While wrenching on your car, you spy your next bolt to remove in a tight space. It’s rusted and seems like it’s been gripping onto its metal home for an eternity.
You to try to remove it with your 3/8 hand ratchet, but you don’t have enough gas in your muscle tank to do it. That’s where the best 3/8 inch air ratchet swoops in and wins the race.
Picking a good 3/8 pneumatic ratchet will come down to ensuring it has enough torque, isn’t too bulky, and durability.
The amount of torque required for the job determines the power output of the ratchet to go for.
For light jobs that do not require a lot of power, a 55 ft lbs air ratchet will get the job done. This power output is sufficient for small to medium jobs. Ratchets with a smaller output mostly come in smaller sizes and are lighter.
For heavier jobs, higher output ratchets are used. These give an output of between 70 – 90 ft lbs of torque. However, they are bigger as well as heavier, making them less comfortable to handle.
The design of the ratchet contributes to the ergonomics of the tool. A proper design makes the tool more ergonomic and easier to use. This is especially important when handling the tool for extended periods of time.
A good design ensures ease of operation. The mode of operation contributes greatly to the design of the tool.
The ratchet may either be operated by use of a button or lever. Button operated ratchets offer a better user experience. In that case, the design should ensure proper button placement for easier use. The button or lever placement should be spot on to avoid a lot of awkward hand movements.
Lever-action may offered better modulation over button-activated, but also means that’s one more thing to break if the lever isn’t durable.
The grip should be comfortable to hold for extended periods of time and provide for a firm grasp.
High quality build materials ensure reduced noise and vibration from the ratchet. This further enhances the user experience and is key when using the tool over a long period of time.
The weight is a key component to consider when buying such an air ratchet. Lighter ratchets are better as they cause less strain on the body during operation. This is especially so in situations when the tool is held up high for extended periods of time. You’ll fatigue, and holding that 3 pound ratchet over your head will feel like holding the world.
Smaller ratchets with a smaller output tend to be much lighter compared to the higher output ratchets. To reduce strain and fatigue while working, smaller and lighter ratchets are recommended.
Most of these air ratchets are used in auto garage shops. This means that the working space is mostly tight e.g. in the engine bay.
In such situations, a small ratchet is ideal. Smaller ratchets are generally easier to use due to their great maneuverability.
Small air ratchets are lighter and thus can be used for extended periods of time without causing fatigue.
The downside to smaller ratchets however is that they may provide a lower output than their bigger counterparts.
When it comes to tools, durability is a deal maker or breaker. Any workman would go for a sturdy tool that can take some level of abuse. This is the case when it comes to buying a 3/8 inch air ratchet.
A good ratchet is one made from sturdy materials, right from the grip to the head of the tool. This ensures that the ratchet remains functional and resists wear and tear, even under harsh working conditions.
If you do light car repair occasionally, noise may not be an issues. However, if you’re underneath vehicles for several hours a day, then a loud, blasting air ratchet will get old very quick.
Prices range from tens of dollars to over one hundred dollars. The price is mainly determined by the build quality as well as output of the ratchet.
When considering buying this air ratchet, look for all the features needed and then shop around for a good bargain.
A wide range of these air ratchets can be found in online stores at different prices so finding a good bargain is not that hard.
Pricing is dependent on brand, power output, build quality among other factors. Common air ratchet brands include Ingersoll Rand, Craftsman, DeWalt, MAC Tools, Snapon, Matco, among many others too numerous to list.