You may have noticed in several of my posts a reference to one or another Snap-On tools. I guess you deserve an explanation of my Love/Hate relationship with Snap-On.
When I first outfitted the shop in the late '70s, I wrote Snap-On twice for a catalog, price list & name of nearest dealer. Nothing! I bought elsewhere. Then I sent the president the receipts -- including one for about $4,000 from Craftsman Industrial.
They had told the area routeman, but he ignored it because I wasn't a "shop" and therefore not worth his time. I don't know if that was the deciding factor, but we got a new routeman shortly afterwards, a great guy who also lived around the corner. I bought a mess of Snap-On from him over the next several years.
Then he moved out-of-state and the present routeman isn't worth the gunpowder to blow to hell. "Not worth his time." And I have serious doubts of his ethics after I caught him billing the race shop for a tool I bought and gave them.
Working with the race team '92-93, I met a great Mac man and bought a lot of Mac tools. One day he had a next-to-new trade-in of big roll cab tool box. I bought it and some other stuff -- a Mac receipt for about $2,000. I sent that to the by-then-new president of Snap-0n.
Must have rung a bell -- I got a call from an area VP! He then sent the District Manager from 175 miles away (and the flunky local supervisor who had once told me I'd NEVER get service) to my house. He saw my shop & tools, and immediately set me up a direct account where I could order via an 800 number.
Through him, I also met a very experienced industrial salesman. When the district manager's job was cut during another corporate reorganization, I started using Walter. You couldn't ask for anyone better! Everything is just a phone call away. Repairs, replacements, new items or specials. He keeps me coming back!
Look, Snap-On is overpriced for the ocassional home user. But they are usually the very best design and quality out there. Also, they have more specialty tools than anyone else. A shop mechanic can justify it because the time savings of the right design & fit pay out in the long run. A line mechanic has enough wear & tear to make the low failure rate & warranty worth the extra money. And they have interest-free credit (to shop mechanics). I often go with quality, especially in a tool I use a lot. I don't remember ever breaking a Snap-On socket or wrench compared to a dozen Craftsmen. I've got a Craftsman wrench on the bench now to go back.
But Snap-On also causes some real headaches besides the price. I don't buy power tools from them anymore. Great tools but they have a company policy that once a power tool is out of the line for 5 years, they will NOT service it. Won't even look at it to see if it's something simple like an O-ring or just needs cleaning! If they consider a power tool a 5-year disposable, I might as well pay disposable prices from Northern Tool.
The District where I get my invoices from can't ever get one right -- I always have to have Walter follow up and correct them.
And try to get an error solved? Nightmare! When I bought the Cummins diesel set -- at nearly a $1,000 -- the injection puller was missing. When I finally got it, it didn't match the slide hammer it went with. When I returned the first set, they sent it back UNOPENED. My sealing tape was unbroken; the return authorization and note about the defect were still in it! The 3rd set was also defective. And they had the nerve to bill me for all 3 sets! It took a special order from an Exec VP in headquarters to get it right!
So it's a Love/Hate relationship. Love the tools, love my salesman, hate the company bureacracy, attitude and some of its policies. But when you see me recommend a tool, it's because I believe in it and think the price is worth it -- admitedly to me & me only.
For you, well, look at alternatives and examine BOTH. I still do. The way I look at any tool purchase is that I might not save any money on this job, but I've got the tool left over. And I'd rather have a good one left over! The $2 bin at Tool City is usually worth just that!
PS: They have a new web site www.snapon.com but it leaves a lot to be desired. Lousy indexing. You can browse their catalog without registering but then can't find out prices. You figure that one out!
[Update: 1/23/10. I've discovered Snap-On has removed the lifetime warranty from a number of tools. They don't tell you which ones and there is no listing in the catalog so it's a crap-shoot. I called a dealer I work with the other day to order a replacement #JT64 two-arm brake hone. The drive shaft had split and the flex shaft had come out. I'm informed Snap-On now considers this tool a "consumable". I could understand the stones -- they wear and you can get replacements in a couple of lengths & grits. But the hard shaft of the tool? I'll give Snap-On more than two cents worth during the work week. They don't accept emails for warranty questions or comments.]