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I came across this Gearwrench special edition mechanics tool set, and it warranted a closer look.
This Geawrench 115pc set, model 88001, is on sale right now for $99, or less if you can manage a coupon. With Acme Tool’s July 4th 10% promo, it’s just a little over $89.
Gearwrench advertises that this is “a great set for either the DIYer who wants quality tools in an organized portable box or for the professional who wants a tool set to bring to different jobs.”
This Gearwrench mechanics tool set comes with 1/4″ and 3/8″ ratchets, 6pt sockets in inch sizes from 5/32″ to 3/4″ and metric sizes from 4mm to 19mm.
By my count, it comes with 78 sockets, 30 screwdriver bits, 2 ratchets, 2 extensions, 2 adapters, and a 1/4″ hex bit screwdriver handle.
Here’s the list of socket sizes:
1/4″ Shallow Inch Sockets: 5/32″, 3/16″, 7/32″, 1/4″, 9/32″, 5/16″, 11/32″, 3/8″, 7/16″, 1/2″
1/4″ Shallow Metric Sockets: 4mm, 5mm, 5.5mm, 6mm, 7mm, 8mm, 9mm, 10mm, 11mm, 12mm, 13mm
1/4″ Deep Inch Sockets: 3/16″, 7/32″, 1/4″, 9/32″, 5/16″, 11/32″, 3/8″, 7/16″, 1/2″
1/4″ Deep Metric Sockets: 5mm, 5.5mm, 6mm, 7mm, 8mm, 9mm, 10mm, 11mm, 12mm, 13mm
3/8″ Shallow Inch Sockets: 1/4″, 5/16″, 3/8″, 7/16″, 1/2″, 9/16″, 5/8″, 11/16″, 3/4″
3/8″ Shallow Metric Sockets: 10mm, 11mm, 12mm, 13mm, 14mm, 15mm, 16mm, 17mm, 18mm, 19mm
3/8″ Deep Inch Sockets: 3/8″, 7/16″, 1/2″, 9/16″, 5/8″, 11/16″
3/8″ Deep Metric Sockets: 10mm, 11mm, 12mm, 13mm, 14mm, 15mm, 16mm, 17mm, 18mm, 19mm
3/8″ Spark Plug Sockets: 5/8″, 13/16″
Gearwrench’s socket list only has 77 sizes, but I counted 78 in the images. 78 plus 30 bits and 7 drive tools and accessories adds up to the 115pc part count.
The ratchets both have 72-tooth gearing for a 5° minimal swing arc, and the sockets are said to have engraved markings for easy identification.
Price: $99, less with coupon
Is this a Good Deal?
Acme Tools and Home Depot are both listing this as a new product. I can’t tell what’s special or “limited edition” about this set – is it just the Stewart-Haas Racing sticker on the tool case?
7 drive tools and 78 sockets for $99 makes this seem like a decent “special buy.” Is it? Let’s look at some other options before getting into it.
Amazon has this Dewalt 108pc 1/4″ and 3/8″ mechanics tool set for just under $70.
There’s also this 142pc set that’s currently $103.
If you don’t mind the case – I didn’t like it – Husky has their 270pc mechanics tool set at its $99 promo price again.
You get 117 sockets, 7 combination wrenches, 3 extensions, and “142 more tools.”
This is a 1/4″, 3/8″, and 1/2″ tool set whereas the others above only come with 1/4″ and 3/8″ ratchets and sockets.
Another Gearwrench Option
The closest-in-price Gearwrench mechanics tool set I could find is this 57pc 3/8″ set, which is priced at $109 and change at Amazon.
This makes the 115pc seem like a fair buy.
The ratchets are a bit different, though. This set comes with 90T ratchets whereas the 115pc set comes with 72T ratchets.
Come to think of it, the ratchets in the 115pc set don’t have Gearwrench’s typical handle shape; those ratchets look a bit like Crescent’s, such as this 3/8″ 72 tooth ratchet at Amazon.
