Who Makes Craftsman Chainsaws? Makita? Husqvarna? Black+Decker? Echo? Ryobi? Dewalt? The story behind the most popular chainsaw brands.
Craftsman is a power tool brand with a long and proud history. Though, over the years the brand has undergone changes of ownership and not everyone is sure who makes Craftsman chainsaws. Some say it’s Poulan, others reckon Sears. Neither of these answers are true or, perhaps, only partially true in the case of Poulan. This article is going uncover the history of the Craftsman brand, revealing who makes their chainsaws today.
In modern times, it’s almost impossible to remain loyal to any particular brand. What, with corporate buy-outs, mergers, and outsourcing to second and third-party manufacturers, how do we know who makes the chainsaws, or any of the power tools that we use? This leads so many of us to ask where these tools are made and who makes them. When it comes to Craftsman chainsaws, this question seems to be asked more than most. So, let’s take a look at where the brand began and follow the history up to where it is today.
The Craftsman trademark has been associated with Sears since 1927. As time went on, the brand also became synonymous with Kmart, making it a trusted US name behind affordable quality tools. It’s said that Sears bought the name from Marion-Craftsman Tool Company for $500 and registered it as a Sears-owned trademark in May 1927.
It’s important to note that, since the beginning, Craftsman tools were never manufactured by Sears. Over the years, several tool manufacturers have made Craftsman tools to Sears design specifications. These include New Britain, Stanley, Easco Hand Tools, and many other known names in the tool industry, even some lesser-known tool manufacturers.
In January 2017, the Craftsman brand was sold to Stanley Black & Decker, though Sears retained royalty-free rights to the Craftsman trademark for 15-years to follow. Stanley Black & Decker now owns the Husqvarna Group of Companies.
Who Makes Craftsman Chainsaws?
Craftsman Chainsaws —
Since the Craftsman brand is associated with the Husqvarna group, it seems logical to assume that Husqvarna make Craftsman chainsaws. After all, Husqvarna has always been a highly respected manufacturer of top-quality chainsaws. In part, this assumption would be true. Craftsman Chainsaws are, for the most part, made by Husqvarna.
Many have questioned this, saying that Craftsman chainsaws closely resemble Poulan and Poulan Pro chainsaws. In some cases, components seem to be identical. This begs the question, what is the connection between Poulan and Craftsman chainsaws?. The common denominator is once again Husqvarna, as they also own the Poulan and Poulan Pro brands.
The exception would be for Craftsman chainsaws bearing the “Incredi-pull” logo. These are made by MTD, a company that also manufactures components and products for Troy-Bilt and Bolens.
So, Craftsman chainsaws are made using technology from a number of sources, predominantly Husqvarna. This is not, however, unusual for the brand. The production of Craftsman tools has always been outsourced. No one would ever know, with any certainty, where these tools were made, or who makes Craftsman tools. One thing does remain certain, the Craftsman brand is still a mainstay of the Sears hardware department and should remain so for years to come. Although Craftsman chainsaws are made by Husqvarna, or one of their subsidiary companies, they are generally cheaper than those bearing the Husqvarna brand. Though, the best technology is reserved for Husqvarna products, with Poulan and Craftsman being more affordable options of a high quality standard.
Visit the Craftsman history page.
More about Chainsaw brands…
Knowing who makes a particular chainsaw, or who owns the brand, may not be all that important. Most of us find a brand that suits our needs and budget, then stick with this brand. The more discerning power tool buyer will most likely choose a brand that has a proven record for reliability and performance, regardless of the price.
We often don’t know who owns or makes these chainsaws. There are many skeptics amongst us who say it makes no difference. Just about everything is made in China and it, therefore, doesn’t really matter which brand you buy. Though, I beg to differ. It’s true that manufacturing is now an international business. The packaging might state that your chainsaw is made in a particular country. Though this is most likely not the whole truth. Often, these products are assembled in one country, but the components may be sourced from any number of countries.
