The Best Ratcheting Wrench Sets for the Garage

A good ratcheting wrench combines the slim profile of a standard wrench with the secure attachment of a socket. Get the job done faster—and avoid skinned knuckles—with the right ratcheting wrench set.

By Bob Beacham | Updated Feb 12, 2024 1:25 PM

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A variety of ratcheting wrenches on a motorcycle seat

Photo: pexels.com

You’ll find many kinds of wrenches and sockets in millions of garages across the country. They are indispensable for working on your car, your lawn mower, your kids’ bikes, and more. A ratcheting wrench set is a particularly worthwhile investment; it’s an affordable choice, yet it can also offer considerably more functionality depending on the model you choose. Some ratcheting wrenches can work at angles that just aren’t possible with a standard wrench, for example, while many also work with a far wider range of modern fasteners.

Before you decide to purchase a wrench, take a look at some of the best ratcheting wrench sets on the market today. They are tremendously versatile, with the simplicity of an open-ended wrench plus the effortless action and solid hold of a socket. If you buy a wrench set, it’s likely that sooner or later you’ll want to purchase a socket set as well (or vice versa). With a ratcheting wrench set, you’ve covered your bases, and you could save money, too. Below are some of the top picks for you to consider while shopping for the best ratcheting wrench set for your needs.

  1. BEST OVERALL: S-Long Cordless Electric Ratchet Wrench Set
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: WorkPro 8-Piece Flex-Head Ratcheting Combination Set
  3. UPGRADE PICK: ToolGuards 33-Piece Ratcheting Wrench Set
  4. BEST 5-PIECE: Mountain 5-Piece Metric Ratcheting Wrench Set
  5. BEST 20+ PIECE: Jaeger 24-Piece Tightspot Ratcheting Wrench Set
  6. BEST COMBINATION SET: Geardrive Flex-Head Ratcheting Combination Wrench Set
  7. BEST ELECTRIC: Kimo Cordless Electric Ratchet Wrench Set
  8. ALSO CONSIDER: Gearwrench 14-Piece Flex Head Ratcheting Wrench Set
A ratcheting wrench set

Photo: pixabay.com

How We Chose the Best Ratcheting Wrench Sets

We researched the most sought-after ratcheting wrench sets in their respective categories and discovered that the best models are determined by their type, material, point and tooth count, and other special features included by top brands.

After extensive product research, we included both electric and manual options in our list of top picks for professionals and DIYers alike. We ensured that each of the options included was made to last with metal, plastic, and rubber constructions on the electric models and chrome vanadium steel or alloy steel for the manual options. While the electric models are made with socket sets for accommodating a variety of nuts and bolts, the manual sets come with Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and/or metric sizing options. Many of these wrenches also engage driving force with just 4 to 5 degrees of leverage, have 6 to 12 points, and come with 72 to 90 teeth for precision and a firm grip.

We also wanted to include a variety of options with user-friendly features, so select top picks listed below are made with reversible designs, embossed sizes on the handles, raised rollers, 180-degree heads, and carrying cases/pouches for safe storage.

Our Top Picks

The top picks take into consideration the technical features listed above, the versatility of each tool design, the reputations of the manufacturers, and the value for the money. The results provide some of the best ratcheting wrench sets on the market for a variety of needs.

Best Overall

S-Long Cordless Electric Ratchet Wrench Set
Photo: amazon.com

Product Specs 

  • Material: Metal, plastic, and rubber
  • Number of pieces: 8
  • Number of points: Unlisted
  • Tooth count: Unlisted

Pros

  • Lightweight and cordless electric design is capable of ratcheting quickly and efficiently
  • Comes with a wide range of additional tools and accessories; all fit within a hard case for organized and safe storage
  • Built-in LED light, power indicator, and forward/reverse switch for user-friendliness

Cons

  • Larger construction may not fit into the pocket of a tool belt easily

For quick and easy ratcheting, there is no better option than the S-Long cordless electric ratchet wrench set. This ⅜-inch ratchet wrench is made to deliver over 400 revolutions per minute (rpm) with a top torque output of over 33⅓ foot-pounds and has a variable-speed trigger to control the device while it is in use. At just under 2 pounds, it’s also lightweight enough to maneuver in engines and machinery without causing fatigue, and the bonus of a built-in LED light provides great visibility in dark engine parts.

The S-Long wrench set includes the 12-volt cordless electric ratchet wrench, a manual ratchet wrench, eight standard sockets, a ⅜-inch to ¼-inch adapter, an extension bar, a 2 amp hour battery, a fast charger, and a hard carrying case. For added user-friendliness, the charger can power up the electric wrench in just 60 minutes, and the power indicator will alert the user when the model is done charging. Plus, this adjustable wrench offers a forward/reverse switch and a lock switch.

