Makita has quietly announced a new 12V Max CXT cordless ratchet that features a 2-in-1 drive mechanism. It comes with interchangeable 1/4″ and 3/8″ anvil assemblies, allowing it to be with with different socket sizes and attachments to suit a range of applications.
Gordon wrote in with the heads-up:
Just got this email about a swappable 3/8 and 1/4 Makita ratchet. The interesting part, based off the M12 conversation, is this from the listing “When the motor is not engaged, the ratchet can be used manually”. It’s the RW01Z. Looks like it’s been out for a week now, but Makita is pretty bad with press releases.
Thanks for the heads-up! About the absence of Makita USA press releases, that’s something we’ve been deeply frustrated about as well. While not as many details or insights as I’d like, luckily there’s enough public information to paint a decent picture.
Makita’s new ratchet is essentially a dual-mode ratchet. Depending on which accessory you install, it can be used as a 1/4″ ratchet or a 3/8″ ratchet.
From the looks of it, Makita’s 12V CXT cordless ratchet has a hex socket and perhaps a hog-ring-like retention mechanism.
I have not seen any other cordless ratchet with this type of mechanism, but I have seen similar principles before in Gearwrench’s ratcheting wrench socket adapters.
A direction selection switch is located on the back of the ratchet head.
The user manual shows the anvil/socket adapter removal procedure, which involves tapping it out from behind using a screwdriver or other such tool.
Makita USA product photos show the ratchet being used in an engine bay, but it could find uses outside of automotive maintenance applications.
The cordless ratchet maxes out at 35 ft-lbs. In comparison, Milwaukee’s M12 Fuel and new extended reach cordless ratchets max out at 40 ft-lbs and 55 ft-lbs for the 1/4″ and 3/8″ ratchets respectively. 35 ft-lbs matches the specs of Milwaukee’s brushed-motor M12 3/8″ ratchet, which launched around 8 years ago.
Makita says their new cordless ratchet operates at 0-800 RPM, which is considerably faster than the 250 RPM specs for Milwaukee’s brushless-motor ratchets.
Notable Features & Specs
- Interchangeable 1/4″ and 3/8″ anvils
- 35 ft-lbs max torque (420 in-lbs)
- Electric brake
- Can be used as a manual ratchet when the motor is not engaged
- LED worklight
- Weights 2.35 lbs with (compact) battery
- Lock-out switch
The user manual describes a couple of other interesting aspects of the new Makita cordless ratchet:
When the bolt/nut reaches the seating position, the tool stops automatically. They also caution about kickback that can occur when the socket stops rotating suddenly, but this can be true for any cordless ratchet.
Makita says that the socket adapter receiver can be used without either anvil as a 13 mm socket.
Although they say that the ratchet can be used as a manual ratchet, such as to loosen a tight nut or bolt, they caution that excessive fastening torque may damage the bolt/nut, the socket or the tool.
Price: $129 for the bare tool, $179 for the kit
Bare Tool: RW01Z
The kit comes with a 2.0Ah battery, charger, and carrying case. The bare tool and kit both include the two anvil sizes.
Buy Now(Bare Tool via Tool Nut)
Buy Now(Kit via Tool Nut)
Compare(Ingersoll Rand 12V 3/8″ Ratchet via Amazon)
What a neat idea.
My mind gravitates towards comparing the Makita cordless ratchet with Milwaukee’s M12 Fuel models, so let’s do that.
The new Makita cordless ratchet has a trigger switch, and although I would hesitate to call it oversized, there doesn’t seem to be much to complain about. Milwaukee’s M12 and M12 Fuel cordless ratchets have more traditional-styles switch mechanisms, or at least they have electric switches that attempt to imitate the action of air ratchet valves.
Milwaukee’s original brushed-motor M12 ratchets are lighter, at 1.9 lbs.
The comparison is tough, and not just because of the difference in specs. Makita’s cordless ratchet operates faster, while the newer Milwaukee M12 Fuel ratchets are more powerful. The comparison between the Makita cordless ratchet and Milwaukee’s brushed motor models are fairer, but there are still a lot of differences in form factor and design that one brand isn’t necessarily better than the other.
It seems to me that Makita was looking to maximize the value of their 12V Max CXT cordless ratchet. (This is the kind of insights that press releases usually provide. With Makita USA focusing more on social media than media or press channels, we’re left to guess.)
