I have been working with Husky’s new 144 position ratchets, and so far they’ve been a pleasure to use.
We have entered a new sponsored partnership with Husky Tools and Home Depot, where they send over a selection of tools for review consideration, and we’re expected to produce a certain number of posts. This review is a part of that arrangement.
Today, we’ll be looking at their 3-piece ratchet set, which is available at Home Depot for $70.
This set comes with ratchets in 1/4″, 3/8″, and 1/2″ drive sizing.
Frankly, I thought the pricing was going to be a bit higher than this. $70 for 3 ratchets? Rewind a few years to where I was looking for a more premium mid-range ratchet set to upgrade my raised panel Craftsman ratchets to, and this set would have been at the top of my short list.
The ratchets feature a traditional pear-shape head, quick release button, and reversing lever.
The handles have a polished chrome finish and slightly contoured grip.
It seems like a small touch, but I like the small laser etching on the ratchet head, which indicates these are 144 position ratchets. It’s a small touch, but could help users who have multiple ratchets of different styles and want to know which one they’re picking up.
Maybe it’s part of the branding? But to me, it’s a nice touch. I sometimes reach for a coarser-geared ratchet for loosening fasteners, sometimes with the use of a dead blow hammer. I mean, I always use a breaker bar of the right size.
Here’s a look inside, at the dual pawl mechanism. You have staggered teeth, and with what I’d presume is a 72T gear (I didn’t count), you get 144 clickable positions.
Here’s the gear and socket anvil.
I have been using the 1/4″ and 3/8″ sizes, but not yet the 1/2″.
So far, all of the sizes are very smooth to turn and comfortable to grip. The socket quick release is more refined than on some of my personal-use ratchets, with a firm detent that is both secure and easy to release.
Husky describes these as PRO Access ratchets, and with an “industry leading” 2.5° arc swing (360/144).
For some tasks, a 36 tooth ratchet might be just fine. For others, you might need a 72 tooth ratchet, to turn a socket in tight spaces and between obstructions.
But there will be other times when you turn a ratchet one way and another, and it’s just not enough to advance the gearing one click so that you could continue with the next torque application.
With 144 positions, the ratchet performs in a similar manner as if it were a 144-tooth ratchet, and that 2.5 degree swing will get you out of a bind.
If you’re shopping for your first ratchet set, or a solid-mid-priced ratchet set, this one seems to be a very good option so far.
If you don’t think you’ll need a 144 minimal swing arc, Husky also makes a full-polish 72T ratchet set, currently priced at $55 at Home Depot.
Lastly, I love, love, LOVE the foam drawer insert that the ratchet set comes with. It has a hard plasticky top surface, presumably easy to clean, on top of a soft foam cut-out.
Husky – please continue in this direction with drawer inserts like this one!!
Is there a downside? Absolutely. These ratchets are a little bulkier than some of my ratchets with smaller drive heads, but that’s not unusual. I always figure this is tied into the socket quick release button. If you want a smaller ratchet head, you usually have to forego any quick release feature, or considerably increase your budget.
Who Should Buy This: Users looking for a 3pc ratchet set with full polish handles, very small minimal swing arc, and socket quick release button for under ~$75.
Buy Now: 3pc Set via Home Depot
Buy Now: 1/4″ via Home Depot
Buy Now: 3/8″ via Home Depot
Buy Now: 1/2″ via Home Depot
NOTE: As mentioned at the start of the post, we are currently in a paid partnership with Home Depot and Husky Tools, and this post is a part of that.
Made by one of the Apex Tool Group companies – telltale is an UPC starting 037103
Like Apex-Gearwrench – they do look nice.
APG does make many of Husky Tools’ mechanics tools, with some designs being Home Depot exclusives.
Husky – once was an independent brand of mechanics tools – founded in the 1920’s . They were acquired by Olsen then New Britain Tool Co. At some point Litton Industries owned the brand – but sold it and their Blackhawk brand to National Hand Tool- becoming part of the Stanley group of companies in 1986. When Husky Tools first appeared at HD – Stanley seemed to be the OEM. Not sure if Stanley sold or licensed the Husky brand name to HD as a house brand – but the brand name is now affixed to many items from various OEMs – all sold at Home Depot.
Stanley gave HD the rights to Husky in ’07.
I like my 120XP ratchets and wrenches. If these are in the same ballpark they should be good.
Nice. I’m excited to see a new ratchet review!
I do have a couple questions though:
1. This is the big one – does anybody actually measure the arc between ratchet clicks?
It’s clear Husky’s advertised 2.5 degree swing is calculated based on 360 degrees divided by the number of possible positions (144). They aren’t alone in this – Gearwrench, for example, advertises 3 degrees based on 120/360.