What our tester says: Tom Scalisi, a Bob Vila product tester and staff writer, notes in The Best Cordless Ratchets that the S-Long “performed as a cordless ratchet should and the speed was reasonable. It came with a set of sockets and a ratchet as well as two batteries, all for a good value.”

Get the S-Long ratcheting wrench set at Amazon or Walmart.

Best Bang For The Buck

WorkPro 8-Piece Flex-Head Ratcheting Combination Set
Photo: amazon.com

Product Specs 

  • Material: Powder-coated chrome vanadium steel
  • Number of pieces: 8
  • Number of points: 6
  • Tooth count: 72

Pros

  • Durable construction is made with a powder coating for long-term use
  • Anti-slip design on both the open wrench and ratcheting wrench sides
  • Wide range of size options for tackling most bolt diameters; 5/16 inch to ¾ inch
  • Comes with a polyester pouch for keeping all components organized for storage and portability

Cons

  • Some users have reported problems using the ratcheting wrench heads

It’s not difficult to find inexpensive ratcheting wrench sets, but either quality or versatility will sometimes suffer as a result of the lower cost. Shoppers won’t have that concern with this ratcheting wrench set from WorkPro. Made from tough chrome vanadium steel, these tools feature a powder coating rather than the common highly polished finish, and with gold on the ratchet inserts, they certainly stand out.

This is an SAE set with sizes ranging from 5/16 inch to ¾ inch, so the most common bolt diameters are covered. These hand tools also offer an open wrench on one end and a 12-point 72-tooth ratchet on the other end, along with a 180-degree flex head, so nuts and bolts at odd angles present no problem. Additionally, the set includes a heavy-duty polyester pouch for compact carrying and storage.

Get the WorkPro ratcheting wrench set at Amazon.

Upgrade Pick

ToolGuards 33-Piece Ratcheting Wrench Set
Photo: amazon.com

Product Specs 

  • Material: Chrome vanadium steel
  • Number of pieces: 33
  • Number of points: 12
  • Tooth count: 72

Pros

  • Comes with both SAE and metric wrenches for a variety of bolt and fastener diameters
  • Made with a universal 12-point construction for gripping most common fasteners
  • Only requires 5 degrees of action to engage the driving force; made with a 12-point head
  • Constructed with chrome vanadium steel and a mirrored finish for durability and ease of maintenance

Cons

  • Comes with a steep price tag compared to some other options available

This comprehensive set from ToolGuards includes 33 ratcheting wrenches in all, conveniently divided into two sets. There are 15 SAE wrenches, ranging from ¼ inch up to 1 inch, and 18 metric wrenches, ranging from 6 millimeters to 24 millimeters. These collections are more extensive than what shoppers would normally find in a ratcheting wrench set, providing the enthusiast with tools that will work on less common fastener sizes.

The wrench boxes in this set are the 12-point universal type, allowing for a secure grip on 6-point, 12-point, Spline, E-Torx, and square fasteners. They also have a 72-tooth design, thus requiring only 5 degrees of action to engage the drive.

The set also employs chrome vanadium steel for each ratcheting wrench, which makes the wrenches basically unbreakable despite their slender profile.

The wrenches feature a mirror finish for easy cleaning and to prevent corrosion, and they are housed in individual SAE and metric tool rolls, with each pocket clearly marked with the ratchet wrench size for easy identification. While the full ratcheting wrench set is perhaps more than the average person will need, it nevertheless represents excellent value.

Get the ToolGuards ratcheting wrench set at Amazon.

Best 5-Piece

Mountain 5-Piece Metric Ratcheting Wrench Set
Photo: amazon.com

Product Specs 

  • Material: Chrome vanadium steel
  • Number of pieces: 5
  • Number of points: 12
  • Tooth count: 90

Pros

  • Durable chrome vanadium steel construction is 80 percent longer than most ratcheting wrenches
  • 90-tooth heads only require 4 degrees of movement to engage the driving force
  • Raised collars on each head provide ample torque for tough or recessed fasteners
  • 180-degree heads have a push-button reverse for added convenience

Cons

  • Some users have reported limited durability compared to similar options available

At a glance, this five-piece ratcheting wrench set from Mountain doesn’t look much different than other sets on the market; even the chrome vanadium steel used for the wrenches’ construction is typical. However, the details reveal some valuable extra features.

