Best quality hand tools? Are Snap On, Mac, Matco worth the extra $$? - Page 2 - Hot Rod Forum : Hotrodders Bulletin Board -- Hot Rod Forum

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  #16 (permalink)  
Old 09-16-2011, 09:07 AM
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Hi.last weekend i bought 5 OLD snap on sockets for .50 (fifty cents )each,not real shiny,but still good.i always look for old sockets and wrenches (i buy good brands) check out the flea markets and garage sales,,,theres definately some hidden treasures,waiting for you to find them.... I also bought some (5) broken gear wrenches,took them to NAPA and they replaced them with new ones...

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  #17 (permalink)  
Old 09-18-2011, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by DoubleVision
I have just about all Craftsman tools. I don`t and have never worked in a field where there was a snap on truck or the like.
But I have used snap on and Mac and they were great tools.
The craftsman line has held up fairly well for me cept for when I`ve went to return something broken and they don`t want to exchange it. I have some
S-K tools that have been around since the early 80`s when my dad bought them. The one of the S-K I still use the most is the old fashioned Dial Torque wrench. It`s still dead accurate and I`ve used it in every single build I`ve did and can honestly say I`m very impressed with S-K`s quality. I did have, note I said "Did have" a somewhat rare tool, which was a 3/8`s drive TRW universal joint. I never knew TRW made tools until I seen it. I stopped using it many years ago out of fear it would get broken but at some point it disappeared as many of my tools have did over the years with no explanation on where they went especially since I never take my tools anywhere.
I think it was in `07 I bought three reducers to make sure I`d never be short one again in a pinch and now all three are gone. Staple guns likely don`t count as tools but since 1997 I`ve bought three of them and all three are gone as well.

This touches on a point I wanted to make....

You said: " but at some point it(tool) disappeared as many of my tools have did over the years with no explanation on where they went especially since I never take my tools anywhere."

Astronomers and scientists tell us about black holes deep in space, but I think that every person with a garage, basement, shop, or truck with tools knows that there are Earth bound black holes.... Unlike black holes in space that suck up light and space debris, Earth bound black holes suck up tools and parts mainly(also pens and pencils)

Every guy who works on his own stuff and owns tools has a black hole somewhere in his work area. My black hole is in my work truck.... I go to the bank 2 times per week, and they give away LOTS of free pens, and I take one every time I'm in there. But when I go to try and find a pen in my truck, they've all disappeared, along with screwdrivers and a few tools and parts.

So, I dont know where black holes lead to, only that there will be LOTS of tools and pens floating around on the other side!
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Old 09-18-2011, 11:37 AM
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What I'm gathering by reading multiple posts, is that if you are using your tools regularly or every day as a mechanic, then you should at least buy some of the pro tools like Snap-On, Mac or Matco.

You should probably buy pro tools when you need strong, larger sockets, ratchets and wrenches for higher torque jobs like removing exhaust manifolds, suspension components, and for torquing on larger, tighter bolts and nuts on trucks and heavy equipment, where you really need the tool to be as strong as possible.

But maybe for lower torque and smaller nuts and bolts you can probably get away with cheaper tools like craftsman, SK, GearWrench, Kobalt, etc., even as regular use tools for mechanics.

But maybe for the homeowner or Hot Rodder, you can probably get away with only the Craftsman and lower cost tools.
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Old 09-18-2011, 12:24 PM
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Craftsman works for me.

Years ago money was always an issue because I never had much of it!

Back in the 60's I got a Sears credit card and that let me start purchasing some Craftsman tools.

I never purchased a complete top and bottom tool chest.

I only bought the top box because for years every weekend I would carry the tool box out to the trailer and tie it down to racing.

Still have the exact same box and most of the tools I started with.

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  #20 (permalink)  
Old 09-18-2011, 12:47 PM
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Going through these posts made me think of how my tool collection came to be. I am a tool junky and while not a professional, I use my tools almost daily at night in my shop.

My first tools came when I was about 8 (late 60s), and my Dad bought me a Craftsman hammer, a crescent wrench, cross cut hand saw and a set of Stanley screwdrivers in a small Craftsman box. I still have every one of those tools, and use them on a regular basis. Fast forward to 16 and I was working at a gas station doing tune ups and oil changes. My dad bought me a set of 3/8" and 1/2" craftsman sockets, and a set of wrenches and screwdrivers. From there, the Mac tool man came in, and I got an account with him and started to build a set of Mac tools. for the next 8 years, I bought tools pretty much weekly and ended up with a pretty complete set. In all those years, I can't ever remember having to return a broken tool because everything I bought was pretty high quality. Having access to a couple of shops which were well equipped had me focused on quality hand tools. I also ended up with my Grandfather's Gershner box and his gages, mics, taps and dies from when he was a tool maker - some of that stuff is almost 100 years old, and I still use it! A good Starrett gage will never go bad.

25 years ago I moved to Florida and no longer had the access to well equipped shops, so I started buying some lower end shop tools as I needed them. You have to check them out carefully before you buy, but those are the ones that occasionally break on me - but for one or two times, I'm not going to pay for high end tools. I've had decent luck with Harbor Freight and Enco when I know what I want, and don't use them too hard. If I'm going to be hard on something, I check out Craftsman (although I agree their quality is not what it was) or track down the tool truck.

