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Household

Best Ratchet Set For The Money – Reviews & Buying Guide 2021

Are you looking for the best ratchet set for your repairing work? But cannot decide which set containing the best tools is suitable for your need? Don’t worry. In this article, we will guide you through what to know before buying the best ratchet set and reviewed 10 best sets on the market. Do it yourself, or DIY is becoming popular day by day. In this context, every DIYer needs a ratchet set or socket set. But sorting through numerous different sets can be confusing. At first impression, they all look similar, with the only difference being the total number of pieces.

Then upon a closer look, it will reveal that there are differences in ratchet, socket and case features. So, in this article, we examined the contents, quality, and performance of the major brands. In the end, we make a few recommendations regarding which brand choose. Because there are hundreds of different options out there, it can be challenging to figure out which sizes you’re going to need most or which style you’re going to want. By carrying out a look at our list below and our features, we are confident that you would face no difficulty finding the best ratchet set. Once you do, you’re going to have no problem getting that next project completed.

Ratchet Set To Consider Buying

You can buy socket sets with about 25 sockets (about $40) and as many as 128 ($200). In this listing, we chose sets in the $25 to $200 range because we found them well suited to the intermediate DIYer who also does some car repairing. But if you opt for a bigger or smaller set, our brand recommendations still apply. You get the same quality and features regardless of the size of the set.

Our Top Rated 10 Best Ratchet Set Reviews

01 BOSTITCH BTMT72287 Pass Through Socket Set

BOSTITCH BTMT72287 Pass Through Socket Set

Bostitch socket sets are made with premium chrome vanadium steel for strength and durability. Base metal Chrome is used to protect tools from corrosion while Vanadium is for added strength. The ratchets come with stamped-sized markings for easy identification, and stamped anti-slip rings provide superior grip for easy removal. The 72-tooth gear system provides high torque ratcheting, and the low-profile directional lever allows for quick one-hand operation. The slim ratchet head design and 5-degree arc swing make easy to work in confined spaces.

The wrenches include an anti-slip design technology creating greater contact area against the fastener than standard wrenches. This reduces fastener rounding, which can also provide increased maximum torque up to 15%. All tools are ergonomically designed for superior comfort to maximize productivity.

Specifications

  • Product Dimensions: 3.3 x 14.2 x 11.2 inches
  • Item Model Number: BTMT72287
  • Weight: 11.15 pounds
  • Size: 65-Piece
  • Part Number: BTMT72287
  • Power Source: Corded-electric
  • Number of Handles: 1
  • Warranty Bostitch: Lifetime Warranty

Pros

  • Heavy Duty Ratchet with 72-Tooth Gear System
  • Pass-Through Design
  • Ratchet Handle with Rubber Grip
  • Chrome Vanadium Steel Construction
  • Durable Stamped Size Markings

Cons

  • The sockets don’t lock into the ratchet very good

FAQ

Question: Are the sockets 6 points, 12 points or both?
Answer: The sockets are 6 points. Although 12 or 24-point sockets are better a lot of jobs can be done with this tool.

Question: Would the sockets be used with a torque wrench which has a standard square drive to repair automobile?
Answer: Yes, it is possible. But drive size need to be 1/2 inch, 3/ 4 inch on the torque wrench is the same size sockets.

Question: Are these sockets engraved or laser etched?
Answer: They are not engraved. They are laser-etched.

Our Remarks

BOSTITCH Pass Through Socket Set has all the different sizes one may need. In addition, having the pass-through ability, the set comes in a case with locks for each socket in their spot. So, when you open it, everything will not fall out. This socket wrench set is designed for everyone. But it is especially useful for people who do not trust their vehicles on road trips.

02 Craftsman 108 Pc. Mechanic’s Tool Set

Craftsman 108 Pc. Mechanic's Tool Set

Craftsman Mechanic’s tool set is ideal for light to medium automotive use and jobs around the house, apartment or garage. The ratcheting wrench set features 1 /4 -inch and 3/8-inch drive sizes. ¼ inch drive includes regular and deep length sockets in both inches and metric sizes with a quick release ratchet.

The 3/8-inch drive comes with regular and deep sockets in both inches and metric sizes with a quick release ratchet and 6-inch extension bar. The mechanics tool set has other additional tools like 2 open end inch wrenches, magnetic bit handle for use with 10 screwdriver bits and 12 nut driver bits. The set also includes a 14pc inch hex key set. Other important tools of the set are:

  • 11 pieces of 1/4″ Drive 6pt Inch Sockets
  • 11 pieces of 1/4″ Drive 6pt Metric Sockets
  • 6 pieces of 1/4″ Drive 6pt Deep Inch Sockets
  • 6 pieces of 1/4″ Drive 6pt Deep Metric Socket

Specifications

  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 16 x 7 inches
  • Weight: 10.67 pounds
  • Size: 108 Pc
  • Color: Black, silver
  • Part Number: Bdb08258-a95e-4259-b081-fb9154ddda0b-CA
  • Finish: Silver
  • Warranty: Life time warranty

Pros

  • Good set for a novice mechanic
  • Easy to fit in the trunk of a car
  • Affordable price
  • Great set for a gift
  • Enough sockets for most people

Cons

  • The case is not so good. When you open the box, everything will fall out.

