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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 wasting your time and energy ratcheting nuts/bolts manually. I am certain that many experienced auto mechanics, DIYers, and professionals alike can attest that tightening and removing fasteners manually is one of the most energy-draining activities. It is even more difficult to work effectively and efficiently in very compact areas that don’t have enough headroom for movement of a hand wrench back and forth. This is where a cordless ratchet wrench power tool comes in handy.
What is a cordless ratchet
A cordless ratchet is a battery-powered electric ratchet. This tool gives you freedom from air hoses and power cords hence keeping your work area less cluttered and safer. In return, you become more productive.
A cordless power ratchet makes installing and removing small and medium-sized nuts/bolts easy and fun. It is what they are made for! Furthermore, their relatively small form factor lets you access fasteners in tight and hidden places with a lot of ease. When using a battery ratchet, your position or headroom for working does not necessarily matter. These tools will help you get the job done even when you are in the most uncomfortable or awkward position such as underneath a truck with little headroom.
Battery ratchets thrive in difficult situations. You also do not have to worrry about about power outlets at the jobsite. A battery wrench is always ready for work as long as the battery is fully charged. However, unlike an impact wrench that is designed for heavy duty applications, a cordless ratchet is purposely made for light to medium torque applications. It is not your go-to tool for those rusty stud bolts.
There are two common sizes of cordless ratchets; a 3/8 cordless ratchet and a cordless 1/4 ratchet. Their 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 is the tool. A 1/4 inch drive cordless ratchet is ideal for light-duty applications whilst a 3/8 drive is useful for both light and mid-torque applications.
This article is an detailed review of the 6 best 3/8 cordless ratchet kits. These kits are suitable for auto mechanics, woodworkers, carpenters,and other technicians as well as the DIY guys. I explore each of them in great detail including the form factor, performance, and price to help you make a sound buying decision.
Battery Ratchets Comparison Table
|Milwaukee 2457-21 3/8-in Cordless Ratchet Kit||Kimo Cordless Electric Ratchet Wrench||Aoben 3/8 inch Cordless Electric Ratchet||ACDelco 3/8 Cordless Ratchet Wrench Tool Set||Earthquake 3/8 Cordless Ratchet Kit||Bressanon 3/8in Battery Ratchet Kit|
|Buy from Amazon||Buy from Amazon||Buy from Amazon||Buy from Amazon||Buy from Amazon||Buy from Amazon|
|Features|| || || || || || |
|No Load Speed||0-250RPM||0 - 400 RPM||0-280 RPM||0-160 RPM||0-170 RPM||0-220 RPM|
|Max-Torque||35 ft-lbs||40 ft-lbs||35 ft-lbs||57 ft-lbs||60 ft-lbs||35 ft-lbs|
|Drive Size||3/8" Square||3/8" Square||3/8" Square||3/8" Square||3/8" Square||3/8" Square|
|Weight||4.63 pounds||2.2 Pounds||4.7 pounds||2.64 pounds||3.0 pounds||3.9 pounds|
|Length||10.75 inches||11.4 inches||12 inches||12.6 inches||10.2 inches|
|Battery System||M12 (Li-ion 12V/3000mAh)||12V 2.0 Ah Li-ion||12V 2000mAh Li-ion||Li-ion 12V/1500mAh||12V 2000mAh||12V 2000mAh Li-ion|
|Warranty||5 Years Limited Warranty and 2 years on Battery||2 year Warranty||1 Years Warranty||1 Year Limited Warranty||90 Days Warranty||1 Year Warranty|
|Buy from Amazon||Buy from Amazon||Buy from Amazon||Buy from Amazon||Buy from Amazon||Buy from Amazon|
Milwaukee Cordless Ratchet 3/8 Kit Review
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 it is only rated at 35 pound-foot of torque, this ratchet delivers exactly what it promises. You know Milwaukee is not known for gimmicking. It features a brushless motor which produces a high RPM that enables you to drive bolts and nuts very fast to save time.
While it is possible to underestimate the ability this Milwaukee 3/8 wrench for its size, you will be amazed at how easy it breaks free a lot of nuts. It has a variable speed paddle switch that is responsive enough to give 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 nice addition to your toolbox if your work involves accessing nuts and bolts that are located 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.
Video Review of the Milwaukee Cordless Electric Ratchet
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 constant power supply to your tool so that you can work consistently with minimal breaks. The plastic molded carry case is hard enough to withstand abuse and the hardship inside a toolbox. It also stows very well while at the same time protecting your ratchet kit 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 conventional cordless ratchets
- Very powerful with up to 40ft-lbs of torque
- Compact design with a very nice finish
- You get extra sockets with this ratchet kit
- he hard plastic carry case makes ratchet wrench kit stowable
- Fuel indicator makes it easy to predict when to recharge battery
- Easy to control speed with the variable trigger
- Works 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 Kimo Electric Ratchet Review Video
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.
Video Review of Aoben Cordless Ratchet
AC Delco Cordless 3/8 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 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.
- 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 but the charger has an LED to indicate full charge
- Does not have a visibility LED torch on it
- Drives the sockets at the slowest rate
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
Despite delivering less torque than the rated value, the AC Delco 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 the AC Delco Cordless Wrench ARW1201
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.
Bressanon 3/8 Ratchet Review
Features and accessories
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 (10mm,11mm,13mm,14mm,17mm) in its package.
Bressanon ratchet 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.
- Ships with six different sizes of connectors (5pcs spanner sockets and a 3/8″ to 1/4″ adapter sleevecan
- Convenient and easily adjustable forward/reverse direction lever
- Anti-slip soft grip
- Fairly priced
- It cannot be used as a regular manual ratchet
- Does not have a built-in LED light
- Torque cannot be adjusted
Clearly, the Bressanon cordless ratchet has significant limitations. However, I included it because it is a budget-friendly ratchet tool that performs quite well on small and medium duty tasks. It also makes a great starter electric ratchet tool for new auto mechanics and novice repair and maintenance professionals. You will, however, need a spare manual ratchet for breaking loose stubborn nuts that are torqued beyonds the tool’s ability. This is due to the fact that you cannot use the bressanon ratchet as a manual ratchet to break loose stubborn fasteners like you would with the Milwaukee equivalent.
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 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, 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.