Husky is one of Home Depot’s house brands for hand tools. As a house brand, they are less expensive than the big name brands. But are Husky hand tools good? And who makes Husky hand tools for Home Depot? I did some digging to find out.
Most Husky tools are made by Apex Tool Group, a company owned by Bain Capital. Apex also makes several brands you may have heard of, including Wiss, Allen, and Weller. Apex also makes tools for numerous Home Depot competitors, including Lowe’s, Menards, and Sears.
Who makes Husky hand tools for Home Depot?
While Home Depot does some of its own manufacturing, they don’t make the Husky products themselves. The OEM for most Husky tools is a company called Apex Tool Group. While you probably haven’t heard of them, Apex owns and makes several storied brands with good reputations. Wiss is famous for metal shears. Weller is the leading brand of soldering tools. And Allen’s name is synonymous with hex wrenches.
Apex also makes hand tools for other stores, including Menards, and has made various Craftsman tools for Sears.
Of course, Home Depot can and will mix and match OEMs to meet the price point it wants. At various times, Husky brand tools have been made by Western Forge, Stanley, or Iron Bridge, in addition to Apex.
Are Husky tools good?
Husky hand tools are good tools for the money. I’ve seen professionals use them, and though I wouldn’t call myself a professional, I own a lot of them myself. I know for a fact that professional construction workers will recommend Husky to their apprentices, and they don’t do that for just any brand. And I can tell you as an IT professional that I won’t wear out Husky screwdrivers taking computers apart with them. If I needed to re-buy the tools I need to work on computers, Husky is a brand I would consider. The main reason I own a lot of them is because I live very close to a Home Depot, but they’re good tools.
Don’t get me wrong. Husky tools aren’t tool truck quality. They’re not meant to compete with Snap-On, and they usually won’t. They’re prosumer grade tools. But that’s good enough for do-it-yourselfers, and for many professionals, it’s good enough too. If not more than good enough. Husky screwdrivers stand up better to abuse (like being used as a pry tool) better than most no-name tools or Harbor Freight’s Pittsburgh brand, and Husky sockets are much less likely to rust than cheaper brands.
Perhaps the biggest danger with cheaper hand tools is that they’ll rust due to being stored in a toolbox in a garage. Husky tools have a heavy enough plating on them that they’re less prone to do that. And let’s face it, you’re going to keep a lot of your tools in the garage, because that’s where you use them most. I can vouch for that, having kept a toolbox with lots of Husky tools in it in my garage for more than a decade.
Getting the best deal on Husky tools
Home Depot frequently puts Husky tools on sale during the big shopping holidays, sometimes in combination packs. I remember one November I needed a wrench, and Home Depot had a set of three Husky wrenches for about the price of the single wrench I needed. It was silly not to buy the combination set.
For 2020 Black Friday, while Lowe’s was pushing Kobalt and Craftsman 232-piece mechanics tool sets, Home Depot was selling a 270-piece Husky set for the same price. Which set was the best deal depends on which one offers the most tools you’ll actually use, but on its face, the Husky was the nicest deal.
Husky tools’ warranty
The warranty on hand tools is also important. Those of us old enough to remember Sears got used to the lifetime warranty on Craftsman tools, and I used it a couple of times. But with no Sears stores left near me, I won’t be using it again.
Fortunately, Home Depot backs Husky hand tools with a lifetime warranty. Like days of yore, when you could take a broken or rusty Craftsman tool to Sears to get a replacement, you can take a damaged Husky tool to Home Depot and they’ll replace it, as long as you didn’t do something totally ridiculous with it.
When the price is right, there’s no reason not to buy them. Brand on hand tools matters much less than on power tools, since you don’t have to worry about batteries. It just comes down to quality and price.
HDX is Home Depot’s budget brand, which are lower quality than Husky and have a much more limited warranty. And for professionals who need higher quality, Home Depot offers its Husky Pro brand. But for most consumers, the Husky tools are good enough.
History of Husky tools
Husky is an older brand than Home Depot, dating back to 1924. Home Depot is a comparative upstart, dating to 1978. The Husky brand changed hands numerous times throughout the 20th century.
It was founded in Milwaukee in 1924 by Sigmund Mandl, an immigrant from Czechoslovakia, and he was awarded four patents for various wrench designs in Husky’s early years. A monument stands in his honor in Milwaukee to this day.
Mandl sold the Husky brand to Olsen Manufacturing in 1929 and went to work for a rival firm. But by 1932, Olsen sold the brand to the New Britain Machine Company. This gave Husky some stability. Litton Industries bought the entirety of New Britain in the 1970s. But Litton dissolved its hand tools division in the 1980s, selling the brands, including Husky, to National Hand Tool. Stanley in turn purchased National Hand Tool in 1986.
In October 1992, Stanley and Home Depot made a deal to make the Husky brand exclusive to Home Depot. Home Depot bought the brand from Stanley in the early 2000s. Various companies have made the tools for Home Depot since.