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      11-19-2023, 04:23 PM   #1
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Best 3/8" ratchet - 2023/2024 edition

What is the best 3/8" ratchet out there? This is arguably the most-used tool in the automotive toolbox.

I just broke a cheapie doing BMW brakes and want a good replacement. The Cayenne will need brakes soon and I want to enjoy a quality new tool on that project.

Requirements are 3/8" drive, long-ish 11" length, slim handle, flex or pivot handle. Something similar to a Snap-on FRLF80A or Craftsman V-series CMMT86323V.

Thanks for any suggestions!

Candidate brands:
Snap-on
Craftsman V-series
Husky
Kobalt
Pittsburgh (Harbor Freight)
Hazet (hard to find USA distributor)
Wera (hard to find USA distributor)
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      11-19-2023, 04:38 PM   #2
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Sounds like someone should have been using a 1/2" instead?

I've been using a Stanley from a large-ish set and it has been fine. The old saying use the cheap tool and break it before buying expensive has proven true enough.
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      11-19-2023, 05:06 PM   #3
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Most of my tool are snap-on but I do have a Cornwell ratchet and it has a great feel and quality. Brand should be on your list.


In reality I have 4 3/8" ratchets. They all have their purpose.
3/8" short handle ratchet (3")
3/8" standard handle ratchet
3/8" ratchet w/ Swivel head
3/8" breaker bar
and last but very handy
3/8" drive thumb wheel ratchet
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      11-19-2023, 08:20 PM   #4
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SNAP-ON makes a great swivel head fine tooth ratchet! My preference.
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      11-19-2023, 09:57 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Car-Addicted View Post
Most of my tool are snap-on but I do have a Cornwell ratchet and it has a great feel and quality. Brand should be on your list.


In reality I have 4 3/8" ratchets. They all have their purpose.
3/8" short handle ratchet (3")
3/8" standard handle ratchet
3/8" ratchet w/ Swivel head
3/8" breaker bar
and last but very handy
3/8" drive thumb wheel ratchet
I have about 6, and my Snap-On is my favorite just for how smooth and nice the handle is. It was broken for umpteen years, happened upon a Snap-On truck, asked about it, he drove to my house and fixed it right then and there.

You got me thinking about buying this one though.

https://webcat.cornwelltools.com/JR7...het-p371690951
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      11-20-2023, 01:18 AM   #6
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I know it's Icon but I have a 3/8" ratchet that's about a foot long and use it regularly. It's probably my favorite ratchet I have especially for breaking loose small to mid size nuts/bolts (wouldn't use it for much over 14mm). Great feel and feels like it has a tooth for each degree you turn which is an absolute godsend when there's minimal room to swing a ratchet. Has been solid for the ~year I've had it.

And I just replaced the brakes on my 328i and was using the 1/2" breaker bar to crack everything loose. I'd make sure you have one of those before splurging on another 3/8" ratchet.
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      11-20-2023, 09:59 AM   #7
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In case you haven't seen it, in this 16 ratchet comparison video these were the top 7 scoring 3/8" flex head ratchets:

1. Olsa Tools
2. GearWrench 90
3. GearWrench 120XP
4. Stahlwille
5. Wera
6. Proto
7. Craftsman

The Cornwall wasn't tested and the Craftsman took the most torque before failure.

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      11-20-2023, 10:14 AM   #8
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I use wera and have been very happy with them
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      11-20-2023, 01:09 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OGOverkill View Post
I use wera and have been very happy with them
Are you in the US market? Can’t see on the mobile site. Which retailer did you buy from?
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      11-20-2023, 03:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theodore2 View Post
In case you haven't seen it, in this 16 ratchet comparison video these were the top 7 scoring 3/8" flex head ratchets:

1. Olsa Tools
2. GearWrench 90
3. GearWrench 120XP
4. Stahlwille
5. Wera
6. Proto
7. Craftsman

The Cornwall wasn't tested and the Craftsman took the most torque before failure.

