10 Best Ratchet Wrenches Reviewed in 2021
Purchasing a reliable set of ratchet wrenches is a quality investment and isn’t about filling those empty slots in your toolbox. It is a decision you shouldn’t take lightly, given the versatility these tools offer. Also, when tightening or loosening bolts, ratchet wrenches have the edge over other wrenches as you don’t have to remove it from the fastener after a full swing. Just swing it back to the starting position and make another swing. This results in time-efficiency, and higher productivity. Also, if you take your time and invest in a quality ratchet wrench set, different nuts and bolts will be a walk in the park.
Our Top 3 Picks
- Tool Guards
Here at Contractor Culture, we are dedicated to providing you with recommendations of the best products on the market. For suggestions of the best ratchet wrenches, consider the ten below. However, you should also know what to bear in mind when purchasing a wrench set. There are countless designs and manufacturers that you may get lost in the sea of equipment.
10 Best Ratchet Wrenches
1. Gearwrench 20-Piece Ratcheting Set
The units are nickel-plated to protect against corrosion and have a glossy finish which improves their appeal. Also, they work with both metric and standard American nuts. They can loosen any SAE size between ¼ through to ¾ inch and any metric between 6mm and 18mm. Nevertheless, we loved the ratcheting box end and the slim profile.
Slim profile – First, how these units maintain the level of strength with such a thin profile is a mystery. However, it allows you to tighten nuts in tight spots, and you don’t have to concern yourself with bolts coming undone. Also, the thin profile makes for better storage in a pouch or a roll up.
Ratcheting box end – Speed is a crucial ingredient that for productivity which is what the ratcheting end provided. You can turn fasteners at a fast speed, and the units only require a small swing arc. All that’s needed of you is to turn the units around to tighten or loosen any nuts.
Another fascinating feature of the 35720 is the surface box drive end that prevents the rounding of bolts and gives a good grip.
Fits both SAE an Metric sizes
Ratcheting box end
Slim profile and a small swing arc
Who is it for?
We would recommend it for people who are in the market for thin profile ratchet wrenches.
The storage case of the 35720 enables you to identify and pick units faster
It is high-quality thanks to the all metal construction and rust and corrosion resistant
Increases productivity as it allows you to work faster
There are complaints about the case; it just won’t hold up if you intend to move around with it
2. Craftsman 20 pc Combination Ratcheting Wrench
First, the alloy steel build is durable, and the unit will serve you for years; well over a decade to be precise. Also, the chrome finish protects the unit from rust and corrosion, and you can use the tools in wet or harsh conditions. It is a combination wrench set that will work with both metric and SAE bolts. There are 10 SAE sizes from ¼ inch to ¾ inch, and 10 SAE sizes from 6 to 18 MM.
Ratcheting box – It is quite unpleasant having to lift the wrench after every swing and is also time-consuming. The ratcheting box allows you to speed through all tasks by eliminating the need to raise the wrench.
Reinforced open end – We wouldn’t recommend the ratcheting end for loosening a rusty nut or tightening a bolt either. However, the open end of the units is designed for such tasks. It is reinforced to withstand the abuse associated with loosening a rusty bolt.
You will also appreciate the up to 20 combinations and the ultimate grip these items offer and are also affordable.
The combination set with ten metric sizes, and ten SAE sizes
Reinforced open end
12-degree offset end
Who is it for?
We only recommend the Craftsman for DIYers and any other light work be it in the garage or at home.
The build quality is unrivaled thanks to the sturdy alloy steel build, and the chrome finish protects against corrosion
The thin profile allows you to get into tight spots
The ratcheting end allows for speedy operation
The reinforced open end enables you to work on rusty nuts
Its parts are quite difficult to replace
3. Tool Guards 22-Piece Set
First, we loved the quality build as the wrenches are made of vanadium steel which will last you for a lifetime. The chrome finish to serves to protect the unit from rust and corrosion which allows you to work in harsh or wet conditions and the glossy mirror finish increases the appeal of the set. Our best features though were the customer satisfaction and the swing arc.
Swing arc – First, the ratcheting end allows you to speed up operations as you don’t have to lift the unit. However, the 72 tooth ratchet only requires a 5-degree swing arc to operate. Couple this with the slim profile and you have an unmatched unit.
Customer satisfaction – Tool Guards have put a focus on the customer experience that they have backed this set with lifetime insurance. Also, there is a 30 day no questions asked money back guarantee.
