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Whether working on your car project, a construction project, woodwork, or any other handyman activity, the last thing you want is to waste your time and energy ratcheting nuts/bolts manually.
I bet you can attest that tightening and removing fasteners manually is one of the most energy-sucking activities. It is even more difficult to work effectively and efficiently in very compact areas that don’t have enough headroom to move a hand wrench back and forth. This is where a cordless ratchet wrench power tool comes in.
What is a cordless ratchet?
A cordless ratchet is a battery-powered ratchet wrench for installing and removing fasteners. This tool gives you freedom from air hoses and power cords thus keeping your work area less cluttered and safer.
A cordless power ratchet makes removing and snugging small and medium-sized nuts/bolts easy and fun. It is what they are made for! These ratcheting tools have a relatively small form factor that lets you access fasteners in tight and hidden places with a lot of ease.
When using a ratchet wrench, your position or headroom for working does not necessarily matter. This tool lets you get the job done even when you are in the most uncomfortable or awkward position such as underneath a truck with little wiggle room.
Battery ratchets thrive in difficult situations; where space is limited and power outlet or compressed air are not close by. Provided the battery is fully charged, your tool is always ready for the job.
However, unlike an impact wrench that is designed for heavy-duty applications, cordless ratchets are perfect for light to medium torque applications. It is also not your go-to tool for removing those stubborn rusty stud bolts.
What cordless ratchet sizes?
There are two common sizes of cordless ratchets; a 3/8 cordless ratchet and a cordless 1/4 ratchet. This classification is based on the size of the drive. The drive size is also one of the factors that limit the applications of different ratchets.
The smaller the drive the less robust the tool is. A 1/4-inch drive ratchet is ideal for light-duty applications whilst a 3/8 drive is useful for both light and mid-torque applications.
This article is a detailed review of the 6 best 3/8 cordless ratchet kits. These kits are suitable for auto mechanics, woodworkers, carpenters, and other technicians including DIY guys. I explore each of them in great detail including the form factor, performance, and price to help you buy the right one for your project.
Battery Ratchets Comparison Table
Detailed ratchet reviews
Milwaukee Cordless Ratchet 3/8 Kit Review
Are you looking for a cordless ratchet that you can use to remove and install nuts and bolts in very tight and poorly illuminated work areas? If your answer is yes, then the Milwaukee cordless ratchet 3/8 wrench is the real deal. This unit is small and compact and fits well in your palm. But do not mistake its small profile for lack of power.
Although Milwaukee cordless ratchet is only rated at 35 fot-pounds of torque, it delivers exactly that! No more no less and you know Milwaukee is not known for gimmicking. However, this is enough torque for most car repairs and electrical installations.
This ratchet features a brushless motor that produces torque as high as 250 RPMs. This speed is decent to drive bolts and nuts very fast to save time.
While it is possible to underestimate the ability this M12 3/8 wrench for its size, you will be amazed at how easy it breaks free a lot of nuts. It also has a responsive variable speed paddle switch that gives you the control you need to avoid overtightening fasteners.
The 3/8 inch drive on this wrench has a detent pin for retaining sockets in order to prevent them from falling or spinning off. Furthermore, the head is short enough and measures just 3/4 inches wide to allow you to reach fasteners in very tight spaces with ease.
- Can be used as a manual ratchet
- Its onboard battery gauge makes it easy to detect battery voltage
- Shorter than the air ratchet thus ideal when working in tight spaces
- Compact head that fits in tight spaces
- The LED light works well to illuminate dark areas
- Powerful enough to break nuts loose like a normal ratchet them power them out.
- Battery lasts long between charge
- Battery takes 30 minutes to full-charge
- The direction switch is a bit tight and needs a pliers to turn
- Soft carrying case not as durable as blow-molded plastic
Outstanding features of 3/8 inch Milwaukee Ratchet
In a nutshell, these five main features make Milwaukee 3/8 cordless ratchet stand out against competitors, hence our favorite ratchet
- 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.
- The cordless ratchet can be used as a manual socket wrench. This allows you to give those nuts an extra snug or break loose very tight bolts and nuts
- The forward/reverse lever is flush with the side to prevent it from accidentally being snapped during operation.
