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Here’s what could be a tough question for you – which is your favorite European hand tool brand?
Here in the USA, there are plenty of well-known European tool brands, but also quite a few that toe the line of obscurity. I happen to really like a lot of the brands that are known but hard to find. They’re not impossible to find, just difficult. That’s not intentional, but things just worked out that way.
I put together a list of my favorite brands that came to mind in no particular order. Part of why they’re among my favorite brands is because they’re among the best brands. Some are all-around decent brands, others are leaders in their fields.
If you’re not familiar with these brands, check out the links below, which leads to our reviews and other brand-specific coverage of some of their tools and products. I’m sure I left out a number of brands, and I’m counting on you guys to share a few words about ’em. You are also of course welcome to share your thoughts about any or all of these mentioned brands.
PB Swiss Tools: awesome screwdrivers and hex keys
Wera: great screwdrivers and very nice compact socket sets
Wiha: awesome precision screwdrivers
NWS: Fantastic(o) pliers (if you don’t see what I did there, you owe it to yourself to check out their high leverage cutters)
Knipex: great pliers – not the best, but better than many USA brand offerings
Irega: the BEST adjustable wrenches, and easy to find under Channellock branding
Grip-on: great locking pliers, and with no-pinch release levers
Beta: sweet mechanics tools
Facom: a gem of a Stanley Black & Decker brand
Irazola/Bahco: Bahco offers great variety, from ratcheting screwdrivers to sweet Swedish hacksaws, and Irazola is my grail brand of screwdriver
Felo: very nice screwdrivers, especially their gel-cushioned ones
Sola: nice levels, but my 24″ level shipped with dust inside the bubble vial – this will always bug me!
Halder: excellent rubber mallets with interchangeable heads, and dead blow hammers
Hazet – strong mechanics tools reputation, decent screwdrivers
There’s also Gedore, Stahlwille, and oodles of other brands I have little experience with. If I had to pick a favorite, it would be… Irazola for screwdrivers, PB Swiss Tools for hex keys, Facom for wrenches, NWS for pliers, Wiha for precision screwdrivers.
May 5, 2015 – Original Post
July 20, 2021 – Minor edits, added Halder,