Over at Home Depot, there’s a new “special buy” deal on this Gearwrench 232pc mechanics tool set (model 80949). This is a 1/4″ and 3/8″ tool set with a good selection of ratcheting combination wrenches, 6pt sockets, and 90T ratchets. I want it.
I have only come across empty displays at my local Home Depot stores last week, and now I want to buy it even more. I already thought this set would be a good fit for my needs, but now I’m going to chase one down.
Please let me know if you have any questions! I say this because I’m writing this post a bit differently than usual. Instead of talking about whether this set is a good fit for your needs, I’m going to tell you why I believe it closely suits my needs.
Note: Gearwrench is a ToolGuyd sponsor (thank you!). An email or phone call could probably land a test kit at my door in a couple of days, but I like to buy the tools I intend to use. Samples are one thing, tools that I own and use, that’s another. Thus, I’ve been approaching this as a personal purchase decision.
First, here’s a breakdown of what you get. If you want more details, here’s a PDF of the full list of tools.
- Ratcheting combination wrenches – 22
- Ratchets – 2
- Universal joints, extensions, adapters – 6
- Standard SAE sockets – 23
- Standard metric sockets – 40
- Deep SAE sockets – 16
- Deep metric sockets – 21
- Spark plug sockets – 1
- Hex bit sockets – 15
- Torx bit sockets – 9
- Tamperproof Torx bit sockets – 2
- E-Torx sockets – 8
- Long-arm hex keys – 22
- Bit drivers – 1
- Nut driver bits – 14
- Screwdriver bits – 30
Now, why do I want to buy this set so badly?
To start, I have a long history with Gearwrench tools, and they’ve served me well. So, already, I trust the brand. As far as I’m concerned, if it says “Gearwrench” on it, it’s good. Not all of their tools appeal to my needs or wants, but I’ve got no doubts about their quality.
Here’s how Gearwrench describes their tools:
GEARWRENCH mechanics tools have all been designed with the professional user in mind to increase productivity, access, and strength.
Sounds about right.
I previously purchased Gearwrench’s 94pc foam-lined mechanics tool set (which is back on sale for $199 at Home Depot), and I’m loving it. It has everything I need (for how and where I intend to use it) and nothing that I don’t. The tools filled a hole in my kit and have been working out well for me.
But, I also been having the itch to upgrade my portable kit, which consists of an indeterminate hodgepodge of smaller tool sets combined with a different brand’s portable tool set I bought last year for ToolGuyd analysis.
I mainly use mechanics tools on machinery, assembly tasks, fabrications, and all kinds of odds and ends, including light maintenance and repair tasks. Tool strength, quality, ease of use, ease of access, and easy cleaning are all important to me.
Gearwrench tends to be the sweet spot for my needs. The tools aren’t exorbitantly priced, but they’re also built with demanding users in mind. I see the brand as catering towards more serious users who shop for quality first, as opposed to consumers who first look at pricing.
Lots of different mechanics tool sets can fit my needs. This time of year, there are plenty of different “special buy” tool sets at $100 and $150 pricing. So why buy this one for $199?
For me, here’s what sets it apart, aside from Gearwrench quality.
- 90T ratchets with cushion-grip handles
- 90T Ratcheting combination wrenches (22)
I have had good experiences with Gearwrench sockets and accessories, but that’s a given. Here, the main appeal is in the 90T ratchets and ratcheting combination wrenches.
Gearwrench’s 90T ratchets are great, and I also really like the cushioned handles – and the same goes for their screwdrivers.
You might be surprised to hear that I am NOT a zero-offset non-reversible ratcheting wrench kind of person, although I do use the ones available to me. However, although I prefer reversible ratcheting wrenches when I have the choice, I also use non-reversible ones when it’s convenience.
I say this because it’s actually the ratcheting wrenches that sealed the deal for me. I normally don’t like it when mechanics tool sets come with wrenches, because they’re usually short non-ratcheting combination wrenches that I don’t need any more of. These are different.
