LAST UPDATED: November 27, 2019
Best Air Ratchets: Power When You Need it for Tough Jobs
An air ratchet is a handy tool to have in the shop for turning tough fasteners
The Review Team
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PUBLISHED ON November 27, 2019
An air ratchet greatly reduces the amount of effort required to do certain jobs. It helps loosen tough bolts, and it installs fasteners quickly, too. An air ratchet is especially handy when working on tasks like replacing brake parts where components are rusted or corroded or when installing bolts repetitively on a truck or car. Check out our picks for quality air ratchets.
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- Check out different sized air ratchets. They come in ⅜-inch, ½-inch, and ¼-inch versions. Determine the size bolts you will commonly be turning to determine which air ratchet to purchase.
- Determine where you will be using the air ratchet. If you often work in tight areas, you need a small, slim ratchet. If you work in more open areas, you can purchase a bulkier tool.
- Make sure your compressor puts out enough power to operate the air ratchet of your choice. If you don’t have enough compressed-air power, your air ratchet won’t do the job.
Q: What is an air ratchet?
A: It is a tool that operates with compressed air to help you turn bolts. It supplies power to turn rusted or corroded bolts or to install bolts. This requires more than muscle power, so it is a handy device to have.
Q: How does an air ratchet work?
A: After you press the throttle, compressed air enters the ratchet and turns the gears inside. The gears are connected to the head of the air ratchet. Attached to a fastener, the head turns the fastener with force.
Q: How do I maintain my air ratchet?
A: Oil the ratchet according to the manufacturer’s instructions and occasionally clean the outside surfaces with water and mild soap. Otherwise, there is little maintenance you need to perform.
The SP Air Corporation ⅜-Inch Super-Fast Mini Impact Ratchet is our best overall pick, in part because it is small but powerful.
The DeWalt ⅜-inch Square Drive Air Ratchet, which features an adjustable exhaust, is our pick for best value.