These ratcheting wrenches range from 8 millimeters to 19 millimeters. The 12-point universal ends are common, but these wrenches also feature raised collars, so users can reach recessed fasteners. They also provide a greater contact area for a more positive hold. The wrenches are 80 percent longer than the standard ratcheting wrench, so they generate more torque, and the 90-tooth head requires only 4 degrees of movement to engage.

The 180-degree flex heads may look ordinary, but they incorporate a push-button reverse so users can switch from loosening to tightening without removing them. This product is among the higher-priced ratcheting wrench sets, but if your livelihood depends on performance and precision, then they’re worth the investment.

Get the Mountain ratcheting wrench set at Amazon.

Best 20+ Piece

Jaeger 24-Piece Tightspot Ratcheting Wrench Set
Photo: amazon.com

Product Specs 

  • Material: Chrome vanadium steel
  • Number of pieces: 24
  • Number of points: 12
  • Tooth count: 90

Pros

  • Comes with both metric and SAE sizing options for a wide range of applications; 8 millimeters to 19 millimeters and ¼ inch to ⅞ inch
  • Dual racked organizers with built-in carrying handles keep tools organized and portable
  • Engages the drive at just 4 degrees for precision and torque

Cons

  • Limited durability; some of the ratcheting heads have performance issues

This 24-piece set from Jaeger Tools delivers terrific versatility yet remains surprisingly affordable. For convenience, the two dozen tools are actually separated into two 12-piece sets. One set is metric with wrenches ranging from 8 millimeters to 19 millimeters, and the other set is SAE with tools ranging from ¼ inch to ⅞ inch. The racked organizers make it easy to grab the needed tool, and fold-out handles allow for convenient carrying. Clear markings near each head help with quick identification, and there is a handy direction arrow for the ratchet as well.

Folks might expect Jaeger to cut corners to keep the price down, with minimum contact points and a coarse tooth count, but this ratcheting wrench set is of high quality. The 12-point box is suitable for multiple fasteners, and 90 teeth provide rapid engagement within 4 degrees.

Get the Jaeger ratcheting wrench set at Amazon.

Best Combination Set

Geardrive Flex-Head Ratcheting Combination Wrench Set
Photo: amazon.com

Product Specs 

  • Material: Chrome vanadium steel
  • Number of pieces: 13
  • Number of points: 12
  • Tooth count: 72

Pros

  • Comes with open wrench and ratcheting wrench ends for excellent versatility
  • 12-point ratchet has 72 teeth that engage the driving force with 5 degrees of leverage
  • 180-degree heads provide excellent reach and maneuverability in confined spaces
  • Comes with a roll-up storage bag with a carrying handle for portability and transporting

Cons

  • The flex screws may not be as durable as some competitors’ sets

With this combination ratcheting wrench set from Geardrive, there is a standard open-ended tool at one end of each wrench, which is invaluable for starting tough nuts. At the other end is a 12-point box that fits multiple different fasteners, with a 72-tooth ratchet that requires only 5 degrees of leverage. The box end flexes through 180 degrees. This versatile combination allows users to access hard-to-reach areas in which a standard wrench would slip off of the fastening.

This combination wrench set consists of 13 SAE tools ranging from 5/16 inch up to 1 inch. The wrenches are made from chrome vanadium steel for excellent durability. They also have embossed sizes for rapid identification. A roll-up storage bag with a handle for easy carrying makes transporting these tools a breeze. Overall, this competitively priced combination set suits many home, auto, and DIY enthusiasts.

Get the Geardrive ratcheting wrench set at Amazon.

Best Electric

Kimo Cordless Electric Ratchet Wrench Set
Photo: amazon.com

Product Specs 

  • Material: Metal and rubber
  • Number of pieces: 8
  • Number of points: Unlisted
  • Tooth count: Unlisted

Pros

  • Delivers over 400 rpm with 40 foot-pounds of torque; suitable for professional use
  • The variable-speed trigger, LED light, and forward/reverse switch offer impeccable ease of use
  • Lightweight and portable construction offers portability and will not cause fatigue when in use
  • Comes with a quick charger and 2 batteries; each battery lasts for over 1,000 charges

Cons

  • The LED light does not perform perfectly (according to our tester)

Made to fit in a compact carrying case, this cordless electric ratchet wrench set from Kimo is both effective and portable. It’s made to deliver over 400 rpm and 40 foot-pounds of torque with the help of a variable-speed trigger. This ratcheting wrench has seven sockets and a ⅜-inch to ¼-inch adapter for a wide array of fastener sizes.

