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A friend of mine called me today having recently seen Skil’s Power Wrench (pictured) on QVC. Her question: Is it good for anything around the house? Sadly I don’t have a good answer. My father had an old Black & Decker model that looked sorta similar back in the early ’90s and it was pretty worthless. But then again, battery — and small device — technology has come a long way since then. Has it improved this tool type?

If you have some experience with this model (or these tools in general) I’d love to hear about it in comments. And if you have one, don’t forget to tell us what you do with it!

Skil Power Wrench [QVC]

 

18 Responses to Reader Question: How’s The Skil Power Wrench?

  1. KMR says:

    Lowes has these for $29.95, current price.

    I seriously thought about putting one of these on my Christmas list, but quickly decided against it when I found out the maximum quoted tightening torque was only with the tool in manual mode (AKA, you do the work by hand to achieve that torque). In the auto wrench mode, it can only muster about 6 ft lbs of tightening torque. That isn’t much at all.

    In my research about this tool I also discovered they have a pretty high failure rate. Works fine one day, three months later totally dead. Other people report that thier wrench has been working great for as long as they have had it.

    The air powered ratchet wrenches we have in the shop have tightening torques of about 50ftlbs. I would think for home owner use, a small compressor would be a worthwhile addition anyway (car tires, bike tires, inflatable toys, other small tools). And then a cheapo air ratchet wrench for $20 would make a great combo. But then again, chicks don’t like noisey tools and air tools are definitely noisey.

  2. Rusty says:

    I can’t really imagine what it’s for. If you’d use it in the shop, I’d rather have a real drill and/or an air-powered wrench. If it’s for around the house, I’d have to question how useful the “powered” aspect of it is. I have a bunch of socket wrenches, they work fine and I don’t mind the manual labor the 5 times a year I have to tighten or loosen a bolt.

  3. George says:

    Sears had a recall from Black&Decker for this tool earlier in the year. Hope they have made some improvements.

  4. JB says:

    One of the mechanics I work with seems to like it for trim and other small work. I have never used it but the guy has had it for a year and I’ve seen it in his hand at least once a day.

  5. Frank says:

    I think it’s a great tool. I have one in my house and one in my workshop. I use it for anything light-duty that I need. And the fact that you can use it as a ratchet once the torque gets to high is great.

  6. sideshow says:

    It is junk. These have very little torque and there are much better tools out there for the price. I bought one and returned it the same day after trying it out.

  7. Zathrus says:

    Of course, there’s the obvious point that if it’s being sold on QVC, just how good could it possibly be?

    These were being sold at HD & Lowe’s last year after Christmas for as little as $20.

  8. rjerryc says:

    HD had ’em for $12 in my neck of the woods a couple of months back. I wasted $12 to find out that they were pure junk. Maybe adequate for a 6 year old kid to play with. I was too embarrassed to offer it to anyone when I decided it was a waste of space so I silently and stealthily dropped it into my garbage can so nobody would know I had been “suckered”.

  9. Brau says:

    I’ve had two given to me over the years. These tools do not torque, except manually, so I have found little use for them aside from spinning in a long bolt where hands or a ratchet don’t have much room. Their wide body also restricts the amount of back and forth room in tight spaces. Hence, they sit and do not get used.

  10. Paul Lapczynski says:

    I have one of these and find it useful in the correct situations. It sounds like there has already been a few negative comments on this wrench. Here are some positives I see, you just have to remember this is a light duty tool.

    1. The wrench has enough torque that I cannot stop it from spinning with a half inch socket in it. The motor does slow a bit. This would make me think that it would provide a stronger than finger tight assembly.
    2. With the motor the wrench puts out 75 ( 6.25 ft) inch pounds with the motor and the manual ratchet can handle 400 inch (33 1/3 ft) pounds. To put this in perspective I just replaced my clutch in me truck, the pressure plate to flywheel was 20 ft lbs and flywheel to crank was 75 ft lbs.
    3. The wrench is perfect at the assembly of projects with new components. You know the type with lots of nuts and bolts. I am going to assemble a garage door and rails very soon, this won’t drive the lag bolts, but should be useful in most other applications with the assembly.
    4. It’s 90 degrees! I know it’s not a drill, but I have the hex drill bits and this would work in a pinch if you didn’t have a 90 degree drill. It won’t run a hole saw, but could handle smaller jobs. It will also get this those fasteners that you cannot get to with a normal drill by using ratchet or screwdriver bits.
    5. This has happened to me several times with air ratchets, both 1/4” and 3/8”. Disassembly with the air tools is great, but I have snapped off bolts using an air ratchet to assemble if I didn’t have the air pressure dialed down. This ratchet won’t do that.
    6. Lithium ion battery has a long shelf/usage life.
    7. If you break lose fasteners first and the fastener is not rusted or corroded it will handle the tedious ratcheting. Good for that spaces where your normal ratchet only has a few degrees of movement.

  11. Mike lee says:

    I brought one for $20. Being a toolmonger, I couldn’t turn it down. I would never pay $59 for a light duty ratchet.

  12. ToolMax says:

    I bought the Skil power wrench after Christmas and I was pleasantly suprised at the power it packs in that little frame. It has sufficient power to do 90% of the work you need it to do & when it is too tough for it, you can simply turn it with your own strength a couple of turns, then go back to using the power wrench. I really like it and find myself using it all the time.

  13. Zathrus says:

    On the off chance that anyone wants one, you can get it today ONLY (March 2, 2009) from woot.com for 17.99. They sell one thing a day, only for one day. You can buy up to 3 with a flat $5 shipping charge.

    Whether or not it’s worth it is up to you.

  14. manny bustos says:

    This ratchet is ok is stock mode .If you can solder then you can remove the what i call the tuque lock and make it great.I use this everyday and it may not have the 50 ft lbs a a one but if you work in the field and dont want to lug a compressor and hose and listen to the noise this will work great once you modify it and use it properly.

  15. Tony M. says:

    Got it as part of drill-wrench combo sale at 29$.
    Love the drill(screw driver) for all-around the house daily lite fix needs but wondered about this till I had to replace a dishwasher.
    To loose and tighten hex-head screws often found in appliances (usually placed in awkward and tight spot), this wrench was a life-saver!

  16. I am looking to purchase one of these tools pictured above. Can you advise where one can be found. Preferable new.
    Thanks

  17. I would lome to purchased one of the skil power wrench, preferable a new one. Do you have a suggestion where I might find one.
    Sterling

  18. Finetexan says:

    I am a woman. I had/have one but it is no longer able to be charged for what ever reason (the charger or wrench failure). I loved this wrench and want another one or this one fixed. It does get into spaces nothing else will fit into and at awkward angles. It fits my hand perfectly and is not awkward or heavy. I used mine to put a metall roof on my patio room. I used screws with washers to attach it to 2x4s and 1x4s. Other uses also. I really miss it as it was my go to tool. It lasted several years and I want another one!!

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