Sonic Tools launched in the USA four years ago, making premium hand tools and tool box systems available to consumers and commercial users.
At the time, I said:
If Sonic Equipment, and Sonic Tools by extension, is a market leader in top-tier hand tools and storage products, shouldn’t we all be more familiar with the brand?
Four years later, are YOU better familiar with the Sonic Tools brand?
At the time, we talked back and forth for a few months. I ultimately turned down the opportunity to review a fully-loaded tool box set, and timing didn’t work out for lower-valued opportunities.
Did I miss out? Should I have said yes?
Some of Sonic Tools’ offerings look pretty sweet, such as their professional workplace and workstation solutions. If I were outfitting a professional garage or industrial space, I would at least look into their tool storage and workstation products. I’d compare Sonic’s offerings against other brands, such as Lista.
But for hand tools?
Has Sonic Tools brought their wares to Amazon as they mentioned planning for when we spoke four years ago? Not quite. There are some offerings, via the link above, but they seem to be sold via a 3rd party.
If I look online, sure there are some reviews, but it seems that they’re all from media or influencers that received free samples, like the fully-loaded tool box review opportunity we declined.
Have YOU bought any Sonic Tools? What’s your take on them?
There is some appeal to Sonic Tools’ business model. They have a “skip the truck” video where they describe how you’ll save time and money buying from them over traditional tool truck brands. Sonic also has a “24 hour tool exchange” warranty process that sounds good in theory.
Sonic Tools says that they skip the middleman.
Looking at their catalog, Sonic Tools has ergo-style NWS-made pliers, priced at $70. You can buy the NWS-branded pliers for $40.03 at KC Tool, minus 10% if you use our coupon code. The Sonic Tools pliers do have different handles seemingly customized for them. But is that worth a 75% markup?
Sonic Tools has NWS-made flush-cutting pliers for $s45. KC Tool has them for $22.62.
Their core tools might be rebranded, or they might not be, customizations make it hard to tell.
Sonic Tools has T-grip speed wrenches, with the 3/8″ priced at $40. You can buy a Sunex 1/4″ and 3/8″ drive set from Amazon for $41.
Over the years, numerous tool brands have “launched” in the USA, but over time I never see much happening. Sonic Tools had and still seems to have more potential compared to several other such international brands.
Where can you buy Toptul tools from these days? Teng Tools?
Direct or limited distribution can work for some brands.
But four years later, I haven’t heard much more about Sonic Tools aside from marketing partnerships, and readers haven’t asked about them either.
There are some interesting tools in their product catalog, but I haven’t yet been compelled into buying anything or renewing talks about review samples.
The next time I budget cash for “tool brand exploration,” it’ll be for a couple of Nepros review samples. Or maybe I’ll see what’s new with Beta tools. Or maybe some of the Triangle Tools that are now available thru Motivx on Amazon. I loved the Triangle ratchets when I reviewed them 8 years ago. Triangle was another direct-to-consumer brand that was trying to push into the US market. I’ve also been curious about the USAG tools carried by Ultimate Garage. Koken?
What I’m really looking for is users who can say we bought Sonic Tools and love them! Or we bought Sonic Tools and have had great experiences. All I have seen so far are influencer and media reviews of free samples and decked-out tool boxes chock full of tools. Not that this is bad – we test and review free review samples all the time – but I’d like to know that these tools are out there “in the wild” too.
Other brands that I’m not quite familiar with but seem to be trying to carve out some US market share include Bovidix and MOB Peddinghaus. SATA, owned by Apex Tool Group (known for Crescent and Gearwrench brands) is now pushing into the US market via Amazon exclusivity.
Brands don’t have to be familiar to be good. Look at Facom, a Stanley Black & Decker brand. Facom tools aren’t effortless to find and buy in the US, but some of their offerings are compelling enough that I sometimes seek them out.
