Gadget Inspector

Laser Tools Extendable Flexi Head Ratchet

How often have you tried, and failed, to access a hard-to-reach fastener on your car, bicycle, motorcycle, caravan or maybe the lawnmower, and had to pay a specialist instead? Undoing a tricky nut or bolt can be an expensive business if you call in the pros, so investing a little in the right tools instead can make a lot of sense. Laser, known for its extensive range of high-quality tools that won’t break the bank, recently released a tool designed precisely for those hard-to-get-at jobs. Here we feature an impressive-looking ratchet wrench, which justifies its £80.64 price tag by doing far more than the standard-issue version that came with your socket set. Laser bills it as a ‘ratchet wrench and power-bar in one’ on account of its sturdy telescopic handle extending from an already highly respectable 455mm (longer than you get in the average socket set) to a considerable leverage-facilitating length of 630mm. This significantly increases the amount of torque – useful for corroded or stubborn parts, as we’ve found on some badly-corroded fencing bolts and an old BMW motorcycle. It also helps avoid scuffed knuckles by keeping your hands clear of the immediate area, while the sliding section can either be locked in the fully extended position or, with care, be used partially extended, perhaps in a tight corner. The extendibility also gives far greater depth of access – for instance deep into an engine bay or into a deep recess – than a standard ratchet, simply by pushing in the locking dimple and pulling out the extendable section. This tool also has a flexible ratchet head, capable of folding in two directions, with five solid ratchet clicks each way, helping users find exactly the right position in restricted recesses. This trick means that the handle can be manoeuvred to move around obstructions that would otherwise prevent its use in a tight corner. Laser really thought this tool through; the square drive section can also be released and then rotated (and locked again) to preset the correct ‘starting’ point, lining up with the precise position of the offending nut or bolt. And of course, the drive is bi-directional, thanks to a knurled finger ring. The ratchet also features a lock-out button, allowing more torque to be applied when it’s being used as a power bar, without the risk of damaging the ratchet mechanism. The whole unit (part number 8512) is made from chrome vanadium, with a chrome-plated finish and a knurled handle for grip. With its built-in flexibility, this new ratchet could come to the rescue when you need to change a car wheel, for instance, only to find that the garage over-tightened the nuts (especially with its angled head allowing access into the wheel arch without damaging the paintwork) or even for accessing old, badly placed fencing nuts and bolts.

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