November 4, 2007

Skil 7.2-Volt Lithium-Ion Power Wrench - Review

Skil_wrench_1.jpgNow with just about every major tool company trying to convert every single power tool into a cordless version, there are bound to be some duds. Some tools just won't be able to make the conversion, due to who knows what. So every time a new tool comes out, we cringe a little bit, wondering if it will be the first big disaster. With this in mind, we were curious about Skil's new Power Wrench. Would it be possible to make a battery operated ratchet tool? Skil was nice enough to let us try one out, so we're happy to say we have an answer to that question.

skil_wrench_charger.jpgFirst, some general info on the tool. The Skil Power Wrench has a nice ergonomic handle, complete with little finger ridges. The trigger is right there and is no problem to get to and easy to keep depressed. Like a traditional ratchet, the forward/reverse toggle is located at the rear of the head, and operated just like you expect it to.

The tool is light, weighing just under two pounds. The weight is nicely distributed through the tool, so it's an easy 2 lbs to deal with, making the wrench feel solid and very natural in the hands. The tool operates on an internal lithium-ion battery, and the entire unit plugs into the charger stand, which can sit on any flat surface or be mounted to the wall.

skil_wrench_hand.jpgAlthough the tool is only 7.2-volts, and not all that powerful, it can be used manually, just like every other ratchet you've ever used.

Under battery operation, the tool won't be driving any lag screws through any pressure-treated 4x4s, but it will easily handle assembling furniture, putting together toys, driving small bolts into pre-drilled holes, and other light duty tasks. We found that anything that was really rusted out, like most of the bolts in our Jeep's engine, were too difficult for the Power Wrench while it was under battery control. But, like we said earlier, we just used the tool manually and had the same success that we're used to with a standard wrench.

skill_wrench_bits.jpgSo we had a good amount of success with the ratcheting side of things, but the real accomplishment of this tool is that it can also be used as a mini right angle drill/driver. We had to do some work on a hinge in a tight little cabinet and there is no other tool that could have done the work that the Power Wrench did. Similar to when we used it as a ratchet, it wasn't about power, it was more about ease-of-use and maneuverability. It's so small and the head only needs a few inches of clearance to operate that the tool can fit just about anywhere.

skil_wrench_cabinet.jpg skil_wrench_hinge.jpg

In a short period of time, we became big fans of this tool. It's versatile, both as a wrench and a driver, it's compact and very easy to use. We think it's bound to be a huge seller this Christmas because it's one of those tools that is successful for everyone from the college student in their first rental, to the hardcore contractor, not to mention people who are getting up in their years and no longer have the hand strength that they used to.

Skil's Power Rench retails for around $60, and is worth the investment. The tool comes with a charger, a 6-piece socket set, a 1/4 bit conversion piece, and a 10-piece driver bit set. The socket and bit sets come in nice rubber holders that actually hold the bits as opposed to letting them spill out everywhere.

At Amazon.com

Read More in: All Reviews | Cordless | Lithium-Ion | Power Tools

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at November 4, 2007 6:35 PM

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Recent Comments

Can anyone tell me how to take it apart. I've taken out all of the screws, but it won't come apart. I don't want to break anything.


Posted by: Bryan at April 8, 2013 7:05 PM

The problem with the power wrench is that the charger over charges the battery. The voltage is too high. Lipo batteries will not take this abuse
vary long ! I have developed a new charger that solves the problem.. Most of the failures are due to battery failures from incorrect/over charging. One man mentioned above that he had trigger problems.
This is due to a circuit breaker in the tool thats function is to protect the motor from burn out when the tool is stalled . some times this breaker will trip when the trigger is pulled. It automatically resets itself. Lipo batteries cannot be totally discharged. If they are they are done, ruined ! There is a feature inside the tool to prevent this. When the voltage drops to the min. level. The tool will instantly stop.

Other than the battery /charger problem. I think it is a great tool. I use mine everyday.
But one must be realistic with their expectations.. It is a 1/4" ratchet. It is for small fasteners that have low torque values. It was not meant to take the place of a 3/8's or 1/2" wrench

One last thing I would like to mention is that replacement batteries can be found quite easily. They are 3.6 volt cells commonly found in Laptop computer batteries . Just buy a cheap laptop battery off ebay. Crack it open and remove the cells. Most laptop batteries have 6 cells or more in them. Just remember that lipo batteries have poor shelf life ! 4 years is about all you will get... Those that would like to contact me can reach me at mysteryman@joimail.com . Good luck


Posted by: Terry at February 23, 2012 8:25 AM

No wonder i could not figure out how to get the battery out. battery died and will not be buying Skill again.


Posted by: monomial at November 11, 2011 6:37 PM

skil finally has a reengineered power assembly for this ratchet available.. its $38 from skil...new batteries and new electronic module...I love this thing!


Posted by: waltinbatonrouge at October 19, 2011 9:41 AM

this tool is GREAT and so handy..mine quit too. but skil/bosch now has a replacement handle pack with updated electronics and battery...its $38 but WELL worth it...


