Tool Review: 3/8" Drive Ratchet Spinner: Astro vs. KTC
Before we get started, I just want to say that this particular review is in no way related to the entire lineups, so don't get your panties in a twist if you don't like my findings.
Now, that that is cleared up, the last time I was in Astro Products, I was in the market for a ratchet spinner in 3/8" drive. Astro also carries a small selection of KTC in stock, so I decided to give the Astro and KTC a quick rundown in the store. This isn't a long term review of both, as much as it is my decision making process in the store.
Look at the top picture, and let's get started.
The first point of discussion is the price. The Astro unit is 780 JPY while the KTC unit is 1550 JPY. The Astro unit is roughly half the price of the KTC unit. In my last article, here, I discussed that a main point in my using Astro was to try to build a usable tool collection for as cheap as possible. The Astro Products unit lines up with this goal.
The second point is overall dimensions, which are the same. Nobody can win for being more compact, even though the KTC unit is a little lighter, due to:
Plastic... The KTC unit uses a polymer for its main thumb wheel. I know that today's polymers are strong (I owned a HK Pistol in the states), but I just hate to see plastic on tools. Call me old fashioned, but I have a particular way I like my tools, and plastic isn't high on the list, with the exception of screwdriver handles and some plier handles. maybe this will change in the future, but it was a big negative for me, more so than the price.
There are no moving parts that can really be better or worse than the other, so in the end I chose the Astro Products. It had a nice checkered grip on the outside, and did that job perfectly at half the price. Look below for an update, albeit with low quality iPhone pics.
The following shots are after one year of pretty hard use. Not pro mechanic use, mind you, but still I used these every day for the past year while installing and removing bumpers, and wings, and sideskirts, hoods, engines... oops... yeah I'll get to that on the page soon.
As you can see, the coasting isn't really so worn, which was surprising, because I figured this shit would flake like your friends when you lose everything. Even more surprising is how well the chrome held up on the actual working parts. Overall, this is an awesome score, at a great price.
I would make this purchase again in a heartbeat, even if I had an unlimited budget for tools.