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Socket wrench set suggestions

Herr Kutz

Platinum Member
Jun 14, 2009
2,544
239
106
I cracked a socket the past weekend while working on my car and realized it's probably because I have a bottom of the barrel set. I would like to upgrade and get both a higher quality and more comprehensive set compared to the tiny set I have now. I don't really care about getting fixed wrenches or the screw driver attachments, but it looks like you cannot purchase a set without these. Top of the line is not required, but I am searching for a set of decent quality. I want at least two different size socket wrenches, one of which has to accept 3/8" sockets since I have a 3/8" wobble extension and I would like the sockets to fit my 3/8" torque wrench without an adapter.

I am leaning towards this craftsman set after borrowing an identical set this weekend: https://www.sears.com/craftsman-108-pc-mechanics-tools-set/p-00938108000P?plpSellerId=Sears&prdNo=18&blockNo=18&blockType=G18
The only thing I didn't like on this set were the hard to read sizes on the sockets which was a PITA since I spilled everything twice.

Any other suggestions before I hit the buy button?
 

rstrohkirch

Golden Member
May 31, 2005
1,917
177
106
Do you have a Harbor Freight near you? Their Pittsburgh line is a middle of the road line with a good price point especially with coupons.
 

EXCellR8

Diamond Member
Sep 1, 2010
3,875
779
136
Yea unless you really trash your tools HFT will have anything you need as far as sockets and ratchets. I buy them all the time and their prices can't be beat. Their impact tools are okay too but I haven't used them extensively.

Craftsman is great but you're paying for the name and it's mostly made from the same materials. I might look at Husky or Mac tools as an alternative but Snap On and Gearhead are kind of a rip off imo; are too expensive.
 

NutBucket

Lifer
Aug 30, 2000
26,371
251
126
Sears has gone really downhill in recent years. I bought a set a few months back to keep in our trailer and the quality is definitely not there anymore. I'd rather buy Husky or Kobalt.

I would just go see which has the best fit/finish. It isn't Craftsman anymore.
 

deadlyapp

Diamond Member
Apr 25, 2004
5,684
287
126
Most all of my socket sets are craftsman and I've never had one crack on me. I have had one or two ratchets repaired by them through the lifetime warranty.

I'd be a little worried moving forward on the lifetime warranty, but since they've sold the brand off and it will still be available, you should be good with them.

Harbor freight I'm not sure what the warranty is like and if you can replace individual sockets in-store or have to ship in.
 

rstrohkirch

Golden Member
May 31, 2005
1,917
177
106
Harbor freight I'm not sure what the warranty is like and if you can replace individual sockets in-store or have to ship in.
You can replace their stuff in store but I'm not sure what they do when you have 1 piece out of a set that breaks. Pretty sure they'd want you to return the entire set to replace.
 

WhiteNoise

Senior member
Jun 22, 2016
962
125
106
I use craftsman myself. Even the newer stuff is still good honestly. I never had one break.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
14,545
946
126
Mechanics I've know prefer Snap-On or MAC. They consider Craftsman a second-best choice. But Craftsman has traditionally been more accessible to the general public.

I've never had much trouble with my Craftsman tools. I've had cheap knockoff sockets break or crack. Those things I'd always acquired in various situations of quick need, or I bought them off the $1 sale table at a hardware store.

I've obtained Snap-On tools as used items given to me either as a gift, or simply found somewhere as someone else's loss in the dirt and weeds of a junkyard.

It's important to me that I have 1/4", 3/8", and 1/2" drive tools with conversion extensions. I think my Craftsman torque wrench has 3/4" drive, and I have a conversion extension for that, too. I can't be that sure about the torque wrench: I haven't used it in a long time, and I should look to refresh my memory.

As for Sears, Craftsman and off-shore production. I don't know about the changes in where the tools are actually made. I do know that Craftsman has some degree of corporate independence, because it was recently announced that Lowe's Hardware is now selling their tools.
 
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jlee

Lifer
Sep 12, 2001
48,497
210
106
Mechanics I've know prefer Snap-On or MAC. They consider Craftsman a second-best choice. But Craftsman has traditionally been more accessible to the general public.

I've never had much trouble with my Craftsman tools. I've had cheap knockoff sockets break or crack. Those things I'd always acquired in various situations of quick need, or I bought them off the $1 sale table at a hardware store.

