Automotive Tool Review

Carlyle Tools From Napa: Quality or Junk?

Carlyle Tools are sold in Napa stores and Online


Are Carlyle tools high quality though and worth the money? Napa Auto Parts is known for its slightly higher price but also (maybe) equally higher quality. Especially when compared to other auto parts retailers like Autozone, O’Reillys and Advance Auto Parts. It’s worth looking at whether Napa’s store-brand Carlyle tools are worth the money.

With that being said, in this post we will take a look at the quality of Carlyle Tools, the warranty on Carlyle Tools and also how the price of Carlyle Tools compared to other tools in the automotive market.

How expensive are Carlyle Tools?


In comparison to other similar quality tool lines such as Craftsman, Gearwrench and even Tekton, how much can you expect to pay for Carlyle tools? Well, that depends of course on what type of tool a technician or DIY’er is looking to buy. Since Carlyle hand tools seem to be the brands largest category, we will make our price comparisons mostly based on things like ratchets, socket sets and other accessories.

A quick Google search of Carlyle Tools starts me off with the brands 3/8” Long Flex Non-Locking soft grip ratchet selling at $81.49 discounted (apparently) from $107.99. The price is close to Gearwrench which sells a 3/8 flex-head ratchet for around $70 on Amazon.

That is just one particular tool though. In order to get a grasp on the price of Carlyle tools compared to top selling tools like Snap-On and my personal favorite budget hand tool brand Tekton, we need to do more research and look at how the cost of other tools like Carlyle sockets and wrenches compare.

Picture of Carlyle 3/8 inch drive non-flex head ratchet
This is the Carlyle 3/8 inch drive non-flex head ratchet PN R3890

In order to compare Napa’s Carlyle tool brand to the other hand tool makers such as Craftsman, Gearwrench, Milwaukee and of course the tool truck brands like Snap On, Matco and Mac Tools we need to add a little bit of context.  We’re gonna get to a point of comparing the price and benefits of Carlyle tools. First, I want to explain a major factor that should not be overlooked when buying hand tools.


Also Read: Every Tool That’s Ever Saved Me Time Working on Vehicles


Most hand tools are made by the same few of companies.

As with most other consumer items sold around the US, hand tools are often made by one company and rebranded. Carlyle tools do not fall under this category like other popular brands such as Blue-Point and Mac Tools. For more context, here’s an outline of what tool companies own which brands. 


So, which company makes Carlyle Tools?

From the research I’ve conducted, I can conclude that Carlyle Tools are not one of the above mentioned brands. Rather, Carlyle Tools are owned by Napa Auto Parts and manufactured in Taiwan for the auto part retailer. It’s actually pretty common for tools to be made in Taiwan in 2023. Many tools, including those sold by Milwaukee and Tekton are made in Taiwan for sale in the United States.

Surprisingly, after doing some research I was shocked to find out that Carlyle also offers a large amount of heavy duty tools. This includes Carlyle shop presses, pneumatic air tools, electrical testers such as Carlyle jump starters, hydraulic jacks and the list goes on.

Carlyle Tools are almost exclusively made in Taiwan. Although this practice is the norm for most products, I was hoping to learn in my research that Carlyle tools are made in the USA. It’s unfortunate, but in my eyes it’s not a deterrent to buying Carlyle because US lawmakers made things the way they are.


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Who are Carlyle Tools made for?

Carlyle assortment of hand tools for mechanics
As pictured, Carlyle from Napa offers a wide variety of hand tools mechanics.

When a technician starts buying tools, it’s important to ask the question- who are these tools made for? I say this because there are many brands such as Pittsburgh, Stanley etc. that are made for the DIY mechanic, even if they claim otherwise. It’s important to research the brand of tool that you are buying. Obviously, that’s the point of this post right?

Im here to research the best tools for you, so when you go to the store looking to buy a new ratchet, you know which brand you can trust and which tools to avoid. We’re eventually going to find out if Carlyle tools are a brand we can trust as professional auto technicians.

What’s the quality of Carlyle Tools?

Tools and quality are two words that mechanics frequently use together. If I’m buying a ratchet that’s close to $100- a whole Benjamin. I wanna know what’s the quality of that Carlyle ratchet? Is it going to break in six months? If my Carlyle ratchet does break or is defective from the store, will Carlyle cover it under warranty and replaced it free of charge?


Here’s a question that needs to be asked when buying any tool. Does a Carlyle ratchet belong in a professional technicians toolbox? 

When we think about auto parts store brand tools, it’s not often that quality is the word we use to describe said tools. After extensive research and reviews on Carlyle tools from other professional mechanics, I can conclude that the Napa Auto Parts brand is somewhat of an outlier. Carlyle tools are in fact high quality and deserve a spot in your favorite tool drawer.

I don’t expect you take my word for it. The proof is in the testimonials. Just look at this list of “ten tool brands that don’t get the love they deserve”. Not convinced? Automotive forums can be a great source of information and tool reviews from techs working in the field. Here’s a forum post comparing Carlyle to Craftsman. You might be surprised that the name recognition of Craftsman is not indicative of a better quality tool in 2023.

There are dozens of posts in the top results of Google when you search for the quality of Carlyle Tools. If you need more proof, take a look.


Also Read- Which Inspection Camera is the Best for Mechanics? 

What’s the warranty on Carlyle Tools?

An important question to ask when buying tools to fill your box is, what happens if my ratchet breaks? Is Carlyle going to warranty the ratchet or do I have to fork over $100 to buy another one? Just like “tools and quality”, tools and warranty will often be referenced together. The reason?

