We’ve included 10 great tool set options including the best value mechanics tool set to get your tool kit started. These tools are the foundation of any home garage and can also be thrown into the car or truck to be used in emergencies. But, not all of the above tool sets will be right for you. Here are some additional considerations to ask yourself when you’re looking at the various tool kit options out there.
What to look for in a mechanics tool set?
Make sure to consider the following before purchasing a tool kit:
Tool piece count
More does not always mean better. With so many tools to consider in each set, it’s hard for consumers to quickly determine which set is best for them. But, at least we can use total tool count as a proxy for value, right? Wrong! Tool manufacturers play off our instincts to take a quick look at total tool count and use this as a key input into our decision process. So, the practice of inflating tool count with a lot of small, cheap tools was born.
Does your 200 piece toolkit contain 96 hex keys?
You can generally tell these sets by the inclusion of excessive hex keys, small bits & cheap household tools. Basically, anything that you don’t think will be necessary for most automotive repairs should be met with caution.
You’ll notice that most of the tool kits we’ve recommended include hex keys. This is largely unavoidable as most mechanics tool kits in the market include these. We are ok with that as hex keys are useful and the tool kits we’ve recommended don’t go overboard.
Tool variety and selection
Will you mainly be using sockets or do you need some extras like wrenches, screwdrivers and pliers? The addition of these extras will increase the price, but they still represent much better value than if you were to buy these tools separately.
If you’re trying to piece together an entire kit to be used in the garage, then buying a mechanics set with a wide variety of tools will help you get there faster and cheaper.
Or is this a gift? If so, it might make sense to include these extras as you may not be certain how they are to be used.
The last thing you want is for poor quality tools to cause threading or break when you need them the most. Choosing a brand that has a good reputation and is willing to stand behind their products with a meaningful warranty is a great way to distinguish a quality brand vs a cheap Chinese knock-off.
It can be frustrating to learn that it’s common to have different levels of quality within the same tool set. For example, we really like the Pittsburgh 301 piece set, but it’s clear that the professional grade sockets are of superior quality than the screwdrivers. So, if you know you’re going to need professional grade screwdrivers, then it may be best to buy a set of these separately. This won’t matter for most home mechanics, but you should determine this for yourself before buying.
Nice to haves vs must haves
Are there some features you simply need to have or can you live without them? A good example of this might be red and blue trim to easily identify between SAE & metric standards like the Kobalt 227 piece mechanics tool set. This may be super important to you if you’re constantly switching standards during your average day. But if not, then it becomes a ‘nice to have’ and probably not really going to influence your decision.
Whilst researching the various tool kits and their carry cases, it became clear that carry case design and construction is often an afterthought for many manufacturers. The best carry cases are durable, hold each tool tight, easily identify each tool and can be transported. The design varies, with some opening up like a briefcase, whilst others feature drawers.
Some have dedicated space to add more tools to the kit, whilst others don’t. These types of details will come down to your personal preference.
Also, be sure to consider the overall dimensions and your intended use – ie will it easily fit inside your car?
One of their main criteria we’ve used in deciding the best mechanics tool kits is whether the manufacturer offers a meaningful warranty. This is important for obvious reasons like getting a replacement tool should it fail, but we also find it a good proxy for tool quality. After all, if a tool brand is not willing to stand behind the quality of their product with a warranty, then perhaps they aren’t confident in their quality.
Some common tools you’ll find in mechanic tool kits
Sockets are the backbone of any mechanic tool kit. The kits we’ve recommended all feature a variety of sockets, but some contain more than others. So, it’s worth considering whether you need the widest variety of socket sizes, or whether you’ll be able to get away with a smaller number of the more commonly used sockets.
Most kits provide both SAE and metric sockets, some include additional sockets for spark plugs.
Powering the sockets are the ratchets. Each kit we’ve recommended includes at least 2 ratchets (1/4″ and 3/8″), with several offering one additional size (1/2″). These are the most commonly used in automotive repair, so it’s unlikely you’ll need to buy any additional ratchets.
