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Discussion Starter #1
Hello Everyone,

I have been tooling up lately, mostly to upgrade or replace old tools that I have. Most of us wrench on our rigs so I figured I would start a thread here where we can make recommendation to each other.

I am an avid DIYer, mostly because I find the work satisfying, but I mostly buy my tools when I see them on sale.

For instance I picked up a Husky 230 piece mechanic tool set at Home Depot on sale for $75 right after Christmas. For this price, this make an excellent trail box set for anyone. If you lost a socket or wrench I am out about 30 cents.

(I get lucky with the 10% veterans/military discount I can stack on top of any price at HD or Lowes. Sears offers 20% on tools, although Sears will not let you stack the discount on top of a sales price, only full price.Just show a Military ID or VA ID.

I try to buy quality tools when I can, but sometimes Craftsman, Husky or Kobalt have sales that cannot be ignored, and if a decent quality tool for DIY use can be found for a steep discount, then its going home with me.


Husky and Kobalt used to have great quality, but is has deteriorated in the past few years due to M&A activity in the tool industry and tools being made in other countries. I have never had trouble getting Husky to honor warranty though, walk into HD leave your broken tool at the Customer Service desk, go grab an equivalent of the shelf, check out at customer service and done. Same with Craftsman, although their quality has tanked as well.

I own about every mid tier brand you can think of, craftsman, husky, kobalt, Channel Lock, Crescent, Dewalt, GM goodwrench and a few upper tier, Snap On, Klein, Mac. I figured we combine our collective knowledge and give each other tips on what to buy.

I am no expert in tool manufacturers but I think a good example would be Stanly Black and Decker, who owns multiple brands, and manufactures tools for others. A certain model Stanly Ratchet might look identical to a Porto Ratchet, and near identical to a Mac ratchet with the expectation of a rubber grip. When compared, all three ratchets are the same length, same internals, teeth, reversing mechanism etc. The Stanley Ratchet is $30, the Proto $60 and the Mac is $80. Which would you buy?

My next purchase is going to be 6 point combination wrenches. I am looking at Craftsman and KD, and if I feel like splurging Proto but I would like to hear your thoughts. I need a metric set up to the 22-24 MM range and a Standard Set up to the 1 1/8 - 1/4 range.

Anyway, lets have a little fun with this.

Kris
 

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I always buy tools that have a lifetime guarantee on them. I figure if they are willing to guarantee it it must be of reasonable quality. If it's just for a one off job then I will buy cheap (e.g. a screwdriver FJ headlight adjustment... a set of 6 £8 on Ebay did just fine), but if its to add to the box then the best i can afford. for me that's usually Teng, Britool, Bahco or maybe Mac.
 

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Basically, there are only a handful of tool companies here in the US, Stanley, Apex Tool Group, Irwin, Channel Lock, TTI, Snap On and Mac. Proto is a brand of Stanley/Black and Decker, but Proto tools are USA made. Most tool companies have a USA made line for a higher price. This is due to US manufacturing cost are higher, (labor). Apex Tool Group makes tools for Husky and Craftsman, and they have lots of brands like Crescent, Wiss, Gearwrench and Armstrong, (Armstrong is USA made). Kobalt tools are a Lowe's store brand that they have made in China. That being said, tools made in China are pretty good these days. It all depends on how the company spec's them and their quality control.

Companies like Snap On, Matco, and Mac are generally USA made.

As for the combination wrenches that you are looking for, look at Gearwrench to, they are the same as KD. Their ratcheting combo wrenches are nice.
 

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I'm a Craftsman guy. My neighbor is a Snap-On dealer, but he has a nicer house than mine.

The last few years, you need to take a look to see if the set is USA-made or not. Usually the price difference is only a few bucks.

A disturbing trend at my local Sears is that more and more specialty tools are going online-only, which is a pain in the ***.

Getting the sets is highly recommended, as the price per tool drops to about a buck or less, depending on size and discount.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I agree on the lifetime warranties and the quality control. COO is not as important if quality control is high caliber.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Basically, there are only a handful of tool companies here in the US, Stanley, Apex Tool Group, Irwin, Channel Lock, TTI, Snap On and Mac. Proto is a brand of Stanley/Black and Decker, but Proto tools are USA made. Most tool companies have a USA made line for a higher price. This is due to US manufacturing cost are higher, (labor). Apex Tool Group makes tools for Husky and Craftsman, and they have lots of brands like Crescent, Wiss, Gearwrench and Armstrong, (Armstrong is USA made).
I think Mac is owned by Stanley, but I agree there are only a handful of tool companies. Another I have heard great things about is Wright tool Company.
 

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You are correct, Stanley does own Mac. I've never heard of Wright Tool, but there are quite few smaller tool companies that make nice stuff.
 

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If you don't want to spend a fortune on American made tools then make sure the tools you are buying are at least made in Taiwan. Tools made in Taiwan are significantly higher quality than Chinese made crap. Tools made in Taiwan also usually come with a lifetime warranty, so if they do ever break on you they'll send you a new one free of charge.

I buy American made things when I can (most of my guns and all of knives), but tools are just one of those areas where I don't think the cost is worth it.
 

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I was recently in the same situation, I sold everything I owned and moved halfway across the world... tools had to go sadly.. and now I'm buying allover again..


i dunno if its just me,

but I avoid the 250 in one type things..

i find a majority of the bits and tips and allen wrenches and what not are crap and i either will never use or they will break easily..
and they come in a big clumsy plastic box and stuff like that..

and it'll have sockets in 1/4 drive 3/8 drive 1/2 drive etc and I don't need the same sockets in that many sizes and I work in Metric all the time.. so SAE tools are useless to me.. (almost half the combo sets)

and the rachets they will come with are sub par...

I prefer piecing together a basic tool with essentials I need..

I went to craftsmen..

bought a "craftsmen professional" tool bag
decent 3/8 drive ratchet with pivoting head
decent 3/8 driver breaker bar (if i don't wanna torque too hard on the ratchet and potentially sheer the teeth)
3 length extensions
6 pt socket set on the strip from 8 upto 18mm sizes
allen ket set
spark plug wrench
craftsman "evolve" open/closed box wrench set.. (or u can splurge on the type that are ratcheting on one end)
hammer
vice grips
medium size crescent wrench
I use my SOG powerassist multi tool as my needle nose pliers
and a couple other odds and ends

all in it cost me maybe $250
a large part of the tools have the lifetime warranty.. (evolve tools and some of the other brands they sell don't)

it all fits in the heavy duty bag fits in the trunk without taking alot of space.. and I can do a majority of the wrenching I need..



(if ur going to be doing heavy duty stuff like axles and suspension and other stuff.. a decent selection of 1/2" drive sockets from 10+mm and a good ratchet and breaker bar would be useful too)
 

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I own a lot of craftsman tools & their professional line is quite good. S & K are very good also. Snap on is hands down the best tool that I have ever used & the most expensive to buy for a good reason. As an aircraft mechanic most of my life all of my tools for work are Snap On. I am slowly collecting snap on Metric for my truck so that the pain is a little less.
 
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