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hand tools?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by cbzdel, Mar 7, 2010.

  1. cbzdel

    cbzdel Tacoma, WA Member

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    I am wondering about hand tool quality, specifically a screwdriver set. I was looking at the craftsman set (which costs $150) which looks great with the warranty. But then I was looking at a comparable kit made by Stanley which was only about $40 good looking quality, doesnt look cheap. I have a 200 piece Stanley socket kit which I love! (I actually returned my Craftsman socket set because I though it felt like a cheap POS and went with the Stanley)

    Then there is the harbor freight special, its ugly but gets the jobs done and costs about $20.

    I started to think about the warranty on the craftsman and thought, I could buy 7 kits from HF for the price of the craftsman kit, is the warranty really worth it?

    My dad has ONLY Craftsman Tools and I broke countless screwdrivers when I was living with my parents, so the warranty is nice, but does that make their tools and better than anyone else, or are you just paying a HUGE fee for the lifetime warranty?
  2. longcolt

    longcolt Zephyrhills, FL Active Member

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    I know that the Kolbalt Tools (not power tools) that Lowe's sells are also lifetime guaranteed and very reasonably priced. Made by the same company that makes Craftsman's tools, I believe.

    They will replace about anything that you buy from them, even if its a non Kobalt item if you press them enough and ask to speak to a zone manager or store manager.

    The Harbor Freight tools are made in China, lowest quality level, but will work just fine for a time. The chrome will peel off the sockets and sometimes they will break. The drills will burn up but you can do a lot of work with them before that happens. You get what you pay for.
    For home projects they will work fine.
  3. Edgewaters

    Edgewaters Eagle Creek New Member

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    Stay away from the low (China) end tools, they will break your heart (and knucles) when you need them most. They use cheap steel that will bend and round off your hex heads.
    Craftsman, Kobalt, NAPA, Stanley... all make a decent home owner tool that will get the job done at a reasonable price. Just pick one that feels good in your hands, and I have always been a fan of push button release ratchets. The issue with this grade of tool is flaking chrome, when you shred your hand on a socket you will understand.
    Flaking chrome is grounds for warranty replacement.
    All of these should have lifetime warranties

    I am a professional mechanic and I need professional grade tools, I am a slave to the Snap-On truck. Mac Tools, Matco, Cornwell are all hi grade but stupid expensive.
    Snap-On also has a value line called Blue Point that is not cost prohibitive and good quality, it is what I have for home use, but you still have to get them off the truck.
  4. e28rusty

    e28rusty Newberg Member

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    I wouldn't recommend harbor freight for sockets, they sell a lot of stuff that's good enough, but sockets aren't on that menu (neither are allen keys) I have a craftsman set from the 90's thats very nice, I've only ever broken screwdrivers (misusing them) and socket drivers. The last time I went in for a new socket driver, the guy asked me if I wanted a new one or a rebuilt old one-- I asked him whats the difference? He said if you use the new ones they will break, the old one will last. I took the old one and haven't been back since. I abuse it too. I don't think I would spend big money on a new craftsmen set if their quality has gone down, if you use tools a lot I might invest in high grade tools ie mac, snapon. Otherwise save some money and get a Stanley or similar set. You can always replace what you don't like with something nicer.
  5. elsullo

    elsullo Portland Oregon New Member

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    Stanley tools were made in America, and much of what Sears Craftsman tools sold was made by Stanley. About five years ago Stanley moved all of its production OUT of America, and quality went to heck. Craftsman started to offer two grades of tools: cheap and cheaper. Things ain't what they used to be.

    I have a set of 1980's Craftsman sockets; superb, just superb, and no comparason to current production. If I were buying tools today, I'd be only watching Craigslist postings for OLD tools, and looking for estate sale notices. I'd sure avoid anything new made by Stanley....................elsullo :(
  6. Mookie

    Mookie Eastern Washington Active Member

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    Yard sales man, YARD SALES. They might not match but you can get hand tools stupid cheap. I once picked up a fairly large tool box for $20, it was full of Mac, Craftsman, and Snap ON. I bought it for the box and did not even look inside. This is not an uncommon thing to happen.

