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3128 Views 27 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  Old Machinist
So I have a question about stocking my new tool boxes.

I have about $1200 to spend up front before I start to fill in the blank spaces for those unique tools. I am a home mechanic so I am not looking for professional grade tools. I am looking at local store lifetime guarantee tools. Hand tools only, no power tools and if I missed any let me know. I live in Orlando so local stores are HD, Lowes, True Value, Northern Tools, Harbor Freight

Sockets & Wrenches:
Kobalt
Craftsman
Husky
Klutch
Icon

Hand Tools(pliers, screw drivers, etc):
Kobalt
Craftsman
Husky
Milwaukee
Cresent
Channel Lock

I am not afraid to mix and match just looking for you advise and thoughts on what you would do if you could start over.

Thanks in advance for all the comments
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Based on your ordering of the tools, I'm going to say that you've already made up your mind. there's such a wide variety and uses for hand tools that sticking in one brand will be hard. Crescents are good adjustable wrenches, kobalt, husky, and even Icon are all great options for a home mechanic. I'd get a large "mechanics" socket set which will set you back 600-700 and then save the rest for when you need a specific tool.

Then you'll start to find projects that "need" a specific tool as an excuse to buy it.
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Knipex makes some great stuff (if they fit your budget).
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I've been piecing stuff together for the past four years. I generally stick with the name brands (Milwaukee, DeWalt, Craftsman, etc...).
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I envy you. First a new garage, and now all new tools. Post pics when everything is set up.

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Any reason you鈥檙e limiting yourself to local stores only? Many tool makers will warranty tools online through email and pictures.
I鈥檇 add Gearwrench and Tekton to your brand list too. Some bargain shopping online can get you into professional grade USA made tools for similar pricing as big box stores.
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I like the TEXTON sets off of Amazon because they are complete sets. they skip no sizes. my metric sockets go from 3mm-22mm and skip no sizes,every mm is there. I have the impact sets in both metric and SAE. Nice molded case and nice lettering on tem
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I would wait for Black Friday if you can, you will get 2x the tools for the same money.

I鈥檓 not brand loyal, but I would look at project farm on YouTube for the best of each type.

I find an m12 3/8 ratchet and 3/8 rigid mid torque impact get the most use on socket duty, but having a 1/2鈥 high torque around is priceless when needed. I rarely use actual ratchets now.

I got the m12 as a combo on Black Friday with an m18 1/2鈥 mid torque for $200, sold the 1/2鈥 and got my money back.

The rigid 3/8鈥 impact was $119 on sale with battery and charger.

The dewalt 1/2鈥 high torque I got for $199 on Black Friday with battery and charger. I actually bought 5 and sold the other 4 for $250 to cover my cost.
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If I had 1200 bucks to spend on tools I鈥檇 be getting some red cordless gear
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So far folks, thanks for the input. I have a lot of red cordless but as I stated above, that is not my focus. I am looking at hand tools only. I will look into Gearwrench and Tekton as well. For me, I am looking locally as I like to put my hands on things before buying but I know that there are some good online tools hence the starting of this thread to see what suggestions I get.
Again, thanks for the input and keep them coming.....
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My PC battery tools recently had problems; so, I switched to Kobalt.
Knipex makes some great stuff (if they fit your budget).
They sure do!
IMO most box store brands are going to be very similar. I would buy from the one which you frequent so exchanges / new purchases are easy.
Example I like both the Dewalt and Miwaulkie line, Lowes which carries Dewalt I drive by and am in several times a week. HD that carries Milwaulkie is 1/2 hour away.
Kobalt has been a good filler tool for me, never has failed me. My main tools are higher end because i was an aircraft mechanic and MAC tool dealer.
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I have accumulated a large selection of ratchets, sockets, wrenches, screwdrivers pliers etc over the past 50 years. Many of the tools I own are 40-50 years old and have seen considerable use, but have held up well. Based on what I have, and what I have purchased to replace worn out pieces I would stick with SK or Snapon for wrenches, sockets and ratchets. Channelock usually puts out good slip joint and plier tool, and for screwdrivers I have been favorably impressed with PB Swiss tools.

I mostly shop online. About the only time I pick up something at a bigbox or autoparts store is if I am stuck in the middle of something and need it now.

