Interestingly enough, the best pick and hook set is usually the set which has a special tool that you need right now. To that end, you should look for a complete set that includes all of the commonly used items.
The length of the shaft and feel of the handle are going to be important, especially when working in confined areas. Hardened alloys will provide you with less flexibility and higher tensile strength, and be sure that each tool is long enough to to get into areas where your fingers can’t reach. These tools are easy to overlook when building a complete tool collection, but nothing will take their place when you need one.
We’re big fans of GearWrench tools and their 8400D pick and hook set is no exception. This seven piece set includes a 5″ Cotter Pin Puller, 4″ Hose Puller Pick, 4-1/2″ Awl, 3-1/8″ Mini Full Hook, 3-1/8″ 90° Mini Hook, 3-1/8″ Straight Mini Hook, and 3-1/8″ Mini Offset Hook. The included blow molded case keeps everything nice and organized and fits well in most toolboxes. Made in Taiwan, the set just feels higher quality than your typical made in China set.
The dual-material handles are comfortable to hold and don’t allow much slippage. Not quite as “grippy” as Snap-On, but definitely more affordable. Great for removing seals, O-rings, cotter pins, clamps, hooking up springs, or as a hole punch. While heavy duty for what they are, don’t try to use these as pry tools as that’s not what they’re intended for. A couple users have reported that the smaller picks actually came out of their handles but admittedly, they were using them for things they probably shouldn’t have. The larger picks on the other hand, will put up with more abuse. Great value overall.
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ATD Tools has been a recognized leader in automotive tools since the late 70’s, and has an excellent track record among professional and amateur mechanics alike. Since a good pick and hook set has to meet a variety of demands, the 8424 includes 4 mini tools for precision work and 5 full size tools, all manufactured with chrome plated vanadium steel shafts for high durability. The smaller tools are about 6 inches long, while the larger ones measure close to 10 inches. Be prepared to allocate a substantial amount of tool box space, as this set will definitely take up a bit of storage space.
Keep in mind that these tools, especially the hooks and picks, are designed for light to medium use work, and the tips will break if you attempt to do any major prying. Similarly, the molded plastic handles may split if the tools are used for chiseling. As long as you use these tools for the purposes they are designed for, the ATD 8424 tool set will serve you for many years to come. For the wide variety of tools and shaft sizes, you will have a hard time finding a better selection in a single kit.
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Ullman Devices CHP8-L 8-Pc Hook and Pick Set(no longer available)
Ullman Devices has been making quality precision and specialty tools since the Great Depression, and the best pick and hook set is still made at their facilities in Connecticut. Each tool measures 9-¾ inches long, and has a comfort grip that will give you more leverage and a better grip. The large selection of hooks are great for retrieving dropped nuts and washers, and the picks are perfect for cleaning around fasteners, placing nuts, and more. The set comes in a clear vinyl pouch, but you will probably want to store them in your tool box for easier, more convenient access. On the downside, the pick shafts and handles are not a single piece, but you can correct that with a drop of superglue or metal adhesive. Other than that, the absence of a scraper is the only noticeable tool lacking.