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Recommend me a socket set...


bruce
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Let's talk tools.... nice tools are nice.

 

I have a good socket set. It's one of the "Halfords Advanced" range. Can't fault the quality - it really is excellent. Didn't buy it myself, it was a gift - and also a bargain (think it came from Cash Converters!)

However, it's big, and heavy - it's got virtually every combination you can imagine - 1/4, 3/8, 1/2 inch drives, and everything from small torx bits thru to impact sockets. And I guess of the zillion pieces in it, I probably use half a dozen regularly. Can't remember the last time I used the 1/2" drive selection other than when I was working on the car.

 

So I'm looking for a decent quality small set - something "toolbox sized", with the useful sized metric sockets - maybe 3/8 drive, or even a good 1/4 - nice ratchet - and not made of monkey metal.

 

The only issue with 1/4 is that the sets typically only go up to 13mm sockets - a 16mm (for a M10 nut) would be useful.

 

What do you recommend? I'm not looking at the "snap-on" end of the market, but equally, I'm not looking at the pound shop...

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Apart from then ones I found late in a tech day on a clamp buried deep in a forest of tightly packed fly bars from which I was trying to extract 2 flown speakers that were fouling a flown piece.

It took me a minute or two to work out why my quad spanner wasn’t working. 16mm head M10s. Back down the genie, off to find an AJ, back up the genie etc…

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I'm quite fond of the Wera Zyklop kits, however I reckon that puts you at the snap-on price range.

 

Same here. I have a Zylop socket set and the Joker spanners. Very high quality. But as you say the price is very premium. I think my mid-size Wera socket set was circa £300.

 

As a middle ground, my recommendation is Expert by Facom. High quality European-made goods, IMO on-par with Snap-on.

MachineMart has the toolbox size 1/2" socket set for £180 https://www.machinemart.co.uk/p/12-socket-set-47-pc/

That said - on the subject of MachineMart - the Clarke Pro stuff is perfectly good quality and about half that price again.

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IIRC the Japanese metric standard uses 16mm for M10, where in Europe it's 17mm.

 

Good to know, thanks. I don't think I've ever worked on a Japanese car.

 

Is there something similar with M8? I remember being annoyed with different bolt head size, maybe 13/14mm?

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This is just me but sockets are one of those things that working on outdoor events made me regard as disposable items. I have no idea how many sockets and ratchets people have borrowed and lost or returned broken so I bought a reasonably priced tube socket set and a bunch of cheap ratchets I treated as disposable. Not ecological I know but the ones that were better built and took more time to construct disappeared just as fast.

 

I do know that buying sets always left me with loads I never used and the same popular few that people seemed to eat so it was solo items for me.

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@dje - Facom - had forgotten about them, have used them in the past, seem good quality.

 

Maybe, since this is to be a "toolbox pack", I should go for a small Facom Expert 3/8" drive, and a separate rail of sockets, rather than a boxed set.

Having said that, I already have a few nice Wera tools.....

 

My head's saying "buy something sensible from Draper etc..."

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This is just me but sockets are one of those things that working on outdoor events made me regard as disposable items.

 

I have to say that I'm the same. We lose far more tools than we break, so cheap ones make sense most of the time. There are some higher-quality tools available for tricky jobs, but usually closely guarded.

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I went 50/50 with Dad mid 70's on a Draper 1/2" 40 piece set, no complaints whatsoever untill mid 80's I decided it was time I got my own set and settled on Kamasa as they came highly recommended by colleagues, every thing about it was just smoother and nicer to handle.

 

Since then I've aquired a fair amount of 1/4" & 3/8"sockets, extentions etc, as described by Kerry, and purchased Britool ratchets etc to use them, the thing about Britool is the availability of repair kits for their ratchets etc. A few years back a boss 'borrowed' and lost a 12" extention bar, Britool 1/4" ratchet and 1/4" hex bit holder. He replaced with Halfords Pro items, I have to say the Halfords ratchet handle is very lovely, nice smooth and positive action and the reverse action has less drag than any other 1/4" ratchet I've used. The same it true for the 1/2" Halfords but I found it to be very heavy, I can't comment on the 3/8" version.

 

I've worked in a workshop kitted with just about every possible Snap-On socket part available and IMO I found the ratchet handles very cumbersome. I soon found others were using my 3/8" Britool ratchet in preference and the company purchased a couple.

 

2002 I went into the controls environment where nuts & bolts play a fairly small roll and carried a fairly selection of sockets in a poly bag and 2 ratchets in the controls toolbox. Apart from the 'car tools in the garage' where I now have the Draper and Kamasa sets I find a socket set is far too cumbersome/heavy to carry all those never used parts.

 

IMO the Halford Pro parts take some beating for quality vs price and the fact all the items are sold indivually makes having YOUR perfect selection very easy.

Edited by sunray
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@dje - Facom - had forgotten about them, have used them in the past, seem good quality.Maybe, since this is to be a "toolbox pack", I should go for a small Facom Expert 3/8" drive, and a separate rail of sockets, rather than a boxed set.Having said that, I already have a few nice Wera tools..... My head's saying "buy something sensible from Draper etc..."

 

I wouldn't bother with the Facom sets nowadays. I used to work for a trade supplier of Facom and Britool products, and they are now owned by Stanley Black & Decker. One major issue is you can't get stock of any of the Britool / Facom gear easily if its not currently in stock as it comes from France as there is no UK distribution any more, but the biggest issue is the warranty support is really poor now. We found that anything impact, ratchet or with component parts, they would just refuse to warranty most of the time and just put it down to "tool abuse".

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