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Best Mechanic’s Tool Sets (Review & Buying Guide) in 2022

Make sure you always have high-quality tools for the job.

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BYHank O'Hop/ LAST UPDATED ON November 3, 2021

Let's face the facts—if you're working in a professional environment or have plenty of cash at your disposal, you want to go with a top-shelf mechanic’s tool set. But not everyone has the means to invest a small fortune into hand tools for a hobby or something they only do when they need to. Most of us spend our time sorting through the more affordable entrees to figure out what fits our budget, is solid, and doesn’t rob us blind. But for someone starting off, what’s up with those mechanic’s sets everyone's raving about? Or the ones you happen to see in nearly every parts store? We asked ourselves the same questions, which is why we set out to test ten different mechanic’s tool sets from brands we frequently come across. We're here to let you know what our thoughts are so that you can decide which names belong in your collection.

Best Overall

Craftsman 40-Piece Mechanic’s Tool Set

Summary

A solid choice for any new or seasoned DIYer. This Craftsman set offers a high-tooth-count ratchet, a solid range of sockets, and is backed by that signature warranty Craftsman savants rave about.

Pros
  • Competitive pricing
  • Excellent lifetime warranty 
  • Decent selection for relatively low price 
  • Comfortable and efficient ratchet design
Cons
  • Easy to bump directional switch 
  • Ratchet internals can use improvement 
  • 12-point sockets aren’t ideal for typical 6-point fasteners
Best Value

Stanley 69-Piece Black Chrome Set

Summary

A respectable, yet affordable starter set from Stanley. It includes a lifetime warranty, a wide range of sockets and extensions, and comes with two 72-tooth ratchets coated in a black and silver finish.

Pros
  • Competitive pricing
  • Aesthetically appealing 
  • High-tooth count
Cons
  • Quality control issues 
  • Ratchet internals can use improvement 
  • Finish and laser etching wear away
Honorable Mention

Gearwrench 68-Piece Mechanic’s Tool Set

Summary

For those who enjoy the finer things in life, the attention to detail that goes into this tool set helps it to do more than perform as a well-equipped starter set featuring 90-tooth ratchets.

Pros
  • High-quality construction
  • High tooth count
  • Aesthetically pleasing 
Cons
  • Terrible storage case 
  • No seal on ratchet internals
  • Limited metric spread
Best Mechanic’s Tool Sets (Review & Buying Guide) in 2022

How We Tested

We're in the age of information when finding data to back opinions and confirm speculations is easier than ever, but that's not what you'll find here. While we are reviewing key features and characteristics of these mechanic’s tool sets, we base our evaluation on our experience from using them with our 1969 Dodge Charger project car. So, as these tools and parts arrived, we blindly selected them for whatever job was at hand to see if they could get it done, which included the installation of exhaust components, shock absorbers, sway bars, brake pads, and much more. Spoiler alert, all sets pulled through. Still, our hands-on approach did help us to determine what is and isn't to like about each set.

Why Trust Us

Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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Best Mechanic’s Tool Set Reviews & Recommendations

It's only natural to suggest Craftsman to the DIY crowd as both the lifetime warranty and low pricing are just too good to ignore. And if something breaks, you hitch a ride to Lowes, and you're back up and running, which makes a significant difference if this is your first and only tool set. This particular set is affordable yet well-rounded and comes with just one 3/8-inch ratchet, but a total of 37 shallow and deep well metric and SAE 12-point sockets, a 6-inch extension, and 13/16-inch spark plug socket help you to tackle quite a bit. 


The ratchet is a pleasant breath of fresh air after using the signature 36-tooth design of Craftsman for so long. Its rectangular handle with rounded edges is a joy to handle, and a 72-tooth single-pawl mechanism works wonders in tight spaces. We used this particular set to replace shock absorbers, and though we trust it to handle any task on most passenger vehicles, we wouldn't tackle heavy-duty work with it. Compared to more heavy-duty designs, it just isn't as robust. We should also point out that it's easy to accidentally bump the directional switch on the ratchet, and 6-point sockets would offer better contact with the average fasteners.

