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Everyone needs a basic set of mechanics tools to handle the miscellaneous home and auto issues that crop up.  And after you acquire the basics, you face about a thousand options that — to the average consumer — might or might not be handy around the garage. That’s why Husky’s 45-piece Stubby set piqued our interest: it’s cheap and looks like a well balanced set that’d augment a standard set nicely.

Read on past the jump for our hands-on experiences as we gave this stubby set a shot in the TM shop.

Unboxing

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The husky set comes in a hard — but very crackable — plastic case.  The ratchet actually stows outside the case on a pod.  The intent is obviously to keep everything nice and organized, but after a use or two our case developed significant cracks.  Of course, if you’re going to use these heavily, you probably already own other storage options.

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The first item we pulled from the packaging was the set’s namesake: the stubby combo ratchet.  It’s was 6-3/8” long and feels very comfortable in the palm of your hand.  The handle is wrapped in rubber and has a very slight “cushy” vibe to it.  The business end is a flex head: a combo 3/8” and 1/4” ratchet mechanism with a directional lever on the 1/4” side.  You can release and lock the flex head by pushing a button on the neck.

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Next out of the case was the stubby ratcheting driver.  It measures 4-1/4” and feels like something James Bond would pull out to fix a space station.  Direction for the ratchet is controlled by clicking the collar to the left or right — or by leaving the selector in the center where it acts like a normal, non-ratcheting driver.  Adding to the spy motif, the handle is actually a bit storage area as well.  So the driver’s small footprint can shrink even more if you wish.

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The final hand tool in the set is the stubby one-inch adjustable wrench.  This little wrench measures in at 6-1/8” and is pleasantly heavy to hold.  There’s a comfortable “bump” in the rubber-coated handle that makes the wrench comfortable to hold.  The bottom line: other than being short, this tool is pretty straight forward.

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The set includes 13 SAE sockets measuring from 5/32” to 3/4” and 14 metric sockets measuring from 4 mm to 17 mm.  Except for the largest the in SAE (and four in metric) which are 3/8”, all the sockets are 1/4” drive.  A small 3/8” extension and a 3/8” to 1/4” adapter help keep the stubby’s turning when you need a funky combo.

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To round out the set, Husky also includes ten hex-drive bits for the driver and a hex to 1/4” adaptor to allow you to use the driver with the set’s sockets.

For anyone who’s been counting — as I always do — that’s only 43 pieces.  Let’s give Husky the benefit of the doubt and count the dual-drive ratchet as two tools; that still only gets us to 44.  Where’s the 45th tool?  I was annoyed.  Had I lost one?  Was I counting wrong?  Was there some mistake?

I quickly read the back of the box and counted again — and realized that there’s no mistake.  Apparently they count the case as a “piece.”  I’m not so sure I agree.  It’s only slightly more valuable than classic clamshell packaging and certainly not built with a life span anywhere close that of the tools inside.  If Husky wanted to count the case, they could have at least offered a one-piece blow-molded effort. 

Regardless, we pressed on into testing.  Read on to page two for our in-use experiences.

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13 Responses to Hands-On: Husky’s 45-Piece Stubby Set

  1. Berettaman says:

    I just purchased a new-to-me Grand Wagoneer a few weeks ago, and I’m looking for a decent all-in-one toolkit to throw in the back and take on the trail with me. Do y’all have any recommendations? Most of the ones I have seen lately don’t include vice grips, which to me are a must. Thanks!

  2. Koba says:

    Build your own. Buy a cheap tool bag or box, get:
    -2 visegrips (#10 and #7),
    -2 channellocks (#420 and #440),
    -6in and 8in crescent (adjustable) wrenches,
    -a GOOD basic socket set (at least 25-30 pcs., I use two $10 craftsman deepwell specials) Yeah, sorry to be a meanie, but that means NOT that bargin bin JUNK like in the entry
    -several GOOD hose clamps (at least 2 that will fit your rad hose),
    -at least five screwdrivers (#1and #2 Phillips, big and small blades, and a big, long, tough blade that will survive prybar usage)
    -fold out hex keys in SAE, MM, and torx
    -16oz. hammer, preferrably estwing
    -flashlight that will stand alone w/ swivel head (spare batts. and bulb too)
    -a GOOD roll of weatherproof, heat resistant duct tape
    -Cell Phone Car charger
    -a decent electrical solve all kit (make sure has all YOUR car fuses, elec. tape, batt. terminal cleaner, and a decent set of needlenose pliers)

    Also, keep a seperate kit for just car stuff (a milkcrate here works wonders):
    -jumper cables
    -small hydraulic jack
    -several 6in lengths of 2×4 (wheel chocks, jack spacers)
    -one durable container of each (brake fluid, anitfreeze, engine oil)
    -roll of shop towels
    -tire iron
    -your cars service (haynes or chiltons) manual
    -does your fuel guage work well???? GAS CAN!!!

