After that review was published, several webBikeWorlders emailed us with suggested “equivalents”.
Several readers suggested a set from Harbor Freight for $11.99; less than half the cost of the Sears tools.
Harbor Freight “Pittsburgh” Hex Keys
The Harbor Freight “Pittsburgh” hex key set includes 18 different SAE and Metric sized wrenches.
They’re supposedly made from “strong heat-treated, chrome plated steel”.
webBikeWorld visitors suggested that we got taken when we spent 50 bucks on the Craftsman brand.
Well, I’m sorry to disappoint, but our feeling is that this “Pittsburgh” set is nowhere near the equivalent. Not even close.
The handles are made from a cheap-feeling plastic with flashing oozing from the mold lines.
The handle molds must be so worn that the size markings that are pressed into the handles are almost illegible on our set.
Also, the 3 mm wrench was missing from our set when we opened the box.
As I was inserting the wrenches into the holes in the steel holder, I noticed that the shaft on the thinner wrenches seemed to have quite a bit of flex.
I picked up a 3/32″ and started to bend the metal to gauge its flexibility and “SNAP!” — it broke off in my hand without much effort.
My guess is that the metal is molded into hex-key form, because the ball ends seem worn, possibly from a worn-out mold. The straight ends aren’t cut correctly so there’s a bit of metal hanging off the ends.
I tried the 5 mm wrench on the fuel tank bolt during our Ducati GT1000 fuel line recall fix and the ball end never even gripped the bolt, it spins around as if it was made from round stock, rather than hex.
We like precision, high-quality tools because we think that in the long run, they’ll more than pay for themselves. And there’s something quite satisfying about holding and using a good tool.
Unfortunately, this Pittsburgh set doesn’t come close to our expectations or requirements for quality.
It makes no sense to me to buy something just because it’s cheap. I’ve seen, tried and broke enough Cheap Charlie tools in my life and I’m not interesting in using any more.