SK Hand Tool is soon coming out with their new X-Frame ratcheting wrenches, which are so drastically different from others currently on the market that SK calls the design “revolutionary.”
The new SK X-Frame ratcheting wrenches feature a new box end design, as well as a new x-shaped handle. The new wrenches are said to provide “up to 5X more strength than ANSI spec.”
SK X-Frame ratcheting wrenches are similar in design to Gearwrench’s 120XP double pawl ratcheting wrench design, but take things to a whole nother level.
As an aside, check out the inside of Gearwrench’s 120XP ratchet!
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Traditional ratcheting wrenches are often of a single pawl design. The box end, whether 6pt or 12pt, has a single pawl that engages a main gear to create a strong, yet simple ratcheting mechanism.
With single pawl ratcheting wrenches, the pawl must shift at least one tooth over to ratchet. This means that the minimum swing arc is 360° divided by the number of teeth. There’s a limit as to how many teeth there can be. Too many small teeth, and pawl-gear engagement might suffer, resulting in lower strength.
SK X-Frame ratcheting wrenches have a 6-pawl ratcheting box end design. Yes, that’s right 6 pawls.
In an X-Frame box end, there are always two pawls engaged with the gearing at all times. The first pair of opposing pawls are engaged with the gear. The second pair of pawls are half-engaged. The third pair are disengaged. This creases a 3-stage ratcheting action.
When the wrench is rotated in the free-swinging direction, the pawls engage one pair at a time, creating 3 separate pawl engagement positions for each tooth.
72 teeth x 3 pawl stages per tooth = 216 positions. This leads to a 1.7° minimum swing arc.
And since there are two pawls always engaged, SK X-Frame ratcheting wrenches are also said to be quite strong. They don’t just meet ANSI strength standards, they exceed them by up to 5 times.
SK also sought to give the X-Frame wrenches a new look. But the X-Frame design isn’t just for looks – the new wider double beam arms help to distribute the load in higher torque applications.
SK X-Frame ratcheting wrenches also sport SK’s “SureGrip open end that grips fasteners on 4 sides. Other premium brands’ wrenches also offer anti-slip open end designs.
The new box end definitely looks like a fantastic idea, but there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, it looks like SK X-Frame ratcheting wrenches are non-reversing. This is a big downside for a lot of users. Personally, I greatly dislike non-reversing ratcheting wrenches, despite how they can often be made stronger than reversible ratcheting wrenches. I prefer reversible wrenches with a slight offset.
Second, the box end and open ends are beefed up. Yes, this means greater strength, but it also means greater width. The wider box end means that, in tight areas, you might not be able to swing an X-Frame wrench as far as you could with a narrow ratcheting wrench.
Third, all of SK’s promo materials only show 6pt ratcheting wrenches. A lot of users prefer 12pt, as it’s easier to get them onto fasteners in tight spaces. With 216 ratcheting positions, these wrenches should be easy to adjust and align to fasteners’ orientations, but many times this might mean an extra step.
Fourth, SK is producing their new wrenches in the USA. This was expected, but is good news nonetheless.
Keep in mind that strength and fine turning was the goal here. 6pt box ends are stronger than 12pt.
These wrenches are flashy-looking and highly appealing, but part of that is because they’re so different and new. Once the hype settles, I think that we’ll find that SK X-Frame ratcheting wrenches are the ideal wrenches for some users, but not for others.