There’s no mention of the motor type, which usually indicates that a tool is built with a brushed motor and not brushless. A brushless motor would likely bump up the torque specs, but I’m not sure it would make the tool any more compact or ergonomic. It’s possible that Makita also plans on releasing brushless motor ratchets, and if so, this would likely still be the value-focused option.
With both 1/4″ and 3/8″ socket adapters, users get both sizes in one tool. Even users who would lean towards buying just one tool, the other anvil size might still come in handy. Meaning, if a user would be leaning towards a 3/8″ cordless ratchet, this tool gives them that, but also a 1/4″ anvil if or when needed. While you can step down using an adapter, doing so increases the length of the tool and is a trade-off that work spaces cannot always accommodate.
Milwaukee’s original M12 ratchets retail at $169 for the 3/8″ kit and $179 for the 1/4″ kit, although there are occasionally promos (here’s an example). Makita’s bare tool is $129, and Milwaukee’s ratchets are $119.
Compared to Milwaukee’s original cordless ratchets, the new Makita ratchet has an advantage with respect to versatility and speed (800 vs. 250 RPM). The Milwaukee ratchets have a more automotive-styled trigger switch, lower weight, and more streamlined form factor due to their stem-style battery pack.
Makita says that you can use their ratchet manually, and while Milwaukee doesn’t recommend this, users do it anyway.
Personally, I don’t have a clear preference. If you’re interested in buying a cordless ratchet, which one would you buy? If you didn’t already buy into Makita or Milwaukee’s 12V-class cordless power tool systems, it’s a very tough question to answer, but one that will probably come down to preference. If you already bought into Makita’s 12V Max CXT cordless power tool system, woo!, here’s another new tool in their continued efforts to expand the lineup.
Read More: Makita CXT Cordless Power Tool News
Are there any downsides to the interchangeable-anvil ratchet? I don’t think users will be swapping socket adapters all that frequently, but it looks like an easy process. Is there the risk that you’ll yank the anvil out with a socket? It’s possible that the strength of the ball detent was controlled so that socket removal is easily achieved without pulling out the anvil at the same time.
Besides Makita and Milwaukee, there are a number of other cordless ratchet options out there, such as by Ingersoll Rand. Comparison against some of those models become even more difficult. For instance, the IR cordless ratchets feature polished aluminum housings and are aimed entirely at automotive maintenance and similarly demanding applications. Is the new Makita ratchet solely aimed at automotive users?
Curiously, looking at the specs for Ingersoll Rand’s 3/8″ model, I see that it has a free speed of 260 RPM. Both of their 12V ratchet sizes, 1/4″ and 3/8″, have 30 ft-lbs max torque ratings and a recommended torque range of 5-25 ft-lbs. Ingersoll Rand’s 12V ratchets have 260 RPM ratings, and Milwaukee’s M12 ratchets have 250 RPM ratings. So why is the Makita cordless ratchet so much faster at 800 RPM?
Snap-on’s 14.4V 3/8″ MicroLithium cordless ratchet is rated at up to 40 ft-lbs of torque output and 275 RPM (350 RPM free speed).
With an 800 RPM spec rating, will Makita’s trigger switch provide enough resolution and feedback for users who want to operate the tool at lower speeds?
We reached out to Makita USA, asking why their 12V Max CXT cordless ratchet operates at much higher speeds than other tools in the industry and are waiting for a reply.
Overall, this looks like a decent new cordless power tool offering for Makita 12V Max CXT users, and there are some aspects which could win over some users who might have been seriously looking at Milwaukee’s M12 line.
Does Makita’s new cordless ratchet offer enough to sway more demanding users away from automotive brands, such as Snap-on and Ingersoll Rand?
Makita needs to step up their flashlight/worklight game. Look at their cordless options compared to Dewalt, Milwaukee, Ryobi, and Ridgid. Makita has two good offerings but the rest is outdated with lights offering only say 200-240 lumens. Cordless ratchets are good but when working on cars an adjustable angle handheld worklight with a hook is indispensable. Their current offering for that is weak. Seems like they are sitting on their hands.
I’ve found that a good headlamp is indispensable when working on a car. Both hands are free and the light is always aimed exactly where you’re looking and is never shining in your eyes. For the money, a Nitecore HC30 is hard to beat.
 Actually, come to think of it, a good headlamp is indispensable pretty much always.
I like headlamps as well. I prefer Zebralights compared to anything else on the market. Sometimes you just need to stick a light in there where a headlamp can shine it’s light from where you are and you cant get the angle you need when you take the headlamp off and stick it in there.
