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869 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 2266610 29-Jun-2019 09:14
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my 2c: despite loving shiny well made things , I'm not a fan of buying tools just to have them.

 

Buy what you need to do whats in front of you.

 

Depending on what you do you will never need imperial sizes - with the world gone to metric years ago I never needed those funny sizes for what I do (DIY on japanese / euro bikes and cars).

 

Sockets are good for speed compared to ring/open spanners.

 

For cars/bikes I also collected metric nut drivers in the most common sizes (8,10,12 mm etc)  over the years and they're great for speeding tings up.

 

FWIW I started with some loose koken and other branded sockets years ago and added to the collection as I needed to do larger jobs. That 27mm I purchased to do a suspension job never got used again.....

 

As has been said, if you get something half decent your kids will be using them long after you.

 

Happy ratcheting.


589 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 2266631 29-Jun-2019 10:34
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That $186 Stanley metric set from Bunnings looks like it covers most bases for DIY use. The neatly packaged mix of 1/4" and 1/2" sockets with R/OE spanners is a good idea. You can always add extra parts as the need arises.

 

Doesn't matter how comprehensive you tool box is, there will always be that odd task that needs something that you haven't got!


 
 
 
 


22 posts

Geek


  # 2266805 29-Jun-2019 13:22
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I have had a 1/2 inch drive socket set for over 40 years and the one thing I would do if I was to buy a set again would be to go for a 3/8 drive.


2885 posts

Uber Geek


  # 2266942 29-Jun-2019 17:21
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One thing about something decent, you tend to look after it. This was secondhand when I bought it for about $5 52 years ago. Similar "vintage" Snap-on sets are on ebay for $300+.

Not shown are the handfull of metric sockets added to keep it useful.

Click to see full size

589 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 2267302 30-Jun-2019 13:21
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enfield:

 

+1 for Bahco I got the 1/2 inch kit for about 80ish a few years ago or you could also try teng tools

 

 

I really rate my Teng 3/8 set.


667 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 2267653 1-Jul-2019 09:16
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I've had my PowerBuilt 1/2" set for over 20 years now.  Had both metric and imperial and I can say that only once have I ever had to pick out an imperial socket for a job.  They stayed in the original case which is packed away on a shelf somewhere vs the metric ones that are on a socket rail in my tool box.  So unless you know for sure that you will need imperial sizes, see if you can find a metric only set.

 

I think the only thing I've broken was the breaker bar so that's been replaced with a Koken (I think, was 10+ years ago now) one.
I've also added various additional sockets (34mm? for hub nut) and extensions as needed.  Plus with the addition of air and battery rattle guns to the kit, various sets and sizes of impact sockets.  rattle guns are death to normal sockets, and also non impact extensions.

 

6 vs 12 point, 12 point sockets are fine for 95% of jobs.  Anything where you need a lot of grunt, or the corners are starting to round off, the 6 point sockets are needed.

 

For what OP appears to be looking for, Bahco, Stanley, PowerBuilt level of set should cover most things, then add additional bits as needed on a case by case basis.





246 posts

Master Geek


  # 2267694 1-Jul-2019 10:50
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I think by now you are probably noticing a trend with the comments, but I'll add my $1 because why the hell not.

 

3/8" is probably the sweet spot you are after, especially if you have any automotive inclinations; 1/4" is great for small, fiddly, hard-to-reach stuff (<= 10mm) and 1/2" for bigger stuff like undoing wheel nuts or pulling apart a engine/gearbox, but a decent 3/8" will cover most of the basic stuff. I would probably start with a basic 3/8" socket set (a wratchet and 8-19mm sockets at least), and a set of spanners (8,10,12,13,14,17,19,21mm) if you don't already have them, and add on accessories or bigger sets/sizes when/if you need them. Most sets will be a mix of metric/imperial, but I find the imperial sizes are a good back-up if you need to get rough with something. And as others have said, it might be more expensive initially, but your kids will thank you for it when they are clearing out your stuff.

 

Another brand to look at as well is the Repco branded tools. Lifetime warranty and they are pretty good for honoring it. I initially bought mostly Powerbuilt stuff when I was an apprentice, but as stuff got lost, I ended up replacing it with Repco branded stuff and had no issues at all when I was in trade. And I (like most mechanics) am definitely the brute-force-and-ignorance-every-tool-is-a-hammer type. I still have a half-decent trade card for Repco, so let me know if need it. They also do a 40% off tools and tool-kits sale pretty regularly, so might even be worth waiting for that. Something like this if you want close to your budget, or if you want to do a few easy auto jobs for a little bit more.

 

But really, as long as it has a lifetime warranty, most of the brands are much of a muchness. There are specialist tools I have bought that I will cheap out on because I only use them once in a decade, but core stuff like spanners, sockets sets, and screwdrivers are always worth spending a little bit of money on.

 

Also not recommending you need them for your use case, but if you do get serious automotive aspirations, these spanners are the business. Out of all my tools, these are by far my favourite.


 
 
 
 


1765 posts

Uber Geek

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  # 2267876 1-Jul-2019 17:18
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My kids gave me one of the stock $60 metric / imperial 1/4 and 3/8 socket sets about 10 years ago. Don't recall the brand.