Posted by: walt zweifel at October 19, 2011 9:28 AM

I got a 1/4 in skill rechargable rachet i used it 3 times the last time i used it it quit it was great when it worked but to just quit after 3 times it ant worth the money i spent i called skilled and they told me the same thing just buy another one well i thought that was stupid why would i spend my money on garbage that a company dont stand behind . when i can buy a air one for around the same price that will last forever . I told that guy do i look stupid to you as far as i stand skill tools are junk and i will never buy any thing from them again . so but i think someone should sue skill for not standing behind there tool . or turn them in to cunsomer report because they should not let companys like that get away with ripping people off , i own a small engine shop Krankerup.com and i do repairs for people and i stand behind everything i do and if any body brings me a skill tool to repair i tell them to take it back and don't buy there garbage and boush should stop selling garbage to people its a dame sham cause i used to like boush tools not any more.


Posted by: Dale Kranker at January 13, 2011 9:17 AM

My father had two of these that he used on small engines - mowers and the like. They've both since died, and apparently Skil has discontinued them! So I'm hoping someone can recommend a similar product, preferably with the 1/4", but any would do at this point in time!


Posted by: Deana at December 3, 2010 12:00 PM

My son gave me one of these for Christmas several years ago. I've used it very little, maybe a 2 or 3 hours total. The last time I used it the battery went dead and I forgot to put it back on charge. Now it will not take a charge. So far I have found no replacement battery. It was a handy tool to have but I will not be buying another Skil. I use a wide variety of battery tools at work, never seen one that you can't replace the battery!


Posted by: Bob Bowman at September 29, 2010 8:56 AM

I too was a proud purchaser of the skil power
wrench, until I was told to buy a new one since the battery wound not charge any more. What a disappointment.


Posted by: Duane Hanson DC at September 14, 2010 12:42 AM

I am relieved, in a way that others have had their power wrench stop working. I liked this tool when it worked - very handy. It just stopped working. Skil just told me to go buy another one. What a shame. Have had Skil tools that lasted decades. Going to throw this out and think twice about another Skil product?


Posted by: Dan Dubriwny at May 9, 2010 2:35 AM

This tool is one of my most used tools in my tool box i use it on small engine repairs but they only tend to last no more then 6 months to a year seems to be a battery issue i use it everyday on everything i tend to work on so it gets used alot. I think they need to find a better way of making there lithium batterys last.


Posted by: Dustin at November 18, 2009 12:33 PM

This is one of the handiest tools in my shop. I have air in my shop but with this tool I don't have to run a mile of hose or carry an air tank when I need a ratchet.

Now for the bad news. I have had 7 of these ratchets since December 2007. I don't use it hard or improperly. Lithium Ion cell's require a very controlled voltage and current while charging or they can present a fire problem. Dell had a recall on Laptop lithium Ion batteries. Some of them caught on fire. I took the last one apart before I returned it and found a burned out thermistor and transistor regulator on the circuit board. I talked to Skill tech support and they suggested that I return it and try getting another one from a different supplier as they may have gotten a bad batch. The first three I purchased at Lowes and the latest one I got from Wal-Mart. If the one that I have now lasts more than a few months I will post again.

Thanks


Posted by: Amos A Atol at October 21, 2009 9:21 PM

I work on small power equipment and use the Skil Power Wrench on a daily basis. It's great on small screws and bolts and the locking feature let's you break loose stuck bolts. The only real problem I have had is the trigger switch suddenly stopping and starting working.The battery charge lasts all day. I own a air powered 1/4 inch ratchet and haven't used it since. I've owned it for 7 months and have used it on several thousand nuts, bolts, and screws.It's one of the best tools I've ever purchased.


Posted by: Gary at October 14, 2009 2:21 AM

I also had one of the earlier 3/8 wrenches but the 1/4 with a 3/8 adapter seems to work just fine. I have owned this tool for a year and a half. I like the tool very much but the manufacturer replaced the charger within the first year and now the replacement charger has gone bad. The tool has had very little use certainly not enough to justify the original cost much less the cost of a new charger.

Tool Junky


Posted by: Bill Collett at August 19, 2009 10:15 AM

I still have the one out of the 80's, but am having trouble finding a battery replacement for it. It would run just like a new one if there were a battery to be had.... but alas. It was a great tool. Planning on going to a battery store to see if they can fit me up with something.


Posted by: Jerry Sharp at April 26, 2009 2:01 PM

Skil actually had one of these out in the '80s, but it was more heavy duty, and had a 3/8 inch drive instead of 1/4 inch. I found it indispensable working on engines in tight engine compartments where often you could only get a couple of clicks at a time on a ratchet. Just push the button until the nut was snug, then tighten manually. It also held a charge pretty well for what I did with it. Wish Skil would re-release the 3/8 inch drive, and maybe a 1/2 inch as well, with maybe a bigger battery?


Posted by: Joe Walker at December 15, 2008 5:09 PM
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