Here’s another idea to add to the “Why didn’t someone think of this earlier?” file: the X-Beam. It’s a ratcheting combination wrench with a 90-degree twist in the center that lets you bear down on the wide flat side instead of the “knife-edged” side.
GearWrench’s marketing material says this increases the contact area with your hand by 500%, but anyone who’s wrenched on their car (or anything else) for more than a couple of hours won’t need numbers to recognize the benefit of this simple design change; It just doesn’t hurt as much.
The X-Beams are also up to 25% longer than standard combination wrenches, and (of course) their box-end includes the ratcheting mechanism that put GearWrench on the map.
We’ll bring you more about the X-Beam when we have the chance to really wail on one — the way you undoubtedly will when you use them — but in the meantime we can tell you that the early version we tried out feels great. Pushing on the flat side of the wrinch seems unusual, but is very comfortable and even natural. You’re gonna be able to push some pounds with it — serious pounds.
Look for the GearWrench on shelves at NAPA Auto Parts stores (and elsewhere) this October — just in time for Christmas shopping — in 5, 9, and 12 piece sets starting at $50 and topping around around $170.
X-Beam Wrenches [GearWrench]
Update: In the meantime, GearWrench is giving away 10 sets via an online-registration-type contest.