 

Has been fine for all work around the home, occasional car /outboard /  mechanical repairs.

 

It's been pretty well used over the years - only had to replace the el-cheapo ratchet with something sturdier. I was trying to impact loosen a tough nut or something ....

 

Haven't tackled over tightened wheel nuts with it - I use the proper wheel-brace :-)

 

One of the best additional purchases was a 3/8 ( and 1/4) to hex adapter, so I can use the battery op screwdriver to loosen / tighten nuts and bolts.

 

 

 

 





My thoughts are no longer my own and is probably representative of our media-controlled government


mdf

2275 posts

Uber Geek

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  # 2267886 1-Jul-2019 17:35
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I've got a smaller version of the Stanley set (no spanners) that I bought for the old man at least 15 years ago and have since inherited. Hasn't put a foot wrong and is still in mint condition. I've added bits and pieces to it over the years (extender bar, spark plug socket, breaker bar) that it didn't come with. IMHO this is the best way to go if you're not going to be using it every day and absolutely have to future proof against everything. Again, just IMHO, but having both imperial and metric can be useful. 90% of the time metric is fine but there is the odd thing I come across where it is good to have the perfect size.

 

Not exactly on topic, but my go to for random nuts lately is a cheap Magic Wrench. I have a couple that live in the toolbox (which the full socket set does not) and works surprisingly well, though obviously not as fast as a ratcheting socket:

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Adjustable-Magic-Hexagonal-Wrench-BLACK-6-8-INCH-Grip-Pliers-Spanner-Tool/292696709948


503 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 2267890 1-Jul-2019 17:42
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k1w1k1d:

 

That $186 Stanley metric set from Bunnings looks like it covers most bases for DIY use. The neatly packaged mix of 1/4" and 1/2" sockets with R/OE spanners is a good idea. You can always add extra parts as the need arises.

 

Doesn't matter how comprehensive you tool box is, there will always be that odd task that needs something that you haven't got!

 

 

 

 

My 3rd 1/2 Stanley in 5 years don't ratchet no more. I've already had 2 replacements... Now i'm using a Bacho kit which I do like the feel of will see how long it lasts. 

 

 

 

Yes I abuse tools and should be using a breaker bar. 


249 posts

Master Geek


  # 2267947 1-Jul-2019 20:03
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Another +1 for a Bahco set. I’ve had a Bahco 94 Piece 1/4" & 1/2" Combi Socket Set ($236 at bunnings) for about six years and its been brilliant. I saw a tradesmen with one a few years ago and thought it was perfect so got one and had no regrets. A fair trade off with quality, price and versatility.



3936 posts

Uber Geek

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  # 2268847 2-Jul-2019 21:39
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Who would have thought there was so much interest in choosing a decent socket set?! Really appreciate all the useful advice and guidance, and it's been very helpful in narrowing my options.

So I found this Powerbuilt set in today's junkmail:

https://www.thetoolshed.co.nz/product/12518-powerbuilt-tradie-tool-set-metric-81pc

It states it includes impact sockets - are these any use to me given I don't have or intend to get an impact wrench? If not any use, a good enough reason to discount it?

Other than that, it seems to have what I am looking for:

Gives me both 1/4 and 1/2, so good for both small and big jobs
Deep sockets as well as standard
Decent brand with lifetime warranty
Selection of spanners
Metric only, which I'm happy with as I'd rather not carry stuff around i I don't need - can borrow or buy individual imperial pieces if required
Given the pro use, assume these are hex not 12 point but hard to tell from the single photo.

Any advice on the suitability of this set?

Thanks again...






484 posts

Ultimate Geek

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  # 2268849 2-Jul-2019 21:44
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That looks pretty good. They are 6 point sockets (says so in the description)

Gives you a good starting point. Impact sockets work just like normal sockets when they're not in a rattle gun, no issues there.

You could certainly do worse.

249 posts

Master Geek


  # 2268937 3-Jul-2019 07:14
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Impact sockets are just a little tougher, sometimes thicker than a standard socket.

You can buy hex to socket adaptors that let you use an impact driver to tighten up or loosen bolts. A pack of 1/4, 3/8 & 1/2” are less than $20. I use them in a cordless drill to when I need to be a little more gentle.

Click to see full size

246 posts

Master Geek


  # 2269037 3-Jul-2019 09:44
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That much stuff for that price is a steal, I probably paid nearly that just for my 1/2" Powerbuilt set (and no impact sockets) back in the day. The 1/2" impact sockets will be good for bolts slightly rounded off or a bit stubborn where the 12pt 1/2" sockets might slip. Also good for wheel nuts in combination with a power bar, where you need a deep socket to reach most of them.

 

For an all-in-one toolkit for the occasional odd job around the house and garage, that is all you need really. Anything else you can tack on when/if you need it. Hell, for that price I'm thinking about grabbing one for a kit for the car.

 

The only comment I would make is that I find a 1/2" ratchet a bit unwieldy on the lower end (10-14mm) where a 1/4" will struggle for torque, which is where I would prefer a 3/8". But that is just me, and it won't really matter anyway unless you are using it frequently for one-handed, arm-broken-in-three-places operation.


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