I am staying with my Milwaukee M12 brushless 3/8” ratchet. It’s got good torque, small size and the smaller head fits into many tight spaces. When Milwaukee went to the brushless design the head of the tool almost doubled in size so I didn’t upgrade because of this fact.
The Makita reminds me of the Craftsman Version a few years ago where it came with a exchangeable insert to use the hollow (extended reach sockets) which were popular at the time the cordless ratchet came out. It was a pain in the a$$ to change out the insert! I finally sold off the Craftsman and purchased the Milwaukee M12 and l love it! Hopefully the exchangeable head insert on the Makita is easier/faster than it looks in the pictures.
As far as the tool itself it looks bulky and large and although I am not a professional mechanic my experience has saved me a lot of money NOT purchasing tools for mechanics work if they are not compact ie bulky equals very limited function in the engine compartments. Many gimmicky hand tools over the years have come out, especially during the holidays, that promote “universal”
or “one tool for many things” and seasoned car tinkerers have learned that specialty and compact works best, especially with engine compartments of today. Kudos for Makita for trying but me thinks this would serve better if your using it for specific and maybe repetitive jobs only rather than a universal best friend. Additional Note, I expect Dewalt to come out with something just like it for their 12v tool lineup because although I may not be able to provide proof…the Makita 12v Drill /Driver and Impact looks suspiciously identical to Dewalts except the color.
I own a Milwaukee M12 ratchet and based on size alone I would certainly not buy the Makita. I’m a DeWalt guy and bought into the M12 just for the ratched, wouldn’t have done the same with the Makita.
I think the form factor is enough to make me choose Milwaukee over this, although the interchangeability is a nice feature. This just seems too large for anything I’d use it for.
Of course, I made the mistake of commiting to Bosch 12v years ago… It’s say that Makita CXT has been around 1/4 (less) of the time than Bosch’s 12v line and already has more tools in it’s lineup.
I already have the Milwaukee version, but I do like the looks of the trigger on the Makita.
I don’t know about press releases, but I got a product announcement email from Makita a couple days ago about this one.
Looks like they sacrificed torque for speed. Kind of disappointing that it’s not available with a swappable 1/2″ anvil, I mean, may as well if you’re making this an easy change system, right? Perhaps they’re saving that for a model with more torque, if this model succeeds in getting a good market share.
I love the speed and different size frives.
However the slide on battery rules it out, because it is way to long/thick/bulky at the back end.
How come there’s nothing mentioned about other brands of cordless ratchets besides Milwaukee and makita? The earthquake xt from harbor freight has higher torque than both (quite frankly the makita isn’t even worth mentioning) but nothing said. Ingersoll rand also makes cordless ratchets and they’re by far a better quality brand than Milwaukee. As well as ac delco, blue point and others who make the same tool with the same specs or better and are significantly cheaper than either one of the two that are mentioned above, but not one word said. In fact Milwaukee is the most expensive one on the market. $400. That is steep and you know it is. So why not mention other brands that are well known and more affordable and has similar specs or better? I mean just look at the makita. Where’s the practicality in using a ratchet that big? It’s freaking huge! That thing is as big as a Sawzall. Ridiculous. I’m not trying to call you out or anything, but dude, come on, it seems kinda biased to mention only the two most expensive brands available and not say anything about anyone else. There’s a plethora of cordless ratchets that range from $50 to $200 that are just as good as the $400 Milwaukee and better than the makita. The earthquake has a better torque rating and is almost $250 cheaper. But how would people know about it if they can’t read about it on a tool blog? And last time I checked that is one of the few harbor freight brands that kick ass. So just because they ain’t brushless or they’re not a popular big box brand doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be mentioned. I’d rather have a cordless ratchet that’s brushed with a higher torque rating and is by far more affordable than what’s available from Milwaukee. I’m sure there’s a lot of people who feel the same way.
Because those are the brands readers have asked about and the brands I anticipated that readers would ask about here too. I mentioned Snap-on and other brands in the discussion as well.
Who are Makita’s top competitors in the USA? I’d say Milwaukee, Dewalt, Bosch, maybe Ridgid and Metabo HPT as well. That tends to steer the direction of my thinking. Point me in new directions, I’m always open to that.
Looking at the Earthquake XT ratchet, it’s part of a 2-cordless power tool system. I’ve seen some questions and comment mentions of the Earthquake impact wrench, but I can’t remember paying any attention to the ratchet.
Loosely related, I went to Harbor Freight yesterday for the first time in a while. I wanted to pick up a Hercules 12V drill for comparison purposes, but it seems they’re sold out nationwide. I did pick up some hand tools though, which I think will be fun to work with this month.
