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COOL TOOLS: 30 Piece Wera Bit Ratchet Set - Review

Scoring

Product Performed to Expectations: 10
Specifications were sufficient to design with: 10
Demo Software was of good quality: 10
Product was easy to use: 10
Support materials were available: 10
The price to performance ratio was good: 10
TotalScore: 60 / 60
  • RoadTest: COOL TOOLS: 30 Piece Wera Bit Ratchet Set
  • Buy Now
  • Evaluation Type: Workshop Tools
  • Was everything in the box required?: Yes
  • Comparable Products/Other parts you considered: I have a very old Xcelite 1/4" driver (which is not as good). A typical 1/4" socket set would be far bulkier than this Wera set.
  • What were the biggest problems encountered?: Absolutely no problems encountered - the Wera Xyklop Mini was a real joy to use.

  • Detailed Review:

     

    About a week ago I received a Wera Bit-check 30 Zyklop Mini 1 set ( Product Link ) to test out courtesy of rscasny at Element14 - so firstly, thank you Randall. The set is shown below and here follows my opinion after trying it out.

     

    1.     Initial Thoughts and Run Through

    Without being biased, by knowing Wera is a quality brand, the first thing I noticed when getting the set out of the packaging was its weight. It had a decent amount of weight for the size which equated subliminally to me as 'there's a decent amount of real metal parts in here = it will be strong'. Inspecting the tool I could see it composed of the Zyklop Mini ratchet along the top, one visible row of 15x 1/4" hex bits and a drill/driver adapter. On the reverse of the toolset there is a belt clip. The second thing I noticed was that the plastic casing was really well made - there were no sharp edges from the mould process and the unit had no rattles or excessive play in the various parts - I think it is Nylon so likely very durable and shouldn't crack.

     

    The small Wera symbol on the right hand side is a locking lever which when pushed down the bitset flips out and reveals another row of fifteen 1/4" hex bits. This has been well thought out as they are both slightly hinged to allow separation between them which will aid taking bits out. I've listed the actual bits provided further down in the specification section.

     

    I was surprised to see only one flat screwdriver bit, although the size turns out to be well chosen. Also there is nothing stopping someone from swapping out a few bits to ones they more often use and keeping the swapped out bits in their toolbag!

     

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    The Ratchet / Wrench

    A side on view of the Zyklop Mini Ratchet Wrench.

    Tool Balance

    I closed the bit selector tray and turned my attention to the ratchet. It is held in place by a sliding sleeve which is friction only. It seems very well designed also and held the ratchet well - I did wonder if that would be knocked along while wearing it on a belt (so at this point I planned I would do a daily carry test). The mini ratchet is a real thing of beauty: the handle just seems to sit nicely balanced on the middle to proximal "interphalangeal digital creases" ....that is to say like this:

    PS: I Googled that term.

    Ratchet Head

    There is a micro direction lever for selecting which way the ratchet is to act. The actual ratchet mechanism is really smooth with a quality knurled edge to allow quick spinning of loosened fixings.

    Selecting a bit and fixing it into the ratchet it is immediately apparent that it only goes in from one side and doesn't pass right through - that really is well designed. (I had a similar very small 1/4" hex ratchet by Xcelite and the bits didn't lock into place which was annoying at times but it also meant they occupied the minimal of height). In my later tests the bits never fell out during use and required a small pull to free them afterwards.

    Power Tool Adapter

    The drive/driver attachment supplied with the Wera set is a quick action bayonet connector to allow any of the 1/4" hex bits to be used in a power drill without having to keep adjusting the chuck. It would also allow the bits to access deeper recessed fasteners when used with the ratchet spanner.

     

    2.     Field Testing

    Just some of the areas I tested this Wera toolset on were:

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    Tumble Drier

    My first task I planned to use this on was looking for lint build up in my tumble drier( see https://www.element14.com/community/message/239485/l/home-appliances-causing-60-fires-a-week-in-the-uk-ideas-to-reduce-t…  by shabaz ). After pulling the unit out from under the worktop I was immediately scuppered when I found the casing was held on with hex headed fixings...of which there are none in this set. I vacuumed off the back and the ducting and pushed it back under the worktop for now.

    Bicycle

    Getting hold the the first bicycle in the shed.....the shiny one at the front.

    I looked at what fastenings were used there. The hex bits would be really useful as my bicycle uses quite a lot of them but there were also a reasonable number of hex nuts and bolts as well - so to rely on this Wera set for bicycle maintenance would need a companion toolset. A pair of pliers is also useful for pulling cables prior to tightening. However there are other Wera Zyklop sets (see end of this blog post) which may be better suited for bicycle maintenance.

