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The History Channel has been playing the damn Kobalt Double Drive mini-infomercial between breaks so much I would actually buy one if I thought it’d make them stop playing it. The funny part is, as much as I’d like to make fun of it, the twisty ratchet does look pretty cool. The basic premise is, if you click it to double mode, a barrel twist each way will advance the head in the direction you’d like to go.

The Double Drive form factor isn’t funky or out of line with what a ratchet should look like, and it delivers more functionality than a standard ratchet. It reminds us a little of when the GearWrench pass-thru system first came out, but not nearly as groundbreaking. For around $20 it seems a decent investment to throw down for.

Does it replace a standard ratchet? Yes, it can: if you do a load of work with bolts, it’s great to have in the toolbox. If not, the Double Drive is cheap enough you can have it for a just-in-case situation. True, it sounds a little gimmicky, but at its core, even if you don’t use the double function, it’s still a working ratchet. So spending the same as you might spend on plain model isn’t really a loss.

Double Drive Kits [Lowe's]

 

17 Responses to Kobalt Double Drive

  1. Lee Scuppers says:

    I got the screwdriver version. I like it. Pretty cool for driving screws real fast against light resistance. I might get the wrench, too. Trouble is, Kobalt stuff isn’t exactly bulletproof quality.

  2. Mr. Man says:

    Although over the top expensive, the Proxxon version is a better tool. And best of all, I smile every time I pick mine up to use it.

  3. Cole says:

    It does defeat the purpose of a ratchet. The handle is there for leverage to aid in the task. This could only really be used on light-duty jobs.

  4. Frank Tate says:

    Stanley has had this for at least 5 years (I bought one within a month of them being available), and it’s awesome. Yes, you only use the twisty part for light duty, but there’s a LOT of that on almost every nut and/or bold.

  5. browndog77 says:

    I have 2 similar tools, one 1/4″ and one 3/8″, that I bought from an auto supply shop abiut 10 years ago. They have a folding “T” handle on the end that turns the ratchet gear via a shaft thru the handle. The brand is Skillcraft, made in Taiwan. They are a little over-sized compared to their normal ratchet counterparts, but still handy. Great for things like drain plugs and filters that need a little nudge at first but then spin easily. Also for that hard to reach spark plug every vehicle seems to have at least one of!

  6. Kyle Altendorf says:

    http://www.google.com/patents/US4528873

    Filed in 1983. Interestingly the inventor is listed as being in Taiwan. I remember hearing about this awhile back but I forget what the brand was.

    • browndog77 says:

      The wrench in that patent is not the same as the ones I have. I tried to find something on the web, but just wound up w/ dead-ends using the Skillcraft name.

  7. browndog77 says:

    Oops! I didn’t look far enough. This link is to an image of the wrench style I have:
    http://i301.photobucket.com/albums/nn48/kxxr/tools/popularmecrat.jpg

  8. As an aside… It’s interesting that they’re wrenching on a Polaris snowmobile. Polaris with that chassis did away with many nuts and bolts to hold the frame together and went with structural bonding instead to save weight. The parts are more or less glued/fused together.

  9. jesse says:

    This is just another version of a rotator ratchet, which have been around for many years under quite a few brand names. It’s kind of cool that ‘rotator’ is a palindrome word, which is spelled correctly whether you twist it backwards or forwards, like the Double Drive itself. LOL.

  10. Dan says:

    I have a stanley version I picked up a few years ago (it’s an 89-962)because I thought it was really neat. I’m always afraid I’ll bust my knuckles when using it so I just stick with my regular ratchet.

    I probably never would hurt myself because the turning of the handle takes way more torque than actually turning the wrench but it’s still scary to know the handle turns.

  11. Eric says:

    No thanks, If if need speed or to work in tight spaces I have air tools for that. I also agree with fearing getting hurt like the last poster, I don’t want a turning handle when I’m putting all my weight on a stuck bolt. And if I have to use a regular one first to break them bolt then I’m losing all the time I supposedly would save to swapping tools back and forth.

    • browndog77 says:

      FWIW, the version I have is designed so that the inner shaft (which I imagine would equate to the handle on the Stanley) does not ever turn freely like a ratchet does on the “backswing”. Don’t know about the Stanley, but I do know that if you are putting all your weight toward breaking a nut or bolt loose, a ratchet isn’t the right tool to begin with.

  12. SCWetherbee says:

    I don’t have air at my house, so it’s all by hand tools. I have the Stanley and have used it a few times when there was no room to swing, I never broke any fingers. The head is larger than a nicer conventional ratchet, and the ratchet teeth aren’t as fine, but I had to have that tool several times to get access to the bolt/nut.

  13. Chad says:

    Been using the Stanley version for quite some time — seem like kobalt likes to drum up ” new stuff ” every few months of tools that have been out there for some time !! its just a matter of marketing — look in the back ground and what he is working on — 4×4 truck frame and a snowmobile — if it were a stanley commercial it would prob be a mailbox and a kids bike its all in marketing — kobalt and lowes has the upper hand right now in marketing!!

  14. Mike says:

    Seems a bit gimmicky and my poor old brain would probably have fits wondering which way I was ratcheting. :) Sadly….the video is marked private so I can’t see it.

  15. Lee says:

    Please note, that Kobalt Double Drivers were introduced onto the market in 2011. Whereas, I am the actual proprietor of the technology, that I named dual-drive, with videos that were created and uploaded in 2006. The technology is not just limited to screwdrivers. I am campaigning for investors to assist with manufacturing costs, to launch other dual-drive products onto the market. Click on the following link to access my short video, that demonstrates several other useful products, that are operated more efficiently with my dual-drive tech. Consumers, who readily accepted the double drive screwdriver, are anticipated to readily accept other products, that are operated with the same tech.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1aA0d9Gij8&feature=youtu.be

    Kobalt is not the creator of this technology; I am.

    is not just limited to screwdrivers. I am the

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