Tools take a beating and we want to know that if we spend our hard earned money, the tool we are buying is built to handle that beating. So are Carlyle Tools built to last? And if they don’t last, will Napa warranty their Carlyle tools?

Just like most other professional tool lines, which Carlyle proclaims itself, the brand does offer a lifetime warranty on hand tools. Carlyle’s warranty is as good or maybe better than Snap On and the like. You can rest assured, if your ratchet starts slipping you can probably have a new one today.

Here’s the official warranty for Carlyle Tools.

If you bought from the tool truck, you may have to wait a week or longer to even get your ratchet looked at for warranty. With Napa Auto locations all over the country, warranty is as easy as walking in the door. At most, you may have to wait a day for your new Carlyle tool to come in.


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Are Carlyle Tools expensive?

If you work in the automotive or any trade industry, you know that the cost of tools is going to be a huge investment in your career. With that being said, one has to compare the price of tools from a relative standpoint. I say this because there are hundreds of tool brands on the market and each one is of different quality and some are marketed as professional, others are DIY.

For this reason, since Carlyle Tools is a self-proclaimed “professional line of tools”, it’s only fair to compare the price with other brands marketing toward professionals. We wouldn’t compare the price of Carlyle Tools to that of Evercraft which is also sold by Napa, but not geared toward the professional user. We have to compare Carlyle Tools to the likes of Snap On, Matco, Harbor Freight’s Icon line and others like Milwaukee.

In the interest of fairness, I’m going to list a few Carlyle hand tools and then compare the price of those tools to a couple other popular brands. Let’s see how Carlyle Tools compare in price to the other top brands.


Carlyle Tools versus other professional tools


The first tool I researched is one of the most common tools in an auto techs toolbox. A standard 3/8” drive ratchet. Find me a mechanic that doesn’t have one. I’ll wait. It’s an important tool for every mechanic and Carlyle of course offers one. Here’s how the price matches up.

Snap On 3/8” Drive 8” Straight Ratchet Non-Flex

Listed on Snap On’s website at $131.00 as of 11/14/22.

The closest comparison I could find from Carlyle is an 8.35” version. 

List price as of today is $62.99 or almost exactly HALF the price of Snap On. So, for half the money you can get the same warranty and a comparable quality in the Carlyle ratchet. Wow, impressive.

The next tool I’m going to compare is the Carlyle locking plier set. “Vice-Grips” as most would call them. 

Napa offers a 3-piece set of Carlyle locking pliers for a reasonable $99.

Surprisingly, Snap On offers a 4-piece set for just $143.00 which is a good value also. The set Snap On offers is made by another company called Eagle Grip. So you have the option of buying the same set without the logo. A plus to the Snap On/Eagle Grip set is they are made in the USA.

Vice-Grip, the original manufacturer of locking pliers has a beautiful 10-piece set of all different styles of locking pliers that can be bought for less than $200. 

As you can see, Carlyle has a good price point on their locking pliers set, but there are other options out there as well. Do your research and find the tool that fits your budget and needs.


I’m going to compare one last thing in the interest of time. I know you’re probably done on the toilet by now or the wife’s nagging for something. So, for the last thing I will compare a higher end, more expensive tool.


How much is a Carlyle Jump Starter in comparison to the competitors?

I’ll be honest, I was actually surprised to see that Carlyle offered a jump starter. I’ve just never seen many Carlyle brand electrical tools. Clearly they are out there though. The Carlyle jump starter is a perfect example to give you of the point I made earlier about rebranding. The jump starter Carlyle sells is actually just a JNC 660. One of the most popular rebranded tools on the market. Everyone from Max to Blue-Point sells the JNC 660 with their name on it.

Carlyles version of the Jump n Carry 660 jump starter sells for $259.99 on the Napa website. You can purchase the JNC 660 on Amazon for around $150 or check out my post on portable jump packs. Moral of the story is again- Do your research before buying any tool.

Conclusion: Are Carlyle Tools worth the money?

The question of whether Carlyle tools are worth the money is actually kinda complicated when looking at all of the facts. My conclusion is that Carlyle hand tools- ratchets, sockets, wrenches, pliers etc. are absolutely worth the money and the warranty process makes Carlyle hand tools even more valuable.

Being able to walk into a store any given day if the week and warranty your favorite ratchet is worth something. If you have ever waited a week for the Snap On truck just to find out your favorite tool has to be sent out for warranty and repair, you’ll likely agree with me.

Paying a premium for things like jump starters from Napa’s Carlyle brand isn’t worth it though. Especially in a time when NoCo jump packs have taken over and can be bought for far less money and have the added convenience of being lightweight and small enough to fit in most toolboxes.

I guess the best conclusion I can give you, and I’ll stress this in many of posts I’d do your own research. Look up the specs and warranty processes of the tools you’re buying. The internet offers thousands of reviews to look at. Take advantage of the ability to research every tool you buy. Don’t let the tool truck guy blind side you with $500 ratchets when there are alternatives that cost far less and work just as well.



By John Green

I’m John Green. I’m a 33 year old auto technician from Upstate New York. I have 18 years of experience as an automotive light duty and heavy duty truck mechanic. Cars, trucks and anything with moving parts are my passion in my professional life.

Aside from my life as a technician, I am also a seasoned investor and consider myself very financially literate. I use this other passion combined with my passion for cars, trucks and tools to look for ways to save money for my technician friends.

Raising my three girls and teaching them the proper way of life is my personal passion in life. If you want to know more, just ask! I’m on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube as well!