I now have four roll around boxes filled to the brim, along with a couple of cabinets with overflow tools. Funny thing is in all this time in Florida, I have never had to return a Mac tool because I have never had one break. Most all were made in the USA, and I believe that is a large part of why.

For what it's worth, my opinion is get a good set of hand tools, carefully shop for other tools and if you don't abuse them too bad, you will be just fine.
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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 09-18-2011, 01:09 PM
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I started out using (and losing) my Dad's "Indestro" brand tools ... which seemed to very well constructed for their day.
(The "losing" part was mostly in Dad's mind, BTW. )

When I decided to buy some tools of my own, I went with Craftsman. I did notice that some of the sockets started to wear on the corners, and I even split a couple of them using a 1/2" Johnson bar (Which I still have)

Replacing them was a little problematic, as there are no Sears outlets in rural areas on the Canadian Prairies. As a result, I began to buy replacement sockets and wrenches from Westward tools, which were available at many auto parts stores.

When I went to work for NAPA, I began to buy the UltraPro brand that we sell. Westward and Ultrapro are both in the habit of "rebranding" some of the "other guys" tools (i.e. KD Tools, Lisle, GearWrench) etc ... but they do have a pretty good product selection and a "hassle-free" lifetime warranty on most of their hand tools.

I've had pretty good luck with Ultrapro wrenches and sockets, but I have to admit that we replace quite a few ratchet repair kits. Customers don't seem to mind, as we stock them in the store ... and install them while they wait.

Ultrapro (and Westward) make some polished wrench sets, as well as swivel-end ratcheting combination wrenches which also have that better "feel" component to them.

Hand tools, in general, have come a long ways since the 60's. I guess they have HAD to evolve ... as engine bays are certainly a lot more crowded these days.

Still a big fan of some of the Craftsman stuff ... specifically their "C3" cordless tools, which are really mfr'd by Ryobi. The Ryobi's are 18V, while the Craftsman versions are 19.2V. I recently bought ANOTHER drill/impact driver with the Lithium-Ion battery pack. The Li-Ion batteries are backward compatible with the Ni-Cad set that I bought a few years ago ... and I just love them. They're very powerful (900 in/lb on the impact driver) as vell as being small and light, which allows them to be used in some fairly tight spaces. The purchase of 1/4" and 3/8" socket adapters have made this an outstanding tool in the automotive department as well.
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Old 09-19-2011, 01:40 PM
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Thanked 36 Times in 34 Posts all depends on how much wrenching you do and how deep your pockets are. Most weekend wrenchers will get by on Craftsman, Kobalt, or something similar. The professionals all want the truck brand tools and the boxes to go with them. If you are a mechanic and have the truck running regular routes then that is a plus, but if they show up once a month or so, then the professional may look somewhere else. Could a pro get by with Craftsman? Sure they could and many do. It's not just not the tools of choice though. Another thing you have to look at is where the tools are made. Many went overseas. Some of the not so high of dollars tools are still made by U.S. companies though. You just need to know which ones and by who. Here is a good tool discussion area by many that use different brands. HERE Some brand names tools will and can break over lesser name brands. Warranty is one thing to look at right along with the convenience of getting them warranted.
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Old 09-19-2011, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Kevin45
Warranty is one thing to look at right along with the convenience of getting them warranted.

And even more importantly, how often you might need that warranty!
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Old 09-29-2014, 02:44 PM
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I have done a lot of research online about the quality of tools for myself and others. This is what I have found: Sears/Craftsman was really good when they were all made in the USA. Now that most of Craftsman tools are made in China their quality has diminished unless you pay even more money and get their professional line. The Craftsman standard tools are still better then other house brand tools (Home Depot/Husky; Loews/Kobalt; Stanley, Harbor Freight/Pittsburgh) that are made in China and Taiwan. If you do not want to pay the Craftsman price then it seems that Kobalt is the way to go. If you need tool(s) that you will rarely use or cant afford Kobalt, Stanley or Pittsburgh are the way to go (except for Pittsburgh ratchets, everyone says they suck). Side note: Pittsburgh Impact tools are better then standard Pittsburgh. The issue with Stanley is that if you want to cash in on their warranty you have to mail them back to them and wait for a new one. If you go Stanley buy them at Walmart then you get at least 90 days to return them so you dont have to deal with mailing the warranty. Honorable mention: GearWrench seems to be okay but depending on where you buy it the warranty will work either like Stanley or Craftsman. Finally if your job requires using tools the consensus seems to be to buy Snap on.
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  #25 (permalink)  
Old 09-29-2014, 04:52 PM
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The craftsman premium 80 tooth ratchets have been pretty good to me. I would also like to get a gear wrench 88 tooth small handled 3/8" ratchet as well. Craftsman sockets are fine by me but I also like some long snap on magnetic sockets for 10 mm 3/8", 1/2", 9/16". I like IR and Mac air tools.

That said, they are not the "best" quality hand tools and you won't see me standing next to my perfectly clean tool box shining up my wrenches. and placing them perfectly on foam inserts or towels as they are pretty scuffed up.

I will always say it's the guy using the tools, not the tools themselves. I wait til a tool bugs me until I go get a better one.
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