The topic often comes up when discussing tools– what are the best tools from this brand to buy? This is because quite often in 2019 many tool brands make some tools very well and others very poorly.
Take Snap-On for example, they still make some awesome hand tools, but they have a really disappointing cordless tool line compared to Dewalt, Milwaukee, or even Harbor Freight.
In 2019 if you want to buy tools intelligently and spend your money wisely it is all about buying the right tools from the right brands.
I have been a big fan of Gearwrench tools from Apex tools since they started being more mainstream a couple of years back. They are a large company that mostly import their tools from Taiwanese factories. The price point is affordable, and they are actually starting to roll out some Gearwrench tool trucks in certain parts of the country (I have yet to see one in California).
There are certain tools from Gearwrench that are their bread-n-butter and are well-liked by even professional mechanics. I wanted to make sure to compile a good list of all those tools for you, and so that I know exactly what tools to be saving up for. Plus, I will give you some tips for tools to avoid buying from Gearwrench because you can save more money buying from somewhere else (or get a better tool for less).
Best Tools From Gearwrench for DIYers and Mechanics:
- GearWrench 81230P 4 Pc. 1/4″, 3/8″ 1/2″ Drive 120XP Full Polish Ratchet Set
- GearWrench 80066 20 Pc. Master Dual Material Screwdriver Set
- GEARWRENCH 85988 12 Piece Ratcheting Wrench Metric XL GearBox Set
- GEARWRENCH 80546 5/8-Inch x 6-Inch Swivel Spark Plug Socket
- GearWrench 1/2″ Electronic Torque Wrench 85077 TRQ WR ELEC 1/2
- GEARWRENCH 85299 5 Piece Metric Reversible S-shaped Double Box Ratcheting Wrench Set
- GearWrench 14Pc 3/8″ Drive 6 Pt Metric Mid Length Socket Set w/Free 13Pc 1/4″ Drive Mid Length Socket Set (KDT-80554SPRO)
That Awesome Hand-Feel for Less– Ratchets:
Both the 120xp Gearwrench ratchet set and the 84T Gearwrench ratchets offer amazing value. If you have ever used some old Craftsmen ratchets that are heavy, clunky, and feel like it takes forever to click over to the next tooth you need to try out the Gearwrench line-up.
They are also a fraction of the cost of other tool brand tools. I swear to you, you really can’t go wrong with pretty much any Gearwrench ratchet. They have put a lot of time and money into developing their ratchet technology, and I wrote a whole long post about the 120xp lineup here (read first if you don’t believe me).
Also, the 84T Gearwrench ratchets I love. They are strong and yet feel very fine toothed and smooth. They have little to no back drag allowing you to tighten even the loosest of fasteners in the tightest of spaces.
Keeping it Together Nicely– Screwdriver Sets:
I highly recommend buying the 80066 20 Pc. Master Dual Material Screwdriver Set. The beauty is that it has a lifetime warranty and you can just go to one of Gearwrenches vendors and get a replacement.
Ok, sometimes it isn’t that easy (maybe they don’t have the exact same screwdriver to swap out) but it is still way easier than dealing with some company that only exists in China or online.
With this screwdriver set, you also get a cool plastic molded case that you can put in your toolbox. I find that these help immensely with not losing your screwdrivers. You can quickly check and make sure you have them all stored away properly.
People complain about these breaking occasionally. Unfortunately too often people are using their flat blades as pry bars or their Phillips heads as impact drivers. The beauty? If one breaks just return it. Read more about Gearwrenches lifetime warranty here (I wrote a whole post about how to warranty a tool from start to finish).
The Ultimate Time Savers– Ratcheting Wrenches:
This is kind of what Gearwrench was first known for. If you don’t own ratcheting wrenches, or think you don’t need them to work on cars, then you haven’t worked on cars for long.
These tools are lifesavers because of the ability they give you to loosen or tighten fasteners when there is no room to fit a socket. Also, they are oodles faster than using an open-ended wrench with no ratcheting mechanism.
