Tools, brands, stores, prefernces

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mellowdave

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So I'm a little curious, is anyone else seeing a kind of quantum, shift in the tool business?

I ask because I used to see Sears and Craftsman as kind of the moderately priced upper middle of the road for tools, and Snap-On/MAC/Facom as the upper end. I still seek out Snap-On for your more critical items (ratchets, torque wrenches, and the like) but all my non impact sockets are craftsman, all my wrenches, most of my screwdrivers, and pliers. Lately though, I'm noticing Sears never, EVER has anything in stock, you can't get "open stock" tools if say you lose a single socket...and it troubles me. Inadvertently I find my self going to Lowes and perusing the "Kobalt" stuff a lot, in fact, tonight I bought a 1/2 to 3/4 adapter there. While looking, I noticed that they also have a lifetime warranty, carry "easy read" sockets, and honestly, everything feels at least on par with Craftsman.

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Now a dose of perspective, I'm not a professional mechanic of any kind. If I were, I would really invest in Snap-On pretty much across the board, tolerances are better, and overall quality is better, no doubt. Plus that handy truck comes once a week and takes charge cards. But I AM a very capable home mechanic, and I want quality tools for my hard earned dollar. As I drive a Japanese truck it would be hypocritical of me to say that I'm only willing to buy made in America, as I often hear espoused, and honestly, if they are truly well made, I'm not really even concerned with where they come from. Some of my finest hand tools are Kowa Seiki, and Vessel, each proudly made in Japan. My nicer electrical screwdrivers are Wiha, very German, and my precision electronics screwdrivers are very much made in Taiwan.

Thoughts?
 
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stoney126

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I've noticed craftsman has slipped in some areas. My local OSH carries craftsman and the sears stocks a pretty good amount.
Lowe's cobalt tools seem to be decent and has a pretty good selection. I've got a few things in my toolbox from them.
Though as a professional snappy and matco have majority rule in my box
 
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Rodtheviking

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I have also been buying Kobalt tools for a while now, Sears has lost my business. There is never anything in stock at my local store, wanted to get a replacement chuck for my 2 year old drill, no luck, they don't even offer it for replacement, so I'm out a drill. And they wont warranty it because electrical tools only have a 1 year warranty now. Many other places to shop thank goodness. Sears also wanted 45.00 bucks for a replacement garage door remote, the whole opener with two remotes was only 110.00.. wth? I ended up getting a universal for 20 at Lowes.
 
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Murphy Slaw

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The last Craftsman set I bought, just for keeping at my cabin, was MADE IN CHINA.

So, I'd say the Kobalt is every bit as good, if not the SAME, and Lowes has better hours than Sears.

Living in Illinois, I hate to see Sears going downhill so far, so fast.

And so it goes......
 

MarkW

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I have a fairly good size socket set from Kobalt in a case that I keep in the rig. I have been using this set for years and it's never let me down. I won't hesitate to buy their tools.
 

mellowdave

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I have a fairly good size socket set from Kobalt in a case that I keep in the rig. I have been using this set for years and it's never let me down. I won't hesitate to buy their tools.
Mark,

Funny you say that, I'm re stocking the truck set with Kobalt as we speak.

Ironically, since I posted this, I've gotten no less than 8 emails from "the Craftsman Club" encouraging me to take advantage of sales, etc.
 
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Laughing Otter

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I have also been buying Kobalt tools for a while now, Sears has lost my business. There is never anything in stock at my local store, wanted to get a replacement chuck for my 2 year old drill, no luck, they don't even offer it for replacement, so I'm out a drill. And they wont warranty it because electrical tools only have a 1 year warranty now. Many other places to shop thank goodness. Sears also wanted 45.00 bucks for a replacement garage door remote, the whole opener with two remotes was only 110.00.. wth? I ended up getting a universal for 20 at Lowes.
I think the reason for Sears not having a replacement for your drill is that all Sears power tools are made by Ryobi now. At least that's the info I've received.
 

