We recently took part in the Craftsman Tools Launch Event in Baltimore, MD, home of Stanley Black & Decker. Slated to debut more than 1200 new tools and products from the Craftsman Tools brand, the event had everything from power tools to lawn mowers and generators to vacuums. Entering the event, we wondered where the Craftsman brand is headed, and what might happen to Porter Cable. After it all, we feel pretty solid on the future of the Craftsman Tools brand, but not so much for the Porter Cable side.
Top Tools from the Craftsman Tools Launch Event
We originally covered the acquisition of Craftsman from Sears back in 2017. It’s exciting to see that just a year later, the Craftsman Tools Launch event is evidence that the brand is not only kept alive, but it’s growing. Below, you’ll find some of the tools that had the privilege of using while at the Craftsman event. Many famous personalities joined us for this event as well.
Related Story: Stanley Black & Decker Buys Craftsman
Craftsman CMCF820 Brushless 1/4″ Impact Driver
Whether you’re a carpenter, mechanic, or fabricator, an impact driver sees a lot of attention. The new Craftsman CMCF820 impact driver includes 3 speeds and has up to 1700 Watts output. Looking at this CMCF820, you’re reminded of the Porter Cable impact drivers. Powered by a 4.0 Ah battery, speeds range up to 2,900 RPM and up to 3,800 IPM. Three LED lights surround the bit, minimizing dark spots around the fastener. Expect to see this new impact driver on the shelves by Spring 2019. The kit with two 4.0 Ah batteries and charger will retail for $169, and this includes a 3-year warranty.
Craftsman CMCD720 1/2″ Brushless Drill
The bold lines and look of this drill shout that it’s heavy, however, it’s actually light, considering the power delivered. The 4.0 Ah battery and brushless motor deliver up to 400W output through the 1/2″ chuck. Rounding out the CMCD720 kit, you also get 2x 4.0 Ah batteries and charger for just $159. A 3-year warranty backs up the purchase. Our hopes are to see this impact driver and drill in a combo kit. Sub-$200 would be a great fit!
20V Max CMCF900 High Torque 1/2″ Impact Wrench
With a max output of 350 ft-lbs, this high torque impact measures a little low on the output scale. Many Mid-Torque cordless impact wrenches eclipse this amount, while in a lot smaller frame. While this cordless impact will be a great fit for homeowners or shade-tree mechanics, it’s doubtful to fill a Pro’s hand. The kit comes with a 4.0 Ah battery and charger, but we don’t know the price or release date just yet.
NASCAR, NFL, and TV Personalities – Including Chip Foose
In addition to tools galore, the Craftsman Tools Launch Event brought in popular persons from NASCAR, NFL, and Television. Kenny (Pro Tool Reviews) and I had the privilege of Joe Gibbs and his NASCAR team sitting at our dinner table. Our table of 10 included Joe Gibbs himself (NASCAR and NFL championships), Erik Jones (Joe Gibbs Racing driver), Ryan Preece (JGR driver), and Richie Crampton from the NHRA Top Fuel category.
Richard Rawlings from Gas Monkey Garage, and the TV show Fast and Loud, was there in all his glory. Richard’s buddy Dennis Collins also joined the show. Wayne Carini from the Discovery show Chasing Classic Cars was there as well. They all had their own “Craftsman Story” to tell.
Rounding out the VIP list was Chip Foose, legendary designer and custom-car builder. He’s also the lead-asset to the show Overhaulin’. Chip joined us eating crabs one night, then signed some coffee cups for us on the morning we were leaving. Chip Foose is as nice, or nicer, in person as he seems on camera. He took the time to custom sign and draw on each coffee mug. In-between signing, we easily engaged in conversation. Keep an eye out for his next build: “Chevy C/28”. We’ll let you figure that one out.
Tool Storage at the Craftsman Tools Launch Event
The tool storage category is where Craftsman remains a contender in both the Homeowner and Pro categories. The Craftsman Tools launch event not only showed us existing tool boxes and chests, they also displayed a wide array of new storage products. In addition to tool chests and boxes, products included shelves, work tables, and many organizational products.
VersaTrack Track Wall System
The VersaTrack system works like a french cleat setup, except the VersaTrack is made from extruded aluminum. These come in 6-inch tall by 48-inch long strips, allowing you to build the exact size needed. Cutting the length can be done with a miter saw, so trimming is easy. For $79, you get two pieces of the VersaTrack and 18 assorted hooks and mounts.
Craftsman is already thinking ahead, and many of their new tools already have integrated hooks that work with the VersaTrack system. We took the Craftsman impact driver and hung it straight onto the VersaTrack Wall. This is a much better option than the typical pegboard wall.
This Craftsman VersaTrack Storage Rail System is already available at Lowes if you want to pick one up.
Lawn and Garden
Craftsman is not just about tools. In fact, Craftsman lawn and garden products account for more revenue than their tools. The Craftsman Launch event proved there is still plenty of focus on this segment. We tested two new chainsaws, in the 20-volt and 60-volt versions. The 60-volt was pretty impressive and seemed to power through the provided pine logs.
Riding mowers are being updated as well and there’s plenty of red to go around. It seems that the new Craftsman mowers are ditching most of the black and going with all red. Their L-series lawn tractors include a 5-inch turning radius, and they’re avialable in various cutting sizes and powerplants. OPE Reviews covered more of the lawn and garden side over on their site.
It’s great to see that the Craftsman name will live on, and there seems to be a wide array of products for the homeowner and Pro to choose from. Many of the power tools resemble the Porter Cable, so this leads to our concerns in the opening paragraph. What is happening to the Porter Cable brand. Our thoughts, it will probably fade away, silently into the sunset, replaced by the new Craftsman red tools.
No doubt, on almost all fronts, the Homeowner and/or DIYer have a lot to choose from. On the Pro side, it’s probably limited to hand tools and storage. Impact drivers and drills may crossover into the Pros hands some, but they’re not close to the level of the DeWalt brand.