    I buy a lot of hand tools for work and have come to the conclusion about tools and quality and country of origin.
    The best quality is the U.S.A. made tools, I am not saying this to get people to buy made in USA, I came to the conclusion after being impressed with some tools I purchased and then looked at where they were made, all of my best quality tools were made in the USA. I talked to the salesman about it and why the store did not have the specific tools that I needed. He said most people come in and buy the Chinese tools for 1/3 the price to save money but very often have to bring them back. They are sturdier and use better materials.

    After that you have a tie for German, British and Japanese. Amazing quality.

    Anything you can buy from Pakistan or China will be crap, usually.
  7. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    Pawn shops, yard sales, estate sales, Craigs list. OLD tools including garden tools. Buy new handles for garden tools.

    I bought a couple of 5 gallon buckets of old forged garden tools and every one was missing its handle. What a find. When I got them home and counted them, I had paid $2 each for them. Shovels, rakes, grub hoe, etc. etc.
  8. speelyei

    speelyei Willamette Valley Active Member

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    I have never been disappointed with a craftsman tool. I have broken some, and returned them no questions asked. I just bought an 18 pc set for $26 last week.
    In general, I avoid pawn shops all together. The tool you get a great deal on was likely stolen.
    If you're starting with nothing, Harbor Freight stuff will get you by, and then you can give those tools away as you replace them with better quality ones.

    If you're going to be doing any gunsmithing, just opt for a set of gunsmithing screwdivers right off the bat.
  9. cbzdel

    cbzdel Tacoma, WA Member

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    I happen to be at Lowes the other night, and I seen the Kobalt tools that they sell, and picked up a 20 piece screwdriver set for $18, asked a worker about th,e warranty, he said bring in broken screw driver and leave with a new one, no questions asked same great warranty as Craftsman but at a fraction of the cost.

    We shall see how long they last :D

    They are for basic home repairs, plus I tinker with automotive and motorcycle repairs...

    I do need to buy a separate gunsmith took kit, I am tried of doing MacGyver style work on my guns haha!
  10. Rix

    Rix Tacoma Active Member

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    beings I work cars for a living and a hobby, I've had to slowly wittle my collection of "other" tools down, and have slowly replace all my stuff at home with snap on matco and mac, with some other random stuff thrown in.
    My level of use (abuse) brings out what will and won't hold up for me, so I have very little craftsman stuff (sockets, wrenches, ratchets etc) left.
    screwdrivers, pliers, stuff like that, I have a giant hodge-podge.
  11. Bajablast

    Bajablast Hillsboro, OR Active Member

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    I have either Craftsman or Kobalt in my toolbox. I have never had any problem with exchanges at either store.

    Sears even upgraded a broken 1/2 drive standard breaker bar to a flex head 1/2 drive ratchet/beaker bar for no added cost.:thumbup:

    Unless you are a mechanic or have to have absolutely the most expensive tools, Sears Craftsman and Lowes Kobalt tools will do you fine.

    By the way, you can get most Craftsman Hand Tools at K Mart now.


    I do not think I have a problem. I'm told that the first step to recovery is to admit your problem..... Screw them. I have NO problem.
  12. scharmon

    scharmon Oregon City, OR New Member

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    I am a firm believer in buying what you can have replaced most conveniently. If you have a Snap-On or a Matco distributor that lives near by or you work in that enviroment, then by all means purchase those if you can afford it. The most important thing to keep in mind is to buy items with a lifetime warranty, buy local so its quick and easy too replace and that the retailer or distributor will be around in 2-3 years to replace items if needed. I have several Snap-On & Mac Tools from turning wrenches for years and would not trade them for any other. I have found though that most local distributors dont like to warranty tools they did not sell. Hence why I am a supporter of Craftsmen, Kobalt and Husky for those who are more of a "Shade tree mechanic" Just my two cents...
  13. Stomper

    Stomper Oceania Rising White Is The New Brown Silver Supporter

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    I always managed to lose my expensive lifetime warranty tools before I had a warranty issue, so I now just buy "value" tools for the most part, and when I do buy lifetime warratny tools, its from a chain that is prolific like Lowe's or Home Depot... there just aren't many Sear store around like there used to be.