Best brands for different types of tools.
There are two primary schools of thought when buying tools:
- Buy the best tool you can afford to.
- Buy a cheap tool once, and if it wears out or breaks, buy an expensive replacement.
- Channellock (Made in USA)
- More afforable than Knipex, and many pliers are Made in the USA.
- Many are made in the USA.
- Knipex (Made in Germany)
- Generally regarded as the best brand for pliers.
- PB Swiss (Made in Switzerland)
- Wera (Made in Germany)
- Wiha (Made in Germany)
Cordless Power tools
The general rule of thumb is to pick one brand and stick with it, because batteries are expensive and you want your batteries to be compatible with all of your tools. There’s all kinds of Tribalism involved in power tools branding and people are quick to defend their choice. For most people, especially DIY folks, any of these will work great. Milwaukee is known for their drills and impact drivers, Dewalt is known for their saws, etc - but they all make great tools.
- The “top 3” brands for pros and enthusiasts are Milwaukee, Dewalt, and Makita.
- “prosumer”/consumer-focused brands include: Ryobi, Kobalt, Rigid, Hitachi, etc.
Tools Brand Notes
- The Craftsman brand of tools originated from Sears Roebuck. Although Craftsman has never actually manufactured tools - they had always outsourced the actual construction of their tools to other companies. Craftsman is currently (as of 2022) owned by Stanley Black & Decker. Some lines of tools are Made in the USA.
- Recently opened a new USA Factory (West Bend, Wisconsin) for manufacturing some hand tools. Pliers, side cutters, and screwdrivers.
- Won’t discuss much here, as this page is targetted at DIYers and not pros. Snap-on and other “tool truck” brands offer quality made-in-USA tools, but they are quite expensive and they target professionals (mainly mechanics). Their primary sales method is via their franchise partners that drive to your shop/place of work. You may have seen the famous Snap-On trucks out driving around. The only way to buy new Snap-On tools is via a local dealer (Snap-On Trucks) or directly from the website (snapon.com).