FAQ

Question: Does the set come with a ¾ socket?
Answer: The set includes a deep socket of 3 /4 inches.

Question: Does this set has both mm and inches?
Answer: The set has everything from metric to SAE in all sizes.

Question: Does this tool set come with a case?
Answer: Yes, this craftsman ratchet set comes with a hard plastic case.

Our Remarks

The socket and ratchet of the Craftsman toolkit are fine. However, the case is not molded. So, the sockets will snap in and stay in place. The case needs to open in the same way all the time. If it open in the wrong way, the sockets will fall out and scatter everywhere. Craftsman mechanic tool set offers a very reasonable price.

03 Crescent CTK170CMP2 Mechanics Tool Set

Crescent CTK170CMP2 Mechanics Tool Set

Crescent Mechanics tool set comes in new and sturdier blow mold case as well as new and improved crescent screwdrivers. The set contains a carefully selected assortment of hand tools needed for most industrial, mechanical, and consumer applications. All tools are kept organized in a sturdy, folding plastic case for easy storage and transport.

Specifications

  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 19.1 x 3.6 inches
  • Item Model Number: CTK170CMP2
  • Weight: 20 pounds
  • Size: Full size
  • Color: Gray
  • Part Number: CTK170CMP2
  • Material: Steel
  • Warranty: Lifetime warranty

Pros

  • Carefully selected assortment of hand tools
  • Tools meet new stringent new ANSI and ASME specifications
  • All tools contained in a sturdy, folding plastic case for easy storage and transport
  • Offers full satisfaction

Cons

  • Some of the tools do not stay in their places inside the box

FAQ

Question: Are the tools easy to take out of the case?
Answer: All tools are organized nicely in the case. They are very easy to take out and put back into the case.

Question: Does the toolset have a 9mm wrench?
Answer: It does not, but the set have a 3/16 inches wrench which is 20 thousandths of an inch larger. This could work if the bolt someone is working is not excessively tight.

Question: Are the spark plug sockets magnetized?
Answer: No, but they have a rubber insert in them to hold on to the plug end.

Our Remarks

Crescent mechanics tool set contains all the tools needed for most applications, including 1/4″, 3/8″, and 1/2″ quick-release ratcheting drives, with a wide selection of standard and deep sockets in the most common SAE and metric sizes. All tools in this set meet strictest new ANSI and ASME specifications and offer a full satisfaction guarantee.

04 DeWalt DWMT73803 Mechanics Tool Kit Set with Case

DeWalt DWMT73803 Mechanics Tool Kit Set with Case

Sometimes you need a more specialized mechanic tool set if you have certain types of projects continuously. The DeWalt DWMT73803 offers 168 pieces and tools with a greater focus on sockets and ratchets than other tool sets. The set is design and manufacture for people who work on parts or projects with a large number of nuts and bolts. The sockets come in virtually any common size you may need and provide clear markings of the size.

The important tool of this set is the primary ratchet that will work with any of the sockets included in the set. The ratchet features a 72-tooth gearing system that gives you precise control over the amount of torque you apply. The body of the ratchet is slim to work in confined spaces and is designed for one hand operation with quick socket changes.

Specifications

  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 14.7 x 5 inches
  • Item Model Number: DWMT73803
  • Weight: 23 pounds
  • Color: Set
  • Part Number: DWMT73803
  • Power Source Corded-Electric
  • Warranty Life time warranty

Pros

  • 72-Tooth gear system for high-torque ratcheting
  • A low profile maneuvering lever helps reduce catch points and for easy one-hand operation
  • Removable accessory case
  • The complete set on the market
  • Nice sturdy case

Cons

  • The screwdriver is not made from hardened steel.
  • The tip may break down while driving a wood screw

FAQ

Question: Are the tools measure in mm or inches?
Answer: the set includes both SAE and metric sizes.

Question: Are the Sockets 6 points or 12 points?
Answer: they are 6 points.

Question: Is this a complete set?
Answer: This is the complete set.

Our Remarks

This is a great Mechanics tool set. The set comes with a ton of sockets and ratchets including angled adapters for hard to reach bolts. It has everything you need while offers price within your budget. The entire set weighs a bit more, but not difficult for a normal guy or girl to carry around house or garage. What’s more, the best socket set comes with a lifetime warranty. All tools are packed in a sturdy, heavy duty case.