- Shorter battery charging time than competitors. Milwaukee lithium battery only 30 minutes to full charge
- 5 years warranty
Milwaukee Cordless Ratchet is a nice addition to your toolbox if your work involves accessing nuts and bolts that are in very tight and dark work spaces. It is very light, has a slim profile, and actually the shortest among the 6 best cordless wrenches. Additionally, if you care about warranty, you will not go wrong with this Milwaukee battery wrench. This tool kit has an unrivaled 5 year warranty cover making it the best ratchet for the money.
Unfortunately, this tool will not break heads or bust nuts for you because of torque limitation. However, you can use it as a manual wrench to break loose any stubborn nut or bolt. It has a very strong and solid ratchet head. Alternatively, if you just need more torque from a Milwaukee ratchet, consider the Milwaukee Fuel version. This is a bigger and more powerful version of the M12 3/8 ratchet kit for heavy-duty applications.
Milwaukee cordless ratchet Kit Video Review
This is an unboxing and testing video review of the Milwaukee M12 cordless ratchet wrench. You will be amazed at what this compact battery tool brings to your garage. It is simply the best!
Kimo 3/8 Cordless Ratchet Review
Kimo cordless electric ratchet is not your conventional power ratchet. However, the amount of power this tool brings compared to its price is second to none. Kimo ratchet wrench has a brushed motor that delivers up to 40 foot-pounds of torque at a maximum speed of 400 RPM. This is a good combination of torque and speed to make light the work of ratcheting fasteners in the garage or at the work site. This tool is light and ergonomically designed for increased user comfort. Moreover, the fairly slim head of the kimo ratchet and the intergrated LED light makes it easier to reach the hidden nuts and bolts even in very dark spots spaces at any time.
3/8 kimo ratchet wrench accessories
Besides the bare tool, the 3/8 kimo cordless ratchet kit includes two 2.0Ah lithium ion batteries, a collection of standard-sized 6-point chrome vanadium sockets of sizes 10mm,12mm,13mm,14mm,15mm,17mm, a 3/8 inch-to-1/4 inch adapter, a charger, and a solid plastic carrying case. The hard case has tight slots for each accessory to ensure they do not fall off from their spots during transportation.
The 2 batteries guarantee a constant power supply to your tool so that you can work on your project consistently with minimal breaks. The plastic molded carry case is hard enough to withstand abuse and hardship inside a toolbox. It stows very well and protects the ratchet from impact. Lastly, the kimo ratchet kit comes with a 2-year warranty cover on the tool, which is a great reassurance.
- Cheaper than many big brands
- Very powerful with up to 40ft-lbs of torque
- Compact design with a very nice finish
- You get extra sockets with this ratchet kit
- The hard molded plastic carry case makes the kit easy to carry and store
- Fuel indicator makes it easy to predict when to recharge battery
- Variable speed trigger gives you more control on the tool’s output
- Can work as a manual ratchet
- Takes 60 minutes to fully charge battery
- The forward/reverse lever can easily be bumped during operation
Although the 3/8 Kimo electric ratchet is not your conventional brand, its price, power, speed, and the bonus sockets make it a perfect consideration for repairmen, electricians, new mechanics, and hobbyists. It even outperforms many popular and more expensive brands. Kimo ratchet also elicits a lot of positive feedback from people who have used it. Even the tradesmen who bought it out of curiosity, apparently have so much good news about the tool kit.
The only major downside of this tool is the lack of breakway torque. Also, although you can use it as a manual ratchet, the head also does not feel as strong as the Milwaukee fuel for breaking loose very tight, and rusty fasteners.
Nevertheless, the 3/8 kimo cordless ratchet kit is the best budget ratchet set for simple construction projects, auto repair projects, and you can use it to complete most repair projects around the house. Above all, nothing beats it for the price!
3/8 inch Kimo Electric Ratchet Review Video
This is a video review of the KIMO 3/8 Cordless Ratchet Kit. It shows the accessories included in the kit and how the tool compares with top brands.
