5 Best Ratcheting Wrench Sets of 2020 – Reviews & Buying Guide
Ratcheting Wrenches take the pain out of unscrewing a fastener on a long, threaded post since you don’t have to constantly reseat them like a wrench. They’re also more convenient than a socket wrench in many cases, as you don’t have to sort through dozens of sockets to find the right one for the bolt in question.
Getting one of these sets can be a great way to speed up your automotive work, as well as other tasks around the house. It’s easy to get a little overwhelmed when shopping online, due to the plentiful options, and how hard it can be to tell if something is a good deal.
We’ve assembled this list of reviews to address this problem. You can get a good sense of these sets before you buy so that you know you’re getting good value for your money. We also included a buyer’s guide, so you can learn about ratcheting wrench sets before you buy.
Comparison of our 5 Favorites in 2020
|Best Overall||GearWrench 9416 16 Piece||
|Mountain (MTNRM6) 5 Piece||
|Best Value||ToolGuards 22 Pieces B01MT6PDN0||
|Craftsman 20 Piece Ratcheting Wrench Set||
|Neiko 03114A 5-Piece Set||
Top 5 Best Ratcheting Wrench Sets
1. GearWrench 16-Piece Ratcheting Wrench Set – Best Overall
The GearWrench 9416 16 piece ratcheting wrench set is a great set for people who want to get a lot of wrench sizes, but still get good quality for the price. The rachets in this kit come with 72-tooth ratchet ends, which means that they can turn bolts with as little as five degrees of motion. That makes them great for tight spaces where you’re not going to have enough room to use the other, plain wrench end. The precision fit on both sides of these wrenches is designed to move the pressure of each turn off the bolt’s points, which lowers the pressure and reduces fastener rounding.
Each wrench is made from a steel alloy, which gives them excellent strength and durability and finished with chrome, which is polished to a high sheen and does a good job resisting corrosion. This set also comes with a wrench holder, which you can use to store your wrenches between use. This set doesn’t come with flex heads or a slight bend in the shaft, which allow for working around nearby bolts. However, given the value in the other areas, this set is a great choice for most people.
2. Mountain 5-Piece Ratchet Wrench Set
The Mountain MTNRM6 5 piece ratcheting wrench set comes with five wrenches, but each of those comes with two heads, so you get ten different sizes mounted on just five shafts. These models come with flex heads so that you can bend the shaft upwards up to 45-degrees and work around nearby bolts or cables. Or, you can flip the wrench over to use it as a straight wrench, since the head only flexes one way. The ratchets feature 90-tooth heads, which means you can advance it with movements as small as 4-degrees, which makes this one of the best models on the market for working in tight spaces.
The handles are extra-long, which gets you more torque with the same amount of force applied, which can make tough jobs much easier, and loose bolts will come off with a minimum of efforts. They’re also well-made and tend to last a long time, even when used a lot. Since they have so much upside, you’re going to want to use them a lot. The only flaw is that they’re a bit pricey on a per-head basis. However, the quality is very good, so this is a worthy investment.
3. ToolGuards Ratcheting-Wrench Set – Best Value
The ToolGuards 22 Pieces B01MT6PDN0 is our choice for best value. It comes with 22 wrenches with ratchet ends, and costs far less than the first two entries on our list. These are made from chrome vanadium steel, which is one of the strongest steels on the market and means these tools will hold up well to both use and abuse. The ratchets have 72 teeth, which means they advance about every five-degrees, which means little motions are enough to get a job done, which makes these wrenches good for small spaces.
This set also comes with a carrying case, which folds up for easy transportation, and folds out to reveal the ratchets, each of which sits in its own pocket, making it easy to keep them organized. You get 11 metric, and 11 SAE wrenches, you’ll have a wide variety of tools to choose from when working. The one downside is that the shafts are relatively short, which means that you have to work a bit harder to get tight bolts loose. However, this is a great choice for people who need both SAE and metric wrenches and who want to get great value for their money.
4. Craftsman Ratcheting Wrench Set (20 pcs)
The Craftsman 20 Piece Ratcheting Wrench Set is a good example of a toolset that is perfectly fine on its own but pales in comparison to other sets that are available at similar prices. This set comes with 20 wrenches. Ten are metric and ten SAE, so you can use the variety that you need. The ratchets are good, coming with 72 teeth, which means motions as small as five degrees will advance the bolt. The quality is a little questionable, but it comes with the Craftsman Forever Guarantee, so if you do have any problems you can exchange the broken tool.
However, these wrenches don’t have tilt heads, nor do they have any offset, so they’re not going to be good for spaces where there’s a lot of bolts or cables that could interfere with turning the wrench. They’re also not reversible via a lever on the ratchet end, which means you have to take the wrench off and flip it over if you want to change directions. There’s certainly very little wrong with this set, but the fact of the matter is that you could spend about the same amount and get far better value.
