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Good tools or cheap tools

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I was a diesel mechanic for 20+ years. Heavy equipment,

locomotive engines, otr trucks. I own.....conservatively.....30K + in

tools. Every one of my tools and the

triple bay box is a Snap-On. Great tools and great box. I have had 4 feet of

pipe and 250+ pounds leaning on my 3/4 drive ratchet which has the long

handle.....another 4 feet......breaking a 2 3/8 final drive not loose on a Cat

D10. Ok, so Snap-On would publicly

cringe and secretly smile at that. They

know how tools are used by mechanics and they are built to do THAT job. Never

ever had a problem or failure with one of their tools that I didn't cause by

abuse or stupidity. The absolute BEST tools hands down money can buy. Period.



That said I would not pay 150 for a snap-on ratchet now or

any snap-on tool at the truck price. Its just too damned much for the normal

guy/girl. Craftsman sells good quality

tools. Kobalt sells good quality tools.

Grey Pneumatic sells, likely the best consumer grade sockets made. Will

they last as long? Likely not if your a pro using them 10 hours a day. But if

your working on your subi in the garage on the weekend? Hell yes they will. Its plug forged steel.

It's not hard to make. You do have to be careful when buying inexpensive

tools. SOme, ok most, are real pieces of

sh_t and will get you and you car hurt.

That 16 mm wrench breaks or stripes the shoulders off a nut and its

2" of skin and a likely broken knuckle.

That spoob hurts a lot. And now you gota striped bolt.



To help out those who might not know the difference here are

some guidelines for inexpensive tool purchase. Notice I said inexpensive. You cannot buy a cheap tool and expect it to

perform well. However you can buy

inexpensive ones if you know what to look for.



Air Tools:



3/8 and ½ impact gun, ¼” drill, die grinder/cutoff tool,

blow nozzle.


IR, Ingersoll Rand supplies Air tools for Lowes and Craftsman that I know of and

I think home depot as well. Might be CP

supplies home depot. Harbor fright is a crapshoot on the no branded air tools. Either

way IMO IR has the best air tools at lowest prices. To my knowledge Snap-On is

the ONLY tool maker left who makes their own air tools. The IR 2130 is rated at

550lbs to the hammer. That is less than comparable guns but it won’t

break. The hammer in an impact is what

transfers the force to the socket. My snap-on gun will deliver 800lbs and will

rip your arm off and beat you with it. The hammer will not break. It cost

450.00 the IR costs 120.00 on amazon and 65-80 at Lowes. Battery driven impacts

make me laugh. Some people like them though and for some jobs they work. Like,

removing nail polish maybe.



Impact sockets:



Grey Pneumatic.


This chinese company has adopted, under license,the Snap-On

flank drive. I bought a full set of these for my kid and I can confirm that

they are top quality and well priced.

Their well fitted and tough. The steel is hot forged so its not brittle

and won't explode when used with a quality impact gun like my Snap_on

1/2" gun.





Standard or chrome sockets:


Craftsman or Stanley:

You are actually getting MAC tools when you buy these. MAC is made by Stanley Tool Works and so are

the usa craftsman tools.




Snap-On. 8 piece set from snap-on costs 135 bux and they

won't strip your screws. There is a difference.

If you can't convince the wife that those screwdrivers are

worth more than her birthday then Craftsman

Extreme Grip Diamond Tips.

Kobalt seems to be pretty good but I don’t own any.




Snap-On. They are freaking expensive man! But they are worth

the money. The tool is balanced. They are precision forged and they are the

only wrench to incorporate posigrip that works.

If spending 800 on a set of wrenches is out of the question then Lowes

or Home depot store brand are all made by Stanley Works. Good quality and well



Craftsman has several levels of wrench now. Home owner,

prosumer and pro. The pro line is a good tool. It looks to me as though they

are using the expired Snap-On patent, the normal craftsman wrench we are all

used to seeing. Thick an chunky. I hate

those things. They can be hard to get

into places and tend to bite into the hand with their sharp edges. Good wrench though and less expensive than

the pro level. The bargain wrench at

sears is made in China. STAY AWAY! They will hurt you.


Ratcheting wrench:


Stanley. GearWrench

is owned by Stanley. I’m not paying 20 dollars for the name. Same freaking wrench.



Hex, Torx and other



Stanley or Craftsman.


Toolbox and storage:


Snap-On! Just kidding. I paid 6k for my box 15 years ago. A quick look shows the same box is still around 6k plus 4k for the top. But hey! if ya got the budget......


Kobalt, Lowes, sells a great toolbox. Home depot as well. Craftsman are good but unless you’re looking at the pro line they are not as deep making it hard to store longer tools neatly.

For me that is important. I love my tools. No really…..love! And I want them

all lined up nicely, perfectly aligned, like good little tools. And shiney. They have to be shiney.


Electrical Equipment:


I don't mess around here. It is too important to have the correct reading when tracing electrical problems. Fluke makes Meters that work.