3/8 inch Aoben Cordless Ratchet Review
If you are an aspiring mechanic or a DIYer with a lean budget for a cordless power ratchet, the Aoben electric ratchet wrench set is a great pick! The tool packs a 12V powerful motor that delivers 35ft-lbs of torque that is sufficient for light-duty repairs and operations. It is sturdy and well-built with a rubberized anti-slip grip to prevent it from slipping out of your hands during operation Like the Milwaukee, the Aoben power ratchet also has an LED light that shines brightly to illuminate dark areas. However, the light does not stay on after the trigger is released. The tool also has a safety switch to prevent it from running accidentally.
Aoben ratchet kit accessories
Like the kimo ratchet wrench, the Aoben power ratchet kit includes two 2000mAh batteries that provide long working hours for the tool before the next recharge. However, a major downside about the batteries is that they take significantly longer to charge compared to Milwaukee. Nevertheless, they provide enough juice to complete a typical day’s work for a repairman, electrician, or mechanic. The package also includes a set of 6 wrench sockets of sizes 10mm,12mm,13mm,14mm,15mm, and 17mm, a 3/8-to-1/4 socket adapter, and an extension bar socket wrench. All these are packed neatly in a plastic-molded carrying case for easy storage.
- Sturdy and well-built
- Small enough to fit tight working spaces
- Powerful for light-duty operations
- Significant price difference from most popular brands
- Easy to change direction
- Anti-slip body that offers a goo grip
- On-body battery indicator shows how much juice is left on the battery
- The plastic-molded carying case provides safe storage for the tool and extras
- Charger takes a long time to charge; about 1 hour or so.
- Forward/reverse switch can be accidentally snapped to a different direction during operation
- Not enough torque to break the heads
The Aoben cordless ratchet wrench set is definitely not a popular brand but is, by all means, a great bang for your buck and performs very well. However, it is only suitable for light duties because of the torque limitation. Therefore, if you are a mechanic, electrician, or a DIYer looking for an entry cordless ratchet kit that includes a host of other extras for less than $100, then the Aoben is what to go. However, if you need more power, then you should consider more powerful ratchets.
AC Delco 12V Ratchet Wrench 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 electric ratchet. This battery ratchet from Mobiletron Inc. fairly large compared to the Milwaukee and Kimo and delivers much more torque. Precisely, it measures about 13.5 inches long, weighs about 3 pounds, and has a torque rating of 57foot-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. Unfortuntely, the big profile of this power ratchet makes it unsuitable for very tight spaces. Therefore, you might not find it very useful when installing or removing fastners in places with small headroom.
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 as the S-Long, 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 most of the competitors is that it does not have an on-board LED light and a battery fuel gauge.
- Has an aluminum gearbox housing for increased durability
- Its powerful 12V motor delivers up to 59 ft-lbs
- Fairly priced for what is offers ( 57ft-lbs torque, 2 batteries and a charger)
- Can be used like a manual ratchet to break loose tough nuts
- Long battery life
- The tool-free forward/reverse lever is conveniently located.
- No charge level indicator on the tool but the charger has.
- Does not have a visibility LED torch on it
- Slowest of the 6 in our list of top ratchets
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
The AC Delco 3/8 cordless ratchet is a heavy duty power tool for breaking lose or fastening nuts and bolts that need more than 30ft-lbs of torque. It is a nice addition to your garage tools and a perfect replacement for the manual socket wrenches. This tool ships with two batteries and a durable molded plastic carrying case for almost the same price as the Milwaukee cordless ratchet.
Video Review of AC Delco Cordless Wrench ARW1201
Take a look at this video review of Ac Delco ARW1201 3/8 cordless ratchet. It is a powerful heavy duty tool for professionals and DIYers.
Earthquake XT Ratchet Wrench Review
As its name goes, the 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. More so, it can also cause fatigue on your wrist when used for long hours due to its heavy head. The direction dial or switch on earthquake 12V ratchet is raised and may be accidentally snapped to cause the drive to rotate in a different direction when working.
