Stanley Tools was formed in 1843 and remains one of the largest and most common manufacturers on the market. Success has focused heavily on creating products for the average person with a small to meager budget or homeowners who need inexpensive tools to handle a few different projects every year. But are Stanley Tools good, as they were in the past, or are their products slipping as time passes?
The Short Verdict
Stanley Tools has a history of over a century and a half and is regarded as one of the best budget tool manufacturers on the market. Some reviewers have complained about elements such as customer service and the quality of some products in recent years. However, the brand continues to thrive and provides good-quality products at reasonable prices that should meet most customers’ needs.
Why We Came to This Conclusion
Our decision about Stanley Tools was not one that we made lightly. Instead, we spent a lot of time working with this brand on projects and putting them through various simple tests. For instance, we created a handful of small carpenter designs and built them using nothing but Stanley Tools. Then, we examined reviews online to get an idea of the quality of this manufacturer.
So are Stanely tools good? Yes, they are worth your time and your money. But there are downsides to this brand and limitations to their effectiveness that must be addressed before making any purchases. Think of this article as your know-it-all guide to Stanley Tools. Let us be that annoying friend who somehow knows every dang thing about everything: we don’t mind being annoying if we are helping our readers.
What We Like About Stanley Tools
During our lengthy research, we found many reviews and customers who were singing the praises of Stanley Tool to high heaven. And in our experience with the brand, we have found many of these compliments are well deserved. What tickles our fancy the most about Stanley Tools is their durability compared to their price value. Most of the tools we worked with were tough and reliable and didn’t bend or break.
That’s because Stanley coats all of their tools with a variety of different sealants that protect their surfaces from corrosion. Now, when you open up a new Stanley Tool kit, you may get a little bit of that sealant on your hand. We weren’t too happy about that at first, but after a few uses, the residue is gone, and you don’t have to worry about it anymore. So that’s a significant plus as far as we’re concerned.
We found that all of the Stanley Tools that we worked with and tried out easily met ANSI standards. For those who don’t know, ANSI is the American National Standards Institute, an independent organization that creates standardized guidelines for various products. Some of the items that they standardize include tools, and Stanley passes their guidelines with ease.
These standards include durability, material quality, overall strength, and design efficiency. Without going in-depth on these guidelines, it is fair to say that Stanley meets all of these guidelines quite easily. Then again, so do most successful tool brands on the market: if they do not, there is a good chance they’re going to go the way of the dodo and become a bankrupt company very quickly.
Limits to That Corrosion Protection
Look, sometimes even the best silver lining has a cloud darkening the horizon. And we’re sorry to say that Stanley’s corrosion protection has received some complaints from customers online. We didn’t run into any issues with our tools (because we know how to put them away, unlike some weekend warriors, heh heh), but some buyers found that Stanley Tools tended to rust if you weren’t careful with them.
Again, we honestly think that this problem was caused by absentminded carpenters who left their tools out after hanging a picture frame or something like that. We get it: sometimes, life takes over, and there isn’t time to put away tools. But it’s hard to blame Stanley too much on this one: even the big-budget tool lines will rust if you aren’t careful with how you handle and store them.
Other Things We Like About Stanley Tools
We believe that durability is one of the most critical factors for choosing any tool. However, other factors must influence your decision, as well. And we have examined a handful of these factors for Stanley Tools and weighed them compared to others. Just a few of these points include:
- Ergonomics: Compared with higher-end products like Dewalt, Stanley provides a competitive ergonomics level, including superior hand protection for tools like hammers and saws.
- Price: As a budget line, Stanley Tools provides inexpensive options that are a step above bottom-of-the-barrel options, like generic tools you might find at Walmart or a local hardware.
- Overall Design: The handsome yellow and black design of Stanley Tools is iconic and creates a uniform look for your tools and your garage’s tool shed.
These factors make Stanley Tools an excellent option for buyers who want inexpensive tools that still meet their needs. That said, there are downsides to this company that we must highlight. As we said before, not every cloud has a silver lining. And there are some genuinely dark storm clouds on the horizon for this company.
What We Don’t Like About Stanley Tools
Going over the downsides of Stanley Tools is a downer in many ways. While this manufacturer’s quality is surprisingly high, there are a few issues that drag them down a little bit. Some of these problems are not even associated with their tools, as such. However, they are still important to point out because they may cause you problems if you try to buy and use these tools for your home projects.
Thankfully, we only have two significant issues with Stanley Tools – a few weaker tools on their line and poor customer service. This last complaint is a serious one, unfortunately. A company that does not take care of its customers is suspicious and may be frustrating to work with in many scenarios. That said, we still believe in Stanley Tools and its quality products.
A Handful of Tool Complaints
Comparing Stanley to Craftsman and other tool manufacturers usually go well for this budget line. However, there were a handful of issues we found with a few tools. For example, Stanley Tools produces a shovel that we found to be quite subpar compared to other products like it on the market. Though it worked just fine, for the most part, the handle had a nasty tendency to bend when you dug.
And while the handle didn’t break while we were digging, the fact that it suffered this type of distortion concerned us. We handled a few other tools by this manufacturer and found that a few of them don’t seem to meet the high standards that we had come to associate with Stanley Tools.
These problems center around items packaged in those all-in-one kits that are so popular in many homes. These kids include a variety of screwdrivers, wrenches, and more to handle a typical homeowner’s needs. Unfortunately, these kits’ popularity and the consistent issues with items like mismatching sockets and weak screwdrivers have caused a significant reputation hit for Stanley Tools that can only be blamed on them.
Very Poor Customer Service
By far, the biggest complaint that we found for Stanley Tools was their customer service. On multiple customer review websites, they received one-star reviews from frustrated and angry buyers who complained heavily about their customer service. The most common of these complaints included:
- No Communication: Many people reaching out to Stanley Tools’ customer service received no email reply about complaints and, therefore, no compensation.
- Broken Promises: When customer service correctly assessed a claim, many buyers claimed they never received a refund or a new product to replace a broken one.
- Lack of Respect: A handful of reviews highlighted poor customer service etiquette, including angry advocates treating buyers like idiots.
When we called the customer service hotline for a test run, we found none of these issues. That doesn’t mean that others will not, however. We usually try to ignore one-star reviews if they seem angry because they’re so often written by petty people who give out one-star reviews to everything. But the sheer volume of complaints made this an issue we could not ignore here.