Gearwrench’s Roto Ratchet is a flex-head swivel ratchet with a pivot through its drive head. This design enables the Roto Ratchet to be positioned perpendicular to a fastener to apply maximum torque, axially aligned for rapid spinning, or any angle in between.
Gearwrench’s Roto Ratchets are available in 1/4″ and 3/8″ drive sizes, and a set of both will set you back about $50-$60.
This style of swivel ratchet is also available from other brands such as Snap-on, and Harbor Freight. The Kobalt version that can be found at Lowes is essentially the same tool as above, but with a different grip.
You know of couse that this is anold design. I remember many brands having ratchets like this from the 70’s.
You’re right – this is not necessarily a new design, but Gearwrench’s version was only first released less than a year ago, and it’s available at several big-box retailers.
I have a few Gearwrench products, and I have been very pleased with them. I suspect their Roto head ratchet offering will be just as nice as the rest of their product line that I have used. I am sure this would be a very nice set to own.
A Napa-branded 1/4 and 3/8 set of these (blue and yellow handle, I like em) is $49 in-store only thru the end of September. It’s in their big “pro” flyer that they give out to shops quarterly. That makes it a couple bucks less than at Sears or Lowes, a couple bucks more than Amazon, but if you’ve got a coupon you could do well at Napa.
I checked out the Kobalt version in Lowes today since I’m walking around with coupons and I found the swivel action and the ratchet effort to be unsatisfactory. The old 3/8 swivel ratchet I lost was much freer in the head and I was disappointed with these.
So basically the flex-heads were a bit too stiff for your liking? I’m not sure about the Kobalt ones, but on the Gearwrench versions the heads can be loosened a little bit with hex (2.5mm for 1/4″) or torx (for 3/8″) drivers.
There are adjustment screws on the handle near the head, but for $35+tax after coupon, they’re still made in Asia and if I don’t feel like it’s the perfect tool for me that makes my wallet want to stay in my pocket.
I couldn’t resist the GearWrench pair at $25 this weekend. I backed out those adjustment screws as suggested and it’s just how I want them now. I like the grips on these better than Kobalt’s, though I’d prefer the 1/4dr one to have the same size grip as the 3/8.
Dan, glad that it all worked out in the end!
I have used the snap-on variants of these, not sure who makes them but look identical.
Snap on makes their own, and they are a much better product than the gearwrench set. (Yes, this is an old post, posting to help with anyone doing future research.) The gearwrench/kobalt/crescent ones have a very high amount of backdrag.