You’re a Toolmonger, which means you likely know exactly where to buy the specific tools you desire. But what about all those “norms” out there who don’t? Here’s what I found walking through the “tool aisle” in a random Target in San Diego.
Much like in Wal-Mart, Stanley Black & Decker pretty much dominates the tool selection. In terms of hand tools, Target selected the basics. They carry Stanley’s Lever Lock tapes in 25′, 15′, and 12′. These tapes stay locked when extended, then retract when you push the lever on the base in order to simplify single-person measurements — exactly the kind of thing you’re likely to do around the house, like measuring furniture or locating a spot to hang a picture. I also saw one standard-style-lock Max tape in 25′, probably targeted at people taking on small home woodworking projects. The cushion-grip screwdrivers look nice for home use as well, with padded grips — a problem if you’re going to really crank down on ’em, but quite nice when you’re not. Target offered an eight-piece set as well as a single mid-sized standard and Phillips pack.
Though I saw a small Stanley bullet level, Target again went the home route offering the Black & Decker branded Accu-Mark 36″ level. The Accu-Mark incorporates movable “targets” which simplify hanging pictures: Hold the level to the back of your picture first and align the targets to your hangers. Then place the level on the wall — its “gecko grip” pads are supposed to hold it in place without marring the wall — align it to level, and mark your fastener points through the center of the targets. (There’s a “tour” video available on the linked page.)
I also noticed a pretty decent selection of pliers as well, including basic needle-nose, slip joint, locking, miniature, and of course standard. Though Target stocks the gadgety Autowrench and Ready Wrench, I also saw a standard Stanley adjustable, which would probably be a consumer’s best bet for “I just need to unbolt it” situations; to score true wrenches they’d have to buy one of the mechanic’s tool sets or the Black & Decker home project kit [What’s This?].
Interestingly, Target chose to fill their mechanic’s tool set SKU slots with Durabuilt — a shame since (look for our reviews soon) we’re actually pretty impressed with Stanley’s new super-low-priced mechanic’s kits as found at Wal-Mart. We can certainly see how stores would push Stanley tapes — the product for which Stanley is most famous these days — but if Target’s dealing with SKU limitations, I’d personally rather see cheaper junk tapes and higher quality mechanic’s tools. Assuming one is actually going to do a little car work, I think one would appreciate the quality more in that environment.
One complaint: Enough with the damn pink tools. Other than outside the U.S. in places where pink has other meanings, I haven’t run into anyone, male or female, who wants to buy pink tools. Though I’m sure there are exceptions, most women I’ve met don’t like the pandering feel they get from “for women” tool kits, believing instead that women can use the same tools as men. And though I can’t speak to the specific Apollo set I saw at Target, in many cases these “for women” tools aren’t of the same quality as other sets.
Power tools are all Black & Decker: a 14.4v drill/driver in the project kit, and 9.6v, 14.4v, and 18v drill/drivers sold separately as well as a single corded model (probably the best bet, by the way). You’ll also find B&D’s Handysaw and multiple cordless screwdrivers as well as lots of accessories.
You can peruse the pictures to get an idea of the rest, but my verdict: It’s nothin’ fancy, but you could actually do quite a bit with what you’d find at this particular Target. Sure, I’d probably choose different stuff (at least for some of it) if I indeed had a choice. But if I stumbled in here while visiting a friend and wanted to, say, do some work around the house or fix something simple with the car, I could probably get it done. Pricing doesn’t seem that far out of line with what I found poking around online, either.
Any interesting finds in the aisles of your local shops? Drop us a line either in comments or via our contact form.