Best tool brands?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Motomom34, Jan 2, 2019.

  1. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    What are the best tool brands? I want tools that will last. I am sick of my Philips-head screw drivers being worthless after a few uses. We have some Craftsman wrenches and a socket set. I do have a Snap-On wrench but we are looking to start a true tool collection. Tools are an investment and I was wondering what brands my fellow monkeys invest in.
  2. Grandpa Patch

    Grandpa Patch Monkey+

    Years ago I would have said Craftsman. Life time guarantee and reliable tools. I have even picked up stray broken Craftsman tools on the side of the road and gotten an exchange for a new tool. That was then. Now I have a mix of Husky (Home Depot), Kobalt (Lowe's) and my old Craftsman for hand tools. My power tools (drill, saw, etc) are battery powered and you can get sets or buy the units you need that all function on the same battery style. I would use an 18V system and have not had any problems. But I am not a contractor, nor do I have a 'heavy use' for the tools.
  3. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    Snap-on (pricy) Dewalt, Ryobi, Skill.

    For non-power tools, I suspect they are all now Hencho en China, so it may not matter.
  4. techsar

    techsar Monkey+++

    The best screwdrivers I have used are Snapon...the tips last longer than Stanley, Craftsman, Matco, Mac, and several other brands. Costly, but in the long run worth it.

    Ryobi 18v cordless tools seem to be a decent compromise of cost vs longevity. I have had two fail in the past 15 years...both over ten years old. The newer brushless models have more power, but time will tell on them. The batteries, with a couple old (first generation nicad) exceptions, have held up well also. The good thing is the new batteries are backward compatible.

    GearWrench has surprised me...they hold up well, even if abused.
  5. SB21

    SB21 Monkey+++

    Some of the older Kobalt tools were made by Snap On . So many companies have changed over the years , it's hard to keep up with who's making what anymore . But you can almost guarantee some foreign Asian country is the maker of most . For ratchets I check for the smoothness of the action in the mechanism . Wrenches, ratchets, and sockets , I look at the finishes , are they cheap looking , and the weight , do they feel hefty and solid .
    I think Cornwell Tools are still made in the US .
  6. squiddley

    squiddley Monkey+++

    Husky from Home depot and Kobalt from Loews are pretty good for home use. I like Klein for screw drivers.
  7. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    Mac,Snap-on,Older Proto and SK wrenches, Have a 20 year old Ryobi set, Replaced the drill only after smoking the original..
    Bought the newer batterys for the Ryobi and a newer style charger
    sec_monkey, Ura-Ki, techsar and 3 others like this.
  8. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Retired Curmudgeonly IT Monkey Founding Member

    Craftsman is now sold by Lowe's. Some like 'em still, some don't. Stanley is good.
    I no longer do enough wrenching to need top grade tools.
    China Freight and Amazon suffice for my needs, if I don't already have a certain tool. I have mine and my late father's tools. He liked the old Craftsman tools.
  9. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    I went to use one of our Stanley flat-heads and it wasn't straight. I have no clue how old the screwdriver was. Maybe they start to give after a few years of use.
  10. UncleMorgan

    UncleMorgan I eat vegetables. My friends are not vegetables.

    Now that Sears is shutting down and has sold the Craftsman line, they are evading as much warranty fulfillment as possible.

    I took a Craftsman ratchet in recently that had stripped some teeth on the internal gears. The local Sears refused to replace it because it had some rust on it.

    That was a first for me. They had some fine print in their warranty to back it up, even though they had never used it on me before.

    You can sure tell the aren't trying to keep their customers happy anymore. (Heh!)

    Despite what Stanley says, many retailers will swap out Stanley screwdrivers on request, even though they may not all be "lifetime guaranteed".

    If the tip is stripped out or chipped, I call that defective materials. It should not be possible to kill a screwdriver by hand.