Four years after being introduced to Sonic Tools, I’m not quite interested in them yet. If I were a pro or industrial user, perhaps their 24 hour turnaround warranty exchange program would be appealing. But if enough of their tools are rebranded, it might be cost effective to buy a second tool and then warranty exchange a damaged or defective one as a backup.
What has changed with Sonic Tools in four years? From what I can see, not much. They’re still mainly selling direct to consumers.
But, maybe I’m just in the dark, hence the call for your input and discussion.
I looked into a SONIC ratchet but just couldn’t justify it. one I wanted a locking flex head. and two without a locking feature I could get the Tekton model cheaper and with a better ratchet angle. I will admit though since even that wasn’t locking – and SK does make a locking one and etc. I ended up getting the Husky 100 tooth.
Other Sonic stuff I looked at I just can’t justify the cost for feature set. If they actually are all made in germany and wonder. Then cross shopping them vs Stahlwille or Hazet, and the stores here in the US that carry them. Yes a stahlwille is a touch more – take that ratchet idea. Stahlwille makes a locking, flex head and yes it was 15 more dollars but it met the needs – and was cost competitive with a MATCO model.
SO No I don’t cross shop Sonic products.
I race dirt bikes and have heard of Sonic tools because of their partnership/special edition released “Troy Lee Designs Filled Moto Toolbox”.
I don’t own one, so I’m not the kind of person you’re looking to hear from – but it did get positive feedback on forums and in reviews. Looking at the contents, it seemed like decent (though definitely not exceptional) value if you actually needed all of the included tools (I already owned basically everything in one form or another, so I was strictly admiring it as a dedicated bring-to-the-racetrack option).
The selected contents were pretty well chosen – I actually used the content list as a cross-check against my own moto-specific toolbox to see if there was some tool I could conceive of needing at the track that wasn’t in my kit. I considered buying some of their individual tools too – but also found that most were a little pricey vs equally great competitors.
Just for background, Troy Lee Designs is a marquee moto brand which started out as Mr. Lee painting custom motocross helmets for the pro. Now they offer a full gear and accessory line and have their own race team – and still offer custom painting services. The Sonic/TLD toolbox is a Sonic toolbox with a custom paint job and a selection of moto-specific tools.
That is how I know sonic too. I have a small tool kit I take to ride, if I need to fix something that is outside that tool box, its probably major and time to pack it up anyways.
I only know of sonic from the ‘Humble Mechanic’ on youtube that i think he helped design the VW specific box.
That said- i own no sonic tools and don’t really have a desire to own any as i’m not a day to day mechanic- still have to fix everything under the sun but not everyday thankfully. Because that would mean a lot of stuff is breaking everyday lol.
Update your link to “https://www.amazon.com/stores/SONIC-Tools/node/15793611011?tag=toolguyd-20/?tag=toolguyd-20”
Current one is broken
Thank you, I appreciate it!
Sorry, I created a link simplifier for myself, and sometimes I automatically use it for links that already have custom URLs. I tested the link but then toggled a box and broke it.
The workshop cabinets look nice, specially I like the bin idea.
Looked at a set of Torx drivers for 1/2″ drive. Eight sizes, $350. And a case.
28-piece 3/8″ socket set, a bargain at $280.
That’s crazy prices to me…
I’ve never bought them. But I did receive a free sample pack 3 or 4 years ago by filling out a request form on their site. It had a low tooth count ratchet, a pair of NWS pliers, a 17mm wrench, a 17mm socket, and a screwdriver. All in a nice shadow cut foam tray. They seemed like nice enough tools but nothing stood out as making them worth a premium over any of the mid tier tool options as a DIY guy. The place I could maybe see them making sense is if their toolbox + tools setups worked for you. Especially if inventory control was an issue since everything will be in shadow cut foam trays.
So are the SONIC tools actually all made in Germany? I see some are but others ?
If so the pricing makes some sense .
The ratchet, socket, and wrench I got don’t have any COO markings on them. A post on garage journal says they’re made in Taiwan. The matte finish is a lot like what you would expect from the German companies. It’s very similar to the Wera sockets and ratchets that I have.