It also has a built-in LED light, an easy-to-use forward/reverse switch, and a rubber grip for added ease of use. This 2.2-pound ratcheting wrench also comes with two batteries, each of which lasts for 1,000 charges for long-term use, and a quick charger that brings the unit to full power in just 60 minutes.

What our tester says: Tom Scalisi, a Bob Vila staff writer and tester, notes in our tested guide: “I appreciated the fact that it came with two batteries, a set of sockets, and a hard carrying case. I also enjoyed the design—the compact size and low-profile head, namely. But one of my favorite features was the pronounced direction switch. It was easy to find and grasp at nearly any angle.”

Get the Kimo ratcheting wrench set at Amazon.

Also Consider

Gearwrench 14-Piece Flex Head Ratcheting Wrench Set
Photo: amazon.com

Product Specs 

  • Material: Alloy steel
  • Number of pieces: 14
  • Number of points: 12
  • Tooth count: 72

Pros

  • Comes with both SAE and metric wrenches for a variety of fastener types
  • Complies with American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards
  • The flexible heads provide excellent reach in tough spaces; suitable for DIYers and professionals

Cons

  • The rotatable heads may be difficult to use; they tend to move around too much to get a good grip

This set from Gearwrench—one of the biggest names in the industry—features both SAE and metric wrenches, open ends for hard-to-crack nuts, and flex heads for working at any angle.

The SAE tools in this set span from ⅜ inch to ¾ inch, and the metric tools span from 10 millimeters to 19 millimeters, giving users the flexibility to tackle items made in all parts of the world. Additionally, the 12-point head provides almost universal hold, while the 72-tooth box means minimal leverage to apply pressure.

These wrenches meet or exceed the specifications of both the ASME and ANSI, which underlines the quality of construction and level of accuracy. They are finished in bright, fully polished chrome, which wipes clean easily and is highly resistant to rust.

Get the Gearwrench ratcheting wrench set at The Home Depot.

Jump to Our Top Picks



What to Consider When Choosing a Ratcheting Wrench Set

Before shopping for the best ratcheting wrench set for your needs, delve into the following list of considerations to gain a fuller picture of the factors to keep in mind as you decide on the most appropriate tools for your particular projects.

Type

When it comes to choosing the right ratcheting wrench set, two types can get the job done: electric and manual. Each has its benefits and drawbacks, but both work effectively (depending on what they are used for).

  • Electric ratcheting wrench sets typically come with a cordless battery-powered unit and a selection of sockets for accommodating different fasteners and bolts. Some of these models also come with a battery, charger, and carrying/storage case to keep all components safe and together. These options are usually great for quick, professional tasks in tight engines and machinery.
  • Manual ratcheting wrench sets come with classically designed wrenches with dual ratcheting heads or ratcheting and open wrench heads and typically come with five to 30+ pieces per set. These are typically made with chrome vanadium steel for durability and are suitable for DIY as well as professional use.

Material

All ratcheting wrenches are made from steel alloys, but their composition differs. Carbon steel is often recommended as one of the strongest forms of steel, but all steels are alloys of carbon and iron, so that suggestion is a bit misleading. Essentially, shoppers will want to choose a ratcheting wrench set made of either chrome vanadium (Cr-V) or chrome molybdenum (Cr-Mo) steel. Chromium steel on its own is highly resistant to rust, which is why it is most commonly referred to as stainless steel. Cr-V and Cr-Mo both increase the strength of the steel and make it ductile, which is the ability to absorb shock without breaking. Chemically, there is little difference between the two types of steel, though Cr-Mo tends to be more expensive.

Ratcheting wrenches are often left unembellished, but manufacturers sometimes coat them with either chrome or nickel to make them easier to wipe clean and more effectively resist rust. They are also frequently polished to a mirrorlike finish but can be produced as a particular color as well. These finishes do not detract from the quality of a ratcheting wrench, so the choice is a matter of personal preference.

Number of Pieces 

The best ratcheting wrench sets on the market are often those that provide just the right number of pieces a user needs. A five-piece set might not offer enough variety, while a 24-piece set that contains metric or SAE-standard tools (the latter being units of measurement defined by SAE International most commonly used on automotive and construction tools) is probably cost-effective only for professionals. For that very reason, eight-piece to 12-piece sets are what you’ll find in the average garage. Keep in mind that you can always buy a single ratcheting wrench at a later date if you need a more unusual size.

Number of Points and Tooth Count

The ratchet box of a ratcheting wrench—also called the head—has two important features: the number of points and the tooth count.

A 6-point box was the early standard because hexagonal fasteners are the most common. However, square, Torx, and other shaped fasteners didn’t align with the 6-point design, so the 12-point box—also called a universal box—was introduced.

