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Discussion Starter #1
I've noticed over the years that the once good names of companies like S&J, Stanley, Draper etc appear to be slapped on any piece of junk these days, I understand the economic pressures behind it but that doesn't make it acceptable, I buy Bosch where I can but am not entirely convinced they are as good as they used to be, what does anyone else use - I know snap on are good but the prices seem a little bit out of proportion, maybe relying on their name a bit too much, anyone got any recommends for good stuff?
 

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Hand tools

I agree that a lot of previously well-respected brands of hand tools have headed downmarket in recent years.

I still like Gedore (spanners, ratchets, sockets), Wera (sockets, bits, screwdrivers), CK and Knipex (pliers, cutters). I also have a set of Elora combination spanners from the early 1990s, before they were acquired by Draper and dumbed-down: they are still dimensionally perfect and a real pleasure to use.

I also have an Elora 3/4" swivel-head drive handle which has been used with a 1.8 metre scaffold pole to undo the rear hub nuts on the Alfetta! Like the spanners, it's seen 20 years of service and has more than earned its keep.

Of course, decent tools are rarely cheap. The tool purchases I regret were all cheap ones, whilst the ones that felt stupidly expensive at the time have nearly all turned out to be good value in the end.

Trouble is, there are now some 'expensive' brands that aren't as good as they used to be...
 

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Some things are now so cheap it's worth excluding the "lifetime/heirloom" mindset and saying to yourself, once they're not performing, they get replaced. As examples, I absolutely don't regret buying Stahlwille deep offset ring spanners, but had no hesitation buying Taiwanese deep impact sockets as a set. They're insanely good for the money but if after a few years the 13, 17, 19 look a bit wallered out, the whole lot can be gifted to a charity shop and I'll buy another set without shedding a tear.
 

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Halfords do a couple of very decent large socket sets with decent quality ratchets. I have a huge collection of old sockets and spanners on rails in my large tool box and a few well chosen extension/ adapt or bits if required but ninety percent of the time the one halfords box does the trick. Just makes cleaning away quicker for me.
If you keep an eye out for a sale on there they can be had very cheaply indeed.
 

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I'd recommend Bahco hand tools, with exception to their screwdrivers (see Wera for them). That said, Halfords tools are of decent quality and come with a lifetime warranty (not including tools with moving parts e.g Ratchet). The warranty doesn't have any sort of fair usage policy so you could use a great big breaker bar on a spanner, break it and it would still be returnable so long as you have the receipt.

Sam
 

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Surely there are two aspects to this.

Firstly there is tool longevity and quality. The quality you need depends on what you are doing - simple maintenance, you're probably not that fussed. On larger jobs, decent tools can make all the difference. For example, when removing the sump of a 3.2 with the engine in the car, a Halfords 1/4" 10 mm socket will not get to the bolt under the intermediate bearing housing. The Snap-on one does.

Secondly there is the ability to replace individual tools when they break or get lost. I don't want to bin a set because the 13 and 17 mm items are knackered.

Snap-on, Koken and Halfords work well for me. Snap on is bonkers expensive, I regularly trawl the 'bay for someone having "buyer's regret". The accuracy of their spanners is way ahead of everyone else - try fitting a 14 mm spanner on a 9/16th nut - doesn't work if you're using Snap on because 9/16 is 14.2 mm. Koken - Japanese outfit, make some really nice (life saving) tools. Their "nut-grip" sockets can make all the difference. Halfords is good stuff - well made, and not expensive
 

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Trouble is, there's always scope creep and the question of how frequently something is used to flavour the choice. Besides Stahlwille, I've got Snap-On, Blackhawk, Gedore, Koken, Teng kit in the mix and also a bit of "house branded" stuff the mobile toolies sell. At Aussie dollar prices it's easy to drop $6000 on tooling to be a solid DIY-er across several marques and to a "Haynes five spanner" level of difficulty. You'll have a nice trolley with good kit inside, but that's a lot of money which didn't directly go on your cars.

