Last updated on September 2nd, 2018 at 03:43 am
Whether working on your car project, a construction project, or in your daily handyman endeavors, the last thing you want is to lose much of your energy trying to fasten or loosen nuts and bolts. As an auto mechanic, tightening and removing nuts and bolts can be the most energy-sucking activity if you don’t have the right tool. It is more difficult to work effectively and efficiently in very compact areas that don’t have enough headroom to let you move your hand wrench back and forth. In such cases, a cordless ratchet wrench comes in handy as a perfect alternative to the standard ratchet.
A cordless ratchet is a battery powered ratchet. It gives you freedom from air hoses and electric wires as well as makes tightening and removing of nuts and bolts easier and more fun. Needless to say that with this tool you can access nuts and bolts in hidden places with a lot of ease and you don’t necessarily need to have a lot of headroom to take out or install a nut or bolt. In other words, the ratchet does not need to be moved back and forth to get the job done. A cordless wrench will help you get the job done effectively even when you are in an uncomfortable or awkward position like underneath a truck that’s not raised. However, unlike an impact wrench that is designed for heavy duty applications, a cordless wrench is purposely meant to be used for low to medium duty requirements.
Top 5 Best Cordless Ratchet Wrenches
Detailed Review of 5 Best Cordless Ratchets
Milwaukee Cordless Ratchet 3/8 Review
Looking for a cordless ratchet that can be used to remove and install nuts and bolts in those tight and poorly illuminated work areas? The Milwaukee cordless ratchet wrench is the real deal. This unit is small and compact and definitely light on your hands. Although it delivers only 35 foot-pounds of torque, you can rest assured to get up to the last ft-lb. It also has a high RPM that enables it to drive bolts and nuts very fast to save you time. While it is possible to underestimate its ability from its size, you will be amazed at how this cordless ratchet breaks free a lot of nuts with a lot of ease. It also features a varible speed paddle switch for controlling the speed more easily and responsively to avoid overtightening.
The 3/8 inch drive has a detent pin that retains sockets to prevent them from falling or spinning off.The head is short enough, and just 3/4 inches wide, to allow you to get into very tight spaces. In a nutshell, there are 5 main things that make the Milwaukee cordless ratchet stand out among competitions:
- Built-in LED light to illuminate dark compact work areas
- Onboard fuel gauge on the side that not only indicates the state of charge of battery but also flashes when the torque is exceeded to notify the user to release trigger.
- Can be used as a manual socket wrench to give the nuts an extra snag or break loose very tight bolts and nuts
- Forward/reverse lever is flush with the side to prevent it from accidentally being snapped during operation.
- Shorter battery charging time than competitors; only 30 minutes to full charge
Video Review of the Milwaukee Cordless Ratchet
AC Delco Cordless Ratchet Review
If you are looking for a ratchet that you can use for some heavy duty applications, then you should consider the AC Delco cordless ratchet. It is a fairly large cordless wrench compared to the milwaukee and Bressanon and delivers much more torque. Precisely, it measures about 13.5 inches long, weighs about 3 pounds, and has a torque rating of 55foot-pounds. Although it is pretty heavy on your arm, it is definitely the tool you need for cranking down nuts hidden in deep crevices where short wrenches won’t reach. This power ratchet is unfortunately not a tool for using in very tight spaces, which is actually one of the major reasons it is not a favorite for technicians and auto mechanics.
The AC Delco cordless ratchet has a way bigger and thicker head compared to the Milwaukee but both have 3/8 inch drive and a 3/8″-to-1/4″ drive adapter. Another downside about the AC Delco is its raised direction dial which like the Bressanon adds another point of contact and could be easily be snapped in tight spaces causing the direction of rotation to change. One more disappointing thing about this electric ratchet compared to the milwaukee is that it does not have an on-board LED light and a battery fuel gauge. However, this cordless ratchet has some outstanding features that make it a perfect selection for replacing your manual socket wrenches:
- It is long enough to access nuts and bolts located in deep areas.
- Comes with two batteries
- Includes a durable molded plastic carrying case
Video Review of the AC Delco Cordless Ratchet ARW1201
Bressanon Cordless Ratchet 3/8 Review
The Bressanon cordless ratchet is another 3/8 inch drive wrench that delivers 35ft-lbs of torque. It is about 10.2 inches long with the head unit being about 2 inches long and 1.4 inches wide between the tip of the drive and the top of the direction control dial.Unlike the Milwaukee and the AC Delco cordless ratchets that only include a battery, a 3/8 to 1/4 inch drive adaptor and a charger, the bressanon ratchet adds 5 different sizes of wrench sockets (10,11,13,14,17mm) in its package.
It has a button control switch instead of a paddle switch. Similar to the Ac Delco, this power tool has a raised forward/reverse lever that makes for simple switching between tightening and loosening nuts. Unfortunately, the raised lever adds a point of contact that may be accidently snapped by objects to cause the direction of rotation to change especially when working in very tight spaces or when in an awkward position. Another downside of the Bressanon cordless ratchet is that it cannot be used as a regular manual ratchet. This is a major drawback because it means your work stops when the battery runs out of juice unless you have a spare wrench or battery. Additionally, this tool does not deliver a lot of nut-busting torque, which is another reason why you need a manual ratchet to break the bolts loose or even torque to spec.
Ingersoll Rand Cordless Ratchet 3/8 Review
A perfect replacement for the air ratchet is the Ingersoll Rand Cordless Ratchet. It is a heavy duty high-performance tool that packs 54ft-lbs of torque similar to what you would get from a typical air ratchet. With a 3/8 drive socket, this wrench lets the auto mechanic break lose almost all intermediate sized bolts in the engine bay, transmission, and oil pan with so much ease and flexibility. It boasts the IQv20/IQv12 battery series Li-ion charger that has a USB charging port to charge your phone, tablet or other USB charged devices.
Earthquake XT 3/8 inch Cordless Wrench
As its name goes, the 3/8″ Earthquake XT Cordless Ratchet delivers a ‘ground-breaking’ amount of torque that is almost equivalent to what you get from a typical air ratchet. In fact, it is written on its packaging that the power tool “Delivers the power of air” with much flexibility and convenience. This is a simple and robust power tool that can be very useful to any automechanic or repair person. It weighs about 3 pounds and will drive nuts and bolts at a variable speed of up to 170RPM. It features a paddle speed trigger, which albeit finicky, will stop the drive from rotating almost instantly upon release. The Earthquake XT cordless wrench is quite long and will give you better leverage especially when using it as a manual ratchet. However, it can be quite cumbersome to use in very tight spaces. Because of its heavy weight on the head, it can also cause fatigue on your wrist when used for long hours. Its direction dial or switch is raised and may be accidentally snapped to cause the drive to rotate in a different direction when working.
Included in its packaging is a US standard simple charger that has two LEDs(red to indicate charging and green when charging is complete). The packaging conspicuously lacks a 3/8-to-1/4 drive adapter which is often included in many other cordless ratchets.
Three cool things about the Earthquake XT cordless ratchet are:
- It can be used as a manual ratchet.
- Stops instantly when the speed trigger switch is released.
- Comes with a durable molded plastic carrying case