Ratchet technology and quality have increased considerably in recent years. Ratchet tooth count is worth paying attention to, particularly if you find yourself working in confined areas where there’s limited room to move the ratchet. The greater the number of teeth, the less room you need to move the ratchet backwards before it will grip again. Most of the kits recommended above include 72 tooth ratchets and a low arc swing of 4 or 5 degrees.
Ratchet extenders will help you when space is tight. They are often overlooked and you only realize you need an extender when it’s too late. We recommend ensuring your tool kit contains extenders for common sizes.
All mechanic tool kits should come with wrenches. The quality and number of wrenches can be a key differentiator between tool sets. Most sets include combination wrenches in both SAE & metric and some will also include an adjustable wrench. We’ve noticed that some sets include only the smaller size wrenches, so if you need any larger sizes you’ll need to purchase these separately.
Screwdrivers included with mechanic kits will be a set of several different sizes, one screwdriver with numerous interchangeable bits, or both. However, the quality of screwdrivers included in some tool kits can be of lesser quality than the sockets and ratchets. So, certainly factor in the type and number of screwdrivers into your decision, but be prepared to purchase additional screwdrivers over time if the durability is not what you’d hoped for.
Some, but not all, tool kits recommended above include at least one set of pliers. We consider the inclusion of pliers as a bit of a bonus, rather than a key consideration. If you need a quality set of pliers, we generally recommend buying them separately and basing your tool kit choice on the other tools.
Hammers and household tools
Some mechanic kits have their sites on providing tools that you’d more commonly find in a general, or household tool kit. These include tools like hammers, tape measures, levels etc. These can make nice additions if you want a multi-use kit, but you need to ask yourself whether these household tools are coming at the expense of additional sockets or extenders which will be of greater use to you.
Best value mechanics tool set
1) DeWalt 142 Piece Mechanics Tool Kit with Case
The DeWalt 142 piece mechanics tool kit provides an excellent mix of tool variety, quality and value. Wrapped up in a durable case for transport and keeping everything where it should be.
With 142 tools, including ratchets, sockets, wrenches & bits, this tool set has your covered for most basic repairs.
We like the inclusion of 2 pear head ratchets (1/4″ & 3/8″), with a 72 tooth count and quick release for high torque ratcheting.
Chrome plated to ensure they won’t rust, we like that DeWalt stands by their tools with a full lifetime warranty on their mechanics tools.
Easy to read hand-stamped markings in both standard and metric makes for easy tool selection. The ergonomically designed tools fit well within the hand, allowing for comfortable use over long durations.
Lastly, the case is lightweight, yet sturdy. And, importantly the tools fit snug into place. This isn’t always so with some cases, where some tools can fly around whilst in transit, creating a real mess.
Overall, this is a durable tool set designed to last. With the added peace of mind of a lifetime warranty (no proof of purchase required), the Dewalt 142 piece tool set is a good size to store in your car or garage.
The DeWalt 142 piece tool set includes:
- 10 Combination wrenches
- 2 Pear head ratchets
- 18 1/4″ Drive 6pt sockets
- 10 1/4″ Drive 6pt deep sockets
- 1/4″ Drive 6″ extension
- 1/4″ Drive universal joint
- 20 3/8″ Drive 6pt sockets
- 9 3/8″ Drive 6pt deep sockets
- 3/8″ Drive 6″ extension
- 3/8″ Drive universal joint
- 1/4″ x 3/8″ Increasing adapter
- 3/8″ x 1/4″ Reducing adapter
- 3/8″ Spark plug socket 5/8″
- 14 Piece standard hex key set
- 14 Piece metric hex key set
- 15 Nut driver bits
- 22 Piece max fit bit set with storage case
- Vinyl grip multi-driver
- Storage case
- Lifetime warranty
- Polished chrome finish for corrosion resistance
- Includes 2 72 tooth high torque ratchets
- Lightweight, durable case fits tools well
- We would liked to have seen deep socket sizes 9/16″ and 15mm as these are fairly commonly used. But, you’ll need to move to the slightly more expensive model for these.
- Case doesn’t allow for any additional tools. You’ll need to purchase a separate case if you add to the kit.