05 EPAuto Drive Socket Set with Reversible Ratchet

EPAuto Drive Socket Set with Reversible Ratchet

EPAuto drive socket set comes with 40 different pieces. This ratchet wrench set is among the most versatile pieces in the market. The set is designed for light and heavy-duty applications and can be used anywhere including home, office, workshop, and garage.

The tools are made from hardened chrome vanadium steel alloy and withstand knocks, falls, oils, bangs, impacts and more. To make tools corrosion resistant, they are Chrome plated and has a mirror finish for better aesthetic appeal and feature a nice grip for speedy and safe use. The tools are organized in a sturdily built case which improves storage and transportation. The case is also resistant to breakage.

The ratchet is chrome plated and mirror polished and has no blemishes from production. It includes a button at the top of the tool to release the socket. The sockets too have a nice machined finish. The case of the socket set is not sturdy, but tools fit in it correctly. It has a foam lid liner. The case is made of thin plastic, and the latch dislodges with a minimal drop on the floor. But the tools are well made and good quality.

Specifications

  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 5.5 x 1.9 inches
  • Weight: 2.95 pounds
  • Size: 40 Piece
  • Material: Steel
  • Part Number: ST-003-1
  • Finish: Chrome

Pros

  • Durable since made from hardened treated Chrome Vanadium steel alloy
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Tools contained in a sturdy plastic organizing case
  • Both Metric and English sizes are included
  • Very smooth Chrome Plating

Cons

  • The sockets don’t stay in place

FAQ

Question: How many teeth are in the ratchet?
Answer: The ratchet has 24 teeth.

Question: Can these sockets attach to a drill?
Answer: These sockets can be attached to a Hex drill socket set.

Question: Does the set include a spark plug socket?
Answer: No, it does not.

Our Remarks

EPAuto driver socket is great for working on cars and trucks. 40-piece cheap socket sets come with large sockets and a reversible ratchet that makes assembling and dissembling complicated machinery quick and easy. The product is extremely affordable, though the case is pretty flimsy. The ratchet of the toolset is well made and is very smooth and shiny.

06 SK 91848 Fractional Socket Set

SK 91848 Fractional Socket Set

This popular set comes with tools in both SAE and Metric sizes. It includes SK’s high polish SuperKrome finish, which protects the tools from the harsh working environments found in today’s workplace. All sockets come with SK’s patented SureGrip hex design, which drives the side of the fastener, not the corner, to avoid edge breakage which can occur on rusted or damaged fastener.

Specifications

  • Dimension: 13.5 x 9.5 x 2 inches
  • Model Number: 91848
  • Weight: 4.15 pounds
  • Part Number: 91848
  • Measurement system: Inch/Metric
  • Warranty: Lifetime Warranty

The set includes the following tools:

  • Pro Thumbwheel Ratchet
  • 2 Adapters
  • Universal Joint
  • 5 inch pro ratchet
  • 2 inch and 6 inch elongations
  • 1/4″, 9/32″, 3/16″, 7/32″, 5/16″, 11/32″, 3/8″, 7/16″, 1/2″, 9/16″ usual sockets
  • 1/4″, 9/32″, 5/16″, 11/32″, 3/8″, 7/16″, 1/2″, 9/16″ deep sockets
  • 4mm, 5mm, 5.5mm, 6mm, 7mm, 8mm, 9mm, 10mm, 11mm, 12mm, 13mm, 14mm, 15mm standard sockets
  • 7mm, 8mm, 6mm, 9mm, 10mm, 11mm, 12mm, 13mm, 14mm, 15mm deep sockets
  • Packaged in a molded plastic case

Pros

  • The SK set can be used in a harsh working environment
  • Corrosion resistant impact units
  • Easy to access in high torque applications
  • All the tools are quick to grab and go
  • All the tools are very functional

Cons

  • The case does not keep everything in its place during transportation

FAQ

Question: What size drive size in the set?
Answer: 1/4 inch, the whole set

Question: What are the measurements or dimensions of the carrying case?
Answer: The carrying case dimension is 8 1/8 inches deep, 11 7/8 inches wide, and 1 3/4 inches thick.

Question: Will this SK set work with a battery powered driver?
Answer: With the right attachment, the set will work with a standard power drill. However, this should not be put into service with battery impacts.

Our Remarks

This is a beautify small socket set manufactured by SK. The set is nice for a small job. The set has everything you need. The set has a good quality ratchet which has 60 teeth and works like a dream. SK tools are very expensive, but their quality would justify the price. SK is the best socket set brand in the US.