5. Neiko 5-Piece Ratcheting-Wrench Set
The Neiko 03114A 5-Piece Set does have some upside. The wrenches are double-headed, so while you only get five shafts, you get ten differently-sized ratchets. This set is metric, so if you’re looking for SAE, you’re out of luck. The shafts are also relatively-long, which gives you get leverage to get stuck bolts off. However, this set has serious problems with quality control. Some kits work just fine, but far too many of them feature wrenches that break on the first use.
A common point of failure is the joint on the flex head, which seems to snap under not just heavy force, but moderate force, too. That’s a big problem, but more concerningly, some users report that the shaft itself broke near the middle, which is an unacceptable flaw in a wrench of any kind. Using this set is likely to be a frustrating experience, as working with all broken tools can be. Add to that the fact that this set isn’t that cheap, and you have a recipe for a low value. While you could buy this set, you can get better value for a lower price with other sets on this list.
We hope that our reviews have already taught you some things about ratcheting wrench sets. If you’re looking to learn more about these sets before you buy, be sure to check out this buyer’s guide. It’s designed to teach a beginner everything they need to know before they start shopping, but it’s also a nice refresher for anyone who has bought before but wants to get up to date on what makes for a great ratcheting wrench set.
When it comes to ratchets, value should be your number one concern. In this instance, we don’t mean durability, though that is an important factor. Instead, you should be considering ease of use and the ability of each ratcheting wrench to adapt to different situations. A versatile set has far more value than a similar set at the same price that is only useful for one or two tasks, so it’s important to keep versatility in mind while you shop.
Ratchets with swiveling heads give you the power to change the angle at which you rotate the shaft, which can be useful for working around bolts or other nearby obstructions. Straight wrenches don’t have this ability and are worth less because of that factor.
Likewise, ratcheting wrenches that are reversible with a level or button are worth more than those that must be turned over to reverse. Features like these can make your experience far better, so it’s worth it to spend a bit more to get them.
While versatility has a bigger impact on value, durability is also important. While others would rank it first, it’s important to keep in mind that durability can only be in one of two categories: strong enough to get the job done, or not. Since there’s no middle ground, you’re either getting a good tool or a horrible one, so there’s not a lot of variation in this category.
If you want to make sure that you’re getting a good tool, pay attention to the kind of metal that the wrenches are made from. Vanadium steel coated with chrome is one of the best materials for tools on the market today. Adding vanadium to steel greatly increases its strength, while the chrome coating gives it a good amount of corrosion resistance.
Be wary of sets that only advertise “a steel alloy” when describing what they’re made from. Not all steel alloys are made equally, so you’ll need to do further research on that set before you buy.
Other features unrelated to the wrenches can add value to a ratcheting wrench set, and justify a high price, or make a lower-priced model a great deal.
The most common thing you’ll find in these sets is a storage or transportation apparatus. If it’s just storage, that means it’s a shelf or a small box, which makes these sets better suited to a garage or shop, where easy access to them will be apricated, and they won’t get in the way if they take up space. On the other hand, it’s harder to bring those wrenches to an offsite location, which can be a pain if you don’t know the fastener size ahead of time.
If it’s a transportation case or bag, you’re getting a set that’s good for taking on the road, and fantastic for situations where you know you’re going to have to try a couple of sizes before you find the right one. Cases make it easy to have all sizes with you, without making it a pain to carry them around by hand, and also do a generally better job of keeping the wrenches out of the elements, which can degrade their chrome surfaces.
Which set is right for you?
No one set is going to be the right thing for all people. Instead, you should be looking for the set that is right for you. While many people start with a price in mind, it’s wise to start instead with the features that you need to have. Once you have a shortlist of ratcheting wrench sets that have those features, it’s safe to get the cheapest set off that list.
That way, you’re getting a good financial deal, but you also won’t be wishing in the future that you had spent a little more to get something a bit nicer, or that didn’t have a feature that you needed.
The GearWrench 9416 16 piece ratcheting wrench set features five-degree ratchet movements, a precision fit that keeps you from rounding off bolts, and a quality wrench holder, earning it the top place on our list. The Mountain MTNRM6 5 piece comes with 90-tooth ratchets, making them the best on our list in that regard, but their price ultimately keeps them out of first. The ToolGuards 22 Pieces B01MT6PDN0 features sturdy and strong chrome vanadium steel wrenches, and comes at a low price, making it our choice for best value. The Craftsman 20 Piece Ratcheting Wrench Set is an acceptable kit, but it lacks any kind of offset, which means it’s not great for tight spaces like other sets on our list. The Neiko 03114A 5-Piece Set features serious quality-control issues and is expensive relative to its quality, which drops it to the last place.
Hopefully, our reviews and our buyer’s guide have helped you figure out what to look for when shopping for ratcheting wrench sets. You should now be able to use that information to make a great choice for your wallet and find a set that you’ll love using.
Posts that you may find interesting:
- Comparison of our 5 Favorites in 2020
- Top 5 Best Ratcheting Wrench Sets
- Buyer’s Guide