Laughing Otter

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My tool box is a hodge podge of brands...Craftsman, Mac, Snap on, Kolbalt, Stanley...and even the Husky brand from Home depot...I basically buy whatever is on sale at the time I need a tool. All of these brands come with a lifetime warranty...lol, yes even Husky. In fact I have a Husky Ratchet that I used as an emergency hammer to drive in metal tent stakes in a downpour...and the damn thing still works!
 

MarkW

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Mark,

Funny you say that, I'm re stocking the truck set with Kobalt as we speak.

Ironically, since I posted this, I've gotten no less than 8 emails from "the Craftsman Club" encouraging me to take advantage of sales, etc.
They must be reading the posts here :dizzy:
 

Philbobagginz

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I have a Stanely socket set that I've had forever, it does what I need it to do and its lasted for me. I have bits and pieces from Pittsburgh also. No complaints from them either. I have Husky box wrenches that have held up with a beating.
 

ShawnR

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I don't shop Sears anymore. Plus, Kmart, Farm n Fleet, and maybe another place carries Craftsman now. I think Sears is going down the tubes. I buy very little off the tool trucks. I use primarily Kobalt for my chrome socket sets. I buy Sunex impacts online and they are just as sturdy as Matco. Heck, I buy them for a lot cheaper off Amazon than what Matco charges for them. Tekton impacts have also held up well for me. I also have quite a few Pittsburgh sockets, ratchets and wrenches that I use daily that have never failed me. And, almost everything I buy and use has a lifetime warranty.
 
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Laughing Otter

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I don't shop Sears anymore. Plus, Kmart, Farm n Fleet, and maybe another place carries Craftsman now. I think Sears is going down the tubes. I buy very little off the tool trucks. I use primarily Kobalt for my chrome socket sets. I buy Sunex impacts online and they are just as sturdy as Matco. Heck, I buy them for a lot cheaper off Amazon than what Matco charges for them. Tekton impacts have also held up well for me. I also have quite a few Pittsburgh sockets, ratchets and wrenches that I use daily that have never failed me. And, almost everything I buy and use has a lifetime warranty.
Kmart and Sears are the same company now.
 

roamingtimber

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I buy craftsman when I can, usually from either the base exchange or my local ace. If I can't find what I need there I'll go to either Home Depot or Lowes and pick up Husky or Cobalt respectively. They seem good quality and carry a lifetime warranty. My dad has a full snap on set that I'm waiting to inherit. It's even engraved with my initials! (We have the same initials, super convenient) I'd buy tools off the snap on truck, but I have enough stuff already that when I need something I'm halfway through a project when I realize it and waiting a few days for the truck isn't efficient.
 
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Iubootgater

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When my tools made me money I had no problem with paying for snap on. Now unless I need precision, I buy from whatever big box store is closer. I work at a shop still just not turning wrenches and I know allot of those guys buy from snap on for the everyday use tools and harbor freight for the now and agains...
That reminds me I better go get some Sears stuff warrantied before I can't find a Sears.
 

WUzombies

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I've noticed craftsman has slipped in some areas....
I broke the mechanism on my Craftsman 1/2" drive ratchet and broke the nipple (is that what it's called) on the 3/8" drive ratchet. I have a Stanley (wal-mart) brand set that has lasted me a decade of smooth abuse (and possibly one or two "light tosses" across the garage). The only craft left in the Craftsman brand is the guy who is translating all the warranty cards from Mandrin.[/QUOTE]
 

IronPercheron

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I am hard on tools.

Damn hard...at times... 4 lb sledge hammer on 3/8 drive ratchet hard...

I get most of my general hand tools (household) from kobalt. I would say 60% of my stuff is craftsman. And 30% is northern tool... while the final 10% is bluepoint

We wont get into machine tooling for lathes milling machines and the like lol

I like all of it, my brother inlaw makes a living at the GM dealer with cornwell tools and loves em



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Mike G

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Back in the mid 80's I bought myself a Craftsman's 3 drawer tool box and a set of Metric/ SAE socket set and wrenches. The tool box is beat to hell and the tools still work great. It's been a while since I bought any new Craftsman tools so I wondering if they are still made in the USA? At the same time I bought a Black & Decker Quantum drill. The drill works great and it has the adjustable speed dial on it. Had to use it last week and I just noticed that it says 'Made in USA

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