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Ratchet wrenches have become indispensable in everyday life. Ratchet wrenches are ideal when you need to loosen stuck screws or when a ring or open-end wrench is out of the question due to hard-to-reach places. In addition, ratchet wrenches are practical to use. With the help of a ratchet wrench, you can tighten screws in a specific direction.

But what should you look for when buying a ratchet wrench?

We want to give you an insight and help you find the perfect ratchet wrench for you. We have looked at various ratchet wrenches and listed the facts for you. Enjoy reading.

The most important facts in brief

  1. With the help of a ratchet wrench, you can loosen screws quickly, easily and in hard-to-reach places. They are therefore part of the basic equipment of craftsmen and do-it-yourselfers.
  2. The width across flats of a ratchet wrench is important because it has to adapt to the sizes of the screws. With the wrong wrench size, further work is hardly possible.
  3. Ratchet wrenches should be made of chrome vanadium steel. Only this high-quality material ensures that your wrench lasts a long time and does not break off.

Buying and evaluation criteria for ratchet wrenches

On the market, you will find many different types and models of ratchet wrenches designed for different needs. In order to keep an overview of this large selection and to choose the right product, we present you with the most important criteria when buying.

In summary, these are:

  • Wrench size
  • Material
  • Return angle
  • Processing
  • Standard

In the further sections, we will go more into the criteria.

Ratcheting Wrench Size

The size or the width across flats of a ratchet wrench is elementary in the purchase decision, in order to fit the tool without difficulty. The most commonly used hexagonal bolts is the wrench size.

You will usually find sizes from 6 to 32 mm. When buying, you should note that according to the ISO 1502 and DIN 13-1 standard, the nominal diameter is called M. This means that M6 stands for 6 mm. That is, M6 stands for 6 mm diameter wrench size.

Meanwhile, you no longer need to choose a single wrench size: The 4-in-1 ratchet wrenches allow you to select and set different sizes in one product. So nothing stands in the way of flexible work.

Ratcheting Wrench Drive Sizes

There are basically three sizes of ratchet drive. Throughout the world, these sizes are listed in inches, even though these sockets are metric.

Ratcheting wrench 1/4 inch.

These are used for small sockets and precision work. Useful for disassembling individual components on a table.

Ratcheting wrench 3/8 inch.

This is a medium-size and is the most popular for general automotive use. Big enough to make quite a bit of effort, but not too big to fit in a limited space. The 3/8″ actuator can drive any size outlet.

Ratcheting wrenches 1/2-inch.

These sockets are typically used for nuts and bolts 10 mm in diameter and larger. A 1/2-inch drive socket can exert enough force to unscrew all the nuts on a vehicle.

You can also find Su3/4-inch and 1-inch ratchets, but these are used on trucks, tanks and industrial vehicles.

Best choice

TEKTON WRN50008 Stubby Ratcheting Combination Wrench

With a short length and slim body, these stubby wrenches allow you to work in tight areas where space is limited.

  • 4,9 Rating
  • 6-point box end snugly fits hex-shaped fastener heads and resists slipping off while you work
  • Open end is angled 15 degrees so the wrench can be flipped over to engage fasteners twice as often in tight spaces
  •  72-tooth ratchet gear needs only a 5-degree working swing arc

Ratcheting Wrench Material

In order for the product of your choice to withstand the daily demands of use, the choice of material is very important. Some manufacturers produce their ratchet wrenches with special steel, but they are of inferior quality. We advise you not to do this, as ratchet wrenches made of special steel can cause you to slip and injure yourself.

Most often, however, ratchet wrenches are made of chrome vanadium steel. They have a high-quality finish and are therefore particularly robust and optimally hardened. So you can be sure that your purchased product will last a long time in everyday life.

Ratcheting Wrench Return Angle

Another criterion is the return angle. The return angle refers to the feel of the ratchet wrench. This indicates how far you have to move a wrench back to reapply it and then continue turning the screw.

We recommend you consider a ratchet wrench that has the minimum possible return angle. This way you don’t have to move a wrench back too far and you can work three to ten times faster than with ordinary ratchet wrenches.

Conventional ratchet wrenches have a return angle of 30° to 60°. Meanwhile, there are some brands that offer their products with a return angle of 5°. These are particularly recommended.

Ratcheting Wrench Processing

A ratchet wrench should possibly be of high quality workmanship. In order to enjoy it as long as possible, you must make sure that they are manufactured accurately.

For example, a ratchet with too much play slips more easily and the wear is all the higher than in high quality processed ratchets with little to hardly any play. The square and hexagon of the billet ratchet can also be processed too small and therefore hardly hold the nut or the ring wrench.

In the worst case, they can slip off, damaging the ratchets and injuring you. An angled ratchet side can also minimize the risk of injury.

We, therefore, recommend that you pay a little more for the quality of a ratchet wrench and, if necessary, look around for brand manufacturers. This is the only way you will get the most out of the tool for as long as possible

Ratcheting Wrench Standard

Last but not least, you should pay attention to the standardization of the products offered. The DIN or ISO standard is a voluntary standard for intangible and tangible products. Standardization is therefore there to determine in a comprehensible way whether a certain product is qualitatively secured or not.

In order to be able to secure and assure yourself, you should pay attention to the product description of the ratchet wrench to see whether it is subject to a DIN and/or ISO standard.

For ratchet wrenches you will mostly find these standardizations:


This brief overview will help you find standardized products to ensure safety and quality for you.

