I know there are lots of conversations about which ratchet set is best or most popular. But I’m looking for a set with some certain criteria.
- I want a set with 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2 drive sockets and wrenches
- Standard and metric sockets
- I do not want many extra tools like wrenches or allen keys or screwdrivers
- The case needs to have storage for extra pieces or additional accessories
- Would really like a lifetime warranty but its not critical assuming I can get identical replacements easily.
I do woodworking and construction, not automotive work. I have a great craftsman set I really like with all these features but the ratchets are kinda broken and my dad wants it back…
I’m not too concerned about price but I do not need top of the line stuff like snap-on. I’d like to keep it under the $250 range.
You may be a bit over specified.
Your under $250 for a big “Master Set” undoubtedly eliminates lots of brands like Proto, SK, Williams, Wera, and Wright.
Some Gearwrench sets like their 80934 might meet your needs - but you’ll need to buy a separate toolbox to store extra pieces if you buy the 80933, 80932 or 80931. These also include combi-wrenches and allen keys.
Dewalt branded sets and some Stanley sets are similarly configured - but are within your price range if you shop around for price or specials.
I’m not sure that HD’s house brand (Husky) - sell sets that include everything you want together - but you could piece a set together. Lowes sells sets under the Kobalt brand but many of those add parts you don’t want or are priced above your $250 threshold
Let’s say I expand my budget. Or make compromise somewhere else. What would you suggest?
Maybe you want to get to a store that sells some of the brands and see what you think about the feel of the ratchets, how smooth the plating feels and what add on components area available.
I have mostly 40 year old Williams and Proto - with lots of other (mostly European) brands thrown in for odd pieces - so I’m no judge of the current quality of sockets coming out of Taiwan or China. I’ve used some Gearwrench wrenches and they seem OK so maybe their socket sets are worth a look in your price range:
Some Dewalt sets might also be worth looking at:
since you’re leaving out things like Universals, and spinners, and the like you might find you want to put together your own kit. And from the sound of it you want your own box anyway.
So maybe do this - get you the box you like for your need. I’m sure you have something in mind. And since you say construction I have a feeling portable is more the need. Master kits might not be the way you want to go.
To that end - I would then fill it with good enough items and because you say construction I wouldn’t want to spend much as they might get lost or damaged. I sort of see this as a tool kit for turning those lag bolts, and other pieces not so much I need to get the alternator off a 07 vette. Granted what I line out should work there too.
Do you need metrics? If not you can avoid them. Also do you need 1/2 drive? what do you expect to have to turn
SO then - actual tools - after you have a box in mind. Get thee to the closest autozone. I know, I know - but they have quality taiwan made sockets in set boxes at very reasonable prices. maybe not get the full kits but just sets of the sockets. I start off many a college student this way - and I know many that still use their sockets on their cars to this day. Get your 1/4 set, then your 3/8 set.
If you need 1/2 drive get that too.
Get some extensions they come in handy. probably more for the 1/4 drive and 3/8 than the 1/2 For the 1/2 drive if you get any I’d get only impact sockets
Of devices to get with them - as I expect you have drills and maybe an impact driver - get a 1/4 and 3/8 hex to square adapters so you can run sockets and the like with your drill and impact driver - I use this the most for construction tasks. and make sure you get at least a 1/4 - hex bit holder socket for your kit.
For wrenches if you feel you need them - get that from autozone or maybe even home depot or lowes - maybe skip on the ratcheting to save money I don’t own a set either to be honest.
Otherwise do what fred suggested and get either that gearwrench kit or maybe one of the dewalt kits, or even the cheaper stanley kits you can find online.
There is a point where tools become a thing unto themselves, rather than a means to an end. That is where you begin to waste time and money.
I can tell you for certain that woodworkers will not need 1/2" drive wrenches. They probably won’t need ratchet wrenches at all. They will also not need BOTH metric and imperial sockets, because you get to choose which fasteners you use. And even then, you would drive lag bolts, not wood screws. How often do woodworkers use lag bolts? Not often. I have a 3/8" ratchet set that I use mostly for replacing spark plugs in my car. Which is less than once every three years. (I don’t drive much.)
Construction? You mean building construction? Other people can tell you more about that, but I bet they will say they don’t use ratchet wrenches. They use cordless impact drivers, or impact wrenches, if at all; I know the newer metal stud-frame buildings call for lots of impact drivers, because I can hear them every morning at about 7 AM outside my window, where they are building a new 9-story apartment building. But traditional wood stud construction? I don’t think so.
My advice, and I don’t mean to disrespect anything you have said about what you want, etc., is to just buy anything. Store brands like Husky and Ridgid would do. So would pawn shops. If you need more or better, buy them when you need them.
