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Jan 13, 2011- Sears Craftsman Socket set...

A week ago we wrote about our surprisingly pleasant DieHard battery experience at our local Sears automotive store. We now follow up with a story of an even better experience at the main Sears store.

Our tale starts with a Holiday present (of a brand exclusive to Sears, exactly which is not relevant) given to us from an out-of-state relative, for which we were not supplied the receipt. Unfortunately for us, the item, cool as it was, was not something for which we would have use. We were hoping we could exchange it for something more useful to us at Sears. However, after a few email exchanges with Sears online support, we were told that, in the absence of a receipt:

"...We do not have an exchange process. Please arrange with the person who gave you the (item) to have them return for credit. The suggestion would be for you to go to the Sears store with that person and pick out another item. I know this is not an ideal solution, but appears to be the only option that you have..."

Undaunted, we took the item to the Sears store in Dedham, Mass. A pepper-haired gentleman in his late 50s greeted us at the tools department and asked if he could be of assistance. We explained our situation and asked if an exchange was possible. Without hesitation, he said "Just find something else you want and we'll do the exchange right here." Fortuitously for us, Sears was having a sale on their 154-pc Mechanics Tool Set ($150 marked down to $99), and since it was an even exchange, we were out the door in less than 10 minutes! There is a lot to be said for dealing with a real person and "face to face."

The 154 piece Mechanics Tool Set includes 93 sockets in 1/4-, 3/8-, and 1/2-inch drive sizes, both metric and standard sizes, deep and standard depths. The set also has 12 combination wrenches in metric and standard sizes, 3 quick-release ratchets (each drive), 2 extension bars and 44 specialty tools. To keep all of the pieces easily accessible, the kit came with a custom-molded briefcase-style carrying case. To keep the sockets from falling out when opening the case, there is a locking divider/lid on the top compartment.

General Features:

  • Screwdriver Type: Bit
  • driver Socket Size: SAE and metric
  • Drive Sizes: 1/4 in., 3/8 in. and 1/2 in.
  • Socket Points: 6 & 12
  • Ratchet Features: Quick release, one handed reverse
  • Magnetic Handle: Yes
  • Number of Bits: 21
  • Number of Hex Keys: 22
  • Number of Sockets: 93
  • Number of Wrenches: 12
  • Number of Extensions: 2
  • Number of Quick Release Ratchets: 3
  • Number of Additional Tools: 1

All of the pieces were sorted and bagged, but we needed to place them into their respective spots. Since the size of each piece was clearly marked on the side, the process was not too onerous and was easier than assembling a jigsaw puzzle. Finding its corresponding location in the case was just a matter of matching up the labels.

The quality of the sockets, wrenches, and bits are surprisingly high for a set of tools priced for $150. Maybe even more surprising was that everything had "Made in the U.S.A." stamped on them. We would have expected that at this price, it would have been "designed" in the USA, but manufactured in China.

We did notice some differences with the mechanism of the new ratchet (front) as compared to a Craftsman ratchet we had purchased 15 years ago (rear). The lever of the new ratchet was not made of metal. This does not mean that it will fail or will not last as long, but it did have more play and does not feel as "substantial" as our older ratchet. The second difference was the new head did not have cover plate. The plate gave the tool a more finished appearance, but probably had no impact on its reliability. So getting rid of it was probably a reasonable, cost-saving decision. Also, the word "Forged" was not stamped on the handle of the newer tool. We don't know if they are still forge or not, but if the new process was cheaper and the tool does not break in use, it doesn't really matter :-)

At $150, this 154-pc Craftsman Mechanics Tool set is a great value. For $99, it was an absolute steal. Like all Craftsman products, these tools are guaranteed for life. As the items appear to be of very high quality we don't expect them to fail. However, if our recent experiences with Sears is any indication, getting warranty service would be 100% hassle-free. [Permalink] - Sears Craftsman Socket Set


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