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Based on some recent threads, I thought it would be a good idea to start a thread on tools. A thread to help those who are just starting out, as well as the seasoned veteran. Any tips you have gained over the years about selecting, buying, or using tools... post it up here.

Regards,
Ronin Z
 

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TOOL BRANDS:

Craftsman:
Good all around tools. Pretty good quality, lifetime warranty, and convenience (available at all Sears stores and online) make this a good choice for beginners and pros. I haven't been overly impressed with their air tools, which is a shame because their larger compressors are pretty decent. The majority of Craftsman tools are actually made by a company by the name of Danaher Tools. Though Sears does contract out to other tool makers, with Stanley Tools being commonly used.

Snap-On: Good tools. Excellent quality on most of their tools. Very expensive. Their regular basic hand tools are overpriced in my opinion and can be overlooked. Some of the their special purpose tools are very functional and are worth the high price of admission.

MAC Tools: MAC tools are manufactured by Stanley tools and is their Mobile Automotive division designed to compete primarily with Snap-On. Very similar to Snap-On in terms of quality and price.

MatCo Tools: MatCo tools are manufactured by Danaher Tools and are that company's Mobile Automotive division. Once again comparable to Snap-On.

FACOM:
Popular in Europe, these are excellent tools. Very expensive. Once again some of their specialty tools is what sets them apart.

S&K:
Excellent tools. Expensive. Made by FACOM.

Proto: These guys have been all over the board over the decades, from great to so-so. Since they were bought out by Stanley tools they have been mediocre for the price. NASA and the US government love these tools because they are willing to perform the special qualification testing that the government requires. If you ever see a wrench floating around the Space Shuttle, it's almost guaranteed to be made by Proto.

Xcelite: Simply the best in small electronic hand tools (cutters, strippers, crimpers, and small
screwdrivers)

Husky Tools:
This is Home Depot's house brand designed to compete with Sears' Craftsman line. They are made by Stanley Tools.

Kobalt Tools:
This is Lowe's house brand designed to compete with Craftsman. Prior to mid 2003, Kobalt tools were made by J.H. Williams Tools, which is a subsidiary of Snap-On. In mid 2003 Snap-On sold the brand off to Danaher Tools, who has made them ever since.


It goes without saying that this list is based only on my experience. I encourage every one to offer their own opinions.

Ronin Z
 

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Buy quality tools where critical (i.e. wratchets, sockets, air tools, etc..)

Buy cheap china tools where not critical (pliers, clamps, snips, screw drivers, etc...) You can get a truckload of tools from harbor freight for 100$

Don't skimp on the important stuff. I invested in a 60 gallon Ingersol Rand compressor and I am glad I did. It was twice what I wanted to spend, but two years later I am glad I spent the extra money.
 

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+1 on SEARS and Craftsman.

I own the Craftsman 144 piece socket set. It includes both Metric and Standard, and has three sizes of each to choose from. The quality is extremely good, and the pieces still look new after 6 years.

As far as car specific tools go, Craftsman has a really good digital tire gauge, with a swivel head, that costs around $20. Well worth it when the valve stem is in an awkward position.





I hate having to edit for spelling.....ugh.
 

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Tough topic. For the home wrench, your tool collection grows with you abilities. For most, Craftsman tools are great. I will say when it comes to buying wrenches get the Craftsman "Professional" series. The pro series stronger and uses a thinner design which permits access in recessed places. Also, there are times when you have to buy a speciality tool which Craftsman does not make, but Snap-On does or whomever.


You could hunt down your local dealer and you might get lucky and he/she has it on the truck. Most times the truck dealer will have to order you the tool. You can now order all the same tools the professional use from your computer.

The big name tool dealers (Snap-On, MAC, Matco,) who drive a truck are hesistant about coming to your home. This is because you probably won't spend enough money with them to make it worth their while.

As for warrantee, there is no denying Craftsman is the most forgiving. If you bend a Snap-On wrench sideways good luck with getting that replaced for free.

Word of caution, buying off the trucks and keeping a revolving account can get expensive. When I was 20 my tool collection had amounted to 25K not including my tool box. And everyweek the the crack dealer (Matco) would show up at the dealership to tempt me with more fancy tools.

I'm not in the automotive or aircraft field anymore, but I still buy lots of tools and can assure you the habit is hard to break.
 