My experience has confirmed the old adage cry once and pay once. Rarely, if ever have I been happy to scrimp on tools and buy a cheap model. Cheaper tools might get the job done once or twice but soon their low grade metal and imprecise machining lead to stripped bolt heads, ratchets that stick and a wide assortment of other disappointments. I'm 64 now, but I still buy tools with the idea that I will be using it again for many years to come, and hopefully I will.

The only question is, will either of my son-in-laws appreciate what they end up with - probably not.
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I rarely use a 12 point socket, and then only because I have to for some reason. It is too easy to strip a damaged nut or bolt. Make sure you have a complete set of good 6 point sockets. Impact sockets are usually 6 point and work well in rachets. Some impacts might be a bit thicker for close spaces.
I would also recommend good 6 point racheting wrenches. Same problem with the 12 point box and combination wrenches stripping damaged hardware.
I wish I had the complete sets with ALL sizes such as rydplrs mentioned. I have needed the odd ones a time or two over the years. Ended up having to polock it.
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I rarely use a 12 point socket, and then only because I have to for some reason. It is too easy to strip a damaged nut or bolt. Make sure you have a complete set of good 6 point sockets. Impact sockets are usually 6 point and work well in rachets. Some impacts might be a bit thicker for close spaces.
I would also recommend good 6 point racheting wrenches. Same problem with the 12 point box and combination wrenches stripping damaged hardware.
I wish I had the complete sets with ALL sizes such as rydplrs mentioned. I have needed the odd ones a time or two over the years. Ended up having to polock it.
That was drifterbike that mentioned it in this thread.

鈥斺

I have 3 200-300 piece 6 point socket sets, one for each truck, and 1 in the garage, craftsman, kobalt and husky, whichever was on sale that Black Friday. The mixed sets with 6 and 12 point have more redundancy and gaps around odd sizes. I鈥檝e added Pittsburg tools around there

For wrenches I have 26? Piece craftsman sets that I got for around $30 each.

Channel lock and knipex make foot pliars and cutters across the board.

Vice grips - there鈥檚 only the real deal that鈥檚 worth putting in your toolbox IMO

Screwdrivers, just get the biggest magnetic tip set available. Add a smaller quality brand and your good to go.



If you were closer I could probably fill a new toolbox with all the above for under $200.
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That was drifterbike that mentioned it in this thread.
I sit corrected. It was another hectic day for me. Thanks.
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Based on what I have, and what I have purchased to replace worn out pieces I would stick with SK or Snapon for wrenches, sockets and ratchets. Channelock usually puts out good slip joint and plier tool, and for screwdrivers I have been favorably impressed with PB Swiss tools.
SK Tools has recently been sold, they are no longer an American owned company. Where they will produce tools in the future is unknown. If that is important to you I鈥檇 take SK off the list unfortunately.
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After doing some looking last weekend, I think I am going to go with Klutch from Northern tool. They are not a nice and shiny as a lot of the other sockets/wrenches but I was very impressed with the selection at my store. They have a ton of extra sockets, wrenches, box end wrenches, etc. that they keep in stock. Also the impact sockets in the sets were way more complete sets than anyone else stocked plus again, they had a ton of extra sizes. They had sockets/wrenches sized for working on very large heavy equipment (1", 1 1/2" 2" drives, etc) as well. All come with lifetime warranty and made in China just like almost all of the other with some being made in Taiwan. Not sure what I am going to do with screwdrivers, pliers and some other hand tools. That is the point where I will most likely start to piece stuff together.

Luckily I have some time to look as the fund department is a bit short right now so its work and save.

Thanks again to all whom input their thoughts and ideas. This site is always a great place for insight and wisdom from others.
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Not sure what I am going to do with screwdrivers, pliers and some other hand tools. That is the point where I will most likely start to piece stuff together.

Luckily I have some time to look as the fund department is a bit short right now so its work and save.

Thanks again to all whom input their thoughts and ideas. This site is always a great place for insight and wisdom from others.
For pliers it鈥檚 hard to beat US made Channellock pliers for the price and country of origin.
For Screwdrivers Amazon has Williams (SnapOn) hard handled sets in a few different configurations. Wera makes some great screwdrivers for removing worn or partially stripped screws.
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