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What is a good quality brand of tools that won't break the bank. Stuff that lasts. Craftsman doesn't seem to be what it used to be.... And some tools like Snap-on seem outrageously priced. I know that you get what you pay for but there has to be a happy medium....






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For good basic hand tools I still go with Craftsman. The Kobalt brand from Lowes seem good but they seem to have lots of "gadget" tools and I mostly do not like the feel of them. The Husky brand at Home Depot just seems cheap to me.

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I'm still using the same Craftsman hand tools I purchased in 1966, wrenches, sockets, screwdrivers, taps and dies, pliers, and so on, and they've seen a lot of use over that time. I've found the quality of the newer ratchets has dropped from my originals, but they are still completely functional and always replaced without question. In the last couple of years I've returned a few items: a 3/8 deep well 6 point socket that was showing the wear of almost 50 years of use. It wasn't broken, it just had too much play. 50 year old phillips screwdriver worn from use, not broken. A magnetic pickup tool where the plastic had deteriorated over the years and final broke. A 3/8 flex ratchet.


Hard to argue with tools that have lasted that long, been used extensively, and are replaced without question. I guess the only fly in the ointment is for younger buyers...will Sears still be around for the next 20+ years to provide replacements. Even with replacement aside, I'd say I've gotten my money's worth many times over. I've also found the tools I've bought over the years to supplement the initial set have been of pretty much equal quality to the originals.


Because I've worked on some specialized equipment over the years I've found that I occasionally have the need for very specific uncommon tools. Cornwell has been my go to vendor in those cases.

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I agree with eddd, especially when it comes to screwdrivers.


Buy Craftsman tools on sale & it's usually a pretty good deal.


As much as I hate to admit it, I've also had good luck with the Harbor Freight "Pittsburgh" line of wrenches (only the wrenches, except for their combined 1/4" & 3/8" "extendable" ratchet; love that thing!). Believe they have a lifetime guarantee as well.



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Look up any kind of industrial tools. They are the same quality (or better) than most DIY high end brands and cost less: in short you get the same for less money.


I don't know about what you have available on your side of the pond, but try looking up Bahco and Williams (both are owned by Snap-On), Gedore (also sold as Rahsol) and Hozan (Japanese brand which makes some pretty damn good stuff with reasonable prices).

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...a happy medium between craftsman and snap-on.


Crap-On? Where do you buy those? :rofl:


Actually, MAC tools are pretty nice... When I first read that , I thought your post said "My" tools are a happy medium...

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Check out McMaster-Carr. They usually have several options. Some of their torque wrenches are made by the same people that make snack-on. Great quality.

This place has a wide variety of industrial supply stuff as well. Prices are not the lowest, but service and support is the best. I find it valuable to know I'm always getting stuff that works, and what I expect.

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Hank R1200RT

The best tools for working on a BMW are probably Stahlwille, Hazet, or German Gedore. None are cheap and all may be difficult to find. S-K was bought by Ideal after their bankruptcy a few years ago. Seem to be recovering.


The truck brands - Snap-on, Mac, Matco, Cromwell - are generally all top notch. Whether a home mechanic needs them is up to you.


The industrial brands - Armstrong, Proto, Williams, Wright - are generally better buys and represent good to excellent quality. I think Williams may have gone down a little in desirability since Snap-On bought them, since they don't want to compete with themselves.


The second lines like Blackhawk may be good as well. Apex and Allen seem to be shrinking as Danaher consolidates its brands.


There never were "Craftsman" tools - everything is made for Sears. Most of the long-lived tools were made by New Britain, which is long gone. Craftsman Professional is made by Danaher and is generally equivalent to Armstrong.


Harbor Freight is best avoided IMHO. Too many of the fools fail after one use.


I recommend Harry Epstein as a source of good to excellent tools at good to excellent prices. If you think you want something on their site, buy it, because their stock constantly changes.


Granger and McMaster-Carr are OK sources, you can often beat the price if you shop around, but if you are in a hurry, hard to beat. Same for the truck lines, but more money.


Good luck,


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From experience the Home Depot current line is a several steps below the old Craftsman line. I rounded off several sockets with the first usage under minimal force.

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I still have my first Craftsman toolset I got in 1981 as a kid and built on that over the years...but a lot of the newer Craftsman stuff is mostly from China which is a turn off for me. Unless something needs replacing, which hasn't been often, I look for alternatives.


Garage and estate sales can be good sources for tools. Some links below might be helpful:








There's some good European made tools out there too, this is one company I've bought a couple things from








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Been using Wright tools since the early 70's. I don't think any have failed since then. I've also had good luck with Blackhawk, but not for nearly as long.

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I stopped buying craftsman a while back when I brought in a busted ratchet. The guy fished something, vaguely similar to it, out of the drawer underneath the cash register. It took me 10 minutes arguing with him that the used, refurbished thing he had in his hand, was not only the wrong item, but also NOT what was promised in the warranty. The parking lot at Sears is full of tumbleweeds. I wonder why.


I have yet to settle on a brand I like.

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Here in Portland at least they're still giving me new tools off the rack every time something breaks.


...ok, sot that's just like two things in the last eight years...and they were both sockets... Oh wait - there was a breaker bar that did just that the first time I used it - new one/replacement has been going strong for six or so years now.

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I'm still using the same Craftsman hand tools I purchased in 1966, wrenches, sockets, screwdrivers, taps and dies,


Those were made of stone right EDDDDDD?

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Guest Kakugo

I'm still using the same Craftsman hand tools I purchased in 1966, wrenches, sockets, screwdrivers, taps and dies,


Those were made of stone right EDDDDDD?


Don't need to. I have two Felco secateurs which belonged to my grandfather and are older than me. Only thing I did to them was changing the blades because after 40 years of hard work there wasn't much left to sharpen. They are still exactly the same to this day and all spares are easily available. ;)


I also have some tools of the same age (Stahwille sockets, Bahco screwdrivers etc) and they are all still good. The usual ratchet and sockets I use are industrial FACOM from 1988, before they were taken over by Stanley and turned into an overpriced consumer brand. People are stunned by how good they are and cannot believe they are that old: the typical overpriced Beta or Snap-On falls to pieces after a minute fraction of the work these babies have done.

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I'm a tool junkie and over the past several years I have grown quite fond of Harbor Freight tools. I am fortunate enough to live near a store so I can check out the quality before I buy. My favorite set of screwdrivers came from HF. My impact wrench and sockets came from there as well. Many of their tools have a lifetime warranty. I've taken many tools back to Sears and found the lifetime warranty a great selling point. Some tools however require you buy the best like vice grips and most power tools. In those cases you get what you pay for.



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I've taken many tools back to Sears and found the lifetime warranty a great selling point.




"Sir, you know you're not supposed to pry paint can lids with this screwdriver?"


"What?!.. huh? Me? I wouldn't do that!"


"Right,.. here's another one."

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Craftsmen still makes some nice tools but I agree they make some crap too. If I want Chinese tools I'll buy them else for far less money. That said, like many brands they have entry level stuff and nice stuff.

I would second S and K. I have had some of there stuff for years and They are still like new. Their rackets I have are great with very low drag and lots of teeth on the drive so they don't drive me mad in tight spots. I gave up on them because I couldn't find them anymore but the internet is making the word smaller by the day.

Not certain at this point how much longer Craftsmen will survive to honor warranties but I would like to think even if they tank someone will buy them up.

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