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Best 10 Ratchets For The Professional Mechanic

Johnathan CokerRecommended Products

best ratchet

Your ratchet is your most used tool as a diesel tech. Really any mechanic. You develop over the years a certain relationship with your ratchet of choice. You will find that using someone else’s will not do. You need your favorite. The one that has got you through thick and thin.

I have 10 3/8 ratchets and I use one. My favorite. This is why it is important to think about what ratchet is best and we will take a look together at all your options. This is also the reason I am not writing the “best ratchet” because ratchets are a personal choice and different for each mechanic.

You have to get the one that fits you. Sometimes it takes trying some out to find the right one for you. So, check out the top 10 ratchets for professionals. We are only going to look at 3/8” ratchets as they are the most common and most used I would say.

Aspects to consider when looking at a ratchet.

Tooth or position count

The number of teeth on the gear of a ratchet will affect the arc at which you can operate. If you are working in a tighter spot, then the higher tooth count is going to be beneficial. You will be able to grab more teeth and have the power to turn that bolt loose where others would be stuck, and you would be hunting a wrench that will fit. 🔧

Pawl design

The pawl design is not your dad’s shirt. The “pawl” is the mechanism that sets against the gear head and interlocks to let you turn in the opposite direction. You want a double pawl or at least a high contacting one. This is usually what snaps if the bit itself does not go.

Handle design

This important factor will make you decide whether or not you enjoy using your ratchet or not. There are several types. Some ratchets have round handles others are more rectangular and then there are several padded or rubber handle versions. Everyone has a preference. There are ups and downs for all styles. The solid ones are harder to grip that the rubber, but the rubber gets nasty over time and if you clean with brake cleaner it breaks it down.

In addition, there are several “head:” designs now. There are “flex” heads, “round” heads and “tear drop” heads as well as other variations. I prefer a “flex” head and it allows you to adjust to the plane of a bolt head but as you review the list, I have made you can see the different types of heads.

Profile

The thickness of a ratchet is very important. There is always a space to be gotten into. Most of the time you need a thinner ratchet, right? Thickness of ratchets greatly varies and is an important aspect to consider when looking for your ratchet.

Weight and length

It is nice to have a lighter ratchet, but I would never sacrifice that for quality as for length, This will vary by your needs. I recommend a medium length but, you really need several lengths if you do this for a living.

Warranty

All the tools I list will be lifetime warranty, but it is important to note that not all are hassle free. I will note in each tool how good the process is. Some will do an instant swap out and some will require you to mail them in.

Let’s take a look at the top 10 ratchets for a professional mechanic

1. GearWrench 81210P

Who makes the best ratchet for the money? Coming in the top spot for me is the GearWrench 81210P. This thing is the bomb 💣. I love the feel and the design. It has lasted a good long while now and shows no signs of wear. For my money I think this ratchet is the bees ‘knees.

I would recommend these things all day, but the proof is in the pudding as they say. Try one out yourself. Check out the latest price on Amazon

The Specs

  • Tooth count - 120 count with a 3-degree arc
  • Pawl design - Double-Stacked pawls
  • Handle design - Chrome vanadium steel. Adjustable flex head has six positions. Rubber handle cushion.
  • Profile - 0.9 inches flex-head
  • Warranty - Mail in
  • Weight and Length - 15.8 ounces, 15.9 inches

2. Kobalt 85860

Kobalt

Kobalt really makes some great tools. Probably some of my favorite ratchets. They have a great design and easy to hold. Great balance and profile. The one knock I have is they don’t seem to last as long for me. I have to get them replaced once a year. Not to shabby considering its full time use but others are better.

Check out the latest price on Amazon

The Specs

  • Tooth count - 90 count and a 4-degree arc
  • Pawl design - Double sided pawls
  • Handle design - Chrome vanadium steel. Round thinner handle
  • Profile - 0.6 inches
  • Warranty - Hassle free trade out. As long as they have one in stock. I have never had an issue
  • Weight and Length - 11-13 ounces, 11.3 inches

3. Snap-on F80

snap-on

While Snap-on quality is really good this list is compiled by value for money. Some mechanics enjoy that the truck comes to you and saves you the extra hassle of going out. Snap-on counts on it. And just like other popular brand names you pay a premium to have their stuff. I don’t think that there is enough quality to overcome the 300% price increase you get for the same tool. I do have Snap-on tools and even a ratchet, but I don’t exclusively use them.

Check out the latest price on Amazon

The Specs

  • Tooth count - 80 count and a 4.5-degree arc
  • Pawl design - Double sided pawls
  • Handle design - Chrome vanadium steel. Round thicker handle
  • Profile - 0.6 inches
  • Warranty - Hassle free. They will rebuild it if the damage is in the gearing and replace if it’s in the handle.
  • Weight and Length - 11-13 ounces, 11.3 inches

4. Husky

Husky

I have a special place in my heart for Husky tools. I started being a diesel tech with a set of Husky professionals. They lasted me 6 years! I still use some of those today. All kinds of things broke over the years but the rachets did well. Everyday use and I seen about 3 years before needing replacement. These are great tools and their ratchets have gotten better over the years. Solid choice for a professional.

