GearWrench Ratcheting Combination
by Rick K. for webBikeWorld.com
| Owner Comments Below
I had been
set of Craftsman ratcheting box-end wrenches for quite a while, thinking
they would come in awful handy when working on the confines of a
motorcycle. They were on my list, but Santa had other ideas.
So when a flyer came in the mail claiming that they
were on sale, I took a spin up to the local Sears store to take a
peek. Poking around on the shelves, I didn't see what I was
looking for, until a salesperson pointed to a set of "GearWrench"
ratcheting combination wrenches.
My eyes had passed right over
them, because they certainly didn't look like any Craftsman tools I had
seen before. I'm a big fan of the Craftsman products -- they're
readily available, have rarely failed me (if they do, the lifetime
warranty works), and the prices are always great.
But these were different; highly polished chrome plating, very thin and
stamped with the GearWrench logo, they just didn't look like they had
And they weren't like the Craftsman ratcheting combo
wrenches I was looking for, which I now realize are very industrial looking,
too thick, and
made of stampings rather than forgings.
But what really got my interest was the GearWrench display -- the 12 mm wrench from
the metric set was attached to a little plastic nut, and it yelled
"TRY IT" in big, bold letters. I was really amazed --
just a tiny movement clicks the ratchet and allows you to torque the
nut. I had never seen anything like this before.
The package claims that a standard box wrench needs 30 degrees of
movement to engage a nut; the GearWrench needs only 5 degrees.
Flip it over and you have reverse.
It struck me that these would
be worth their weight in Brembos in a
motorcycle workshop -- let's face it; we work in some pretty tight
spaces, and the ability to use a box end ratchet, much less one that
works with only 5 degrees of movement, would be a real time (and wrist)
The fact that these things are very thin is also a plus -- it
allows you to get in spaces where normal wrenches won't fit.
GearWrench also claims that the tools use a "Surface Drive"
box end, which, they claim, "virtually eliminates the rounding of
They say that by "moving the contact points
of the wrench back from the edge of the fastener, the area of flat
contact is expanded, distributing the load over a wider area".
Whatever, they seem to work great.
The GearWrench is available in metric and English sizes, in both
standard length and "stubby". Sears was having a
sale on the standard length sets for $39.95, so I grabbed one.
Even my wife was impressed! The metric set includes an 8, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15 and
18 mm sizes. The normal price is $49.95. The more I use them, the more I like them.
They're one of these things that comes along every once and a while
where you think "how in heck did I ever get along without
of the reasons I like to buy Craftsman tools is that they are
made in the good 'ol USA. But the Craftsman ratcheting wrench
(note: old style, before Sears started carrying GearWrench under
the Craftsman brand) is so bulky in comparison, there's no
contest. I wonder if the Sears tool engineers realized
this and just threw in the towel and decided to outsource?
After this review was written, Sears started carrying both the
brand wrenches and a very similar wrench, sold under the Craftsman label.
There may have been some confusion when the product was first released to the
market about where to send a GearWrench for a warranty claim; however, all
GearWrench wrenches carry a lifetime warranty.
Visitor "C.A." sent this information -
"The packaging for my GearWrench set
says: "LIFETIME WARRANTY: If this wrench when used for its intended
purpose, fails to give you complete satisfaction, we will at our
discretion, send you a free replacement of the same or similar item.
Questions, comments, or for more warranty information call toll free:
1-888-757-1812." Also on
the package: "The GearWrench is a precision tool and is not
intended to free frozen fasteners." At the bottom of the
package is the following: "Manufactured in Taiwan R.O.C. for
Danaher Tool Group Lancaster, PA 17604-3767 USA (c) 1999"
So far, the only thing that's been a disappointment is that they are
made in Taiwan. It's interesting that they don't say that on the tool
itself, only the packaging. They are distributed by the Danaher Tool Group in Lancaster,
Pennsylvania (now located in Hunt Valley, Maryland, just down the road a
piece from me!).
