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New Start: Recommendation on Socket, Ratchet, Wrench Brand - Thank you!


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Hi All, 
First a friendly shoutout from Canada and a quick thanks for all of the valuable information which I have read on this forum. Amazing! 

I have outgrown my old 3/8" 10-19 Kobalt set and am looking to start a Socket / Ratchet / Wrench collection from scratch for work on older Volvos, Ford Trucks, Subarus, Mini's and Toyota SUVs (It's what my family/friends drive currently). My skill level is basic to intermediate which I hope to grow together to more advance levels with my new tools. 

As an advanced home bicycle mechanic I appreciate good tools which:

 

[B]- Last a long time
- Are a pleasure to use 
- Are precise
- Are easy to expand and grow with
- Have good value at their given price point. [/B]

 

[B]My budget to get me started for some metric 1/4, 3/8 and 1/2 sockets, ratchets and wrenches to work on cars/small trucks is $800 - $1,300 CAD depending on price point.[/B] My OCD organization dictates that I am fairly loyal to any given brand making this initial decision difficult.  

 

[B]Looking for input/experience primarily from users of sockets, ratchets and wrenches from: GRAY, SK, PROTO, WERA, WILLIAMS, TEKTON. [/B]

I know that these are all great brands at their price point so ideally I would love to hear from users who have experience with more than one brand and can compare one to the other and/or to Wera. The above brand list was created not only through some research but also guided by accessibility in Canada through either local stores or Amazon.ca. 

I have good experience with Wera screwdrivers and small torque wrenches which I use on some nice bicycles. Great brand with North American distribution near my home in Burlington, Ontario. Maybe this is why it seem less expensive here than in the US. (About 25% less than through KC tools)

 

I am aware that their sockets come from Thailand, while screwdrivers, ratchets, wrenches and bits are made in Czech Republic and all seem well finished and fairly high quality.  

I like some of their innovative feature, their good performance, colour coding sizes, their slick presentation and unique matt chrome look. 

However - I am fully aware that tools are meant to be used and not looked at and that Wera spends a mint on new innovations, branding and marketing which is covered from my pocket. Have you seen their amazing website lately!

I am also aware that Wera's limited choice in sockets, missing sockets in set runs, and lack of general automotive tools would mean I would need to supplement with individual sockets and tools from other brands. 

 

All that may be worth it for a more "innovative", "modern" tool / brand which is a pleasure to use... or is it not worth it?

For example it seems that the beautifully crafted and highly regarded Wera Joker wrenches are not as popular as the SK X-Frame wrenches in auto shops. With some pro mech users claiming that the 6 point thin "insert" on the open end of the Jokers slips on rusted bolts while the full 6 point on the open end of the SK bites into the bolts as well as some higher end wrench options.  

 

If you can please share your individual experience using Wera or any of the above tool brands for auto work and which one you would choose to slowly start a set from scratch within the given budget and above notes I would be most grateful? 

 

Thank you in advance for any insights you can provide! - Norbachev. 

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