Anyone use Beta tools? - Mercedes-Benz Forum
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#1 (permalink) Old 10-10-2006, 08:57 PM
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Anyone use Beta tools?

I'm getting tired of my junky old ratchet set. Snap on is so...played out (plus 36 teeth for the most part, plus they aren't very metric friendly with only 1 metric ratchet set, plus $$$). Facom has left the US thanks to Stanley's purchase, SK isn't the same without Facom, Craftsman sucks, Hazet who I like for wrenches I don't like for ratchets, Wiha who I like for screwdrivers doesn't even make ratchets, so I'm looking at Beta. Anybody use them? Thoughts? Other brands to consider?
Thanks
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#2 (permalink) Old 10-11-2006, 12:06 PM
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If you are going to use them quite a bit or on a daily basis, go with Snap-on. I was a dealership tech for 20+ years and a Snap-on Tool dealer for 7 years until I relocated. The more you learn about how they are made, features/ benefits etc, you will understand why most professionals and serious mechanics use them. We also sold Hazet, AST,and other vendors for certain speciality tools. Hook up with a Snap-on dealer in your area and have him explain the differences to you. There are props to prove why the "Flank Drive" sockets and wrenches grab better, why their screwdriver tips and handles give more turning force, etc. When you are shown the differences you will be amazed. As far as sets go, just buy the pieces that you want as you need them. Talk to the dealer about setting up a truck account and make payments to him ( no interest ). Get a catalog and price list from him. This is sort of like buying cheap aftermarket replacement parts for your car. They don't quite fit as well, last as long, but man I saved $$$$ ???? Just something to think about.
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#3 (permalink) Old 10-11-2006, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave D
If you are going to use them quite a bit or on a daily basis, go with Snap-on. I was a dealership tech for 20+ years and a Snap-on Tool dealer for 7 years until I relocated. The more you learn about how they are made, features/ benefits etc, you will understand why most professionals and serious mechanics use them. We also sold Hazet, AST,and other vendors for certain speciality tools. Hook up with a Snap-on dealer in your area and have him explain the differences to you. There are props to prove why the "Flank Drive" sockets and wrenches grab better, why their screwdriver tips and handles give more turning force, etc. When you are shown the differences you will be amazed. As far as sets go, just buy the pieces that you want as you need them. Talk to the dealer about setting up a truck account and make payments to him ( no interest ). Get a catalog and price list from him. This is sort of like buying cheap aftermarket replacement parts for your car. They don't quite fit as well, last as long, but man I saved $$$$ ???? Just something to think about.
Yea, I hear you on Snap on, but I just can't justify that kind of price. I think largely the reason snap-on is able to get away with that price is the convenience to shops. Flank Drive is the same as Facoms OGV right (grabs the sides, not the corners)? Something I found when buying wrenches is that while Facom and Snap-On care to market that, any decent European brand has that.

Plus, trust me, Snap-On screwdrivers are good, but Wiha can do better - I'll put it this way, in my car I keep a wiha driver with their microfinish that take 1/4" bits and a set of wiha bits and sockets for it; using that driver I can take off an oil pan drain plug, even with my hands covered in transmission fluid, in fact I can get more torque on that than I can on my junky Husky 3/8" drive ratchet. I mean, what other company makes flat head screwdrivers that they actually encourage you to use as a chisel? The thing about the European companies is that many of them specialize (like Wiha only makes drivers, that's it, though they sell some other stuff in the US that's made by other companies), so they can make stuff just as good as snap on (or close enough that its worth the money savings for a guy like me who uses his tools on a weekly, but not daily basis), and since nobody in the US knows about them they are forced to be cheaper than snap on.

