The automotive aftermarket is chock-full of innovating companies. But for something as old as hand tools, innovation or improvement are few and minor. Quality materials and built to last, most certainly, but as the old saying goes; “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Well, when we stopped by the GEARWRENCH Tools booth at the 2022 SEMA Show, we were pleased to see a totally different approach to crafting quality hand tools.
I first got my hands on a set of handy GEARWRENCH ratcheting wrenches as a Christmas gift from my gearhead father probably twenty years ago. I immediately became a fan because it made for easy work. Since then, they have continued to evolve common hand tools to make them more useful, and more importantly, easier to use. Apex Tools, the parent company of GEARWRENCH, actively pursues and facilitates innovation through its Inventor Connect hub. Some of these include breakthroughs focused on pass-thru tools, sockets, screw/nut drivers, pliers, and specialty tools.
Back in the SEMA booth, the GEARWRENCH PitStop mobile product demo and display tour rig was all set up showcasing nearly 5,000 hand tools. The large space was completely packed with show attendees and even had a Ford Mustang getting a complete RTR makeover, using GEARWRENCH tools of course.
Tool Specialist Bob Fohl enthusiastically walked us around the fresh new products that they were excited about and we were pumped to see. The highlights include their Bolt Biter Sockets and Screw Extractors, a new and improved Torque Wrench, 120-tooth flexible-head ratchets, and of course the famous ratchet wrenches.
GEARWRENCH Bolt Biter Sockets
These Bolt Biter Sockets extraction tools can get you out of a serious jam. After consulting with professional mechanics and industrial technicians, GEARWRENCH went to the drawing board to redefine the traditional extraction socket. Bolt Biter extraction sockets grip instead of cut into fasteners. Because of this, they don’t wear and nothing will get jammed in the socket. And, they last ten times longer than traditional extraction sockets even when used with an impact gun. They can both loosen and tighten and even have “minus-sizes” designed for severely worn fasteners and come with a lifetime warranty.
GEARWRENCH offers these as individual sockets and in a variety of kits. The 31 Piece 3/8″ Drive 90T Ratchet and Bolt Biter Socket Set MM/SAE with EVA Foam Tray and the 16 Piece Bolt Biter Nut Extractor & Driver Set are definitely calling my name.
GEARWRENCH Bolt Biter Screw Extractors
The revolutionary Bolt Biter Screw Extractors were recently named a 2022 Pro Tool Innovation Award winner. The main magic here is the patented tapered sides which allow the tool to sit easily into damaged screws, while the side- and tip-cutting edges provide powerful and consistent extraction. These are available as a 10 Piece. Bolt Biter™ Screw Extractor Set with drill bits or as 4 Piece Bolt Biter™ Screw Extractors only and no drill bits. They can be used with a ratchet, wrench, or power tool.
GEARWRENCH Torque Wrench
There are no doubt tons of specialized and quality torque tools on the market. And GEARWRENCH Torque Products number in the multitudes. But going back to the old basic adjustable micrometer torque wrench, what can be done to make one of these better? GEARWRENCH sorted this out with several featured improvements. These include high visibility engraving, all metal construction, gnarled handle, 1-finger adjustability, nub base plate, 60-gear head, and dual paw for finite controls. This 1/2-Drive 120XP™ Flex Head Micrometer Torque Wrench for 30-250 ft/lbs looks just about right for all my needs.
GEARWRENCH Push Button Locking Flex-Head Ratchets
GEARWRENCH has many flexible-head ratcheting tools in the catalog. But they were not totally satisfied and understood there was more to be had. After a year of stressing design improvements, GEARWRENCH came out with a push-button locking flex-head. This simple feature locks the head into the user’s desired position eliminating the chance of the ratchet head sloppily falling out of position. These puppies come in 120-tooth and 90-tooth variations and all the standard drives, lengths, and handle options one is accustomed to.
GEARWRENCH Ratchet Wrenches
How does GEARWRENCH improve on something that they already improved on? By simply re-engineering their current technical standards into their original hero ratcheting wrench products. When they were first brought to market, the original design featured a 72-tooth ratchet. The new design presents a count of 90 teeth which is a drastic improvement in usability in precarious and tight spaces. It looks like these are also available in 120Xp and Flex-Head versions as well. Coming in January 2023, GEARWRENCH will release their 90-tooth reversible ratchet wrenches.
I think this 16 Piece 90-Tooth 12 Point Flex Head Ratcheting Combination Metric Wrench Set is calling my name.
GEARWRENCH PITBULL Pliers
One thing I did not see in the booth but was on my mind was the GEARWRENCH PITBULL Pliers. Having heard about them, I was curious what innovations could be implemented to a set of pliers. I sought out some information and they look impressive. I hope to get hands-on and try some of these out in the near future.
The complete range of 38 individual products and six set options ensures the right pliers for any job.
GEARWRENCH PITBULL AutoBite™ pliers feature one-handed automatic gripping action for work in tight spaces, while Pitbull Tongue and Groove pliers have a K9™ jaw that bites hard, even at an angle. Pitbull cutting pliers deliver 35% less force needed to cut and 50% longer blade life. With AutoBite pliers, mechanics get a true one-handed automatic adjustment with a slim design for work in hard-to-reach spaces. The patented lever fit the jaws around any object, gripping tightly for maximum turning power.
This 6 Piece Dual Material Mixed Plier Set would be my ideal set of pliers.
SEMA 2022: GEARWRENCH Leveled Up With Distinct Quality Hand Tools
After looking at various tools Bob shared with me, I got to poking around on the GEARWRENCH Website. That was a hasty decision on my part because after pouring through the highly desirable tools sets and tool storage systems, the only family members of mine getting any Christmas gifts this year is yours truly.