2) Pittsburgh 130 Piece Mechanics Tool Set with Case
The Pittsburgh 130 piece tool set with case is an entry-level mechanics tool set. You are not going to find super premium tools at this pricepoint, but this toolset contains many of the standard tools you’ll need to make basic car and home repairs.
The case is compact and it does an ok job of holding all the tools, but tools may come loose and move around the case a little. The labels are both SAE and metric, which is handy.
This tool set contains many everyday tools like a small hammer, pliers, wire cutters, wrenches, ratchets, screw drivers, anchors, fasteners, tape measurements, utility knife, etc.
It’s a complete set, best suited for light to medium intensity work. Perfect for beginners or those that want to keep a set of tools in the car just in case. The attractive price point means that it is an easy investment that will pay for itself with one DIY car repair.
We think this is the best mechanics basic toolset to keep in the car, but suggest going up in price if you’re after an every-day toolkit.
The Pittsburgh 130 piece tool set include
- Ten combination wrenches
- 20 Hex wrenches
- Measurement tape
- Utility knife
- Multiple screws for woods, nails,
- 10 Screwdrivers
- Multiple sockets
- Bit adapters
- Extension bars
- 40 long bits
- Very affordable
- Compact carry case makes it easy to transport
- Includes everyday tools, so toolset can also be used around the house
- Not the most durable of tool kits as it’s a very budget-friendly kit.
3) Stanley STMT71653 145-Piece Mechanics Tool Set
The 145 Piece Stanley tool set strikes a balance of quality and affordability.
Stanley offers a great lifetime warranty. If a Stanley mechanics tool ever fails for any reason, they will replace it with no proof of purchase required. You just need to call Stanley and they’ll send a replacement (don’t return to Amazon).
This set is ideal for those looking for a wide range of sockets. Great for cars and bikes. We like the inclusion of two quality ratchets (3/8″ & 1/4″) and the variety of hex keys. We were a little disappointed with the quality of the wrenches and thought that the markings could have been laser etched to allow for greater readability.
All in all, this is a solid tool kit from a quality manufacturer, backed up with an impressive warranty. Great to chuck in the car for emergencies or keep at home for the car or bike.
Tool set includes:
- 16 1/4″ drive 6-point deep sockets
- 3 3/8″ drive 6-point spark plug sockets
- 12 PC combination wrenches,
- 10 PC nut bits
- 1/4″ drive pear-head ratchet
- 3/8″ drive pear-head ratchet
- 1/4″ drive 6″ extension bar
- 3/8″ drive 3″ extension bar,
- 3/8″ drive universal joint
- 5 3/8″ drive 12-point sockets
- 20 3/8″ drive 6-point sockets
- 9 1/4″ drive 6-point sockets
- 16 hex keys (SAE and metric)
- 30 1/4″ drive specialty bits
- Carry case
- Includes two high-quality ratchets
- Lifetime warranty
- Wide range of socket sizes
- We’d prefer to have seen slightly better quality wrenches included in the kit
- Markings could have been etched deeper for better readability
4) Crescent CTK170CMP2 170-Piece Mechanics Tool Set
The Crescent CTK170CMP2 170 Piece Tool set makes for a great starter kit.
Featuring both metric and SAE drives, the Crescent 170 piece kit includes a good assortment of wrenches, sockets, screwdrivers, ratches, extenders, hex keys, bits and more.
Unlike some other kits in the $100 region, it includes 3 rachets. This increases the overall weight slightly, but it’s still a very manageable 22 pounds
A quirk of this kit appears to be the ‘crescent’ or adjustable wrench. It’s the only tool not labeled with the Crescent branding, suggesting that it may not actually be made by Crescent. Yes, the crescent wrench is not actually a Crescent wrench… This has clearly been done to keep the price affordable, but it’s still a little disappointing.
Coming in at under $100 this tool set is great value for the money. Given the variety of tools and applications it can be used for, it would also make a thoughtful gift for someone that has just purchased a car or even just to have around the house.
