The Garage Tools

Craftsman V-Series 21-Piece 6-Point Socket Set Hands-On Review

Another heavy-hitter from Craftsman's V-Series line.
Craftsman V-Series 21-Piece Ratchet and Socket Set Review
Hank O'Hop

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn more ›

Small ratchet and socket sets that come in a nice carry case always pique my interest. While I definitely spend most of my time working on cars in the garage, driving them is my real passion. A kit I can easily toss in my bag to bring along is very appealing. I drive a classic car. The only thing I can count on is something going wrong. But because I work with relatively small fasteners, I’d almost never consider a kit built around a 1/2-inch drive. Something like this Craftsman V-Series 21-Piece 1/2-inch socket set can change that tune. 

Versatility is the name of the game here. For my use cases, a 3/8-inch drive kit always has the edge in that regard. The ratchets fit everywhere I need them to, while the sockets included cover most of the fasteners I work with. I may toss in a few odd combination wrenches and sockets to complete an effective spread, but a 3/8-inch drive setup is usually the center of my on-the-go tool kit. 

Craftsman V-Series 21-Piece Ratchet and Socket Set Review
Hank O’Hop

What Craftsman put together here is fits the bill despite featuring a larger drive. It has a really good range of socket sizes, and marketing advertises it to work well in tight spaces thanks to the 96-tooth ratchet. It also includes some extensions and a swivel socket to bolster its versatility. 

I’ve had the opportunity to test this kit out for a few weeks now. I’ve used it on the road and in the garage on several occasions. It’s a solid set that functions well both in and away from of the shop. It does cost more than the regular Craftsman stuff, but that V-Series ranking certainly adds a few nice touches to soften the blow. 

The Rundown on Craftsman’s V-Series 1/2 in Drive 21-Piece SAE 6-Point Tool Set

Let’s take the splash of cold water right up front. The retail price of this kit is $169.00. While there is plenty to like about it, the cost will deter most of Craftsman’s typical buyers. However, being from the V-Series line means this kit targets the professional, not the DIYer. In that sense, the value is hard to beat. $169.00 is a fraction of what you’d pay for a 20-piece socket set from Mac, another member of the Stanley Black and Decker family. 

As for the basic specs, the center of this kit is the 96-tooth 1/2-inch drive ratchet with a nice comfort grip. This ratchet’s 3.75-degree swing arc and smaller than average head are why Craftsman states it’s good in tight spaces. The set also includes a total of 17 6-point sockets spanning from 3/8-inch to 1-1/4-inch for the SAE version, while the metric version ranges from 8mm to 32mm. These sockets don’t feature the High-Torque design found on Overdrive tools that offers additional grip on rounded fasteners. You will need to buy your wrenches and sockets from that line if you want that feature.

Craftsman V-Series 21-Piece Ratchet and Socket Set Review

Accompanying the sockets and ratchet are a couple of extensions, one 5-inch and one 10-inch, as well as a swivel joint. The extensions are a bit different than most. That’s because they feature a quick-connect collar. This does create a positive lock on the sockets, which can be very useful in tight spaces. However, my first thought was that it is just a bulky piece that adds weight way out in front of the ratchet, but we’ll come back to that later. 

Another cool feature of the extensions is that the 10-inch doubles as the handle for the carrying case. Speaking of which, the case is a nice dual-molded piece with a rubberized outer layer. That outer layer is really nice because it provides a nice, positive grip on the contents and keeps them from rattling around. It’s a sturdy piece that does add to the premium feel of this kit, and it’s a good size for carrying purposes. 

Of course, this is a Craftsman tool, so it is backed by a lifetime warranty. However, you likely won’t have any luck honoring that warranty at a physical location, as only select stores carry the V-Series line. Also, like most Craftsman tools, it is made in Taiwan. 

Getting After It With The V-Series 

I opted to test out the SAE version of this kit because my 1969 Dodge Charger is the focal point of several ongoing projects. The 17 sockets included in this set make it the perfect fit for the work at hand. I had no problem integrating it into the fold upon its arrival. The first thing I did with it was throw it in my roadside kit for a quick road trip after installing a 4-link at the rear of the car. Since then, it’s been within arm’s reach every step of the way while swapping to a Heidts Pro-G front suspension. This project includes installing and removing the driveline multiple times and converting every part of the suspension, steering, and brakes. Suffice it to say, I’m beating the crap out of this V-Series kit. 