I use ratchet for for a few things in the shop. I occasionally drive lag bolts. The majority of the time though i use sockets for working on tools and equipment. Many tools have metric fasteners. My primary thinking with a big set was to have something but not need it vs. needing to stop in the middle of fixing a tool to go tot the store to buy the right size socket.
It sounds like my best option might be to buy a couple of basic socket sets and build my own set in a tool box. I’ll look into more of the DeWalt sets and Stanly sets to see what I can find. I’m afraid a build your own set may be close to the price of a complete set.
Woodworkers don’t use them a lot, but there are a few other things I use as a woodworker, and that’s to make jigs, or for a workbench made with metal extrusions, etc. I use them for things other than lag bolts. Putting together a set for these can be useful. I’m thinking about those Craftsman truck tool boxes that Stuart wrote about a few years ago. I got a few of these and they have various sizes, all are low profile, which is nice, not a space waster. https://toolguyd.com/craftsman-mini-plastic-tool-boxes/ The links no longer work, but sears does show them on their website.
Tekton is another brand that gets consistently good reviews. I have some tekton wrenches and like them, frequently on sale with lots of individual pieces to customize or replace. The price of replacement won’t make you cry if something happens to them on a construction site. They have some sets. Meijer (regional chain) carries them, as does Home Depot.
I think that you have gotten some sound advice about how to avoid buying tools you are unlikely to need.
Maybe you might think through what you have used of the Craftsman set you have from your Father - and then start your collection based on those pieces - rather than speculating on what you might need under all possible scenarios.
You talk about sockets for tool repair. Might you be better served with nut-drivers - in smaller sizes that handle the nuts and hex-head fasteners found on small tools and appliances?
If the “tool repair” is for lawnmowers, OPE, tractors etc.- then - maybe a 3/8 inch socket set (metric and SAE - with the appropriate spark plug sockets) might come in handy.
Thinking about what else is around the house - you might want to look at your garage door hardware (pulleys, connections etc.) to see what size nuts and bolts (probably 1/2 and 9/16) are needed. Then see what other fasteners you can spy (toilet tanks, flange bolts, under sink, closet hardware, fence bolts, railing attachments, bed bolts etc.) that you will realistically be likely to work on. It will likely be a short list if you are honest with yourself.
Koko is right that - if you have a major building project in mind - you will probably be better off with a impact driver and impact sockets to fit the lags you plan to use. Unless your plan is to use dowel screws, hanger bolts, Sammy’s, threaded rod connections or other things where you will be tightening lots of nuts - a ratchet and socket would not be your choice of tool.
Well the best one I can recommend is the dewalt DWMT75000 set I purchased. If you don’t care about extras and want to save a bit then the stanley which is make by dewalt is the second best. Note: You’d still have to buy a case and cut out a foam insert if you want a compact case.
You’ll often find the dewalt combo i’m referring to for 90 shipped on home depot every 2-3 months:
with the stanley always about $50.
Home that helps
You are right, and I exaggerated. Woodworkers do use socket wrenches once in while, and DIYers sometimes do too.
So I decided to be a little hard headed and bought the Dewalt DWMT73803. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00PXN00BS/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
I think I’m going to love it. It’ll stay in the box truck and now I don’t need to carry the wrench set I have in there. It has nearly everything I wanted; accessory storage, all the sizes I could possibly need, high quality case, and a lifetime warranty. It is a big kit both quantity and footprint wise but I think it will work well.
Thanks for your help!
Looks like a good buy!
“all the sizes I could possibly need”
Just don’t get into antique cars - Old Fords and others used 25/32 and 19/32
But hey - buy an antique car and that’ll be an excuse to buy some more tools.
Anyone for Whitworth standard bolts on old British stuff?
Yes Fred, you just brought back memories of an old Bristol high pressure compressor from many years ago. It was a small four stage compressor run by about a 3hp electric motor at 3500 psi used for filling scuba tanks. I recall first trying to pull the heads to inspect the valves and cylinders for wear and corrosion. Knowing it was British I first tried using metric sockets and then SAE when they failed to work. After a few slightly rounded bolt heads and some frustration, my dad came by to tell me it was a “bastard size” known as Whitworth. With no internet and little help on this side of the pond back in the 70’s, I think I recall resorting to using an adjustable wrench to complete a basic inspection. I also don’t think we ever rebuilt this pump or put it back in service.
when he said 1/2 drive I sort of envisioned he planned to tighten those concrete stabilizing cables you see in foundations in swamp areas (FL, lower AL, LA,TX etc). Agreed though depends entirely on what type of construction is done.
working on tools - I don’t know that I do much of that. at least not my wood working tools.
I will also say because of a tight spot I have used a 1/4 socket bit holder and a square bit to tighten up a kreg pocket screw. rare but yes - it was assembled and whoever ran them in didn’t get it tight