Beta Tools has recently come out with a new mini bit ratchet set, model 860/C27, which comes with a 1/4″ hex bit ratchet, 25 screwdriver bits, a 1/4″ square drive adapter, and handy hard-shell storage case.
The mini bit ratchet is also available separately as Beta model number 860/55.
As you can see, this is a very small ratchet, which makes it perfect for working in tight quarters where a ratcheting screwdriver, traditional bit driver, or ratchet with bit socket might be too large or bulky to fit.
The bit ratchet, and the complete set as well, are perfectly sized for carrying around as part of an EDC or portable tool kit.
Comfort-wise, the Beta Tools bit ratchet couldn’t be any better. The finger grooves are easy to find, the direction selection switch is small but easily toggled, and the ratcheting mechanism is smooth and quiet.
The bit ratchet has a magnetic 1/4″ hex bit holder, and the magnet is fixed inside with an E-clip. If Beta wanted to cut corners, they would have simply glued it in place.
This is almost as low-profile as you can get.
Need to use a socket? No problem – the bit set comes with a 1/4″ hex to 1/4″ square adapter. Or, if you buy just the bit ratchet and use it with any standard-sized adapter.
The bit set comes with 25 color-coded and well-labeled screwdriver bits with a mix of Torx, Phillips, slotted, Pozidriv, and hex tip styles.
In this image, the bit ratchet was placed in the bit case in the wrong direction. Oops. But you can still visualize how it’s supposed to be positioned for storage.
That leads to my single complaint about this bit set – how noisy it is when being carried around.
Every component sits in the case nice and tight except for the ratchet. Even with the bit ratchet stored in the correct orientation, it wiggles around. A strong jostle will dislodge it, after which every little motion results in a rattle as the ratchet hits the lid of the case.
Even with the ratchet dislodged, nothing is going to get damaged from a little bit of rattling around, but I might install a little foam inside the lid to quiet things down.
The bits are quick and effortless to retrieve from their spots inside the case, but retained enough such that they don’t slide back and forth. When turned upside down, only 3 of the 26 bits fell into my hand. In other words, the bits are not locked in place, but there’s little worry of them spilling out if you tilt the case a little while it’s open.
The case is compact and well-built. For how much this set retails for, you should expect a strong and high quality case, and that’s what you get. A flat belt clip is possibly the only thing missing.
Conclusion and Comparison
The Beta Tools bit ratchet is comfortable to use, and works well in tight quarters. I have owned a Wera bit ratchet set for a while now – here’s an early size comparison – and it has proved itself to be an indispensable addition to my tool kit.
In regard to length and overall size, the Beta is a little larger than the Wera, but I have yet to determine which style I prefer more. One is not exactly better than the other. I can say that the Beta ratchet is slightly more ergonomic in certain uses, thanks to its finger-guiding grooves which provide for a more intuitive and better controlled grip. But for when choking up and holding the ratchet deeper in my hand, the Wera has a more comfortable thumb placement for putting pressure right over the bit.
The ratchet, bits, and case are all very high quality premium tools, and they’re priced as such. The complete set is priced at $85, and the ratchet is also available separately for $25.50.
I feel that the bit set is a little high priced, but it does offer the convenience of being an all-in-one kit.
Alternatively, the Wera bit ratchet is priced at ~$29 via Amazon, and the Wera bit set is ~$57 via Amazon. If you’re not sure which you might like more, go with the Beta bit ratchet, as it’s a little less dainty. If you don’t want to to invest in the 27-piece set, you can pair the standalone bit ratchet with any 1/4″ hex screwdriver bits of your choosing.
Thank you to Peerless Hardware and Beta Tools for providing the review sample unconditionally. Review samples are typically given away, donated, or retained for benchmark and comparison purposes.