Ratchet-wrench

Best Cordless Ratchet Wrenches 2020 – Top 5 models

Best Overall

Kimo B07X37XMX3
Available at Amazon
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Best for professionals

ACDelco Cordless G12 Series
Available at Amazon
Check price
Very popular

Milwaukee 2457-21
Available at Amazon
Check price

Cordless ratchets are slowly replacing the larger and much older air ratchets for day-to-day maintenance and repair tasks. Although air ratchets are more powerful, messing around with one when you don’t need to in the middle of an important job is distracting for any professional.

This is where cordless ratchets jump in as a possible solution.

However, if you are just making the switch to the cordless alternative, you might not know what to look for and which brands are better than others.

In this article, we have picked out five of the best cordless ratchets for every type of purpose and budget. Then we go on to highlight several important features you should assess when making the purchase. Just to make sure that you’re picking out the tool that suits your needs.

In a hurry? Here are the best cordless ratchet wrenches on the market today.

Best Overall: Kimo B07X37XMX3
“One of our favorites. Great value for the money, both for experts and hobbyists.”


Best for professionals: ACDelco Cordless G12 Series
“It is designed keeping the tough requirements of tradesmen and mechanics in mind”


Very popular: Milwaukee 2457-21
“From light repairs to heavy maintenance work, this compact and powerful tool is equipped to take it all”


Best premium choice: Ingersoll Rand R3130
“It packs a lot of power and multiple hours of usage in a light and portable tool”


Great performance: Milwaukee 2456-21 M12
“For the casual DIYer, it is an absolute powerhouse.”


Best Overall: Kimo B07X37XMX3

Reasons to buy:

  • Great price
  • Powerful torque of 40 ft-lbs
  • Ergonomic build
  • Compact design
  • Comes with sockets and other accessories
  • LED work light
  • Voted #1 at Amazon
Reasons not to buy:

  • Battery is slow to charge
  • Some reports of bad customer service

Good For:

For budget-conscious DIYers, this powerful and inexpensive cordless ratchet from Kimo is definitely one of the best cordless ratchet wrenches. It is sold as a complete package with sockets and a storage case, which saves you more money on bits and pieces that you would otherwise have to purchase separately. It’s the most popular one and was voted as number 1 at Amazon. One of our favorites. Great value for the money, both for experts and hobbyists.

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Kimo is a power tool brand that many users will be relatively unfamiliar with. Less known brands are always a risky investment for most buyers due to reliability issues. However, Kimo aims to find itself a spot in the market with its reliable and affordable offerings.

The most affordable recommendation on this list, the Kimo 0.38-inch cordless ratchet kit is priced the same as individual tools from some other brands. The kit includes two 2Ah lithium-ion batteries, a charger, a case, a drive adaptor, and an expansive selection of sockets.

The power that Kimo generates at this price will be a treat for DIYers and tradesmen. The tool produces 40 ft-lbs. of torque when operating on maximum settings. A high torque and a top speed of 400 RPM make short work of most ratcheting tasks, whether it’s auto maintenance or other repair work.

The ratchet offers variable speed controls. This gives enhanced control to the user for various ratcheting tasks. It also does much to increase the battery runtime. The speed can be adjusted between 0-400 RPM through a metal trigger, and a lock switch prevents accidental adjustment.

For a budget offering, the Kimo cordless ratchet is certainly designed exceptionally well. The handle is ergonomically designed to reduce strain during longer usage. An anti-slip rubber grip reduces slippages and dampens the effect of the motor’s vibration on your hand.

Other seemingly unnoticeable design choices also greatly improve the user experience. The LED work light, for instance, is a useful addition which enhances visibility in darker areas such as the underside of a vehicle. Similarly, an LED charge indicator switches between red, yellow and green to indicate the remaining charge.

Its build quality and power have impressed many users. However, some users did complain about Kimo’s customer service. A few users noted that it took days for Kimo to respond to their warranty and exchange queries. Such instances aren’t frequent, and users generally tend to be satisfied with all aspects of the experience.


Best for professionals: ACDelco Cordless G12 Series

Reasons to buy:

  • Brushless motor
  • Massive 65 ft-lbs. of torque
  • LED work light
  • Adjustable speed
  • Durable aluminum build
Reasons not to buy:

  • Slower speed than some other models

Good For:

The G12 cordless tool isn’t your run-of-the-mill ratchet. It is designed keeping the tough requirements of tradesmen and mechanics in mind. Its solid build will ensure that it takes abuse like a champ, and its powerful torque ensures that no job is too big.

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The ACDelco 0.38-inch cordless ratchet can be considered the bull in this category of compact and lightweight tools. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as the G12 emerges victorious in some of the most difficult ratcheting tasks where other cordless alternatives struggle.