07 Stalwart 75-HT3014 Drive Socket Set

Stalwart 75-HT3014 Drive Socket Set

This product from the manufacturer Stalwart comes with 52 piece socket set. They come with both SAE and Metric sizes. This is the best socket set for mechanics, craftsmen, and homeowners. This toolset contains a broad assortment of common sized sockets to fit almost any job you need to tackle. All of these tools are made with drop forged steel with a Chrome Vanadium finish for durability and protection from corrosion. All of them are kept in an organized way in a convenient carrying case which opens flat for easy tool retrieval. The set includes the following tools:

  • Comprises SAE & Metric in 1/4, 3/8 & 1/2 Drive Sets
  • Drop Forged Steel with Chrome Vanadium Finish
  • Accurate & Consistent Fit for Long Life
  • Durable Carry Case for Organization & Easy Retrieval
  • 6-Point Sockets
  • 5-inch (1/2″ Head) Ratchet & 7.25-inch (3/8″ Head) 1/4 Drive
  • Spinner Grip or Handle
  • 3/8-Drive
  • 16-mm Spark Plug Socket 3/8 Drive 13/16
  • Spark Plug Socket Elongated Bar 3/8″ Drive 70mm
  • ¼-Sockets (Metric): 4, 4.5, 5, 5.5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 mm
  • 3/8-Sockets (Metric): 14, 16, 17 mm
  • Bit Adaptor 3/8-1/4 inch

Specifications

  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 2 x 7.5 inches
  • Item Model Number: 75-HT3014
  • Weight: 5.78 pounds
  • Part Number: 75-HT3014
  • Item package: quantity 1

Pros

  • Consistent and accurate fit for a long life
  • Sturdy carrying case for keeping tools organized and easy retrieval
  • Includes SAE and Metric in 1/4, 3/8 and 1/2 drive sets
  • Corrosion resistant
  • Great for home use

Cons

  • The set is good only for light use. For example, assembling furniture, tightening door hinges but not for automotive work

FAQ

Question: Are the socket wrenches of the set reversible?
Answer: Yes, they are.

Question: What sizes are included for each drive size?
Answer: It includes SAE and Metric in 1/4, 3/8 and 1/2 drive sets

Question: Are these sockets are quick release?
Answer: Yes

Our Remarks

The Stalwart socket set is good for normal household stuff. But it is not designed for mechanical or commercial work. It is a cheap tool set yet it serves its purpose. All items stay in place in the carrying case when upside down. For the price, this set is a good buy.

08 Stanley 92-839 Black Chrome and Laser Etched Socket Set

Stanley 92-839 Black Chrome and Laser Etched Socket Set

The Stanley 92-839 Black Chrome & laser etched socket set comes with 99 pieces of tools that meet the American national standard institute specifications. The set is a combination of wrenches, sockets, and ratchets. Unlike standard marked sockets, Stanley feature laser-etched sockets that provide hi-visibility markings making it easier to read.

The finishing of sockets is also different than others. The finishing is black not shiny silver giving it a sharp appearance and making it better corrosion resistance. The product’s carrying case is a 2-piece case which allows lid removal and the back case to be used as a drawer tray. The lid can be easily reassembled to the case which makes the case convenient for tool storage and travel. Stanley sockets feature the proprietary Max-Drive design which translates a unique radius corner design which provides 15 percent more torque, making it easy to tighten fasteners and simplifies the turning of rounded corners.

Specifications

  • Product Dimensions: 24.2 x 3 x 15.2 inches
  • Item Model Number: 92-839
  • Weight: 8 pounds
  • Size: full size
  • Color: black
  • Part Number: 92-839
  • Finish: Black
  • Warranty: Lifetime Warranty

Pros

  • Black chrome finish for anti-corrosion protection and beautiful appearance
  • Laser-etched designs for size visibility
  • Chrome vanadium forged body for strength, torque, and durability
  • Quick release switch and reversible mechanism for simple operation
  • Knurled handle finish for slip resistance
  • Meets or exceeds ANSI specifications
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Wrenches came with grease that needs to clean

FAQ

Question: Are all of these are 6 point sockets?
Answer: Yes, all of them are 6 point sockets.

Question: Can sockets of this set be used with impact wrenches?
Answer: No, they do not impact sockets.

Question: How many teeth does the ratchet have?
Answer: The ratchets are 120 toothed.

Our Remarks

Stanley provides quality and convenience with this 99-Piece Black Chrome Socket Set (92-839). Heavy duty and durable, this socket set comes with a black chrome finish for anti-corrosion protection and sleek appearance. They use laser-etched markings not engraved markings for size visibility. They are made from Chrome Vanadium alloy for torque, strength, and durability. In addition, the knurled handle finish offers slip resistance.

09 Sunex 9726 Mini Ratchet and Bit Set

Sunex 9726 Mini Ratchet and Bit Set

Sunex Mini Ratchet and bit set is designed for any shop. This 36-piece kit includes an assortment of bits to take on almost any tasks. The kit includes Phillips, Slotted, Hex, Torx and various other bits to handle a wide variety of jobs. This is a great set with 36 of the most common bit tips. Tips are high-quality S2 steel for maximum life, and the mini ratchet is 1/4 In. magnetic tipped 72 teeth reversible, high polished steel and included a quick release 1/4 In. extension for hard to reach applications. The Complete set is packed in an aluminum storage case.

