I have mixed feelings about Wera’s locking extensions. I’ve got a couple that came with Zyklop socket sets I had purchased, and they’ve been seeing a lot of use these past few months.
My other mechanics tools, mainly a variety of ratchets, drive accessories, and Craftsman sockets, are still packed up in a few boxes somewhere. Until I get everything unpacked and in proper permanent places, my Zyklop 1/4″ and 3/8″ inch socket sets have been handling most of my needs.
Wera offers different sizes of Zyklop sets. I spent a little more on the larger sets that come with added screwdriver insert bits, because they also included locking extensions instead of the non-locking ones that come with the smaller and less expensive sets.
The 1/4″ square drive locking extensions are driving me bonkers.
The lock is very good, but changing sockets is a chore that requires lots of pulling, and back and forth toggling of the lock button with a fingernail.
I guess that’s a good thing. If you have a socket on a locking extension, it’s because you don’t want it falling off.
The 3/8″ locking extensions are easier to use – it’s the 1/4″ drive ones that have been giving me more frustrations. Plus, I tend to swap sockets and the bit adapter more with the 1/4″ size ratchet than with the 3/8″.
I think I have a 1/4″ non-locking extension with a small metric to-go set, which I purchased alongside a 3/8″ ratchet by itself when I first dipped my toes into Wera Zyklop waters. It’s now in a portable tool set somewhere. I use it regularly, but can’t seem to remember if it came with an extension or not.
I’d be happier if the locking extension had a pull-back collar to release the socket. But the current locking button and very stiff ball detent – even when in unlocked position – provide for a slimmer profile.
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What’s your take on locking extensions?
I don’t think I’d part with my locking extensions if given the chance. But maybe I’ll pick up a non-locking one or two to swap into the Zyklop set boxes. If I do that, the locking ones will be added to my main socket accessories drawer, whenever the bulk of my tools are finally unpacked.
EMILIO E GONZALEZ
I have this small Wera lock extension and it does not work with all of my sockets like my other locking extensions. I love my Wera tools but these Lock/ext. need some tweaking in the design for universal use. I hope that Wera fixes this little problem., or maybe they were made to use with Wera sockets only. My Sk lock/ext.’s will work on any socket, Snap On’s also.
I haven’t tried them with many other brands’ of sockets, but even with the Wera sockets they work a lot better when the ball detent is aligned with a clearance hole.
My Wera sockets have grooves for working with ball detents and other drive accessories, but I agree that the Wera extensions might not work well with other sockets. They work best when aligned with the clearance hole and not very well when aligned with any of the 3 other sides of the square drive recess.
I’ve always been curious about these. I think that I would like how the sleeve mechanism works. But I also sometimes will just pop the ratchet off and turn the extension by hand for very loose fitting fasteners. The price and availability has kept me away from them ultimately.
The sleeve is a free-spinning cylinder that rides along a groove in an extension or ratchet handle.
Hold the sleeve in one hand, and your grip or hand position remains in place while you turn the extension. With a ratchet, it works the same when in 180° inline positioning for use in spinner or screwdriver mode.
Other brands use other designs, such as Park Tool. https://toolguyd.com/park-tool-p-handled-hex-wrench-set/ Those Bondhus-made hex drivers have a bushing or spacer slid onto the shaft and held into position with O-rings.
PB Swiss Tools has a different design:
Yeah, I’ve been thinking about buying one of these since you first mentioned them….. in 2014. I think that it’s time I just pony up for some on Amazon!
I guess that I like the concept of the rotating sleeve on the extension and have seen the concept applied to T-Handle drivers as well. I think I’ve seen variants of the T-Handles from Motion Pro and Vim. I’ve also seen the concept applied (as in the Vim TE500) to impact extensions for lug nut removal.
I guess others make locking extensions. Ones that I know of come from Williams. These don’t have the rotating sleeve.
One question/concern I’ve always had relative to Wera sockets relates to their use of plastic components and how well the plastic stands up to (or cleans up after) exposure to grease and other typical automotive fluids/solvents.
I find often those detent balls are larger – and stiffer on the “locking” extension models such they are purpose meant to be aligned. My stahlwille versions are the same way
I don’t own their locking extensions because I have no need for them at home – and won’t drop the dollars for them. But I while working on a friends bimmer I had my metric sockets on his Wera Driver. I think it’s on purpose so as if something got stuck you could use the hole to help release the socket. (ie if the ball got damaged or the release broke). Having it aligned would make it easier to remove the valuable socket.
Instead of locking extensions I prefer to use the lock adapter on a standard extension. I have 3 – 1/4, 3/8 x 2. I think it’s more flexible and useful – and any time I use a swivel I put the locker on it too if I have room.
My only experience is with kobalt 3/8″ locking extensions. The work very well. I do make sure that the ball and the recess are aligned. When I push the button to release the socket, it comes off easily.
I love locking extensions! I bought a 3/8 drive 18″ locking extention from oreilys not long ago. Its been awesome. I wish i could find a shorter one that works the same way.
Justin W. Hunt
I like my set a lot, my biggest gripe with the ratchet is it gets really dirty. I kind of wish the tool had a different handle material and that the selector for rotation direction was easier to actuate.
Yup. I have a blackened Wera ratchet handle I need to clean. They do have some metal-handled ratchets now, but none with the same Zyklop pivoting-head functionality.
related side note – as I got to thinking about this I remembered a conversation we had in the hangar many a moon ago. where some of us were of the opinion that you had to line up your locking nub with the socket hole for it to hold as stong as possible – just like you were supposed to line up the hole with your normal socket retainers.
old school socket retainers came with an instruction page that mentioned this. (snap on socket retainer – from probably the 80’s). So it would be an interesting pull test (whilst scrapping a socket and probably extention too) to see if that is actually still valid.
Would also probably depend on the socket design also.
I’ll probably never buy them, not that there is anything wrong with the concept but I’ve always used the 3M solution. That’s wrap some vinyl sticky tape on the joining pieces to hold them together temporarily when the detent ball isn’t strong enough to hold them together.