Shown here are Crescent’s 3/8″ 72T ratchet (top) and a close-up cropped image of the Gearwrench 3/8″ and 1/4″ 72T ratchets included in the 115pc set. Interesting.
One More Gearwrench Option
While this Gearwrench 68pc set isn’t advertised as a Stewart-Haas Racing limited edition, it looks to be a better buy.
It comes with 90T 3/8″ and 1/4″ ratchets, 4 extensions, and 62 sockets – a mix of 12pt (shallow) and 6pt (deep).
The product description advertises this as having 90 tooth ratchets, but also mentions 84 tooth gearing and a 4.3° swing arc. Either way, the price seems compelling – $58.48 at the time of this posting.
For less than $60, this looks to be a decent 1/4″ and 3/8″ socket set, and there are no fillers such as insert bits.
Thoughts and Hesitations About the Gearwrench 115pc Set
This set is a lot less expensive than any Gearwrench set I’ve seen with similar part counts.
To start, you get more fillers. Most Gearwrench mechanics tool sets have different drive tools and accessories, but only a few look to have 1/4″ hex screwdriver insert bits. “Fillers” are a fact of life when shopping for consumer mechanics tool sets and “special buys.”
The ratchets have 72 tooth gearing compared to the 90T ratchets included in what looks to be most of Gearwrench’s other current mechanics tool sets.
They look nearly identical to Crescent ratchets, which makes sense as Crescent and Gearwrench are both Apex Tool Group brands. (Apex Tool Group is a Bain Capital company.)
The special/limited edition part is unusual, but not really for the mechanics tool industry. I just wish Gearwrench was clear about how this is a special set.
I also noticed the part where Gearwrench advertises this as “a great set for either the DIYer who wants quality tools…”
DIYer? Since when does Gearwrench market to DIYers? In my opinion, Gearwrench often seems positioned as the value-priced pro option.
This set looks to be a good buy, but I’m not sure it’s what I’d buy. I think that Husky would be my high value pick, Dewalt my mid-quality pick, and the smaller but regular line Gearwrench sets would be my pick for better ratchets and less fillers.
Oh there are plenty more options out there, such as Tekton and Milwaukee, but I wanted to limit my focus on like-priced or category alternative options.
The Gearwrench 115pc set looks to have all 6pt sockets – a plus in my book. It doesn’t come with as many drive accessories as I’d prefer.
Does the Gearwrench set come with a relabeled Crescent ratchet? If that’s the case, what about the sockets?
On Home Depot’s Q&A section, here’s what someone said about the limited edition 179pc set, which also has a Steward-Haas Racing sticker on the case:
Why are these not the normal GW sockets pictured in the marketing photos? These sockets are very cheap and have none of the features of the normal GW sockets.
A Gearwrench rep replied to them:
The only change for these sockets is the identification ring at the bottom of the socket. They still feature a full polish chrome finish, Hard stamped markings, Chamfered openings, and an off-corner loading design.
The customer then said:
Thanks for the response GW, but it is simply not true of the “only difference” being the stamping. Any socket will have the other features you mentioned. These are deep broach, supposed to be shallow, deceptive.
To that, Gearwrench simply replied:
We are sorry you are disappointed with this set.
The “these sockets are very cheap and have none of the features of the normal GW sockets” part concerns me a little. The ratchets are similar – more closely resembling Crescent-branded ratchets than Gearwrench’s typical ones. It’s possible for the Crescent and limited edition sets’ Gearwrench ratchets to be built to Gearwrench’s typical standards.
So if this customer’s observations are true, does it mean you’re not getting Gearwrench’s typical ratchets or their typical sockets? Is that what makes these limited edition tool sets?
When I started writing this post, I saw the Gearwrench set as a very good bargain. Frankly, after taking a closer look, I’m not sure what to think.
This 115pc Gearwrench tool set could be a very good deal, but I feel enough hesitation where I’d sooner go with a different Gearwrench set or even a competing option.