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Old 03-02-2013, 08:12 AM   #1
jtatknox OP
Joined: Jun 2012
Oddometer: 40
Tool quality question

What's the difference between these two bit sets other than country of origin and $58.47? I want to make good investments in quality tools, but I also want to make SMART investments. I'd love to hear peoples thoughts on this. Both are lifetime guaranteed.
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Old 03-02-2013, 08:45 AM   #2
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A guarantee doesn't help much if the tool breaks during a job
and you need the tool in working order so you can finish the job.
I like Snap On tools because I do business with several Snap-On tool truck
guys and I can call them on the weekend and drop by their house to get a
replacement tool if the need for the tool is urgent.

Also, a tool which breaks can cause personal injury. I know people
who have been permanently disabled by tools failing under load.
Poor quality tools make such events more likely.

Craftsman are decent for amateur use, but in my experience the Allen
bits sold by Craftsman don't fit fasteners as precisely as the bits sold by Snap On,
Hazet, Stahlwille, or other high quality manufacturers. Sometimes when the fit
of the bit is not as tight as it could be in the head of the fastener, the result is a
damaged fastener which can no longer be removed using the "correct" tool, and that
may then lead to a time-consuming hassle removing the fastener and finding a
replacement fastener.

High quality tools are a lifetime investment. High quality tools work
better, and they can always be sold to get some money back out of them
if circumstances require it.

Buy the best tools you can afford. If money is tight, check out your local
Craigslist ads, sometimes you can get deals on used high quality tools on
Craigslist. The Snap On man will replace a tool when it breaks whether
you bought the tool new or used. Same goes for Sears ( Craftsman ).


It'sNotTheBike screwed with this post 03-02-2013 at 09:01 AM
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Old 03-02-2013, 09:01 AM   #3
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unless, if your making a living with already know what's the "smart investment" is. as with any tool use, the user HAS to use the tools in a safe manner- never put youreself in a position where you'll hurt yourself if the tool slipps or fails! blaming a tool for an injury is the perview of the amature. - and i have the scars to prove it!
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Old 03-02-2013, 09:24 AM   #4
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The williams set will cover up to 5/8 which you will need.

The other... 3/8ths down and Two useless screw heads that you most likely already have.

ever try a slotted screw driver with a ratchet? your askin to get hurt

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gsweave screwed with this post 03-03-2013 at 05:57 AM
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Old 03-03-2013, 08:23 AM   #5
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check out Wiha brand bits too.

I prefer to buy single bits rather than allen bit sets... you don't get as good of a "deal" but on the flip side I see very little need for 2 and 3mm allens on my moto. Do you even need all those sizes or will a $6 folding allen key multi-tool fulfill your 2mm and 3mm needs twice a year?

Same for socket sets - how many sizes does your moto even use?

That said, I have used a set of Craftsman allen sockets on my bicycles for about 5 years and none are very stripped. It was about $50.

Generally when choosing between levels of tool quality, I decide - is this a 1 time use item? Like the security torx bit I used to remove the helmet lock from my DR. I will probably never use that bit again. I bought the cheapest I could find on ebay w/shipping.

OR - is it a trail use item? Do I need to be damn sure this screwdriver or allen bit, or wrench will NOT break when I'm in the backcountry. If the answer to that is YES, then I drop the real $.

And for another generalization: German, Japanese and USA made tools are the only ones I will trust for heavy or backcountry use.
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Old 03-03-2013, 11:06 AM   #6
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And to add even more indecision, here are industrial socket hex bit choices:

All things considered these 3/8" drive hex bits cannot take that much torque and if you have something that really needs > 50 ft-lbs of torque, then plan on hurting yourself. Personally, I would consider buying two sets of the $10.00 bits and find out which ones are critical then replace them with the higher quality bits. Alternately, figure out what bits you need - order a cheap set for the case - and buy the industrial versions in the sizes needed.

