Craftsman is a line of tools and lawn and garden equipment controlled by Sears Holdings Corporation; the brand is owned by KCD IP, LLC, a special purpose entity created by Sears Holdings for securitization purposes.
The tools are sold in Sears, Kmart, and Orchard Supply Hardware stores (all three owned by Sears Holdings), as well as Fastenal, US military Army and Air Force Exchange Service stores, Summit Racing Equipment and Ace Hardware.
The Craftsman Industrial line is sold by industrial supplier W. W. Grainger.
Additionally, Craftsman Hand Tools are also sold at "The Craftsman Experience," the brand's retail venue in downtown Chicago.
General hand tools have been made by a variety of manufacturers over the years including New Britain, Moore Drop Forge, Stanley, Easco Hand Tools, and most recently the Apex Tool Group (wrenches, ratchets, and sockets) and Western Forge (screwdrivers, pliers, and adjustable wrenches). Unfortunately, many newer tool designs are now imported, mostly from China. Craftsman-branded garage door openers are manufactured by The Chamberlain Group.
Consumers have ranked the Craftsman brand second (surpassed only by Waterford Crystal) in terms of quality. In 2007, Craftsman was named "America's Most Trusted Brand" and brand with "Highest Expectations". In 2009, the readers of Popular Mechanics named Craftsman their favorite brand of hand tools in their Reader's Choice Awards. Craftsman is the official tool brand of NASCAR and the DIY Network.
The Craftsman trademark was registered by Sears on May 20, 1927. 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. 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.
Sears' tool line, like many of its other product lines, uses a "good, better, best" pricing structure, with the Craftsman brand as the middle tier and Craftsman Professional as the highest tier. Craftsman Professional is often considered[by whom?] close to but less than brands like S-K, Snap on, Mac, and Matco.Craftsman are comparable in quality to other mid-price brands including UltraPro (NAPA), Westward, and Gray.
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. 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, 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.
Since 1991, Sears has run the Craftsman Club customer loyalty program, one of the oldest such programs by a retailer.
Craftsman hand tools have an unlimited lifetime warranty. This lifetime warranty program was instituted by Sears when they began selling the Craftsman line in 1927. 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. In some cases, such as ratchets, the customer may be offered a repair kit with which to repair the 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.
The hand tool lifetime warranty is also 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. The lifetime warranty does not include precision hand tools, such as calipers and torque wrenches, with the exception of beam-style torque wrenches.
Power tools have a one-year warranty.
After the merger, Kmart began selling Craftsman products and honoring the hand tool lifetime warranty.