My reversible ratcheting wrenches – Gearwrench-branded – are the kind with a special hex fastener-stop feature that helps prevent the ratcheting box end from slipping past a fastener. Sometimes that comes in handy, sometimes it doesn’t. So, tend to use my flex-head ratcheting wrenches – also Gearwrench – and they’re not reversible.
I’ve also been using other brands’ non-reversible ratcheting wrenches, and although I prefer the reversible type, non-reversible wrenches do come in handy, too. I sometimes wish my flex-head wrenches were locking, or that they were, you know – fixed.
With that in mind, I know I will find use in the ratcheting wrenches that come with this set. This is one of the things that opened to my eyes to this set being a good upgrade for my needs. How many of these tools will I actually use? I believe I’d get more use out of the tools in this set, which makes it a better value for my needs.
You know, this Gearwrench mechanics tool set gives you even MORE ratcheting wrenches than the 18pc set special buy that Home Depot also has in stores right now. That wrench set looks to offer a good selection for the money, and I considered buying it. But, I saw the signage for this mechanics tool set, looked it up when I got home, and realized it would serve me even better.
So, I now have my heart set on this 232pc mechanics tool set.
In a recent post, a reader scoffed at the uselessly few wrenches that came bundled with a certain mechanics tool set. How do you feel about the 22 ratcheting wrenches that come with this set?
This tool set includes ratcheting wrenches from 8 to 19mm and 1/4″ to 3/4″. It even comes with an 11/32″ ratcheting wrench, which I regularly need for machine screws.
My approach has traditionally been to start with a smaller tool set and then add to it over time. That worked out for me when I was building up a tool collection on a smaller budget. But now, as I’m shopping for a better portable mechanics tool kit that I can move around, I’m not willing to compromise as much anymore.
Speaking of portability, there’s one more feature that I like about this set – the tool box has removable drawers and side flaps that lock them in place. Some portable tool kits do NOT have any type of retention, and I learned the hard way that cheaper storage boxes can and will dump their contents when tilted.
At this point in my life, I’m tired of compromising. I don’t need a super-premium tool set from a truck brand, but I do need good tools, great features, and I still like a good value, although that’s not my highest priority anymore. I have found Gearwrench to be reliable as well, which is important.
I bought another set of wrenches a couple of months ago – SAE and metric combination wrenches. The brand is not Gearwrench, but one of their more value-tilted competitors. Frankly speaking, the quality is okay, but the wrenches are a bit cheap. Their tolerance is acceptable, the finish quality is okay, and the markings are readable. Granted, I went with the other brand for ToolGuyd/editorial/exploration purposes, but I feel that I would have been happier with a new set of Gearwrench wrenches instead.
I don’t want another value-oriented set; I’ve used enough of those over the years and can justify a step up.
My main tool set is in pretty good shape, and my portable kits are usable. But is any of that what I would buy today? No, this Gearwrench set is what I want in a portable kit.
It predominantly features 6pt sockets, I already know the ratchets are great (I upgraded my main kit with similar a few months ago), and the ratcheting wrenches will complement my existing kit.
So that’s 232 pieces including 22 ratcheting wrenches (90T), 2 ratchets, 6 drive accessories, a screwdriver handle, 134 sockets, and 67 tools and bits. This set does come with the typical assortment of hex keys, screwdriver bits, and nutdrivers, but these inclusions are also useful on occasion.
This is the portable set I’ve been waiting for, I just need to either find it in-store or pony up the $9 for “scheduled delivery” where a Home Depot associate picks the order and someone drives it up from the closest stocking store.
10 different users might be best suited by 10 different mechanics tool sets. This one looks to be the best fit for ME right now. Maybe it’s a great fit for you too. If you have any questions, please let me know and I’ll try my best.
If this set does not perfectly fit your needs, that’s okay, Gearwrench has something for everyone.