The Sunex Mini Ratchet is made from Chrome-Vanadium alloy and comes with 72 fine teeth, 5 degrees swivel arc and magnetic bit retention. All Sunex bits meet or exceed American society of     mechanical engineers’ specifications for quality. Durable aluminum storage case features screen printed size markings for easy identification of bits.  The Sunex mini Ratchet and bit set offers a full lifetime warranty.

Specifications

  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 4.8 x 1.5 inches
  • Item Model Number: 9726
  • Weight: 0.48 ounces
  • Size: Mini Ratchet and Bit Set
  • Part Number: 9726
  • Material: Multi
  • Warranty: Lifetime

Pros

  • 36 bits to accommodate any application
  • Quick release extension bar for hard to reach applications
  • Durable aluminum case for easy, compact storage
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • The set does not include an adapter for a socket set

FAQ

Question: Does the ratchet features magnetic bit holder?
Answer: Yes.

Question: What is the length of the ratchet handle?
Answer: It is about 7cm or 3 inches in length

Question: Does the head flex to give you a 90-degree angle?
Answer: It does not flex.

Our Remarks

The Sunex mini ratchet and Bit set is packed with most common sizes that can be used for automotive repair. The best mechanic tool set is complete with a durable aluminum case for easy, compact storage. These 36 pieces mini ratchet/bit set can accommodate a wide range of applications. The set includes a quick release extension bar for hard to reach applications.

10 TEKTON 3/8-Inch Drive Socket Set

TEKTON 3/8-Inch Drive Socket Set

Each socket of the set has a high-torque 6-point design that grips flat sides of fasteners, not corners, preventing round-off. The ratchet has 72-tooth which makes it a great tool for working in tight spaces. All tools are crafted from premium chrome vanadium steel, and feature mirror Chrome plated finish to protect them from corrosion. The set contains both metric sockets set and standard socket set. All tools are kept and organized in a tough, compact storage case. The set includes:

  • 8-pc. Shallow length sockets (6 pt.): 5/16, 3/8, 7/16, 1/2, 9/16, 5/8, 11/16, 3/4 in.
  • 8-pc. Deep length sockets (6 pt.): 5/16, 3/8, 7/16, 1/2, 9/16, 5/8, 11/16, 3/4 in.
  • 12-pc. Shallow length sockets (6 pt.): 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 mm
  • 12-pc. Deep length sockets (6 pt.): 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 mm
  • 1-pc. 3/8 in. drive ratchet (7 in., 72 teeth)
  • 2-pc. Extensions: 3, 6 in.
  • 1-pc. Universal joint
  • 1-pc. Storage case

Specifications

  • Product Dimensions: 12 x 7.8 x 2.8 inches
  • Item Model Number: 13101
  • Weight: 4.96 pounds
  • Size: 3/8 inch, 45-piece
  • Part Number: 13101
  • Warranty: Always Guaranteed

Pros

  • Excellent fit and finish
  • The ratchet feels and sounds great
  • All the sockets have 6 point
  • The case is a hardcore
  • Every socket originates in both shallow and deep socket

Cons

  • Socket size is difficult to see when they are out of the box

FAQ

Question: How long is the ratchet?
Answer: It is 7 inches for the 3/8 drive

Question: Do they socket have easy to read markings?
Answer: Yes, Marking is fairly easy to read. The text is legible, and you can easily read the size.

Question: Are all the ratchets made with metal?
Answer: The ratchets of this set are a standard Chrome ratchet.

Our Remarks

Tekton drive socket set is a comprehensive collection of 3/8-inch drive tools. This set includes every size from 5/16 to ¾ inch and 8 to 19mm in both shallow and deep lengths. The set is complete with a universal joint and 6-inch extension, which are rarely found in other sets.

Best Ratchet Set For The Money – Buying Guide

Buying a good-quality ratchet set is not easy. There are hundreds of different sets marketed by dozens of distributors and dealers. So, it is difficult to know which one is best for you. In fact, there is no single best ratchet set, regardless of the design or brand.

Every socket set has some drawbacks. You may assume either from reading on the Internet or hearing from someone that ratchet tool with smooth, shiny finishes has good quality. But this perception is wrong. The real fact, from the point of view of most professional mechanics is shiny almost always equals to poor quality.

So, how do you decide which is the best ratchet set to buy? Again, there is no definite answer. You may think that a costly set might be the best one. But in this case, the price is not the main factor. It actually depends on what is your purpose of buying a ratchet tool set. For example, you may want to do some occasional repair jobs in the house. In such a case, almost anything on the market will do. But if your DIY jobs also include repairing your own cars, you need to best quality ratchet tool that is available, as opposed to the best you can afford.

