Well once in a lifetime, you get to buy a new toolset. I used one from my Dad and his old Craftsman lasted a long time, but what if you start afresh. Toolcrib.com and of course Consumer Reports is a good source, although Consumer Reports doesn’t rate handtools. Inthewoodshop.org has a good general discussion. Basicalyl, he says that he uses Craftsman for most things and has used the professional Snap-On, Mac and Proto and hasn’t found too many daily differences. Many folks do think that they won’t last as long, but Craftsman does have a lifetime warranty (at least as long as Sears is around).
Morgan tells the truth about tools. There are only three major manufacturers of mechanics tools: Stanley, Danaher and Snap-On. Sears Craftsman and Lowe’s Kobalt are made by Danaher and probably of lower quality. Danaher also makes MatCo which is #3 behind MAC (made by Stanley) and Snap-on in automotive hand tools. Stanley also made ultra-highend Proto Tools and Home Depot’s Husky.
In power tools, Shoptoolreview.com says reputable names are Milwaukee, Ridgid and Dewalt (owned by Black & Decker) and that Emerson makes Ridgid who OEMed to Sears Craftsman until 1998. Now most of their power tools are makde by Ryobi.