A few weeks ago, we broke news about Milwaukee’s M12 Cordless Ratchets. The tool has not yet been released, but we’ve been able to find out quite a bit about these tools. Here’s a review of the information we’ve gathered:
Milwaukee M12 1/4″ Ratchet 2456-21
- Torque: 30 ft-lbs max
- Speed: 250 RPM (variable)
Milwaukee M12 3/8″ Ratchet 2457-21
- Torque: 35 ft-lbs max
- Speed: 250 RPM (variable)
Milwaukee M12 Cordless Ratchets Specifications (common to both tools)
- Field-repairable head kits for minimal downtime due to maintenance
- LEDs for work area illumination
- Low-profile heads (3/4″)
- Relatively lightweight at only 1.9 lbs
- Available as kits with tools, charger, and single M12 RedLithium battery or as bare-tool
- 5-year warranty
- Battery fuel gauge
- Variable speed metal trigger
Pricing rumors puts both tool kits at ~$200. Each kit will include the ratchet, 1 Red Lithium M12 battery, a charger, and soft carrying case.
Here’s a short video demo of the cordless ratchets.
I’ve been looking for a viable replacement to our Skil 1/4″ LiIon ratchets. These things are handy as hell in the garage for taking apart small bit of vehicles in tight spaces (under dashes, heat shields, small bracketry, etc) but every one of those Skil cordless ratchets suffered from a design flaw with the battery monitoring circuitry that would shut down the motor early. Even fully charged and brand new, if you press the trigger, release it for a split second then re-press it, the motor will stop. You have to leave the trigger off for at least a whole second to be able to “jog” the motor in bursts. This behavior only gets worse as the batteries discharge, yet still have plenty of charge remaining. Rather than correct he issue, the tool was quietly discontinued with no replacements available.
I’m looking forward to the Milwaukee versions this fall, and, as I had hoped, there is a 3/8″ version as well. While undoubtedly they will be quite a bit larger than the Skil cordless ratchets and not able to sneak into the smaller spaces, this will be offset by the increased versatility and power the Milwaukees will certainly have. The swappable/replaceable battery packs are a huge plus, no need to take the tool out of use while it sits in the charger. And, with a 3/8 version, bigger jobs can be tackled. More and more, my air hoses remain rolled up on their reels with more and more viable cordless (and hoseless) tools on my roster.
Milwaukee sure has some variety of tools in their 12volt line up. Its nice to see and know others will follow suite and the cordless tool market/consumer will benefit from it all.
Heres a question out of personal curiousity… I own the ridgid jobmax (great tool) along with the electric hammer add on head (not too thrilled with), and like phil, a skil ratchet which while handy, didnt last long.
Well the jobmax series offers other add-on heads… and if I were to buy just one to replace the skil ratchet… should I buy the ratchet head or the impact driver? I would be using it for automative tasks, and im thinking the impact driver would be the one to get cus of the higher torque rating. 650in.lbs for the driver and 250in.lbs for the ratchet.
I own both attachment heads for my Jobmax. I was lucky I got the impact driver head free through a promotion. I have yet to use the tool with either head on automotive tasks. However, I use both heads in an industrial fabrication environment.
My best advise would be to tell you to save up and buy both. They’re equally handy, and both are totally worth the coin. Hopefuly I can give you insight from my personal experiences with the two:
-The ratchet head: I regularly use to install/remove up to size 15/16″ hardware, torqued to a mere 25 Ft. Lbs. with anti-seize applied to the hardware. It is decently adaquate. It also has the ability to fit into tighter spaces. The power of this attachment is good, but probably not up to most automotive fasteners over 17mm, (which is a total guess)…
-The impact driver head: Has WAY more RPM and power, yet adds more length to the tool, and it requires 1/4″ hex to square socket drive adapters (the shorter the better). The power, (when used on up to 15/16″ hardware) compared to the ratchet attachment, is VERY good. I have used this to zip off siezed 3/8″ hardware. Because of it being longer, it will not as easily fit into the nooks and crannies.
Also, the 1/4″ hex drive to square drive socket attachment (depending on length) further hinders the tool in a tight spot. I would say the impact driver head is suitable up to 19mm-22mm??? (again a total guess)
Attachments (swivels, extensions) very slightly degrade the performance of both heads. The extra drain isn’t overly noticable.
Both heads are totally worth it, and will speed you up. But, they probably won’t be up to your larger/largest automotive tasks (or threadlocker/ larger nylocks).
In any case, both attachment heads will undoubtedly be cheaper than either of the M12 ratchets in this thread. Plus, you get the bonus ability of an impact driver with an approximate 55in. Lbs. of torque…
Hopefully an actual user in the automotive field will chime in on this.
-P.S. pick up a Ridgid Hyper LiIon 12V battery as your spare. It boosts the tool noticably.
In my experience, Milwaukee’s M12 tools usually do have sensitive over-current shut-off circuitry, which is mostly a good thing.
I’m familiar with the Skil cordless ratchet and recall that it didn’t sell too well. I remember seeing it a little over two years ago, bundled with a cordless driver for around $40.
I will be curious to see how well this one does in the market. Not having seen it in person yet, I think it seems to have a well thought out design, and it seems to have a thin profile and decent specs.
Chip, I’m not sure if I can recommend the RA impact driver or ratchet driver over the other, they’re more complementary than comparable in terms of function. The impact driver is usually more intended for smaller fasteners, while the ratchet is usually used on larger ones. This shouldn’t make much of a difference, to use the impact driver on larger fasteners and the ratchet on smaller ones, but it is something I would personally consider if faced with the same choice.
Thanks for getting back to me on that guys.
Read all the great input and it looks the ratchet head would be a better choice for tinkering under the hood. Nice to get some advice from those who’ve been there before and can point in the right direction.
…When the going gets tuff, i’ll just use the proper airtools, but its nice to have a cordless/hose-less power tool when you can get away with.
And thanks for the tip of the juiced up batt packs. I wasnt even aware they were available.
Keep up the great work on the Blog/Website Stuart!
I check it regularly to keep up with all the cool new tools out there, plus have used it to make informative purchases.