Specs:

  • Piece Count: 40; 1 ratchet 37 sockets, 1 extension, 1 spark plug socket (13/16-inch) 
  • Ratchet Specs: 3/8-inch drive, 72-tooth, single-pawl
  • Warranty: Lifetime

Pros:

  • Competitive pricing
  • Excellent lifetime warranty process
  • Decent selection for relatively low price point
  • Comfortable and efficient ratchet design

Cons:

  • Easy to bump directional switch on ratchet
  • Ratchet internals can use improvement 
  • 12-point sockets aren’t ideal for typical 6-point fasteners

As the most recent owner of the Craftsman line, it's likely no surprise to see Stanley Black and Decker following our Craftsman selection. What drives our decision is that it shares a lot in common with the above, including the 72-tooth internals of the ratchets, which are identical and even interchangeable. Though this particular listing isn't attached to the lowest price we’ve seen, the price per piece is excellent. That, paired with an internal design we trust, makes it the obvious choice for this spot. 


This set includes a 3/8-inch and 1/2-inch ratchet, two extensions, a 5/8-inch and 13/16-inch spark plug socket, and a total of 63 metric and SAE shallow and deep well 6-point sockets. We used this set to add an X-pipe to our homemade exhaust system, and though it handled well, we’re somewhat concerned that the internals won’t stand up to severe stresses. We also received a set that had missed any QC measures as sockets were missing and imperfections littered the entire kit. Speaking of imperfections, you should know that the John Player Special color scheme isn't long for this world, as both the black finish and laser-etched stamping wear away quickly.

Specs:

  • Piece Count: 69; 2 ratchets , 63 sockets, 2 extensions, 2 spark plug sockets (13/16-inch and 5/8-inch) 
  • Ratchet Specs: 3/8-inch and 1/2-inch drive, 72-tooth, single-pawl
  • Warranty: Lifetime

Pros:

  • Competitive pricing
  • Aesthetically appealing 
  • High-tooth count is great in tight spaces

Cons:

  • Quality control issues may be common
  • Ratchet internals can use improvement 
  • Finish and laser etching wear away easily

In the realm of hand tools for DIYers, Gearwrench sits on the higher end of the scale. Some will argue that it has a place in a professional setting based on the fact that they come with a lifetime warranty, the quality is excellent, and some tool trucks are beginning to pop up in the wild. These are some of the same reasons we feel it's one of the best premium offerings to the average consumer. That, and the attention to detail that goes into these tools. 


While they're another polished set, the inclusion of tasteful engravings to call out the internal tooth count, the direction of the drive, and even to separate metric and SAE sockets help these to stand out. And the 90-tooth mechanism and thick housing help us to fall even more in love with this set. We used this to install a rear sway bar on our project car, and the tooth count does make a difference. However, the horrible case is better left behind if you don't want to rearrange all 68 pieces constantly. We should also point out that it is a little light on metric deep well sockets.

Specs:

  • Piece Count: 68; 2 ratchets, 62 sockets, 4 extensions 
  • Ratchet Specs: 3/8-inch and 1/4-inch drive, 90-tooth, single-pawl
  • Warranty: Lifetime

Pros:

  • High-quality construction
  • High tooth count
  • Aesthetically pleasing design

Cons:

  • Terrible storage case 
  • No seal on ratchet internals
  • Limited metric spread

To not give this Tekton set our pick for best overall was a hard call to make, as the minute we used these tools, we fell in love with everything this set brought to the table. Let's start with what we found inside, though. The internal mechanism of this set is far more robust than anything on our list and offers a 90-tooth single-pawl mechanism. Despite that, this kit is attached to a relatively low price point and the lifetime warranty, or Always Guarantee, makes it something we think every wrench-turner should give a swing. 


