Beta 12-piece swivel end ratchet combination spanner set, £279.60
Time tested: One year
What’s good? A tool snob I admire greatly and want to be like thinks a spanner should be just a spanner, that hybrid ratchet combinations are gimmicky marketing-inspired mongrels best avoided by trainee purists like me. But these Beta combis are beautiful and useful indeed. At one end is a normal, angled open end; at the other a smoothly ratcheted 72-tooth ring in the same size that swivels creamily through 180 degrees. The 10, 12 and 14mm in this set have become my most-used go-to tools. It’s so damn easy to switch from open-ended to ratchet, to operate in a restricted arc or at an angle – to be lazy and effective at the same time. I also like the way they line up in my tool chest.
What’s not? They’re a bit like Best Of compilation albums: collectors will scoff. And even at a discounted £223.68 (primetools.co.uk) they are pricey, too.
Quality rating: 4/5
Value rating: 3/5
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