Snap-On makes the best test lights. What males a snap-on light better? The cable is 6' long and heavy duty with a nice big strong grounding clamp. Cable stays flexible when cold.


<d>Metered torque devices. Or torque wrench.<\b>


Man I have this totally awesome snap-on digital 1/2 drive torque wrench. Accurate and, as we used to say in the PNW, bomber built. Will meter 0 to 350 ft, 0 to 150 ip or the equivelant in nm. It really does it all. What, 450.00 American dollars is to many pesos? Ya, I hear ya. But I look at it this way, breaking or under torquing a head bolt can cost a whole lot more.

Anyone with good expierence using the big box brands?


10 lb sledge hammer. Cut the handle to 8" or so, tape that puppy up with tennis racket tape. Bruhahahahaha that's a BFH you can get some persuasion with.


Soft low hammer, 2lb is the one I use most often. These hammers are the ones made of impact polymer and filled with bee bees.


Roll pin punch set, drift and crowfoot pry bars.

If your going to be: prying, pulling or driving it with any force, and you know you will!- get good quality soft steel. Craftsman, Mac, snap-on etc all make good quality stricken and struck tools. You can buy cheep ones for one-offs but sooner or later that punch will send a nice hot sharp piece of schrapnal into your eye. Keep the ends dressed.



Vice grips, channel locks small to large. Several.

Get the originals the f possible. I just hate rewarding companies who steal good ideas.

Klein Tools Aligator Pliers. The jaws are convex and have opposing teeth.

Edited by shoebee2
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I've been using tekton and performance impact sockets sockets with no issues as well


As for battery powered impacts you should try the new ones. My dewalt puts out 1200ft lbs reverse torque and 700ft lbs forward. So ya it is outstripping most air impacts I've used.


Performance tool makes a good wratchet, I've been using mine for years with no issues, they are kind of bulky though.


I have used snap-ons ratcheting end wrenches and those are defiantly hard to beat by anyone and well worth the Money.


Only other tool I've considered buying from snap on is a twin beam 1/2" torque wrench.


I've got more, but I'm on my phone and it makes it hard to type.


Oh and as for test lights, the $2 harbor freight led test lights are better than snap on IMHO.


Screw the multimeter get a power probe, way more useful

Edited by mikaleda
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Oh and dewalt impact screwdriver bits are the way to go for a good screwdriver that doesn't cost an arm and a leg but still doesn't strip out screws.

Edited by mikaleda

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On the battery powered impacts,

I love the idea and i have to admit that i havent tryed one in years. How long does a xharge last.

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On the battery powered impacts,

I love the idea and i have to admit that i havent tryed one in years. How long does a xharge last.

I run a 5ah battery and Ive had it for about a year and charged it three or four times.


Before I bought this one I would have totally agreed with you, but this one has seriously impressed me.


I just used it to do a rear wheel bearing on a 97 impreza and it pulled the 32mm nut off like it was nothing and presssed the bearing our like it was nothing.


Oh and that is another tool I highly recommend now that I've tried it out is OTC's hub grappler. Awesome tool makes doing wheel bearings a lot easier.

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For wrenches i really like the s-k long handle superkromes they are comparable to the snap on long handle version. I have a set of the s-k and our farm has a set of the snap on both are really good wrench sets. I have a mixed assortment of tools filling my dewalt box from sk, craftsman, proto, snap on, harbor freight, new britain, napa(old not the new stuff) ect. I really like a lot of the s-k tools from now all the way back to s-k wayne. Most of my ratchets are craftsman from the old v series, vintage thumb wheel ratchets with handles, i have the newer 3/8's thin profile fine tooth ratchet that i go to by choice that i've used almost everyday for the past 2 years with no problems. I have a long handle 3/8's snap on ratchet that i need to get serviced since it has some broken teeth. The rest of my ratchets are s-k with are professional tool truck tools which are coming back under new management. Most of them are the old s-k wayne and have never been rebuilt i just oil them every once in awhile like the rest of my ratchets.  When i go to mhcc for there subaru program i'm going to take advantage of there student discount for snap on tools which is about half off the truck. I will be getting rid of the cheaper tools out of my box and add them to my cars tool box if something breaks so i have more tools to work with.

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My boss has basically snap on everything. I have garbage tools because I'm just starting out. To be honest though, the only snap on tools of his that I do really like are the wrenches. The open ended wrenches serrated precision grip are unreal.


Personally, I'm leaning towards MAC Tools to start building up a quality set with.

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I just thought I would throw in an update.


I just bought a gray pneumatic 3/8ths inch duo socket set with ratchet. I am seriously impressed, these are some of the nicest impact sockets I've seen and the 72 tooth count ratchet is a quite nice.


Also my dewalt 1/2" impact is still going strong and has yet to let me down, I just recently had to pull the impact head and service it, that was quite easy.


Another good cheap tool that I ran across recently is my 3 ton power zone Aluminum jack, it weighs in at 60 lbs and is quite sturdy and it was $150 on eBay.

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