That said, this is a solid selection of shallow 6-point sockets in metric and SAE sizes, a nut driver with a bit-driver attachment, an extension, 1/4-inch impact shank attachment, a 1/4-inch adapter, a 5/8-inch spark plug socket, and a universal joint. Even though it's just 45 pieces, it'll serve you well during virtually any project. As for the drawbacks, there are very few as the red handle and case are grease magnets and the bit driver attachment feels out of place as no driver attachments are included, as does the impact attachment as these aren't impact sockets.

Specs:

  • Piece Count: 45; 1 ratchet, 37 sockets, 1 1/4-inch adapter, 1 nut driver, 1 bit socket, 1 spark plug socket (5/8-inch), 1 extension, 1 impact shank, 1 universal joint
  • Ratchet Specs: 3/8-inch drive, 90-tooth, single-pawl
  • Warranty: Lifetime

Pros:

  • High-quality construction
  • High tooth count
  • Competitive pricing 

Cons:

  • Red handle and case are grease magnets
  • Impact shank but not impact-rated sockets
  • No bits for bit driver attachment

Ok, so this award is given out to Neiko’s set with something of a handicap as this is the only impact set that we put to the test. Even so, we firmly feel that this is the way to go if you need to handle the power of impact sockets around the home garage. The main draw to this kit is the piece count. We used this any time our testing required wheels to be removed, harmonic balancers pulled, or anything else that required the use of impact tools and then some. The fact that you get a total of 58 shallow and deep well metric and SAE sockets makes it hard to leave out of the equation whenever you start wrenching. 


It also comes with a 1/2-inch ratchet, three extensions, two drive adapters, and a universal joint, which makes it the only kit you'll need for many situations. The quality is in line with most budget impact sockets, if not better. However, the price of this kit is hard to ignore and we should also point out that there is only a 30-day warranty, and the massive case does make storage hard to sort out.

Specs:

  • Piece Count: 65; 1 ratchet, 58 sockets, 3 extensions, 2 drive adapters, 1 universal joint
  • Ratchet Specs: 1/2-inch drive, 72-tooth, twin-pawl
  • Warranty: 30-day

Pros:

  • Comprehensive impact socket selection
  • Ratchet and attachments included 
  • Better construction than most budget impact sets

Cons:

  • Massive storage case
  • Poor warranty coverage 
  • Relatively high price point

Out of all tools sent for review, this set from Crescent has undoubtedly seen the most use. Official testing included sealing a transmission leak, but this kit has been used for many other projects. The reason we like it so much comes down to the balance of aesthetic appeal and high-quality construction. The 3/8-inch ratchet uses an 84-tooth mechanism that's equally as robust as it is nimble. It also features a gorgeous black and brushed steel scheme with black fill to help the socket engravings stand out. 


Now, we know what you're thinking: black finishes ask for issues. However, it's held up just fine on this ratchet, even after seeing daily use on our project car. While this may be a personal favorite, we have to point out that the ratchet is rather heavy. You can argue that that's a natural drawback when real quality is present, but it is something to be aware of, and the ratchet doesn't have a great seal on the internals. Furthermore, this hardly counts as a mechanic's tool set as it really only includes 20 pieces.

Specs:

  • Piece Count: 20; 1 ratchet, 18 sockets, 1 extension
  • Ratchet Specs: 3/8-inch drive, 84-tooth, single-pawl
  • Warranty: Lifetime

Pros:

  • Superior quality for price
  • High-tooth count
  • High aesthetic appeal
  • Resistant finish 

Cons:

  • Relatively limited selection
  • Heavy ratchet 
  • Poor seal on ratchet internals

This one came out of left field because as part of the competitively priced Stanley Black and Decker umbrella, we expected its hand tools to be another rehash of the others. What we didn't expect was for DeWalt to do what the others don't with stride. While the internal design is similar to the other 72-tooth single-pawl mechanisms, everything is scaled down to fit the smaller head. That makes the ratchets better in tight spaces than anything similar on our list, even if it doesn't feature the highest tooth count, and it was perfect for messing around with the door alignment. 


