Today we’re taking a quick look at the relatively new Gearwrench Double-X hemostat. Similar in design to Gearwrench’s Double-X pliers, these hemostats are designed to hold and clamp onto objects in hard to reach areas.
Hemostats are clamping forceps that (in a non-medical sense) are preferred over pliers when dealing with small or delicate parts or when working in tighter spaces. The appeal of Gearwrench’s Double-X hemostat is that they have a far greater reach than typical hemostats.
I decided to purchase a pair of Gearwrench 45° angled Double-X hemostats for general purpose use. I occasionally use hemostats to retrieve small parts, position delicate pieces, and for other similar tasks that require some finesse. My intention was to use the hemostat for general purpose hobby and DIY use.
My initial take of the tool was fairly positive as the hemostat seemed to be of high quality with no visual flaws or imperfections. The tolerances also seemed to be good, and the angled jaws were about perfectly aligned.
The clamping power in a hemostat comes from the flex of its handles. Once the hemostats clamp onto something, the more you close the handles, the more they flex. You preload the handles, and then they lock into place. The closer together the handles, the more the preload. To unlock hemostats, you squeeze the handles slightly, separate them to uncouple the lock, and then open the handles.
Gearwrench’s hemostats are very well designed in this respect. If you look at a regular hemostat, you would notice that the handles are relatively straight. Looking at the handles of the Gearwrench hemostat in the above photo, you should notice that the handles are slightly curved away from each other. It is my understanding that this greatly increases the clamping power of the tool.
The only thing more impressive about this hemostat than its long reach is its narrow operating width. With its two-pivot design, the tool can be used in much tighter areas than traditional hemostats could ever fit into.
The first time I tried to use this hemostat on a project, I found the locking mechanism to be quite stiff and strong. Too stiff and strong, in fact. I then proceeded to work the handles back and forth, but my efforts were moot.
I ruled out that the problem was with the pivot and focused on the handles. Closing them was fine, but opening and unclamping the hemostats exerted an uncomfortably strong force on the boney part of my thumb between the knuckles. I ignored this and went on to use the hemostats for a project. After a few minutes, my thumb was really sore.
On one hand, a strong lock is beneficial since it allows for firm and secure clamping. On the other hand, this makes the hemostats somewhat hard to open. If the hemostats cannot be locked or unlocked with a comfortable and steady fluidic motion, it may be somewhat awkward to use.
After thinking about it for a bit, I dismissed the possibility that this extra-strong clamping power resulted from a defect of some kind. Since Gearwrench manufactures mechanics’ and automotive tools, I considered that perhaps their hemostats were designed with professional and industrial users more in mind.
In other words, maybe Gearwrench’s hemostats were designed to be this robust and strong. But, hemostats are typically not supposed to be this robust or strong.
These hemostats are very well built, and well designed – in theory at least. However, their clamping strength makes them excessively stiff and uncomfortable for delicate use. It is possible that the tool I received was defective, but this is unlikely.
If you’re looking to use the Gearwrench Double-X hemostat in place of other hemostats as I did, look elsewhere. I found that this tool is not very suitable for repetitive or delicate tasks.
But, if you need hemostats with long reach and a small operating width, the Double-X are about the best that’s out there.
That said, we DO NOT recommend these as a general-purpose tool, although we DO recommend them as a specialty tool. By this we mean that you wouldn’t want to use one of these hemostats everyday, but there could be times when this tool can save you time and frustration.
A pair of Gearwrench’s Double-X hemostats will set you back about $20-$25 each.
The hemostat we reviewed was purchased for personal use but was ultimately returned since it could not be comfortable uses as I had intended.
Rating: Quality: 5; Design: 5; Comfort: 2; Value: 3; Overall: 3.75 out of 5