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How to Select a Quality Tool Set

by Chandler Warnick

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A quality mechanic's tool set

For a home owner or car owner, a tool set can save lots of time and money. A home tool set that comes equipped with screwdrivers, a hammer and some wrenches can make short work of a jammed window or a loose doorknob, and a mechanic tool set can let you take on basic auto repairs and maintenance, saving you expensive trips to a mechanic. However, if you haven't shopped for tools before, you may not know how to select a quality tool set. If you don't feel confident about your tool shopping skills, keep reading to find out some basic tips on choosing a tool kit that's right for your needs.

Shopping for Tool Sets:

  1. Look carefully at which tools come in a set. Most tool kits will prominently display the number of tools in the set, like 36 pieces or 129 pieces. The number of tools in a set gives you a good idea of how large the set is, but keep in mind that in many of the larger sets, a big chunk -- sometimes a third -- of the pieces that make up the figure are bits for a hand-held screwdriver, power drill or ratchet set. That's not to say that these bits aren't useful; they can be handy items if the tool they belong to is what you're looking for. Nevertheless, when you're looking at tool sets, pay attention to how many of the pieces in the set are actual tools, like wrenches, pliers and screwdrivers, and how many are small accessories to other tools.

  2. Know what tools you want. The key to getting what you want out of a tool set is knowing what you want and what you will use. If you want a specific kind of tool, like a ratchet set, and you know that you will use it often, look for a mechanic tool set that eschews the measuring tape and the handheld screw driver in favor of more ratchet accessories or higher quality. On the other hand, if you don't really have any specific repair or home-improvement plans in mind and simply want a comprehensive home tool set to handle tasks as they arise, then you probably will get more out of a tool kit that comes with a little bit of everything: a hammer, wrenches, needle-nose pliers, a leveler, and the works.

  3. Read customer reviews. When you're looking for tool sets online, you'll probably notice that a lot of different brands make tool sets, and there are a lot you probably haven't heard of. Many small brands make tool sets that are high quality; however, there are a few lemons out there. If you're not sure about the quality of a brand or a specific tool set, then try to find user reviews for that specific tool set or for products made by that brand. User reviews can quickly reveal what the quality of a tool kit is like and any other pros or cons of a specific set that aren't apparent from the product description.

  4. Look for reasonable deals. The whole idea of buying a full tool set is saving money. When you buy a wide selection of tools at once, you usually spend a lot less than you would if you were to buy all those tools individually. Also, by shopping for cheap tool sets online, you can find even better deals than those you would find on tool sets from retail stores. That said, keep your eye out for tool kits at reasonable prices. If a tool set has a price tag that seems too good to be true, it probably is.

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