You know how they say: you’re not a man if you don’t have a mechanics tool set at your place. I once even got rejected for that reason. Just kidding, but seriously – owning a tool set is something every man should aspire to.
When choosing the best mechanics tool set, it’s important to keep in mind what projects you plan to work on. Tool sets differ in the specific tools and range of sizes they include – for example, one set might have a wide range of ratchets but no or only a few box wrenches. Think about what types of tools you find yourself in need of most frequently and choose a kit that represents those tools well. Durability, both of the tools and of the case, is also important – a mechanics tool set is something that should last for life. We’ve reviewed 27 different products and rounded up our 5 top picks, where the Crescent CTK170CMP2 turned out to be the best one.
Included components: quick-release ratcheting drives, standard and deep sockets, extensions, adapter, wrenches, pliers, screwdrivers, magnetic bit driver with driver bits, hex keys
This 170-piece tool set from Crescent was built to last and built to use frequently. In addition to a standard set of three ratchets and a full set of sockets – albeit one more limited in size range than other tool sets – this kit brings with it a set of five screwdrivers, two pairs of pliers, and an extraordinarily handy adjustable wrench. The wrench in particular makes up for the lack of combination wrench sizes that most toolkits suffer from. All sockets and wrenches come in both SAE and metric sizes, and the magnetic bit driver comes with a huge variety of bits.
The steel construction of the tools meets new ANSI and ASME standards and is heavy-duty – users note that these tools simply feel durable. The screwdrivers and pliers have non-slip handles to make them more comfortable. The only downside to this toolset is the tri-fold case, which makes it more difficult to access tools and which uses plastic rather than more durable metal latches. Crescent backs up all the tools in the kit with a lifetime warranty to provide protection for your tools.
Included components: ratchets, standard and deep sockets, combination wrenches, extension bars, hex keys, nut and specialty bits, bit driver, adapter
This 205-piece tool kit is made by Dewalt, so you can rest assured of its high quality construction. The anti-slip handle on the screwdriver and the molded handles on the ratchets add comfort when using your tools, which can make a big difference if you plan to use them frequently. In addition, the case is extremely durable thanks to the sturdy metal latches – as opposed to the plastic latches found on other cases.
The tools themselves are heavy-duty and the set comes with 62 sockets in both metric and SAE sizes. The ratchets also come with extension bars and have a quick release feature, making them easier to use. Plus, although the sockets are not rated for impact, users noted that they would stand up to a low-power impact driver. The combination wrenches are longer than usual to provide extra torque on bolts, and the screwdriver comes with a huge variety of bits to suit nearly any purpose. Best of all, the tool set is backed up by Dewalt’s free lifetime replacement warranty.
Included components: sockets, combination wrenches, pear head ratchets, extension bars, cushion grip screwdrivers, long nose and groove joint pliers, tape measure, long arm hex keys, spinner handle, bit adapter, specialty bit bars
This tool set from Stanley is a steal for the price at first glance. The kit contains 170 pieces, so it has a narrower range of sizes, especially for socket, than kits with more pieces. However, it still boasts both SAE and metric sizes and three sizes of quick release ratchets, plus four screwdrivers rather than one (although only one works with the bit adapter), two pairs of pliers, and a tape measure. The combination wrench set is also comparable to that found in other, more expensive tools sets. Although the tri-fold case is a slightly annoying design, since it takes longer to access all the tools, most users did not find this to be a major issue.
The tools are constructed from chrome vanadium, which makes the low price even more impressive. Users noted the tools won’t stand up to a construction site – in particular, the screwdriver tips will flake after extended use – but that they are plenty durable for typical household repair projects. Stanley also offers a full lifetime warranty on the tool set in case of issues.
Included components: hex keys, quick release ratchets, standard and deep sockets, combination wrenches, magnetic bit driver with fastener bits
This tool set from Channellock raises eyebrows, since it is made in Taiwan rather than the US, but customers are quickly convinced by the excellent quality of the tools at a reasonable price. The tools are made of chrome vanadium for durability and resistance to wear on the sockets. The tool set comes fully loaded with both SAE and metric sizes of all ratchets and combination wrenches, as well as includes both standard and deep sockets so you can get at almost any bolt. However, the wrenches are somewhat limited in size and range only from 5/16” to 5/8” and from sizes 8 to 15. The driver comes with a wide assortment of bits and is magnetic so they’re easy to lock onto the driver. Users also appreciated that the tools stay in place in the case, although some noted that the case itself could break in half if it was dropped. The set comes with a limited lifetime warranty on the tools so that you can be certain you’re getting a quality product.
