Craftsman used to be the king of cheap combination wrenches back in the day when they were made in the USA. Many weekend warriors found their tools to be high quality and priced just right for non-professionals. Some years ago, Craftsman moved their manufacturing to China and some say the quality of their tools has decreased. Is this True? Surprisingly no, not for their wrenches at least.
Recently we set out to find the best cheap combination wrench and conducted a strength test on some of the most popular brands including Craftsman, Tekton, Gearwrench, Pittsburg, Husky, Kobalt, Carlyle and Crescent. Our test was simple, attempt to shear the head off of a grade 5 bolt using the open end of each combination wrench with a cheater bar. To our surprise, the Chinese made Craftsman crushed the competition and was the only combination wrench capable of shearing the head off a grade 5 bolt using the open end of the wrench.
CRAFTSMAN STILL LIVES ON!
Our Craftsman Review
The Craftsman without a doubt was the strongest wrench we tested in our wrench shootout and the lack of flex on the open end of the wrench under extreme pressure from our cheater bar was amazing. No other wrench came close to the strength of the Craftsman.
When preforming the test we had a 15 inch cheater bar choked up to the head of the wrench and while torquing the bolt we were putting a lot of torque on the cheater bar. We were amazed at how much torque we were able to apply with minimal flex from the open end of the wrench. Check out our results below.
Wrench Thickness And Design
One of the great aspects of the Craftsman wrench that sets it apart from a lot of its competition is that not only is it strong, but it also has a rather slim design on the open end of the wrench. This means that it can get into narrow areas a lot easier and provide more room for rotation.
In order to get a strong open end wrench manufactures have two options:
- Increase the quality of the steel of the wrench (Good because it keep wrenches thin)
- Increase the amount of steel around the head of the wrench (Bad because it makes them bulky)
The Craftsman is indeed rather slim around the open end, so we suspect the steel to be higher quality or the wrench design distributes the pressure more evenly. While it’s not as thin as the GearWrench that we tested, it is still thin enough especially with amount of strength it has. Overall big win for Craftsman here.
We’ll be the first to admit that Craftsman raised panel wrenches are not the best looking wrenches around as they lack the full polish that we all love to look at when we open our toolbox wrench drawer. That being said Craftsman has a classic design that has a deep heritage among many tool owners across the USA, everyone knows what a Craftsman wrench looks like. So it’s not all bad and somewhat classic in a cool way.
The Craftman’s letter stamping is small and hard to read at a distance, which is one area of the wrench we wish they would improve. Also the raised panel is not completely square which doesn’t look the best. It would be nice if Craftsman could iron out these details.
Overall Final Thoguhts
There is no denying that Craftman wrenches are a great mid level wrench that provides a lot of value for non-professionals who are not looking to spend $1000 on a set of Snap-On wrenches. These wrenches are strong, inexpensive and will simply get the job done. The proof is in the test results and you can clearly see the Craftsman has an advantage compared to brands like Tekton, Husky, Kobalt, Gearwrench etc. We think the Craftsman is an all around awesome wrench for the money.