    I know for most people these days asking them to rotate their tires is TOO much (so asking to rotate their spare is WAAAAY outta line) so every 30 days or so (when you wash your baby) make sure your spare is properly inflated, without ANY rot, and newerish

    How old is your car battery? More than 4 yrs, replace it the first day temps go below freezing

    Also, get AAA Premium service, you WILL wish you did, and ALWAYS keep a functioning, charged, Paid Up Cellular phone handy.

    Never go out with less than 20 or more than 50 dollars in cash

    Lastly, when you work on your car and you update parts, if the old one is still servicable (worn but working) keep it for a spare IN THE CAR

    These guidelines are what my father handed down to me, and what I slowly but surely learned the hard way to be the best way to make life with an older car livable.

    P.S. a few words on quality, BUY IT!!!!! I know that money is tight, and that if you’re forced to live with an older car, money is probably an issue, but most people learn the hard way that cheap tools (and supplies) are the most expensive on the shelf. Just think about how bad you’ll feel when a cheap tool/clamp/roll of tape fails you at 2 am 150 miles from your home.

    I know, I know I’ve just specified a kit that probably cost more than some peoples cars (mine especially) but remember, this kit isn’t meant to save your car, it’s meant to save your A**

    Sorry to ramble but get me started on preparedness, and all those times I was anything but haunt me terribly. Anything I forget???

  3. Jason says:

    Koba that’s a great list, I’d also consider at least a set of metric wrenches, and maybe even an SAE set.

  4. Tooldork says:

    Is this the 30th “Hands-On” or should we expect one for today? The banner said I get one each day.

  5. PutnamEco says:

    To kobas list I would add a small shovel (maybe army surplus folder?) small hatchet and a heavy rope or tow strap. Utility knife/box cutter, WD40,Electrical contact cleaner, starting fluid, waterless hand cleaner. (I use Fast Orange without pumice), ground cover-tarp, nothing like having to crawl under the car in the mud or snow, and you could throw it over the hood tent style to work in the rain. 5 minute epoxy, one of those epoxy sticks that you knead to activate, crazy glue, weather strip adhesive, bailing wire or couple of old coat hangers. zip ties.

    To Berettaman
    look into Crescents set
    http://www.amazon.com/Crescent-CTK106-Piece-Homeowners-Storage/dp/B000FK5CZS

    We need a Toolmonger Forum.

  6. Sean O'Hara says:

    Tooldork: Yep there is one more one the way! Watch for it to come out very shortly.

  7. eschoendorff says:

    I think Koba hit the nail on the head. I tried using a $5 special socket set to change an alternator in a parking lot a few year ago and I spent more time putting the ratchet back together than I did working on the alternator.

    That said, i have never had a problem with Husky tools, but they are the cheap, typical Taiwanese/Chinese tools taht I would not want to use on a daily basis.

  8. Teacher says:

    Several years ago, I also had to change an alternator away from home. It was about 15 miles from the nearest town on a Sunday. I called a buddy and asked him to bring an alternator, tools and a real jack, not the POS that came with the car. When he got there, no jack, no alternator(I thought we’d see what was wrong with it first.), and few tools. Normally an alternator isn’t that big a deal but this was a Saturn.

    The alternator comes out through the passenger side wheel well and you need tappet wrenches or really good needle nose pliers to get the wires off as it has jam nuts on the connections. It took me 5 hours of working in the rain to get it changed as I only had some $5 BS no name socket set and the few tools my lunkhead friend brought. Never again. Now I carry a C-man tool bag with tools to change whatever I need to within reason. It’s got me out of many jams, plus I’ve helped other stranded folks as well. That Saturn taught me to carry more tools than I think I might need and buy GOOD stuff. Craftsman is relatively cheap insurance.

    Koba is right about people changing tires. A friend of mine is a tow truck driver that does work for AAA. Last month he got a call to change a tire for a stranded motorist and expected to find a woman or old man when he got there. Instead he found a 20 something man that didn’t know how to change his own tires! How can a grown man not know hot to change a tire?

  9. Teacher says:

    “tterte”??

  10. Eddie says:

    I have this exact set except it has a different brand name. The ratchet is busted after it’s first use so i threw in a craftsman 3\8th ratchet into the box. The rest of the set is actually pretty well made. The adjustable wrench is large enough to grab onto my 27mm rear axle on my motorcycle and strong enough to turn it (with a cheater, hammer, your foot) although the measurement markings only go to 1inch\25mm I found it opens up to about 30mm or so, past that and the bottom jaw comes out.

    The price is currently $15, for that price you should pick one up just remember to throw one of your 3/8th ratchets into the box too. A really great and cheap tool kit.

  11. seraph037 says:

    i picked up an identical set from a truckstop on the road, it was re-brande as RoadPro. It is of decent quality, and is small eneough to fit in most “newer” engine compartments while working. it served its purpose, and still resides in a rear compartment in my JEEP. nto bad for 15$ at a truck stop in the middle of nowhere!

  12. madmike80 says:

    My ratchet constantly slips under light torque, where can I get it exchanged?

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