Husky v. Kobalt v. Craftsman

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Hey folks.
I'm looking to finally replace an old cheap set of sockets I have that are about 15 years old. They are an import I guess - given as a gift. Ratchet sometimes "sticks" when ratcheting, head is a bit "loose", and the horrible "case" does not keep the sockets orderly.
I rarely use it right now - maybe a couple times a year, but when I do use it - I keep saying to myself, "I really need to replace this". (And I'd replace it with something decent that would last forever - and since eventually I will likely use it more frequently than 2x/yr)
So I was originally thinking of getting a Craftsman set - the only problem is that they seem to have gone down in quality, and some Sears stores are starting to give people a hassle about replacement.
While at Lowe's recently - I checked out their Kobalt line. I didn't care for their ratchet very much - it seems to have the same "flaw" as many sockets.... The direction "lever" is very um wimpy. Not that I would anticipate using it as a hammer, slipping, and breaking it off... (even if I did I could swap it out for free) - but I just didn't like the look of it.
Usenet searches in general reveal that the older Kobalt tools were probably really good. However quality apparently has changed a bit when Lowe's moved to a different manufacturer?
Husky - went to Home Depot yesterday. I checked out ther 3/8" drive teardrop socket. Very nicely constructed, including built in spinner on the head. The ratchet included in their kits does not have a quick-release - because the back of the rotating shaft houses a beefy directional "latch". One thing I did notice is that putting a socket on it, while the socket fit snugly on the ratchet... It did not "seat" itself all the way back. There was a gap of about 1/16" or maybe 3/32" between the socket and the face of the ratchet. If I pushed it further back it would sit for a while, but then want to pop back out a little. Not sure if this is by design or an un-important defect.
Anyway - I guess I'm just soliciting advice. I do think the Husky is the way to go - and with a 10% coupon, I could get the 93 piece set, including tax, to be about $77. Not a bad price for something that my kids will someday likely own. Although with Xmas here - Craftsman has a lot of sales going (including one of their "laser-etched" packages) - and I am not so sure Husky hand tools go on sale at Home Depot very often. (ever?)
Dirk
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Dirk wrote:

When my older(good quality) Craftsman ratchet wrench ratchet broke, Sears gave me repair kit in a bag with necessary parts. Did not replace the whole thing. I thought today's Husky is only a name sake. But I have a 30 year old Husky 1/4 in. socket set which is still working like new. Tony
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Dirk wrote:

Sorry to hear about your horrible "case".
Sears Craftsman is a good home owner tool. Some Pros use(d) them on their way to better stuff.
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Mark

N.E. Ohio
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Since you 'rarely' use it (and I have some tools that I rarely use, too) my suggestion would be to go to a flea market.
This way you don't have to buy a whole set (who uses ALL those wrenches anyway) and you would have a choice of brands.
--
Lewis.

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If you only use them occasionally, it won't matter a lot what you get. If I was buying a set, I would get Craftsman. Watch for sales at Sears, or look on ebay, although nowadays, you can buy locally for as cheap as you can on ebay, and no shipping.
Get quality tools, whichever you choose.
Steve
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Dirk wrote:

Replacement issues, fact, or urban myth?
<snip>

Think of it this way. If you had received Craftsman 15 years ago you could walk into just about any Sears store in the country and they would replace your malfunctioning rachet. Do you think you could do the same in 15 years if you buy something from Lowes or Home Depot?
Chuck
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wrote:

Actually yes - I do.
In fact - I am not sure Sears will survive 15 years of competition with Walmart and Target. Sears has been around forever - but remember, so was Woolworth's. (Yes I know Sears is doing comparably well these days - but Walmart killed Kmart, and the combination of Walmart and Target could make it very difficult for Sears in the coming decades)
Home Depot - well I don't see them going out of business anytime soon. Hard to predict any of this stuff, but if I were to guess who would be the first to go of those three companies... It would definitely be Sears. (And I'm not a HUGE fan of HD either - just trying to be real here - although I love Lowe's :) )
Dirk
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Dirk wrote:

Good luck. I worry that even if they are around, they will have changed to a different brand and forgotten about their past. However, you may be right.