Ratcheting Wrench Advisor

Questions you should deal with before buying ratchet wrenches

The purchase of a ratchet wrench must be well thought out. After all, you will be using this tool for a long time and frequently in everyday life. In the following, we wanted to give you a brief overview of the most common questions that may arise before making a purchase. To help you make the right decision, we’ve answered them for you.

What is special about a ratchet wrench and what advantages does it offer?

With a ratchet wrench, you can quickly and easily loosen stuck screws in places that are often difficult to reach. Due to the integrated ratchet, you can screw faster than with conventional wrenches, without having to re-set your tool by hand.

Ratchet wrenches are a useful tool in everyday life. When things get particularly complicated, you should fall back on them.

Ratcheting Wrench

Ratchet wrenches are also often angled. This gives them a shifting lever that allows you to work both left and right. Conventional wrenches lack these advantages. It usually takes much longer to screw in because you have to take the wrench out every time.

What are the different types of ratchet wrenches?

Below we want to introduce you to the different types of ratchet wrenches. These are two types of ratchet wrenches, which we will list with their advantages and disadvantages.

Ring ratchet wrench

Ring ratchet wrenches are a special form of box wrenches. They are often equipped with a ring-shaped hexagonal or double hexagonal profile. However, there is a ratchet or ratchet in their ring head. This allows the ratchet to be turned completely freely in a specific direction.

Ring ratchet wrenches are among the most advanced wrenches. They facilitate the work, especially if you are a craftsman or a passionate do-it-yourselfer. However, you should be ready to invest a little more money in these wrenches.

Open-end / open-end ratchet wrench
The open-end ratchet wrench (also called the open-end ratchet wrench) is one of the most used forms of wrenches. Most of the time, you’ll use this type of wrench on hex or machine screws. Open-end ratchet wrenches come in different varieties.

First, there is the single open-end ratchet wrench, which has only one jaw or fork at the end of the handle. They are often used in combination with a large wrench size on vehicles or machinery.

You can extend single open-end wrenches with steel tubes to make it easier to loosen stuck screws. They also withstand hammer blows better.

You can also find the Draper open-end wrench in stores. This is a simple wrench with 24 mm width across flats. These products are blackened and made of extra strong chrome vanadium steel.

Then there are the double open-end wrenches. As the name suggests, the difference between this and a single ratchet wrench is that each end has a jaw or fork. This type of ratchet wrench is the most common among DIY and craftsmen.

Open-end or ratchet wrenches are among the oldest types of wrenches and are readily appreciated in the trade.

For whom are ratchet wrenches suitable?

Ratchet wrenches are suitable for both everyday and professional use. Depending on the type of ratchet wrench and the wrench size, the target group differs.

Since a set contains several wrench sizes, you can use it in a variety of ways in everyday professional life. In addition, you have at the same time all the necessary ratchet wrenches safely in a case at a glance.

For the layman in occasional use, simpler, cheaper models are also quite sufficient. We recommend an inexpensive 4-in-1 ratchet wrench for this purpose. You then have a single wrench that you can flexibly adjust in size.

At the same time, you’ll also have a suitable tool for stubbornly stuck screws that one will encounter more often in the household.

What does a ratchet wrench cost?

The price range for ratchet wrenches is wide. Depending on the model and manufacturer, the price is often an indicator of quality. Generalizing, we can say that a ratchet wrench is quite a bit more expensive compared to conventional wrenches.

The reason for this is that a ratchet wrench makes it possible to work faster and more conveniently, and the feel also scores points. Thus, they represent a more modern variant of a wrench.

Entry-level models often start at around $10. They are ideal for occasional use and get all the important basic functions.

If you want to save money, we suggest you get the products in a set, as they are cheaper to buy together than several individual wrenches.

The higher the price of a ratchet wrench, the more likely you can expect quality and performance. You should make sure to buy models with chrome vanadium steel, as only this material can guarantee robustness and long durability. Manufacturers also offer products made of special steel, but we can only advise against buying them.

So that you know roughly what you can expect in terms of price, we give you a brief summary.

Best ratchet wrench brand

  • Craftsman
  • Crescent
  • Klein Tools
  • ToolGuards

Where can I use the ratchet wrench everywhere?

In principle, you can use a ratchet wrench wherever screws are stuck. Narrow, hard-to-reach places are particularly ideal for this. This is because ratchet wrenches are designed to reach these places easily.

In mechanical engineering, screws are often placed in hard-to-reach places. In combination with one with a joint, you can work on and repair machines in the best possible way.

Ratchet wrenches can be used in a variety of ways. On bicycles, for example, you can tighten screws.


With the help of a ratchet wrench, you can easily and quickly loosen or tighten screws in a certain direction, especially if they are located in hard-to-reach places or are screwed on particularly tightly. They are therefore support for the everyday needs of craftsmen.

You have to keep in mind that the wrench size and the material of the ratchet wrench matter a lot. Your desired product should have the appropriate wrench size. There are many criteria to consider when you are thinking about buying a ratchet wrench. However, they are indispensable in the everyday life of a craftsman or do-it-yourselfer.

David Muench (Carnes Mechanical)

David Muench (Carnes Mechanical)

Hey, I’m David. I’ve worked in a cars store for 6 years. I write reviews and guides, helping people to choose the most suitable technicals and best product for them. I’m happy to finally share my knowledge of the industry here, on CarnesMechanical.

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