Before you go shopping or searching on the Internet for the best ratchet set, it is important that you should familiarize yourself with some technical terms and their meaning for hand tools in general. Otherwise, it can be a tough task to explain your exact needs to the storekeeper or determine the quality of certain socket set online by simply reading.

Drive size

This makes reference to the dimensions of the square hole on the top of the socket into which the drive nub of the ratchet handles fit. It is not related to the opening in the bottom of the socket that fits onto the fastener. Unlike a TV screen where the dimension is measured diagonally that is from corner to corner, this dimension is measured from side to side. Drive sizes of most DIY applications are ¼-inch, 3/8-inch. For repairing light vehicles, bigger drive size such as ¾, and 1-inch are also available.

Metric Measurement

This measurement standard makes reference to the sizes of the heads of fasteners, and hence the socket in millimeters when measured across flats.

SAE measurements

SAE is abbreviation of “Society of Automotive Engineers” which refers to the sizes of the heads of fasteners in inches when measured across flats. Sizes of tools in the SAE standard increase in 1/6th-inch increments.

Extension bar

This tool allows the user to reach fasteners that are in places where it is impossible to swing a wrench or ratchet handle to loosen or tighten the fastener. Extension bars come in standard lengths, regardless of the measurement standard of the sockets. A ½-inch drive extension with a metric set will fit a ½-inch drive socket made to the SAE standard since the drive sizes on both standards are identical.

Swivel joint

The connection between a ratchet handle and socket allows no deviation from the center-line of the drive. The swivel joint is being used to alter the drive angle to suit conditions by inserting it between the socket and the ratchet. But the more acute the drive angle becomes; the less torque can be applied to the fastener. At drive angles greater than 100, applying a counter torque to the pivot point is necessary to prevent the socket slipping off the fastener.

Drive Adapter

These adapters make it possible to fit for example a 3/8-inch drive socket with a ½-inch drive ratchet handle. There are several reasons for which a user may want to do this. But he needs to keeps it in mind that by doing this it becomes easier to break a bolt by a factor of about 4 since a greater torque can be applied with the longest ½-inch drive ratchet.

Breaker Bar

Breaker bar is a long handle to which a socket can be fitted. Breaker bars are available in all drive sizes, but their lengths vary. They are used to apply more torque to a fastener that is possible with a ratchet handle. But this tool must never be substituted for a properly calibrated torque wrench. The application of the tool includes loosening tight suspension nuts and bolts, loosening stubborn wheel nuts, or loosening highly torqued CV-joints retaining nuts.

Ratchet Handle

It is the centerpiece of any socket set. Its ability to apply torque in one direction while allowing free rotation around the drive point in the opposite direction making it an ideal tool to speed up the process of loosening or tightening of fasteners.

Deep sockets

Deep sockets come with a longer body than normal sockets which allows them to reach deeply recessed parts and fasteners. They are typically used for the removal of diesel fuel injectors and cylinder head bolts that are not accessible with normal sockets. They are available in all drive sizes and measurement standards.

Impact sockets

Impact sockets are intended to be put into service with pneumatic or electric impact wrenches. Two salient features of impact sockets are they always have six sides (or points) and significantly thicker walls than normal sockets. Impact sockets are typically used to remove very stubborn wheel nuts on trucks or the removal of corroded fasteners where normal tolls fail to supply sufficient torque.

They also reduce the chances of breaking fasteners originating from the action of hundreds of high-impact hammer blows. Instead, they allow a huge, steady torque that can snap the head of a fastener before the threads overcome the locking action. Impact sockets are often anodized, an electrochemical process the converts the metal surface into a decorative, durable, corrosion-resistant, anodic oxide finish and have a groove around the top to be distinguished from normal sockets. They are available in all measurement standards, as well as in deep socket variations.

Normal sockets can be used in conjunction with impact tools, and some brands of the socket will survive this abuse for years. But the use of normal sockets with impact tools are not completely risk-free because in such practice normal socket may shatter anytime.

Cr-V, OR CR-V

Socket manufacturers engrave either of the two sets of letters on the products. These letters refer to the materials added to the base metal that provide additional strength and protection against corrosion. Cr refers to the presence of Chromium which makes the tool corrosion resistant and V refers to Vanadium which is responsible for adding strength.

Now we know all the jargons. Now it is time to know what to look for in a high-quality ratchet set. Let us begin with the center piece of the set, ratchet handle. A ratchet works by allowing the teeth on a ratchet wheel to engage with a toggle that locks the mechanism in one direction at a time. How well a ratchet performs depends on the number of teeth on the ratchet wheel.

Expensive ratchet wheel comes with more teeth on the wheels. It refers that the angle required to move the handle decreases before the teeth on the toggle engage with new teeth on the ratchet wheel. Cheaper ratchet handle has as few as 32 teeth on the ratchet wheel, which means that the angle required to engage new teeth can be as big as 150 and time to time even more. This makes it far difficult to use such a ratchet in confined spaces because a large arc is required to swing the ratchet to move a fastener through more than a few degrees at a time.

