I was checking things out at the local Home Depot, mainly to see if there were any new tool releases that weren’t on my radar. At the start of the tool aisle was a new and full display of Skil Secure Grip wrench sets.
Each Skil Secure Grip wrench has two box-ends that can fit a range of sizes. The packaging says that the 4 wrenches and their 8 ends can fit a combined 27 different fractional and metric bolt sizes.
The wrenches have specially shaped and grooved 6pt box ends and auto-adjusting teeth that can grip ordinary 6pt hex fasteners, as well as rounded ones.
OEM: Iron Bridge Tools
Patent No.: 8,544,367
Buy Now(via Home Depot)
I found the concept behind these wrenches to be intriguing and of course played around with the “try me” wrench. Unfortunately, I wasn’t very impressed. There are a few things I don’t like about the design of these wrenches.
First, the wrenches’ box ends all seem to have aggressive grooves, probably to help grip rounded fasteners. If your fasteners aren’t rounded, this feature could potentially help that along.
Second, both of the shown wrench’s box ends fit the “try me” bolt. The smaller one gripped it better, but the larger one gripped it as well. This means that you cannot just use the first wrench that fits a fastener. If you do, you could damage it. If the larger of these box ends was used on the “try me” bolt, the bolt’s corners might have been damaged.
Third, the wrenches are all pretty short. You’re not going to be able to exert a lot of torque with any of them.
Fourth, the wrenches were very light. While this is good if you want to carry them as part of an ultra-light tool lit, I felt them to be a little too lightweight to the point of being flimsy. The wrenches are basically built out of sheet metal, or thin plate, whatever you want to call it.
Fifth, I prefer 12pt box end wrenches. With these, the 6pt box ends might pose a problem in corners or tight spaces.
Sixth, the size markings were a little hard to read. I hope they don’t fade with age or exposure to common household lubricants and chemicals. The shown wrench covers 7 different sizes.
Seventh, it seems that the box ends only self-adjusts in one direction. This could potentially pose a problem if you need to back off the wrench from a fastener. Possibly not, but I would have to test this beyond the in-store “try me” display to find out for sure.
Maybe I’m missing the point, or maybe I’m just being too judgemental, but I cannot really see any positive qualities about these wrenches. If you try these out and think differently, please let us know with a comment!
So you didn’t actually buy any, didn’t try them out on any out on actual projects, guessed at what they are constructed from, and you projected a bunch of future “what ifs” about their finish and useability.
Yup! I picked them up, thought “hey, these might be great to buy and test out.” I tried them on the “try me” bolt, looked them over for a couple of minutes, and judged them to be unworthy of closer examination.
Nowhere in the post did I call this a “review”.
If it looks unfavorable, feels unfavorable, and seems unfavorable, do you want me to taste it too just to know for sure?
So why mention it all? Sometimes I’m wrong. Or maybe my personal preferences cause me to be too judgemental. I would love for someone to say “hey, I tried these, and they’re actually great for _____.” I’m open minded. I think these wrenches would be horrible for the types of things I typically use wrenches on, but hey, that’s just me and how I use wrenches. I don’t like dog bone wrenches either, but apparently they’re great for oil changes.
Sometimes I’ll be the guinea pig, but with these, I couldn’t bring myself to buy a set.
Looks like you’re the same guy that complained about my feelings towards the Skil ratcheting adjustable wrench. You never got back to me – do you work for Skil or another company involved in the design or marketing of these tools?
Keep up the good work Stuart. I guess “First Thoughts” means “Review” in some languages or something. As far as buying them, I, like you, am not so sure I’d like to throw ’em a bone for a wrench without the ability to apply torque.
He made a lot of people aware of a product and had a number of useful impressions. Sometimes you really can judge a book by its cover.
If it look like **** and smell like **** then it’s probably **** 🙂
In all seriousness I am confused of what market this thing is market toward. It look cheap but at $20 it’s not cheap. Maybe for $10 it would be okay. If the engineer/build quality is good I know a lot of biker would be interested in something similar even at triple the price point.
Seriously, anyone that would actually buy these thinking these were a great product needs to shake their head. Might make paper weights……. maybe.
Ugly damn tools. Hope they work better than they look.
When do we stop reinventing things? Guess for these companies it’s easy to make 50,000 of them and try it. Some ideas take off, some fade away never to be seen again. Maybe we start a pool how long they on the shelves for. I give it 8 weeks.
