In June 2013 DeWalt will release its own line of mechanic's tools, which will initially be sold only at Sears.
DeWalt mechanics tools will be priced slightly above comparable Craftsman tools and aimed at contractors rather than mechanics. I got to see and handle these tools at a media event at DeWalt HQ. It's impossible to fully gauge the quality of these tools without having using them under real-world conditions, but I did come away with a positive impression.
The sockets are knurled at the ratchet end so you can spin them by hand without slipping and the sizes are laser-etched onto the surface so you can tell at a glance which size you have. The ratchets have 72 teeth and will engage with as little as 5 degrees of swing. They're described as being "pear-handled", thin at the gears and flaring out to a smooth and substantial gripping area.
My fellow attendees loved the ratchets. I liked them too – they worked well and were comfortable to grasp but with all that metal in the handle they were heavier than I like a ratchet to be. It's a personal preference, and I was probably the only one there who felt that way.
The cases that come with the kits are nicer than average, hinged at the back with a downsized version of the metal latches found on DeWalt's power tool cases. In some of the smaller cases, the sockets snap onto a pivoting plastic fitting. I like it because it makes it easier to keep sockets organized and they won't fall out of the case.
The line includes SAE and metric tools: ratchets, combination wrenches, sockets, and ratcheting wrenches. Selected items, such as ratchets, can be purchased separately but most of these tools come in sets. There are 10-piece combination wrench sets and 1/4-, 3/8, and 1/2-inchdrive socket sets (with 23-25 pieces). The mechanics sets contain 118, 156, or 204 pieces – deep and shallow sockets, ratchets, wrenches, adaptors, universal drives, hex keys, and the like.
DeWalt mechanics tools are made in Taiwan and will hit store shelves in June 2013. The manufacturer had to be thinking "let's get this stuff out there before Father's Day".