Did you know that Sunex makes chrome sockets and mechanics tools? Me neither.
We’ve posted about the brand a couple of times over the years, but I generally don’t pay much attention to them.
Sunex tools land on my radar every once in a while, usually Amazon Black Friday and holiday season promos. But starting last Spring, I’ve been seeing them more, at least in Acme Tools’ “new tools” lists.
Recently, I spotted chrome sockets.
Sunex does make hand tools – I bought a set of their angled open end wrenches for cheap a few years ago – but chrome sockets? That seems like a new venture for them, but apparently these are existing products.
Basically, what I’m now curious about is where these tools are positioned on a value-to-quality scale.
Looking at specific individual sockets for price comparison, the Sunex socket sizes I looked at are pricier than Gearwrench. But on a value-quality scale, I would normally place them between Harbor Freight and Tekton.
Where do you think they’re positioned compared to other brands?
It’s not that I regard Sunex as a cheap brand, but I’ve always thought of them more as a one-off problem-solver or value-priced tool brand, similar to Astro Pneumatic.
Something about the look of these Sunex chrome sockets, though, caught my interest, and has me questioning whether I should have paid more attention to them over the years. But then again, Sunex isn’t a brand that readers have asked about or talked about.
This also has me wondering about whether there are many other brands out there that I should try to check in on periodically. There could be noteworthy new releases, even if a brand isn’t of strong personal interest, reader interest, or perceived reader interest.
Quite frankly, I’ll be surprised if many of you have used Sunex’ chrome hand tools before. Looking at their website, the individual socket SKUs aren’t showing up. Maybe they are new tools?
There’s also an 80T ratchet, priced at $28. I haven’t seen their ratchets before either, but there are a bunch of “Vine program” user reviews on Amazon from last year.
There are also Sunex chrome mechanics tool sets, socket sets, and drive accessories.
My opinion of Sunex tools isn’t well-defined, and I feel that I need more information. Are their sockets worth the premium over Gearwrench sockets and mechanics tool sets? Would you consider buying a Sunex mechanics tool set or chrome socket set?
When we talked with Sunex a few years ago, they said they were looking to “develop the brand through new product” and “in the beginning phases of making a push towards the industrial segment,” but I hadn’t seen what became of this. I intended to check back, but didn’t, and don’t quite remember why.
Now, my interest is piqued again, but there’s not much to go by. No press releases, and Sunex has not responded to any of my emails. There’s not much user feedback online either. I know that their impact sockets are popular and well-reviewed, but their chrome hand tools don’t seem to have attracted anywhere near the same level of attention.
Buy Now(via Acme Tools)
See Also(via Amazon)
Compare(Tekton Tools via Amazon)
So, if you’ve used Sunex’ chrome sockets, ratchets, or other mechanics hand tools before, what do you think about them?
I can’t tell what it is about their sockets, but their aesthetics seem to be break the norms of what I would have expected from the brand.
Apparently Sunex chrome tools debuted around October of 2017?
I was going to say it’s relatively new and they have branched out a bit. Like you said before they used to make mostly heavy auto tools or unique need auto tools – some other bits.
Once their impact sets got to be popular (at least with body shops) they branched out more. But I wonder who the parent company is or who is making the products. some of them look a bit familiar –
Ratchet looks OK – the sockets are maked very well. I assume here all made in china. Which isn’t fair since I know some sunex stuff is taiwan and some is mexico.
I have a metric impact set from them that I got on a sale from CPO. 3 years in and so far so good. fits well on the bolt, holds on the impact or ratchet. Yes I use impact sockets on my ratchets and breakbars in 1/2″.
My eye’s would appreciate that kick ass distinct marking. How many times have I rotated a socket around to try and read the size?!
“Countless”? Like me…
This was my first thought. My eyesight is slowly going downhill and the reason I ended up buying a black Stanley socket set….The markings are easy to read.
I really like Facom’s “le tag” labels. They’re made out of plastic and are inserted in the socket so when you look down at your tray or rail you can see the size. They don’t come out unless you poke a screwdriver or something through the socket. Unfortunately they seem to be only made for metric sizes.
Mike (the other one)
That was the first thing I noticed as well. Clearly marked an color coded.
Reminds me of the Craftsman tools on the Sears website. Depending on price I would consider them…..despite the fact I have 2 or 4 of every size up to 1″/25mm (1/2″ drive) and many sockets up to 2″/50mm in 1/2″ and 3/4″. I am in the market for long impact sockets.
They (Sunex) seem to be associated with or represented by a company called VIS LLC. – a wholesaler located in Travelers Rest SC. I don’t know if that was the same when we bought (our first and last) Sunex crowfoot wrenches in 2005.
Today – I did some looking on Amazon – and spied these somewhat oddball Sunex items:
I have a lot of Grey Pneumatic (rebranded Sunex) impact sockets and they work great. Markings aren’t the best but they fit great and I’ve absolutely wailed on a couple of them with no breakages.
