View Full Version : Lost all tools, have $500 to spend

01-30-2012, 04:25 PM
Well ive been on the forums for a while and have mostly been a lurker but now Im in the military and had to move and left all my tools back at home with my parents. So now I need to start my own tool collection. Let me say I plan on starting a build soon so I dont want cheap tools that are going to constantly break. Ive always trusted craftsman so anything close to that quality I will be happy with.

I have $500 to start my new collection, I have nothing not even tool box anymore I let my parents have it all. What would you guys do with $500 bucks to start a new collection? Any info is appreciated.

01-30-2012, 05:33 PM
You can get a decent box/tools at Lowes or Home depot. They are about the same quality as Craftsman, and have a lifetime warranty too.

01-30-2012, 09:41 PM
I'd say it's flea market/auction/thrift shop time (after checking prices for new stuff at the big box stores and Harbor Freight). At auctions especially, I've seen tool boxes and power tools go for stupid low prices. I got a new-in-box jig saw for $2 this summer.

01-30-2012, 09:50 PM
i like Husky and Cobalt tools from Lowes and Home Depot and they are priced well...

I have had Snap On, Matco, Mac etc and I just cant justify the money for them...

Craftsman's quality is going down hill...

01-30-2012, 09:55 PM
i would look on ur local craigslist....theres always ppll selling complete tool sets for good prices
01-30-2012, 10:05 PM
i would look on ur local craigslist....theres always ppll selling complete tool sets for good prices
I agree. I see young guys drop out of auto school and sell their sets for cheap. I have craftsman, not the best but they're good budget warrantied tools. Plus sears is everywhere.

01-30-2012, 10:12 PM
Thats because craftsman is no made in ping pong country.

No Hope
01-30-2012, 11:18 PM
On a budget Craftsman is your best bet for anything new. Get the Polished sets, the regular Craftsman tools have a raised center that digs into your hand. Its a shame they are all made in China now but they still offer the "Break it and we replace it for free" warranty.

Craig's list is a good place to get high quality used tools from. Snap On is "Considered" the best, Williams, Mac, Proto, and S&K are all high quality but only S&K offers a life time warranty like Craftsman.

Tool Boxes are an investment, if you don't have the money for a nice box now get a cheap plastic hand box until you can afford a good box. Snap On stands alone as the absolute best Tool Box. The are very expensive, even used they are more than most of the other brand tools boxes new.

01-30-2012, 11:45 PM
Snap on tools is all i have beside some other brand of specialty tools for cars.

01-31-2012, 06:21 AM
I appreciate all the replies. Im definitely gonna check craigslist and see whats all out there. I dont have the money for an expensive box right now so Ill probably just be getting a small box or something along those lines unfortunately

01-31-2012, 09:42 AM
this goes on sale for $150 around holidays:

that's probably the best deal out there for a starter set to build off of. I bought that, then a screwdriver set, plier set, nice impact, then cheap breaker bars/picks/extensions/swivels etc

and then bought a craftsman heavy duty ball bearing lower, 3 drawer middle, and 6 drawer upper all for $300 to store it all in

Old Geezer
01-31-2012, 09:47 AM
Our LOWES has some hand tools that were for Xmas sales.. Now marked down to as much as 50% off...

01-31-2012, 10:47 AM
I would definitely go the CL/garage sale/ flea market way on this given your budget. I frequently see really good tools for pennies on the dollar at these places.

01-31-2012, 11:49 AM
ive been scouring cl all morning. when i get off duty tomorrow morning im gonna head up to the local lowes and see whats out there. also february 3-9th is the craftsman club so hopefully theyll have some decent deals

02-01-2012, 09:20 AM
Whatever you buy just make sure its lifetime warranty

02-02-2012, 02:55 PM
Heres the two tool chests ive decided its between. I understand its not Snap-on or anything but its full ball bearing and looks like two very nice pieces chest&storeId=10051 chest&storeId=10051

I also get a 10% military discount through home depot
Let me know which one you would choose of the two..

02-02-2012, 03:10 PM
does anyone know of some organizers that lay sockets down instead of them standing up? I cant seem to find any that make them lay down

02-04-2012, 09:11 AM
Just the clip on strips that suck

To get started Id grab the $100 craftsman 154 pc tool kit from sears/K-mart. It has 98% of the tools you will be using for most jobs. Next, hit up harbor freight for the simple and 1 pc tools like hammers, pickle forks, screwdrivers, breaker bars etc. Super cheap and have yet to break anything. For the more complex stuff like air tools, torque wrenches, hit up craigslist and ebay

02-05-2012, 01:08 AM
I bought a 350 piece and it's served me well. Ie replaced a couple of ratchets and Sears didn't have a problem. I've even used normal sockets with an impact and they have replaced them.