I did a bit of searching
on the web, and discovered that Danaher Tool Group is a pretty big
company that owns Armstrong Tools, Jacobs Chucks and others.
Armstrong's site has a section on geared wrenches, and the items shown
there look pretty much like the GearWrench product, except they're made
in the USA.
One last thing -- I have to admit that I haven't really used these tools
yet for "pouring on the torque", but for basic wrenching
they've worked great. NOTE: GearWrench wrenches are not
designed to apply the same type of torque loads as standard box-end
GearWrench wrenches come in very handy in tight situations, but
be aware that you should not apply heavy torque loads to the box end, or
you may risk breaking the mechanism. But there should be no
problem with just about any fastener on a motorcycle; a 6-point socket
may be a better choice than any type of box end wrench if the fastener
is over-tightened or frozen.
Review: GearWrench Ratcheting Combination
in: Taiwan for Danaher Tool Group
Retail Price: $49.95; occasionally on sale at
Sears for $39.95
|Sizes: Available in common metric and
English sizes; also available in "stubby" lengths.
Comments: Excellent quality, appearance and
feel; highly polished chrome; lightweight; thin; needs as little
as 5 degrees of sweep to move a fastener; lifetime warranty;
"meets or exceeds ANSI, DIN and U.S. Federal torque
specifications (is there such a thing?) for standard professional
review - GearWrench
Flex Head Wrenches | Sears now
carries Gearwrench | See
Below for comments from webBikeWorld visitors who have
purchased Gearwrench tools. If you have some comments on
these tools, please send them to me at
and I'll post them for others to see. |
Non-Craftsman Gearwrench Warranty and
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►Your Comments and
Please send comments to
Comments are ordered from most recent to oldest.
Not all comments will be published (details
). Comments may be edited for
clarity prior to publication.
From "C.S.": "I recently purchased two 10 piece
GearWrench Ratcheting Combination Wrench sets from Sears and the
packaging indicates that they were made in China. I find it a
little disturbing that the “Lifetime Warranty” logo on the packaging
shows stars and stripes implying that they were made in the USA. I
probably wouldn’t have bought them, opting for the Craftsman instead,
but they were on sale at 50% off.
I too wouldn’t try to break a stuck fastener with them (it tells you not
to on the packaging) opting instead for a regular wrench or flex
handle/socket for that. However, these are decent wrenches and
will do their job in tight areas if used as intended. The warranty
info says that Sears will exchange for same or similar."
From Larry Adams, VP
of Sales for GearWrench: "Rick- great to read all the positive comments about our GearWrench.
Just to clear the record this product was first designed and manufactured by our company in Taiwan.
We worked on the product for over two years getting the torque strength close to that of a standard non-ratcheting box wrench.
We are very happy with our success.
The Craftsman product, also manufactured by Danaher, is a great tool but came second -this time!
We now offer at Sears and other outlets standard styles, offset reversible models, stubby models and the new Flex-head
GearWrench - I think the best of all - great for work on the Harley!
GearWrench has been bought now for 7 years by serious users.
We stand by our warranty and hope that if your readers have quality issues that they will let us replace the product.
This also allows us to see what went wrong and continue to improve our product.
Thanks to all of your readers for giving GearWrench a try! - Larry Adams V.P. Sales
From "C.A.": "Thank you very
much for your review of GearWrench ratcheting combination
wrenches! After looking at both the Craftsman Reversible
Ratcheting wrenches and the GearWrenches at my local Sears store,
I decided to purchase the GearWrench. My decision was
largely driven by price, which at that time was $120 for the 7pc
Craftsman set versus $50 for the 7pc GearWrench set.
price for the 7pc Craftsman set is inconsistent -- it's either $80
or $120, depending on where you look). Even though they're
made in Taiwan the GearWrenches have a lifetime warranty, so I
figured at that price I didn't need the reversing switch.
