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Kobalt/Titan


Conductor562

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Since the most recent manufacturing change Lowe's has been somewhat tight lipped about who's holding the Kobalt contract these days. In the pic below you will notice the similarities between the Titan model and the latest Kobalt model. After some research I've ascertained that Titan is manufactured by Rotar machinery industrial co. ltd. Based in Taiwan Rotar is also the OEM for several other brands including Toptul and (it appears) Kobalt or at least some of them. The quality of the Taiwanese Kobalt ratchets doesn't seem to be too bad, though I'm still upset that every time I open my box I've got that one ratchet that peeps through the pile of Proto's saying TAIWAN. There's also speculation that the screwdrivers are being produced by Great Neck. As you see the similarities are striking.

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  • 3 months later...

I try to buy USA whenever possible, but the quality of Taiwan made tools has really improved over the years. I was reading the other day that as India continues to industrialize and their manufacturing capability expands, they are actually poised to undercut China for slave wage labor. As the standard of living improves in China, the cost of labor goes up, and India becomes the cheaper option. They're kinda out China-ing China. I can only assume that over time as the standard of living in India rises, Africa will be the last frontier for slave wage production. There are already some India items turning up at HF and places like that.

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Its sad how little is now made is the U.S. I wish I could open a store that sells only American made products

As far as American made tools, http://store.harryepstein.com/ comes as close as anyone to being all USA tools and at a reasonable price.

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Another great but little known brand that's 100% USA made is Wilde Tools. They're based in Kansas and they've been around for years. They make a lot of pry bars, pliers, and other stuff that are rebranded and sold under other names like SK, Proto, Craftsman, and many others. You may own Wilde stuff and not even know it. They are priced right too.

http://wildetool.com/catalog.cfm

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Yeah, but i cant pass up kobalts warranty.

Lots of manufacturers offer lifetime warranties. Proto, Blackhawk, Mac, SK, Armstrong, Wright, Williams, Snap-On, Blue Point, Cornwell, Matco, Gearwrench, Kobalt, Craftsman, Husky, Wilde, Tekton, and on and on.

The big difference is the convenience. Unless you work in a shop that get regular visits from the tool trucks, Snap-On, Mac, Matco, and Cornwell are going to be harder to warranty. Kobalt, Craftsman, and Husky while typically lower quality than most of the others I named, offer the most convenient warranty because of the number of Lowe's, Sears, and HD's around. Most of the others you can warranty by mail.

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