Tools Set recommendations


Old 11-06-18, 06:06 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: NJ
Posts: 146
Tools Set recommendations

Until now i am using Harbor Freight tools for all my needs and it has worked great.
Recently while changing my brake pads i noticed the Impact wrench 1/2 inch (electric) is wobbly and not that of great. Also the sockets are wearing out after few uses. (I know can go and replace it as they have life time warranty but its annoying to see it wears after some uses) Was wondering if anyone has recommendation on a good impact wrench and socket sets which has both SAE and metrics and not too expensive like sonic. Thinking there might be some kind of sale between Thanks Giving and Christmas .
I would prefer a complete set rather than buying small set and missing few in between which happened when i bought harbor freight.
Thanks for your help in advance.
Sponsored Links
Old 11-06-18, 07:55 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 44,531
Most of my tools are either Craftsman or Harbor Freight. I've only worn out one HF socket and it was an impact socket that was 20+ yrs old - they replaced it for free. I've probably had a dozen Craftsman tools replaced under warranty. Good tools with a warranty equal to HF won't be cheap.
Old 11-06-18, 11:10 AM
Marq1's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: USA MI
Posts: 3,108
Everybody has their level of quality, personally I wouldn't buy anything from HF, it is true junk.

99.9% of my tools are Craftsman, purchased years ago, not sure how their quality is today after the brand was sold.

I did pick up some odd size sockets to complete a set of socket holders from Lowes, Kobalt, but suspect they are somewhere between Craftsman and HF!

And of course there are my buddies who use tools daily, Snap-on and Mac are all they would ever buy!
Old 11-06-18, 12:06 PM
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: U.S.A.
Posts: 1,564
Another 90+% Craftsman socket and wrench guy here, with no regrets. I have heard "they're not what they used to be" about Craftsman, and I guess it's possible, but I'm not buying it. Granted, other than the occasional special ones, most of my sockets and wrenches are over and in some cases well over 20-25 years old, but I picked up another set of combination wrenches 5 or so years ago, still no idea why except that I happened to be there and they had a "too good to walk past" price on them, as well as a couple box ends that I thought I had lost a year or so ago, and I'll be darned if you could show me any difference between the old ones and the newer ones. All very good as far as I am concerned. My sockets are probably about 50/50 Craftsman and S-K Wayne, and I do like the S-K sockets a little more and the S-K ratchets a lot more than the Craftsman, but I don't think they're an option any more. You mentioned an impact, so are you using impact sockets or regular ones? Sometimes there's no choice in tight places, but I don't think anyone's regular sockets are going to hold up to frequent impact use so impact sockets would be a good purchase if you don't have them. I have bought a few things from HF, but you have to exhibit a lot of discretion in my opinion, and that is not where I would look for sockets and wrenches. I still think Craftsman is a very decent line for the non-professional, but as a second, based on what I have seen and heard, I tend to agree with Marq as far as Kobalt being somewhere in the middle.
Old 11-06-18, 02:43 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: NJ
Posts: 146
This is great help. Thanks MarkSr, Marq1 and aka pedro. I think between craftsman and kobalt might work for me. Although i liked Mac, SK tools and snap-on but might be on higher $$$ investment.
Old 11-06-18, 03:21 PM
pugsl's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 8,035
I was a professional mechanic for many years. Have all brands i n tool box. Snapon are pretty but you pay a arm and leg for them Mac also expensive but not as much. Most of my tools are Craftsman and have served me well. I don't know if they will keep up there quality since sears sold them.
Old 11-06-18, 03:36 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 47,686
I caught a great sale last year at Lowes and bought several Kobalt socket sets. I'm a Snap-On guy and most of my tools are Snap-On but I was extremely pleased with the Kobalt quality. I keep these in my service van.
Old 11-06-18, 04:12 PM
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: U.S.A.
Posts: 1,564
You mentioned sockets, and I tossed in wrenches because, well, close enough as far as branding, and there are advantages to having complete sets of certain tools, like sockets and wrenches, but it's perfectly normal, practical, and prudent to mix and match brands from one type of tool to the next. As I mentioned, I happen to have always liked the SK ratchets over the Craftsman ratchets, enough so that I actually gave away my Craftsman ones at some point and only have SK ratchets in the 1/4", 3/8", and 1/2" sizes today. 3/4" and 1" drives, well, I don't use them that often, knew I wouldn't when I got them, so cheaped out and don't even know if the names exist any more. In screwdrivers, I have one set of Craftsman, and don't care for them at all. My favorites are the two full sets of Irwins with wood handles that I bought years ago, but you can't even buy them today so I treat them with kids gloves. For hex wrenches, I have several sets of folding ones, including a couple sets of Kobalt and a few Irwin's, all fit and work fine, but for in the shop use I prefer my Holo-Kromes. Back to ratchets, I was working at a Cadillac dealer and happened to talk with one of the mechanics about his SnapOn tools. Man, I'll tell you what, a huge difference between his ratchets and mine. His had so many teeth that you could not hear and could barely feel the "clicks". Absolutely great for working in tight places, no having to rotate the socket every quarter turn or whatever to tighten or loosen a bolt or nut, but, although I can't remember now what he said he paid for them they were outside of my league. So I guess what I'm saying is that you balance ideal from the standpoint of getting the job done what's best for the pocketbook; pay a little more for what is most important to you and scrimp where you can or at least where you think you can.
Old 11-07-18, 11:07 AM
the_tow_guy's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: SW Fla USA
Posts: 11,617
Bought this set couple of years ago to leave at my daughter's house cross-state so I don't have to tote my tools. Pretty decent set:
Old 11-07-18, 07:45 PM
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Canada
Posts: 208
There is brand, Jet, owned by a company in Canada, but they are in the US as well. Seem to be doing a good job gaining share in the professional and industrial market. Probably mostly items made in China, but the quality of the items I have purchased, a big ratcheting breaker bar for example, was very well made and durable under abusing conditions and which I have found more useful than an impact wrench for suspension work and such.