When you consider how a ratchet works though, wouldn’t it actually take more swing than that to get the pawl to click on the next tooth on the round gear? E.g. it has to slip a little past the next tooth before clicking into the next depression. Plus the pawl is a moving part – there’s probably a bit of wiggle room before it fully wedges.
More teeth obviously means less arc swing. But my suspicion is that a really close-tolerance ratchet would have a lower arc than one with a lot of slop, if they had the same number of teeth. Also, maybe the relationship between the number of teeth and the necessary arc swing isn’t linear – e.g. as the space between clicks gets closer with a high tooth count, maybe the actual necessary swing arc relates more to the free-play in the mechanism than the number of teeth.
2. Does the reverse lever sit flush with the top of the ratchet or protrude a bit?
The ratchets look good though. I consider that foam insert a “value add”. I really wish more tools came like that.
1) It’s hard to say. I’m trying to see what I can measure, but it’s difficult, and going to be difficult without a very controlled setup.
By hand, I can get ~36 clicks for a 90° rotation.
2) The lever protrudes a little bit.
Thanks Stuart. I figured it would be very hard to measure since we’re talking about very fine increments. To be really accurate I think you’d have to measure a single click – otherwise it wouldn’t account for the slight movement of the pawl when you reverse directions (i.e. if you’re moving several clicks in one direction then the pawl would stay to one side).
I’m just curious what the true minimum arc is for these high tooth-count ratchets if you were trying to ratchet one click at a time. I was thinking about this recently because I bought the 1/2″ drive Gearwrench 120 xp flex-head. I wasn’t as blown-away by the swing arc as I thought I would be.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good ratchet, I was just imagining the swing arc would feel tighter. It’s a pretty long-handled ratchet though, so that might be related to my perception since the end of the handle is moving further for the same number of degrees of rotation when compared to a regular length ratchet.
I was comparing the Gearwrench to my 1/2″ drive long-handle Proto premium pear-head ratchet that’s only 45T and it does take noticeably less swing to click. I still like the Proto a lot though because of the small head (and the ratchet action just feels nice).
Let’s say the center of your grip is 8″ away from the center of socket rotation.
Consider a full 360° rotation about an 8″ ratchet handle radius. That’s a 50.27″ circumference.
Arc length (s) = circumference/ratchet teeth (T) or positions (P).
For 36T, s = 1.40″
For 72T, s = 0.70″
For 144P, s = 0.35″
Let’s say the same 8″ (effective) ratchet handle is now equipped with 120P gearing for a swing arc of 3°. The minimum swing arc is now 0.42″.
Will the swing arc be *exactly* 0.35″? I can’t easily measure that.
But, consider that a 120P ratchet requires 20% more space than a 144P ratchet.
Compared to a 72T ratchet, you have double the minimal swing arc.
If it comes down to where you can only advance the ratchet one click at a time, I really don’t know the exact necessary swing angle. Will it be 2.5000°? Probably not, and I don’t know what the allowable error might be.
Comparing fine-tooth ratchets is tricky. Keep in mind that the ratchet itself takes up space. If you’re down to one-click clearance, you’re going to have a tough time fitting that ratchet in there in the first place.
The main difference will be compared to coarser ratchets, say 72T, 45T, 36T.
Let’s say you have a 36T ratchet and 1-1/4″ clearance. That ratchet won’t advance at all, a 72T ratchet will advance one click, and this 120P position will advance three clicks. Each gear tooth advance gives you added range for the application of torque.
Widen it up a bit, and more ratchets will fit, but a finer tooth ratchet has less of a dead zone, and so it allows you to work faster with fewer swings.
Those are… very good points.
Never thought I would be looking to get a Husky ratchet.
Not bad at all!
That’s what I would have thought a few years ago too.
imho, Husky is a very underrated brand.
I’ve been waiting for Home Depot to really start highlighting the Husky brand, because the tools deserve it, but I suppose that’s what they’re doing now, partnering with ToolGuyd and other media and influencer channels.
I thought I would be giving these ratchets away quickly, but I like them and will keep them a while longer. They’re going right into the tool cabinet I’ve also started testing.
I’m looking forward to the tool cabinet review.
Not seeing these on the Home Depot Canada page yet. I hope they make it here.
Something about the set seemed familiar though… Anyone else think these Maximum ratchets, while single pawl and without quick-release, probably share a similar origin?
Koko The Talking Ape
I’ve never seen a split pawl like that. Interesting!
Is anybody concerned that these guys can’t take the same torque that the wrenches with larger teeth or single pawls can?
I think it depends on the design. Some of these fine-tooth ratchets might have 6 or 7 teeth in contact at a time – more than you’re likely to get from a lower-tooth count ratchet. Even if the teeth are smaller, the increased contact area compensates.