My biggest disappointment, pound for pound, has been a box set of Sykes-Pickavant alloy wheel nut sockets, the ones with PTFE sleeves. The 17 has oversized way too quickly, the saving grace of this kit is the 22mm with sleeve removed fits beautifully in the 147/156 rear strut top caps where no regular 22 does.

The best "bullet dodged" purchase is possibly my Mastercool AC full fat hose crimp set, I was looking hard at the knockoffs on AliExpress but bought genuine in the end. A mate bought a Chinese one to try and I was standing beside him when the pump seals failed after a very short period of usage. Not a patch on the real thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I'm getting Bahco from a few sources but have never heard of them, also the Halford's stuff which is a real surprise because Halfords was the place you only went to when you desperate for parts on a Sunday, I have a fairly decent socket set but its the small stuff that takes a beating like screwdrivers, no end to the number that have worn out, I still have a couple of Stanley posidrives from 30 years ago that are fine , bet they wouldn't be now, thanks for the ideas , i'll start with the Bahco range
 

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Halford professional range tools are very good.. I've used their socket sets, ring spanners and ratchets for years.. They also give you a life time guarantee.. Plus they always have half price sales...
 

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I have several halfords socket sets and ratchet spanners, all from the professional range, excellent tools, a bargain when on sale which they are regularly.

I have several Bacho adjustable spanners that I had when I was an engineer, over 30 years ago and they've seen some hammer:lol:

I also have snap-on Allen keys of the same age, faultless, but made my eyes water when I bought them in 1981, think I paid for them weekly..:wink_org:

With experience I think you can recognise the crud.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I have several halfords socket sets and ratchet spanners, all from the professional range, excellent tools, a bargain when on sale which they are regularly.

I have several Bacho adjustable spanners that I had when I was an engineer, over 30 years ago and they've seen some hammer:lol:

I also have snap-on Allen keys of the same age, faultless, but made my eyes water when I bought them in 1981, think I paid for them weekly..:wink_org:

With experience I think you can recognise the crud.
Is the halfords pro range what they now call "advanced"?
 

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What happens these days with the companies that have gotten large is generally as follows.....

The introduce different ranges for different price points, eg commodity, regular, premium.

Previously where a brand might have had only one level of quality, there are now more than 1. So people who Identify with a particular brand can buy cheaper, but the quality is lower and maybe not made in the normal factory....... Even bought in from China.

So in tools they might have 2 ranges.
Low = standard range or hobbyist
High = premium or Proffesional.

This might include differences between chromed or satin finish on hand tools.

And like Bosch...... Green vs Proffesional blue.
 

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Is the halfords pro range what they now call "advanced"?
Yes, hadn't noticed they'd changed their description:lol:

Just looking and touching them you can feel the quality. The one at £170 is a star buy, trouble is I've got all the bits separately, if I hadn't I'd buy it.

I still may, just to drool over it.
 

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I have Teng screwdrivers and torque wrench, a mix of old CK and new Draper sockets and Halfords Professional spanners. Plus various other tools new and old. Agree that some previously good makes are cheap crap these day. I bought a Stanley 6" bench vice a while ago from Amazon. When it arrived the handle was bent, I straightened it in the vice, it will do what I need it for. It cost about £60, some professional ones are over £1k. I don't use a vice that much to justify spending more.
 

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It's mainly been all the 'B's for me: Bahco Britool and Bedford (but I'm sure Bedford are long gone now). They've all performed exceptionally well over the years. And my main socket set has been a Hilka, but bought in the early 80's so again may have been of a better quality then. As previous posters have said, the Britool gear had to be paid for in instalments, or should I say 'ordered' as xmas presents.

Having said that, I've also got one of the Lidl £40 Li-ion hammer drill/drivers which just won't lay down and die no matter how much I abuse it. Horses for courses I would say.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I've had some of the Lidl stuff and to be fair its done really well especially electricals
 

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I have amongst my kit some tools which are particularly suitable when working on some gashed up rusty piece of **** that won't budge and I have decided it undo or break and some shiny nice kit I'd prefer not to smash up. As has been said earlier in this thread its horses for courses isn't it.
 
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