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BEST MECHANICS TOOL SET FOR THE MONEY

Christopher Clark by Christopher Clark

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (19 votes, average: 4.63 out of 5)
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Last Updated January 15, 2019

Dewalt DWMT81534 review small
Dewalt DWMT81534

Pros

  • Includes several box-end wrenches
  • DirectTorque tech included in both the sockets and the wrenches
  • The screwdriver uses a bit design and has an anti-slip grip

cons

The case is mediocre

There are only five wrenches per system

There are no pliers

Craftsman 38165 review (6)
Craftsman 38165

Pros

  • This set serves as a good, durable starter set
  • It includes 12 combo wrenches
  • The case is very sturdy and can take a few hits

cons

The sockets have a tendency to fall out of place in the case

The ratchets can skip from time to time

The clips on the case’s side can be difficult to pry open

Best Overall
Stanley STMT71654 review (2)
Stanley STMT71654

Pros

  • The case is particularly durable and very portable
  • The quick-release, for the most part, is very convenient to use
  • The chrome vanadium body is very versatile
  • Еhe tools resist corrosion

cons

The set doesn’t include pliers

Dimples on the ¼-inch sockets can inhibit the quick-release

The case can grip the sockets a little too tightly

Best Value
Crescent CTK170CMP2 review (4)
Crescent CTK170CMP2

Pros

  • The screwdrivers are magnetic
  • It includes adjustable and needle-nose pliers
  • It also includes locking extenders that have a good length

cons

This is more of a home tool set

The case isn’t durable at all

The adjustable wrench feels somewhat cheap

Craftsman 50230 review (2)
Craftsman 50230

Pros

  • Magnetic tips help make bolt and screw retrieval easy
  • Includes a large selection of Allen keys
  • Includes a full 40 screwdriver bits

cons

The locking extenders are somewhat short

The case doesn’t hold tools in place well

It doesn’t have as many deep-well sockets as it could

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Buyer’s Guide

best-mechanics-tool-set-2018

When you need to do a job, having a substandard selection of tools in your tool set can be quite a nuisance. As a result, you’ll want to be 100 percent sure that your tool set is well-equipped for just about any job that you’ll need to tackle, top to bottom.

The products that we covered in our best mechanics tool set reviews are all excellent, but to ensure that you have the right product for your needs, take a look at our buyer’s guide so you can always have the right tool on hand.

The Durability of the Tools

As you may expect, durability is definitely one of the top features to seek out in a new mechanic’s tool set. The last thing that you want is for your ratchet to start to warp over time or for the grips on your sockets to start to wear down, reducing the torque strength.

As a result, always seek out tools that are made of alloy or steel materials. These types of tools will last for years if not decades, so you can rely on them in the long run.

What are other important features to consider?

What Tool Options are Included

In general, it’s always a good idea to find the most inclusive mechanic’s toolkit that you can find because having more tools adds to the versatility of the kit itself. With this in mind, here are a few useful tools to have inside your toolkit so you can get some great use out of it:

  • Screwdrivers with Bits – Believe it or not, not every tool kit includes this relatively basic tool. No matter where you’re working, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll run into a screw that you’ll need to remove, so try to purchase a kit that has one of these. Additionally, while a flathead and a Phillips screwdriver are almost always used, it doesn’t hurt to purchase a kit that includes an all-purpose screwdriver that can use multiple bits to ensure on-the-go versatility.
  • Ratchet Extenders – When you’re working in tight areas, you sometimes will not be able to ratchet properly. This occurs typically when you’re working with a car engine. With a good ratchet extender that has both SAE and metric connections, you can simply just attach your standard ratchet to one end and ratchet the hard-to-reach bolt by proxy. Most ratchet extenders are available in two varieties: ¼-inch and 3/8-inch.
  • Extension Bars – These SAE and metric bars lock into place and attach directly to your ratchet so you can reach bolts that are just out of your reach. Typically, these devices lock, enabling you to have a very firm fit when you really need to tightly torque a bolt. These vary from ratchet extenders because locking ratchet bars attach directly to the ratchet like a standard socket. Once again, these extension bars are very useful for automotive work; they allow you to easily attach devices like hitches to your vehicle and are also useful when doing work on the transmission.
  • Pliers – While most mechanic toolkits don’t include highly specialized pliers like spark plug pliers to save on budget, it’s still very possible to find kits that include old standbys like needle-nose and standard pliers. As you undoubtedly understand, pliers are very useful for gripping, stripping, and even cutting. If your kit has these, it’s well-equipped.
  • Pry Tools – Once again, these are very useful when you’re doing automotive work because many car manufacturers include components on their vehicles that can only be pried off, and a good pry tool will do the job without damage. While flathead screwdrivers can be used for prying, pry tools are better rated for this type of work and provide better leverage.

what-tool-options-are-included

The Grip of the Included Tools

To put it simply, smooth tools provide good value, but it’s much more advantageous for your tools to have a certain amount of grip on them so that you’ll have no issue with slippage.

Typically, most manufacturers will texture the grips of their tools in order to provide traction, but some manufacturers use materials like rubber to add a bit of tackiness to the grip of the tool.