I should also point out that this is a special buy at $199, with a “was” price of $299. The same set is currently $287 at Amazon. I would assume that Home Depot’s price will bounce back up after their Black Friday Savings promo period ends – if these sets don’t sell out first.
I really want the Gearwrench 239 Pc. Set with the non-ratcheting, 12 point long combination wrenches. The only reason that prevents me from buying that set is the 45 tooth quick release ratchets that it comes with. For the life of me, I can’t understand why GearWrench is still putting outdated ratchets in their new mechanics sets? I would move up to the 243 set as my preference would be to have all 6 point sockets, but I don’t want the standard length 6 point wrenches that it comes with.
The Husky mechanics set and Duralast mechanics sets are also Apex made and I feel they have a better assortment of usable tools for my needs. GearWrench is so close but just can’t get it right.
Those sound like odd kits. 6 point combination wrenches in a basic set?? 45 tooth “modern” ratchets?? If I’m going low tooth count I’ll stick with my bomb-proof Proto pear-head ratchets. I think they have about 5 teeth (slight exaggeration) but I love them so much. The Gearwrench 120 tooth ratchets are nice, but a bit overpriced in my opinion. Like you, I much prefer 6 point sockets, I just keep a rail of 12 point standard depth 1/2″ drive for the occasional 12 point fasteners.
I wish a tool company would make a basic, 3 drawer mechanics set with complete sets of 1/4”, 3/8” and 1/2” sockets in 6 point… (maybe sprinkle in a few 12 point, but not necessary), ratchets with a tooth count higher than say 72 or 84, give or take) complete sets of 12 point, long wrenches ranging from 7-19mm and 1/4”-7/8”, two sets of hex keys and limit the unnecessary fluff like bits and nut drivers.
These tool companies always get close, but find a way to short ya somewhere which is always a deal breaker for me. Even the 270 pc. Husky set for $99.99 right now was so damn close, but they added a bunch of nonsense and only give like 12 wrenches. Pass.
Yeah, I totally agree.
The 243-piece set is really nice, but for some reason they force you to choose between a 6-point SKU, with 6-point combination wrenches, and a 12-point SKU where ALL the sockets are 12-point. So silly! For general use, we want 6-pt sockets and 12-point wrenches. It’s like they’re *trying* to annoy me.
If anyone is wondering about the length difference between the long pattern wrenches in the 239-piece set and the standard length wrenches in the 243-piece set, here you go! I clicked around in the Gearwrench website and copied down a bunch of numbers.
In the 243-piece set (catalog number 80966), the 10mm combination wrench is number 81758 — “19mm 6 Point Combination Wrench” — with a length of 9.75” according the the Gearwrench website.
In the 239-piece set, (catalog number 80942), the 19mm combination wrench is number 81667 — “19mm 12 Point Long Pattern Combination Wrench” — with a length 10.97” according to the Gearwrench website.
Ok, so the 19mm wrench is about an inch and a quarter longer, in the long-pattern.
What about the others? I didn’t do all of them, but I sampled enough to see a pattern. At around 1/2” or 12mm, the long pattern is adding an inch. Above this, it’s up to 1.4”. Below this, it drops to almost nothing.
‘6 pt Combination Wrench’
19mm – 9.75”
15mm – 7.75”
12mm – 6.7”
10mm – 6.2”
3/4 – 9.75”
9/16 – 7.44”
3/8 – 6.2”
1/4 – 5.094”
‘12 pt Long Pattern Combination Wrench’
19mm – 10.97” (+1.22”)
15mm – 9.134” (+1.38”)
12mm – 7.736” (+1.03”)
10mm – 6.543” (+0.34”)
3/4 – 10.972” (+1.24”)
9/16 – 8.74” (+1.30”)
3/8 – 6.54” (+0.34)
1/4 – 5.09” (+0.00)
Looks like a good deal to me. I’d definitely look at that kit to fit out a new work truck or bench. Worth it just for the ratchets and sockets, with the wrenches as a bonus. If I was buying this I’d give away the Allen wrenches (replace with Bondhus), screwdriver handle (replace with offset ratcheting handle for the bits and some proper screwdrivers), put the sockets on Ernst rails and toss the case. And after all that it still looks like a good deal.