The local snap on truck said the best he could do for me is 10% off, which is still a lot more than Beta, and the guys at NASCAR R&D down the road are using Beta, I guess I'll give their ratchets a try. They seem willing to please, and they can give some decent discounts if you become a regular customer (like if you buy a chest they apparently give 20% off until you fill that chest).
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#4 (permalink) Old 10-11-2006, 04:20 PM
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I'll be honest with you, I've never heard of Beta Tools or Wiha. After doing a search on the internet it looks like you are limited as to what they offer and locations on where to get service. For the weekend DIY some of the Craftsman Professional Line stuff is looking alot better than the standard line that they carry. They actually have a pretty good assortment of wrenches, sockets and misc. Their prices usually do not scare people, and they take back just about anything with no questions. Plus most major cities have a Sears nearby when you need to purchase or warranty an item. One problem we had when I was with Snap-on and ordered Hazet, AST and some other Euro brands was being able to get support from the manufacture when it broke. People would assume that since they bought it from Snap-on that it comes with a lifetime warranty.The warranty is only as good as the manufacture unless the dealer wants to eat it, which does happen. Maybe someone will chime in that has hands on experience with Beta.
What is the price difference against other brands?
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#5 (permalink) Old 10-11-2006, 05:16 PM
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Heh, nobody has ever heard of Wiha. They've been here for a little while, and are even getting some limited exposure at Sears' (small selection on the Sears website, and some of the bigger Sears stores carry and even smaller selection). Oddly enough, Wiha's headway stopped there, but you can get their full selection of stuff on wihatools.com (though I should note, only the driver stuff is Wiha, the rest is Heyco which is not very good). But trust me, Wiha microfinish screwdrivers are the best for people who are messy when they work on cars (i.e. get oil all over their hands).

Beta has only been to going to end users in the US for a few years, and are just now starting their dealer network (before it was just you got them from Beta and even then it was only to industrial users, apparently they have a few distributors now, and will sometime soon start operating a Snap-on style truck and have some store fronts). I had never heard of Beta before myself, it was my brother who knew about them. They've been around for a long long time, just not in the US.

Hazet wrenches are good IMHO (plus I got a set of all sizes from 6mm through 32mm for little less than $300 as opposed to something like $900 for a comparable Snap on set), and their MB specific tools looks pretty good too, but the rest of their stuff I don't think has progressed in 50 years. Their wrenches are the same dimensionally as Snap on, and appear to have similar stiffness, and they don't round corners. I guess, yes there is a reason that they're cheaper: they are only shiny chrome on the heads, but I for one perfer the grip afforded by the bead blasted metal gripping area...and the spare $600.

The Beta stuff looks to be about 20% cheaper than snap on (plus, like I said, if I ever buy a chest they'll give me 20% off). Yes, again, there is a reason: Snap on IIRC is forged, whereas Beta cold forges it and then laser cuts it to get it down to its final shape...so it's cheaper than Snap on for a reason; however, they are still dimensionally just as small (i.e. will get into tight places just as well) the question is how tough are they? I guess I'll find out, since after talking to the guy there I decided to buy a ratchet set from them. If it's no good I'll either return it or eBay it and chalk up the money I lose to experience. They are ISO 9001:2000 certified, and they do supply lots of european motorsports teams (though...thats probably just because they probably give them the tools for free...it appears thats what they are doing with Ferrari, Ferrari uses the tools for free and in return Beta gets licensing and it appears feedback to help make new/better tools).

Facom, which we used to get in the US, is really good (best punches in the world, and CDX drive is a genius idea - spline drive in a compact ratchet), but Stanley decided not to bring them to the US anymore (apparently they were losing tons of money by importing here).

Yeah, it's true, nobody has the ease of support of Snap On or Craftsman, and that lifetime warranty is key (though Beta has that too...and I thought Hazet did but I guess not), but if I have to put up with a little more hassel in case of failure, and that means less money gets me an equally good tool, I want to spend less money (since I'm not in a situation where being without a tool for a little while means I can't do my job).

