You seem to expect lighter quality when you get a good deal on tools. When it came the feel of the tools was suprising. The cable tester are durable enought to take a few drop from a good height. And the crimpers have a nice solid feel about them.
This is a great kit, except the LanSOHO tester in mine must be bad. The crimper works great, the stripper, cutter and tracer are fine, but the LanSOHO tester is faulty. Every network wire I tested (over a dozen) show as a split connection on this tester, even store-bought patch cables. Two other cable testers say my cables are fine. But this one says otherwise. I did add a pair of scissors to the kit. Now all I need are more plugs to install.
Truly sorry for any inconvenience while using the Product. From your feedback, it sounds like you may have a defective item. If you can please reach out to us direct at firstname.lastname@example.org with your order information, we can look into see what options are available for replacement.
May 22, 2017
Excellent Kit .. Excellent Value
I have several kits from several manufacturers and honestly this is the best one and by far the best price. It's got what you need for Telco and network install, troubleshooting and repair and again for the price, hard to find a better kit!
If you're cabling a a house where you're putting in cat5/rj45 and coax with ftype connectors, you'd probably be better off buying each tool separately.
PROS: cat5 support is great - can tone/terminate/test rj45 type lines as you'd expect, including punchdown stuff.
CONS: coax cabling. if your're doing BNC stuff, you'd be ok. if you're doing f-type coax like you would in a home - the crimper only does the hex metal crimp style - not the compression type like monoprice sells. the line tester only has a connector for BNC stuff.
I didn't list the breakout adapter as either a Pro or a Con because, honestly, I can't think of many situations where it would even really help. I'm a cabling tech by trade and I've simply never needed one, ever. I could see it having some practical application with connecting your tone generator to a RJ45 outlet and testing specific pairs with it. However, you could just take a short length of cable, put a plug or jack on one end and leave the other stripped and accomplish the same thing on the cheap.
Here's a quick run down of what the tools in this kit are supposed to do. The tone and probe is for putting the tone on one end of a cable and using the probe to follow the tone to the other end in other words it's for tracing cables or a specific pair of wire. A cable tester should be obvious. A crimping tool is for putting plugs on cables. Strippers are used for removing the insulation from cables so you can either use a punch-down to punch it down onto a patch panel or keystone jack or so you can crimp a plug onto the end. Cutters can be used to either cut the cable or for shortening and evening out the pairs of wire. I already mentioned the only practical use I can think of for the breakout adapter. If you want more info on a tool, google and youtube are your friends.
I've been building my own "kit" for a while now and I can tell you which tools get a lot of use and which ones don't.
First, I'll start with the crimping tool. I can tell you from experience that if you're going to do any crimping at all, you're going to want to the best crimper you can get your hands on. Coincidentally, Monoprice actually sells the best crimping tools I've ever used. "Product ID: 3356 Adjustable Compression Water proof Connectors Crimping Tool [HT-H510B]" is what I use for Coax (I realize this only works for compression connectors but they're the only ones worth using.) "Product ID: 3347 Professional Modular Crimps, Strips, and Cuts Tool with Ratchet [HT-2008AR]" is what I use for all my networking cable. I've even used supposed name brands like Paladin and this was the only one to reliably crimp every connector correctly every time. The fact the Monoprice one works for 4 pin and 6 pin in addition to 8 pin connectors and has a built-in stripper and cutter is just icing. I don't really recommend using it for stripping or cutting due to the awkwardness of the heft and bulk of it but it makes due in a pinch. My only complaint is there's no way to attach the screw driver for adjusting it.
I use a Fluke Tone and Probe and I have to say it's nice. However, the one in the kit seems fine for a hobbyist or as a backup/spare for a pro. Since the Tone & Probe in the kit is also a cable tester, I'll go ahead and say that I use a LanRoamer Pro cable tester. If you're getting paid to run or troubleshoot cable, you'll want a truly professional cable tester accept no imitations. The advantage of a truly professional cable tester is that you can not only identify every type of cabling problem but know what exactly went wrong with only a glance. The top tier of the Monoprice cable testers isn't quite as good as the LanRoamer Pro but it's close enough that a pro would likely get a lot of use out of it.