The Specs

  • Tooth count - 80 count and a 4.5-degree arc
  • Pawl design - Double sided pawls
  • Handle design - Chrome vanadium steel. Round thicker handle
  • Profile - 1 inch
  • Warranty - Depends on the store stock. They will not trade out if it’s part of a set. Mail in to Stanley the principle owner of Husky
  • Weight and Length - 11-13 ounces, 11.3 inches

6. Snap-on f80 long handle

snap2

Another Snap-on tops the list. If you just need the conveniance and name brand and you are willing to drop some bread 🍞 this is a great pick. It’s low profile and longer handle will be a benefit in tight areas. I am not a all snap-on guy but this one is a great one.

This is an awesome ratchet and you can’t go wrong with it. The only questions I have is how much are you willing to pay?

You can find these on eBay for around 150 bucks normally.

The Specs

  • Tooth count - 80 count and a 4.5-degree arc
  • Pawl design - Patented pawls
  • Handle design - Chrome. Round. Long Handle Flex Head.
  • Profile - .6 inches
  • Warranty - Hassle free. They will rebuild it if the damage is in the gearing and replace if it’s in the handle.
  • Weight and Length - 15-18 ounces, 11-1/2 inches

5. Craftsman CMMT81748

Craftsman

I have always been hard on Craftsman. Calling it Crapsman and such 😆. Im a funny guy. And I would still say that their lower end ratchets are garbage. They have like 36 teeth. they break constantly and are not meant for professional use. That said, They have moved over to Loews and now have a higher end ratchet that I would love to give a shot.

I plan on buying one in the next few days to give it a full review. I will update as I have more information. From just holding one and messing around with it, I would say I will give it a shot and see how it goes.

Check out the latest price on Amazon

The Specs

  • Tooth count - 72 count and a 4.5-degree arc
  • Pawl design - Double sided pawls
  • Handle design - Chrome vanadium steel. Round handle
  • Profile - 0.7 inches
  • Warranty - Hassle free swap out. Usually for a rebuilt ratchet.
  • Weight and Length - 11.2 ounces, 9.4 inches

6. Matco BFR188LFM

matco

Matco used to be my favorite “truck” tool. I love their low-profile ratchets. They make an excellent ratchet and other things. I began to stray away from them as the quality of normal branded tools became better. Plus, I did not have much luck with keeping a Matco guy. Seemed like the truck was only there once a month at best.

This is an awesome ratchet and you can’t go wrong with it. The only questions I have is how much are you willing to pay and get you get it replaced if you need to?

You can find these on eBay for around 150 bucks normally.

The Specs

  • Tooth count - 88 count and a 4-degree arc
  • Pawl design - Patented pawls
  • Handle design - Round. Duplex nickel layer underneath hexavalent chrome with rubber grip
  • Profile - 1-1.5 inches
  • Warranty - Hassle free. They will rebuild it if the damage is in the gearing and replace if it’s in the handle.
  • Weight and Length - 15-18 ounces, 18-1/2 inches

7. Mac Tools

mac

The Mac man! I know a lot of people who swear by thier tools. I have no problem with Mac Tools I have a wrench set and some picks from them. They make solid stuff. Once again this list is based on value for the money. You can do some price checking and find out that Mac is no where near the cheapest so do you get that kind of value from their tools? Thats for you to decide.

Then there is the other vairble. Is there a Mac man in your area? They are not near as common as Snap-on and in my experiance not as realible in service.

The Specs

  • Tooth count - In the 80s and a 4-degree arc
  • Pawl design - Patented pawls
  • Handle design - Round. Chrome vanadium steel.
  • Profile - 1-1.5 inches
  • Warranty - Hassle free. They will rebuild it if the damage is in the gearing and replace if it’s in the handle.
  • Weight and Length - 15-18 ounces, 18-1/2 inches

8. GearWrench 81211F

gear

I know it made the list but this one is tough to recommend. I would probably not use this one personally but there are people who love cornwell. You can check you th specs and have a look but there is a reason this one is on the bottom.

Check out the latest price on Amazon

The Specs

  • Tooth count - 84 and a 4.3-degree arc
  • Pawl design - double pawls
  • Handle design - Round. Chrome vanadium steel. flex-head
  • Profile - 0.9 inches
  • Warranty - Mail in
  • Weight and Length - 15-18 ounces, 10-1/4 inches

10. Cornwell JR40

Cornwell

I know it made the list but this one is tough to recommend. I would probably not use this one personally but there are people who love cornwell. You can check you th specs and have a look but there is a reason this one is on the bottom.

Check out the latest price on Amazon

The Specs

  • Tooth count - 30 and a 12-degree arc
  • Pawl design - double pawls
  • Handle design - Round. Chrome vanadium steel.
  • Profile - 0.9 inches
  • Warranty - Hassle free. They will rebuild it if the damage is in the gearing and replace if it’s in the handle.
  • Weight and Length - 8 ounces, 10-1/4 inches

Summing up

Your ratchet is probably the most important tool in your box. You use it so often and your knuckles are constantly in jeopardy. You will notice a huge difference between a cheap one and one made for pros.

I have taken the time to check out 10 different ratchets that I believe are made for pros. Remember just because I recommend one doesn’t mean it would be perfect for you and your job. It really is a personal experience.

You need to try and see with tools like this. They really are like boots. Lots of boots are great but I like certain ones. So, take my list as a great starter and find your awesome ratchet that works for you.

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Johnathan Coker is a ASE and EVT Certified Mechanic. He is married with two kids and lives in sunny Florida. He loves taking stuff apart and teaching others how he messed it up.