Nevertheless, the free toll roll case is what impressed us the most. The sizes are printed on the case to make organizing easy.
22-piece set (11 SAE and 11 metric wrenches)
Chrome vanadium steel build
Who is it for?
We recommend the Tool Guards 22-piece for light work, for DIYers, or people looking for more versatility.
The box end delivers enough torque to tighten or loosen any nuts or bolts without rounding
Durable thanks to the robust vanadium steel build, and the chrome finish which protects against corrosion and rust
Unrivaled customer service from Tool Guards
The slim profile and the 5-degree swing arc enable you to work in tight spots
There are some concerns about the coating as it chips right out the bag
4. Apex Tool Group GearWrench 9312
Wrench locker rack – As an electrician or if you are ever on the go, you need a storage case, that can hold your tools during transportation to reduce the risk of losing them. That’s what the patented wrench locker rack is for. There is barely any chance of rattling or losing your tools during transit.
Versatility – The 9312 only need a 5-degree swing arc to operate efficiently. That plus the slim profile of the units allows you to get into any tight space.
5-degree swing arc
Who is it for?
We recommend it for people on the hunt for SAE wrenches. Also, if you want do all be all SAE units, we implore you to get the GearWrench 9312. They can handle the toughest tasks as well as any fine-tuning.
It offers unmatched versatility when dealing with SAE
The ratcheting end works well in forward and reverse
Polished to protect the unit
The 5-degree swing arc and slim profile enable you to work in extremely tight spaces
Has a lifetime warranty which is a proof of the quality
Happens to be quite pricey and you will need another set when dealing with metric lugs
5. Crescent CX6PT20
There is also the issue of legibility with wrenches, and the CX6PT20 is laser etched to create recognition so that you can pick the appropriate size easily and quickly.
Another fascinating feature with this set is that it is still a 20-piece ratchet despite and works with both metric between 10 and 19 MM and SAE sockets between 3/8 and 7/8 inches.
X6 design – This design enables you to grip tighten or loosen six types of fasteners. They are the partially rounded hex, spline, torx, square, 12pt., and hex. This versatility is unmatched on any other unit at this price point.
Pass through – The pass-through design allows this unit to work well as standard and deep sockets. It can tighten or loosen over long threaded rods where regular sockets can’t work.
Pass through design
Laser etched sizing
3/8” adapter connector
Who is it for?
The CX6PT20 is for general fixing tasks that don’t call for high torque.
The most noticeable advantage has to be the ratcheting end; It allows for speedy operations without having to lift the wrench
Increased versatility owing to the ingenious design
The laser edged sizes improve the legibility, and there is no chance that they will rub off
The carrying case could be better
6. GearWrench 9416
It is a Metric Master set and consists of 16 wrench sizes from 8 to 24 mm. Yes, it lacks the versatility of most combination sets, but it gives you a full range of metric sizes. We especially loved the chrome finish as it increases the appeal, while also protecting your tools from corrosion and rust. It also includes a wrench locker rack to transport and hold your tools. Our best features though were the ratcheting end and the strength of the items.
Ratcheting end – The small profile of the ratcheting end enables you to get into tight spots and increases the speed of operation. Also, it only requires a 5-degree swing arc, unlike regular wrenches which need a 30-degree swing arc. The wrenches can be used on all sizes of threaded rods even where deep sockets aren’t suitable. Finally, you only have to lift the unit to reverse/change direction.
Quality – First, the set has a lifetime warranty. If this isn’t enough to convince you of the premium quality, you will also appreciate the surface drive technology as it eliminates fastener rounding and gives you a stronger grip.
Surface drive technology
16 metric pieces
5-degrees swing arc
Polished chrome finish
Who is it for?
Given the quality of these items, we recommend it for all people in the automobile industry or any backyard mechanic. Also, it a metric only set and thus for people who are looking for a metric set.
The 9416 is a quality investment or dare we say a lifetime investment
They are easy to store and transport thanks to the wrench locker rack
They will help you work on a broader field of metric lugs than any combination set would
Happens to be quite pricey and can only be used on metric nuts
7. Apollo Tools DT1212
Quality – The DT1212 might be a low-cost set, but the quality equals that of premium products. First, it surpasses all industry standards for robustness, finish and usability and the heat-treated alloy steel construction can withstand any level of abuse. You will also appreciate the chrome plated finish as it protects the unit from corrosion allowing you to work in wet or harsh conditions. It is also perfect for any tight spots thanks to the speed and can operate over all sizes of threaded rod.
