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I’m sorting through my excess handtools and found both a Sidewinder ratchet wrench and a Squeeze ratchet wrench that I clearly have never used. We covered the Squeeze wrench back in 2007 and reactions were mixed.

While I like the idea of these tools, the reality is that I never remember I have them when they might be useful, and I certainly can do well enough without them using standard ratchet wrenches and extensions. So the question is, are these gimmicky wrenches worth it or just another hunk of steel taking up space in your stuffed toolbox? Hot or Not?

Bonus question: Are there any other specialty ratchet wrenches that are invaluable to you?

 

9 Responses to Hot or Not? Gimmicky Ratchet Wrenches

  1. KMR says:

    Why can’t someone make a Sidewinder style ratchet but with a 1/4″ drive at the handle end. This way I can use it as a regular ratchet without looking stupid, and if needed to get to those odd angles, I can add my 1/4″ drive ratchet in place of their built-in handle.

    It’d be cheaper to produce too!

  2. _Jon says:

    My Snap-On spark plug socket driver is priceless to me. After I have broken the bolt / nut loose, I pivot it to spin more like an off-set screwdriver. It also has a toggle type direction, so I can flip it with a single finger or thumb, for those (many!) times where it is set in the wrong direction.

  3. dogfriend says:

    I have one of these:

    http://www.stanleytools.com/default.asp?CATEGORY=SMT+RATCHET+OTHER&TYPE=PRODUCT&PARTNUMBER=89-962&SDesc=3%2F8%26%2334%3B+Drive+Rotator+Ratchet

    and it works well. I use it more often than any of my other ratchets. It works like a regular ratchet, but you can twist the handle and it will turn also – great when you can’t swing it normally.

  4. Mike lee says:

    Hot, I brought a sidewinder year ago and it came in handy when I had to remove spark plugs. These days you need all the gadgets ratchets to remove spark plugs, especically on V-8’s. I just brought the Black and Decker model, which you just spin the handle to turn the socket. I haven’t use it yet, but If you use it one time on removing a spark plug; it will pay for itself.

  5. Jim K. says:

    I’d second the Snap-On spark plug socket vote. I’ve had one for awhile and it’s proven itself invaluable.

  6. ega278 says:

    The Stanley Rotator ratchet has become my favorite. I have a half dozen or so various “specialty” 3/8″ ratchets for those “just in case” situations. One with an extendable handle for more leverage when you need it, flex-head/handle ratchet for fitting into any odd place, an offset long handled flex-head ratchet, stubby flex-head ratchet, thin profile ratchet for more clearance.

    The rotator has a much thicker head, but because I can twist the handle back and forth to speed removal once the fastener gets loose enough is the main reason why I always grab it first now.

    I say HOT!

  7. Joe says:

    MSC Industrial carried this rather gadgety tool in for severl years in its catalog, but apparently no longer.

    Grainger has offered this Westward brand crank ratchet for a number of years: http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/items/3VA95. The hinged crank portion is normally stored in the handle, but when you want to use the crank, you just pull it out. This Asian tool has been sold by a number of companies, including Harbor Freight.

    Can someone provide a link to this Snap-on socket tool?

  8. dennis j says:

    Mine was taken in an unguarded moment–my neighborhood isn’t the best so whatever isn’t screwed down tends to go South. I Google imaged it and poof!! there it is. Snap-on, Harbor Freight, I now know it’s a Sidewinder ratchet and once you use one it it will be your favorite HOT tool.

  9. RYAN says:

    They do make a 1/4 sidewinder wrench. I had one stolen. It took the internet to find another, and the price was very high. I will say the 1/4 drive sidewinder is awesome for getting at hose clamps which are just out of reach. That is why I make sure I have one, and I remember I have it. I rarely use the 3/8 drive one. It’s heavy, bulky etc. Also the ratchet mechanism could be a LOT better. But it’s something that only gets occasional use.

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