Which tools? - elrikos
I'm shopping for a new socket set and hoped some of you guys may have some input/experiences. i'm looking at a teng tools socket set or the halfords professional range. does anyone have anything good/bad to say about these and other socket set manufacturers (i can't afford hugely expensive sets i.e. snap on)
Which tools? - No Do$h
I've found the Halfords pro range to be excellent. Their ratchets are precise and have a real quality feel about them and the sockets are suitably robust. I haven't got a full set by any stretch of the imagination, just adding odd bits as time and budget allow.

I'm sure it would be possible to put something of equal quality together for less if you looked around but I'm at a loss as to where to start. Any suggestions?


PS - Depending on responses I may move this to the Technical forum as that bunch are, by their nature, into spanners and the like....

No Dosh, aka Alan_moderator@honestjohn.co.uk
Which tools? - trancer
I haven't tried their full socket sets, but the Clarke Professional range from Machine Mart come with a lifetime guarantee. Not sure of your price range, but they might be worth lookng into.
Which tools? - THe Growler
I can't speak for the brands you mention but can only say buy the very best you can afford. If you do you will only ever buy once.

My own kit consists of Sears (bought in the US) and Draper, some of which is more than 30 years old and still perfect. It depends how much use you foresee and what work you will be doing.

Don't get too carried away by the concept of "sets". If you work out what tasks you are most likely to deal with and the tools needed for same, you can buy your tools selectively, which will help your wallet. Most packaged sets include stuff you may never, or seldom, need. Get a hold of your service manual and study that - it should give you a handle (no pun!) on the most likely sockets, wrenches etc you'll need.

Do invest in a good torque wrench. Not those Chinese jobs with a a dial halfway down the shank, but one which "breaks" when the right setting is reached.

Which tools? - No Do$h
I can only presume that Draper have undergone a bit of a change over the years. These days I wouldn't use a draper tool to pick my nose for fear of something breaking, let alone use it on my beloved car!
Which tools? - owen
I've got a set of halfords professional ratchet spanners, and they have been absolutely excellent.
Which tools? - OldPeculiar
One thing to check for is are they metric or imperial or does the set include both. Which do you need?
Which tools? - elrikos
thanks for the quick replies.
the set will be used for all sorts. my dad has a standard halfords set that has done ok up to now but i feel the need for a set of my own. i work on my dads car a fair bit (so imperial is a must. (MGB and midget) as well as my car (ford diesel so metric and torx sockets a must). basically wanted the best i could afford (ratchet spanners a major bonus). already have a torque wrench but it's 1/2" drive and a lot of the socket sets have a mix of 1/4 3/8 and 1/2 inch. i do want a set of ratchet spanners (and no sets include these) so i was kind of resigned to not having them. no sets i've seen accomodate everything i want but the larger sets don't cost much more than the smaller sets. i.e. halfords pro range a full socket set is £70 but with a full set of spanners and many other bits its £80. do i forsake the ratchet spanners and go with standard???

p.s. mods if you feel this is more of a technical thread please do move it over.
Which tools? - OldPeculiar
A ratchet can be very useful in the confined space of a car. If you can get a set that includes an adaptor to change the drives and maybe pick up on of the screwdriver things (technical name) that you can fit the sockets on, this should give you the flexibilty for those hard to reach places
Which tools? - owen
A difficult choice, but ratchet spanners are an absolute godsend, particularly in cars with not much room in the engine bay. Don't forget you can also add bits and pieces as your budget allows, you don't have to get everything all at once!

But once you have got decent stuff, look after it and it should last ages.

Which tools? - madf
My unbranded socket set is over 35 years old. Upgraded with a set of Halfords metric sockets 6 years ago. Very satisfied..
Which tools? - Dizzy {P}
I buy the odd Draper or Machine Mart tool where I need something cheapish for occasional light-duty use but my experiences with them have not been good. However I haven't tried their socket sets.

The sockets I use for car work are 1/2" drive but I would now go for 3/8" drive as I think these would be adequately strong and quite a bit easier to use in confined spaces.

Something worth checking when buying a ratchet drive is the number of teeth; i.e. the more clicks per turn, the easier to use in confined spaces.
Which tools? - jammods
I can vouch for both the Teng and the halfords Pro kit as I have both, infact the Halfords rachett is very similar in looks to the Teng. Teng owned for 7 years and no problems. Equally I have a 30 year old imperial set which are still in use. I think the key is to look after them, dry them out if they get wet, store them in a dry place etc. Maybe a financial comprimise would be buy a Teng rachett and Halfords bits.
Which tools? - nick
Practical Classics magazine did a test on socket sets a while back. I'll try and find it, but if you look in the mag I think it lists the last 10 or so product tests and you could look at a copy or get a back issue.
I have a Gedore set, 25 years old now and still perfect despite lots of abuse. What I find really useful is a set of Metrinch sockets. These fit both imperial and metric sizes so you only need one set and work on the flat of the nut, not the corners, so they have a chance of removing rounded nuts.
I'd agree a 3/8 drive set is very useful, particularly on modern cars with full engine bays, but I prefer a 1/2 drive set for old stuff.
When buying, check how much free play there is in the rachet, and how fine it is. They vary tremendously.
If you want to get one on the cheap, try a few autojumbles. You can get secondhand professional quality stuff, often ex-MOD, very cheaply. As Growler says, buy the best you can afford and you'll only buy it once (assumimg they're not stolen).
Which tools? - none
Speaking as a professional mechanic, Halfords Pro range is pretty good, no problems with the few bits of this range I have. If you do buy cheaper sockets and attachments make sure they have a decent well sprung locating ball and a deep recess to accept the ball. Nothing more infuriating that a socket constantly falling off the extension or ratchet. A Snap on socket will fall off a cheap extension, and a cheap socket won't stay on a Snap on extension.
Which tools? - andy n
i think the halford pro tools are actually made by facom so should be pretty good quality
Which tools? - owen
I would agree with nick - get sockets which grip the flat of the nut. These make it much easier to undo all the nuts and bolts which are always, always rusted in place (wll they are in my cars anyway!) without rounding it. I've only got a cheapy draper set myself, but when i borrowed a few decent sockets which did this (can't remember the make) they made the job much easier.
Which tools? - henry k
If you do not already have some, get several long 18 inch screw drivers,
I also have a magnetic on the end of a bendy aluminium wand that is useful for the odd dropped item.
Which tools? - M.M
I have Snap-On, Britool, Draper, Halfords, Kamasa, Clarke, Laser and many more in the workshop.

