Decent tool set for the teenager (not Jeep specific)


TJ Enthusiast
Jun 16, 2023
Stanton, MO
Ok the 15yr old is FINALLY showing some interest in mechanical things. We picked up a Silverado beater for him to fix up. Dad has a pretty extensive tool collection. Its not that I dont want him using mine, but in a few years he will be moving on. I'd like to start putting together a decent set of his own. Having his own might spark further interest. All my stuff is out in MY BARN and I guess I yelled too much early on when my welding chipping hammers would disappear that he "borrowed" to never return to chip ice, dig a hole, chase a chicken and I'd find them with the mower. He will be home all Summer and is hesitant to head out to the shop if I'm not there.

I see Craftsman has some VersaStack options. I like the idea of a slot/space for everything so it might actually get put back int he right place. But I pitched all my blow mold cases because they fell apart and have a couple chests. I'd like something portable that will last or at least the case could be replaced, going to college? Say $250-300 for wrench and sockets to start, Craftsman/GearWrench quality, not SnapOn. I've got a couple Tekton things I've been happy with.

Open to suggestions.
Other than when I find a clearance deal (like the 105pc Craftsman set I bought a couple years ago for $30), I pretty much just buy harbor freight sockets. I have a store 15min away and it's easy to warranty them out if/when needed. For wrenches & ratchets I watch for deals on Slickdeals for stuff like Gearwrench and other decent brands.

You probably don't want my screwdriver input, as I only buy Felo, Wera, or Wiha.

For pliers, start with cheapos and upgrade as needed.

Supposedly the Milwaukee sets are nice too, but the only hand tool of theirs I currently own is a set of wire cutters.

As far as storage, you could always go with something similar to a packout or versa stack you mentioned, or use tool bags.
Ok, don't laugh, but my my go-to kit is a Kirkland (Costco) kit that my in-laws gifted me about 10 years ago.

Haven't been able to break any of the tools so far, and I've beat the crap out of them working on a hot rod, 2 willys jeeps and now the TJ. 1/4, 3/8, 1/2 drive sockets and ratchets, both metric and standard, as well as metric box-end wrenches. Also has one medium extension per size, and a nice set of metric and SAE hex/Allen wrenches in one of those little combo/swing-out sets. (I attribute this setup to not having lost any Allen wrenches in 10 years).

Aside from that I have a set of craftsman ratchet box-end wrenches to make things easier and an assortment of extensions, but those are easy to grab and add-on if needed. I also have a nice Husky brand torque wrench from Home Depot. I have MANY other tools, handtools, power tools, etc, but that's my 75% go-to for most projects.

Very compact in it's blow-mold case, and is easy to grab for roadtrips, if needed. I have a duplicate set of tools in a bucket boss tool roll that's mostly harbor frieght/Autozone stuff. Good enough, but not devastating if lost/stolen/lended.
I’ve got a set of harbor freight combination wrenches that my dad bought for me when I graduated high school in 1987. For many many years, those were my main set of wrenches. The only problem I ever had with one was I broke one of the ends off the open end hitting it with a hammer trying to get a stuck bolt loose. Under regular, proper use, never an issue. They are part of a tool bag for one of my vehicles now.
I like these for decent but not crazy prices. Better quality than HF.

I have two old Stanley clam shell sockets sets from pawn shops @ $20 each and a pile of Harbor freight stuff. Some random name brand pieces as well. My dad has a boss Snap On box full of shit he never uses. It’ll be mine some day when I’m too old to work on my own stuff.
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I got this kit for my son on sale for $169. It is a common item that goes on sale at HF.

Pittsburgh tool set

It was decent enough that I bought another one for myself to throw on the trailer when I travel.
Start out cheap and see if he is responsible enough to not lose them. HF tools are plenty good for someone just starting out. Fathers day is coming up and there should be deals. I wrap my tools with colored electrical tape to denote which tool goes with which set. My Daughter is the one to borrow tools and have them never be seen again..