This 108-piece set is also rather well-equipped, as it includes your standard ratchets and sockets, with a bit driver, bits, and hex keys thrown in the mix. Plus, the case is by far the best of what we tested. Again, the internal design isn't exactly the strongest out there. It's not bad, but some tweaks would make a perfect tool. That said, this set would benefit from the inclusion of a spark plug socket, and the bits for the driver are easy to distort.

Specs

  • Piece Count: 108; 2 ratchets, 47 sockets, 2 extensions, 1 drive adapter, 1 bit driver, 5 nut driver attachments, 18 bits, 3 impact shanks  29 hex keys
  • Ratchet Specs: 1/4-inch and 3/8-inch drive, 72-tooth, single-pawl
  • Warranty: Lifetime 

Pros

  • Competitive pricing 
  • Well-equipped set 
  • Slim ratchet head and high tooth count 
  • High-quality case 

Cons

  • Ratchet internals can see improvements 
  • No spark plug sockets 
  • Bits round easily 

While this set from Performance Tool might not have the largest internet presence, frequently stumbling across this brand at auto parts stores piqued our curiosity. The price is low, the selection is decent, and it seems to be made well enough to tackle emergency situations. Official testing included cleaning up under the hood and various miscellaneous tasks, but afterward, a brake job presented itself while this was on hand. It held up just fine, cementing our faith in it as something to keep in the trunk of your car. The fact that it comes with so much complements that purpose. 


This set includes three ratchets, five extensions, a bit driver, some bits, hex keys, a healthy selection of sockets, and some hand wrenches to keep you moving (as well as a partridge and a pear tree). Very little else is needed to complete your trunk tool kit. Is it the premier offering? No, though the ratchets do use a 72-tooth mechanism, the twin-pawl design isn't something we have much faith in. Open orifices on the rear of the ratchet are an invitation for headaches, and the quality is about what you'd expect for tools in this price range.

Specs

  • Piece Count: 114; 3 ratchets, 57 sockets, 5 extensions, 10 hand wrenches,  2  drive adapters, 1 bit driver, 20 bits, 16 hex keys
  • Ratchet Specs: 1/4-inch, 3/8-inch drive, and 1/2-inch drive 72-tooth, twin-pawl
  • Warranty: Lifetime

Pros

  • Affordable price point
  • Well-equipped set 
  • Perfect for trunk kit 

Cons

  • Ratchet internals can see improvements 
  • Open orifices on ratchet heads 
  • Can use quality improvements

Sometimes you just need to get a small job done. Does that warrant bringing along an entire tool selection? Or is it better to grab something you know covers the basics? The latter is what this kit from Work Pro is great for. Official testing included plinking around with miscellaneous, pointless tasks around the shop. After the initial review, this set proved to be handy in repairing a lawn mower, adjusting chainsaw blades, and other tasks that don't require many tools. That said, it's perfect for it.


The kit includes 39 pieces surrounding the 3/8-inch drive ratchet and bit driver. It's effortless to carry around, and because we used it for very light work, we noticed very few flaws, especially because it's so affordable. Still, there are things to be aware of. Here again, we find a ratchet plagued with open orifices and a twin-pawl 72-tooth mechanism that's not cut out for serious work. Also, the overall quality doesn't instill much faith in use for anything beyond light tinkering.

