This weekend I visited a few major tool and home improvement stores for a sneak peek of their winter holiday tool gift displays. As expected, the two Home Depots closest to me had most of their displays up already.
Similar to last year’s selection, there were a few power tools in the mix, but there was a very strong emphasis on Husky hand tool sets. Following is a brief guide to most of these tools.
Power Tool Deals
There were a few power tools in the mix – Makita circular saws, Milwaukee M12 cordless kits, Bosch angle grinders, and of course all the Ridgid JobMax cordless tools that we recently reviewed. I anticipate that there will be at least one Ridgid shop vacuum model and an assortment of Ryobi cordless power tools discounted and put up on display as Black Friday nears.
Cheap LED Flashlights
There were quite a few cheap flashlights on display. Some were sold solo, others as part of 2-packs. Last year and the year before, Home Depot had 6 and 10-piece multi-flashlight packs on sale, but I didn’t spot any of those this time around.
These are 6-LED flashlights, at $2.88 apiece. They feel very light and well, at less than $3 apiece, I don’t expect a lot. Given the numbers Home Depot had on display, perhaps they’ll be discounted down to $2 or even $1 on Black Friday.
There was also a large display of these flamed-out flashlights for $4.88 each. No comment.
Husky Hand Tools & Tool Sets
There were a LOT of new Husky tool sets that I’ve never seen before. Thinking back two years ago, I remember a rather interesting new Husky multi-bit screwdriver design that could be fitted with one of several included pre-loaded bit cartridges. Once that Christmas shopping rush ended, I never saw that screwdriver ever again.
It may be a fair conclusion that Home Depot specially commissions many of these tools and tool sets just for the holiday shopping season. I’m sorry, but this leads to implications that don’t sit well with me. The last time I bought a special holiday tool assortment, an Irwin drill and driving bit set, I was gravely disappointed with the quality.
Many if not all of the Husky tools are “guaranteed forever.” Sounds good, but what happens if they fail within a few months and Home Depot no longer carries these “special buy” tools? They’re “special buys” as long as “supplies last”, so what does this mean in terms of the guarantee? Something to think about.
Husky 48-in-1 Ratcheting Rotary Socket Wrench
We spoke about this tool quite a bit already. I personally don’t care for the design, but it looks like it will sell well regardless.
Husky PowerTek Precision Screwdriver Set
This Husky 13-piece powertek precision screwdriver set features a cordless battery-powered bit driver that includes an assortment of precision bits. In my opinion, it’s still too large and probably unwieldy for working on delicate electronics and the like. “Real” precision screwdrivers often have free-rotating caps and are ergonomically designed for finger-tip control.
If I were to ever try out a battery-powered precision screwdriver (not likely in the foreseeable future), my first choice would be General’s svelter model.
Husky Stubby Hammer and Stubby Adjustable Wrench
Next to these $2 hammers and adjustable wrenches were $0.26 stubby slotted screwdrivers. Stocking stuffers?
Husky Workbench Mechanics’s Set
“Work Bench Mechanics’s Set.” What does that even mean?! In any case this Husky 28-piece workbench mechanic’s set includes a 6-piece set of mini combination wrenches, 1/4″ and 3/8″ ratchets with 18 sockets, and two 3″ extensions, all for $14.88.
Husky Compact Ratcheting Driver
These compact ratcheting drivers include a selection of insert bits and cost a modest $5.88. It looked a bit large for what I would use it for, although I’m curious about how the tool performs. Not curious enough to spend $6 to find out.
Husky T-Handle Driver Set
This Husky 20-piece T-handle driver set does not look half bad, but at $9.88 I question the durability of the screwdrivers’ tips, especially since T-handles can be used to exert greater torque than traditional handles.
A different normally stocked Husky 14-piece T-handle hex driver set is typically priced at $25. This particular “special buy” set includes 9 T-handle drivers, a ratcheting T-handle bit driver, and a 10-piece insert bit set for less than $10. Also in comparison, a ratcheting T-handle bit driver at Harbor Freight is about $10 by itself.
Husky 22-inch Cantilever Organizer
This looks similar to the rebranded Keter organizers I’ve seen elsewhere. I love the design, but the bins felt a bit too light and flimsy in comparison to others I’ve checked out before. It’s about $30, which I would instead use to buy two Stanley organizers. The case felt fairly solid and is still on my wishlist, but just a little lower now.
Husky Ratcheting T-Handle Driver Set
This Husky 32-piece ratcheting T-handle driver set includes a handle, a few sockets, and an assortment of insert bits for $9.88. As mentioned, a similar driver by itself costs $10 at Harbor Freight.
Husky 45-Piece Stubby Tool Set
For $14.97, you get a Husky stubby adjustable wrench, a Husky ratcheting screwdriver, a stubby ratchet, and an assortment of sockets, bits and adapters.
Husky Tri-Grip Screwdriver Set
This Husky Tri-Grip screwdriver set includes a ratcheting driver, an extension, 14 sockets, and 32 screwdriver bits for $9.88. I couldn’t really get a feel for the Tri-Grip handle through all the plastic, but it looked interesting enough.
Husky Screwdriver Bit Set
It looks like the bit selection is color coded, and may be worthwhile just for the bits. The set is $9.88, but there are probably better bargains on import bit sets if if you search around.
Other Husky Tool Sets
There were other Husky tool sets on display as well, some at the $5 and under price point. Looking online, there’s a “special buy” 40-piece ratcheting bit driver set for $2.
I hesitate to call call these cheap tools junky outright, but their prices are ridiculously low, and many of their designs are a little gimmicky. It’s as if Husky highlighted all of the tool fads out there these days and raced to come up with something similar in as little time and for as little cost as possible. Many of these tools feature ratcheting mechanisms, which unsettles me further. I would much rather prefer a tool that does not ratchet over a tool that ratchets poorly.
It is unfair for me to criticize the tools without checking out their performance firsthand, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. That said, we’re eager to hear your opinions and user reviews, and are certainly open-minded to contrasting points of view.
(Ed. Note: It turns out that the positive reviews left in comments are fake. See this post for details.)