Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Buying the Cheapest Wrenches I could

"There are a lot of good buys at HF…but they sell a lot of junk as well."

One does have to pick and choose and to me it matters whether the tool is for frequent use or only very occasional use.

I bought a set of assorted blue plastic pry tools that I use for car trim removal, things like dashboard trim bezels, etcetera. They work great and don’t break or mar plastic. I have had them a while but several pieces were less than about 6 bucks.

I’ve never had a problem with a HF purchase.
I HAVE had problems with AutoZone purchases. I don’t stop there anymore.

@irlandes: I know how attached you were to that car. It’s a shame you couldn’t mordita your way out of that problem…seems the one time a little corruption is good, is as an end run around well-intentioned, but overly-officious, laws.

A good use of HF wrenches is when you need that second wrench of the same size to hold the nut while you turn the bolt with your good wrench. That’s why I bought a set of them, two actually, one SAE and one metric. You also get the sizes of wrenches that you use like once in a lifetime.


“I have a large selection of Craftsman hand tools. The ones I have are excellent and have lasted me decades. Yes the quality has declined over the years…but still better the HF. And you can’t their sales…not even HL can beat their sales.”

Apparently harbor fake impact socket sets are even cheaper than Crafsman impact socket sets on sale. Some of my colleagues regularly shop at harbor fake, and I often ask them what they paid

It seems that Sears has reduced the sockets they stock. Just recently I tried to get some broken sockets replaced and they don’t even stock some of them any more. And the idiot counter monkeys had no idea how I could get them replaced. I guess I have to call somewhere to find out how or even if I can get them replaced.

@PvtPublic , I’m surprised that you had problems getting a replacement from Craftsman.

I got my list of things from HF yesterday and stopped at the Sears store in Brookfield, Wi on my way home.
I needed a good set of Flare nut wrenches because the old set… I had gotten as a gift and a few were pretty sloppy fitting. I found a good set for $35.
I also brought along a Craftsman 12mm X 14mm boxed end wrench that was worn out. I handed it to the cashier with the explanation that it was worn and rolling over the points of the nuts.

He walked over and got one off the rack. I didn’t have to wait for some supervisor or fill out any form…that was it.
Then the phone rang and he got tied into a conversation with a customer over something. I was getting a little disturbed because all he had to do was give me my change. When he was finished he apologized and knocked $5 off the price of the wrenches for my time. I’ll take that any day!!!

I’ve had two other times at Sears where I brought back items, and they were both the same results as yesterday. One was a cracked socket. No questions about how it cracked or what I did to crack it…they just gave me a new one off the rack.
The other was a work light with a poorly designed clip for the magnet. They just handed me a new one.

All of these were different stores in SE Wisconsin…maybe it is the store management where you went. I would try a different store if there is one nearby.


“I’ve never had a problem with a HF purchase.”

You are extremely lucky or you pick and choose very carefully. I have a HF pressure washer, floor jack and electric generator that didn’t make it a year before going “toes up.” Since they were cheap…I guess I got the life out of them that was expected.

Missileman, did they get a whole lot of regular use?

The floor jacks are hit and miss. If I recall, some are just re-branded Arcans, and those are excellent. Others are… Uh… Less excellent.

Not really mountainbike…they were just tools I needed for a few jobs and they just sat for the time that they had left. I usually borrow tools from friends and family but these were tools that no one had available at the time. That’s why I buy at HF.

“Neither a lender or borrower be”. I don’t generally lend or borrow tools. The last tool I borrowed was a tile saw 20 years ago and still feel guilty about not paying enough for the diamond blade I used up. But then I loaned one of my miter saws to my BIL almost two years ago and have never seen it since. Put a new blade on it too. I feel much better about going to the rental store for one time tool use.

@PvtPublic, are there Ace Hardware stores near you? They sell Craftsman tools now. The Ace near me has extensive selections of their favorite brands, but I haven’t checked Craftsman tools yet. They do have any repair parts I want for my Weber gas grill, though.

The last time I looked at a single Craftsman wrench at Ace it was about $10. So I went to the farm store and got as good a one for $5. They have really jacked the prices up so who needs it?

I have only had one time that Sears did not replace a broken Craftsman product and that was a 3 drawer tool chest. It got hit by an 18 wheeler and rolled down the highway for almost a quarter mile (down hill) before it stopped in the center divider.

It didn’t open until the last roll so my tools did not get scattered about. It landed upright, so I put the few tools that fell out back in and closed the drawers. I had to unlock the lid and push on the box a little as it got slightly rocked, but the lid did close and I locked it back up.

The salesman at the store though that the warranty would not cover an accident like this as it should have been covered by the trucks insurance (it was). I think Sears lost an really good endorsement on their tool box and I continued to use that box for many years.

The only time I’ll borrow a tool is if I’m stuck with an inoperative vehicle and no way to get to the store… or the stores are all closed for a holiday. Come to think of it, I can’t remember ever having to borrow a tool.

There are very, very, very few people I’ll loan tools to… and I never ever ever expect to get them back. If someone needs a tool and it’s one I can afford to replace, I’ll GIVE it to him/her. The if he/she returns it, they have my thanks. If not, no harm done.

Before my buddy moved to Arizona and lived 20 minutes from my shop,…I did borrow a few tools, but as soon as I was done with it, I was back on the road to return it.
I’d hate for him to need it and I still have it. I usually went out ASAP as bought my own.

I always made it worth his while to borrow me tools. I’d hear him say " I could sure use one of these" or I need more of “this or that”. Then I’d go get what he needed as a thank you.

I only borrow tools to a few people because I have loaned too many that were never returned…and it has been long enough that I forget who borrowed it.
Even if you do remember who you loaned that tool to, they are not home and you need that tool now.


Yosemite: I’m the same way if I borrow anything. I’ve borrowed a pickup truck 2 or 3 times. It could be running on fumes when I take it but I always return it with a full tank. I once had a log load of firewood dumped in my driveway. They were real logs 10 to 30 inch diameter. My 18 inch Homelite chainsaw was a joke. I borrowed a neighbor’s 30 inch Stihl which sometimes struggled. After I finally finished the job I took the saw to a shop and had the nose sprocket and chain replaced plus a tune-up before I returned it.
I have the HF Pitsburgh brand 25 piece combination wrench set which is about as good quality as any. I bought 2 HF 9V 3/8 inch cordless drills for $12 each. I was using one for home and one at work mainly as electric screwdrivers. The drills were OK but the batteries were crap.

Your posting @sgtrock21 reminded me.

I know a shop that has a car dolley that I have borrowed. The first time I borrowed it. I took it to my shop when I was done. The straps had gotten wet from the last person who used it and were frozen into a mess. I dried them out, fixed the ratchet mechanisms that new needed tension pins and fixed the one fender that was about to fall off.

When I told him why it took so long to return it, he claimed that I could borrow it any time because at least I looked after his things.


“Neither a lender or borrower be.”

That’s a great general rule but I only borrow or lend tools in a very tight group. That group includes 2 brothers, 2 first cousins and 1 uncle. I usually return the tool in better condition that it was when I borrowed it. I would buy every tool that I need but I’m married to a very tight fisted CEO…my wife.