Hopefully never! With that mentality we wouldn’t have wera’s ratchet.
So I hope we never stop swinging. On the other hand when you swing amd miss you dont start running bases you head back to the dugout and reflect.
Personally, when I grab a six point combo wrench, it is to either bust loose a rusted bolt or one that is worn or rounded. These may work on worn/rounded ones, but don’t look like they’d be for when a lot of torque is wanted.
I think I’ll pass, use my 12 pt combo wrenches for general use, my 6 pointers for when I don’t want it to slip, and put the $20 towards either Channellock or Knipex nut buster pliers.
The larger wrenches look like they will make good bottle openers.
Just what I was thinking
Think I will keep the adjustable for one size fits all versatility.
I feel your “review” was exactly what was needed. Why waste my time with long, drawn out tests, videos and reviews when you and I both know the product is just a gimmick. The Skil Secure Grip Wrench Set is probably a Father’s day present that didn’t make it from China in time.
What Mr What doesn’t understand is you have been doing this a long time and I for one trust your diagnosis of an item. In fact I came to the exact conclusion that you did – stamped metal, rivets that were not flush, plastic grips that will gouge and tear the first time they are dropped. The electroplating on the exterior may last for a year or two but the inside part that moves is going to rust solid the first time I leave it out in the rain.
I have trusted your honest opinion and reviews for a long time because you are willing to state the obvious. Keep up the good work.
good eye on seeing a new product and thanks for having the guts to say what most people won’t. those are turds and no matter what sort of flashy packaging or display you put it on it is a turd. you forgot to add comment number 8 though. the large head and lack of an angle will make access to many fasteners difficult or impossible.
It looks to me that Vise Grips would work just as well on a bolt/nut that is already messed up.
My same thought. If the bolt is that bad, no way would I reuse it. A visegrip is a great solution
Thank you for this review. From what I saw on the commercial, I thought this product would be an excellent thing to purchase. I was in fact about to order it online when, luckily, I stumbled upon your review first. You had several wonderful points when mentioning design flaws that I feel would pose serious issues for this tool in the future, such as torque, shape and only self adjusting in one direction. You seem to know your tools and how to tell when they have high quality construction as well as appreciation for items that are built to last. I also liked that you seemed very open and honest about your feelings/thoughts yet still asked for anyone to give input if they had used the product but thought differently. Thanks again!!
As for “what?” — it seems obvious you are affiliated with the company and are doing nothing beneficial for your company by responding in such a manner to this helpful post. My recommendation – appreciate this gentleman giving your company an honest opinion without your company having to waste thousands of dollars on “focus group studies” and instead pass the information on to your engineering team so that they can FIX the issues. The concept is great – I want to buy it, and I am more than willing to “pay up” for quality – the issues shouldn’t be too difficult to resolve. Kindly redesign instead of whine 🙂
Just like Liss I was looking for the website to order when I found this.. thanks for the education and lesson that we all should have a more critical eye even if SKIL is behind it
I also was looking for the website to learn more, but after reading this I don’t have to waste my time. The thing that first struck me was they looked cheaply made and I wondered if they would stand up to removing a rusted bolt where you do need a lot of torque without the wrench breaking apart. As far as being short, in the past I just use a length of pipe to gain more leverage.
Paul J Shaw II
you need to tell Tim Watson that they do not replace sockets and why don’t you put it on a bolt that is really stuck or a bolt that is tight and rounded off on TV.
I would like to see manufacturers actually make a nice, well designed, solidly built functional all in one tool. We operate a small ranch and do all our own maintenance. I’d like to see something I can use on my barn, corral panels AND tractor rather than buying dozen different tools of varying sizes and have to lug them all around our property.
One can clearly see the handles on these are too thin and short. No thought for grip comfort or torque. Stupid even at first glance. Of course at $20.00 for the group you cannot really expect quality. When will Skil and other manufacturers learn that consumers want quality and will pay a little more for it?
All the ones out there by I can find on the internet have their flaws, even the design Sears stole from inventor Dan who didn’t properly patent his model. Seriously, how difficult is it to make the “perfect” mouse trap?
I just saw the ad and was completely amazed. That feeling was followed by a thought to verify before purchase. I found this site and instantly realized that the commercial had hypnotized me. Thank you to everyone who has written or posted in this story. You have saved me $20 + shipping and and handling. They always need shipping, but what are they really handling?