GearWrench: Worth the money?

There are many, many tools that I have to use each day, ranging from a full complement of ratchets, wrenches, extensions, screwdrivers, pliers, picks, hammers, drills, and specialty tools of seemingly every shape and size.  There are generally two schools of thought when it comes to buying tools: One says to buy cheapo tools and just replace them as needed–that way you aren’t angry if they get lost or broken, and hey, Snap-On tools are sometimes exorbitantly priced–and the other school says that the more you invest in the quality of the tools you make your living on, the less you’ll have to spend on replacing those crappy tools.

I tend to believe that there is a “best-fit” situation for everyone.  For example, I spent fifty bucks on a pair of Snap-On wire cutters, and one day, they disappeared.  I’m still irritated by that, because not only am I out fifty bucks, now I have to find a Snap-On truck in order to replace them.  (Snap-On does not sell their tools at Sears, the way Craftsman does.)  For me, it works out best when I have a few good pairs of pliers and screwdrivers, and a bunch of cheapie ones to beat on, if the job calls for it–the ones you don’t mind sacrificing to get the job done, if you have to.

One thing I will not compromise on is my wrenches.  The wrench is the single most basic hand tool that a mechanic can use, and high-quality wrenches are a necessity, in my humble opinion.  Up until about ten or twelve years ago, Snap-On and Craftsman were neck-and-neck in the wrench arena.  Then, GearWrenches came out.

The GearWrenches I have are combination open-end/ box-end wrenches, and they’ve put a very smart ratcheting mechanism inside the box end of the wrench.  

They have box ends that swivel, double box-ends (many times called “Dog Bones”) with different sizes on each side, and they’re reversible with the flip of the wrench, or the flip of a little lever with your thumb.  They have basic sizes in SAE and metric, and if you want bigger wrenches for bigger jobs, they have “finisher” sets of four wrenches each that will complete your arsenal of sizes.  They also make short wrenches (called “Stubbies”), and they make them with flexible box ends for those nuts and bolts that require more than a simple, straight-line-of-sight twist.

These wrenches are not cheap (largely why I ask for them for Christmas–ha!), but even if I bought them myself, they are one hundred percent worth the money.  I have combination wrenches, Dog Bones, “S”-shaped Dog Bones, and Stubbies, and let me tell you–I have literally made my entire maintenance career on these wrenches. I might buy a couple of  specialty wrenches from Craftsman or Snap-On if I really need to–GearWrench doesn’t (yet) make wrenches that are smaller than a quarter inch, so I usually rely on my pack of tiny Craftsmans when the time comes–but neither Craftsman nor Snap-On (or Husky, or Mac, or anyone else) can hold a candle to the GearWrench design.  They’re well-designed, they last, and they look great, too.  They polish up really nicely.  As an added bonus, Sears does in fact carry them, and while their wrench sets can be pricey, I got my set of Stubbies for literally half-off because I happened to walk in there on Father’s Day weekend.  The thirty bucks I spent on those wrenches have made me far more than that in paychecks, and saved me from having to ask other guys in the hangar to borrow theirs.

Bottom line:  Are GearWrenches worth the money?  I’d say yes.  In fact, I’d stake my entire career on it. *wink*

  1. There are many, many tools that I have to use each day, ranging from a full …

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