I'd rather see someone scratch my car than to listen to that guy talk. lol
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      11-20-2023, 04:16 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chassis View Post
Are you in the US market? Can’t see on the mobile site. Which retailer did you buy from?
No im in Canada and a local tool store carries them. I also use their torque wrenches, but theyre in NM so i have a laminated conversion table taped to my cabinet!
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      11-20-2023, 04:35 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theodore2 View Post
In case you haven't seen it, in this 16 ratchet comparison video these were the top 7 scoring 3/8" flex head ratchets:
Remembering back when I did mechanical work all the time (70's), The flex head only got used when I needed it (Kind of a knuckle buster) and flex sockets relegated it to the seldom used status. To be honest the ratchet I used most was the Snap-on pneumatic ratchet.

Honorable mentions goes to a ratchet I forgot about. The Snap-on speed wrench. Maybe from my race mechanical days of indexing plugs on alloy heads.

I still have all these, feeling guilty about taking BMW to dealer and saying please fix it.
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      11-20-2023, 10:01 PM   #13
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Olsa tools look interesting. Quality looks good and price is attractive.
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      11-20-2023, 11:25 PM   #14
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Icon gimbal head. 90 teeth, very low back drag. About $40
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      11-21-2023, 11:37 AM   #15
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My Kobalt have lasted the longest. Like the feel and the one I have has 110 teeth so it's great for tight spots. I have a couple Icon as well and they seem to be decent too. I mainly use battery now so no sense in buying SnapOn or the like.
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      11-21-2023, 09:49 PM   #16
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I've had an S-K for over 50-years. Fine-tooth. Solid but not heavy. I've bought some that were supposed to be "better" but always returned to the S-K. Never needed anything resembling service. Now in 1/4", my Snap-On is my favorite, but it's been rebuilt at least twice!
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      11-21-2023, 10:29 PM   #17
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What does everyone think about Tekton? The web catalog looks good. I have their click-type torque wrenches and they are well built.
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      11-22-2023, 05:37 PM   #18
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Quote:
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What does everyone think about Tekton? The web catalog looks good. I have their click-type torque wrenches and they are well built.
Excellent, a lot of them made in Taiwan probably by same company that makes Icon. I believe some may be made in USA. They have 90 tooth 3/8 drive iirc.
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      11-23-2023, 06:48 AM   #19
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Most of the tools out there have gotten better, everyone seems to be vying for that diy market consumer so this good for us. If you have a battery or pneumatic to break the bolt or nut loose that is what I suggest then finish job with hand tool or what you broke it free with.

I tend to keep a long extendable hazet nearby when doing things that get frozen and a can of PB Blaster letting the ones soak before starting.
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      11-23-2023, 07:37 AM   #20
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Hahaha, well, I've had my Craftsman set since my first car, ⅜ & ½ and used over a dozen cars! Anything from axles, brakes, transmissions and engine rebuilds... And still kicking strong! Yeah, not fancy like today's with a bazillion teeth, etc. But get the job done and how! I'll be expanding soon and would probably stick with Craftsman as the line is proven in my book. First car and ratchet set bought in 82', just sayin'...
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      11-23-2023, 08:13 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freakystyly View Post
Sounds like someone should have been using a 1/2" instead?

Truth.

I undid the slide pin screws, removed the caliper and pads, and was too lazy to grab the 1/2" drive to remove the caliper bracket screws. I attacked the 130Nm caliper bracket screws with the cheapie 3/8" drive and...snap! It broke internally.
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      11-23-2023, 09:10 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cooolone2 View Post
Hahaha, well, I've had my Craftsman set since my first car, ⅜ & ½ and used over a dozen cars! Anything from axles, brakes, transmissions and engine rebuilds... And still kicking strong! Yeah, not fancy like today's with a bazillion teeth, etc. But get the job done and how! I'll be expanding soon and would probably stick with Craftsman as the line is proven in my book. First car and ratchet set bought in 82', just sayin'...
I can't ever remember breaking a Craftsman tool. I did have to replace a #3 Philips head screwdriver once; we used it as a pin to hang the engine from my 1972 Pinto on an engine hoist for a few months. It eventually bent.
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