Whether you’re a seasoned pro, years into your automotive technician career, or just starting out on the path – perhaps even still in auto mechanic school, there’s one thing you can’t do without – a good set of tools. With dozens of brands available, it’s tough to figure out what to choose, particularly if you don’t even have your first automotive technician job yet and are on a tight budget.
It’s important to note that not all tool companies make all types of tools, so you’ll likely need to supplement your collection with various brands, depending upon the focus of your auto tech career.
From premium names to solid but affordable mechanic tools, here are the 10 best brands for your car repair tools.
Mac Tools: One of the most respected names in automotive tools, Mac offers a range of sets designed for master mechanics. There is an essentials set, hand tools, specialty tools, and pneumatic, in different set sizes. Mac is considered one of the best brands available, and the prices reflect that quality.
Snap-on: This well-known favorite of repair shops and technicians has anything a mechanic could need, including their Complete Apprentice Set. At just over $3700, you’ll get sockets, wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers, and more, including the tool chest.
OTC: This brand, founded as the Owatonna Tool Company, became a division of Bosch in 2012. In addition to racing accessories and tools, OTC offers a number of specialty sets like their cam, brake, and harmonic balancer puller sets.
SK: SuperKrome is a mid-range automotive tool supplier with a solid reputation and more affordable prices than the bigger names. Their 272-piece hand tool set comes in at just under $3000, and they offer other, smaller tool sets as well, like sockets. In addition, SK is made in the USA.
Proto: This division of Stanley Black & Decker makes a wide variety of automotive mechanic tool sets, from sockets around $200/set all the way up to complete master sets costing thousands of dollars. Many of their tools are made in the U.S.A., and they enjoy a respectable place on the list of tools used by mechanics.
Craftsman: Much has been made in recent years regarding the move to make some Craftsman tools overseas, however many are still made in the U.S.A., specifically those produced by Western Forge, including professional mechanic sets. One thing is certain – the prices are affordable, the warranty still can’t be beat, and the name has longstanding clout.
Wright Tool: American made and designed for professionals, Wright offers a comprehensive selection of master, intermediate, basic, general, and apprentice sets. On the downside, you will need to locate a distributor in order to purchase, and the website isn’t overly user-friendly.
Husky: Without a doubt, Husky is one of the least prestigious brands and the price is definitely representative of that, however the affordability coupled with the lifetime warranty makes Husky a good choice for mechanics on a limited budget, such as those just getting started out of auto tech training. And, their mechanics sets are sizeable.
Blackhawk: Also on the less expensive end, nevertheless Blackhawk has a good reputation among many mechanics. The company is a sub-brand of Stanley Black & Decker under the Proto division. Blackhawk offers a multitude of set options, from simple sockets all the way through master sets.
Makita: When you’re looking for dependable power tools, Makita is a wise choice. You can get a number of different combos, such as an impact driver and rotary hammer set, all the way up to a 15-piece kit.
How to choose
While quality and price are surely going to be important factors in your decision-making process when it comes to buying the best automotive tool sets, ultimately what matters is how the tools feel in your hands and how they meet your specific needs in your automotive tech career.
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This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as 10 Best Brands for Automotive Tool Sets and was authored by Valerie Johnston.