Some of the tools that i've bought in the past didn't last very long.
The tips would get bent or get grooves in them. Basically tools became
useless very quickly. They were no name brand, made in outer mongolia
kind of products. So my question is which company makes good, long lasting,
quality tools. It's perfectly OK if I have to pay premium. The tools I'm
buy are the kinds I would need in an emergency around a city appartment.
So, hammer, screwdriver set, pliers, long-nose pliers etc. What else would
say I need?
I know a lot of people don't like Craftsman ... but they DO guarantee
their tools. My father had a craftsman wrench that broke and so he took
it back to Sears and asked for a free replacement.
The "kid" working at the counter looked at this sorry wrench my father
brought in which was clearly older than the kid himself. He said, "I
can't replace this. It's old and broken."
My father said, "If it wasn't broken, I wouldn't want it replaced!"
Well, they argued for a while and then an older manager came by to see
what was going on. He looked at the wrench, saw that it was a Craftsman
wrench, and told the young clerk "Replace it, free."
The kid couldn't believe his ears! He started arguing with the manager!
Anyway, Dad said that twice in his life, he had a craftsman tool break
and got them replaced as per their guarantee. Not bad, huh?
Edwin Pawlowski wrote:
I had an old (20+ years) steel carpenters square (with rafter tables)
that had gotten warped and I couldn't get it fixed to lay straight. I
took it back and their current steel square didn't have the rafter
tables. So they gave me a solid brass one that did!
I agree that their power stuff is chancy. And I'm not impressed with
most of the hand woodworking tools (chisels, files, planes, etc.). But
for hand mechanics tools they're hard to beat.
I did note the last time I bought a Craftsman garden pruner, the text
said that the free replacement didn't apply to the blade part. I don't
know if they're reducing the warranty on other tools as well or not.
For the non-mechanic, Craftsman (non-electric) hand tools are probably the
best bang-for-the-buck. Crap. (I once ran across the manufacturer of
Craftsman hand tools, and was surprised that they manufacturer several
different brands, but I can't remember who it was. I do remember that I'd
never heard of the company)
With power-tools, (both air and electric powertools) it quickly becomes a
hit or miss proposition. Some are good, some aren't. I have a couple of
twenty-plus year old Craftsman router that still work as well as my more
modern Bosch. But, I wouldn't consider a modern Craftsman router.
I have a very old Craftsman 1/2" drill. Both the trigger and the cord have
been replaced at least once. But that brute is still unmatched when it
comes heavy duty drilling.
If I happened to be an auto mechanic (or similar tradesman), I'd probably go
for Snap-on. Most plumbers swear by Rigid, and it's a rare professional
electrician that doesn't have a couple of Klein tools in his pouch. But
those tools are considerably MORE expensive, so the discussion is really
revolving around "value" rather than quality.
I have several different Craftsman pneumatic staplers/nailers that have
proved to be perfectly adequate for my light duty, home workshop
environment, but I would probably opt for a higher priced name brand if I
was using them in a production shop environment.
So...it all depends...
Just recently, my SIL borrowed my 35 year old torque wrench, only to
discover it was no longer functioning. He did have to discuss the
replacement briefly since the wrench was older than he was, and Sears no
longer carried that model. That new high-dollar wrench is sure a beauty.
Talk about a tough question...
I have a mixed bag of everything in my shop. On my work trucks there
are just about every major brand there.
In my mind, you have to find one of two of the good power tools some
manufacturer makes by asking around. For years I haven't felt
comfortable just replacing a tool with a brand loyal product. Most
recently I have quit buying DeWalt altoghether, although at one time
they were great.
The only manufacturers now that I have consistently good luck with are
Bosch and Milwaulkee. But with the recent ownership change by
Milwaulkee that may change in the near future.
For non tailed hand tools, I am there with the Craftsman crowd.
I inherited a wooden box full of pipe wrenches, threader, etc. from my
FIL. I was giving them a cleaning (read lick and a promise) and came
across a hacksaw on the bottom of the box. Broken handle, useless
blade. I was about to toss it when I noticed a "C" on the bow. A bit
of rubbing revealed the magic word: Craftsman. Put it in a bag and the
next time I was near Sears, took it in. The clerk looked at it, his
eyebrows moving into his receding hairline, and allowed that this was an
old-timer. He disappeared and then reappeared with a shiny new hacksaw.
With a fresh bag to boot. :-)
I have a very old set of Craftsman hand tools including ratchets, sockets
and open/box end wrenches. Good tools and good guarantee. I backed the
truck over one of the 1/2" ratchet handles a few years ago and actually
broke it. Took it back to the store and the clerk handed me a new one.
With that said, Master Mechanic tools carry the same lifetime guarantee on
sockets, screwdrivers and similar hand tools. In some cases they cost about
1/2 the cost of similar Craftsman tools. True Value sells Master Mechanic.
1/2" breaker bar about 20" long. I'm standing & bouncing on the end of it
trying to free a 1 or 1 1/8" nut on a trailer ball(had it turned sideways in
the receiver on the truck). About 4 bounces(any of you who've seen my
likeness on ABPW will realize I'm a fair-sized li'l feller) & I'm standing
on the ground wondering WTF? It peeled the 1/2" drive off in a spiral
pattern. Back to Sears, came home with a new one.
The greatest headaches are those we cause ourselves.
I would suggest a Estwing Hammer. I got one that works great for
driving nails all day. Long handle and large head, weighs a lot, not
sure of the ounces. The only bad thing I can say about Estwing is that
they ring when driving nails. Does not bother me, but some people are
sensitive to the sound.
For screwdrivers, pliers, and electrician's tools, Klein is a good choice.
You can find Klein tools at Sears, Home Despot, etc. Knipex is also good
for pliers. Lindstrom makes very good (and very expensive) pliers for
delicate work, such as electronic repair or jewelry. Wiha makes good
For hammers: Vaughan. The Vaughan Superbar pry bar is also very handy.
Measuring tools: Craftsman tape measure (seems to be a lot more durable than
Stanley). Stabila levels. General 6" steel pocket rule. Swanson speed
square. Starrett combination square. Brown & Sharpe dial caliper. Johnson
Craftsman wrenches aren't bad. Snap-On wrenches are top notch, but very
Nicholson files are good. Pferd, Simonds, and Grobet are also good, but not
as easy to find.
While we're on the topic of hand-tools like wrenches, screwdrivers, etc
(as opposed to handplanes and chisels)......
Can anyone give me some insight into the differences between NAPA
Professional Series tools verus Snap-On? A quick glance tells me the
Snap-On is 30% higher. Wil I get 30% more performance?
Napa Professional tools are made by Danaher, the same company that makes
Crapsman. Yes, they make them to Napa's exceeding specs (ie. use the same
internals, but change the housing slightly and write Napa on it instead of
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