    You can assemble a fine set of hand tools cheap by buying broken ones at yard sales and getting them swapped out. I know flea market vendors that do that and then sell the new tools.
    Motomom34, Oddcaliber, Ura-Ki and 2 others like this.
  11. techsar

    techsar Monkey+++

    Hmmm...perhaps it was used as a pry bar?
  12. Tevin

    Tevin Monkey+++

    For power tools I use DeWalt exclusively. I am an advanced DIY-er and have had A+ results with them. DeWalt is not the best, best power tools ever, but they are the best "bang for the buck". Ryobi and Kobalt are overrated. The best, best power tools are probably Bosch or Milwaukee.

    For hand tools, I have a little of everything but Channel Lock is my preferred brand. Most of them are made in USA. By the way, just because something is Asian-made does not mean it's junk.

    My biggest problem is finding decent blades and bits. It seems good blades and bits are hard to find even if you are willing to spend the money. I used cheap Harbor Freight blades in my reciprocating saw once. They were good for two, maybe three cuts before they croaked, and if I hit a nail they wouldn't even go that far. I spent more time changing blades than I did actually cutting anything. I used up a pack of ten on a very minor job.

    A quality bit in a $50 drill is better than a junk bit in a $300 drill.
    Motomom34, sec_monkey, SB21 and 4 others like this.
  13. Blain's Farm& Fleet and True Value hardware selling Craftsman. Don't know who makes them. All of Dad's tools were Craftsman, as were mine. But that's long ago now.
    Motomom34, sec_monkey, Ura-Ki and 2 others like this.
  14. Tully Mars

    Tully Mars Metal weldin' monkey

    IMHO, you're not likely to need to spend the money on Snap-on, Mac, ect. Unless you just want to spend 130 bucks on a 1/4" drive ratchet;) The other real issue with the above is that you have to track down a route driver to get your tools. Not worth it if you're not making your living with them.

    Nowadays you can't give me crapsman tools. I have gone to Kobalt tools from Lowe's and Klutch brand from Northern Tools. I have had very good luck with both and while I don't use them everyday anymore, I use them a lot. I have had good luck with the Channelock brand of screwdrivers. Gearwrench wrenches are really good and hold up to abuse. I like the Channelock brand for pliers and Vice Grip brand for vice grips and finger grips-I will not own any other vice grip brands. Channelock or Cresent brand for cresent wrenches although Diamond brand is great if you can find them.

    I've always favored Dewalt power tools mainly because they offer the largest line in AC/DC tools. Something I needed when running tools off of my SA200. I still have all my 18v Dewalt stuff, but it is being replaced with Milwaukee. The new Dewalt stuff is from China and I can see a difference between it and my older stuff. The Milwaukee 18v stuff is excellent. Porter Cable and Ridgid power tools are really good as well and a bit cheaper than the red ones.

    Me and my guys made/make our living using these brands listed above and if they can survive an 18 yr old roughneck they'll serve you well.
    Klutch Raised Panel Combination Wrench Set — 14-Pc. SAE | Northern Tool + Equipment
    Cordless Power Tool Combo Kits | PORTER CABLE
  15. RouteClearance

    RouteClearance Monkey+++

    For hand tools, I snap up all older made in USA tools I come across, Craftsman, Husky, Snap On, and so forth at any garage sales and lea markets that I frequent. As for screw drivers. I simply buy the driver/bit kits on sale at Lowe’s or Harbor Freight. They are all made of Chinesium today so YMMV.
  16. hot diggity

    hot diggity Monkey+++ Site Supporter+++

    Tools! One of my favorite subjects!

    Hand tools: Matco, Mac, Snap-on, Cornwell, Craftsman Professional, S-K, Koken

    Rechargeable Battery Power tools: Ryobi, Snap-on

    Work lights: Streamlight

    Screwdrivers: By far the most ergonomic screwdrivers I own are from Matco. They're all bright colors, orange, blue, green, and just feel the best in my hand. YMMV.