Earthquake XT 3/8 Accessories
Included in the packaging is an earthquake xt 12v battery charger and 2.0Ah earthquake xt battery with inbuilt temperature control mechanism to prevent overheating. The earthquake xt charger is simply designed with two LEDs(red to indicate charging and green when charging is complete) and charges one battery at a time. The earthquake xt kit conspicuously lacks a 3/8-to-1/4 drive adapter which is often included in many other cordless ratchet kits.
- Powerful and strong
- Easy to use
- Long battery Life
- Can be used as a regular ratchet
- You have to purchase warranty separately
- No safety switch on trigger
- No battery gauge
Outstanding features of Cordless Earthquake XT Ratchet Wrench
Four coolest features of the Earthquake Xtreme battery ratchet are:
- Earthquake xt ratchet can be used as a manual ratchet
- Has a high torque rating; 60lb-ft
- Stops instantly when the speed trigger switch is released.
- Comes with a durable molded plastic carrying case
Earthquake XT Cordless ratchet is a simple power tool that delivers a huge amount of torque almost like a regular air ratchet. If you dont mind its very short warranty period, the limitations on its charger, and its lack of fancy features such as an onboard fuel gauge, then this cordless wrench is absolutely a good deal.
S-Long 3/8 Cordless Ratchet Review
Features and accessories
The last cordless ratchet on our list is the S-Long ratchet. This is another power ratchet from China that has taken America by storm. The tool features a 12V brush motor that delivers upto 40NM torque and a maximum speed of 280 RPM. It has built-in LED light for illuminating dark workplaces and a forward-reverse dial for changing direction. There is also a lock switch on the tool which when activated prevents the tool from starting accidentally.
Unlike the regular cordless ratchet kits which only come with the tool, 3/8 to 1/4 adapter, and battery, this wrench kit also includes 8 sockets, extension bar, and a manual 3/8 ratchet.All these in one package. The sizes of the sockets range from 10mm to 17mm and are vanadium chrome quality.
Design and operation
The S-Long battery ratchet has a fairly compact design. Weighing slightly below 2 pounds, this tool is light on your hand to prevent fatigue. Furthermore, the grip on this ratchet has a soft rubber coating that brings the anti-slip experience. When operating this S-Long battery-powered ratchet, the variable trigger switch gives you control on both speed and torque. This ensures you snag nuts and bolts without over-tightening or under-tightening.
You can also use this ratchet as a manual ratchet but I don’t advise you to do it. Otherwise, the head of this tool might break on you as it is not strong enough for that work. Instead, use the manual ratchet that comes with the kit to break loose tight bolts and tough nuts, then use the power tool to complete the job. That way, your electric ratchet will last longer.
- Comes with 8 extra sockets and a manual ratchet
- Offers decent torque and speed
- Intuitive design
- Easy to transport in the molded carry case
- Comfortable on your hand
- Battery offers decent run time
- Comes with only one battery
- Not very strong for breaking loose fasteners
- Has a plastic gearbox cover
- Uses brush motor that produces burning smell on heavy use
This 3/8 inch S-Long cordless ratchet wrench is a cheaper alternative to the top brands. It does does not have the strength of Milwaukee but it will get you through simple repair jobs, furniture assemblies, and many of your DIY project. This makes it a good 3/8 battery ratchet kit for DIYers and homeowers.
3/8 Cordless Ratchet Shopping Guide
Choosing the best cordless ratchet tool for your needs is not an easy task. You have to trade off certain factors before settling on one tool. Money alone does not guarantee you a good tool. Therefore, in this section, I will share with you the most important factors to consider when shopping for a cordless ratchet.
Tools are not cheap and if you are a tool junkie like me, you want to get the best deal on every tool so that you can save for the next one. When it comes to cordless ratchets, the script is the same. You will find some that cost even more than twice the cheapest option. So, you need to be very cautious not to pay through your nose merely for a brand name.
Nevertheless, most of the time the price of a tool goes hand-in-hand with quality. For example, the Milwaukee battery ratchet is among the most expensive ratchets but the best cordless ratchet for the money! However, that does not mean that you must always break the bank to get a good tool. Some tools are cheap but fairly great quality such as the Kimo and Aoben ratchet wrench kits.
