Craftsman’s Max Axess pass-thru ratchets, sockets, and accessories are nothing new, but surprisingly few people are familiar with them. We reviewed the 51pc set and 80pc set a while back, and remain a fan of the system.
This 85pc Universal Max Axess mechanics tool set has been featured in a couple of TV commercials, so we thought we’d give it a closer look before the questions started coming in.
The Unimax branding comes from how this is Craftsman’s largest Universal Max Axess tool set.
What you get:
- 1/4″ drive sockets – 12 inch, 12 metric
- 3/8″ sockets: 13 inch, 18 metric
- 1/4″ and 3/8″ Max Axess pass-thru ratchets
- 1/4″ and 3/8″ drive 3″ extensions
- 1/4″ and 3/8″ drive screwdriver bit socket adapters
- 20pc screwdriver bit set
- 1/4″ screwdriver handle driver with adapters
- 1/4″ and 3/8″ square drive socket adapters
- carrying case
These Max Axess sockets have Universal spline profiles which work on a variety of fastener types: standard 6pt hex, 4pt, 12pt, spline, partially rounded or damaged fasteners, external Torx.
What we think:
As far as Craftsman’s Max Axess line goes, we prefer the standard 6pt sockets. Spline-profile sockets can work with hex fasteners, as well as other fastener styles, but a great majority of users will only be using them on standard hex fasteners. Even so, these universal-style sockets are better than some of the others we’ve seen, most notably because they do not try to combine inch and metric sizes into dual-sized individual sockets.
With this set you do get standard square drive adapters, which allow you to use the ratchets with non-pass-thru 1/4″ and 3/4″ sockets you might always have. The screwdriver bit adapter and bits are a welcome addition as well.
We are pleased to see that this set comes with the same ratchets we tested and reviewed as part of Craftsman’s 56pc Universal mechanics tool set. They look a bit crude, but they’re actually surprisingly comfortable to use. They’re not great, but they’re not bad either. Craftsman has started offering their polished ratchets individually, so you could always buy one of those later on if you’re not a fan of these black oxide ones.
There is also the option of adding on a C3 cordless ratchet.
Overall, this set is quite versatile. Personally, if I were shopping for a new ratchet and socket mechanics tool set in the $120 and under price range, I would still prefer a more traditional assortment of square-drive ratchets and 6-point tools. Pass-thru sockets are great for working with longer bolts and threaded rod, so my personal inclination might be towards Craftsman’s smaller non-universal Max Axess sets.
This set is priced at $120, and is frequently on sale for $100 as a hot buy item.
(Coupon code SEARS2013 takes $5 off $50+ orders, but does not apply when the set is on sale.)