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Thread: Japanese tool quality ranking

  1. #1

    Default Japanese tool quality ranking

    I'm starting to buy some tools in an organized fashion (vs. randomly as I have been doing so far.)

    There are a number of Japanese tool companies (KTC, Koken Tool, Asahi Tool, SK-11 etc.)

    Does anyone have any opinions on which are better vs. worse? Is price the best guide?

    Is Haratool.jp a good place to buy?
    KTM 690 E; DoD#1458

  2. #2
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    Default Japanese tool quality ranking

    Still a snap on fan as they are sold here, however a lot of the mechanics here I know are using mostly KTC ( Kyoto tool company) great quality.
    2 of the shops I prefer buying tools and shop needs are straight tools and astro products.
    Just my 2
    Getting to the Summit is Optional, Returning home is mandatory
    Life begins at 155mph

  3. #3
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    i know little about such things but my american pro automobile mechanic buddy thinks KTC are top notch tools.


  4. #4
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    Default Japanese tool quality ranking

    KTC is excellent. Bit pricey, but great build quality. Good selection.

  5. #5
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    I have both KTC and SK-11 socket wrench sets, I gotta say that the KTC is much smoother and with better tolerances.

    I have bought Straight Tools' long handle Torx driver and it was good quality as well, but for serious torque/tolerance jobbies, I would go with the better brands. I do believe Snap-On is pretty pricey but maybe you can check the prices between MAC Tools, KTC and Snap-On and see for a specific tool, which maker is cheaper.

    You don't have to buy all your tools from one supplier/maker, but definitely don't buy your wrenches/sockets separately from multiple makers and combine them to make a set. This will happen naturally later when you lose a few here and there :)
    Quote Originally Posted by tokyojrock View Post
    I am going over to Keisho next week to eat the owners ass!

  6. #6

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    Thanks everyone.

    I think I'm going to go Asahi Lightool for wrenches. KTC for sockets. Still considering other options.
    KTM 690 E; DoD#1458

  7. #7
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    Top quality tools are great for professional mechanics who subject them to very heavy use on a daily basis. But for occasional wrenching less expensive tools work fine. Tools made in Taiwan are good quality and about half the price of those made in Japan. The Teng and Signet socket sets that I've had for the past 10 years or so have held up great.

    Costco has fantastic prices on Mastercraft tool sets, which are also good quality. I believe that Jav has a set like this.

    Last edited by Twinrider; 31-10-13 at 11:43 AM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twinrider View Post
    You also need to consider how much you are going to use them. Top quality tools are great for mechanics who use subject them to very heavy use on a daily basis. But for occasional wrenching less expensive tools work fine. Tools made in Taiwan are good quality and about half the price of those made locally. In fact, lots of Japanese brand tools are made in Taiwan and even in China these days.
    Agreed , I have Chinese made lump hammer , works great for most of the fixes I do ....

  9. #9
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    This shop sometimes have great discount offers on nice tools:
    http://www.worldimporttools.com/

    In the mid price level I like "Teng tools". Made in TW and has a nicer feel to them compared to KTC I think. One thing I like with the more expensive sockets is that they are often more thin walled compared to the cheaper ones. When working on bikes this is often important.

    One example of a nicely discounted toolset. I have found that something like this is very useful when working on bikes:
    http://www.worldimporttools.com/prod...product_id=192

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twinrider View Post
    "Tools made in Taiwan are good quality and about half the price of those made in Japan. The Teng and Signet socket sets that I've had for the past 10 years or so have held up great. ..."
    I agree; when I was a tool supplier for a well-known German chain, we looked into their preferred Chinese supplier but found that the steel pawls and sockets were sub-par in finish and fit. I then went to the local (I was in Taiwan at the time) suppliers and found that they were making for SK-11 and a few other companies. I do believe that the very best/higher-end sets in the JP toolsets are made in Japan, but they farm out the rest. What impressed me the most was the finish and attention to detail as well as the ability to make a custom tool for very little over OEM (assuming you bought in quantity of course).

    The biggest deciding factor was the ratchet/sprocket teeth count. Cheaper items will have a 36 tooth or 45 or even a 60 ratchet mechanism which translates into a 10 degree or 7 degree movement of the socket wrench before actually "clicking" into the next tooth. This can be troublesome in tight situations where you don't have the clearance or space to swing the socket. The best example is SnapOn's Dual 80 which has dual pawls and 80 teeth in the socket head effectively shortening the swing arc.

    Some of the TW makers were willing to make a 72 tooth design for us, giving something like a 3 degree swing with dual pawls grabbing on the sprocket for better torque transfer and strength. In short, when buying a socket set, look for the following:

    1) 60+ teeth in the socket head, preferably 72 or more with dual pawls.
    2) 6 point sockets. ( I know the 12 points grab a lot easier, but thinner walls even with the heat treatment and they torque the corners of the nut more than the actual flat sides)
    3) Quick Release button and Sealed Head for those dirty jobs
    4) I'm not a big fan, but most people like the Floppy Head. Better if you can find one that locks into place.
    5) Polished Handles - make it easier to clean
    6) Lever-type reverse mechanism

    That being said, you don't need to check all the boxes but it is nice to have these features. Balancing the cost as well as the amount of use and abuse that the tools will see is also like TR said, a compromise.
    Quote Originally Posted by tokyojrock View Post
    I am going over to Keisho next week to eat the owners ass!

  11. #11

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    Thanks everyone, lots of great advice here.

    Just trying to get something appropriate for my usage.
    KTM 690 E; DoD#1458

  12. #12
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    Pays to check the warranty as well. I've bought a fair bit of stuff from Astro products in the past but I had a Torque Wrench that I took back after a week and they said there was no warranty on it. I made a bit of a fuss and another staff member who I usually deal with replaced it with a new one. I've had a few of their tools fail on me but they are cheap and alright for the odd job.

    As far as budget stuff goes I think Straight Tools is a bit better quality than the Astro Products tools and the staff at my local Straight store has much more knowledge of tools/products than the staff at Astro.

    The Signet tools (which you can buy at Astro Products) seem to be good quality for the price and if I was buying for the home workshop they would be well worth looking at.

    I really like KTC and also Koken as the price is reasonable and as much as I like MAC or Snap-on the price is a bit too expensive. The mechanics I worked with here in Japan all had either Mac or Snap-on but all have loans with the suppliers so they can buy the tools.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRUSTY View Post
    The mechanics I worked with here in Japan all had either Mac or Snap-on but all have loans with the suppliers so they can buy the tools.
    They also need that quality -- which really is mostly about standing up to extremely heavy use -- because they are wrenching 50+ hours a week. Definitely overkill for the home wrencher, but you know how can be with boys and their toys...

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