The Crescent 170 Piece tool set includes:
- 3 Drive, 72 tooth quick-release ratchets (1/4″, 3/8″, 1/2″)
- 3″ Drive extensions
- 26 SAE & metric hex keys
- 44 Driver bits
- 12 Wrenches
- 22 Six point sockets
- 25 Twelve point sockets
- 2 Pliers
- 4 Screw Drivers
- Carry case
- Great variety of tools to cover most automotive repairs
- Includes 3 rachets with 72 teeth
- Solid value (less than $100).
- The pliers could be of better quality. The needlenose in particular can have issues with the plastic grips falling off.
- The adjustable wrench is good, but is of lesser quality than a regular, ie non-kit, Crescent wrench.
- Conflicting reports about the case. Some buyers have reported issues with some sockets not being tight enough, others suggest they are too tight.
5) Stanley Mechanics Tool Set – 201 Piece
The Stanley mechanics 201 piece tool set is a beefed-up version of the 145 kit we’ve included above. The most notable addition is a 3rd ratchet (1/2″) and associated sockets. You also get drive adaptors, spark plug socket, more bits and hex keys.
The 201 piece costs $10-$15 more than the 145 piece. Whether it’s worth it really depends on how much you’ll use the 1/2″ ratchet (in addition to the existing 3/8″ & 1/4″). If’ you’re going to get a lot of use out of the 1/2″ ratchet, then it’s well worth the price upgrade with the additional tools. If not, then save yourself a few dollars and you’ll still be very happy with the Stanley 145 piece kit.
If this is a gift, I’d be choosing the slightly cheaper 145 piece Stanley kit, as it contains most of the same essential tools.
Overall, we like the inclusion of the 1/2″ ratchet that would cost over $20 if you were to buy it separately. This is more than the difference between the 145 and the 201 piece sets, so the 201 piece set is definitely worth paying the $10-$15 extra IF you plan on using the 1/2″ ratchet.
The Stanley mechanics 201 piece tool setincludes:
- 3 Drive pear head ratchets (3/8″, 1/4″ & 1/2″)
- 8 Combination wrenches
- 10 1/4″ Drive Sockets – 6 pt SAE13, 1/4″ Drive Sockets – 6 pt mm
- 10 1/4″ Drive Deep Sockets – 6 pt SAE
- 11, 1/4″ Drive Deep Sockets – 6pt mm
- 9 3/8″ Drive Sockets – 6 pt SAE
- 5 3/8″ Drive Deep Sockets – 6 pt SAE
- 3 3/8″ Drive Deep Sockets – 6 pt mm
- 6 1/2″ Drive Sockets – 6 pt SAE
- 8 1/2″ Drive Sockets – 6 pt mm
- 3/8″ Drive Spark Plug Socket – 6 pt SAE
- 1/4″ Drive F X 3/8″M Adapter
- 3/8″ Drive F X 1/4″M Adapter
- 3/8″ Drive F X 1/4″M Adapter
- 55 Drive bits
- 12 Nut bits
- 28 Hex keys
- Blow Molded Carry Case
- Stanley lifetime warranty
- 3 Ratchets included
- More applications than 145 piece kit for the extra $10-$15
- Not a lot of additional value if you won’t be using the 1/2″ ratchet
- Markings a little difficult to see
6) DeWalt Mechanics Tool Set DWMT75049 192 Pieces
The DeWalt DWMT75049 192 piece mechanics tool set is what I’d consider a pure mechanics tool set. By this I mean that it contains most tools that a mechanic is going to need such as ratchets, sockets and extensions, and little in the way of general tools such as screwdrivers or combination wrenches.
We like that the markings are laser-etched into the chrome vanadium, which means they’ll never wear off over time and force you to guess which socket you’re using.
This set from DeWalt is very solid, well made and durable. These are generally great attributes, but it does have a weight trade-off. This set is 37 pounds and quite bulky. Making it difficult to just leave in the car or transport in general.
So, this set is much better suited to leave in the garage. If this is how you intend to use the set, then we think it’s a very good set for the home mechanic.
It’s very unlikely that you’ll need to go up in quality even after medium over a longer time period (ie 10+ years). If the tool does break, then you’re covered by DeWalt’s lifetime warranty. It’s very hard to lose out on this one.