My punch-down is also a Fluke. It works well but if I don't line it up just right when I punch down on a 110, it doesn't properly cut the wire. So, having something to snip the wires or practice punching down correctly can be important when using a punch-down. You either have to come down on it exactly straight on or leaning the cutting side inwards slightly (depending on what you're punching down on). The punch-down in this kit looks identical to my Fluke and based on reviews, seems like it works well enough for a hobbyist or as a spare for a pro. If you haven't noticed the trend here, all the stuff in this kit is aimed at hobbyists. Hobbyist tools are usually alright as a backup/spare for professional use but not recommended as a primary tool.
The strippers and cutting pliers in this kit all seem fine. You may have to adjust the strippers to get them "just right" to prevent nicks but once adjusted they get the job done rather quickly. Personally, I use my electrician scissors to do most of my stripping and cutting. Why? With practice, they're rather effective at stripping (no having to adjust for different sized cable) but the main advantage is cutting. Nothing gives a clean, reliable cut the way a good pair of scissors do. They're also useful for straightening the pairs out. I'm not saying you can't use both. I'm just saying my scissors get the most use.
One tool not even included in this kit is the "butt set" or Lineman's handset. Sometimes you just need a portable analog phone and that's exactly what the butt set is. It'll also do some other handy things but mostly you'll use it to identify phone lines. However, it's not a tool most hobbyists would need since the typical home only has one or two lines. I use the one sold here on Monoprice. The only thing it's missing is an adapter for clipping directly onto a 110 block.
Another tool not included in this kit would be a screw driver. You only really need one or two good bit drivers and a good set of bits but you need at least one.
Having a decent multimeter is always handy and they're dirt cheap these days. However, they're not strictly required for cabling and I mostly use mine to test batteries.
A P-touch label maker is pretty much standard for a cabling pro but you can get by with just a marker sometimes.
If you're pulling cable, you're really going to need a set of fiber sticks (for inside drop ceilings) and a good fish tape (for just about everywhere else). A good drill, bits, drywall saw, hammer, tape measure, razor utility knife and bucket of rope are also strongly recommended.
Overall, this kit will likely get the job done for a hobbyist. For a pro, it wouldn't really be a good buy. If anything in this kit is a deal breaker, it would be the crimper. To be fair, I haven't bought this kit and, specifically, I've never used the crimper in this kit. So, if you're only going to use the crimper for network cable and you get one that actually works, it may actually be a good deal. The thing about a crimper is they either work or they don't and I don't see a single review saying this crimper works.
Something you'll notice about tool kits is they almost always leave you wanting more or better tools. By only buying the tools you actually want/need, you get exactly that. You'll probably spend more though.
With all this said, if you aren't sure what you'll need to do, just buy the tools as you need them and use the advice here to help identify which ones you'll actually need.
PROS: Tone & Probe/Cable Tester Punch-down Strippers/Cutter
First, let me say that I am a big fan of monoprice. I've purchased many items there and, for the most parts, have been very satisfied. I mostly (but not exclusively) buy cables and various adapters. This was my first time buying a tool... IT WAS A MISTAKE!
I got this kit because I though that finally I would have all I need in one place. I already held some of the tools included in this kit (the coax stripper and punch-down tool) but though it would be more convenient to have it all in one briefcase.
First, don't be fooled, this kit if NOT for "pro" or anybody who would use those tool on a regular basis. This kit is for a hobbyists who will very seldom use those tools. Yet, the lack of detailed instructions suggest that you should know what you are doing because the documentation is INADEQUATE for someone who doesn't already know how each work (and don't want to search on the internet for videos...).
Secondly, the quality of the over all kit is very dissapointing. Cheap finish, cheap buttons, cheap plastic, nothing is sturdy or seems optimised in size.. Of course, I don't expect the level of ruggedness than if I was buying a high end kit.. but even for the price, my verdict is: Don't buy this kit. It is not a good deal. Buy only the tools you need, and get them of decent quality.
Now, for a review of the individual items:
Briefcase: - As soon as I got it out of the box, the feeling was very cheap (the finish, the plastic, the weight, etc) - Space was not optimised.. they could have tried to reduce as much as possible the size of the briefcase. - Some space to store a few cat5/6 connectors could habe been appreciated. - It comes with a coax stripper and tester, but no coax crimper.... why?? - Instruction manuals is VERY LIMITED to non-existant. You need to know what you are doing (especially with the tone generator) because the provided instruction sheet (when there) are definitely not exhaustive.