In the 1960’s and 70’s, it was common for Japanese manufacturers to open separate companies in the US and Europe. The reason for this was, in some instances, to avoid paying extra taxes for imported goods. It also enabled them to brand these products as locally made. In the early days of Japanese manufacturing, many saw these products as being inferior to those made in the USA, and countries like Germany or Sweden. In the 1990’s when many emerging Asian countries started to compete with established international brands, these countries followed the Japanese example.
Today, many Japanese and Korean, even European power tool manufacturers have headquarters, design facilities, and manufacturing plants in the US. This is not surprising, as the US market remains the biggest in the world. It makes sense to develop products specifically aimed at the US tool buyer and to manufacture these tools locally.
So, I’m going to look at a few of the most popular chainsaw brands to see who owns them and where these chainsaws are made. These are well-known power tool brands, producing more than just chainsaws and should provide you with some insight as to where your power equipment is made.
It seems fitting to start off by discussing Husqvarna. They are quite legendary when it comes to chainsaws and a whole range of power equipment. Husqvarna owns a number of popular chainsaw and power tool brands. These include Craftsman, Poulan, Gardena, Klippo, Diamant Boart, McCulloh, to name but a few. The Husqvarna Group is now owned by Stanley Black & Decker, so there’s a link with these brands. So, while Husqvarna (and all the brands they own) have their own unique identity, they are all owned by Stanley Black & Decker.
Husqvarna originated in Sweden, starting out as a weapons manufacturer and was first owned by the Swedish government. Early in their development, the company began to diversify their manufacturing enterprises to include sewing machines, kitchen equipment, and bicycles. In 1903, Husqvarna started manufacturing motorcycles and soon became one of the top manufacturers of race-winning, lightweight trail bikes.
Once recognized as a manufacturer of powerful and reliable lightweight engines, Husqvarna put this expertise to good use. In 1947, they started manufacturing gas-powered lawnmowers and the first Husqvarna chainsaw was launched in 1959.
Although this is traditionally a Swedish company, with most of its manufacturing plants located in Sweden and Western Europe, Husqvarna has expanded into many other countries. The USA and China each have 6 Husqvarna manufacturing facilities. Husqvarna USA has the largest market share of any country and many Husqvarna products are made entirely, or partially, in the USA. If we take the popular Husqvarna 455 Rancher as an example, the engine and body are made in Sweden, with the Oregon bar and chain being made in the US.
High-end Husqvarna products, usually the most expensive, are made predominantly in Sweden or the US. Though components could be sourced from any of their international operations, mostly China, but they also have a manufacturing facility in Brazil. This multi-national approach would apply to any of the brands owned by the Husqvarna Group and, ultimately, Stanley Black & Decker.
Who Makes Makita Chainsaws?
Makita is probably the most renowned Japanese power equipment manufacturer. The company started out as an electric retailer in 1915, with the Makita Corporation being established in 1958 as a manufacturer of electric power tools.
This was one of the first Japanese power tool manufacturers to establish themselves in the USA. Makita USA Inc. was established in 1970. In 1985, Makita started producing products in the US. Today, Makita USA has headquarters in La Mirada, CA, with a manufacturing, distribution, and training center in Buford, GA. They also have distribution centers in Dallas, TX, and Mt. Prospect, IL.
While chainsaws only make up a small part of the Makita power tool lineup, these are rated amongst the best. Makita products, made in the US and several other countries, include gas, electric, and battery-powered tools and equipment. As the first manufacturer of battery-powered tools, Makita is one of the world leaders in this field.
Who Makes Echo Chainsaws?
Echo started out as an importer of Kioritz 2-stroke engines from Japan, along with several handheld power equipment products. The company was originally known as Kioritz Corporation of America and was founded in 1972, in Northbrook, IL. In 1978, the company was renamed Echo Incorporated and began manufacturing and assembling products in Illinois the following year (1979).
Since this time, Echo garden and power equipment is made, or assembled at their manufacturing facility located in Wheeling IL. The brand has become known as a US manufacturer of quality trimmers and chainsaws, along with many other power tools and garden equipment. Like most US power equipment manufacturers, Echo products are made up of a combination of locally made and imported components.
Who Makes Black & Decker Chainsaws?