On the other hand, if you have a fine-tooth single pawl (e.g. 72T and up) that also maintains 6 or 7 teeth in contact, but the dual pawl is only touching half the height of the round gear, then it stands to reason it wouldn’t be as strong. I think that might explain why the dual-pawl ratchets might tend to have larger heads.
Here are some points to consider:
Fine-toothed ratchets have been around for a while.
Dual-pawl ratchets have been around for a while.
I believe that a good fine-tooth ratchet will have greater engagement than a coarser tooth ratchet. There is a limit, which is why these have dual pawl systems instead of going even finer on the gear sizing.
Husky says these ratchets meet or exceed ANSI standards, which you might find reassuring.
All ratchet mechanisms can fail.
The fact that the ratchets are of comparable length to coarser ratchets, rather than being shorter and less capable of high torque delivery, suggests that they can handle the torque expectations of typical applications.
Also don’t forget that Husky has a “Lifetime Warranty with no questions, no receipt required” policy.
Koko The Talking Ape
Ah, that’s good. I asked because you said you use the coarser-geared ratchets when loosening fasteners, sometimes with a breaker bar or a dead-blow mallet. I thought the reason might be that the coarser ones are stronger.
I can’t say as far as this specific group of ratchets goes, but there are a couple of test-to-failure videos on YouTube by a very amusing Canadian guy. The results are actually somewhat surprising. I believe at least one of the tested ratchets was a double-pawl design. If I recall correctly, both the high-count single pawl and the double-pawl ratchets were very surprisingly strong. It’s possible that they actually have more surface engagement, so if the steel is good quality and appropriately tempered, the results I think I’m remembering would make sense.
Not sure if this will post correctly, but here are links to the two videos I mentioned. I found myself alternately cringing and laughing hysterically.
(Note: AVE videos, NSW language warning.)
(Note: AVE videos, waste of time warning)
Both – yes, NSW – thanks and apologies for not noting.
Fine tooth ratchets by their design means they will have to be rebuilt more often. As with any Husky tool, good luck with that. By the time you need the parts to rebuild it, nothing will be available, including a ratchet of that quality most likely, and they will exchange it with whatever their current offering happens to be- no doubt of lesser quality. No thanks. Been there, done that. Several times in fact.
i have heard that “fine tooth ratchets by design need to be rebuilt more often” more than once.
really? i am not saying it is untrue or a lie. i would say more like unproven myth. if you have some proof, offer it up.
what do i know? well i don’t own the husky 144 tooth ratchet. i do own 6 armstrong ratchets in 60 and 88 click versions 1/4 and 3/8, 88 click matco ratchets in 1/4, 3/8 and compact 3/8 and a gearwrench with an 88 click matco kit. all single pawl versions of those ratchets. i also have 1/4 3/8 and 1/2 120 click gearwrench as well as a husky locking flex with 120 clicks. the dual pawl version of the ratchets mentioned in this article. probably some i am missing but you get the idea.
i have taken all of them apart, swapped parts, compared them and documented them with pictures at the garage gazette. i have used them, abused them, tried different lubricants on them and pretty much run em through the paces. i have seen no evidence that they wear out or need to be rebuilt any more often than any other ratchet. some of them have better finishes , better handles or better locking flex mechanisms but a the end of the day i have come up with a few conclusions.
the dual pawl has a larger diameter and thicker head. i understand thicker to make room for the stacked pawls but i don’t get the larger diameter. the difference between 60 and 88 clicks is noticeable in the real world. 120 or 140? maybe, but the larger dual pawl head in confined spaces is a drawback. in fact the size and shape of the handle may make more difference than less teeth. think about it, a thicker handle or one with a different taper may not be able to make another “click” just because of its shape. i won’t even get into backdrag. that is a whole discussion in itself.
i may try these ratchets, but i really doubt that i would like them better than the single pawl versions as my experience with dual pawl just hasn’t been that much better, if it all. not because of some unproven fact that they need to be rebuilt more often.
husky, if you wish to prove me wrong on any of this. feel free to send me a demo sample! : )
I know of no one‘s experience other than my own, but the size of fasteners I work on normally require half-inch drive and over 100 ft pounds of torque. Fine tooth ratchets don’t last long doing such. At least for me. I have no idea about anyone else
These look very nice. Made in Taiwan is good too. Now I just need a sale.
Ooo, the package doubles as a drawer liner? That’s sweet, but it wastes so much space!
Clearly designed by people who also make money selling larger toolboxes. 😉
There are various schools of thought about tool (and other things too) storage – and how much neatness and organization counts. At one end of the spectrum might be folks who like to look at or display their possessions rather that use them. At the other end – some folks keep things in a jumble but like that just fine.
