October 13, 2010

Channellock Ratcheting Wrenches - Review

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Channellock recently hit the scene with these two little ratcheting wrenches. They were nice enough to drop one of each in the mail to us so we could give them a look and a test and a drop and a kick and a throw and a crush and a smash.

channellock_ratcheting_sizes.jpgThe cool thing about these wrenches is that between the two of them, eight different size are covered ( 5/16" x 3/8", 7/16" x 1/2", 9/16" x 5/8", 11/16" x 3/4") because each head has two sizes, one on each side.

The ratcheting mechanism looks simple enough; a little spring-loaded nub presses against a gear stop which catches the teeth on the wrench head. By shifting the gear stop, you can set the wrench to ratchet forwards or in reverse.

The construction is durable, with both faces of the wrench made of metal, but in a strange move, there is a spacer bar made out of plastic. As with any hand tool with more than one moving part, and particularly ones with spring-loaded anything, we have slight reservations. There is little in the world that gets treated worse than a hand tool in our possession and we're always concerned with little pieces breaking. But there has also been no indication in the month and a half that we've had these wrenches that there will be any durability issues. They've held up great.

But they do require upkeep. The tools come with a dab of goop on the little spring-loaded nub and it's advised to refresh this every once in a while as well as occasionally give the tool a good cleaning. It's very minor maintenance, but it's there.

channellock_ratcheting_goo.jpg channellock_ratcheting_teeth.jpg

So we tested them out in the shop and as part of the ongoing tractor rehab and they're great. The ratcheting action is nice, they're easy to use, and, like we said, they seem very durable. What more is there to say?

channellock_ratcheting_on_nut.jpgSo what we think these come down to is that they're a worthy companion to a full socket set. Everyone should own a full socket set but let's face it, full socket sets are a big pain in the ass, so two of these small wrenches kicking around are going to save you some aggravation by probably handling 75% of what you use the full set for. We see these Channellocks as particularly valuable to a carpenter who only has so much free space in the tool bag and can't waste valuable truck space with a rattling box of sockets.

$35 at Channellock

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at October 13, 2010 1:00 PM

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