Milwaukee recently gave us a sneak peek at some new hand tools that they will be launching soon. Among the new releases was this 12-piece 3/8″ drive pivoting-head ratchet and socket set.
Milwaukee designed this set with contractors and tradesmen in mind, and only include the sockets and accessories these users might regularly need.
In other words, the new Milwaukee ratchet and sockets aren’t aimed at automotive, aerospace, or industrial users, at least not as the prime focus.
The set comes with a pivoting head ratchet, Milwaukee’s new proprietary square-end 6 point sockets, a 6″ extension, and 2 adapters.
The new sockets’ square end allows you to use an adjustable wrench in tight quarters or when you need more torque, and helps to prevent the socket from rolling away when you put it down. Milwaukee also says the design has an “optimized geometry to reduce stripping and breaking.”
The sockets have their sizes hard-stamped into two of the opposing faces. They chose stamping rather than etching because the stamped markings will still be readable after years of use and abuse.
The swivel ratchet head is quite small for a 3/8″ drive.
Here you can see the size of the ratchet head compared to a US quarter. The head will swivel over 180°, and an adjustment screw allows users to tweak the tension to their liking.
The benefit of a swivel ratchet is that you can use it inline, also called nutdriver or screwdriver mode, for quick turning, and then quickly pivot the handle to use it for final tightening (or initial loosening). So you get high speed and high torque, in one tool.
The ratchet features a round plastic over-molded handle with recesses for the classic Milwaukee logo and part numbers.
The 1/4″ hex bit socket has a hole for the ratchet’s ball detent, giving it slightly better retention than otherwise.
We have been speculating as to the purpose of the large hole at the rear of the handle, and think it’s sized for a screwdriver shaft, in case more torque is needed with the tool in its inline “nutdriver” mode.
The 12 piece kit includes:
- 8 deep-well, 6 point sockets
- Insert bit adapter (no bits included)
- 3/8″ to 1/4″ drive adapter
- 6″ extension
- 3/8″ drive, pivoting-head ratchet
- Soft-sided carrying case
SAE Sizes: 5/16″, 3/8″, 7/16″, 1/2″, 9/16″, 5/8″, 11/16″, 3/4″
Metric Sizes: 10mm, 12mm, 13mm, 14mm, 15mm,17mm, 18mm, 19mm
The ratchet and socket sets will be available April 2017.
Price: $70 | SAE (48-22-9000) and Metric (48-22-9001) sets are sold separately
Here’s a short video I put together to get a better look at some of the features of the new Milwaukee ratchet set.
While I can see the convenience of a custom case for this set, there are a few things about it that I don’t like.
The ratchet doesn’t fit easily into its assigned place in the case — it is really hard to get it to slide into the sleeve and I’ve given up on using the elastic loop. The extension on the other hand slides in and out of its holder easily, and its elastic loop keeps the extension from sliding around.
I also question how well the socket holder on the spine will keep the sockets in place. When I opened up my kit for the first time every single socket save the two adapters were loose inside the case.
Stuart’s Note: The socket holders are sewn in place, but the case is flexible enough to allow the sockets to rattle against each other when the case is shaken.
After using socket rails for storage, one thing I love about Milwaukee’s new square-ended sockets is how the stamped markings are all in line when stored on a rail. With many other sockets, the printing won’t line up, it’ll be off to one side or the other and really hard to read at a glance.
The ratchet seems light, and also somewhat top heavy. Stuart and I wondered how far the metal shaft of the ratchet extends into the plastic handle. If the steel handle continued all the way to the end, Milwaukee might have exposed it, as they did with their jobsite scissors.
Since neither of us are willing to cut the handle open – yet – we came up with the idea to use a high-powered magnet to test where the metal shaft ended. Looking at the photo just above, notice where the magnet is located – that is the farthest back on the handle it would go. If I tried to push it further, it would spring back, leading me to believe that this is where the shaft ended.
As a second test, I tried my metal detecting wand on the handle. As I passed it slowly over the end of handle it would start beeping when the edge got to about the “wau” in Milwaukee.
Why is it important how far the metal shaft extends into the handle? It probably doesn’t matter in most cases, but there could be cause of concern of you were to apply pressure to the end of the ratchet, such as with a screwdriver or cheater bar. If that part of the handle is only plastic, the handle might deform or break.
What kind of ratchet review would this be if we didn’t look inside?! I really did have a good reason; I wanted to count the number of teeth so that I could report the swing angle, which I found to be 5°. I got that number from counting 36 teeth per 180°, thus 72 teeth per 360°, which gives us 360°/72=5°.
I noticed that there is very little, if any, lubrication inside the head. This is obvious from just listening to the ratchet mechanism, but we had to be sure. My fingers were dry after taking it apart and there was no residue.
All in all, the fit and finish of the ratchet and sockets is very nice. I didn’t run into any imperfections or flash as I was handling the set or when I took apart the ratchet. It remains to be seen how well the new socket design will perform, but I really like the concept so far.
We’ve got test samples in-hand. What do you want to know?