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Many, MANY years ago, I happened to be driving through Albuquerque just as a new Snap-On store was having its grand opening. I, of course, stopped in and bought my first and, until now, my only Snap-On tool: the pistol-grip ratcheting screwdriver shown on the right above (I was young then, and probably attracted by the bright color). I don’t remember how much I paid for it; I was just happy to have a real Snap-On tool, and a neat ratcheting screwdriver to boot.

Recently I found that its ratcheting mechanism would not stay in one position no matter how much I fiddled with it, so I emailed Snap-On support to see if there was something (adjustment, lube…) I could do to fix it. Snap-On quickly replied that there was nothing to do once it doesn’t stay in gear, but, if I would give them my address, they would send me a replacement.

A week or so later, the “replacement,” shown on the left above, arrived. It’s a ratcheting screwdriver with a 5-position handle (0°, 30° left and right, and 60° left and right). It came with two bits, and can store up to seven bits in its handle. The removable hex shank is a standard 1/4″ square drive.

So now I have two Snap-On tools — one of which doesn’t always ratchet so well — and I’m quite impressed with their service. I probably won’t be rushing out to buy any more Snap-On goodies soon, but it’s nice to know that if I do and it breaks, they seem willing to make it right.

What experiences with Snap-On tools have other Toolmongers had? Is my case typical?

[Manufacturer’s Site]

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15 Responses to Snap-On Kudos

  1. BigEdJr says:

    Question: How often do you actually use the ratchetting action? I had one like this, non-Snappy brand, but never really use it. If it’s going to take more than a few turns I usually grab the makita…

  2. David Bryan says:

    I bought the same screwdriver at the same store a while back. I don’t think They were open very long, but it doesn’t seem like it was many, MANY years ago. It’s all relative, ain’t it? I always thought the ratchet was a little stiff on mine, but I liked it just fine. Somebody’s got it borrowed out right now. I remember they had some pliers like the Utica bent-handle slip joints, I forget what the number is, for a while. Until I made my mind up to buy a pair.

  3. Gordon DeWitte says:

    @ David

    MANY years is relative. In my case, it was when we were living in Los Alamos (White Rock, actually), and that was late 70s/early 80s, a mere 25–30 years ago. Seems like just yesterday…

  4. David Bryan says:

    That’s what I mean, Gordon. Time sure does fly, don’t it?

  5. fritz gorbach says:

    Snap on ratcheting screwdrivers are one of the best tools going. I have most every model I have ever seen, but the newer style with the interchangeable shaf is very useful. Got one (at least) for each toolbag and a couple for the shop…oh and I give them as gifts, and people are always happy.

    Be careful – Craftsman and Gearwrench both sell what look to be the same exact screwdriver, and I bought a couple of the gearwrench sets, and the action as not nearly so smooth, and I guess the teeth aren’t as fine, and overall they just feel sloppy in comparison. The gearwrench sets though come with a nice assortment of shafts which will fit in to the snapon handle, and the hole set is less than one snap on shaft, so it’s a nice way to get some extra pieces. Gearwrench also makes nutdriver ends in standard and metric which fit in the same ratchet handles, and i use these quite a bit.

    And Ed – I use the ratcheting feature all the time. I find in much of the work I do I either just plain cant fit a screwgun, even a small one, or I do not want to lose the sensitivity offered by a screwdriver over a power tool.

  6. roger rainey says:

    did they know you were from Toolmonger?

  7. george says:

    being a mech my box was all most all snap on and mac. well worth the price. almost all tools are lifetime and no questions asked. i had one of the ones shown and two of the regular ratcheting sd. just wished i had them years earlier. not all things can be done with a elect driver. maybe overkill if used only a couple of times. but those tools should be considered a lifetime investment. that makes them affordable.

  8. Philip Roberts says:

    While I’ve not had the opportunity to use it my self (I don’t have any Snap-On tools key) my understanding is that if you take ANY broken snap on tool to ANY snap on truck they WILL replace it on the spot. It doesn’t matter the condition, age, if you were using it commercially, …. I’ve got a Friend who shops eBay for Snap-On tools and even if they are trashed he just has them exchanged when the truck rolls by.

  9. David Bryan says:

    Philip, a man who sells an awful lot of tools told me that you probably won’t get a warranty replacement on Snap-on tools with the “v” marking. I’ve also heard that about “e”, “g”, and “m” markings, and I’ve heard of a “Not Guar” marking. And they probably won’t replace what they can fix on the truck.

  10. john says:

    That is standard Snap On customer service. I can take any tool in any condition to them on the Snap On truck and it is replaced, no questions asked. I have used the same pair of side cutters for 7 years and just turned them in for a new pair because the old ones stopped cutting wire. I don’t even mess with Craftsman anymore. Especially since Snap On comes to me and the people in Sears don’t know anything about tools.

  11. Gordon DeWitte says:

    @ Roger Rainey

    I never mentioned my connection to Toolmonger to them, but I suppose, with a minute or two on Google, they could have figured it out. However, based on some of the other replies here, it looks like Snap-On does have a good replacement policy.

  12. James says:

    I’ve always prefered Stahlwille over Snap-On, but I’ve never been able to fault Snap-On for customer service. Your experience is par for the course.

  13. Doctorjohnr says:

    Is there any way to buy a snap-on tool if you are not a pro? How do they know if you are a pro or not?

  14. Pete says:

    @ Doctorjohnr

    You can Buy all the Snap-on tools you want (Pro or Not) off their website and the shipping is free for orders under $500.

    http://www.snapon.com/

  15. zoomzoomjeff says:

    Wow, I didn’t know that! Too bad if you’re not a pro though, you’d have a really tough time with repair or replacements. I’d go Snap-On, et al b/c I’m absolutely fed up with Crapsman tools.

    Other than a basic combination wrench, something breaks, and when I go back to exchange it, I catch all hell from the store manager about the validity of it breaking. “Lifetime Warranty” is pretty simple to me, but those days are gone with Craftsman.

    Now I buy SK, Snap-On, and anything else that will definitely last a long time without me having to be hassled about replacement. It’s just a lot tougher for me to get them serviced if they ever do break.

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