The DeWalt 192 piece tool set includes:
- 3 Drive pear head ratchets (1/4″, 3/8″ & 1/2″)
- 3/8″ Shallow 6pt: SAE 1/4″-7/8″, Metric 10-21mm
- 3/8″ Deep 6pt: SAE 1/4″-7/8″, Metric 10-21mm
- 3/8″ Hex bits: 5/32″-5/16″, Metric, 4-8mm
- 3/8″ Torx bits: T10-T45
- 1/4″ 6pt: SAE 5/32″-9/16″, Metric 4-14mm
- 1/4″ Deep 6pt: SAE 5/32″-1/2″, Metric 4-14mm
- 1/2″ 6pt: 7/16″-1″, Metric, 13-24mm
- 1/2″ 6pt Deep: SAE 7/16″-1″, Metric 13-24mm
- Universal joints
- Spark plug sockets
- 28 Hex keys
- Complete mechanics set with no filler tools
- Laser-etched markings won’t wear off over time
- Very durable, backed by DeWalt’s lifetime guarantee
- At 37 pounds, it’s a little heavy to keep in the car
- Mainly for automotive repairs, you’ll need to look elsewhere if you’re after household tools
7) Kobalt 227 Piece Mechanics Tool Kit
The Kobalt 227 piece mechanics tool kit is chock full of polished chrome sockets, wrenches, ratchets, extensions, hex keys and more.
This set comes with both SAE and metric standards. We like that they’ve color-coded these for easy tool selection. SAE comes with red trim and metric is blue. No more frustration at choosing the wrong tool standard.
We also like that the bottom drawer of the carry case comes empty, giving you some space to add to the kit. Most of the other toolkits in this list don’t have this luxury, forcing you to keep any additional tools in a separate kit.
Whilst we love the extra space in the carry case, we wish it was a little tougher. The case has been upgraded after previous feedback, but we still think it could re-worked further to make it a real feature.
Also a little disappointing is the small combination wrenches. There’s 8 total (4 SAE & 4 metric), but the largest of these is 9/16″. This limits the effectiveness of the wrench set and you may find yourself buying another wrench set to supplement this kit.
The three sets of sockets and ratchets are fine quality. Making this a reliable every-day kit for garage use. The additional tools such are wrenches and screwdriver are nice additions, but you may need to purchase additional tools to make this a truly complete kit.
The Kobalt 227 piece set includes:
- 3 ratchets (72 tooth)
- 117 sockets
- 4 extensions
- 30 combination wrenches
- 40 hex keys
- 33 other tools (screwdriver & bits etc)
- Color-coded by standard (SAE = red, metric = blue)
- Carry case has an extra drawer so you can add to the kit
- Largest wrench size is 9/16″. It would have been nice to have slightly larger.
- Carry case could be more sturdy.
8) Craftsman 224 Piece Mechanics Tool Kit
The 224 piece Craftsman mechanics tool set features top quality ratches, sockets and combination wrenches. Chrome finished for corrosion resistance with large easy to read markings. The durable plastic carry case comes with a hinge to access the combination wrenches on the top shelf, and three drawers underneath to access the sockets and other assorted tools.
We like that there are few ‘filler’ bits in this set. A common marketing ploy by tool manufacturers is to increase the tool count by adding in a bunch of cheap tools such as screwdriver bits and mountains of hex keys. So, whilst technically this does increase the tool count, they aren’t really the tools that matter. This makes it harder for consumers to compare apples with apples.
This Crafstman 224 piece set does include some hex keys (like most toolsets), they put more emphasis on providing a complete range of tools the average mechanic is going to need – sockets, wrenches, extensions and ratchets.
For a plastic case, this one is surprisingly good. And given its relatively compact size, you can transport it or leave in the car for those emergencies.
The biggest downside to purchasing this tool set has nothing to do with tool quality or price (for a quality set we think it’s great value). Rather, it’s the shipping practices. It’s not uncommon for sockets to dislodge from the case during shipping and either get stuck in a crevice of the carry case or fall into the cardboard box. This makes it very important to complete a tool inventory as soon as the tool set arrives – which Craftsman make easy to do by providing a print out of every tool in the set. Thankfully, if something does go missing, you can count on Craftsman to replace any missing part.