    Every tool man seems to have one tool that I wouldn't buy from anyone else. Snap-on ratchets and A/C tools (I love their kit that allows changing Schrader valves with the system fully charged!), Matco screwdrivers and pry bars, Mac swivel sockets, Cornwell Torx bits, Craftsman Professional (long) wrenches, S-K specialty tools, (usually rentals that I keep) and my beautiful Koken sockets that I carried back from Japan.

    I don't know if I'll ever use my GM tilt column or Rochester Quadrajet tools again, but as soon as I get rid of them I'm sure I'll regret it. My tool box is like a museum for the younger guys who are just getting into the flat-rate game. They've all gotten used to my response to their "Do you have?" questions. It's usually "Yes...yes I do." followed by silence. :)

    Tools seem to prove their value when I can no longer remember what I paid for them. If the sting goes away quickly, they were really a good deal.

    Buy quality...once.
    Tully Mars, Motomom34, SB21 and 3 others like this.
  17. mysterymet

    mysterymet Monkey+++

    I have a bunch of craftsman stuff, some snap on and some kobalt.
    Motomom34, techsar and Gator 45/70 like this.
  18. Ura-Ki

    Ura-Ki Grudge Monkey

    I took advantage of the G.I. training bill after I retired and as long as I was in some sort of apprenticeship, I got my tools at 30 to 50% off retail as long as I purchased sets from the preferd suppliers! I pulled the trigger and bought both Snap-on and MAC but also bought a bunch of Cornwall and Marco as needed and some stuff I was able to trade in between brands as my experience/taste evolved! For any heavy duty electrical tools, DeWalt Millwalky, or Makita are top shelf, especially the newer Brushless, li-ion powered stuff, and for air tools, Chichago Pneumatic or Ingressol rand being better then most, though I still have a few MAC and Snap-On out of preference! For welders, Miller, for machine tools, JET, and electrical tools, OTC, and for every thing else, it's a case by case deal! Buy once, cry once kind of thing!
    If I was you, I would look at getting into some sort of apprenticeship program ( with a real close look at the fine print) and use that to score a deal on your tools, and complete as much trades school in as you wish! I did an Aero school for both power systems and airframe, it's about a 2 year program, and after I retired I went to Trinadad for 14 months, both times I took advantage of the tool purchasing program! And don't forget, you can also get educational grants through some of the trades, I know aero trades does, and several others, basically gets you your tools for very little out of pocket and you can then write them off as expenses for 5 years! ( tax laws have changed some, do some home work) so you can take advantage of every thing you can!
  19. Zimmy

    Zimmy Wait, I'm not ready!

    Klien screwdrivers are my favorites. Get a good multibit set. Dewalt has good ones.

    Corded Skill worm drive circular saws

    Milwaukee and Bosch power tools. A 1/4" cordless impact does almost anything residential. You need a 1/2" capable Chuck bit cordless drill.

    Proto wrenches and sockets. Get a ratchet wrench combo set too.

    Cryobit drill bits (use tap magic). 1/4" hex drive bits are a good addition.

    Level bars, chisels, steel and brass punches, and the like....are consumables. Stanley is good enough.

    Hammers are personal. Start with Estwing and find your true loves from there. You need a wrecker, framer, 2 pound shop, a 3 piece ball peen set, a small brass, and a tack hammer.

    Get a quality pancake air compressor. You'll need a Brad gun, a stapler, a roofing stapler, and a framer that shoots 8-10 penny nails.

    Grunt tools like shovels, picks, hoes, rakes ect should have fiberglass handles for longevity. Buy a good polesaw from Fiskars or similar quality.

    Johnson bars, crowbars, spars and rock picks should be bought at pawnshops. They never wear out.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2019
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  20. techsar

    techsar Monkey+++

    Used Bonney or Blackhawk sockets, ratchets and breaker bars are good too, provided they aren't worn out. Bahco is good but not commonplace.
    Motomom34, sec_monkey and Gator 45/70 like this.
  1. Asia-Off-Grid

    Farm Blacksmithing 1921

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    Posted By: Asia-Off-Grid, Sep 4, 2018 in category: Blacksmithing
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