How to choose a toolset

DIY lovers, like crafters, are rightfully jealous of their toolboxes. Not everyone is as proud of it, however.

A toolset

The toolbox is the reliable and inseparable companion of all those who, having to perform a certain job, must be able to count on solid and reliable tools to perform the task with precision and safety.

As I said, not everyone is equally proud of their tools because, perhaps, once tested in the field they realized that they did not meet their expectations and that, for one reason or another, those tools turned out to be unreliable and /or unsuitable.

It happens more often than you imagine because good quality hand tools have a rather high cost that maybe not everyone can afford.

Most of the time, in order not to face an excessive expense, we fall back on lower quality tools and, of course, even cheaper, only to regret not having made a more prudent investment.

Why a good toolbox changes your life (and job)


Some time ago I had to unscrew a particularly stubborn bolt that just wouldn't budge. Unfortunately, it was not only his fault but also my fault who, having a set of wrenches not particularly suitable, has obtained the only effect of stripping the bolt and then having to resort to more invasive techniques to get the better and succeed in unscrewing the bolt stuck.

A toolbox with quality tools would probably have

  1. saved an enormous amount of effort on my part
  2. prevent the bolt from stripping
  3. save me a lot of time in trying to unlock it

Now, it is quite clear that even with high quality tools you can not always succeed, especially if you work on rusty parts, but it is equally true that a good set of tools is the essential starting point to avoid ruining your day and wasting a lot of time that could be better spent.

What is important to understand is that every job requires a particular tool to get it done. We would all like a universal wrench that could perform multiple functions, there are some, but they are always palliatives, if we really want to do the best work we should prepare to have a wrench for every bolt, a screwdriver for every screw.

The unbearable multiplication of tools

toolset 2

What we have written above has significant consequences with regard to the quantity of tools and the weight of the box that should make up our arsenal of DIY enthusiasts or craftsmen.

Unfortunately, if we really had to buy a wrench for every bolt and a screwdriver for every screw we would face a multiplication of tools that becomes unsustainable, especially when we eventually had to use them for a job away from home: who would have the opportunity and the desire to bring along an entire tool cart?

Together with the weight and the quantity of tools, the price would increase considerably.

For those who work at a professional level (think of a mechanic or an electrician) that is a cost to be incurred almost inevitably since a craftsman must be able to switch from one tool to another without having the need to disassemble or reassemble various inserts.

For do-it-yourself and semi-professional use, on the other hand, it is necessary to find the right balance between multi-purpose wrenches and single-purpose wrenches in order to limit the purchase cost and also the weight and bulk of our set of hand tools.

A toolbox for every job

Toolboxes on the market offer many advantages and also some major limitations.

The biggest limitation is that each toolbox contains a predefined set of tools.

Every manufacturer makes toolboxes that differ from each other in the number and variety of tools included.

There is nothing wrong with this, on the contrary, but the buyer almost always finds himself with some tools that he will almost never use and others that he will use very often.

It often happens that in the box that we would like to buy some tools are missing that we would like to have as an integral part of the equipment and instead we will have to buy them separately as they are absent in the default set.

So, if on the one hand it is very convenient to have a case that contains in a well-ordered manner the tools that we need, it is also true that almost always it does not contain all those we would like.

Sometimes it would be nice to have two more screwdrivers of different sizes and that one wrench that we rarely use, less.

If it is impossible to create a toolbox made to measure for each of us, we must choose carefully the one that best suits our needs, considering the work we are going to do.

From what has been said, it follows that a toolbox aimed at those who work on electrical installations will differ considerably from one aimed at those who work in the mechanical field.

If in the electrician's toolbox you can expect scissors, numerous insulated screwdrivers and cable strippers, in the mechanic's toolbox you will find a large kit of bits, allen keys and pliers.

The quality of materials

I've already mentioned that the weight of hand tools can be substantial but I haven't specified why it is.


Quality wrenches are made of chrome-vanadium steel and that is what affects both weight and cost.

You can't say that the cost of a tool is simply related to weight, of course, but a lightweight tool should prompt some thought. Steer clear of tools made of aluminum because if you have to do "heavy" work, their life span will be hopelessly short.

Chromium vanadium can be considered a "standard" in the production of good quality hand tools because it combines resistance with stainlessness.

As a matter of fact, nowadays almost all tools, even those costing just a few Dollars, bear the words "Chrome Vanadium" and therefore one must be particularly careful because the doubt that many tools claim to be what they are not is always present.

If a tool has the tendency to rust we can be pretty sure that the material of which it is composed is a low quality alloy and this, in the long run, is particularly felt on those tools that have moving mechanical parts such as pliers, wrenches etc..

Finally we must also mention the quality of the handles that must be made of a material that guarantees a good grip and a firm hold.

A concrete example: the mechanic's toolbox

Some time ago I bought a toolset containing wrenches for use mainly in the mechanical field.

It is a 109-piece toolbox that is aimed at the experienced hobbyist or even the professional user.

The contents of the box you can see in the image gallery but even before the content we talk about the container, or the case itself.

Well, almost all tool cases are made of plastic and this one is no exception either.


Plastic needs to be sturdy to withstand the shocks it is commonly subjected to. Metal cases would certainly be stronger but the weight of the case added to the weight of the keys in it would become excessive.

The tools and inserts of this case are all made of high alloy chrome-vanadium to ensure maximum strength and durability. The handles are ergonomic and the grip is excellent.


To describe in detail 109 pieces would become particularly long but what is important is to mention the modularity of the pieces that allow you to operate even in the most varied and difficult situations.

There are two ratchets, of different sizes, and they are equipped with a button for quick coupling/uncoupling of the various inserts.

In the photos we can also see how it was possible, with the various modules, to make T-keys on which it is possible to insert about fifty inserts useful to unscrew practically every kind of screw in an even easier way than the traditional screwdriver.

modularity tools

The interesting feature of these tools is that the power of the Allen keys is transmitted to the head of the screw not from the corners but from the sides. Thus, greater power transmission is guaranteed, while the sensitive edges of the nut remain unaffected.

In short, if you really want to equip yourself with a toolbox that will accompany you for a long time do not skimp on the cost, carefully check its contents according to the work you have to do and always take care of it so as to be sure to find what you need in time of need.