Overall, the Craftsman 224 piece set has everything needed for most automotive repairs and doesn’t try to artificially beef up the tool count. This makes the set seem a little more expensive than other sets of similar tool count. But, when you dig into the details of the included tools, you’ll find the Craftsman 224 set delivers solid value.
The Craftsman 224 piece mechanics tool kit includes:
- 3 quick release ratchets (1/4″, 3/8″ & 1/2″)
- 59 3/8″ tools (sockets & extenders etc)
- 46 1/4″ tools
- 24 1/2″ tools
- 16 combination wrenches
- 79 other tools (hex keys, nut bits etc)
- Great range of sockets and wrenches
- Lifetime warranty
- Carry case with 3 drawers and hinge on top for easy access
- Need to carefully check for lost tools (especially sockets) during shipping.
9) Pittsburgh 301 Piece Mechanics Tool Set
The Pittsburgh professional 301-piece mechanic’s tool kit contains a wide variety of tools at a very reasonable price. The standout pieces are the sockets, made out of chrome vanadium steel, they’ll withstand the test of time.
Like other mechanic sets in this roundup, they’ve included 3 quality ratchets. But, what sets this tool set apart is the inclusion of other tools like 24 screwdrivers, 3 sets of pliers, 10 combination wrenches and an adjustable wrench. This is a great assortment of additional tools that you generally don’t find at this price point.
We also really dig the briefcase style carry case. It’s solid and won’t buckle under pressure.
At 49 pounds, it’s a heavy tool set. The briefcase carry case increases its portability, but it’s still not a tool case you’d want to be carrying around on a daily basis.
There’s a lot to like about this tool set. But if we went looking for negatives, we’d point out the quality difference between the sockets, wrenches and screwdrivers. The socket quality is professional grade, whereas the wrenches and screwdrivers don’t quite reach the same level of quality. This is unlikely to be a problem for anyone but heavy users, but if this is you, then you’d potentially want to supplement the screwdrivers with professional grade screwdrivers.
Overall this tool kit provides a deep variety of sockets, ratchets and other automotive tools. At less than $200, it’s certainly worth considering if you want a trusted mechanic tool set that covers more than the bare minimum.
The Pittsburgh 301 piece mechanics tool kit includes:
- 3 Ratchets
- 158 sockets
- 48 Bit sockets
- 24 Screwdrivers
- 3 Pliers (diagonal cutting, long nose, linesman),
- 10 Combination wrenches
- 42 Hex keys,
- Extension bars, adapters and universal joint adapters
- Carry case
- Wide variety of tools in addition to sockets
- Great value
- Durable carry case
- Screwdrivers and wrenches not quite professional quality
10) Gearwrench 239 Piece Mechanics Tool Set
The Gearwrench 239 piece mechanics tool kit includes one of the most complete sets of sockets you’ll find. In addition to the 157 sockets, you’ll also get ratchets, extenders, combination wrenches, magnetic screwdriver, bits and hex keys.
It’s hard to go past this kit if you’re after wide variety of sockets essential to most automotive repairs. The carry case is one of the best you’ll find in a tool set without needing to buy a standalone case. Thought has gone into the case design, making it very easy to see if a tool is missing or out of place. Not all tool sets are this user-friendly.
The biggest improvement area for this tool set is with the ratchets. These are 45 tooth models, whereas ratchets in kits from other manufacturers featured here have gone with 72 tooth ratchets. The ratchets are still high quality and the lower tooth count may not impact your workflow if you don’t need super low arc swings. High vs low tooth count is really personal preference, but you should at least understand if a lower tooth count will impact your automotive repairs.
Overall this is a durable, high-quality mechanics tool kit that comes with a thoughtful carry case. It’s mid-priced and we think this Gearwrench kit provides great value for those that value minimal size skipping in their sockets.
The Gearwrench 239 piece mechanics kit contains:
- 157 sockets
- 3 quick-release ratchets
- 24 combination wrenches
- Magnetic screwdriver & bits
- Hex keys
- Minimal socket size skipping
- Thoughtful carry case
- Affordable and good value
- 45 tooth ratchets (instead of 72 tooth)