I have a lot of Gearwrench sockets that I got when Tooldiscounter.com was running their buy a 120XP 3/8″ full socket set and get the 120XP 1/4″ full socket set free several years ago. That was way too good to pass up! I’m pretty pleased with both the sockets and 120xp ratchets, although I’m still partial to my Proto and SK ones (I know: tooth count, 3 degrees, but still.) I do have an old 84 tooth Gearwrench ratchet that crapped out and I just put a rebuild kit in it for $10. I also have some 10+ years old non-reversible ratcheting wrenches from them that I like. A couple guys at work have pretty new sets of the ratcheting wrenches that seem a less refined, like the mechanisms are cruder or something. Maybe a fluke, maybe the move to China, I don’t know.
I have to say I’m not at all thrilled that Gearwrench has largely moved to China, while Tekton is making ever better tools in Taiwan and the USA for comparable prices. I’ve picked up several things from Tekton lately and been extremely impressed, and not just “for the price” impressed. Regardless, given the need to fill a bench with a quick set of decent tools, I’d still hop on this deal.
I have also noticed the qaulity of gearwrench tools slipping a bit. I have an older set of metric flex-head ratcheting combination wrenches and I have been looking at their current selection to fill in missing sizes in my set. I also want to pick up an SAE set. My wrenches are an older model which aren’t as good as the new ones when it comes to arc swing. But the quality feels better and that’s even after mine have had 15 years of use. I would’t hesitate to buy the current production but I don’t think it’s what it once was.
Hah, I got in on that Gearwrench BOGO sale too, must be four or five years ago now. Those sets have served me well. Compared with one of these three drawer jobbers, the case is super useful, only weighs a few pounds, easy to throw in a shoulder bag, etc.
I posted a few times below about how I think this set is really excellent for people getting into working on their own cars. I agree it’s a very good deal at $200. When you consider the wrenches and the E-torx sockets and other bits and bobs, it’s about as good a deal as the old 3/8+1/4 BOGO.
This looks like a really nice set generally speaking, it’s certainly got value for money if those are the style of wrenches you like. I feel that wrenches are a very personal thing and I don’t care for that style. If I can only have one set of wrenches in my toolbox I’d like long pattern combination wrenches, old-school no ratchet. If I can have a second set to add to that it would be flex-head ratcheting wrenches (and Gearwrench makes awesome ones). Third would be double box end with a very deep offset like Stahlwille 20 series.
I do have one gripe, and that’s the case. When I first saw the list of tools I thought to myself that covered the socket side of things for a general service tool set quite well, all one needs to do is snag that awesome deal Gearwrench extension-and-swivel combo pack, a couple pairs of pliers, screwdrivers, channelocks, drop those in the box and bam, you’re set for a general service kit. But then it dawned on me: that’s a blow-molded case, there is no extra useful room in it. While the drawer design is practical for easily accessing tools and seeing what is missing, it is *very* wasteful with space: look at how much space there is between the rows of sockets in the second drawer. Why are the allen sockets lying horizontally in the top drawer? they’d take a lot less room stacked vertically. It seems they spread out the wrenches to deliberately fill the top compartment; if they were packed closer together there would be space for a lot more in there. This would be moot if it were compatible with some kind of modular system like Packout or Tstak or Toughsystem or whatever else because then you could pack your extra tools in an add-on box…but, well…it’s not, so you can’t.
Furthermore I’m not sure how the drawers are supposed to remain securely held shut. I can see that there are those two vertical swing-in “doors” that can be closed after the drawers are closed, but there doesn’t appear to be any kind of positive lock. It appears they just snap closed without a bolt or twist knob, latch, or any other kind of secure locking feature seen in the photo. Clearly I haven’t used one so perhaps my concerns are unwarranted but I think those drawers will easily pop open and you’ll be packing a ratchet strap to keep the assembly securely closed.
