Facom – a European brand owned by Stanley Black & Decker – has come out with three new 1/2″ extendable ratchets. The new SXL ratchets were mainly designed for industrial maintenance and repair applications, and optimal versatility, ergonomics, user comfort, and safety in mind.
The new Facom ratchets can be extended when longer reach and higher torque is needed, or shortened for easier storage and quick fastening applications.
There are three extendable ratchet models, all with 1/2″ square drives:
- SXL.161 ratchet with sealed head and 72-tooth gearing
- SXL.171 flex-head ratchet with quick-release socket retention mechanism
- SXL.180 jointed handle breaker bar
The three ratchets – or rather the two ratchets and the one breaker bar – all have the same comfort-grip handles and shaft locking mechanism. To set the handle length, pull the locking collar backwards and the shaft forward. There are 8 ball detent locking positions. With the SXL.161 ratchet, this means length can be adjusted from about 10.6″ to 16″. The flex-head ratchet is a little longer (~12″ to 17.2″), and the breaker bar a little shorter (~9.7″ to ~15″).
There are also two socket sets available – SXL.DBOX1 with a fixed-head ratchet, and SXL.DBOX3 with a flex-head ratchet.
Buy Now(via Ultimate Garage)
More Info(via Facom)
Aside from the high pricing ($98 for the fixed-head ratchet and $90 for the breaker bar via Ultimate Garage), I find the new ratchets to be appealing. Extendable ratchets can be awfully gimmicky, but it looks like Facom put a lot of thought and engineering into getting these just right.
To be frank, I find myself a little too optimistic about these ratchets, which is probably due to the Facom branding. I own a number of Facom tools and really like them, and that could be clouding my judgement.
Some of the extendable ratchets I’ve seen before include the Kobalt Double Drive ratchet, the Craftsman Mach ratchet, and Craftsman dual-head wobble ratchet. Unlike these models, the Facom SXL ratchets are aimed at industrial users, not consumers and holiday gift givers.
There are a number of other inexpensive extendable ratchets available by other brands, including a Stanley 3/8″ flex-head ratchet and socket set ($28 via Amazon). The fact that I find the Facom more appealing over the other brands’ offerings that I hadn’t paid much attention to before is what suggests I was lured in by the Facom branding.
My hesitation about these ratchets would center around the stout-looking handles and the high pricing. If the breaker bar were a little longer and less expensive, it would be a great addition to any toolbox. The fixed head and flex-head ratchets look like they would be much better suited for technician or field tool kits.
Right now, these SXL ratchets are only available in 1/2″ drive size, with no indication that Facom will release anything similar in 1/4″ or 3/8″ sizes.
Stuart, I was intrigued by the box and found this video with English subtitles. Seems to be the same box with a standard ratchet:
It’s not quite the same. Both of the SXL socket sets come with 6pt sockets. The ones in the video you linked to has 12pt sockets.
Facom socket sets are appealing, but very pricey. And also available with metric and not fractional sockets. I do like the case designs, where you can scan the outside and instantly know whether a tool is missing or not.
Hey Stuart, the picture in the center looks either hollow or like it has another square recessed in the back of the head. Or am I seeing things?
That’s the quick release button. It’s dark colored, making it look like a recess, but it’s not.
I noticed that most of the Southwire tools disappeared from my local Lowes. Are they switching brands again?
I really don’t know. Nobody at Lowes made announcements when they first replaced most Channellock, Greenlee, Ideal, and Knipex tools with Southwire products. If they’re changing things up again, we’ll only know once readers from around the country start reporting in with their observations.
I was just in my local Lowes today and they had a well-stocked display of Southwire electrician’s tools – plus a separate display of Southwire screwdrivers and nutdrivers
Harbor freight has the same thing.
a ratchet with a 1/4″ drive on one side and a 5/8″ drive on the other side which is ALSO extendable for usually 7.99-9.99
and they have one which comes in a 1/2″ drive that is also extendable.
I have a set along with another co-worked and a set for the shop and we’ve put them thru heavy use with TONS of pressure on them trying to loosen various bolts, lug nuts and I swear by them. Not to mention they are from their PRO line which mean I can get a free replacement if it ever breaks as long as they still make the tool.
I’ve got the same extendable 1/2″ ratchet, but haven’t used it yet. I also have, and used a lot, the thin long-ish flex ratchet with 3/8 on one end and 1/4 on the other. A lot of professional techs poke fun at HF and the poor guys like me that can’t afford a $100 ratchet, but most of what I buy there works for me in my driveway.
The lifetime warranty is fine, but as you say, as long as they still have one maybe 2, 5, 10… whatever, years from now.
Facom is good stuff but expensive, I have been very happy with the few Facom items I own, but that’s only a couple of torx drivers and a set of 511 locking pliers. I don’t think these extending ratchets would be for me because I prefer a lower tooth count but possibly more robust design in a long ratchet.
Are the ratchets made in France?
I still find the European obsession with 1/2 drive a bit confusing.
I like the way the extension forms the handle for the carrying case. I wish Stanley would offer more Facom tools in the US.
its made by USAG in italy (as they say…)
$98 for a gimmick ratchet is crazy. Facom makes some cool stuff, but they have a pricing problem. Their products seem to be aimed at rich snobs that won’t even use the tools that much, if at all, and care more about the aesthetics than how functional it is.
Does it have an application? Sure. I can see where a set like that would be really handy to have as part of a tool set to keep in a vehicle. Even better would be a similar set and container for the 3/8 and 1/4 drive sizes, and a tool box or bag to put them in.
“Rich snobs?” That’s a bit unfairly judgemental. European mechanics tools tend to be pricey. Many brands aren’t extensively distributed throughout the USA, and this bumps the prices up even more.
Yeah, rich snobs. It wasn’t that long ago that Facom paid a LOT of money to associate themselves with Ferrari, and even offered co-branded tool sets.
They have many tools that are great, but others are pretty gimmicky, and really seem to be nothing more than slightly higher quality versions of the gimmicky tools that are made in China for other brands.
I realize prices are higher in the EU/UK, and the markup here in the US makes them even more, but Facom is just one of those brands where the price is just high to make them seem like higher-end tools, not high because the tools really are that expensive to make. Guess they have to pay for all the marketing somehow.
Yes, and those were “collectors sets” where people wanting eye candy could spend a lot more for that little Ferrari decal.
For what it’s worth, Facom tools are still cheaper than Snap-on equivalents.
Sometimes the European tool designer comes up with tools that are just enough different to offer an alternative advantage. I’ve used a Facom 116.50 which I think is one such tool:
As an owner of the 3/8 and 1/2 inch versions with the push button socket release, I absolutely love these tools. Pricey, yes, but FACOM is the French Snap-on. (I know, I work for the French Air Force) If Snap-on made these tools I wager they would be just as expensive and possibly higher.
hi there. to be fair it not made by facom, but its made by USAG and facom puts its brandname on it.
Stanley Black & Decker owns both brands. So does it really matter if it’s more native to USAG or Facom?
its good you can see it. in my country i have china parts of stanley assortment being advertised as top notch premium tools. facom here is like tool from gods 🙂 i have to pay $40 for shipping to get this ratchet delivered to me