Must-have tools for every mechanic, based on personal experience. Check out this list for the best tools for the mechanic!
Updated: March 2021.
There’s almost nothing more satisfying that being a successful mechanic. The person people go to when the car breaks down and they have run out of options. Someone who can say, “Yeah, I think I know what the problem could be!”
But a good mechanic can only be as effective as the tools in the toolbox. In the following list, I’ve outlined the best gifts for the mechanic in your life. I’ve included links to each tool, too. For more information on each tool, click the link to see the product page.
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I personally either own or would like to own every item on this list, I hope you find this list useful!
#1 – Socket Set
Every mechanic should have a nice socket set for the shop, but also one for the car or truck. This is a great compact set of sockets with a decent case that is easy to grab when you are heading out for some emergency maintenance situation. It can also be great for keeping in the trunk for roadside emergencies.
This set contains all the most common sizes, both Metric and SAE, for working on by American and foreign vehicles, as well as for other jobs requiring nuts and bolts.
#2 – Leatherman Multi-Tool
I’m starting with the classic Wingman Leatherman multi-tool. For a more detailed review of this multi-tool, check out this post. This is one of those tools that if you had to choose one to keep with you at all times, it would be this. It’s got all the basic functions necessary for a lot of maintenance jobs, and can save you a trip back to the shop when you just need a simple tool like a screwdriver or pliers.
It’s got the pliers, knife, Philips and Straight screwdriver, and more. I should also mention that Gerber has some of these multi-tools that are really big and clunky. This one is one of the lightest, full-functioning Leatherman’s available. I own this one and use it for basic mechanic work when I don’t have access to my shop tools.
If your mechanic doesn’t already have one of these, get one, you can’t go wrong. The Leatherman is an all round great tool to keep handy. Great for stashing one in the vehicle for emergencies.
#3 – Mechanic T-Shirt
They’re going to get it all greasy anyway, so get a dark-colored wrench t-shirt. This is the perfect shirt for the tool in your life. Great for bumming around in the shop.
#4 – Set of Screwdrivers
Every mechanic needs a good set of screwdrivers. These ones are nice because of the bright color; easy to spot when you need them. It’s also nice just to have a matching set, I mean, don’t get me wrong, I like the hodge-podge of mismatched screwdrivers as much as the next, but sometimes a set with all the most used sizes, is really nice to have.
This particular set includes the screwdrivers necessary for 90% of jobs requiring one.
#5 – Tool Bag
Now that you’ve got all these tools, give him something to put them in!
In the old days, mechanics used to go around with enormous metal toolboxes. Why? The tools are tough enough to handle being jumbled together, and they jumble whether they are in a durable bag or an incredibly heavy metal box. Tool bags are the new normal for most mechanics.
I have this Stanley tool bag, and it is the perfect size for bringing out to car or some other remote place to perform some maintenance. It has internal pockets for some of the smaller tools. Reasonably priced, and a great gift.
#6 – Jack Stands
When she has her head and neck underneath that 2-ton vehicle, do you really want to be trusting the scissor jack that came with the car? She’s tough but not dense…
Get a pair of jack-stands and don’t worry about the vehicle collapsing on her. Get a gift that can actually save lives!
This set of 2-ton capacity jack-stands are best sellers.
#7 – Socket Wrench and Sockets
This 84-piece socket set is the perfect gift if you want several people to go in together. It makes a really excellent set.
This set is great for all those general purpose jobs like working on the cars and trucks. I like the switching mechanism between clockwise and anti-clockwise. It just works more smoothly than others I have used.
#8 – Ratcheting Wrench Set
These ratcheting wrenches are awesome! I use and love this set. Great for tight spots where your arm is buried deep into the mechanical jungle, and you need to turn a nut or a bolt, a ratcheting wrench allows you to tighten or loosen without needing to remove the wrench from the nut. Hard to go back to a fixed wrench after using these!
So helpful when working on a bolt that is not easy to get to, and helpful in general even if it is. Great gift for any grease monkey, this set of 20 has you covered for both SAE (English) and Metric.
#9 – Hydraulic Jack
This is another one of those time saving devices. I’m constantly jacking up the vehicle by hand. This gets time consuming and really unnecessary. Why waste time when you could be spending it on the fun stuff? This is next on my purchase list because they are just so handy and I keep hearing such great things about them.
Keep this 3.5 ton jack in the garage, and give your mechanic the ability to quickly checkout that strange noise you’ve been hearing!
This is the 3.5-ton unit, for plenty of lifting power.
#10 – Torque Wrench
Did you know that there is a tightness specification for every nut and bolt on your vehicle? Too loose, and the part can fall off. Too tight, and the threads can be damaged, leaving you susceptible to problems in the future.
I use it for everything from brakes to bearings. If your mechanic doesn’t have one of these, it will change the way maintenance is done on your vehicles. Everything just goes more smoothly when nuts are torqued properly.
And as a Bonus, #11:
#11 – Impact Wrench
This tool was life-changing for me. Suddenly jobs that were taking 4 hrs were taking two. It literally cut the time to do jobs in half. Do you know how often you have to remove lug nuts to do most DIY repair work on vehicles? If the mechanic in your life is still removing lug nuts by hand, do him/her a favor and get them an impact wrench.
This is the only tool on the list that requires an air compressor, so make sure they have that, but if so, this one is really nice.
This is the impact wrench I use, and it is really a great tool, plus it just looks like a beast! This would be a great addition to any tool shop. Check the link for the current price.
Also, in order to last for years to come, it will need to be lubricated. Consider a bottle of some air tool lube, as a stocking stuffer.
And as a bonus, I added this later because it is currently my favorite thing:
#12 Air Compressor and Tire Inflator
I recently bought this 6-gal air compressor, and it has changed my life! I coupled it with this tire inflator/pressure gauge, and it has made filling my car tires a breeze! I used to dread airing up the tires, driving to a gas station, either the pump was out of order or you wait in line. The pressure gauge, you know the ones, with the little stick that pops out? They never go on straight, so air is leaking out and you don’t get a correct measurement…
Not with this setup! I love the large analog dial (no batteries to change like on the digital ones). It clips onto the valve stem and you press the trigger, that’s it! When you release the trigger, the big bright dial tells you the pressure. I usually give it 3-4 short spurts of air, and I can bring the tire from 20psi to 36psi in a matter of seconds. You don’t even have to take the hose off the valve stem, it stays on and gives you the reading all in one! I can’t believe I messed around with the old method for so long! If you are thinking about getting a small air compressor and tire inflator, do it! I wish I had done it years ago. Leave it in the corner of your garage and don’t worry about ever having low tires again!
Well, there you have it. I hope you found this helpful in finding the perfect gift for the mechanic in your life!
Need more ideas? Check out the Top 17 Best Christmas Gifts for Men!
Also check out this Car Gift Guide – 31 Things Everyone Should Keep in Their Car!