Yeah, that case is a huge waste of space The Gearwrench sets I’ve gotten in the past (ratchet, extensions, std and deep sockets) all came in similar giant blow-molded cases. Probably really nice if you actually wanted to use them, but they take up waaay too much room for me so straight in the trash, which sucks. They could just package everything on rails and wrench rolls and save some bucks and plastic. I just ordered a Tekton 1/2″ drive socket set and it came packaged on an Ernst rail, which is what I usually put my sockets on anyway for tool bag use, so that was a nice surprise.
I to love Gearwrench, quality at a reasonable price. This deal is worth looking
Case is great. Would like all 6 pt sockets though.
No more flat, knuckle-scraping, non-reversing ratcheting combination end wrenches for me.
Great that they included the e-torx sockets.
The density of wrenches on that top tier makes me happy. Gearwrench sometimes ships packaging that *looks* good for storage, but then you get the tray to your box and it’s like 1.5” between each XL ratcheting box end wrench.
They missed T27 in the bit-sockets, but it’s there in the 1/4” hex bits, so I guess that’s fine.
Looking through the PDF and photos in more detail…there’s a lot to like here for a shade tree mechanic.
– comprehensive coverage of 1/4” and 3/8” drive hex sockets.
– all 6-point except a run of 12-point 3/8” drive metric shallow sockets. In addition to acting as an insurance policy, there are times when a 12-point is more convenient, like when you’re crawling around under a car and have to repeatedly engage a certain fastener, blind.
– NO ball-end on the hex keys. For assembly tasks, this is not ideal: ball ends add flexibility…when the fasteners are new and clean. For a casual mechanic, ball ends are a trap, they must not be used with more than fingertip torque — meaning you can’t throw a cheater tube on the short end and use the long end to reach into a recess.
This would be a great starter set to leave in the truck/trailer for those of us that do track days. Or find ourselves away from the shop and tasked with repairs. I’d need a second box for longer extensions, pliers, snips, t-handle hex, etc.
Thanks for the pointer!
This set looks like great value. Those Gearwrench ratchets are pretty good.
I’m surprised you want zero offset ratchet wrenches though. I’ve got some but they’re relegated to my bin of unneeded spares.
The only wrenches of that style I keep in my tool chest are the really large sizes (starting at 25mm). I would generally sooner use offset non-ratcheting wrenches than ratcheting flat wrenches.
Handsome enough kit otherwise. I could even see making the wrench compromise if the kit otherwise has what you want – just maybe something to consider if this will see regular use ( then I’d pay more to have wrenches I like).
It’s not that I want zero offset flip-to-reverse wrenches, but I keep finding myself using them and my flex-head wrenches in this manner.
I’ll be seeing to bye a new set of reversible wrenches too at a good price, but here I just know I’ll use them, and there’s little overlap with my existing kit.
I also love that it has complete wrench sizes, including 11/32”. That to me also indicates no corners cut.
Yeah, as long as the user is cautious about getting locked into a tight spot, zero offset ratcheting box ends are a good jack of all trades. I can see pairing these with a couple rolls of non-ratcheting long pattern or XL combination wrenches, or even XL non-ratcheting offset box ends.
The most versatile is probably reversible ratcheting combo wrenches, and based on the pictures it *looks* like you could swap these in without modifying the tray.
Hard to beat a flat, non-ratcheting box end for tightening up a bicycle axle out in the wide-open. I can’t think of another good use though, but I’m sure I’m missing something.