Carrying cradle – Often, a storage or carrying case is as important as the tools themselves. It reduces the chances of losing your items and keeps the items organized increasing your productivity. The minimal design to eliminates the bulk associated with most cases.
5-pieces with 10 SAE sizes
Alloy steel construction with a chrome finish
Meets ANSI standards
Handy carrying cradle
Who is it for?
We only recommend the DT1212 for emergencies.
It offers premium quality but doesn’t demand a premium price
The design reduces the number of tools you need in your toolbox
They are easy to store and carry
They are only available in SAE, and the ratcheting wrench lacks the torque of an open end
8. Stanley 94-543W
Max-drive design – First, the max-drive design increases the allowable torque by 15% allowing you to work on impact sockets. The max-drive design also prevents the rounding of fasteners.
Replaceable brushes – We would all appreciate a tool that will serve us for a lifetime, and the Stanley 94-543W might be the ratchet wrench set for you. The replaceable brushes extend the tool durability, and there is a limited lifetime warranty on these.
You will also love the slim profile as it can get into any tight spaces, and the pivoted head allows for fast operation.
Color: Silver metallic
Chrome vanadium steel build
Who is it for?
Given the quality, we would recommend it for professional mechanics. Also, it works well on impact sockets.
• Affordable – premium units that don’t retail at a premium price
The 15-degree box end and offset have additional room for knuckle clearance
You can be assured of lifetime service owing to the replaceable brushes and warranty
They are stronger owing to the max drive design and can handle torque thanks to the materials used in construction
Quite handy in tight spots thanks to the slim profile
The ratcheting end wears out fast
9. GRIP 89358 MM/SAE
Ergonomics – If you are in the market for ratchet wrenches that will enable you to work extended hours without fatigue get the 89358 set. Their ergonomic design increases the comfort, and the raised panel increases the strength of the unit.
Precision machined – The open ends are precision machined that increases the speed and simplifies work.
As for the sizes, the metric sizes are between 7 and 22 mm while the SAE is from ¼ to 1 inch.
24-piece combination set with 12 metric and 12 SAE pieces
Alloy steel construction
Precision machined ends
Who is it for?
Despite the strength, we would only recommend it for DIYers.
Owing to the many pieces, the resourcefulness of this set in unmatched
They are quick to use owing to the precision machined open end
The ergonomic design increases comfort allowing you to work for extended hours
They are affordable
Has a case which makes transport and storage easier
The quality could be better; either the open end nor the ratcheting end can withstand much abuse
Also, other than increasing the work speed, the ratcheting end allows you to work on long threaded rods. The laser-etched sizing also piqued our interest as it makes it easier to store and recognize an item. The Crescent is SAE sizes and is available in the following sizes: 5/16, 3/8, 7/16, ½, 9/16, 5/8, and 11/16 inches. Our best features though were the ergonomics and the versatility.
Versatility – Thanks to the X6 design, the CX6RWS7 can work on six types of bolts. Namely: partially rounded hex, spline, hex, E-Torx, square, and 12 pt. This level of ingenious design is welcome as it increases the areas where you can use the tools.
Ergonomics – Comfort is crucial for an item to be among the best, and this Crescent delivered. Thanks to the innovative design beam, the tool has a unique feel and look. Other than increasing the comfort, it allows you to get into tight spots easily.
7-piece set with 6 SAE sizes
Ergonomic design beam handle
Who is it for?
Owing to the sizing (SAE), we recommend it for mechanics or DIYers who are in the market looking for such a tool.
They are affordable and worth it given the quality they offer
The beam design increases your reach and comfort while working
They are not cheap feeling at all
It jams which is unpleasant for an item that is meant to increase the speed
What to Consider when Purchasing Ratchet Wrenches
Type of work
Getting the appropriate ratchet wrench boils down to the kind of tasks you want to tackle. There are numerous designs, and each serves a different purpose. The various models are:
- Open end wrenches – A non-adjustable wrench that is available in multiple sizes, the open end wrench is much faster at tightening and loosening bolts than the adjustable wrench.
- Socket wrench – This is a hand tool with a ratcheting apparatus on one end and can attach to sockets of various sizes.