These are made in Taiwan and If they come out of the same Taiwanese factory as my impact sockets then this is a good buy.
Grey Pneumatic impact sockets are different than the Sunex impact sockets. The design and finish is far better on the GP’s and thats what I prefer, but the Sunex I do have work fine. As far as I know GP and Sunex are different companies and from what I have seen, I hardly doubt either one is rebranding for the other.
Same. I have some sunex and GP 3/4 impact sockets and they are not rebranded one way or the other.
Sunex produced sockets for GP about a decade ago. They no longer have any common business ties. Both source impact sockets from Taiwan.
Gray pneumatic is completely different than Sunex. Both are very good quality however completely different companies
I have a couple Sunex tools and I’ve been pretty pleased with them. I use them mainly for the oddball automotive specialty tools I sometimes need. I think the last Sunex product I bought was a thinwall 5/8″ spark plug socket. Fit and finish on it was excellent and it worked well for my needs.
I’ve noticed Sunex a few times on Amazon while searching for a tool but never purchased specifically because I didn’t know whether they were quality tools or not. Since none of the items I wanted were unique to Sunex, I felt no desire to be the guinea pig. I would be interested in learning more about them though. Their stuff is nice enough looking.
My experience : average to bad quality, terrible customer service.
I commented before (to Stuarts 4/8/19 post) that the crowfoot wrenches we bought in 2005 were not good – but was so long ago and only on one batch of tools – that the bad experience may no longer be relative.
Why is it that cheap tools seem to make better markings on sockets? Ones that you can actually see.
If these are only in one place, that’s not a big advantage – but if it was 120°/three times, then we’re really making progress. Might be enough to make someone want to upgrade.
Indeed, manufacturers should put it in three or four directions and omit the branding etc stuff we don’t need.
Those markings look nice now, but I have to wonder how they would stand up to solvents. Will they wipe off with brake-kleen?
Personally, I’d like to see deeply engraved or stamped markings.
The markings on these are recessed in the chrome then filled. Even if a solvent removes the marking, it will still be legible and if you’re in the mood, can be re-filled with paint.
I haven’t used this brand of sockets, so I can’t speak to quality. However, I do really like those markings, especially the color difference between metric and standard.
I’d like laser engraved and filled – especially the filled. but for the money that’s a pretty good start.
Knowing how it’s marketed – I suspect it stands up to auto chemicals pretty well. I would like to see how it does with used brake fluid.
I would like to see how their ratchets are.
I do have some Sunex stuff i bought a set of flare nut crows foot wrenches which i like a lot. You use them with your ratchet. Seems like good quality. I put them on a par with Gearwrench
Sunex makes great impact sockets(Taiwan), laser etched and engraved. Many mechanics use them along with their snap on sockets.
The chrome sockets are.just as nice , engraved and color filled plus laser etched.
Awesome warranty, no hassle phone call.
Ratchets ..I only use SK and Snap On.
They make complete sets and their larger impact sockets are some of the best. I use the chrome set a lot with no problems getting solvents on them.
.Not a fan of their wrenches ,or ratchets, especially angle wrenches,because they are 15/60 like 99%/of other brands..far as I know only Snap On and Tekton (USA) make 30/60 angle wrenches , which is needed or their is a “/dead zone” where the but won’t turn.
Solid brand ,been around 36/ years. Better then HF and tekton.
I got a free ratchet with a set of their low profile 3/8″ impact sockets. They’ve been popping up on ebay for around $45 for a set of standard and metric with the free ratchet. They at least look to be the same as the astro low profile sockets. Anyway the rachet seems to be ok. The fit and finish look good. The head shape is kind of in between a pear shape and a round head. It’s the same thickness as an 84 tooth gearwrench and slightly narrower in width. The ratcheting mechanism is just a hair rougher than the gearwrench, but some lube may help with that. I haven’t really put any hard use to it though. These days I usually reach for something battery powered first. And just grab a ratchet for a quick light duty job, or grab a flex or swivel head for a hard to reach area.
I did not know Sunex has chromes. I have some of their impact sockets and I thought that’s all they made. I might get a set for my car.
I’ve always though of Sunex as a pretty good brand. Not sure if there’s a difference between these models vs. the ones they sell on the Cornwell tool trucks. I’ve only heard good things about Sunex wrenches.
I have a few Sunex specialty wrenches and they were good quality for the price. They seem strong and precise but the chrome isn’t quite as polished as some. These pictured seem to be better in that regard
Sunex is just another “Made Up Brand” similar to Tekton. The name is created, the tools are sourced from China or Taiwan, and it’s marketed a a new “Tool Company.”
They could be good or bad, but again, these created brands are about throwing something against the wall and seeing if it sticks.
WHile they state it started with Impact sockets in 1977, they have gone through different owners and iterations through the years and really isn’t connected to their origins.
If done right, there’s nothing wrong with private label brands that work with OEMs. Prior to the sale to Stanley Black & Decker, isn’t that what Craftsman was? Husky? Kobalt?
Other tool brands work with OEMs for some of their tools, such as Channellock, and Klein.
Some Snap-on, Snap-on BluePoint, Proto, and Proto Blackhawk tools are also outsourced.
Home Depot does the same with other house brands beyond Husky ( a brand name that was onec owned by Stanley). So Ridgid power tools at HD will come from TTI – but Ridgid shovels and garden tools will come from Ames etc. The Ridgid brand name was licensed by Emerson to HD for this purpose – but Emerson still produces Ridgid plumbing tools for broader distribution well beyond Home Depot. Home Depot also sells house-brand items under the names: HDX, CE Tech, Homer, Commercial Electric, EB-Everbilt, Home Gardens(er), Rockforge, and Workforce.
Beyond Kobalt, Lowes too has its house brands like Blue Hawk, Duraworx, Garden Plus, Precise Fit, Task Force and Utilitech Pro.
And – we’ve all see the variety of brand names used by Harbor Freight.
Sunex has been privately owned by the same family since its inception in 1977. Impact sockets are the core of their business but there are a lot of great lifting and hand tool products in the line as well.
Good affordable impact sockets and wrenches, cr-mo construction, usually Taiwan made. I really like their low profile impact sockets.
My Northern Tool 3 ton Jack just locked up…I called for a o ring kit and found out that most of Northern Tool Jack’s are made by Sunex. Bad news… neither Northern Tool nor Sunex had a kit. But I fixed it anyways.
Sockets look cheap there’s no rings around the sockets the reason that higher end sockets don’t do laser is it wares off and gets rusty its nothing new it’s just a cheaper way to make products
Sunex is more widely used than you think. Matco has been pushing rebranded Sunex Universal impacts for at least half a decade now. I lost a couple matco ones, replaced them with Sunex to save some bucks. Then I bought the sunex 1/2 inch set, in short, long, and universal. Have broken 0 in 7 years. Daily use hooked up to a snapon air impact as a professional mechanic.
Sunex impacts are top quality as far as I’m concerned. Every bit as good as snapon.
After getting along without a set of metric offset wrenches my whole life, ( have always had a pair of SAE Dunlap – Forged in USA offsets, incl a 25/32″ ), I was recently shopping online for a set of basic metrics.
Upon seeing Snap-on’s: ” 5 pc 12-Point Metric Flank Drive® 60° Deep Offset Box Wrench Set – Item XOM605 – $298.00 ” . .
. . and Mac Tool’s: ” 5-PC. METRIC LONG DEEP-OFFSET DOUBLE-BOX WRENCH SET – 12-PT. – SBODM52PTR – $230.99 “. .
. . and Proto’s: ” PROTO – 7 Piece Metric Box Wrench Set – 12 Point – ZORO #: G7486446 – MFR #: J1100D-M – $97.30 ” . .
. . and Dewalt’s (Stanley+Black & Decker): ” 9 Piece Full Polish Offset Double Box Wrench Set – DWMT19263 – $84.99 ” . .
. . . . I decided to give a Sunex 5-pc. metric offset set, via amazon, a chance, (with the same 10mm ~19mm sizes as the Sanp-on & Mac Tools sets). For $18.22 !
Arrived today, and came in a decent roll-up pouch w/velcro strap; chrome looks nice upon first impression, looks very similar to China/Taiwan Craftsman, imho; upon putting on eyeglasses and looking closer…there are some minor blemishes in the chrome finish, just a few little tiny spots here and there, nothing major though; most notable blemishes are some unsightly flat grinding planes/angles—chrome finished over—on both the outer & inner radius’s of the 45 ° offsets; as if someone just learning to use a grinding wheel…did the final grinding detail on them, then just gave up, and dropped them in the chrome dip tank. :~\
If they were one of the expensive sets w/the same blemishes…they’d be getting returned; but for only $18, not a deal breaker.
Haven’t tried them on any bolts as yet, so again this is just first impression/first appearance review. Bottom line: For $18, if they fit bolt heads decently, without noticeable slop, they’ll be keepers, as I seem to rarely use offset wrenches, whilst primarily working on DIY projects and our 17 yr old GT225 John Deere.
. . . upon further examination in better daylight, the chrome finish (on the Sunex offset metric wrench set abv^), is badly streaked, with what looks like permeant streaking, as if the wrenches were dipped in cleaning solvent and then left to dry without being wiped or buffed.
. . . forgot to mention that the Sunex 5-pc. offset metric wrench set (mentioned abv^) is “Made in India”.
I don’t like it when a manufacturer has a “lifetime warranty” but it is only good for the original purchaser and must have proof of purchase.
So their tool cart, lifting equipment, aluminum air tools and shop equipment only have a 1 year warranty. Their shop press and air tools have a 2 year warranty, and their spray guns are only 90 days.
Plus they have an ever confusing “Sunexpress” deal that is only good for direct company replacement for one year. Where else are you supposed to exchange a defective product?