    Automotive

    Another area I found the tool could be useful in was automobile servicing. Here many of the fixings have seized or are naturally tight and the added torque that can be applied by this wrench would easily be able to overcome many of them. (NB: I didn't actually undo many bits under the bonnet of my car as it currently works but instead just tried them for accessibility !). The small wrench did see to fit into most areas where perhaps a standard 1/4" socket set ratchet driver couldn't without first removing other components.

     

    This is a hidden Torx20 bit holding the passenger glovebox in place. Something that needs removal along with about 2 hours worth of other dashboard components to fix the heater in my car.

    Glovebox recessed torq fixing.

    Flat Pack Furniture

    The set does seem to be particularly useful for servicing flat-pack furniture and home gym equipment where most fastenings are either hex drive or pozidrive. The wrench also allows a greater force to be applied than perhaps a standard 'screwdriver' type bit holder can achieve.

    House DIY

    There is one door in my house which now has part of a unit behind and so won't open fully. This little Wera Zyklop set will still enable access to tighten the screws. The door isn't open to 90 degrees yet so a normal screwdriver cannot get a square location to the screws....and easily cams out.

    The range of bits provided also seemed to fit every fixing used in the house windows and doors, including the hex head adjustments to this uPVC door lock:

    Kitchen Fittings

    I also looked at kitchen cupboards and fixings and here I could see the Wera toolset could easily excel over standard 'screwdriver' type bit sets. There were some fixings that were either close to a perpendicular board or where something was built up nearby and now blocked access to the fixings. To tighten those fixings or remove them (if redesigning the kitchen) could easily result in bruised knuckles or the fastening being damaged as the non-aligned screwdriver cams out. This Wera toolset would allow access in those confined spaces whilst also allowing the user to apply a considerable amount of torque to stubborn fasteners if required.

    The metal brackets that pull the kitchen worktop down to a wall mounted baton are fixed closely to the edge. A normal screwdriver is awkward to turn as your hand fouls on the wall or underside of the worktop. The slim profile of the Zyklop mIni allows easy access and the ratchet mechanism allows the screws to be easily rotated. PS: just realised there is a dead spider in the photo.

    Car Roof BarsDue to the very small angle of movement required by the ratchet I was able to quickly mount the hex bolts for my roof bars. Normally that is a slow process as a standard Allen key keeps needing to be relocated as it is obstructed by the bar supports and there is little clearance to get the Allen key on axis of the fixings.

     

    3.     Shed Test with Video

    The final test was to drive a screw into a timber frame of my shed. Due to the close proximity of the frame below a standard screwdriver cannot get the required angle to drive the screw in perpendicularly....but this Zyklop mini manages it with ease. The video below shows me winding a 45mm woodscrew into a timber (no pilot hole); I'm using my left thumb to push in the depression on the back of the ratchet to keep the force on the screw. Once the fixing is in place you see me try and use a normal screwdriver to undo it....but I can't because I cannot get the screwdriver squarely onto the screw. Then I use the Zyklop Mini again to remove the fixing successfully. The final score was:- Wera Zyklop 1: Normal Screwdriver 0

     

     

    As mentioned, the depression on the knurled ratchet allows the user to add axial force to the ratchet, say with a thumb, and help to prevent cam out on pozidrive and Philips bits. We all know that once a difficult fixing has slipped once the damage causes another slip and it escalates quickly towards a ruined fixing that needs other approaches to be removed (like pliers, hacksaw blade, drilling and general frustration).

     

    My field trial also consisted of wearing this set during my working day by attaching it to my trouser belt. I was surprised that it stayed on regardless of getting in/out of my car and other daily activities. Although I mentioned the good weight I also never felt it was too cumbersome during that time. During that time I never caught the wrench slide on anything and it never started to edge along, which would cause the wrench to be lost. The only downside was that I didn't have too many opportunities to use it.

    The back of the Wera Zyklop Mini 1 set showing the belt clip.

     

    4.     Official Specifications

     

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    Weight

    The toolset weights a very reasonable 318 grams / 11.2 ounces.

    The handle itself weights a mere 56grams ( 2 ounces ).

    TorqueStrangely the official video shows the Zyklop Mini being used with an extension bar to remove a 100Nm wheel nut - but the wrench is spec'd at 65Nm and the instructions with the set also warns against using extension bars to increase torque. I guess they are showing how strong the actual wrench is but the 65Nm limit is for the bitset. Obviously I am taking those specifications as correct and I'm not going to test my tiny set to destruction.
    Angles

    The ratchet mechanism operates every 6 degrees according to the official specification. This is a very small angle and allows the tool to be worked back and forth in tight situations where obstructions prevent greater movement. A cheaper driver would not have such a fine degree of mechanism.

