Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Good 1/2 ratchet set to get?

My ratchet set that I got 15 years ago got lost during a move. Can anyone recommenced a new cheap 1/2 set to get? I need the ratchet and the sockets, needs to have metric since I have a honda. I noticed at HF that they often sell sockets alone and ratchets alone and the combination sets have alot of missing sizes.

I was thinking of getting this one but it looks like it has no metric sockets in 1/2? Does anyone have this and can confirm?

For a frugal purchase, I’d recommend either Sears Craftsman or Harbor Freight’s Pittsburg brand. I’ve had good luck w/both as a diy’er. I wouldn’t buy either of those if I was a pro mechanic, but for occasional use they’ve served me well. I’m not sure what the warranty is on those products these days. It used to be Craftsmen products would be replaced gratis no questions asked. Suggest to inquire about that, as it might make the decision for you.

You’ll have to do your homework to make sure the set you buy contains the sizes you need of course. My combo SAE/Metric socket set from Craftsman looks pretty much the same as that HF set in the link, by appearance anyway. 1/2 drive btw isn’t what I normally use for car repairs. 3/8" is a better size for most car diy’er purposes, as everything is smaller. Access is usually the most critical problem when working on cars, so a small size is important. For the times I require 1/2" drive, I have purchased single sockets of the size I need for that. For lug nuts for example I have a 13/16 inch 1/2 " drive socket .

Craftsman is the best way to go.

If you have SEARS or an ACE hardware store nearby, they still warranty the hand tools for life.


My old set was craftsman and cost me $20 15 years ago, now that set is $100 and I am looking for something cheaper.


You get what you pay for!

I highly doubt those are dropped forged tools at that price.


Sears usually has very good deals on hand tools during the Christmas buying season. 1/2 price is what I paid as I recall.


I agree with @GeorgeSanJose. Sears and probably Ace Hardware have sales periodically. If you can wait, the socket set you want will be on sale. Check on line to see if the tools you want are on sale, then go to the store or buy on line with home delivery.

Is craftsman any good anymore? Last time I was in there some guy was ranting about how much they suck while trying to get a replacement wrench. I was looking at hammers and they were not as good as the one I bought 5 years ago.

If it has the lifetime replacement warranty, you don’t have to worry about it. I have Craftsman tools I bought in the 1970s, and they are still fine. If around $100 is too much for you, consider buying used tools. You might find someone selling used tools on line in your area or find them at a flea market. The advantage in buying local is that you can see them and maybe test them before buying them.

Sears didn’t have the replacement wrench he needed in stock, one the the reasons he was ranting. He was saying craftsman tools are not what they used to be. Honestly unless HF sockets are junk I would rather buy them there.

Sears doesn’t replace ratchets anymore.

Instead they provide you with a ratchet repair kit. Which is what usually fails in any ratchet.


Has anyone tried HF sockets or wrenches? I heard the professional line is as good as craftsman.


Always stuck with Craftsmen.

If a tool breaks, there’s a SEARS/ACE store just a couple of miles away to get it replaced.


I’ve bought socket sets at HF and they’re fine. They cleanly seat on the hex heads, the ratchets work as well as my Craftsman and Mr. Goodwrench ratchets, and they’re clean and smooth to hold. They do sell full metrics sets in 1/2" drive, you just need to look.

Something else to be aware of is 6-point vs. 12-point sockets. 6-point sockets grab the hex better, especially on smaller sizes. 12-point sockets are easier to seat in tight areas. I recommend having a full set of each. That, and adding things like line wrenches, are better investment for a DIYer than spending a ton of money on much fewer but higher quality tools. A pro will expect to use/abuse his tools for decades, and his tools are crucial for his living, but a DIYer will IMHO do fine with HF tools.

There has to be a common sense balance between having plenty of variety in your tool chest and having decent quality. Sacrificing variety to get only the best quality will come back to bite you.

Is there much of a difference between the HF professional and regular HF wrenches and sockets?

Not IMHO one that would be noticeable to the average DIYer.
Myself, I’d rather have a wide range of medium quality tools that a basic set of high quality tools.

On the HF site they don’t say what sockets are 6 or 12 point. How am I supposed to tell?

I have my share of a variety of makes, only ever broke 1/4 to 3/8 adapters. Still loving a 1/2" craftsmen ratchet wrench I got as a birthday present in 1970 from Debi, also loving the leather fringe jacket, thanks Deb.

How good are Kobalt compared to Craftsman? This looks like a nice deal at Lowe’s:

(and I did check, this set is life time warranty).

If it is like Menards, when my 2 year old laser level puked, sorry we don’t make that anymore, can’t replace it.