The Gearwrench brand became popular when they introduced the 5-degree ratcheting wrench in 1996. While their ratcheting wrenches still rank high on my list of every day go-to tools, Gearwrench now offers a full line of hand tools including ratchets, sockets, screwdrivers, pliers, and specialty automotive tools (disclaimer: I’m super picky about my ratchets. I’ll be honest and tell you that I’ve actually thrown away Craftsman and some no-name ratchets on more than one occasion because they’re just that bad).
My typical go-to ratchets are Snap-On and I think they are the best ratchets in the world, but Gearwrench is honestly a very close second. I’ve owned Mac, Matco, and many other brands of ratchets and Gearwrench tops them all. Their 84-tooth and 120XP ratchets are phenomenal pro-grade ratchets that I use constantly, and they’re actually a little thinner than standard Snap-On 80-tooth ratchets.
I originally bought this set to keep in my car, but I now use it as my main socket set! Certainly there are other sockets that I use if I’m right by my box, but I’m usually working in my driveway or at another location, and I like having a whole set in a convenient blow-molded case like this.
A keen eye will notice that not all of the allen (hex) sockets are Gearwrench brand, and it’s not because I broke them. Unfortunately, it’s a combination of losing them and permanent loaning.
I have many more Gearwrench tools than pictured here, but they’re at my other shop in Oliver Springs. Gearwrench makes a great non-ratcheting combination wrench set that I use regularly, and their socket rails are so good that I buy them separately to organize my other sockets. You can also buy just the plastic clips that the socket actually goes on in case you break one or two instead of replacing the whole rail. The little finger ratchets are pretty cool and handier than I expected and have been replaced in the Gearwrench catalog by gimbal ratchets.
The tools are all lifetime warranty and it’s as easy as a stop by your local Advance Auto Parts store, other Gearwrench retailer, or a Gearwrench tool truck to swap a damaged tool for a new one. Yes, Gearwrench is getting into the mobile tool business! I think it’s great to offer technicians options other than the “Big Three” (Snap-On, Mac, Matco), and it gives new techs a more budget-friendly professional tool selection. Check out Nick Morello at Jersey Tool Discounters or Nathen Arnold in Kansas City for some great specials. I hooked up with these guys through a Facebook tool swap group, and they always get rave reviews for their specials and shipping speeds. If you can’t find a place locally, you can contact Gearwrench directly and they’ll take care of you. Check out the Gearwrench page on Amazon.com for great deals on quality Gearwrench tools.
I used to be a big Craftsman guy, but I haven’t bought one of their tools in years. Their customer service tanked along with their business as a whole, and their tools are simply not what they used to be. I wish the full line of Gearwrench hand tools had been around when I was was getting into the automotive business; I probably would have skipped Craftsman altogether. If you’re in the market for a quality automotive/mechanic’s tool set, give Gearwrench a long, hard look before you buy anything else. They’re really stepping up their game and I’m excited to see where it takes us.
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