Also, the Craftsman wrenches are made in the USA but they're
clearly the same design, so any quality advantage of the Craftsman
is limited to materials and/or fabrication.
I don't abuse my tools and I've
used the GearWrenches only a few times (never to free frozen
fasteners), but I've been very happy with them so far. Also,
the reversible ratcheting wrenches are now available under the
GearWrench name, which I found along with a great deal of other
information on GearWrenches at K-D Tools."
From "J.C.": "Hello Rick, I was
reading your web page about Gearwrench ratchet wrenches. I have
had the severe misfortune of purchasing these wrenches. I have
them in metric, they have proven to be nothing but junk. They
break easy when torque is applied. I have only had them less than
2 weeks and 4 of the 7 broke. I was shocked to read that others
find these wrenches to be so great. I depend on my tools every day
for work. These wrenches have left me down 4 times to many.
I know that these wrenches have a lifetime guarantee I do not know
if I want to keep them. Who is to say that if the company
stands behind them that they will not break immediately again. I
was so angry about these wrenches breaking that I have not
contacted the company about replacing them. Truthfully I am not so
sure that I want to do that. Or throw them in the trash can where
they so justly belong. I can not nor will not recommend these
tools to anyone, get the Craftsman. Then you know you got a
Sorry to hear about your Gearwrench problem. I wouldn't apply heavy torque
loads to the ratcheting end of the Gearwrench, just as I wouldn't apply
heavy torque loads to a ratchet/socket combination -- I'd use a breaker
bar instead if necessary.
ratcheting action sure comes in handy in tight situations.
never had to apply so much torque to a wrench that it broke. Since
Sears now carries the Gearwrench under the Craftsman brand, you're
suggestion is a good one -- buy only the Craftsman branded Gearwrench so
that if it breaks you can bring it back. However, note that the
Craftsman name doesn't necessarily mean good quality -- I've had loads of
problems with Craftsman torque wrenches, and found out that they are
NOT guaranteed for life! Bottom line: caveat emptor!
From "M.K.": "During the recent
2002 Christmas season, I was browsing a local Ace Hardware and
found a set of Gear Wrenches on sale for $49.99. I've owned
an eight piece set of these wrenches for quite some time and have
been pleased with their performance.
Even though I have my
original set, I was astounded when I spotted the Gear Wrench set
pictured here. It not only included six wrenches but nine
3/8 inch sockets, eight 1/2 inch sockets, 6 metric Allen heads, 4
SAE Allen heads, 6 Torx heads, the Gear Wrench ratchet adapters in
both 3/8 and 1/2 inch, a swivel extension and 6 screwdriver
bits! All in a carry case for only $49.99. What a
find! I took the new purchase on a trip down to Southern
California and fortunately or unfortunately, needed the
tools. Working on the side of the road is never fun, but at
least with good daylight and a great set of tools, it made the job
much easier. I love Gear Wrenches and would recommend them
From "N.T.": "I have a set of
the standard Gearwrenches. I mainly use them to work on my
Harley-Davidson, but have used them on other things as well.
They are very handy for very tight spaces and they look sharp
too. My only two complaints are that they are made in Taiwan
and the forward/reverse switch gets accidentally bumped
Editor's Reply: Apparently,
there are several different types of GearWrench products out there.
The set I purchased a while back when they first came out does not have
the lever to allow reversing the ratchet -- I have to flip mine over to
reverse. Mine were made in Taiwan also. I have also noticed
that Sears now carries a GearWrench product made in the U.S.A.
guessing that the product was originally designed in the U.S. by Armstrong
tools or one of their subsidiary companies. They probably outsourced
it to Taiwan, but their website always listed other GearWrench products
made in the U.S.A. A bit confusing, I guess, but anyway the
product is now available at Sears and is labeled "Made in U.S.A."
From "D.C.": "We bought a set of
these wrenches for my Dad. He is a Journeyman
Electrician. He said he has pushed them hard and has had no
problems with them, he uses them every day. Just thought you
would like to know!"