In any situation on a job, sweat and grease happen, and the best tool for the money will stay in your hand. In any situation, both beginner and advanced mechanics will want a grippy set of tools.

The Quality of the Case Itself

Never ignore the container of the set itself, even if you’re on a budget. When you are out to buy a tool set, case construction is of high value because the case is what protects your valuable tools from the elements and from dangers inside the work area. Also check our best portable tool boxes on the market.

While the case does provide organization for the tools themselves, it’s also there to be easy to carry.

Final Thoughts

A modern tool set, with both SAE and metric components, is a crucial component of any mechanic’s arsenal, and the products that we’ve covered in our best mechanics tool set reviews are all designed to provide a lot of versatility and reliability for the user.

While every product that we’ve done a review on doesn’t include everything, each definitely has some of the best mechanics tool options to make your life much easier.

The future of the best car mechanics tool sets will probably see more changes that help incorporate more motorized gadgets, but the mainstays will always be needed, which is why you should seek out the most well-rounded tool set available.

Reviews

01

DEWALT is one of the leaders in tools and this 205-piece tool set provides a fairly well-rounded experience with both SAE and metric tools for anyone that’s looking to do repair or maintenance work.

The case is a durable mold case that is strong enough to be subjected to a wide variety of garage and outdoor conditions.

It even comes with a screwdriver and several screwdriver bits.Unfortunately, the case is the biggest drawback of this particular tool set: there is a tendency for the tools to come loose during transport.

As a matter of fact, the sockets are an issue, and you’ll often have to replace them into their slots when you open the case.

One of the better features of this set is its very robust set of tools; the ratchet has a 72-tooth design that really grips and is designed to conform to tighter spaces.

Additionally, the screwdriver also has a very grippy rubber body that makes it comfortable to hold.

Verdict

Despite the very lackluster case, the tools that are inside provide an excellent experience. With 205 different tools to choose from, you’ll be able to execute most repair and maintenance work with this DEWALT product.

Specifications
Number of Pieces
205
Dimensions
19.2 x 14.5 x 4 in
How Many Extension Bars?
Five
Does it Include Screwdrivers?
Yes
Pros
  • Includes several box-end wrenches.
  • DEWALT included its DirectTorque tech in both the sockets and the wrenches.
  • The screwdriver uses a bit design and has an anti-slip grip.
Cons
  • The case is mediocre and doesn’t hold the tools in place well.
  • There are only five wrenches per system.
  • There are no pliers.
Dewalt DWMT81534 review small

Dewalt DWMT81534

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02

This 165-piece set is fairly extensive and comes from Craftsman, one of the best mechanic tool set brand options on the market. The product is also very well-rounded; you get 92 sockets with this set. Craftsman even included a couple of extension bars for harder-to-reach bolts.

While the product does include two extension bars, they are relatively short, which means that you may have to purchase longer ones for some projects.

Additionally, the case needs to be opened on a flat surface because the safety flap is on the wrong side and there’s a tendency for the sockets to fall out

The case for this product is very sturdy and high quality; in fact, it even has metal hinges that won’t degrade over time. Also, with 92 sockets in three drive sizes, you won’t want for versatility, and you should be able to complete most standard jobs with this set.

Verdict

When you’re looking for a smaller yet well-rounded quality tool set for your work, then this Craftsman product may meet your needs. It has enough components for most work and includes little extras like box-end wrenches, screwdrivers, and more than a few Allen wrenches as well.

Specifications
Number of Pieces
165
Dimensions
18.5 x 4.2 x 13.5 in
Does it Include Screwdrivers?
Yes
How Many Extension Bars?
Two
Pros
  • This set serves as a good, durable starter set.
  • It includes 12 combo wrenches.
  • The case is very sturdy and can take a few hits.
Cons
  • The sockets have a tendency to fall out of place in the case.
  • The ratchets can skip from time to time
  • The clips on the case’s side can be difficult to pry open.
Craftsman 38165 review (6)

Craftsman 38165

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03

This Stanley set has 201 pieces and provides a good start for those that primarily need sockets and wrenches. The product comes with three ratchets, 68 sockets, and even includes three extension bars for difficult-to-access areas.

Since the ¼-inch sockets have dimples along the inside edge, they do not release as easily with the quick-release feature. While this isn’t the end of the world, it can slow you down when you need to make a socket change. Also, the extensions aren’t as long as they could be.

Stanley designed these tools to be ergonomic and used comfortably. Additionally, the switching mechanisms are fairly easy to engage so you can switch up when needed.

Stanley also crafted these with a chrome vanadium body that is corrosion resistant and durable.

Verdict

This is a recommended set due to the fact that has a relatively complete set of components to get just about any car or home mechanic started. In addition to this, the tools in this set also all work to ANSI specifications, so you can expect professional quality.

