Astro Pneumatic’s wobble head ratchets might look like ordinary ratchets, but there’s something special about them. These ratchets have special drive heads that pivot up to 15° in each direction, making it easier to reach fasteners in tight workspaces.
I imagine that using these ratchets is kind of like using a super-low-profile wobble extension, except with the range of pivoting motion fixed to one axis.
Other brands make wobble ratchets, such as Craftsman, but I don’t recall ever seeing something like this from a professional brand before.
To be honest, I don’t see much advantage in these Astro Pneumatic ratchets over other brands’ pivoting head ratchets, such as Wera’s Zyklop and Gearwrench’s Roto Ratchet designs, or even Craftsman’s Mach ratchet, and so I’m hesitant to give them a try.
While other brands’ pivoting ratchets feature ordinary ratchet heads that pivot within a forked handle, the Astro Pneumatic ratchet has a special ratchet design with self-enclosed pivoting mechanism. This means a smaller head design, which should improve tight-quarters fastener accessibility as Astro Pneumatic claims, but it also a very limited 30° total pivoting range.
If this piques your interest, the 1/4″ drive and 3/8″ drive ratchet set will set you back $62 to $75.
Buy Now: Ratchet Set | Ratchet Set | 1/4″ Socket Set | 3/8″ Socket Set | 1/2″ Ratchet via Amazon
For some unknown reason, Amazon has two listings and two separate prices for the 2-piece ratchet set. You can ask me what the difference is, but I won’t be able to tell you. Maybe the more expensive set comes with a blowmolded tray or retail packaging.
What do you think? Do these ratchets get filed under “I might need this someday,” or “there are better tools for the job” categories?
I see that they also make the tool in a 1/2 inch size:
When I was looking at Astro Pneumatic on Amazon – I also noticed they are marketing a Vise (part # 9570) which looks exactly like the Shop Fox D4704 and Grizzly G7602 – which makes me guess that Astro Pneumatic may not actually manufacture tools but is more of a tool importing/trading company
I mentioned the 1/2″ ratchet in the “buy now” section. Seems less compelling than the 1/4″ and 3/8″ ratchets, at least from a “fitting into tight spaces” angle.
When you solicit reader opinions for items you might or might not review, I don’t always speak up. In this case, even though you didn’t explicitly ask, I would really like ToolGuyd to review the wobble head ratchets. Hope you will do so…
The way I roll my tools around in the dirt, maybe not such a good idea.
But nice try though. Keep innovating.
Definitely agree with Allen. The open ratchet/pawl design seems to be begging for grease and dirt to get in there. Even if it does stay clean in the mechanism, it seems like after a bit of use (enough to wear off the plating on the ratchet/pawls) that it could rust inside as there is really nothing sealing it off from the elements. Seems like a molded rubber cover for the ratchet head would help a lot with this type of design.
About 30 years ago I bought a 3/8 inch drive “ratchet” with the Weha ( I think from WEHA LUDWIG WERWEIN GMBH) name on that had a ball head – with a push-though drive shaft that rotated like a gimbal joint and used a one-way clutch mechanism instead of a geared ratchet. I still have it – but seldom if ever use it. It had a wobble-like action – no exposed gears – but if you backed the handle (or worse your fingers) up against an immovable object there was no reverse mechanism to help free the thing.
They look better than the Craftsman model at least, whose dual-drive design hilariously negated any clearance advantage it might’ve provided over a short wobble extension.
With all of the various types of ratcheting wrenches and pass through sockets available today, I can’t really see much benefit in the wobble head ratchet but, that’s just me.
I’m not a mechanic but I picture at the 15* there is not enough contact on the teeth which translates the potability for gear stripping.
Also like already mentioned, the open to the environment gears kind of look like dirt magnets.
More over, the exposure of the gears look like the gear teeth could get rounded off minimizing the grip area after a while…But it’s all speculation until I get my hands on one of these and see their internal mechanism.
In conclusion, pivoting is always a + but I think this need more innovation.
I’m sure that grit and contamination might be a potential issue, but the gears could be designed tall enough such that there is full engagement even when the ratchet head is at full wobble angle.
The potential for contamination was something that may have led to the premature demise of the Armstrong Eliminator go-through ratchets, which had that awful exposed pawl design. Apex thought they had a real winner, but it was not to be.
Looks like a tool that might have a specialized use, or that might be the best tool for the job that one time in a million.
I guess it’s kind of cool that they have such an offering, but I see flex head ratchets, universal joints, wobble extensions, and flex sockets as the solutions to just about any access problems a ratchet like this would solve.
The worst part is, even when you no longer want the wobble, the ratchet can still only wobble.
Good point. There seems to be no way to lock the wobble.
Gm Goodwrench had a lock on it.
I would determine is if the tool would function in a similar manner to a “standard” ratchet in situations where the wobble function wasn’t otherwise needed.
If the function was awkward in common scenerios and only encouraged it’s use in circumstances when the wobble was useful, I probably wouldn’t make the investment. If it worked more as a standard “go-to” ratchet that simply offered the feature when needed, it’s an interesting concept.
Well Stuart I bought the set on Woot and it looks like I got it just in time because now Woot is all sold out. I got them Fed Ex on Saturday and now I’m dying to try them out. This morning I was walking around the production area of the company I work for and showing them off to everyone. Thanks for the big tip Stuart. These are the kind of deals I look for.
Glad to help! I’m interested in hearing your thoughts about these ratchets. I didn’t order a set in time from Woot, and might still pick up a set from Amazon to review.
Well I received my Astro Pneumatic Wobble Head Ratchets in the mail and then I hurriedly tried them out in my wife’s Murano. I have to say I’m very disappointed in them. Luckily I did not pay very much for them since I bought them from Woot. Now I see why they ended up on Woot. They are nothing but a gimmick. They may have this fabulous feature of wobbling but that’s about it and it’s not much good at that. I tried to remove my wife’s oil plug with the 3/8″ drive and I could not get the plug off with it. The more force I exerted into the wrench the more it popped and slipped. I finally had to revert to a regular Ace 3/8″ drive that I’ve owned for more than 20 years. It hardly took any effort with the Ace ratchet. Maybe the Astro Pneumatic Wobble Head Ratchet did most of the work but it really bothered me when the wrench was popping, grinding and slipping. I don’t know how much torque these things can handle but apparently it was not much. Save your money don’t purchase these. They really are a disappointment.