Specs:

  • Piece Count: 39; 1 ratchet, 34 sockets, 1 extension, 1 nut driver, 1 thumbwheel, 1 drive adapter
  • Ratchet Specs: 1/4-inch, 3/8-inch drive, and 1/2-inch drive 72-tooth, twin-pawl
  • Warranty: Lifetime Warranty

Pros:

  • Affordable price point
  • Covers basics
  • Easy-to-carry storage case 

Cons:

  • Ratchet internals can see improvements 
  • Open orifices on ratchet heads 
  • Not cut out for demanding projects

The last set we're going to take a look at is a very affordable option from EPAuto. If you're working on a shoestring budget, it's capable of helping you get the job done. This 69-piece set includes both the 1/4-inch and 3/8-inch sockets, along with a solid combination of shallow and deep well sockets in SAE and metric sizes, two extensions, and both a 5/8-inch and 13/16-inch spark plug socket. Our testing of this set included installing new fuel system components, along with a few miscellaneous tasks and it got the job done, making it something you can count on in a bind.


While the price is low, it's hard to give this the title of Best Value and the ratchet is primarily what keeps it from getting there. It does offer a 72-tooth mechanism, but the twin-pawl design and open orifices are asking for trouble. Also, quality control issues are a problem, as the set had some major imperfections. We assume there is no warranty, as there is no clear information regarding one.

Specs:

  • Piece Count: 69; 2 ratchets, 63  sockets, 2 extensions, 2 spark plug sockets (5/8-inch and 13/16-inch)
  • Ratchet Specs: 1/4-inch and 3/8-inch drive, 72-tooth, twin-pawl
  • Warranty: None 

Pros:

  • Affordable price point
  • Comprehensive collection for low price
  • High tooth count is good in tight spaces 

Cons:

  • Ratchet internals can see improvements 
  • Open orifices on ratchet heads 
  • Quality control issues are concerning 
  • No warranty information available

Our Verdict on Mechanic’s Tool Sets 

Since we assume we're talking to folks working in their home garage, it's hard to suggest anything but the Craftsman 40-Piece Mechanic's Tool Set based on the excellent warranty process and decent quality. The Stanley 69-Piece Black Chrome Setis another solid choice if you want a little more bang for your buck. We know you've got opinions on this matter, and we want to hear them. Not just out of curiosity, but because we know you've got solid advice for newcomers looking for quality tools! 

What to Consider When Buying Mechanic’s Tool Sets 

It's totally fine if you disagree with our selection. In fact, we think it's best that you think objectively and read more into what others have to say. It's even better for you to get out and test your own set of top brands to try and decide what works best for you. That can be easier said than done when there's a seemingly endless list of suppliers on the market. That's why we have this quick buying guide to help you narrow things down.

Types of Mechanic’s Tool Sets 

Mechanic's tool sets come in all shapes and sizes. To keep things simple, we've broken them into three different types to help you narrow in on what to consider. 

Small Set 

Starting with small sets, these are what you can keep in the glove box, under the front seat, or anywhere space is limited. The great thing about these sets is that they're easy to carry around and are generally built around one socket-wrench drive size. That makes them perfect for small jobs that you may need to do to get off the side of the road or those that simply don't require much to complete. 

Medium Set 

Medium tool sets make up the majority of our list, as these kits are typically made up of around 50 to 100 pieces and feature at least two socket wrenches with different drive sizes. Socket selection and the typical inclusion of extensions make them a great starting point for collections, and because they still don't take up much space, you can still feasibly keep them in your vehicle.

Master Set 

There are no master tool sets on our list, nor did we test any for review purposes. They are still very important to factor into your decision-making process if you're just starting your tool collection because they come with so many essential tools. The thing about master tool sets is that, while most targeted to the DIY crowd are around 150-300 pieces, they can be of much higher piece counts. The more pieces that are included, the better of a deal you will get. Still, more tools mean more money. 

Mechanic’s Tool Set Key Features

Application Match

Any mechanic's tool set must be a match to the type of work you intend to use it for. One of the first things to consider is if the sockets and tools included will work for the fasteners on your vehicle. The smaller a set is, the more important it becomes to familiarize yourself with the fastener sizes you are most likely to deal with and make sure they are covered. 