Never even heard of them. I guess I don’t know enough “social media influencers”.
I purchased and used Sonic tools. I got them on sale because, their list prices are crazy expensive. I ordered direct from their website. Some of the items I have are 1/4, 3/8 drive socket sets in modular cases. A metric wrench set, a nice brake service kit geared towards European cars, screwdriver set, a compact 1/4 drive socket/bit set and some vehicle specific tools.
First impressions: Taiwan made versions patterned after German tool companies. I hate their 45 tooth quick release ratchets. They’re bulky and crude compared to so many other options. I like their tools satin finish. Their chrome sockets closely resemble OEM tools sockets but are narrower on square drive end. Nice knurling. Some Sonic extensions are hex shaped around the square drive and have knurling on the shaft. I like these extensions. The one thing that has changed since Sonic’s launch is that they don’t have many sales as they used to. Often the sales are on their tool carts with modular tool sets. Even at half off, the sets are still pricey. Overall, I think Sonic is overpriced. Their tools seem durable but, there are just so many other options offering better features. By the way, you can buy Teng tools at tengtoolsusa.com if so inclined.
I’ve watched them closely since their launch in USA and have even purchased an assortment of tools from them. They used to run much better sales (50% off) then they currently do. Their tool boxes and workstations look like quality and their tools are good quality however they are nothing really special and way too expensive for taiwan tools. They have an expansive line of engine timing tools in europe, idk why they don’t sell those here.
They have some competitive advantage in their foam tool control and boxes/workstations but in general their pricing is crazy. I think their marketing claiming they are Europe’s top brand with 50 years experience (this is their founders tool importing experience) is deceptive as they have only been a brand 15 years or so. I think they have shifted their marketing away from direct-to-consumer and towards commercial users in aviation. Overall I think their marketing efforts have been lackluster.
I have a few USAG wrenches made in Italy that I bought from a retired container ship machinist. They are nice tools and well made, however short in comparison to my Proto professional, Williams Vulcan, and Gedore combo wrenches
Thanks for the post, Stuart. I remember you writing about Sonic four years ago when we launched in North America, and I’m glad to see we’re still on your radar.
You asked what’s changed? I’d love to answer that. When it comes to selling direct to consumers, that part of our business is stronger than ever. We love taking the middle man out of the equation and streamlining the process of buying professional tools.
What’s really changed is our growth in the industrial and dealership segments, plus aviation. We’re now approved through BMW of North America, Suburu, Infiniti, Nissan, Volkswagen, etc. We maintain our partnership with General Motors. We are working with American Airlines, Aviation Institute of Maintenance, the list goes on.
So, what’s changed is our credibility in those fields has been vetted and approved, and we’re seeing tremendous opportunity and growth in those segments.
As for the consumer, you’re correct. We will continue to sell professional equipment direct to consumers, offer a 24-Hour Lifetime Warranty, and continue to innovate and work towards making our customer experience as good as it can possibly be.
If anyone reads this and has questions, please email us at [email protected] or call 844-407-6642. Our team loves working with customers and talking to them about Sonic.
I should add for clarity:
I run the marketing department for Sonic in North America. We design and manufacture our own equipment. We co-brand NWS pliers, but we design and manufacture our equipment across the world. It’s all been tested and meets DIN standards. We’ve even tested our equipment against other North American brands like Snap-on, Matco, MAC, and our products are on par across the board.
We have a sample kit program that we’re more than happy to work with customers on to make sure they can test our product. We know what the result will be when they see, touch and use our tools.
Thanks again, and seriously, any further questions, please hit up our team. We’d love to talk to you.
I have bought their big set of jointed ratcheting wrenches, love them!
The problem is that the price in the US are out of these world, I bought a couple of years ago a complete set from  half price, so if you are in Europe they make sense because they are affordable and good quality for the money. I don’t have any problems with anything in these two years apart from a couple T25, T30 bit sockets that I broke but that’s something normal no matter what tool brand you choose.
