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Tuesday, 18 November 2008 21:20

SOG Powerlock 2.0 Review

Written by David Bowen

The SOG Powerlock has been out for quite a while and has remained the company's flagship. SOG is a company that is slow to make changes in their tool line. They feel that what they make is darn good and they make changes to their products when they feel the time is right. SOG took a second look at their very popular Powerlock model, made a list of all the pros and cons they have noticed over the years and decided to give this old gal a facelift. Some of the things that SOG focused on with this remodel were the gears that drive the compound leverage of the pliers, new locking system for the tools and the ability to keep their tools from clumping when finding the tool you need.
The first thing you notice when handling the Powerlock 2.0 is the new plier head. SOG worked on a collaboration effort with Paladin tools to create a multitool line for the telecom industry. Those tools became a testing ground for what would become the new Powerlock design.

SOG Powerlock 2.0

The new head design is longer than the original and features a longer wire cutter area. I don't see why SOG needed to make a larger surface area for their cutter, (the original ones worked fantastic and I think the longer ones are another feature left over from the Paladin tool series (wire stripping maybe?). The length of the head is odd to look at when your so use to seeing the normal Powerlock design, almost seems like it doesn't fit the tool. The ends of the pliers are not rounded like on the original. Instead they are tapered at an angle so that the pliers could be used as a dry wall punch. I don't need to punch a hole in a wall for running telecom cables much but it's a nice addition. The tapered point make it possible to use the pliers in a precise manner, the old Powerlock had a very large nose for what we call needle nose. Though different I am sure the new design will grow on me. The only thing I cannot wrap my head around is the crimper they have put on this tool. SOG this time around has opted for a style of crimper used for blasting caps used in EOD work. It's large and quite nasty looking: you won't be crimping any home electrical work with this bad boy. Maybe SOG accidentally fitted this one with an EOD head instead of the one it's supposed too. Who knows.

SOG Powerlock 2.0

The main thing that put SOG on the map in the multitool industry was the introduction of their patented ''compound leverage" system. For those not familiar with this term; SOG tools have two pivots in its plier design versus the one "riveted" style you see on all modern multitools today. SOG found that creating a second pivot point you could double the amount of force being exerted by user. To make this work and smoothly I might add: the second pivot is run by two interlock gears. With this design you not only get exceptional power but your able to open the tool one handed. Even though compound leverage has been very popular and a major selling point for their multitool line it's not without its problems. When using the pliers the gear function works to your advantage and they are a plus for the user, when you close the tool and go to use a screwdriver you're greeted with the business end of the tool. Using a driver would cause the teeth to rotate and dig into your hand and be quite uncomfortable. Most folks who use this tool for very hard use wear gloves and have not had to endure this pain, us every day Joe's aren't so lucky. The Gears of Madness as I like to call them (because it's a love hate relationship) have finally been tamed, with yet another cross over from the Paladin series. SOG has now incorporated gear covers on their Powerlock 2.0 model, anyone can now use the tool without the aid of gloves and not have to have sore hands when they are done.

SOG Powerlock 2.0

The last and greatest addition to the new Powerlock is yet another patented idea of SOG. they call them piano keys. What in the world are piano keys you ask ? (No not the ivory kind you find on a piano) The normal locking mechanism SOG used on the Powerlock was what we call a rocker lock. The lock has a pivot in the center and rides on a spring. The user presses on the end of the lock to engage or disengage a tool being used. SOG took this lock design that has been around for a while and made things a little more interesting. They took the regular lock and split it into separate smaller locks, this allows each tool to have spring tension on them so they act as an anti-clumping agent when accessing a tool and they allow you to lock one tool at a time. Ok; so the last idea sounds strange I agree. The springs/locks do indeed do their job at keeping the tools from clumping, so much to the point that it's hard to get some of the tools out. Because SOG makes their tools with the option for them to be modified by the user it wasn't possible to stagger or make nail nicks so each tool could be pulled out easily. It's another love hate relationship. SOG tools are the only ones on the market that you can customize to suit your need and not void your warrantee. To access some of the tools like the Phillips, awl, etc you have to grab a couple tools and stick the rest back in the handle. I think it was a slight oversight in design when creating the piano keys. Don't get me wrong, as far as new ideas go this is pretty neat and advanced for SOG. It just perhaps got rushed before it was entirely thought out.

SOG Powerlock 2.0

Overall the Powerlock 2.0 as a package is a welcomed upgrade to the still popular Powerlock model. A lot of folks love their original and may not want to upgrade, but for those of us that like the new and different we can't wait to get our hands on it. I commend SOG on their efforts and think this is a step in the right direction for them. I would certainly love to see this design put on a smaller chassis like that of the Pocket Power Plier.

SOG Powerlock 2.0

 

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