I’ve been wanting to buy an SK palm ratchet for a while now. For some reason, product images always made these ratchets look big. Or maybe in recent years I saw a large chrome palm ratchet, and used that memory to create a mental picture of the SK ratchet. Before buying one, I couldn’t understand why SK would call their palm ratchets thumbwheel ratchets.
Despite how these are explicitly described as being 1-1/2″ in diameter, I always thought they were large palm-sized tools that were comparable to other brands’ palm ratchets.
Looking for a new palm ratchet to replace a plastic-knobbed Gearwrench/Kobalt model, I finally pulled the trigger on the 3/8″ sized SK Hand Tool ratchet, model 45172, a couple of months ago. It looks like the product descriptions were all correct – this is definitely a thumbwheel ratchet.
This ratchet, and others like it, are designed for use in tight spaces where you might not be able to reach a fastener with a full-sized or even stubby-sized ratchet.
The first thing that caught my eye was the superb knurling, and this continues to draw my attention and admiration nearly every time I use the ratchet.
The direction selector switch is nearly flush with the top of the ratchet, while still being easy to turn.
My SK thumbwheel ratchet is functional and handy, and I often look forward to using it. There’s something to be said about a tool that one actually enjoys using.
To give you a better sense of scale, here’s a photo of the thumbwheel ratchet next to a 1″ screwdriver bit.
Yep, it’s small!
Fit and finish are excellent. This is my first-ever SK Hand Tool purchase, and if all of their tools are like this, my wallet will surely be in trouble.
There’s a spring clip on the back, presumably holding the gearing all in place. I don’t foresee having to rebuild or lubricate the ratchet anytime soon, but it’s nice to know that the ratchet can be opened up if or when necessary for servicing.
The ratcheting mechanism is pretty fine too – I counted 60-teeth per full rotation – not that swing arc is of importance with thumbwheel or palm ratchets. Older models apparently only had 36 teeth. This one makes a nice and soft click click click sounds during use.
I paid about $30 for my SK 3/8″ thumbwheel ratchet, and might someday pick up the 1/4″ drive version as well.
I really wish that SK would come out with a 1/4″ hex version, but that unfortunately doesn’t seem likely. It’s not terribly inconvenient to use this with a 1/4″ hex bit adapter, and so a dedicated screwdriver thumbwheel ratchet isn’t really necessary.
SK continues to manufacture these ratchets in the USA. They’re sold through Amazon, industrial suppliers, and other SK tool distributors.
I don’t like being so insistent but, if your budget allows for it, definitely consider adding one of these thumbwheel ratchets to your toolbox. Even if you only use it once in a blue moon, these SK ratchets are great problem-solvers that take up very little space in your ratchet, socket, or drive accessory tool drawer.