I’m a student currently getting my MFA but I am a avid car enthusiast working on restoring a older BMW. The reason I bring up the fact I am a student is sonic offers a competitive student discount pricing which is nice and thoughtful. I find their tools to be well made and the foam trays are useful for organizing. I will say I’m not the biggest fan of the pliers but that’s fine. I understand that not everyone is a student. That being said I do own the tools and do enjoy working with them.
I have been buying Sonic off and on since they have arrived. I’m a serious DIY car restoration hobbiest. I agree they used to have killer sales, now not so much. I find the foam sorting by far the greatest advantage. Between my full home-storage-solution Williams socket and wrenches and my Metric Sonic (Corvette) tool box, I’ll go to the Sonic box first every time. The foam system is actually remarkable. Send like just so much less energy used on finding and putting tools away. I wish I had not already purchased the Williams and just bought a Sonic SAE set as well.
I have a range of Snap On tools – mostly specialty stuff Sonic doesn’t have. SAE ratcheting box end wrenches com to mind. I have a full compliment of Snap on green and red screw drivers and frankly can’t tell the difference from the Sonic.
What I have almost worn out and use the most are their LED lights. The small hand helds and headlight. I have 3 different variants and I use them all the time. Did they seem over priced? Yeah. But I forgot the price long ago as I tossed out other lights.
I’m late to the party here but I bought a nice set of metric tools in the S10 toolbox a couple years ago. They were a much better deal back then. They would work with you on price back then , now they don’t and what I got for $2000 free shipping is now $3500 plus a flat $400 for shipping. I have enjoyed my set immensely. I have quite a few toptul tools and loved them even more but only because of price. Sockets are obviously made by the same Taiwanese company but have been very strong and nice. Pliers weee NWS as stated. If I had to rate something as least favorite, it would be ratchets and screwdrivers. My toptul screwdrivers look and feel different than the Sonics. I prefer the toptuls. Ratchets are average not as nice as tool truck versions but better than other Asian models. I’ve never broke one. Bits, Allens, sockets , pliers etc have been top notch IMO. The roll cart has been great and I love the foam trays. I would readily buy these again at the old price, in fact, I did. I will
Not buy any more under the new pricing structure
I purchase some oddball cutters, torx bits and a few ratchets from sonic when the trailer is at the imsa races, as they are a main sponsor. The tools are good quality, and if you catch them on a sale, the pricing is comparable.
Maybe its time to revisit these guys again – For a while almost anyone that signed up got a “free sample set” including a 10mm deep and shallow socket, extender bar, screwdriver, pliers and some foam
Now they are hitting big on Facebook and such again selling the sample kit for 60 bucks – I suckered myself into buying one
Not bad tools – but who are these guys? Everything I can find is they are “engineered in Europe” but came out of nowhere and all of their credibility comes from social media streams –
With people like ChrisFix who loved them at first leaving them , the high prices, I am really not sure what is going on with them
Recently bought the sample kit, and I really dig it. The new ratchet is alot better than the old one I have seen described above. The wrench finish wont win over alot of guys, personally I really dig the matte finish, practical and anti slip. Also seems to not show wear much. The fit of the closed (box) and open end of the wrench is good when tested on several 10mm hex keys / bits. Same can be said for the sockets. In fact compared to Matco they were as good or better fit wise. Ergonomics are personal opinion but again, I liked the ratchet at screwdriver handles.
The OEM for some of the items may be the same as other taiwanese brands, however again, the fit with fasterners is much much better….
I guess what I have learned here is you can definitely get what tolerance you seek from a similar OEM.
Nothing needs to be said about the pliers in the sample kit, they rock, nws and knipex are both awesome so I expected that. No surprise here. Posted a video with my thoughts. We install lifts etc, do not market tools, and as such have little for followers etc. Primarily share some non public videos demonstrating truck products but felt like sharing these remarks due to the mixed reviews. Thought my take may help a potential buyer…
Going to give one of the larger sets a go with a s15 cabinet.