Included components: quick-release ratchets, sockets, extension bars, combination wrenches, magnetic handle with nut drivers and screwdriver bits, hex keys
This tool set from Craftsmen comes with a whopping 230 pieces at a price that won’t break the bank, thanks in large part to the cost-saving steel alloy construction. Although this material can be somewhat brittle, Craftsman offers a lifetime warranty on the tools in the kit.
Note that the extra pieces mostly go towards providing a wider variety of socket sizes – the tool set contains only a few combination wrenches, so you are likely to need to buy individual wrenches as you need them. The sockets and Allen keys come in both SAE and metric sizes, and the magnetic screwdriver comes with plenty of bits to allow you to fit nearly any screw.
Although the case is durable, users noted that it is packed to the brim and the tools are not as secure in the molding as they could be. If you happen to drop the case, it can take quite a while to fit all the pieces back where they belong, and the case will not close otherwise.
Now that you’ve been introduced to our five favorite mechanics tool sets, how can you choose between them to find the right tool set for you? In our buying guide, we’ll cover some of the basic factors that play into deciding on the best mechanics tool set for your needs.
It’s a fair assumption that a specific project prompted you to purchase a mechanics tool set, but that you plan to use the tool set again for future projects. It’s important to make sure that the tool set contains the range of sizes of sockets and wrenches and the right types of bits for your current project, but also to think critically about whether you are likely to work on projects in the future that require a wider range of sizes. If so, you may want to opt for a larger set with more pieces and more sizes. In addition, if you find yourself using combination wrenches more than ratchets, for example, or in need or pliers, you should look for a tool set that include these items.
A mechanics tool set is typically comprised foremost of three ratchets, sized ¼”, 3/8”, and ½”, along with a wide range of sockets in both SAE and metric sizes. These ratchets can be used to tighten and loosen bolts, although the sockets in most tool sets are not rated to use with impact drivers. Some sets include a set of extension bars, which allow you to increase the torque on the ratchet to unstick bolts or set them firmly. Tool sets also come with a set of combination wrenches, although this set is often more limited in size range, that can also be used to work on bolts. A screwdriver with an adaptable bit tip and a set of bits for nearly any type of screw head is also a staple of every mechanics tool set, and some kits include additional Philips head and flathead screwdrivers. A set of hex keys, typically in both SAE and metric sizes, allows you to tighten and loosen Allen bolts. Finally, some tool sets also come with one or two pairs of pliers that can be generally useful for working with any type of bolt or screw.
There are two standard size systems for bolts and Allen bolts – SAE and metric – and according two size systems for sockets, wrenches, and hex keys. Although most tool sets come with both sets of tools in both sizes so that you never have the wrong set, it can be wise to pick a measurement system and stick to it whenever you are working on a project. That way, you only have to deal with one measurement system rather than constantly switching between the two.
One of the biggest differences among tool sets, beyond what specific size ranges of tools they include, is the construction of the tools themselves. Hand tools are typically constructed of either steel (or a steel alloy) or chrome vanadium. While both are quite durable, especially under the non-impact torques applied to most hand tools, chrome vanadium can be more ductile and thus less prone to fracturing with intensive use. More important, look for chrome plating over the steel or chrome vanadium, since this will prevent rust that can damage and corrode the tools.
Although not as essential as the durability of the tools, the durability of the case can be an important factor in choosing between two similar tool sets. Once the case breaks, it can be extremely difficult to keep the tools organized. Cases that offer metal rather than plastic hinges on the bottom and latches on the top will be the most durable and are typically able to withstand being dropped.
[wpsm_box type=”blue” float=”none” text_align=”left”]Another consideration with respect to the case is whether it holds the tools firmly in place – cases that allow the tools to spill out if the case is dropped can be a significant pain, since replacing all of the sockets into their respective places can take upwards of an hour.[/wpsm_box]
Tools with a design that is comfortable to hold can be a welcome relief if you plan to use your tool set frequently. Look for ratchets, screwdrivers, and pliers that have molded handles or even non-slip coatings to prevent your hand from slipping while using the tools and to reduce the strain on your fingers when working with the tools.
If you buy a tool set and plan to use it for your future projects, no matter how large and how many, you want to make sure that your tool set is durable enough to handle those projects. Although made of different materials – it can be steel, steel alloy, or chrome vanadium, the best mechanics tool sets are usually backed up with a lifetime warranty, so be sure to check it out.
A good mechanics tool set brings together all of the hand tools you commonly need for household projects and organizes them into a handy case. Although it’s possible to purchase these tools individually, purchasing them as a set ensures you will have all of the sizes you need and save you money and time in the long run. Thanks to our reviews of the top five mechanics tool sets and our buying guide, finding the best mechanics tool set for you – one that is durable, offers a wide range of sizes, and is comfortable to use – is now made easy.