The Black & Decker Corporation was founded in 1910 in Baltimore. Form its humble beginnings as a small machine shop, the company has grown into a global giant. After their first claim to fame, designing the handheld drill in 1917, Black & Decker has gone on to become a household name in electric equipment and appliances.
In 2010, Black & Decker merged with another big player in the tool industry, Stanley. The company, now known as Stanley Black & Decker, own many of the best-known power tool and electric brands in the world. Apart from owning the Husqvarna Group, which includes popular brands like Craftsman and Poulan, Stanley Black & Decker also own DeWalt and several other big brands.
Stanley Black & Decker, along with their endless list of subsidiaries, must have the largest global footprint of any power equipment manufacturer. This means that their products are produced and assembled in many different countries. Most of their cheaper products, often bearing the Black & Decker or Stanley branding, are made in China. Though components, across their many brands are sourced from Japan, USA, some Western and Eastern European countries, and many other Asian countries.
Who Makes Ryobi Chainsaws?
Ryobi Seisakusho Co. LTD started out selling die cast and printing products and was established in 1943. This is another Japanese company that grew in strength through the 1960’s and 70’s. While the company has many interests in various fields of technology and telecommunications, they are probably better known to consumers as a power tool brand.
Ironically, power tools are not their core interest. In fact, the Ryobi tools brand is owned by Techtronic Industries, a Hong Kong power tool manufacturer. Although this is not a familiar name amongst tool buyers, Techtronic industries has manufactured power tools for many of the popular brands, including Milwaukee, AEG, and Craftsman.
Ryobi power tools are mostly seen as cheap, entry level tools for home use. But the brand also supplies heavy-duty equipment, designed for commercial use.
Who Makes DeWalt Chainsaws?
DeWalt is probably the most recognized US tool brand amongst contractors and DIY enthusiasts. The familiar black and yellow DeWalt branding is synonymous with top-quality tools. Raymond DeWalt, who founded the company in 1923, is credited as the inventor of the radial arm saw. DeWalt was one of the earliest innovators of woodworking tools, breaking boundaries and exploring new technologies. This is still an integral part of the DeWalt design philosophy.
In 1960, Black & Decker acquired the DeWalt brand. Recognizing consumer respect for the brand, Black & Decker decided to promote the high-end value that DeWalt brought to the company. This led to the DeWalt brand replacing the Premier Black & Decker Professional range in 1992.
While Stanley Black & Decker own numerous power tool brands, DeWalt remains their flagship brand. Major advancements in battery tools have seen DeWalt become one of the most sought after brands when it comes to cordless technology.
DeWalt has 7 manufacturing facilities in the USA, as well many in China, and Mexico. High-end DeWalt products bearing the logo “Made in the USA with Global Materials” are manufactured at one of the US plants. However, as the logo suggests, materials and components may originate from other countries. Many of the cheaper DeWalt products, like the light-duty 20V MAX tools are made in China.
Who Makes Hitachi Chainsaws?
Hitachi is not only one of the biggest Japanese companies, with varied interests, it is also one of the oldest, dating back to 1910. Hitachi, with its headquarters in Japan, has diverse interests in just about every field of business, ranging from electronics and communications to social infrastructure and financial services. Hitachi was also one of the first Japanese manufacturers of electric equipment, producing the first Japanese induction electric motor in 1910. Power tools make up only a small fraction of their business interests. So, despite their long history and global reach, Hitachi is still second to Makita as being the largest Japanese power equipment producer.
Hitachi pioneered the concept of USA incorporated subsidiaries, with Hitachi America LTD. In 1959. Hitachi is also one of the few global electric manufacturers that has not been affected by mergers and acquisitions, it remains a Japanese company with international subsidiaries. As a result, Hitachi products are predominantly made in Japan. Though, some components may originate from other Asian countries.
When it comes to Chainsaws and other power equipment, Hitachi may have a limited product range, but these are all of a very quality standard. The company is on the forefront of research and development, which includes nuclear and thermal power generation. They have formed partnerships with other Japanese multi-national companies, like Honda to produce motors for electric cars, as well as Mitsubishi in the development of thermal power generation plants.