I was an early adopter of sonic tools and I do not regret the decision. However, prices have gone up exponentially, and this was taking place before COVID was a thing. Used to have free shipping on toolboxes, but last time I looked, it was over $250 each.
I bought 2 boxes and a Troy Lee Designs portable toolbox. The TLD box was less than $400. Now it is well over $1000 last time I looked.
I used to think they were a good tool at a good price for what you were getting. Now though, they have increased prices so much, I don’t even consider Sonic.
Man that pricing sounds good! I never saw it that cheap, but dang. I guess one of the main reasons I am ok with the current pricing is the fit. I have tried more budget brands (Tekton, king tony, Teng) and they just do not fit the bolts/nuts as well. Same goes to Craftsman, Kobalt and Husky. Snap on fits very well, matco and mac behind snap on. Sonic is on par with Matco, and still more cost effective. Koken is very good, both in fit quality and durability, only tried a few sockets over the years but to build a set would be huge $$$.
In fact, I need a better 3/4 drive set (currently using Tekton and Kobalt pieces) and wondered if there were any good candidates out there. Some of these wheel nuts/hald shaft nuts are too close the center of the hub, meaning we need a more precision, thinner walled socket that can still do the job. I posted in a FB group to see if there was anything I have not tried, may look into second hand proto or snap on, if not, will be ordering Sonics 3/4 drive set.
On the pricing side of things, everything that we deal with, from vendors (S&B, Carli, Morimoto) and even food and other consumables has gone up, even pre covid shoratges as well. I do agree it looks like Sonic tools pricing has went up at a higher rate, however it seems also that while they opened a US dist/HQ, they also started making some changes to tailor the product to US needs and improve some things. For example, in the early days, I tried the 45 tooth ratchet. It was not just the low tooth count that lost me, it was very crude compared to their NEXT ratchet. Ergonomics, durability and fit (the NEXT ratchet really gets into some tight places).
We have some Matco 88 tooth ratchets and in feel an use, the NEXT holds up. I have not had it for years but the sample kit piece I did beat on pretty good. My experience with older Sonic ratchets was more second hand, and if this and the wrench improvement came from US based feedback then I would say that could easily have led to some of the increases. Also, 2016-2020 were years in increasing import taxes. Even from Europe (our boxes indicate they originate in Amsterdam).
Sonic’s price increase has FAR outpaced others. I could Understand some increases I’d they were reasonable. But when some things have gone up by a factor of 3-4, that’s just not normal cost of doing business price increases and way outpacing other company’s reasonable increases. I like my tools but at these new prices forget it.
I do like their organization better than others. My favorite tools for the value has usually been Toptul but now are hard to find and my distributor went under. Felt a lot like sonic. I love my snap on ratchets. Just the best I have ever felt but they are about all I buy from snapon.
Love my sonic sets but just can’t justify a 3-4x increase in price.
Bret J Eliezer
I recently bought a set of screwdrivers in foam tray from sonic as it was “sake priced” at 180$ from 280$. I buy on a wing and prayer sometimes and was hoping this was a win. They feel extremely cheap in the hand. I DO like the PH2 I’ve used a few times and the small 6″ish prybar has cone in handy a few times. But the prybar is no better than the 6″ ish craftsman bar I must have bought a hundred years ago for pennies. So far, not impressed in the slightest. I had a few questions after receiving them , so emailed their contacts immediately. It has been about a month and ZERO response. I’m afraid I much rather would have purchased the newest snap-on 12pc over this bulky mess that takes up an entire drawer in my KRL722bpcm t4″ snap-on box. 😔. Oh well. Live and learn, and like I mentioned, I buy fast sometimes- that’s how I ended up with my brand new royal blue snap-on box for 1800$!! Yup, 3200 off. So a 180$ screwdriver set “loss” not the end if the world, but I AM NO LONGER shopping at SONICTOOLS. Overpriced for the current quality in my humble opinion
So weird that was your experience, I’m sorry. I had an issue the other day, chatted with someone right on their website and it was handled.