Way back in 2006 we posted our first hands-on with GearWrench’s XL Pass-Thru ratchets. The verdict? Awesome. We love ’em. And they’re pretty reasonably-priced, too, with sets starting around $50. But as Harbor Freight proves again, if someone can make it, they can make a knock off cheaper. Witness above the “21-Piece SAE/Metric Go-Thru Socket Set,” offered for less than half the price of GearWrench’s original.
The Pittsburgh-branded HF model rings up at $20 and includes eight SAE sockets (5/15″, 3/8″, 7/16″, 1/2″, 9/16″, 11/16″, and 3/4″ plus ten metric (10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19mm). The ratchet itself looks like many of the new HF offerings featuring a slight bend in the middle and polished chrome-vanadium steel construction with what appears to be a small rubber grip. Compare this to, say, the GearWrench 27-piece set available at Sears, which offers ten SAE sockets (5/32″, 3/16″, 7/32″, 1/4″, 9/32″, 5/16″, 3/8″, 7/16″, 1/2″, and 9/16″) and thirteen metric (3.5, 4, 4.5, 5, 5.5, and 6-13mm) — as well as a flexible ratchet. We’re HUGE fans of the flexible ratchet, by the way, which kicks far more ass than standard floppy hinged ratchets, in that it allows you to lock the ratchet into fixed angles.
The kicker, though, is that you can waltz into your local Sears and pick up the set described above for $47. Yeah, that’s a good bit more than the HF stuff, but in this case I think I’d spring for the real deal. Of course, if HF dropped the knock off price down to $15, it’d be a more difficult choice — especially if I was really strapped for cash. Either way, you’ll get the advantage of pass-thru sockets.
But besides the standard “I hate things not made in America,” what do you think? How cheap would a GearWrench knock off have to be to tempt you?