We installed quite a number of what I’d call display kitchens – where the object of the cabinetry, shelving etc. was as much to display its contents as to make it easy to get at. I suspect that some $250k kitchens that we installed may well have gotten less (if any) real use than some $25k ones.
With tools there are arguments that I’ve heard at both ends of the spectrum and everywhere in between. Stuart has been posting recently about Packout boxes – and some have noted that their compartment boxes have wasted space, But for some users access and visibility may be more important than is utilizing every little bit of space. Then there are the folks who think drywall compound pails or 5-gal buckets from HD are the only “toolboxes” that they need.
In our pipe/metal fabrication business – we used shadow boards and Lista cabinets to store tools. Some cabinet drawers had liners/dividers to separate tools and make them easy to spot and grab. We also had our drill bits, cutters and tooling stored in cabinets/indexes/racks according to size and function. Most everything had its assigned place – and the workers knew where to go and grab any tool needed – and we had a machinist who worked in the toolroom on tool maintenance. It was also an old-school method of inventory control – as you could spot if some tool went missing for long.
In the plumbing business – we had trucks upfitted mostly for parts storage – but the guys were often closer to using the 5-gal pail model for transporting small everyday tools.
In the remodeling business – toolboxes seemed more prevalent – with like tools organized – I think – by task into different boxes – but nothing approaching what we did in the fabrication shop.
Oh I agree, shadow boards and stuff are great. I’m just saying, you could turn these L-R-L and they’d take up half as much square footage in the drawer, while being just as conspicuous, grabbable, and pretty.
Interesting. If you need help reviewing mechainc tools I’d be happy to help.
Only thing I dislike and it’d be a matter of measuring. Head thickness. Usually these dual cog setups are thicker than their 72,84.90 tooth counterparts. For most work it’s not really an issue but since it’s about tight access it can matter.
I really liked the tekton ratchet head and I see a similar in the newer MAC products as well as the SK LP90. again though when you’re talking an alternator off and the bottom back bolt is between structure and engine mount. That extra thinness with a 84 or such tooth is really really handy.
Otherwise they do look like a quality product. Would be interesting to see how they do at proof strength not that most people attempt to get near those values.
The tray does seem nice.
Pictures didn’t load when I typed that. Looking at the anvil it doesn’t really look like a normal dual gear. are the pawls offset one or 2 teeth by chance? Hard to see in the picture.
Very similar to the GearWrench 120XP in which GW moved on from those to promote the 90T. If I have to buy a Taiwan made ratchet I would go with the 90T.
If price is an issue – not bad at all.
BTW I noticed at all the local (Sacramento) Home Depots, the GearWrench product has been removed.
so what we have here is basically the same design as Gearwrench’s 120xp except we’re using a 72 tooth gear instead of a 60 tooth gear with twin pawl gears to make the 144 position ratchet. I’m not a fan of the 120XP series so, the Husky version doesn’t do anything for me. It is nice though that Husky is expanding their tool offerings though. On a side note, someone above mentioned Gearwrench was moving away from the 120XP in favor of their new 90 tooth series. This is incorrect. Gearwrench is replacing their 84 tooth ratchets with the 90 tooth versions. the 120XP series remains unchanged, so far.
I see SATA tools offers their 120XP type ratchet set without quick release for $68 on Amazon.
“i won’t even get into backdrag. that is a whole discussion in itself.”
As a retired wrench for way too long, I was recently offer a pristine, S-K SK94549 set to replace my well worn pro set. I promptly plucked out the pristine, but antiquated S-K ratchet, and dropped-in one of these Husky 144’s. The reasons?… Three actually; (1). the higher gear tooth count (2). noticeably less ‘back-drag’ friction (a huge issue for me – and rarely discussed in reviews). And (3). I detest the center, rotating direction control.
Given the 27 bucks I happily paid for this 144 Husky, I consider it,.. literally,.. a ‘steal’. So much so… I bought 2,.. just to eliminate the fear of future, discontinued replacements.
I spent many hours sifting through the dozens of ratchet choices before I reached for my plastic. In addition to the above reasons for deciding on the Husky 144, the following made it clearly a ‘no-brainer’ for me.
(4). A Youtube review clearly showed not one, but two 144’s being torqued to destruction. The 1/4″ 144 achieved 65 ft lbs. of torque before failure… and the 3/8″ 144 ratchet achieved a staggering 220 ft lbs before spilling its guts.
(5). While not a USA product, I’ll take the 144 Taiwan made Husky, over China’s offerings… any day.
(6). 7 minutes away,.. and I personally pulled it from the display hook.
I picked up the 3/8 version recently and it’s been very good. Thank you for the heads up on these quality tools.
I’ll be purchasing the three pack with all drive sizes and foam tray after the holiday season is over.