Where did you see the Milwaukee ratchet for $400? HD has the FUEL 1/2″ kit with two batteries for $279.
Yeah bud its $169 bare tool and $249 kit. Far cry from $400. Must be getting bent over by the tool truck.
I think one of the coolest aspects of this is going to be the ability to use passthrough sockets with it. Will help with clearance issues. People complaining about lower torque, remember, you generally break a bolt or nut loose manually and then run it off the rest of the way. Speed is better than torque in this regard. One of my biggest complaints with the Milwaukee ratchet is its slow speed. Looking forward to reviews of this tool.
The big questions are, can you buy the individual anvils from Makita when you inevitably misplace/lose one or both when they aren’t in the ratchet and will they cost almost as much as the ratchet was new when you add in tax and shipping?
Swappable anvils is a pretty good idea, but it’s kind of a tedious thing to keep doing rather than having seperate, dedicated ratchets for each drive size. This would be a good option for a DIY brand, where the home mechanic or builder would want to just buy one tool and use it with different drive sizes depending on the job at hand, but I wouldn’t expect such a feature from a “Pro” brand like Makita. Admittedly, I know of no techs using Makita tools, or actually anyone who still uses Makita tools, so maybe this is their way to diferentiate their offering, at least until other brands offer a ratchet with swappable anvils as well.
I’m still holding out for a Bosch 12V ratchet set. It might still happen. Maybe by the time they get around to it it’ll be brushless, because everything will be brushless.
I’ll second this. As much as I love my Makita 18v stuff, they seem to forget that people who use these tools need a place to store the accessories ON THE TOOL! I could say the same about the lack of bit storage on my Makita drills and impact driver…it’s incredibly frustrating (as an aside, Bosch’s 12v line is equally terrible at this…my admittedly old 12v multitool doesn’t even store the mandatory blade change hex key on the tool!).
I’ll also add that I, too, am holding out hope for a Bosch 12v one, but I’ve almost reached the point where I’m tempted to sell off my Bosch 12v stuff and take the hit to move into Milwaukee. As great as the Bosch tools I have are (and I love my PS21 and PS42), their lack of expansion in the 12v market is comical at this point. Come on, Bosch…stop dragging your feet!
Makita has a bit holder you can order from eBay
Not for a serious Mechanic. Changing Anvil? They don;t have time for this. Secondly, 18v – the Milwaukee was bulky, enough so they came out with an extended version, this thing’s size is ridiculous.
The slide battery makes the back of the tool too big.
If bosch would make a one with a compact tool steel head and body, ti would sell very well.
The MAC version (SBD) is a better tradeoff I think.
While I sort of like the idea of trading anvils for a pro it would probably have the 3/8’s put in it and never taken out again – till it fell out from wear.
That’s how I would use it.
Tool body looks bulky in the pictures but that might just be the pictures. Would be nice to have 2-3 on a table to compare to.
I suspect these sell decently in Japan and Asia where the others aren’t marketed. and I would say battery choice would probably dictated the sell more than anything else. If I was on makita system I would get one probably.
Milwaukee’s is probably better. Mac’s is the one I lust after and will probably buy myself. IR’s is interesting to use – and cost quite a bit. They are probably the gold standard in the autoshop.
The engineer in me would love to test all of them out and I bet even money I would pick the MAC tool one over the others. If only because of the battery system – I hear good things about the redesigned snap on one – but unless you’re going to buy one off a truck or have an affinity for snap on tools it’s more dear than the IR model.
So many opinions without even seeing it. The Milwaukee 3/8 Fuel is a whopping 39mm longer without a battery………..
Other way round. The Makita is 39mm longer.
I’m glad they brought this out. I like Makita and If I was going back to needing tools for a living I might invest in this and their 12V system. But I keep my 12v and 18v Dewalt stuff working and buying Ryobi when I need to as I can’t justify the expense for DIY of anything more expensive.
That said I think this is a tool showing the limitations of slide battery packs in 12V tools. I really think Milwaukee, Rigid, and Bosh have the right idea here with packs in the handle.
I own the Milwaukee 3/8 Fuel and 1/4 Inch FUEL, I bought the Makita on special buy with two batteries for dirt cheap, speed wise and switching rotation the Makita wins in a landslide, I own a lot of Milwaukee tools, Makita is going to win this battle, also has an interchangeable head for 3/8 and 1/4, they did a super solid job on their ratchet..