The included socket range makes this a very effective starting point for any collection. It covers all the bases and can be used on fasteners on the oil pan, clear through to the harmonic balancer on this particular application. If you do want to use it on the go, a set of combination wrenches and pliers are all you need for a strong loadout. 

As far as the claims of being great for use in tight spaces, it’s important to think of that relatively. No matter how you look at it, we’re working with a 1/2-inch drive ratchet set. If you need something for really space-limited situations, this won’t take the place of a 1/4-inch or 3/8-inch setup. Still, it is definitely more agile than 1/2-inch drive systems typically are. 

Compared to regular Craftsman and Overdrive 1/2-inch drive ratchets, the V-series has a noticeably narrower head. The width is actually closer to the 3/8-inch ratchets from those kits. This pairs nicely with the 3.75-degree swing arc and the range of socket sizes the kit includes. It works together to create a package that breaches the gap between most 3/8-inch and 1/2-inch sets. It’s certainly not snaking into super claustrophobic situations. But it’s nice to tackle 1-1/4-inch harmonic balancer bolt to set timing with the same small kit I just loosened 1/2-inch bolts on the steering column with. I know. That’s not exactly revolutionary, but it is still something I appreciate. That really makes a difference for big jobs that you can’t carry all of your tools to. It also serves as an example as to why this makes a great addition to a roadside kit. 

Craftsman V-Series 21-Piece Ratchet and Socket Set Review
Hank O’Hop

The V-Series ratchet has more back drag than the regular Craftsman but is nowhere near as tight as the Overdrive model. That is another thing to keep in mind if performance in tight spaces is a primary concern. It’s definitely smooth, just not so light that you can easily work with fasteners that are just a hair too tight to work by hand.  

That said, the ratchet does feel great, thanks to the comfort grip. Even as someone who isn’t particularly keen on this feature, it is nice to have a larger ratchet like this. It certainly helps it stand out from the other Craftsman wrenches I own. 

I only ran into one performance issue with this set, which was due to that quick-connect system on the extension. While working on a header bolt, the added bulk did interfere a bit with the fitment on the fastener. The quick-connect collar tended to bump into the header and throw things off a little. It didn’t keep me from getting the job done, but it does highlight a potential problem in awkward positions. Though, swapping out the extension is an easy enough solution.

Verdict on Craftsman V-Series 1/2-Inch Drive 21-Piece SAE 6-Point Tool Set

Overall, I think this is a great little kit. From a functional standpoint, it is perfect for applications like my Charger. It blends the strengths of 3/8-inch and 1/2-inch drive kits, which results in an ideal balance for older domestic vehicles. Obviously, the metric version is a solid contender for folks who aren’t stuck in the stone age. The comfort grip, premium presentation of the case, and general quality throughout help up the appeal.

Craftsman V-Series 21-Piece 1/2-Inch Socket Set

As my second run-in with V-Series tools, I have to say I really like what Craftsman’s putting out here. Still, it’s inevitable that the price will be an issue for the customer base. Even if Craftsman is marketing this kit toward the professional, a good amount won’t pay the $169.00 it’s selling for. I think a lot will stick to something a little cheaper, especially if the intended use is for an on-the-go kit. Many will simply pay more for something that’s made in the USA. Regardless, it is nice set that serves the purpose it’s designed to. I say it’s worth snagging if you can find a good deal or have a little extra money to burn on a premium tool kit.

Hank O'Hop Avatar

Hank O'Hop

Staff Writer

Hank is a Staff Writer at The Drive. He recently came to us as a freelancer with three years of industry-related experience and eventually earned his official title among our staff. As a self-taught gearhead, he spends the majority of his free time dissecting and playing with all things mechanical. He may be here to recommend tools and parts, but he's always happy to venture deep into the world of tech discussions and how-to guides, especially when it gives him the opportunity to display his beloved classic Dodge.