Ratchet Spanners - GAM

I would like to know what people think of ratchet spanners. I have seen people using them and would like to know what the verdict on them is.
I would also like to know who the best manufacturers are for them and where the best places would be to buy them.

Ratchet Spanners - Simon
I have found that the only time that ratchet spanners are desirable/necessary is when you want to undo a nut or a bolt but it is in as inaccessible position, so that you are unable to get a socket and ratchet onto it. The only way to undo it is with a spanner, but often if the thread is a fair length and is too tight to do it with your fingers then a ratchet spanner can be a godsend.

The best manufacturers are obviously going to be the likes of Snap-On, Britool and Facom, but unless you intend to use them a fair bit then it isn't really worth buying anything so expensive. If you really want some just in case then I would buy a cheap set that includes the most common sizes.
Ratchet Spanners - greaser pv
I find mine a useful addition. I bought them individually from Halfords ( professional range ).Sometimes they do a 3 for 2 deal. They seem quite good quality 5-6degree ratchet.
Ratchet Spanners - bernie
I agree with greaser.I use a Halfords 10mm and 12mm quite a lot.They are a quality tool far removed from the cheap course rubbish found on your average market stall .

They have a very fine ratchet mechanism that allows you to undo or tighten a nut with small movements if necessary.

If you are a "tool person" then you will be proud of these !
Ratchet Spanners - bafta
Quite agree. Better to buy a few good ones in the most useful metric sizes than a whole set of cheap spanners. Quality is paramount even if they are not for everyday use because they will last a lifetime. Obviously, Snap On are ideal but pricy. The Halfords ones are good and, from time to time, they have some very good offers. As they are most useful for awkward and inaccessible set screws and bolts the ratchet should be >10 degrees.
Ratchet Spanners - DieselDAVE
ratchet spanners are great
their advantages are not huge we always managed without them but since i got a set you find you use them alot the ease of picking up a spanner and not having to find the right size socket, buy a couple 13 and 13 say and see how much you use them!
Ratchet Spanners - M.M
My set is from Halfords, excellent.

Yes we did manage without them years ago but then we didn't have to change timing belts where the covers came within 20mm of the inner wing!

The whole set is perhaps a heavy investment for a DIYer but my 8mm, 10mm & 13mm are used every day. As these seem to be the most popular sizes for hard to reach nuts just get these three sizes unless there is an offer on a larger set.


Ratchet Spanners - bafta
I agree with MM. In the old days you could almost stand in the engine compartment and work, such was the room. Nowadays, with front wheel drive, power steering, air conditioning, etc., all under the bonnet there is barely room to get a socket head in position for some jobs. Hence, the increasing use of ratchet head spanners. I endorse the advice about useful sizes. The first time you hear the click of the ratchet you will know that it has been worth it.
Ratchet Spanners - GAM
Well i made the plunge today and bought a 13mm and a 10mm spanner from halfords, so far i am pleased.
Thanks for the advice. I also noticed that halfords offer a life time guarantee which i sgood

Ratchet Spanners - bafta
Good on yer, GAM. Its nice to see someone getting excited about ratchet spanners instead of alloy wheels!
Ratchet Spanners - A Dent{P}
The whole set is perhaps a heavy investment for a DIYer
but my 8mm, 10mm & 13mm are used every day. As
these seem to be the most popular sizes for hard to
reach nuts just get these three sizes unless there is an
offer on a larger set.

I have been eyeing these up for a while, and might just get the smaller sizes now. I'd be concerned about the larger ones handling the torque.
Why 13mm though? surely 12mm on most metric cars?
Ratchet Spanners - Dynamic Dave
Why 13mm though? surely 12mm on most metric cars?

You can fit 13mm on a ½" nut/bolt, but not 12mm.
Ratchet Spanners - Cyd
Isn't a standard M8 nut 13mm across flats?
Ratchet Spanners - Dynamic Dave
It is indeed Cyd.
The only vehicles I've come across that have 12mm bolts/nuts are Japanese motorbikes. Wonder if the same applies to Japanese cars?
Ratchet Spanners - M.M
>> I'd be concerned about the larger ones handling the torque. Why 13mm though? surely 12mm on most metric cars?

In order of most popular/useful ratchet spanner sizes picked from the toolbox each day...

10mm & 13mm equal first then 8mm 17mm 19mm ...in-between sizes less important.

No problem with the torque. They are capable of stripping threads in the smaller sizes and the larger ones will handle a torque that will have you hands in pain from the slim** spanners cutting into your skin well before the ratchet gives out.

**Slim is good.


Ratchet Spanners - RisingStar
snap on rachet spanners are pink fluffy dice becuase they are gearless. you can\'t hear the clicks and they can slip if you exert a lot of pressure as you do sumtimes becuase you are lazy to get a proper ring spanner. i have 3 sets of ratchet spanners. i first brought them 3-4 yrs a go from halfords and they get used daily. stanley have massive sized heads that are the size of a 32mm nut. halfords are the best for cheapness, effectiveness and reliabilty. have only replaced 1 13mm spanner so far. it got worn out. facom is the best set money can buy. it is also cheaper then snap on. it has a reverse forward selector on the front end. it has a 15 degree bend . halfords spanners are flat. it also has a unique feature i have never seen before. it has an undersized lip to stop the nut falling through and it enables large threads to be undone without the nut falling through/slipping off.
Ratchet Spanners - Bats
I have a set of snap-on ratchets that are the following sizes:
Strangely, all except the 10/11mm spanner is hex fit, with the 10/11 being multi point (is this the right expression??). I much prefer the multi point type as the insert angle of the hex spanners has to line up with the nut/bolt head before engagement and this can sometimes be tricky if you can't see what you are doing.
They are circa 1990 and all are of the clicking ratchet type, and have to be reversed through 180deg to work cw/acw. They are very well made, but to be honest I haven't used them too much. I think they are a bit of a luxury, but when nothing else will fit into the space available they are great tools.
I keep them in a separate pouch away from regular tools because it is important to try to keep the mechanism clean and lubricate the regularly.
Ratchet Spanners - Dizzy {P}
I agree with the spanner sizes recommended by Middleman. These are ISO* standard 'preferred' sizes and ISO stipulates that these should always be specified as first choice in any new design. In-between sizes are non-preferred and should be specified only where there is a problem with using the standard ones.

French, Japanese and German car makers sometimes deviate unnecessarily and annoyingly from those ISO standard sizes, purely for 'nationalistic' reasons in my opinion. A/F sizes 11, 12, 14 and 15mm are common examples of this, specified only because they were standard sizes in their country pre-ISO.

I hope my memory has served me reliably -- I was a standards engineer from 1973 until 1993 -- but if I'm wrong someone like FiF will soon correct me.

* ISO = International Standards Organisation, signed up to by every industrial nation about 30 years ago.

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