We attended SEMA 2010 to see how we could help facilitate vehicle and automotive product repair. We walked the convention floor and met vendors of all shapes and sizes; a few stood out above the rest in their approach (and ethos) to products and customer service. One of them was Chicago Brand.
We never heard of Chicago Brand before SEMA, and we’re quite happy to have made their acquaintance. Chicago Brand sells quality and innovative tools for a reasonable price, all the while offering great customer service. Just like iFixit, if someone calls their customer service line, a live person (from the U.S.!) will answer the phone.
While Chicago Brand sells all sorts of measurement tools — calipers, gauges, micrometers — their pick of the litter is a patented, open-ended ratcheting wrench. We took one home with us and used it around the house. It’s an absolutely wonderful tool for tiny spaces.
The wrenches combine all the versatility of both an open end and a ratchet mechanism. They’re great for those hard-to-reach places, or for a cramped work environment where you can’t see the nut you’re trying to unscrew. Or, as shown in the picture above, you’re trying to remove a nut that has a hose or something else attached to it; an ice maker hose on the back of a refrigerator is the perfect example. You can’t slip a closed-end wrench onto the nut because of the hose, but it may be quite difficult to turn an open-end wrench if you can’t get behind the fridge.
Chicago Brand sells their products through large retailers like Sears and Amazon. You can pick up three double-sided wrenches (a total of six sizes) for $29.95 from Amazon — definitely not steep for some quality wrenches that carry a lifetime warranty.