Craftsman pro??? I've used some of their sockets before (mostly allen key sockets, and some impact sockets), but have you looked at their screwdrivers? I think after making the tip, they then jam it against a concrete wall repeatedly, especially with the phillips heads.
And Husky (yes, I realize you didn't mention them) is a knuckle killer (sockets break), and a bolt rounder (sockets only grab at the corners and even then aren't a very consistent fit).
And while I'm on the subject, Stahlwille, I really like their idea for their wrenches...just that the actualy product is not so good.

Oh, and I think it's safe to say Knipex makes the best pliers cost be damned.

Last edited by marlinspike; 10-11-2006 at 07:05 PM.
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#6 (permalink) Old 10-11-2006, 07:13 PM
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Craftsman screwdrivers helped me sell a lot of Snap-on screwdriver sets when I was a dealer. When Snap-on changed to a fatter handle on their screwdrivers back in the early 90's a lot people bitched until we showed them why it was better. I had a prop on the truck with a new style Snap-on screwdriver handle at one end and a Craftsman handle at the other. I'd find the strongest guy in the shop and hand him the Craftsman end to see if he could keep me from turning it in his hand. He would grip it with all his might and that "Crapsman" would rip the s--t out of the guys hand. Then I showed a video of a test that Snap-on did with various brands of screwdriver handles(Mac, Matco, Craftsman and others against different chemicals. They had some nasty stuff including some weird hydraulic fluids used in the airline and aerospace industry. They dipped all the handles in this stuff for a period of time and when they pulled them out one of them was completely gone. Others were obviously melting, some were sticky and the Snap-on handle was unaffected. I had a prop on my truck with a bolt with the corners ground off and 5 different brand 1/2" 12pt sockets to put the bolt in and twist it to see which one would hold it from spinning in the socket. I had a customer who went and bought a brand new Matco socket to try because he thought we had rigged it somehow. The socket he bought was the worst of all. The bolt would spin free. Customers would bring me other brands to show me how bad the tolorences were. I had a Mac 3/8" Drive extension that sockets could not fit over because of poor sizing. They would file open-end wrenches to fit the nut, and chrome would peel with very little use. Snap-on was'nt perfect but I rarely saw problems like the other brands had. I also gave out price lists with every catalog to the customers unlike my competition, Mac and Matco. If a socket from Snap-on was $5.65 the Mac was maybe $5.35 and in some cases ours was less. A lot of times we were talking "chump change"in the price difference but huge amounts in the quality. You mentioned racing, Snap-on is big in CART, IRL, NASCAR, Drag Racing, and even F1. Going back a few years when AJ Foyt was sponcered bigtime by Craftsman and did all those TV ads, the Field Manager for Snap-on in the area where one of Foyt's race shop was got a call to go to the shop. While he was there a large order was placed for various tools for the team and Foyt was heard saying to the guys that he did not care what they did with the boxes of Craftsman tools that were sent to them earlier but he did'nt want them to be used on his Indy Car. Of course Foyt used more colorful langauge. When the race was on TV they had Craftsman Tool boxes in the pits filled with Snap-on Tools. The average person watching did'nt know the difference. As far as Stahlwille Tools, we used to order those through the same place that handled Hazet ,Baum & AST. AST makes a lot of the Mercedes special tools. For some reason I thought that Stahlwille and Hazet were tied together?Regarding Husky, I was checking them out at Home Depot and the wrenches were visually a pretty close copy to Snap-on as far as length, thickness,offset etc. They might be fine for the weekend DIY ? I sold a few Knipex pliers and they do have some pretty cool stuff. The adjustable"channel lock"style with the locking button is great. Good luck in your tool purchase!

Last edited by Dave D; 10-11-2006 at 07:17 PM.
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#7 (permalink) Old 10-11-2006, 07:31 PM
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For some reason I thought that Stahlwille and Hazet were tied together?Regarding Husky, I was checking them out at Home Depot and the wrenches were visually a pretty close copy to Snap-on as far as length, thickness,offset etc. They might be fine for the weekend DIY ?
My understanding is that Stahlwille and Hazet are both the Snap-ons of Germany, but they're competitors.