Unfortunately, I don't think anyone can help you make decisions like these. YMMV.
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Old 03-03-2013, 05:02 PM   #7
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Williams was always a really good brand though not well known. I don't know the other guys. Craftsman has gone down hill in the last few years.... their Phillips screwdrivers are particularly bad.... terrible. anyway, think about going to the pawn shops.... plenty of tools to choose from
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Old 03-03-2013, 05:10 PM   #8
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I suppose either one is fine and good points are raised about quality and such. The thing I wonder is - how do you have a broken tool replaced if you bought off of the internet. Don't get me wrong, I buy a lot from Amazon, but they don't replace broken stuff after 30 days.

Have you considered Kobalt at Lowes? I bought some for Allen and Torx and they work well, plus if one breaks, I can run down to Lowes, replace it, and get back to work. Haven't broken one yet. That's a plus!

I am looking for a new brand to replace Craftsman. They haven given me a hard time about replacing stuff lately. I figure, if they won't honor the warranty, then I don't need to buy their stuff....
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Old 03-03-2013, 08:12 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by ktm360mx View Post
I am looking for a new brand to replace Craftsman. They haven given me a hard time about replacing stuff lately. I figure, if they won't honor the warranty, then I don't need to buy their stuff....
+1. Sears is shooting themselves in the foot (again) with refusing or making warranty replacements difficult. That, plus the quality of many of their tools has gone down. This is driving away customers they need to keep the doors open and the lights on.
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Old 03-04-2013, 03:40 AM   #10
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I haven't been to Sears for some time, but stopped by the other day to fill in some missing sockets and wrenches in my tool chest. HOLY CRAP. The quality of their tools has really gone down hill. Some wrenches look like they were forged and sized by hand. There were a few I'm sure wouldn't fit a nut or bolt !
Sad to say but Harbor Freight tools in comparison are twice the quality. And one fourth the cost !
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Old 03-04-2013, 05:08 AM   #11
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I have quite a few Snap-on, Craftsman, Industro Super, tools, bought and inherited. I like them but nowadays would choose Harbor Freight which also have a lifetime warranty. My Snap-on 13/16 deep socket broke about 10 years ago and I haven't taken the time necessary to track down the Snap-on truck and get a replacement. If it were a HF socket I could run down to the store and get a quick replacement.
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Old 03-04-2013, 05:52 AM   #12
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Back on bits. When I worked as an industrial mech. I used lots of hex bits and when it fit I used an Apex bit holder with SAE bits as the machinery was mostly SAE. They are hard steel and unlikely to break. Other bits like shown with insertion & made from 2 pieces are sort of expendable tools so a lifetime warranty is nice but if like said your making a living with them failure is not cool. Hex bits are not nearly so "fiesty" as Torx bits which easily fail esp in the smaller sizes like 15T. I've seen much better service from name brands in Torx bits but see no hard reason to go for them if a casual wrencher.
At the time(1960's) I was an apprentice, the tools given to us were Williams and good stuff/USA made then. FWIW, my 1 st set of Globemaster metric 3/8ths sockets are still alive & well-made in Japan which was considered crap at time I bought them.
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Old 03-04-2013, 08:10 AM   #13
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I have a set of craftsman hex sockets and 2 sets of HF that I picked for a travel boxes (didnt care of they were stolen)

The HF is as every bit good as the craftsman, sad but true.
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Old 03-04-2013, 11:33 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by jtatknox View Post
What's the difference between these two bit sets other than country of origin and $58.47?

You always get what you pay for with tools.

The cheap ones will be too soft, and will not hold up to repeated use, and may also outright break. The Williams set (great brand) will last for the rest of your life under normal use.
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Old 03-04-2013, 11:43 AM   #15
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Cheap bits are not reliable for torque wrench settings. They tend to strip and round out, or they are brittle and break.

I bought the cheap set, good for occasional use, and individual quality bits- for cap screws needing a torque setting.
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