I've obtained Snap-On tools as used items given to me either as a gift, or simply found somewhere as someone else's loss in the dirt and weeds of a junkyard.

It's important to me that I have 1/4", 3/8", and 1/2" drive tools with conversion extensions. I think my Craftsman torque wrench has 3/4" drive, and I have a conversion extension for that, too. I can't be that sure about the torque wrench: I haven't used it in a long time, and I should look to refresh my memory.

As for Sears, Craftsman and off-shore production. I don't know about the changes in where the tools are actually made. I do know that Craftsman has some degree of corporate independence, because it was recently announced that Lowe's Hardware is now selling their tools.
Craftsman is much farther down the line than second-best. I prefer HF's Pittsburg Pro ratchets over Craftsman, and Gearwrench's 120XP ratchets are positively lovely.
 

RLGL

Golden Member
Jan 8, 2013
1,748
198
106
It doesn't matter who made the tool, I have broken or wore them out. Check out Stanley tool sets.
 

NutBucket

Lifer
Aug 30, 2000
26,371
251
126
As for Sears, Craftsman and off-shore production. I don't know about the changes in where the tools are actually made. I do know that Craftsman has some degree of corporate independence, because it was recently announced that Lowe's Hardware is now selling their tools.
Supposedly they switched to Chinese production around 2010.

The reason they're in Lowe's is because Black & Decker bought the Craftsman name last year.
 

deadlyapp

Diamond Member
Apr 25, 2004
5,684
287
126
Supposedly they switched to Chinese production around 2010.

The reason they're in Lowe's is because Black & Decker bought the Craftsman name last year.
When I still worked at a sears back in 2011 time frame, nearly all the sockets, wrenches, and ratchets were all still USA made. All of mine are.

I've garnered more support for Chinese tools & steel - there's no reason why they aren't equivalent or better than USA products.
 

NutBucket

Lifer
Aug 30, 2000
26,371
251
126
IMHO the fit and finish just isn't there. But I agree it's highly dependent on what consumers are willing to pay for and that China is capable of building high quality products/tools.

These days I try my best to buy American or German made tools. It takes a bit of effort and obviously a bit more money but to me it's worth it.
 

EXCellR8

Diamond Member
Sep 1, 2010
3,875
779
136
Forgot about Kobalt; their sets are really nice too. There's only a handful of Lowe's in my area though so I don't typically shop there.

btw not to veer the thread but can anyone recommend a solid quality 3/4" and/or 1/2" drive clicky torque wrench?
 

NutBucket

Lifer
Aug 30, 2000
26,371
251
126
Amazingly Pittsburgh is suppose to be quite good (accurate) and obviously quite cheap. I have no clue how well they hold up long term though I suspect nobody ever gets their torque wrenches calibrated after purchase and years of use.
 

Torn Mind

Diamond Member
Nov 25, 2012
4,027
236
106
Gearwrench Semi-deep should cover most things
I think some youtube guy mentioned Duralast as good. Try searching for that on google.
 

bruceb

Diamond Member
Aug 20, 2004
8,875
111
106
I use Snap On myself, MAC is also good, as is Cornwell Tools .. If you want to be safe, get the Impact version of the socket. The walls are thicker, so the only issue is if clearance around the bolt or nut is tight. But they will not break and you can always use an impact gun on them if you need to.
 
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Bardock

Senior member
Mar 12, 2014
346
39
91
I have not been lucky enough to own Snap-On tools but they are the best produced.

They have a tool for everything too. My dad had a car where the wheel bearing grease was sealed with a cap and the caps kept not sealing straight.

And mechanic friend told me oh, they have to be taken off and put on straight, use a cap puller, shows me snap on cap puller, looks like a tongs made for exactly what he's talking about, $50 plus shipping lol one hand tool.

But the job gets done and it doesn't break.

Northern Tool used to be good too but I think they are all chinese pot metal now too.
 

olds

Elite Member
Mar 3, 2000
49,687
474
126
Part of the reason mechanics like Snap On and Mac because the truck comes to you. If a tool breaks, you don't have to go to a store.
 

eng2d2

Golden Member
Nov 7, 2013
1,007
38
91
I have a craftsman purchased 2001 Haven’t break on me but I don’t abuse it either
 

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