    Clearances and Lengths

    I've taken two photos to show the dimensions that this little tool can get in to. The first shows that the Wera tool could operate in only ~27mm of head space, although a little extra would be required to feed the bit in to Pozidrive/Philips/Slotted bits and even more would be required for the snugger fits of Torx and Hex bits. That is still very impressive and if just tightening a awkwardly placed fixing could be all that is required. If the fixing were to be removed we would need even more space as the bit naturally rises as the fixing comes out - I hopefully showed this in my accompanying video. (The chunky diode was just to balance the vernier jaws at the right height).

    The other important dimension, I believe, is how closely the Wera ratchet can operate to a surface which should be apparent from the above testing photos. I measured this as ~8.5mm from the tool centre....and that really is fantastic. You wouldn't get a screwdriver squarely on a fixing and be able to turn the handle (well maybe with a flexible shaft or if you just use your finger tips on the screwdriver handle).

    The ratchet handle is 88mm overall length.

    Bits With This Set

    This set came with the following bits:

     

    • 1 x 1/4" hex to 1/4" square drive adapter
    Philips Bits
    • 2 x PH 1x25
    • 3 x PH 2x25
    • 1 x PH 3x25
    Pozidrive Bits
    • 1 x PZ 1x25
    • 3 x PZ 2x25
    • 1 x PZ 3x25
    Torq Bits
    • 1 x TX 10x25
    • 1 x TX 15x25
    • 1 x TX 20x25
    • 1 x TX 25x25
    • 1 x TX 30x25
    • 1 x TX 40x25
    Torq BO Security
    • 1 x TX 10x25
    • 1 x TX 15x25
    • 1 x TX 20x25
    • 1 x TX 25x25
    • 1 x TX 30x25
    Flat Bit
    • 1 x 1.0x5.5x25
    Hex Bits / Allen Fixing
    • 1 x 3.0x25
    • 1 x 4.0x25
    • 1 x 5.0x25
    • 1 x 6.0x25
    • 1 x 8.0x25

     

    5.     My Thoughts on Safety and Best Practice (on Wera, and other toolsets)

     

     

    • You can apply a lot of torque with this little wrench - don't increase than by adding an extension tube to the handle as you will likely shatter the 1/4" hex bit or damage the ratchet mechanism.

     

    • If the fixing is really tight an you are applying a lot of torque then a pair of safety goggles would be useful in case the bit shatters. Moving to an impact driver set, and suitably engineered bits, might also be a worthwhile consideration + still wear the goggles.

     

    • You can damage the threads on fastenings if you try and use all the torque available to wind it in and the threads are already crossed - if possible use the finger knurling initially until you are sure it is going in properly.

     

    6.     Comparable Products and Other Wera Sets

    If this Bitcheck-30 Mini-1 set doesn't quite do what you'd like, or is too comprehensive, then I suggest you have a look at the other Wera products using the Wera Product finder

    We've all seen many different mini wrench and bit sets but I don't think many come near the quality of this Wera set.

     

    7.     My Scoring on this Roadtest

    Some of the marking categories were not applicable. Rather than give the tool 5/10 as an average I've given it top scores in those categories so my final score is more like a 40/40 rather than 60/60. However, I really could not fault this product in design, quality or use.

     

    8.     My Thoughts and Summary

    Now to summarise what I made of this Wera Bit-Check 30 Zyklop Mini-1 set. If I was after a one tool solution then I'm not sure this would be it. "What" I hear you say. But to that I need to add that I would still want to have this Wera set close by - for instance in my office toolbox or in the car because it can at times literally 'save the day'. That said this Wera set can do everything that a screwdriver bit set can (and more due the the extra torque) - personally for a one tool solution for the activities I undertake I would opt for a Leatherman or Gerber as the blades and pliers are also useful. But is you want a decent carry around set for working on common fixings, which also looks really professional when compared to a worker using a multitool, then the Wera set is ideal. It would make a great tool for instance if you were a removals person and needed to adjust flatpack furniture.

     

    For most trades I can think of the workers would likely use a set of Allen keys, screwdrivers and standard socket set drivers as first choice tools for most tasks. But at the bottom of their toolbags there really is a place for this little set. It might sit there for a long time until that one day when you get completely stuck and you just cannot get the other tools into the space you have or get them lined up on the axis of the fixing....and those times are when you'd be glad to have this set.

     

    It is also so well made so would make a really great and interesting gift

     

    Hope that you have found my mini roadtest interesting and encourages you to plan ahead so you don't get caught out by those awkward fixings and fasteners.

     

    regards to all,

     

    Rod


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