Having a passion for cars is one thing, but possessing the knowledge to diagnose and repair them is an entirely different pursuit. Even if you have that know-how, it won’t do much good if you don’t have a comprehensive and high-quality set of tools to use. There’s a wide range of tool manufacturers who offer very similar products in a variety of materials, configurations, and prices, so it’s important to know the differences and similarities so you can find the tool set that best fits your needs. Whether you like to wrench on your project car on weekends or make your living as a full-time automotive technician, here are the 10 best automotive hand tool sets available today.
10. Deko 168 Mixed
The relatively budget friendly Deko 168 Mixed (appx. $79) includes a decent variety of gear for use on your car, such as ratchets and sockets, but also a few items that should come in handy around the house, like pliers. Just don’t expect the quality of the bigger name brands here.
- Tape measure and level
- Makes a good gift for new drivers
- Best for light duties
9. Apollo Tools SAE
Compact, but still managing to incorporate some of the most essential items for car maintenance, the Apollo Tools SAE (about $20) is ideal for keeping in your glove box in case of a minor emergency. It may not help when it comes to addressing more serious mechanical issues, though.
- Very affordably priced
- Offered in metric as well
- Case can’t take a lot of abuse
8. Stanley 92-839 Black
You’d be hard-pressed to find a more durable collection than the Stanley 92-839 Black (around $77), which boasts a sleek chrome vanadium steel construction and laser etchings for easy size identification. Six- and eight-point sockets minimize fastener rounding and slipping, too.
- 99 pieces in total
- Reliably corrosion resistant
- Doesn’t include pliers or hammer
7. WorkPro 408 Heavy-Duty
There are very few tools you won’t find in the WorkPro 408 Heavy-Duty (around $200), a sprawling kit that includes everything from combination wrenches and hex keys to a hammer. Plus, it all comes nicely organized in a durable metal box that can sit atop a workbench.
- Three drawers and a top shelf
- Comfortable ratchet handles
- No deep sockets
6. Kobalt 227 Standard/Metric
Kits as big as the Kobalt 227 Standard/Metric (about $140) can be a hassle to manage, but this one includes a well-designed and rugged storage box to keep everything in its place. The pieces themselves sport laser-etched size markings, making it easy to find the one you need.
- Rapid one-button socket changes
- Guaranteed for life
- Drawers can be difficult to open
5. Craftsman 450 Piece
The massive Craftsman 450 Piece (about $207) is one of the biggest options out there, and features a four-compartment box full of ratchets and wrenches in every size. It’s a little pricey, but if you’re looking to pick up a lifetime’s worth of equipment in one go, this should cover it.
- Tons of driver heads
- Includes metric and sae sizes
- Trays have a tendency to spill
4. Stanley 201 Piece
The largest in this leading toolmaker’s line of sets for mechanics, the Stanley 201 Piece (about $92) would be a welcome addition to a professional workshop. A chrome vanadium steel construction ensures everything is reliably strong and durable.
- Also available in smaller options
- 6-point regular and deep sockets
- Size markings are hard to read
3. Crescent General Purpose
The Crescent General Purpose (about $93) is an updated version of the company’s best-selling 170-piece set, boasting a sturdier blow-molded case, Torx bit sockets, pliers, and longer wrenches with narrower heads for getting into tight spaces. The latter still offer plenty of torque.
- Sturdy acetate screwdrivers
- Meets ansi specifications
- Backed by satisfaction guarantee
2. DeWalt 205 Mechanics
A favorite among professionals and hobbyists alike, the DeWalt 205 Mechanics (about $128) provides enough gear for almost any automotive application. Unlike some options, it doesn’t bother with gimmicky items, including only those tools dedicated for work on vehicles.
- Sockets provide plenty of torque
- Ergonomic 72-tooth ratchet
- Also comes in 247-item version
1. Craftsman 50230
Offering a good balance of cost and contents, the Craftsman 50230 (around $109) is ideal for the DIY mechanic who needs something for routine maintenance. Among its offerings are one ratchet in each drive size and six combination wrenches in both inches and metric sizes.
- Two extension bars
- All parts are durable
- Great value for the price