You should also think beyond fastener sizes, though. Think about the spaces you're working within and how demanding the work can be of the tools. If the tool can't handle the workload or simply won't fit where you need it to, it's of no use to you. 

Quality Construction

We suggest buying the best tools you can afford. If that means building your collection with used tools made in the US, Germany, Japan, or any other reputable country of origin, so be it. Still, there's always room for cheap tools as, after all, you will need something to help you get by until you assemble the master set of your dreams. It's also not necessary to invest a bunch of money into a set you hardly use, such as what you may use for a roadside emergency kit.  

Warranty Coverage 

Warranties are a big deal. You'll spend a lot of money on tools throughout your lifetime, but good warranties can soften the financial blow. In most cases, hand tools found in a mechanic's tool set are backed by a lifetime warranty, though it's not something you should assume is present. Not only that, but you should take the time to read into the warranty process as some tools are able to be swapped out at the local supply, while others you can swap out at select locations, and some must be mailed in. 

No Buy Option 

While shiny new mechanic’s sets are great and getting one in the mail can be thrilling, your local swap meet can yield an impressive array of excellent used tools at a fraction of the cost of something new. Not only that, but it also proves that a tool will last as it’s likely seen decades of use and is still in circulation and not the trash heap. And you can rest easy knowing that you didn’t contribute more to the warming of our planet. 

Mechanic’s Tool Set Pricing 

How much you can expect to pay for a mechanic's tool set depends on quite a few factors. Piece count and overall quality are two of the primary influences of the price you pay. At the very least, you can expect to pay $30-$50 on a small mechanic’s tool set, $50-$100 on a medium set, and you'll rarely pay less than $150 for a master set. This is just a general rule of thumb, though, as some top-shelf brands can sell a single wrench for what an entire set costs from a DIY-friendly brand. 

As quality increases, the price per piece included in a set will also increase. Surely there are some exceptions, but this factor usually helps you dial in on the better brands in a given price range. Furthermore, newer and better designs can also increase the price point. 

Tips and Tricks

As with something you do for decades upon decades, you pick up a few tips and tricks along the way in terms of selecting the right product, and/or using it. That’s the case with us and mechanic’s tool sets. To help you bridge the information gap, here’s a selection of what we’ve learned along the way.

  • Flex is the enemy. If there’s anything to look out for, it’s tools that flex too much. It works against you in every way and will add a few scars to your knuckles.
  • Start with 6-point sockets. 12-point sockets are great because they work on both 6 and 12-point fasteners. However, 6-point fasteners are far more common and it’s best to use 6-point sockets when dealing with them.
  • Comfort isn’t a luxury. Unless you’re an infrequent user of hand tools, it is worth investing in tools that conform well to your hand. This can make working much more enjoyable and even reduce fatigue.
  • Figure out a storage solution. All mechanic’s tool sets come with storage cases. They almost always suck. Do yourself a favor and set yourself up with a permanent solution that won’t leave you frequently reorganizing your collection. 

FAQs 

You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers!

Q: What should a mechanic’s tool set include? 

A: A mechanic’s tool set should at least include a ratchet, some sockets, and extensions. If you need more to start with, you can buy bigger kits with more ratchets, hand ratchets, an even more comprehensive range of sockets, and additional tools you may need. What's appropriate does depend on the type of work you will perform and what your projects call for. 

Q: What makes a good mechanic’s tool set? 

A: It all depends on your experiences and what you're working on. In any case, a mechanic’s tool set should include tools to deal with any fasteners you'll come across. From there, features such as ratchet design and quality can be taken into consideration.

Q: Are cheap mechanic’s tool sets worth it? 

A: Everyone will tell you to stay away from cheap tools, and for good reasons. However, if you give a master mechanic cheap hand tools to work with, they can still get the job done. Therefore, they are still worth it if that's all you can afford. Quality issues do warrant investing in higher-quality tools when you can afford them, though.

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