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every one has there own opinion to which is the best!Its like cars every one has a favoret brand.I will say if you buy a snap on air tool or any air tool from a tool truck make sure you read the make.Because even snap on air tools are made over seas or the parts are and then assembled here in the states.I try to stay away from taiwan made air tools.most of the good ones are made in japan.you can find ones made in the us but really expensive and not many are made here.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
:bump:

Tool company list updated

-RZ
 

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I agree with Ronin's descriptions. I have some of all in my tool boxes. Stick with these brands. Avoid most no-name brands, but I've had good luck with Pep-Boys sockets, as Craftsman does not offer their 6 point 1/2" drive deep sockets anymore.....
For the price, some of Harbor Freight tools are adequate. i.e. their LOOOOOOONG extensions come in handy the few times needed.

Suggestion, get the largest tool box you can, as organized tools are MUCH easier to find....

Gearwrench makes great ratcheting box wrenches.
 

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Harbor Freight tools are adequate.
I literally use a Harbor Freight "Roll-A-Tape" or measuring wheel every day. I deal with distances measuring in the inches. Although I bought a spray gun from them and it was Chinese crap.
 

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I agree with Ronin's descriptions. I have some of all in my tool boxes. Stick with these brands. Avoid most no-name brands, but I've had good luck with Pep-Boys sockets, as Craftsman does not offer their 6 point 1/2" drive deep sockets anymore.....
For the price, some of Harbor Freight tools are adequate. i.e. their LOOOOOOONG extensions come in handy the few times needed.

Suggestion, get the largest tool box you can, as organized tools are MUCH easier to find....

Gearwrench makes great ratcheting box wrenches.
i like the black hawk ratcheting wrench set from the mac truck it is the same price as the gearwrench set but the black hawk has a finer tooth and less slop in the ratchet par it is a nicer wrench and has a lifetime warranty!
 

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Don't forget Tool Shop. Haha I got some for xmass and all the wratchets are broke with little use.
 

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Any recommendations on a specific Torque wrench? Up until now I've been winging it.
Is there a brand that you can use on the wheel lugs but also on smaller applications or do you have to buy two separate wrenches that are different sizes? I haven't seen this but was wondering whether this exists rather than buying several wrenches.
Let me elaborate. Is there a model that you can interchange parts so that the heads and handles can be swapped for the appropriate job? If not, what are the most common torque specifications to purchase for the Z?
 

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buying tools is addictive! every time i set foot on a tool truck snap on or mac or matco i see shiny things and my brain gose in to a homer simpson state of mind ."um shiny must buy some thing!"it is almost like a drug and the bad part is it is a necessary evil. i need the tools to do my job but i hate spending money on them.then when i am done buying the tool i needed i think to my self cool now it is one more thing i do not have to barrow.on the other hand i think man i could have bout some thing for my car! this sucks!
 

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+1 on Craftsman, my big chest in the garage is loaded with their stuff, and you can't beat their "don't ask" warranty when you break **** trying to make a improvised breaker bar out of a 3/8" ratchet and a 6 foot hunk of fence post :) I've also got a lot of oddball stuff from harbor freight, and haven't run across a problem yet. Went there a couple weeks back and spent about $100 bucks on 3 jaw pullers, bearing separators, and other stuff I don't use too often. For the money, their tools are about the best bang for the buck when you're not talking everyday, heavy duty use. Picked up a 3 ton garage jack and trans adaptor from them for about $120 when I was changing the cluth on my F250, and seems to work just as well as my Craftsman jack that cost 3X as much!!!
 

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+1 on Craftsman, my big chest in the garage is loaded with their stuff, and you can't beat their "don't ask" warranty when you break **** trying to make a improvised breaker bar out of a 3/8" ratchet and a 6 foot hunk of fence post :) I've also got a lot of oddball stuff from harbor freight, and haven't run across a problem yet. Went there a couple weeks back and spent about $100 bucks on 3 jaw pullers, bearing separators, and other stuff I don't use too often. For the money, their tools are about the best bang for the buck when you're not talking everyday, heavy duty use. Picked up a 3 ton garage jack and trans adaptor from them for about $120 when I was changing the cluth on my F250, and seems to work just as well as my Craftsman jack that cost 3X as much!!!
ew, a harbor freight floor jack with no jack stands is going a bit far for me ;) I doubt I'd be crawling under there....even with their jack stands....j/k
 

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Oh no, that big ******* was up on jack stands... I may have gone to community college, but I'm not a total idiot! The jack and adaptor came in handy for pulling the trans off to get to the clutch. For some reason I figured it would be easier than just un-bolting it and letting it fall on my chest :)
 
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