Once again, let’s dive into some tips when shopping for tools.

Whether these are your first tools or not, there are a few things to keep in mind that will help you save money and get the best possible deals.

But there’s also a specific tool you’re better off avoiding altogether – just like there’s another one you should definitely get.

And the odds are that you’ve probably never ever heard of this genius $20 tool.

Tip #1: Know Your Socket Wrench Size BEFORE Buying New Sockets

image of socket wrenches in different sizes

Just as you should know the maximum torque specs before you buy a torque wrench, you should also know your socket wrench size before buying new sockets.

Why? Because in the context of socket handles, size DOES matter.

Socket wrenches come in different sizes – some of the most common ones are:

  • 1/2″
  • 3/8″
  • 1/4″

The size refers to the socket wrench’s square-shaped mounting point – and the critical thing to remember is that sockets are not interchangeable between the different socket wrench sizes.

A 1/2″ wrench will only be compatible with 1/2″ sockets, a 3/8″ wrench will only be compatible with 3/8″ sockets, and so on.

Therefore, don’t make the mistake of buying a set of 3/8″ sockets for a 1/2″ socket wrench.

Tip #2: Check That Your Specialty Tool Is Really Designed For Your Bike

Although some specialty tools are universal, some are designed to only work with a specific brand (and, in some cases, even a specific brand model).

So if you’ve found a flywheel removal tool for a Kawasaki and you’ve got a Triumph, look elsewhere.

If you would like to know more, read the article about what specialty tools are here on The Dual Wheel Journey.

Tip #3: Determine How Much You Really “Need” a Specialty Tool

If you’re regularly changing clutches, a clutch compressor will be a worthwhile investment that will save you a lot of time (not to mention the aggravation).

But if all you’re doing is essential maintenance or changing clutches every four months, buying a clutch compressor for the equivalent of $1000 is not the best investment you’ll make.

Really think about it – how often do you do the task that the specialty tool is designed for? If the answer is “not all that much,” save your money on something else.

Tip #4: Skip The Test Light, Get a Multimeter Instead

Usually, I’m not one to tell you to avoid buying a tool completely – even if you have the money for it.

A test light, however, is an exception to this.

To understand why, let’s look at what the test light does and, more importantly, what it does NOT do.

A test light is an electrical tool often shaped like a screwdriver with a pointy tip at the end, which you can use to test whether there’s electricity inside a circuit.

If there’s electricity inside the circuit, a small light at the other end of the handle will light up.

So, the test light tells you that electricity can flow through a circuit. Now, let’s talk about what it does NOT do:


  1. It does not tell you how much electricity is in the circuit
  2. It will not give you any accurate voltage reading
  3. If most of the connectors for a component are broken, most test lights won’t give you any signs of this – it will light up as usual

If you’re going to get an electrical tool, a multimeter is the better choice.

Would you like to know how to use a multimeter? Check out the Tool Tutorial for it here on the Dual Wheel Journey.

Tip #5: A Magnet On A Stick Is Worth Getting

image of magnet on a stick tool

We just looked at one tool that’s not worth getting – now, let’s look at the stark contrast of that.

Maybe you didn’t even know that it existed – before I got into the world of motorcycle mechanics, I didn’t either.

The tool I’m talking about is simply known as a “magnet on a stick.” But don’t dismiss it by its uncreative name – whoever came up with it was a genius.  But why?

Because if you drop a small metallic spacer, nut or bolt inside a space where your fingers can’t reach, the magnet on a stick is your new best friend.

What you do, is that you stick it into the spot where you dropped the metallic object, and you can fish it out with little to no problem.

It’s not expensive either – usually, the tool costs no more than the equivalent of $20. Some of them even have built-in flashlights.

Tip #6: Digital Tire Pressure Gauges Require Batteries

If you’re getting a tire pressure gauge, you have two types to choose from – analog and digital.

And if you’re going to get a digital pressure gauge, you must remember that these require batteries.

Sometimes, these batteries come included with the pressure gauge – other times, they don’t.

If they don’t, you must factor in the batteries’ cost with the digital tire pressure gauge purchase.

Get More Tool Buying Tips