for the demanding professional or avid DIY enthusiast. These tools are designed to stand the test of time, no matter the stresses they encounter. Meanwhile, Craftsman’s power tools are aimed more toward a hobbyist crowd, albeit at a far more conservative price point.

Additionally, Milwaukee offers the top warranty of any power tool manufacturer today. In fact, the company backs many of its tools for up to 5-years, no questions asked. This is an extremely valuable consideration for any consumer looking to invest their hard-earned money.

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