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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.