Get Started With This 283-Piece Mechanics Tool Set from Craftsman

A good beginner set
Craftsman 283 pc. Mechanics Tool Set With Tool Box. Photo courtesy Craftsman Tools 2010
Drivers who are interested in performing their own repairs and maintenance often ask how much they'll need to spend on a good starter tool set. This is a serious question. You can spend anywhere from $50-$10,000 on a tool set, but how do you decide what you need and how much to spend? People who repair cars for a living will often tell you that without spending the big bucks, you'll end up with an inferior tool kit.
They're right, but only if you're planning to get into fleet repair. If you will be working on one or two family cars, there are less expensive options than Mac or Snap-On. That said, the second thing you need to do is avoid getting too cheap! Yes, you can buy a no-name, made in China tool set for very little money, but it won't stand up to even the most modest effort when working on your car. The first time you watch one of your ratchet extensions shear in half like you were using a Tootsie Roll as a hand tool will be enough to drive you to spend more.

The good news is there's an alternative that you can trust. The Craftsman 283 pc. Mechanics Tool Set With Tool Box is only $399 and has a gaggle of useful automotive tools, on top of coming with the metal tool box. It includes the following: 171 Sockets, 3 Quick release ratchets, 13 Combination wrenches, 40 Hex keys, 22 pc. Bit set with magnetic handle, and the sturdy metal tool box with drawers that have molded trays for easy organization.

Over time you will add to this array of tools, but these are a great start to build from. I am a firm believer in buying extra tools as needed, rather than stocking up on everything you might ever need and spending lots of money on the front side. Normally the motivation of the weekend mechanic is at least partially to save some money, so if you spend thousands on tools you aren't really saving any money.

This set will be your foundation.