Halfords Advanced Pro 120 piece Socket Set
Cost: £75 – £200 (depending on the offers).
I got the Mustang and I had tools, not brilliant but they were OK. Then I went to use them on some well rusted in nuts, bolts, screws you name it and it was rusted in. Yes mechanics mate WD40 I had by the barrel load and was used indiscriminately to say the least. But when I was trying to undo nuts with my old Talco box of sockets and tools I had when I first passed my driving test were not up to the job. I bent a sliding T-Bar, I managed to round the teeth in the ratchet and split a socket. At this point I had decided I need tools, and a good set. Snap-On I hear you say, But I don’t have that sort of money to get a full set of tools that I would need. But as it happens I am replacing my most used tools with Snap-On when it’s Christmas or Birthday scenario. So, on a budget what can I get? Talco was out, Rolson was out. These standard of tools were not fit for the job and causing me more stress than the stress I was able to apply the bolt. I did my homework and I looked around at reviews and I saw that the Halfords Advanced Professional Socket set was getting good reviews and appeared reasonable priced.
There is a massive point that says to me quality and trust and that is the Lifetime Guarantee they are splashing everywhere with this set (and the smaller sets). I am no professional mechanic and these should last me without any problems, but are they any good? Read on…
Whats in the box:
First I will mention the case, this is a nice blow moulded case with the lift up and lock down catches, the larger parts inside are held in tight and don’t move around, the layer of foam is to stop the smaller sockets falling out and moving around. The right hand catch came out of the case and had to be put back in. It has been fine since, I didn’t expect to do that after a few uses.
(Since the pictures were taken I don’t use the case anymore. I now use a socket tray which sits in my tool cabinet much nicer and easy to hand, the lid section was holding the metric spanners which I was not using so it made sense.)
The case has large numbering of the parts under each socket and spanner and can be easily read. This set is more dedicated to the UK and Euro markets due to the metric set of spanners and the more modern Torx male and female parts. Obviously on my car I am SAE imperial, so I purchased an equivalent set of spanners to make up for it.
This is the full list of the items in the box, Chrome vanadium steel sockets and accessories:
- 1/4″ Drive:
- 10 x Metric Sockets: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13mm
- 10 x SAE Sockets: 5/32, 3/16, 7/32, 1/4, 9/32, 5/16, 11/32, 3/8, 7/16, 1/2″
- 4 x Metric Deep Sockets: 8, 9, 10, 12mm
- 1 x Bit Adaptor
- 1 x Extension Bar – 50mm
- 1 x 1/4″ Drive Ratchet Handle
- 1 x Spinner Handle
- 3/8″ Drive:
- 11 x Metric Sockets: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19mm
- 9 x SAE Sockets: 3/8, 7/16, 1/2, 9/16, 5/8, 11/16, 3/4?, 13/16, 7/8″
- 4 x Deep Metric Sockets: 13, 14, 15, 17mm
- 8 x E Sockets: 8, 10, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20mm
- 7 x Tamper Torx Bit Sockets 45, 50, 55, 60; Hex Bit Sockets 6, 8, 10
- 2 x Spark Plug Sockets 10, 14mm
- 2 x Extension Bar – 75 & 150mm
- 1 x Universal Joint
- 1 x 3/8″ Drive Ratchet Handle
- 1/2″ Drive:
- 4 x Metric Impact Sockets 17, 19, 21, 23mm
- 7 x Metric Sockets: 20, 21, 22, 24, 27, 30, 32mm
- 4 x SAE Sockets: 15/16, 1, 1-1/16, 1-1/4″
- 1 x Extension Bar – 125mm
- 1 x 1/2″ Drive Ratchet Handle
- 1 x Universal Joint
- 15 x 1/4″ Shank Bits
- 7 x Combination Spanners:8, 10, 12, 13, 14, 17, 19mm
- 7 x Metric Short Arm Hex Key with holder
The weakest part of the set, I dumped mine as I already had a top quality ball ended set, the metal looks like it will round off in no time and they are quite short so not much leverage could be applied anyway, very lightweight material. These keys are aimed at the very small parts of the market. When they are this small it doesn’t take much to round the head of in a hex bolt. I hate hex bolts, grub screws or anything that would need these tools!
These are nicely finished and have a nice weight to them, the deep reach set is only in metric so not really helpful for me. The sockets vary from the 6 point on the smaller sizes to the 12 point on the larger sizes. The sockets fit well and the tolerances seem quite tight. In fact the Hood Catch which I removed had a knurled up head on a bolt and the socket would not go over it. I filed the burrs of and smoothed it out and it fitted on fine. Pleased with that to be fair.
These are obviously not in chrome but they have a solid feel about them. I used a two foot breaker bar (Snap-On) to remove a well and truly rusted on wheel nut. I gave it some treatment to say the least and it handled to pressure fine. The nut cracked loose and was able to ratchet of from there.
Spark Plug Sockets:
These I like, they have the normal 3/8 socket drive but also have flats at the top to apply a spanner if required. The sockets have a nice rubber insert to hold the plugs on the way out.
Again nice finish and heavy. The on/off is via a lever on the back and moves with a solid click. The internal teeth are audible and have a good feeling when each tooth engages. The sweep of movement is not as small as I would like but for most things they are fine. The ratchets have the lock pin on the back wich holds the socket or extension bar on the head of the ratchet. Handles are the standard design and feel nice in the hand. The 1/4 drive i find a little to short for my hands and would have liked it about another 1 – 2 inches longer.
Note: This is the reason I purchased the Snap-On ratchets with a flex head to get into the tighter areas and less movement on the handle to engage the next tooth.
These fit well into the sockets and onto the head of the ratchet. The kriss cross effect on the shaft enable you to grip well when your hands or dirty or greasy. It would have been nice to have seen a selection of step up or step down adaptors for this set. I now have a nice Snap-On set for the times i need them, small handle for a larger socket etc.
These feel fine and work at all angles, the pins seem tight. The amount of torque I have applied to them to get an awkward bolt out did not cause any issues.
These feel heavy and have a nice finish to them. They fit well to the nuts and bolts and again the tolerances feel good. nicely balanced in the hand. The open end is countered by the ring version on the opposite end.
Bits and Handle:
This appears to the be the second weakest point of the set, the handle that takes the 1/4 drive sockets or the adaptor for the screw driver bits feels cheap and nasty, there is no ratchet to the handle and there is no hex at the base of the handle to apply a small spanner. The bits themselves are fine and are strong and not had any round yet on me.
This set is used pretty much each weekend for something at least, I clean them after each use. The chrome has stayed on shiny and has not cracked of from any part so far. I have dropped the 1/2 drive and it has marked the top very slightly and there is still chrome on there and not flaked off. Everything is still as it was when I purchased them. The ratchets are good and solid and perform well. There is no neutral area where the ratchet has not engaged correctly like on some cheap versions.
Rating: 8 out 10
The rating was reduced for the cheap handled driver and the lack of the different sized adaptors for the drives. Maybe a little harsh but I would have rather had the adaptors and not the hex keys. Addition of Imperial spanners would have got the score up too.
Would I recommend this? Yes I would. Would I buy it again? Yes I Would if it had imperial spanners. I can still use this on the other cars I have so it will never go to waste. I now buy the top quality tools as and when I need them to get exactly what I want. The fact this was all in one was a great buy at the £90 I originally paid for it and I certainly don’t regret it. Keep an eye out for the special offers for this set. At the low prices this is a great product. At the higher end I would a little gutted about a couple of bits I have mentioned. For a DIY mechanic this is a great buy and well worth the money. The fact this set has a Lifetime Guarantee is a great piece of mind to.