CABLE CRIMPER: This is THE reason why I got this kit. I wanted a quality crimper, and thought "why not get a compplete kit". Well, to put it mildly: The crimper DIDN'T WORK AT ALL (and I don't think it was a case of me getting a broken one...). I used them with connectors product ID 7266 and the crimper kept breaking them! I ended up wasting 10 connectors (first after having gone through the pain of "making" the cable..! and then only trying to crimp the connectors without any cable to figure out the problem). It doesn't come with any instruction (I didn't need any, but since I was having problems, I had some doubts). The crimper was BREAKING the connectors.. Plus, the metal inserts to select the various crimp types was sometimes falling off when I was crimping and pushing all the way. I ended up having to borrow a crimper from a friend. Because of this, the kit was basically worthless from me. - Nice touch from the crimper I borrowed (but I am told that other crimper costs much more than this complete kit!): You insert the connector inside the crimping tool and it snaps into place (like you snap a cable in the wall), those preventing the event that the cable will move or exit while you are crimping.
Network cable tester: - I needed this tool to trouble shoot some cables. The tester helped for a few cables (basically telling me I needed to redo them) but it didn't help me at all for two cables where I had mistakenly inverted all the pins (pin 1 was on pin 8, pin 2 on pin 7, etc) on both sides of the cable. Not sure if a better quality tester would have found the problem however. - Better quality testers will automatically detect the type of cable and run more tests.. this was was super cheap. - This is a tool for home usage, not professional. Yet, it requires you to have a small screwdriver handy (not provided) to open the case to insert the 9v battery and remove it. Obviously, if you buy this kit, you don't do this for a living, and so it is advisable not to leave the battery inside the unit when stored. A storage for the batteries in the casing would also have been a nice touch and also an easier access to the battery. - This unit is cheaply made.. way too big for what is required (and compared to other similar devices I have seen)
Punch-tool: - No instruction - It did NOT work well for me. The excess wires were not being cut-off properly, at high or at low impact. I ended up using the tool I already had - You must remove the blade from the tool to store it in the case. Would not have been much harder to allow you to store it WITH the blade
The network cable stripper: - Does the job - No instructions on what the other cutting blades do or how to use them (I didn't needed instruction) - Not very sturdy, and flat cutting blade wasn't wide enough and well built enough to allow me to cleanly cut all the cat6 wires at once (I need to use a separate tool that I own). Quality crimper will include this function in the tool, but the included crimper did not do this either. - Out of the box isn't (even approximately) properly adjusted and as I said, no instruction. Know what you are doing and adjust the blades before you start
Tone Generator: - VERY LIMITED INSTRUCTIONS. You need to basically need to know how to use those tools - I didn't try the, didn't need to - Again, very cheap look. Too big.. No effort was made to make this a nice tool with a small footprint.. it is big, clunky and has a cheap feel to it. - Annoying: Need 2 x 9v batteries, each accessible with a screw (you need to carry a screwdriver to access it, and none is provided in the briefcase). Considering this is for very very rare usage (no pros would use this kit), they could have considered the fact that the batteries will probably spend a long time per year not being used, so it is safer to REMOVE the batteries after each usage...They could have been more accessible, as well as have a place to store the batteries in the briefcase
Black Box RJ-45 breakout adapter: - Didn't try it. I am not sure what it is used for and there were no instructions (but Monoprice usually has decent support.. I just didn't need it)
Coax stripper: - Didn't try it, I already had one - Came with instructions
Cutting plyers/ strippers - Not sure how to use them as a stripper since basically, those plyers can cut through the cable (there is no stopper to only strip part of the cable)
SUMMARY: Don't get this kit, it is not worth the money (especially not if, like me, you are in Canada and pay through the nose for shipping). The stripper didn't work at all, the other tools were too cheap. I recommend to get only the tools you really need and pay to have quality tools. If this kit costed less than 50$, and if the crimper worked with the connectors, I would say it is acceptable (BARELY). But it is not worth that price, and the crimper didn't work.
PROS: - Relatively inexpensive - Many tools (although not everything) in one box
CONS: - Crimper didn't work - Everything is SUPER CHEAP - Lack decent instructions - Poor overall design - Not worth the money
Thank you for your review and I am truly sorry for the inconvenience you've encountered with the product. Here at Monoprice.com we do take your concerns and feedback very seriously so I just wanted to let you know your review, will be forwarded appropriately.
If you are truly unsatisfied with the item, I can assist you in setting up a return. I would just require your order# to set it up. Please let me know, thank you!