Sometimes you could get very good deals on very good tools such as during the Black Friday, Easter, and Christmas offers. So, it is good to look out for offers when shopping for tools. You could get very good deals!
The size of an electric ratchet includes its length and width. A good cordless ratchet should be long enough to reach the deep areas and slim enough to fit tight spaces. A ratchet with a slim profile also fits very well in the palm, providing you a perfect grip.
Weight is an important consideration when buying a ratchet or any handheld tool. A heavy tool causes fatigue on your arm and can affect your productivity. When buying a battery ratchet, pay attention to its weight with battery because some tools are lightweight without battery but unbearably heavy when you add the battery.
Bottom line, choose a tool that weighs less on your arm so that you can get more work done without exposing yourself to potential musculoskeletal problems. Moreover, working for extended periods with a lightweight ratchet reduces the risk of soreness that otherwise occurs with a heavy tool. In our list, the kimo electric ratchet and the AC Delco ratchet wrench are among the lightest cordless ratchets.
The torque rating of a ratchet determines how much power it can deliver on fasteners. Ratchet wrenches with higher torque rating should ideally deliver more power. This means that can remove tighter fasteners and even install a larger one.
Unfortunately, some tools have high torque ratings in theory but do not deliver what they promise. You need to be very careful not to fall for tools with just good numbers in theory. That is why I have provided a video review for each tool so that you can see practically what each can offer.
For example, Milwaukee 2457-21 ratchet is among those with the least torque values but it delivers every bit of it. Conversely, Ac Delco has the highest torque rating but albeit powerful, it does not deliver all the rated torque. But anything more than 30 ft-lbs of torque is good for a 3/8 electric ratchet.
Speed is how fast the motor of a ratchet spins. It determines how quickly you remove or install fasteners with your ratchet. A good ratchet should deliver decent rpm speeds. Anything above 150 RPM is good but more than 200RPM is even better. In our review of the 6 best 3/8 battery ratchets, Kimo cordless ratchet offers the most speed and Ac Delco the least.
The battery is the heart of cordless tools. As such, you need to pay as much attention to the battery capacity as you do to the tool. A good battery should store enough charge to power the tool through a decent number of tasks.
Most batteries for cordless tools if not all are lithium-ion and are rated in Ah. Ideally, a cordless ratchet worth its name should have a 2Ah battery at the minimum. You should also be able to upgrade the battery. This is where the issue of battery lineup comes into play when choosing a cordless tool.
As I have mentioned, the battery is the lifeline for cordless tools and so is the battery lineup. This refers to the variety of batteries you can get on the same battery platform. Battery lineup is one of the reasons why most people stick with popular brands because they offer the option to upgrade the battery and to use it with other tools on the same battery platform.
For example, the Milwaukee M12 ratchet kit can share batteries with other tools in the M12 platform. Furthermore, you can also upgrade to a more powerful battery within the M12 lineup.
So, when purchasing a cordless ratchet kit, do not just focus on the tool, focus on the battery options the tool gives you. If a tool does not provide the option to upgrade the battery, be ready to live with that limitation.
As mentioned, one of the reasons why people stick with popular brands at least when it comes to cordless tools is because of the freedom to use the same battery across different tools. This can help you cut the overall cost of the tool by not buying the battery and charger if you already a tool kit from the same brand that uses the same battery platform. For example, I bought the Milwaukee M12 ratchet without battery and charger because I had previously bought a cordless drill driver/impact driver combo kit that came with the M12 battery and charger. This cut the cost for the tool significantly.
Sometimes people want to stick to the brands they have built trust with. So, on this one, you can choose the brand that makes you happy. But be careful not to pay top dollar merely for a tool brand.
Tools are an investment just like any other investment and therefore they require some security. In this case, a warranty cover is the security of your tool. Buy a tool that offers a decent warranty period. Anything less than 6 months is a risk not worth taking. There is no good reason a manufacturer cannot accept liability for a tool that fails within the first 6 months. 6 months of unlimited warranty on both the tool and battery is the least I would advise you to accept when buying a battery ratchet.