On the other hand, high-quality, expensive ratchets come with 72 teeth on their ratchet wheels, which means that the angle required to engage new teeth can be as low as 50 and sometimes even less before new teeth engage. This is a big plus point to work in confined spaces since a fastener can move through large angles with small movements of the ratchet handle.

Teeth on expensive ratchet handle come with a small pitch, but they are extremely durable and will last a lifetime. Apart from teeth, there are other three equally important aspects to a ratchet handle. These are as follows:

Grip

Slipping ratchet from your hands while working in a confined space is dangerous. Because the large force involved when working with rigid fasteners can break your fingers if the tool slips.

Even some high-quality tools do not have ergonomically-designed grips. Some ratchet handles come with smoothly polished grips that may appear good on an internet review, but if your hands are dirty or greasy, they certainly injure you because it is difficult to main a positive grip on them, particularly if you are wearing gloves while working. A ratchet handle with rubber grip that fits comfortably in your hand is recommended. Also, the material of the grip should be oil-resistant. Some cheap ratchet handles offer comfortable grips, but they often dissolve the first time they come into contact with oil or grease.

Change direction

Nowadays, almost all ratchet handles feature a small toggle switch with which one can change the direction of the ratchet mechanism. But this switch should offer a positive action which means when it is moved, it should stay in the selected position of positive action. High-quality ratchet features toggle switch that moves freely from side to side, but it will lock into place in both positions, so you need to check for this.

On an inexpensive tool, the toggle switch often moves to the neutral position abruptly, and especially when the machine is under a heavy load. When this happens, the user gets injured. The injury type may be skinned knuckles, broken fingers, broken wrists and in some cases even serious facial injuries.

Kinks in the handle

High-quality ratchet handle never features an offset between the pivot point and the grip to appear kinked when viewed from the side while this is a favorite design feature of cheaper brands. But the irony is that this offset hugely increases the chance of a socket slipping off a fastener.

The offset creates a torque that is applied in a plane which is far above the plane in which the fastener rotates, which means that part of the rotational plane is converted into a lateral force that increases in direct proportion to the torque applied. Thus, the higher the load, the greater the chance that the socket will be pulled off the fastener and result in an accident.

Features that need to look for in sockets

One important feature that needs to look for in high-quality sockets is the difference in the diameter of the body of the socket, and the upper part into which the drive nub fits. This feature does not play any role in terms of increasing the torque that can be applied, but it has everything to do with the overall strength of the socket.

  • High-quality sockets feature thin walls while cheap sockets come with thicker walls.
  • Avoid sockets with a uniform diameter or thick walls, since they do not have necessary inherent strength, no matter how clearly, they engraved letters “Cr-V.”
  • Interestingly, some high-quality brands do not engrave their products with “Cr-V” since they know well that knowledgeable users can correctly identify high-quality And in many instances “Cr-V” are found on cheap brands to promote sales. So, the wall thickness is a great indicator of high- and low-quality sockets. Some high-quality impact sockets will have the words “impact” or “ For Use with Impact Tools” engraved on them. So, look out for these words too when purchasing impact sockets.

Look for the name

It has been found that cheap sockets do not have a brand name on them and they try to draw customers attention by the highly polished surface, a laser-etched number, and a pretty carry case. Sockets without brand names are less reliable. On the other hand, high-quality sockets will always have the brand and size engraved clearly.

Check their fit

All sockets come with indentations on the inside of the square drive hole. But the shape, depth, and angles of these indentations determine how well a socket fits and stays on a drive nub. Indentations of high-quality sockets are made to close to the radius of the retaining ball on the drive nub. This design feature means when the release mechanism in the center of the ratchet is depressed, the socket will fall of the drive nub under its own weight.

On cheaper units, the indentations are either not deep enough or too deep. Both create a problem. When it is not too deep, the socket comes off the drive nub too easily, and when it is too deep, which means the socket sometimes has to be pried off the nub with a screwdriver. The test of an ideal socket is the ease with which it can be fitted to and removed from a drive. The easier the process, the better is the socket. Choose the socket that has a slight bevel to the outside edge of the drive hole. This makes the tool easier for the retaining ball to enter the hole. Cheap sockets never feature this bevel.

Number points

How many internal points or sides a socket must have mainly depended on what you want to use the socket for. For example, sockets with six sides offer the best grip while eliminating any chance of rounding off the corners on a fastener. But there is also a high-quality socket with 12 or even 24 sides that loosen almost any fastener without damaging it.

Problem with six-sided sockets are they are difficult to use in confined spaces because it can difficult to fit them over a fastener. But 12 or 24-sided sockets can be fitted over the same fastener with no difficulty at all, which makes their use a genius choice in some cases. The important point is six-sided sockets are cheaper to manufacture. That is why cheap socket sets contain only six-sided sockets. If your manufacturer of choice does not offer sockets with 12 or 24 sides, it is fairly certain that six-sided socket set will not survive in a professional environment for any length of time.