What are ratcheting wrenches not good for? Breaking anything loose that is super tight. Try to break it loose first with a box-end wrench or a socket. The ratcheting mechanism in these tools is not made to withstand high levels of torque, and you may skip a tooth and jam your knuckles. These are not made to be abused but rather to save you tons of time!
I highly recommend owning as many different styles of ratching wrenches as you can possibly afford. There are XL ratcheting wrenches, stubby ratcheting wrenches, and just tons of other options (click here to see an Amazon search of all the types Gearwrench offers).
Don’t Fight the Job– Swivel Sockets (Spark Plug Especially):
I do not know who was the first tool company to make the swivel 5/8″ magnetic spark plug socket, but it is genius. It is basically a must-have item for anyone doing maintenance on their own vehicles.
If you happen to be working on a 2v 5.4l Ford Triton engine then you basically need a 5/8″ spark plug swivel socket to get the job done.
Gearwrench makes both a spark plug swivel socket set here, or they make an individual 5/8″ spark plug socket here. 5/8″ is one of the most common spark plug sizes you will find on both domestic and imported cars– so it is a good spot to start.
Gearwrench also makes some pretty awesome impact and chrome swivel socket sets. To browse what Gearwrench has to offer for a great price on Amazon I made you a search on Amazon– for impact click here and for chrome swivel click here.
Don’t Blow All Your Money– Electronic Torque Wrench:
Want to have an electronic torque wrench but don’t want to pay like $500-800 for one? Well, then you are in luck because Gearwrench just came out with some pretty awesome electronic torque wrenches.
You can read a more in-depth review here on the Gearwrench electronic torque wrenches. I talked to some professionals who had been using them, and everyone seemed to agree they are a great value.
To check out what Gearwrench has to offer in their torque wrench line up click here.
Another brand I love for torque wrenches is CDI Torque. They make torque wrenches for Snap On. So shhhhh, be quiet, and just buy the CDI wrench and don’t pay the extra couple hundred for Snap On marketing.
Cheap Chrome Sockets that Last & Work Great:
Ok, this is my favorite thing about Gearwrench tools– their chrome sockets. Forget impact sockets, there are plenty of brands out there that make great impact sockets (including harbor freight). What you want in an impact socket is much different than a chrome socket– read about the difference here.
Gearwrench makes amazing CHEAP and AWESOME chrome socket sets. I really cannot stress this enough, I have used their 3/8″ drive metric socket set (semi-deep) for like 5 years without a single problem. The chrome has stayed on, and they are pretty much exactly the same size as the old Snap-On metric 1/2″ semi-deep socket set I used to own.
Have I noticed a single difference in hand-feel and grip on fasteners? Not a single time. Do I miss my Snap-On sockets? Yeah, only because they were stolen from me!
Seriously though you can’t go wrong buying some Gearwrench sockets even if they are for your house, car, or your son going off to college. The quality is amazing, the warranty is a lifetime, and the company will stand by its tools (just go swap it out at a local vendor.)
Here are my favorite socket sets that Gearwrench makes:
- 3/8″ Metric Mid-Length Socket Set
- 1/4″ Metric Shallow Socket Set
- Metric Swivel Chrome Socket Set
- 3/8″ Metric Shallow Socket Set
There are certain items that I am not overly impressed with by Gearwrench and here they are. First, impact sockets are a dime-a-dozen. Get CR-MO sockets and buy from somewhere that offers a lifetime warranty (easy to exchange). Many professionals mechanics have actually used Harbor Freight impact sockets for years with no problems.
Grey-Pneumatic also makes awesome impact sockets for a great price, so I would just in general not necessarily buy impact sockets from Gearwrench.
Check the quality of the finish immediately upon receiving your new tool. This is the one biggest complaint you will find posted online and on Amazon. You may receive a ratchet that part of the chrome is flaking off, or it wasn’t polished perfectly.
It is up to you whether that is enough for you to condemn the brand or not, but they will likely swap the tool out for you no sweat if you notice it soon enough after buying. It can be a pain, but I will take a little lackluster finish rather than paying 2-4x more for the same hand feel tool.
Another thing I would avoid is any diagnostic tools for automotive repair. Just buy those from a different brand– compression testers, spark testers, test lights, etc., other brands are more affordable and have better reviews.