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Review: Ridgid 18V Cordless Extended 3/8 Inch Ratchet

Thanks to a giraffe-like neck this ratchet will get to bolts your drill driver can only look at longingly.

byMichael Febbo|
Ridgid 18V Cordless Extended 3/8 Inch Ratchet Review
Michael Febbo
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I’m quickly approaching half-century vintage. An unthinkable age for 20-year-old me who spent 30 hours a week working in a car factory, found 12 hours a week for sports, went to school, and spent countless hours working on and racing my own car. I was never too sore to do any of this. Now, most of my days are spent with reading glasses perched studiously on my nose, wrangling words behind a laptop. There are times when a few too many words typed, a bit too much knife work preparing dinner, and a couple of Lego projects with my son have me reaching for the ibuprofen. When it’s time to work on the car, or any project with metal fasteners, I am reaching for power tools like this Ridgid 18V Brushless Extended Reach Ratchet to help bring back some of the efficiency of youth.

This Ridgid ratchet isn’t being reviewed in a vacuum, or with a vacuum for that matter. I have been testing cordless ratchets over a several-week time period trying to get a feel for the differences, not only between individual ratchets, but also to look at a more macro view as a part of a brand’s collection. I’m also going into the micro a bit more to see if a ratchet warrants a spot on the shelf, either alongside or instead of other tools which are different flavors of handheld fastener spinners.

Michael Febbo  Febbo

Just The Facts, Ma’am

I received a total of six cordless ratchets for testing. Put side-by-side there are some noticeable differences between them. This Extended Reach model is the longes. The naming convention is pretty on the nose, although creative naming of products that look like this could go south pretty fast. Ahem. So this ratchet is 19.5 inches in length, the standard version Ridgid is 16 inches. All of the additional length is found in the head extension.

Besides the reach, it also adds roughly half a pound in weight with the longer version right at 3.0 pounds and the regular version at 2.5 pounds. If you’re curious, the DeWalt standard version is 16 inches long and weighs 2.7 pounds. A Ryobi is 13.5 inches long, but it’s a little apples and oranges with a different battery orientation.

Spoiler alert: the standard length version of this ratchet was the pick for Overall Best in our ratchet buyer’s guide. The more I use this extended version, the more I think this could be my choice. It just seems more versatile when trying to get into spots that something like an impact driver can’t reach. Either way, the Ridgid earned the top spot based on overall value along with Ridigd’s long-running reputation for quality, which is also backed up by the best warranty in the business; lifetime for parts and service.

Michael Febbo  Febbo

I hate talking price in a review like this, it just seems so ostentatious. Not to mention, we all know there’s a small contingent of commenters who will write tirades over a factual inaccuracy. And there is nothing I love more than robbing them of the opportunity to run victory laps around their mom’s basement high-fiving imaginary friends after totally pwning that guy on the internet. At the time of writing this, on this one particular website, from my own IP address, at 1:35 PM PST, Home Depot was selling the Ridgid 18V Brushless Extended Reach Ratchet for right around 177.75 Swiss Francs. I joke, it was $199 when I looked. That’s just the tool—no battery, no charger, no fries with that.

Less Ugga-Dugga, More Prrackackackack

I’ve used this on a couple of jobs so far. I assembled a bike rack, a big complicated one. It was harder than you think, and definitely justified the use of power tools. I wasn’t just lazy or looking for an excuse to play with a new toy.

There were a lot of 1/4-20 lag bolts going through round tubing and being tightened into hex nuts embedded in plastic parts. This was an ideal job for a powered ratchet, especially since the directions specified to build the rack attached to the car, so there were spots where a larger tool wouldn’t have fit. It worked as advertised.

With a deep socket, I can get to the head of the bolt under the alternator. None of my other power tools would get in there, at least not easily. Michael Febbo  Febbo

A few other quick notes. I have been trying to devise a way to test the actual torque output of all of these ratchets. I don’t think getting actual numbers is possible without investing in more measuring equipment than what I have. I have done some initial testing, and while I am uncomfortable reporting actual numbers, I will say that the finishing order for DeWalt, Ridgid, and Ryobi, along with variance, seems to suggest the manufacturers' given numbers are pretty spot on.

The Verdict

I’ll start with a quick thought on extended versus normal reach ratchets. Most ratchets in the 18/20-volt segment are long tools. If you’re working under a car on jackstands, they take some maneuvering to get positioned. The extended reach makes it more difficult in tight spaces. However, in my opinion/experience, if you’re buying one of these to use alongside a compact impact driver, the extended versions takes that utility to the next level. If this is more of a standalone tool, I might get the normal length.

Ridgid 18V Extended Ratchet
Value7/10
Quality8/10
Ease Of Use9/10
Durability9/10
Overall8/10

From a completely qualitative standpoint, I’m impressed with the feel and usability of Ridgid tools. Everything has heft and solidity that lets you know it's a product that will last. The charger is stable if you are trying to change a battery one-handed. The battery connection in tools is easy to operate and doesn’t rattle once clipped-in. The Ridgid tool line is already deep and is constantly expanding. The only thing I’ve noticed using Ridgid back to back with other brands is that I like the over-molded rubber grips more on both Ryobi and DeWalt. The grip on the Ridgid is more coarse, but more secure with dirty or sweaty hands. With so many of us wearing gloves now, it may not matter. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend a Ridgid Ratchet either as a compliment to a bigger power tool collection or even as the beginning of one. 

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