The tooth count defines the arc the tool has to swing through to engage the ratchet pawls, and thus, turn the fastener. Coarse-toothed ratcheting wrenches can have as few as 30 teeth, meaning the wrench has to travel through 18 degrees to apply pressure, which is difficult to achieve in confined spaces. Fine-toothed ratcheting wrenches max out at 144 teeth, requiring just 2.5 degrees of travel, though they are more prone to damage. A 72-tooth ratcheting wrench is a good compromise, requiring only 5 degrees of movement.

Although a ratcheting wrench with a high tooth count allows for tremendous control, these tools shouldn’t be used as a substitute for a torque wrench on items like cylinder heads when users need precise pressure readings.

Wrench Design

In terms of design, most ratcheting wrenches look quite similar, but small details can be important. The most common design has an open wrench on one end and a ratchet on the other end. The reason for this design is that, although ratcheting wrenches are strong, an extreme load could damage the mechanism. If users encounter a nut that they can’t shift with moderate pressure, they can use the open end to start it. However, ratcheting wrenches with ratchets on both ends do give users twice the number of sizes for the same number of tools and are a solid option if a buyer already owns a full set of ordinary wrenches.

Flex heads are angled through 90 degrees or 180 degrees, depending on the model, and allow users to reach fasteners at awkward angles. Keep in mind, though, that care is needed when working with these since they can fold and potentially cause injury if too much force is applied. Some ratcheting wrenches also have a small button, so users can reverse the tool without removing it.

Finally, there are both stubby ratcheting wrench sets for when space is very limited and long-reach ratcheting wrench sets, which allow users to apply extra torque with minimal effort.

Versatility 

Sometimes you need a specific type of wrench for a job. If you’re tackling a home plumbing project, for example, a strap wrench prevents damage to softer brass and plastic fittings. When choosing the best ratcheting wrench set for your needs, however, you will want to maximize the number and variety of fasteners with which you can work.

The first purchasing option is to buy the set with the most wrenches. The drawback to this decision is that buyers might be paying for wrenches they will never use.

The second option is to choose a ratcheting wrench set that includes both SAE tools that use an inch (or imperial) scale and metric tools that naturally use a millimeter (or metric) scale. With a versatile ratcheting wrench set, users can work on a classic muscle car that was made in America, a lawn mower that was made in Europe, and kids’ bicycles that were made in China.

Storage

Some of the least expensive ratcheting wrench sets come as loose collections, but they can become jumbled in the tool box, leading to frustration when users are trying to grab the right tool for their current project. Aftermarket wrench organizers are available and inexpensive, but most quality ratcheting wrench sets usually include storage that allows for easy portability and clear organization.

Another storage option is a tool roll, which is compact and easy to carry. Modern versions are usually hard-wearing polyester. They also allow quick access, and their flexibility means they can be laid across uneven surfaces.

Hanging racks have become a popular storage option as well. These are tough plastic organizers that often feature a carrying handle. While they are convenient, since users won’t need to roll and unroll them like a tool roll, the trade-off is that the wrenches are less protected.

Finally, cases are a solid storage option to consider. Cases are usually constructed with thermoformed plastic. They maximize protection and offer good organization, but they take up more space than rolls or racks, which is perhaps why they’re less common.

FAQs

Now that you have a more thorough understanding of how ratcheting wrenches work, the benefits they offer, and the multitude of available options and features, you may have some questions. We’ve posed some of the most frequently asked questions and included their corresponding answers below.

Q. What is the difference between a ratcheting wrench and a socket? 

There are several differences between a ratcheting wrench and a socket. First, a ratcheting wrench is much more slender, so it can fit into tight spaces where sockets can’t go. Second, on a socket, the drive is in the handle, which is separate and can come apart while you work. On a ratcheting wrench, the drive is contained within the tool. Third, you can pass a ratcheting wrench over a threaded bar to a nut, but that is not physically possible with a socket.

Q. Does a ratcheting wrench work in a tight space?

Absolutely. One of the big advantages of a ratcheting wrench is that it can fit in the same small gap as an ordinary wrench while providing a more secure hold on the nut or bolt.

Q. What is the significance of tooth count on a ratcheting wrench?

The tooth count on a ratcheting wrench dictates how far you have to move the wrench to engage the drive and, thus, apply pressure to the fastener. More teeth mean the tool has to swing through a smaller arc. For example, a 36-tooth ratchet needs to move 10 degrees to engage while a 72-tooth ratchet only has to move 5 degrees.

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