Well...to be fair my husky set was bought by my dad back in the 70's (maybe earlier). Still though, over the years about 7 of the sockets have been replaced, and for the Husky sockets that are left half the time I have to pull out a plier or use a wrench in some odd orientation to get things loosened first if they are the least slightly bit rounded.

I'll report back on the Beta when they arrive, ships tomorrow (though...I might not have my car at that point for a month so I may just have to judge them on how they seem and not actually use them initially).
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#8 (permalink) Old 10-19-2006, 02:18 PM
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My Beta 3/8" ratchet set arrived (910A/C16 for those who care). I'll definitley be ordering future tools from Beta (though...I still like Wiha for screwdrivers, and I say that without ever seeing a Beta screwdriver in person because only Wiha actually encourages you to use their top line of flatheads as chisels). They're good and small in the dimensions you want them to be, but they feel dense (which would equate to strong). The finish on the chrome of the sockets (and, I didn't notice this until the guy at Beta USA pointed it out, but this is especially true on the small sockets, not noticeable on the big sockets though) is not quite as good as Snap-on, but considering the price difference (it's already like 10-20% cheaper than Snap-on, plus if you buy any of their chests, even including the C22 3-drawer top chest which is ~$220) they give you 20% off. The guy over at Beta said the chrome finish is just as good as snap-on on the bigger items like wrenches for instance, I'd take him at his word considering how fine the ratchet movement is on this, I really like the ergo handle too. The metal case it comes in is really nice too, puts those plastic cases most ratchet sets come in to shame. Leave it to the Italians to make tools that are also art.
What non-Italian tool company would make these for instance? http://www.beta-tools.com/prodotti/c...ticolo=9527/2T

Oh, and the USA website is www.procarestores.com. If you call them to order, might even be worth noting that Richard in Davidson, NC referred you (well, I doubt it will get you anything, but still, wouldn't hurt for me).

Last edited by marlinspike; 10-19-2006 at 02:30 PM.
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#9 (permalink) Old 10-19-2006, 02:56 PM
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I run a tool company, but am not familiar with either Beta or Wiha. I am partial to proto and SK. I like the SK ratchets for their tight gearing. I came across some interesting Japan ratchets with a clutch drive (no gears). To reverse you push the drive to the other side. Expensive but handy when in a tight spot when you can not get to the next click with a regular ratchet. Same shop quality tools including some nice 72 + teeth ratches are starting to come out of Taiwan at good prices. For my everday personal use, I found a nice 6-19mm wrenchset that does not skip any sizes. IMOP Snap on tools for personal use are overkill. I recently sold a female pop star an proto master technician set ( 1,026 pc , list 26 k ) with top and bottom storage piece (in red) for her garage. She thought it would look 'cool.' I doubt the tools will ever see any use.
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#10 (permalink) Old 10-19-2006, 03:50 PM
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Are those SK ratchets you like the real SK ones or the rebadged Facom ones (which are no longer coming to the US because Stanley bought Facom, leading Ferrari to dump Facom and Stanley to dump the Facom US market)? I know Facom ratchets are supposed to be real good, but there was no point in getting one since they won't be coming to the US via SK anymore (just like the SK punches...which were really Facom, and the only punches I've ever seen that don't slip from your hand when you use them, too bad for me if I ever break the one I have). That clutch drive sounds neat.

I figure this 72 tooth will do me. Beta is apparently planning to go real big in the US. If you look at their franchising materials on the procarestores.com site, you see they're pretty ambitious, but yeah, they are just recently available to end users in the US so nobody's heard of them except the few race shops they contracted with.

Wiha is www.wihatools.com. Micro-finish heavy duty line screwdrivers are my favorite for on cars, and the SoftFinish extra heavy duty are the best for non-automotive stuff.

I'm surprised that your two favorite includes Proto. My only experience with them is a set of channel-lock style pliers which are so junky they became my last experience with them. Maybe they just aren't so good for that one product?
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