- Combination wrench – A combination wrench has a box-end wrench on one end and an open-end wrench on the other with both ends fitting the same size nut and bolt.
- Adjustable wrench – If you are in the market for a tool that will work with different fastener sizes and still be a dedicated unit, we implore you to purchase an adjustable wrench. It has one fixed jaw and one adjustable jaw that you can use on nuts of different sizes.
- Torque wrench – A torque wrench tightens nuts placed at a foot pound away from you. It can only work with 3/8 and ½ inch sockets.
Get a unit that can withstand abuse without chipping or breaking. Corrosion is also a crucial factor as it will affect the robustness of the tool. Chromium-vanadium is a high-quality material and is highly rated as well. Consider wrenches with chrome plating or mirror finish to protect against corrosion.
Number of sizes
To get the best value for money, and a higher versatility, we recommend you get a set with a broad range of sizes.
There are only two calibrations of nuts; metric whose size is measured in millimeters, and standard (SAE) bolts whose size is measured in inches. The final decision is yours to make, but we would recommend you get a set with both metric and standard size wrenches.
Versatility in tight spots
There are instances where the bolts will be in hard to reach places. Your hands can’t get to these spots, and fastening the nuts is a horrendous experience. You need to get a set with several units that can get into these spaces. The units should be slim to enable you to work in the tight spots and long for reach and leverage.
However, they shouldn’t compromise the strength of the unit.
The next thing to consider is the price of the set. The cost of the collection will differ based on the number of units in the set and their usability.
How do you reverse a ratchet wrench?
Changing the direction of the ratchet wrench depends on the manufacturer’s design. There are some more comfortable designs where all that’s required is lifting the wrench from the fastener and turning it around.
However, most units feature a knob on the top or surrounding the socket release button. Rotate the knob in either direction to reverse the ratchet.
What are the uses of a ratchet?
Ratchets are used to increase the speed and productivity of mechanics or workers. Loosening or tightening a nut can be a time-consuming task with a regular wrench as you have to lift the unit repeatedly. You don’t have to pick up a ratchet wrench increasing your productivity. Also, they can work in tighter spaces as they require a smaller swing arc (5-degrees), unlike regular wrenches that need a 30-degree swing arc.
How do you check the direction of the ratchet?
Hold the wrench in your left hand and using your right, move the handle left and right. In this situation, the ratchet should tighten the fastener in a clockwise direction and loosen in an anti-clockwise direction. However, this only applies to ratchet wrenches that use a knob to change direction.
How do you remove a socket?
Well, there are few units where it’s difficult to swap the socket. We would not recommend you to purchase such items as they are useless the moment the ratchet is ruined. However, most feature a quick release button on the top end. Depress the knob, and you might have to pull on the socket if it isn’t quick release.
What are the various ratchet wrench accessories?
There are various accessories you can purchase with your ratchet wrenches to increase the versatility, and some increase the versatility of your tools.
- Some brands do retail their units with bags and racks while others ship them to the clients. We would recommend you get a set with a bag as it makes storage and finding the appropriate item easier. Also, they help with holding the tools during transportation.
- Extensions – Some extensions increase the resourcefulness of your set. They are sockets to reach places of tight ends to keep up with close-ended As a result, you can penetrate deep into holes and fix them.
- Extension bar –These allow you to extend the length of the wrench to one that meets your needs.
Are ratchet extensions that important?
Well, that depends on what you need the ratchet wrenches for. If these are for use around the house, then you don’t need extensions. However, as a professional, you will need the extensions for support.
How reliable are the swivel joints on the tool?
Most of the units will serve you for well over a decade with the appropriate care. We suggest you don’t use them on rusty nuts, or extremely high torque tasks. Also, they are backed by warranties.
How do you maintain a ratchet?
If you want to get the most from your ratchet, then you have to service and maintain it appropriately. First, take it apart if you feel that the operation isn’t smooth, and check the gear and pawl. Often, the tool has been over-torqued resulting in the stripping of the gears.
Clean the gear with a degreaser, and the head too and ensure you get all the dirt out. Also, ensure that it is well lubricate to protect the gadget from friction.
Tightening or loosening nuts and bolts can be an arduous task, and we implore you to get a ratcheting wrench. The sets above are some of the best, but the final decision is yours. Ensure you get a unit that not only meets your requirements but falls squarely within your budget. Finally, don’t forget to leave a comment below on what you think.