There seems to be much confusion out there in the hand tool world about who makes who and the relationships between various tool companies.

There are three major players within the United States tool market: Stanley, Danaher, and Snap-On. You can save quite a penny on your toolbox if you take your time and do your research.

Personally, I have a couple of SK, and Williams sets that I'm absolutely in love with. Durable, lightweight, and comfortable. If you are on a budget, Kobalt might also be a solid choice.

Be aware that the market landscape is continuously evolving, and the listed brands might have dropped the ball when it comes to quality standards. Your best bet is to find a specialty shop that carries a lot of the mentioned brands so you can get a good feel of their tools.

Major Tool Manufacturers

    • MAC Tools
      • Top end quality
    • Proto Tools
      • High industrial quality
    • Black Hawk
      • High quality, mostly made in Taiwan
    • Husky
      • Home Depot store brand
    • Stanley
      • Wal-Mart and Discounters
    • Matco Tools
      • Top end quality
    • Armstrong Tools
      • High industrial quality
    • Silver Eagle
      • High quality, mostly made in Taiwan
    • Grey Pneumatic
      • Industrial quality quality, mostly made in Taiwan
    • Kobalt
      • Lowes store brand
    • Craftsman
      • Sears store brand
    • NAPA
      • Napa store brand
    • Allen
    • Gear Wrench
    • K-D Tools
  • Snap-On
    • Snap-On Tools
      • Top end quality
    • JH Williams Tools
      • High industrial quality
    • Blue Point
      • High quality, mostly made in Taiwan
    • Bahco
    • Sioux Tools
    • ATI Tools

Minor Players

  • S-K
    • Great quality and value. Once part of Facom – now independent
  • Cornwell
    • Similar to Mac / Matco / Snap-on. Claims quality of comparable levels – however, your mileage may vary
  • Wright tools
    • Can compete easily at the Matco / Mac / Proto / Armstrong levels of quality
  • Lisle tools
    • Smaller company – but many very unique tools


  • Stahlwille
    • The Snap-on of Europe. Best of the best – king of the hill
  • Facom
    • A truck brand there like Matco / Mac / Snap-On
  • Hazet
    • In most cases, very nice quality
  • Gedore
    • Quality industrial grade tools