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
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
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
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 :) )
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
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.
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.
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.
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 Eastburn, Barbara Eastburn
@ home at Lion's Lair with our computer firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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
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
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
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