Specifications
Number of Pieces
201
Dimensions
13.3 x 3.4 x 22.7 in
Does it Include Screwdrivers?
Yes
How Many Extension Bars?
Three
Pros
  • The case is particularly durable and very portable
  • The quick-release, for the most part, is very convenient to use
  • The chrome vanadium body is very versatile
  • Еhe tools resist corrosion
Cons
  • The set doesn’t include pliers
  • Dimples on the ¼-inch sockets can inhibit the quick-release
  • The case can grip the sockets a little too tightly
Stanley STMT71654 review (2)

Stanley STMT71654

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04

Despite only consisting of 170 tools, this product from Crescent has a lot going for it because there’s a lot of variety. Not only will you have the classic sockets and box-end wrenches, but the product also includes screwdrivers, two pairs of pliers, and hex keys as well.

The case for this tool set isn’t the strongest. In fact, the clasps are made of plastic, which means that they can degrade over time and lose grip. Also, the adjustable pliers feel a bit flimsy.

The screwdrivers have dual-material handles that are both ergonomic and grippy enough that you won’t drop them very easily. Additionally, the manufacturer heat treated the SAE and metric tools so they are durable enough to last for years.

The tools are also made of chrome vanadium, which will resist corrosion and rust.

Verdict

When you need versatility, this set is a good option because it includes most of the standard tools that you’ll need. While it may not have the more nuanced tools, it’ll definitely help you get by when you need to do some light auto repair work.

Specifications
Number of Pieces
170
SAE/Metric/Torx
SAE/Metric
Does it Include Screwdrivers?
Yes
How Many Extension Bars?
Four
Pros
  • The screwdrivers are magnetic, which is useful for mechanical work on cars or trucks.
  • It includes adjustable and needle-nose pliers.
  • It also includes locking extenders that have a good length.
Cons
  • This is more of a home tool set than a full-blown car mechanics tool set.
  • The case isn’t durable at all.
  • The adjustable wrench feels somewhat cheap.
Crescent CTK170CMP2 review (4)

Crescent CTK170CMP2

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05

If you need tougher tools to take on heavy-duty repair and maintenance, this tool set from Craftsman may be a good option.

Not only does it have a very well-rounded selection of 230 tools to choose from, it also is comprised of alloy steel and that’s very durable for tougher work. Having so many tools is a fairly good deal as well.

Unfortunately, this is another tool set that has a case that does a poor job of holding the components like the sockets. As a result, you have to open it carefully, or you’ll have tools spilling everywhere.

Also, the hex keys should have their own compartment; instead, they are loose under the wrenches, which feels somewhat cheap.

Many of the tools in this set have magnetic components, which mean that they are very useful when you have to retrieve lost components. In addition to this, the quick-release mechanism on the ratchets works very well for quickly changing out sockets in both the SAE and metric varieties.

Verdict

If you’re doing heavy duty activities like engine work, then these steel tools may be what you’re looking for. Otherwise, these tools still shine for light work due to their high material quality. That being said, the case itself is the biggest drawback of this set.

Specifications
Number of Pieces
230
Dimension
18.3 x 4 x 13.5 in
Does it Include Screwdrivers?
Yes
How Many Extension Bars?
Two
Pros
  • Magnetic tips help make bolt and screw retrieval easy.
  • Includes a large selection of Allen keys.
  • Includes a full 40 screwdriver bits.
Cons
  • The locking extenders are somewhat short.
  • The case doesn’t hold tools in place wel
  • It doesn’t have as many deep-well sockets as it could.
Craftsman 50230 review (2)

Craftsman 50230

Check Price
06

The DEWALT DWMT72165 is a more than adequate option for a car mechanic that finds themselves working with sockets constantly. Of the 204 pieces, the vast majority of them are sockets, ratchets, or wrenches.

If you’re going to be doing a lot of work that includes work with screws, you may be dismayed to know that this product doesn’t come with screwdrivers. Also, expect some hand fatigue; the ratchets in this set are very heavy.

With the 72-tooth gear assemblies on the ratchets, you can get some high torque when you are replacing bolts. Additionally, these are made for tighter areas; the ratchets are designed with a five-degree arc swing and also have a slimmer head design.

Verdict

There’s a reason why this is a very popular set with mechanics: the tool set is very durable, it has tools that are both SAW and metric, and torquing is very easy thanks to DEWALT’s proprietary technology.

Overall, if you have a good screwdriver set, then this may be one of the top supplementary products for your work.

Specifications
Number of Pieces
204
Drive Size
3/8, 1/4, 1/2in
Does it Include Screwdrivers?
No
How Many Extension Bars?
Nine
Pros
  • Tools have good grip.
  • There are some excellent locking extensions in this tool set.
  • There’s a large quantity of sockets for just about any application.
Cons
  • There are no pliers or screwdrivers.
  • The ratchets are VERY heavy.
  • It can be hard to remove the sockets from the actual case holders.
Dewalt DWMT72165 review (4)

Dewalt DWMT72165

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FAQ

Frequently asked questions

  • 01
    How to determine the tool set quality?

    Frankly speaking, there is no simple answer to this question. However, I can suggest you two things: firstly, established brands ensures the quality of tools, and secondly, read some authentic reviews online. Hopefully, you would be able to identify quality tools.

  • 02
    Is the tool set case important?

    Yes, it is extremely important. This is the part of the set that enables you to arrange your tools, and it protects the tools from damage or theft.