Actually, I think Kmart killed themselves :-)

Maybe.
I'm not fond of either HD or Lowes, but unfortunately, there are few alternatives for buying stuff locally.
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On Fri, 28 Nov 2003 14:36:35 GMT, Dirk

The problem with HD and Lowes is not that they might not be around, but that they will not be carrying the same brand in a few years. They go with whatever company cuts them the best deal on a per buy basis. If some other tool company makes them a better offer next year, that what's they'll be selling. Then you'l have to find another Husky dealer or ship the defective tools back to the manufacturer.
Sears may not be here to stay forever, but while they are here they will be replacing craftsman tools free. Very few of them break unless you abuse them. Using a screwdriver as a lever or putting a 3 foot pipe on a ratchet is not really smart. I will admit that I get my phillips screwdrivers replaced every 10 years or so as a little wear on those is a bad thing. I've had very few other problems with any Craftsman tool and never had an issue when using them as intended.
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Craftsman quality is no longer what it used to be though. When you make millions of wrenches, a couple of pennies makes a big profit difference. I have a set from 37 years ago but some of the wrenches today are not nearly as good. The bends in the box wrenches are not as good and are more difficult in some spots. I'd probably not buy them now, but I've not looked at the competition either as I'm not in the market for new tools. Ed
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031128 1741 - Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

Central Specialties in Ypsilanti, Michigan used to have the contract for forging the Craftsman tools years ago, but when Craftsman decided to go global with their contracts, Central Specialties closed down. Those were the good hand tools that Craftsman became famous for. No longer.
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Not being in the business, but a long time customer - I think one of the death nails was dropping the catalog. THey dropped it (they say) due to low demand - and low support on their side. Many places today rely on catalog support because local stores don't carry all products. I'm lucky, my mother and Dad are not. They have to drive a long distance to shop nice. THey finally got the idea to sell name brands as well as their brand.
Martin
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031127 2242 - Dirk wrote:

Have you considered Snapon?
http://www.snapon.com
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Let's not go there again; i.e. Snap-On vs Craftsman etc etc etc.
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lane wrote:

www.skhandtool.com/
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Spud wrote:

If not, do us all a favor and use google to research the thousands of posts that have been made on the subject in the past.
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Keep in mind that the current Husky tools at HD are made in Taiwan. They switched vendors a few years ago. But the tools look very well made. I bought a Husky ratchet set and two wrench sets a long time ago when they were still US made, and they've held up ok. Not great, but good enough for the price.
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031128 1557 - AL wrote:

A lot of sockets and wrenches look OK, but when they start to round out inside, then you know that you made a big mistake.
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indago wrote:

My main issue with poor quality tool is, it can cause serious injury! I always buy whatever it is, best I can afford w/o breaking my bank. Tony
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Sears

I'll never buy another hand tool from Sears....
I was a loyal customer for over 30yrs until a couple years ago...
I had a ratchet strip a gear and took it in for a replacement...
I was told "we don't make that model any longer and we don't have any rebuilt ones in stock (that model)" I said "how about a repair kit, got one of those? I'll fix it myselft".... "no sir we don't do that".... So, I say "fine, just give me a new one off the rack"..."no sir I can't do that, you'll have to wait until we get some rebuiilt ones in, we get them in every few weeks!!!"
Ok, so now I'm steamed and I ask to see the department manager.... she shows up after about a 10 minute wait...."sorry sir, we no longer do that, you'll have to come back when we have them (rebuilt ones) in stock".
So, I ask to see the store manager........ another 10 minute wait and the "assistant manager" shows up, store manager is "not available at this time"... Same dog and pony show.
So, I ask what happened to your used to be superb customer service??? Your old tool ads that said, "why buy tools from a guy in a truck, where's he going to be when something breaks and you need it right away?".....
He had no idea what I was talking about... said the warranty said repair or replacement at their discretion, and they don't replace ratchets only exchange for rebuilt units....
So I go home and find every craftsman tool that I own that is bent, nicked, chipped or even rusty (a big pile my friends). I took them all back to the store and exchanged everyone of them for new ones.....
A few weeks later I called this time and they had some rebuilt ratchets. Took all my ratchets that had any wear on them and exchanged them all.
I haven't spent a penny in sears since and will never again.
I have been back to sears however... If I see a bargain at a garage sale on some craftsman hand tools that are beat up, I buy em and take them to sears and get them replaced....
I figure that incident with the ratchet has cost them about $600 so far... If I live long enough, that incident could cost them who knows how much....
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