One of these sets is over 45yrs old, three sets are over 25yrs and others of varying ages right up to date.

To be honest I find most of them are quite acceptable, care and use withing correct limits seem more important than make. Failing 1/2" drives and the odd split socket, usually due to overloading, are the main problems with frequent use.

Obviously there are some "Sunday Market" sets that will struggle to last a month.

I see Halfords have £40 off a 62pc socket/ratchet spanner set at present...down to £59.99. Might make a good basis for starting a collection. And I guess it will be even cheaper in January.

Which tools? - MrWibble
Not a regular spanner user now but I can recommend a few places to try for cheap, quality ex-MOD tools.

Disposal Sales Agency has a list of outlets - www.disposalsales.agency.mod.uk

Worth looking at are Babcock and Ramco for tools

Also worth a look is www.witham-sv.com for all your amphibious tank and armoured landrover needs !!!!

Which tools? - No Do$h
Also worth a look is www.witham-sv.com for all your amphibious tank
and armoured landrover needs !!!!

This could be worthy of going in the Directory. Army Surplus landrover, anyone?
Which tools? - doug_523i
I bought a Gedore socket set in the 1970s and it's still going strong, the plastic split on the ratchet handle, but I can forgive them for that. I agree with the others that building a set up as you need it is best, half the sockets have never been out of the box. On motorbikes I find 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, and 22mm do most jobs, with 32mm? for the rear spindle nut. An impact driver is great for tough screws, used like a normal screwdriver, as the bits are cut to a finer tolerance. I've got several bits of Halfords pro stuff and it seems ok, especially the ratchet spanners. The stud extractor set is a bit crap though, the four piece set, the innards go peculiar if you put some strength behind them, which I'd have thought was the reason for buying them in the first place.
Which tools? - Dynamic Dave
I've got a 41 piece socket set in the boot, made by Taicho (I think that's how it's spelt). Was given it as a Christmas present back in 1985 by an Auntie just after I got my first moped. It still has the original rachet which has been clouted many a time to shift stubborn nuts and bolts. I have replaced 3 of the most popular sizes of socket (10mm, 13mm, and the 19mm) with Draper as the original ones busted. Considering it's now nearly 19 yrs old, and has had loads of abuse thrown at it, both tinkering with bikes and cars alike, it's still going strong. Amazing to think that the 3 sockets I replaced probably cost more than the original set!!
Which tools? - Dizzy {P}
This thread has prompted me to advertise for some heavy-duty spanners in the "Classifieds" section for donation to my local steam railway (Nene Valley Railway).

I expect to pay for the tools, the "donation" being from myself in support of a cash-strapped railway that gives me a lot of pleasure.

Please take a look at the advertisement and let me know if you can help. I can arrange for collection or delivery as required.

Mark (RLBS) very kindly accepted the advertisement even though it is not motoring-related. Thanks very much Mark.

Which tools? - spikeyhead {p}
My own socket sets (1/2" and 1/4" drive) were bought for a fiver each from a motorway service station car park about eight years ago. I've had to replace the ratchet drives with some good quality unbranded ones that I found in Milton Keynes market. These work well and ahve somfotable handles. The sockets themselves have taken a lot of force without any damage. I've also bought vaious sizes of extension bars, a three foot long driver bar for those occaisions when I want to remove an 18mm nut that was tourqued a few years previously to 180lb/ft or other similar stubborn stuff.

This approach has provided lots of adequate sockets and good quality ratchet drivers for minimal outlay.

The approach I take with buying most things is either to buy top of the range or buy cheap and accept that I'll need to replace it in a few years.
I read often, only post occasionally
Which tools? - PhilW
Sorry to revise an old thread, but I have just been to Halfords and they have a special offer on rathet spanners (Professional). I think it's the set mentioned by MM above - originally £99, reduced to £69 now "less than half price" at £29-99. Sounds good value? These were in Loughborough branch but presume offers apply nationwide? May be of interest to somebody?
Which tools? - DL
Might take a trip into Halfords later and have a look. That seems a bargain to me!

I have a Draper 1/2" socket set, with both imperial and metric sizes - very pleased I am with it too, given the price I paid for it :-) - it was incorrectly packed at the factory, so I got it cheap cheap..

I also have a selection of Snap-on socketry.....it does the job as well as the Draper kit IMO...

The best Snap-On tool I have bought? 3/8" drive air ratchet - saves me loads of hassle nearly every day. It is immensely powerful unlike some of the 'market' brands you can buy.
groups.msn.com/honestjohn/problems.msnw?Page=1 - Pictures say a thousand words.....

Value my car