I also like that they have replacement parts for their ratchets for example. Would have to use their distributor search to find the retail place where you can buy.
Old 11-08-18, 01:00 PM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Michigan USA
Posts: 139
You mentioned your electric impact wrench is failing. I recently bought a Milwaukee M18 cordless impact wrench. Here's a link...

This thing is a beast. It has rattled off some seriously rusted nuts on an old Toyota pickup. 750 Ft/lbs of fastening power and 1100ft/lbs of loosening. Very nice tool. I have other M18 tools so i already had the batteries and charger. Great addition to the tool box.
Old 11-08-18, 08:22 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Ohio
Posts: 1,457
I bought the M-18 a year ago (after not being able to get wheels off a Chrysler and A Dodge in emergency situations, and I still kick myself for not getting it sooner. Great Tool. It removed lug nuts in a recent situation that I struggled with a 6' breaker bar to remove before I could get the M-18 on it.
Old 11-23-18, 01:14 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: NJ
Posts: 146
Thank you everyone for your good suggestions. I finally bought Craftsman 405 piece @ $209.00 with tax. This was 50% on sale (Original Price $450.00) at Sears and I think its a good buy.
Old 11-24-18, 09:58 AM
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 358
seems like a good basic set of sockets in 1/4 and 3/8 not a lot in 1/2 inch but you may still want to pickup a more complete wrench set and some 1/2 inch drive impact sockets if you do use an impact, brand is not that important though for these as impact sockets and wrenches rarely fail.
Old 12-18-18, 08:21 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: North Central Indiana
Posts: 916
No mention of screw drivers but if you ever own a VACO brand you wont mess with anything else.
Old 12-19-18, 08:04 AM
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: MI
Posts: 2,603
Sadly since Stanley/Black & Decker bought the Sears brand they have outsourced most of the "every day" items like sockets, wrenches and screwdrivers to China. "Made in USA" remaining stock is being snapped up by tool junkies who are aware & want the better stuff. Getting warranty replacements for individual items is now pretty difficult since almost all the Sears store closed. 3 weeks ago I called Sears about replacing a 7/8" 1/2"dr 6-point regular-depth socket. An "every day" socket that should be in every toolbox. I was told they had none in stock.
SBD seems determined to run the Sears brand into the ground.

Much of the Harbor Freight line has improved so quality-wise Sears & HF are about to meet in the middle of the Chinese-Quality Road.

HF recently introduced the "Icon" line of professional tools that is higher quality and meant to compete with top-line tools like Snap-On & MAC.
Old 12-19-18, 09:43 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Ohio
Posts: 1,457
My local tool outlets have gotten the message from me that if It isn't made in America, don't even talk me about it. Sure I own some Makita, Fein, and Porter Cable tools, but when I walk in, before I even ask, they say "Bill, It's made in USA! I think I mentioned in another forum that I was looking for a replacement for a Craftsman Impact Screw driver I lost several years ago, when a search item cookie picked up a lead for one from a car racing equipment supplier in Cleveland pulled one up.( I had heard that Lowes was handling Craftsman but their replacement for this impact was made in China and Assembled in Taiwan). I called the Company ( In Cleveland) and they had one left that was made in the USA like my original one was, and it is now safely locked in my tool box!
Old 12-19-18, 05:27 PM
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: USA
Posts: 45
I agree with PJ. Kobalt tools are suprisingly high quality.

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes