A quality combo tool kit

I’m normally a bit leery of tool sets that combine several different types of tools. I like my socket sets to be socket sets and my wrench sets to be wrench sets. Too many combination kits either seemed to be aimed at people who never actually use tools, or upon inspection they prove to be missing critical items.

However, when Graham Jackson and I were attempting to assemble tool kits for our respective Land Cruisers in Australia, we found that tools Down Under in general seemed to be either a) complete rubbish, or b) stunningly expensive. We bought one combo set that was so insultingly bad we wound up simply ditching it with friends to donate or bin as they pleased. It would certainly have failed at repairing any vehicle more substantial than a pedal car.

The last trip Roseann and I took I was determined to secure a high-quality ratchet/socket set and some decent wrenches. Shopping online from the U.S. I found that the well-respected Bahco tools were available in Australia (as well as the U.S.), so I took a chance on a combination kit (#S106 in the U.S.) and had it delivered to our friends in Sydney. I subsequently had an opportunity to use it for some minor but important repairs, and I was impressed. The ratchets have disappointingly coarse tooth counts (54, crude in this day of 72- and even 80-tooth ratchets), but they incorporate quick-release buttons, which I like, and lever rather than palm directional control, which I strongly prefer. Everything was of reassuringly solid construction, and the assortment was broad enough to be considered comprehensive:

  • Standard sockets (1/4 and 1/2-inch drive) from 4mm to a huge 34mm.
  • Standard SAE sockets from 3/8 to 1 3/16.
  • 1/4-inch drive deep sockets from 4 to 13mm.
  • Combination wrenches from 7 to 19mm.
  • Flex-head wrenches from 8 to 15mm.
  • A good assortment of drive bits.
  • Sliding T handles and extensions, in 1/4 and 1/2 inch.
  • Four impact sockets, 17, 19, 21, and 24mm. Not sure why these are included in a hand-tool set, but if you have an impact driver they’d be suitable for removing stuck lug nuts. And good as spares.
  • Plus everything else you can see here in my hasty snapshots.

With the addition of an 18-inch breaker bar (or, alternatively, the exquisite Snap-on SX80A 18-inch flex-head ratchet), I’d feel confident tackling a major field repair with this Bahco set.