Well-known manufacturers offer sockets in all possible configurations which give you flexible choice and the guarantee that all their products comply with the highest possible standards of quality, durability, and ease of use. From a seasoned mechanics point of view, it has been found that there is a direct correlation between the poor-quality of ratchet sets and the prettiness of the plastic carry-case. The Paradox is nicer the case, the worse the tools inside it, regardless of the number of reviews on the product.

High-quality ratchet set has carried cases which are made from steel or aluminum. In addition, the top-quality set will have the brand name on the case. Tools are expensive, so do not fool yourself buying a 110-piece set since it looks nice and shiny. Instead, buy a smaller and essential set of good quality. You also do not have to buy products from a single brand. You can collect the best tool from different manufacturers and get a lifetime warranty on each piece.

How to Use and Maintain Ratchet Set?

The ratchet comes with a handle that snaps into one end of a socket by means of a square-drive connector. The other end of the socket fits over a fastener. Ratchet features a mechanism that allows the handle to engage and tighten a fastener when you swing it in a clockwise direction but turn freely when you swing it counterclockwise. Ratchet also comes with a switch that reverses the actions to loosen fasteners.

Functions of ratchets and sockets are similar to conventional wrench. All of them are designed to tighten and loosen fasteners. But some tasks can be done well with ratchet and socket. A ratchet in conjunction with socket lets you turn a nut or bolt without repositioning the tool on the fastener what you need to do with a wrench when there is not enough room to turn it in full circle. Meanwhile, you do not need to reposition the tool frequently, tightening or loosening the fastener task becomes quicker.

Moreover, since a socket fits completely around a fastener, they are less likely to slip off than some types of wrenches. The important tips to maintain your socket for years of use:

Cleaning

As soon as you have done using your sockets, make sure they are clean before putting them away. Brushed off any muck or dirt. Ensure brush out the inside of the socket head and drive socket as well as the outside of the socket. Muck and dirt can scratch away at the protective coating which is applied over the socket surface by the anodizing process. Trap moisture also needs to wipe out since it can result in corrosion. Use an old toothbrush to clean large sockets. Smaller sockets can be best cleaned with dental flossing brushes.

Most important point of sockets does not have water on them since this could result rust to form. If sockets get wet, they should be dried with a cloth first. Then spray water displacing oil on it to make it completely moisture free. When not in use, sockets should be kept in a storage system for example in a socket case, on socket rails or foam inserts in a toolbox specially designed for sockets. Storing sockets in a storage system will allow you to see if any of your sockets are missing when you have finished using them.

There are dedicated socket systems that allow you to organize your sockets according to size. This will make the finding the correct size socket for the job much easier next time you come to use them.

Final Verdict

Finding the best ratchet set depends on your purpose. If are looking for a cheap set for auto repairing task then EPAuto Drive Socket Set with Reversible Ratchet is the right set for you. You can keep this set confidently in your car truck all the time.

DeWalt DWMT73803 Mechanics Tool Kit Set with Case cost you nearly $140, but this set has everything you need. Similar products are Stalwart 75-HT3014 Drive Socket Set and Stanley 92-839 Black Chrome and Laser Etched Socket Set. Both of these two sets did not skip any tools for doing the regular DIY task. But Stalwart 75-HT3014 Drive Socket Set cost you below $30.

Sunex 9726 Mini Ratchet and Bit Set will also cost be below $30, but this set features 36 bits to accommodate any application. SK 91848 Fractional Socket Set cost is over $180, but all of the tools of this set are high quality and are suitable for working under harsh working environment. All of the tools provide maximum corrosion resistance.

Finally, TEKTON 3/8-Inch Drive Socket Set is a master collection of sockets of every size from 5/16 to 3/4 inch and 8 to 19 mm in both shallow and deep lengths. All of the sockets are made from premium quality chrome vanadium steel with a mirror chrome plated finish. These sockets are ideal for unfastening the most stubborn bolt. The final choice is of course yours! Happy shopping.

About the author

Noah McDonnell

A Garden Equipment Specialist

Noah here! Mow, blow, trim, prune…That’s all I do and love to do every day. Being proud of a large garden, I take pride in growing and nurturing plants of a wide variety. So, my familiarity with blowers, mowers, saws and pruners is nothing surprising. These appliances are good except on occasions when I detect signs of malfunctions. Gardening is a rewarding job as long as you know how to make peace with the tools. Buying a set of equipment every year is, by no means, a pleasant thing to do. therefore, I enjoy helping people use their gardening tools appropriately, take care of them, and ensure that everything goes without a large investment. Got an issue to seek remedy for? Well, check out my posts and become educated instantly!

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