OK, not every fastener, but close. If the thought of coming across a screw or bolt that you don’t have a proper tool for wakes you up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night, Lowes has just the thing for you; the Kobalt 227 Piece Standard/Metric Mechanics tool set. That’s right, 227 pieces baby! We first saw this set at a Lowes media event last year and Lowes recently hooked us up with a set for this review. We’ve been pulling tools out of this thing since, and they just keep coming. If the most rigorous tool use you encounter is assembling Ikea furniture, then buying this kit is a bit like taking a limo to the grocery store. However, if you’re a mechanic or a serious wrencher around the home or shop, this kit promises to handle almost every fastener-related task you can throw at it.
The Tool Case
On a more positive note, we were very happy to see that Kobalt included the socket sizes on the drawers that store the various sockets. Although the sizes are etched on the sockets themselves, they’re not always visible if the socket is turned. The label for each socket makes retrieving and replacing sockets a breeze. The drawers can also be pulled all the way out, enabling you to take what you need to your work, rather than hauling the whole set over. You can also change the order of the drawers to your liking.
The Sockets & Socket Wrenches
Sockets for Life
Speaking of sockets, don’t you hate it when you lose one? That empty space staring back at you, mocking you every time you open your socket set. Lowes feels your pain and actually did something about it. Register for the Sockets for Life program and Lowes will hook you up anytime you lose a socket. Once you register, you just hop back on the website or call the Sockets For Life number, and you can request whatever sockets you’ve lost. A shipping charge of around five bucks does apply, presumably so Lowes isn’t bankrupted by the millions of us that lose sockets periodically.
But Wait, There’s More! Drivers, Bits and Hex Keys
Let’s face it, hunting for the right size tool, or, worse yet, not having the right size to begin with often leads to bad results around the home and in the shop. Things like making a slightly too-large socket “work” on a bolt that will soon be rounded off. Or, using a rickety pair of pliers when a socket is really called for. Not only do situations like this wreak havoc on your fasteners, they’re also very inefficient. With a mechanics tool set like this 227 piece model from Kobalt, improvising tools and the ugly consequences that follow can be a thing of the past. Unless you’re tightening bolts on suspension bridges (or, in my case, the axle bolt on a vintage golf cart), this set will cover just about every task involving tightening or loosening that you can throw at it. While there’s a suspiciously similar Craftsman mechanics tool set on the market (260 piece), it tends to run around $60 more than this Kobalt set. This is a comprehensive set of solid, everyday tools without the sticker shock that accompanies some other mechanics tool sets on the market.
Shop Lowes.com for the Kobalt 227 Piece Mechanics Tool Set which sells for around $200, although we’ve heard rumors of sale deals as low as $100. Even at $200, we consider this a great value that’s really stretching your tool-buying dollars. Like the tool box itself, shipping can be hefty. We recommend requesting an in-store pickup online if possible. And remember, lift with your legs, not your back!