02-05-2012, 07:01 AM
I think im going to start with the 311 socket set. Some good mac, snap-on, or williams fine tooth ratchets and an complete ratchet wrench setup. Thatll put me about $700 in and I can get some of the cheap non essential tools at hf or somewhere on sale.

02-05-2012, 09:35 AM

You may not be able to see them but where my sockets and extensions run across the bottom of my drawer I have magnetic rails that i have laying on their side.. works out well if you have the room to do it

02-07-2012, 01:30 PM
well today was very successful. I wanted to just go window shopping and was at the mall went to sears checked it out and decided to stop by lowes on the way home and got a 40 piece 3/8" set on sale 50% off and then got military discount and paid 23.60 for the kit and its kobalt which is a brand i like because of warranty

03-03-2012, 01:28 AM
You are in the military, does your duty station have DRMO? I work at MCAS Cherry Point and their drmo sells used tools and boxes for pennies on the dollar. just a thought.

03-24-2012, 01:49 PM
No we dont. I havent heard of that before Im going to have to look into that

03-26-2012, 10:49 PM
Pawn shops and flea markets are where I got most of
my hand tools originally. Flea market up here used to
get a lot of what looked like "lunch box specials" from
the Cape and contractors, back when they used to
actually do rocket building.

Yard sales in neighborhoods where blue collar folks
live (or die, old guys' estate sales are good for tools)
are also good fishin'.

03-26-2012, 10:59 PM
One of my most valuable tools has been my gear wrenches. The are good when it comes to tight spaces and on any newish car every space is tight. They are very tough but I did manage to kill my 8mm wrench. Trust me, you will never want to use regular wrenches again.

03-27-2012, 01:59 AM
Some things to think about if just starting, or starting over on tools.

How often do you actually need a 12 point socket?

Craftsman's quality is going down. I still think it's good enough, though I'm pretty sure I don't have any new enough to be made in china, and working on cars is not what I do for a living.

Sears just might go under, so their lifetime warranty might not really be.

Having said that, I have the 145 piece at home, and got the 189 piece to leave at a friends place after he had to take most of his stuff to work. The 145 came from in store at a sears hardware, the 189 was online. One you pay tax, the other you pay shipping, so it doesn't matter.

Get one of those, a big screwdriver set, and some ratchet wrenches and you've got a good start.

If you are not in any hurry, at all, sears seems to put most tools they carry in store on 1/2 off sale at some point in the year. I got a great deal on their locking flex head ratchet wrenches. Watch their sales paper.

04-02-2012, 11:47 AM
Im not in any hurry at all. I plan on buying me a new project car for my bday in August so I would like to have enough tools to have a good start. Money is no longer the issue on being strapped down to $500. I am not worried about pricing but at the same time dont have the money to spend on Snap-On products. Im thinking of getting the Northern Impact socket set and also need to find some gearwrenches that doesn't skip sizes.

04-08-2012, 11:36 AM
i like Husky and Cobalt tools from Lowes and Home Depot and they are priced well...

I have had Snap On, Matco, Mac etc and I just cant justify the money for them...

Craftsman's quality is going down hill...

i am an aircraft mechanic, so i buy ALOT of snap on, but i use it at work so i can justify it. but at home in the garage, go to harbor freight, 500 will go a long way.

04-12-2012, 03:53 PM
Really depends on the type of person you are . If you need a name brand in your box all polished to show off or not. I use whatever i get a good deal on .Im a locomotive mechanic and most of the stuff i use is 1/2 drive are larger. My home tools are williams, proto, blackhawk,craftsman. My work tools (since i have to provide them) Are mostly harbor freight . Ive had a set of their ratchet wrenches for 5-6 years now and still work good. All of their impact sockets have held up and even the 3/4" and 1 " sets are holding up. Another thing , Fathers Day can net some good buys everywhere, As well as X-mas. Walmart sells stanly and they are made by proto or the other way around . They have some good deals on sets sometimes. Harbor freights cheap wrenches are garbage. Craftsman quit giving ratchets as replacements here and now hand you a rebuild kit. I dont like cheap ratchets in any size or cheap screwdrivers. But like the guy above me said .. 500 at harbor freight will get you a Top box, roll around tool tray , and fill both of them up with the basics you will need to tinker with stuff . And on another note, I have broken more snap -on sockets than any cheap brand i own . And you have to take out a loan on your house just to buy the tool box . You can usually find the same box without snap-on written on it and save $5k.

Just my 2cents

04-12-2012, 04:38 PM
I actually got the HF 301 pc. set for easter when I had a 25% coupon and I am happy with it very much. I only work on my cars and am actually saving so I can get me a new project car to play with and I am pleased with the quality of it so I will definitely keep going to HF until they give me reason not too. I appreciate the insight from ya. I could care less about showing off my tool sets haha

04-24-2012, 10:56 AM
Tooltopia has a set on sale

04-30-2012, 07:16 PM
Lisle makes magnetic socket holders that lay down sears sells them