Acme Tools say that they are having a Gearwrench sale:
7% off on 2 select items, 10% off on 3 select items, and 15% off on 4 select items
Promo Code: GEARWRENCH2021
The same deal for Crescent Tools:
Promo Code: CRESCENT2021
They also say select Stanley Tools made in USA will garner a 15% discount when added to your cart
I have a love hate relationship with these kinds of cases. On the one hand I love them because you know instantly if you’ve misplaced a tool after the job is done. On the other hand, you buy just one more tool and you’ve got no place to store it. (Besides, after accumulating mechanic handtools for 40 or so years just about everything in this case would be an unnecessary duplicate.) On the gripping hand these seem like excellent sets to give to the mechanically minded son/daughter leaving home to start life on their own.
What would be cool is if I could scan/photocopy my current tools and some company would 3d print me custom inserts for organizing my stuff.
I don’t know if anyone offers this service but if they don’t here’s a really simple idea:
1) Customer takes photograph of how they want their tools laid out with an object of known dimensions for scale included in the photo.
2) Photo runs through software which detects the edges of the wrenches, pliers, etc.
3) Human double-checks and tweaks it.
4) Laser-cut a foam insert
I forget(one of our managers lead this effort) who we used for our FOD program – but they helped with custom made drawer inserts for our Lista Cabinets and custom made shadow boards for our tool room.
Here is one source that I just found via a quick Google search:
That company looks professional (e.g. choice of foam, including ESD), but I doubt their services would be affordable for DIYers, those afflicted by OCD, or even general contractors.
That’s a hell of a kit for 199. I bet the box is heavy to pick up too.
but I like it – for car repair and home use. I’d do a few things differently but over all for a person that doesn’t have the right kit of stuff to work on a car that’s pretty good starter. Needs both sparker sockets but that’s minor.
And I’d have ditched the hex keys and the bit driver for a 1/4 drive socket handle that had a drive reciever on the back sie (like most professional ones do) and at least a 3/8 drive universal and a locking socket holder. but again being picky
I’ve said before and will say again that 72-90 tooth is the sweet spot for ratchets and for ratcheting wrenches. Any more makes the thickness larger. and any less today is just wasted not that a snooth 40 + tooth ratchet isn’t useable that’s a great strong back up box ratchet.
anyway neet find.
BTW, the Craftsman VERSASTACK 216pc set is again available for $99.00, until the end of this year.
I still see $199.
A lot of Lowe’s regions haven’t activated Black Friday pricing yet.
Its also available at NAPA for $99. Case is nice and tools are made in Taiwan (not China).
I like this GW set as well.
Thanks! I’ve been doing more driveway maintenance lately than I’d like considering the weather. My old Craftsman set with its useless selection of wrenches and way too many duplicative sockets that has been dumped out one too many times over the years actually still works for a lot of basics. But every time I am looking for the right wrench, it’s not there.
I came to toolguyd having remembered seeing this, and reread it with interest. Went down to the local Home Depot. App says 5 boxes in store still at $199. Getting another $20 off as a veteran sealed it.
I am actually surprised by the useful variety included here.. Even the screwdriver and bits, I noticed in first use were magnetic. I handed off a ratchet and hex socket to my daughter and asked her to go tighten a loose bolt in a piece of furniture and it was done in no time. That old set may have been cheaper 10 years ago, and it can stay in the back of the truck, and maybe once in a while I’ll use the 1/2″ ratchet and sockets that were in it, but I feel like this one will get way more use. Sure, not tool truck quality, perhaps, but the best for my budget.
Now, to find a good set of the flex wrenches! Maybe Father’s day!!
I had been looking at this set for $199 at Home Depot for quite a while now. Thinking I might want to replace my Craftsman set that’s quite similar but missing pieces and the case had been beat up a little. Yesterday I saw it at a local pawn shop for a $159. I asked the guy if he could do any better and he said $140 includes tax. I agree with most people here it’s a great set and I love that they don’t have 100 little tiny bits in there to boost the numbers as so many of these sets do. My only problem with this set (which is the exact same problem I had with the Craftsman set) is the latches. They are flimsy, little, crappy plastic things.