Offering an astonishing 65 ft-lbs. of torque, the G12 can easily replace the older and much bulkier air ratchets with a similar power. This amount of torque is a rare occurrence on cordless ratchets, and those that do offer it often come at a compromise of battery life.

The G12 does not compromise either on the runtime or on the power it offers. From the moment you lay your hands on the tool, you can feel that it won’t mess around. Everything from the solid aluminum build to the perfectly balanced head-to-body ratio emanate power and purposefulness.

When it comes to speed, the G12 does lag behind similar product offerings. Offering a maximum speed of 195 RPM, this tool is slightly slower than some others. However, speed does not measure efficiency, and the G12 tests better than other models at this price point.

The tool can be purchased with 2 12V lithium-ion batteries, which will deliver a good week or two of combined runtime. This is due in part to the brushless motor that the tool comes fitted with. The motor generates more power on less charge, so the tool can run for a few days without requiring a recharge.

When it does need a recharge, the batteries can be charged up in under 15 minutes using the included fast charger. The charge time of 15 minutes is great, and what makes it even better is that you won’t need to charge it up again for a while if it’s on full charge.

There are hardly any complaints about the G12. When it works, it works so well that many other competing tools don’t find it easy to compete. In the rare instances that it doesn’t, it is usually because of a faulty battery, which can be returned to ACDelco for a replacement.


Very popular: Milwaukee 2457-21

Reasons to buy:

  • Reliable performance
  • Max torque of 35 ft-lbs
  • Adjustable speed up to 250 RPM
  • Lightweight
  • Overload protection
Reasons not to buy:

  • A bit expensive

Good For:

Milwaukee’s 2457-21 is the ideal tool for DIYers and professionals alike. From light repairs to heavy maintenance work, this compact and powerful tool is equipped to take it all. Working in difficult spaces will also not be an issue due to its size and an integrated LED light to light up the workspace.

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Milwaukee has been doing quite well with cordless tools. While you can probably find cheaper tools from other brands with specs that look equally good or even better on paper, there is no matching Milwaukee in reliability and consistency of performance.

The 2457-21 is a lightweight yet robust cordless ratchet kit that won’t leave you regretting your purchase. This 0.38-inch ratchet is marketed as a replacement for the older air ratchets which are quickly going out of fashion. With a max torque of 35 ft-lbs., it is a strong contender.

We like the 2457 not because it is a powerhouse; anyone who uses it will know that it isn’t. It doesn’t have to be either. This cordless ratchet is special because it offers an excellent balance between power and form factor. It is lightweight and compact, so you can use it anywhere, even in tighter spaces.

This cordless offering from Milwaukee runs at a maximum speed of 250 RPM. This is not the highest when compared to other tools at a similar price point, but it is sufficient to get jobs done efficiently. The rotations can be switched between forward and reverse, and the speed can be adjusted to save battery during lighter operations.

Milwaukee adds its Redlink Intelligence to protect the 2457. Redlink works as a failsafe to protect the ratchet against overloads. It also monitors the charging system and battery to optimize its performance and enhance the operational efficiency of the tool.

The tool also ships with Milwaukee’s own RedLithium battery and fast charger. This battery offers better charge management, runtime and efficiency than conventional lithium-ion batteries that you will find on other cordless tools.

The 2457-21 is among the pricier cordless ratchets on the market. This may deter newer users who don’t have experience with Milwaukee’s offerings. However, the seasoned tradesman knows that it always pays to spend a bit more on a tool from Milwaukee as it is reliable and will last ages.


Best premium choice: Ingersoll Rand R3130

Reasons to buy:

  • Long-running 2.5Ah lithium-ion battery
  • 54 ft-lbs. of torque
  • Adjustable speed setting
  • Durable build
  • Anti-slip handle
Reasons not to buy:

  • A bit big
  • No LED work light

Good For:

The R3130 is a competitive offering from Ingersoll Rand that has the potential of replacing your manual or air ratchet. It packs a lot of power and multiple hours of usage in a light and portable tool. Although larger than some others, this is not a dealbreaker considering its performance.

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Ingersoll Rand sells the promise of a battery-operated ratchet that is powerful enough to replace the conventional air hose. A high claim for the skeptic, Rand has much to prove and it does it quite well with the R3130 0.38-inch cordless ratchet.

The R3130 is a compact yet powerful tool. It allows users the freedom to work in limited spaces and the control to perform demanding ratcheting tasks. The long-running lithium battery works for hours without requiring a recharge.

Ingersoll Rand has designed this tool to deliver a massive 54 ft-lbs. of torque for tougher operations. This comes incredibly close to the power you would expect from air tools but without the added bulk. The cordless operation backed by a 2.5Ah lithium battery gives it an edge over older pneumatic tools.

The company has paid much attention to the tool’s usability and not only on packing it with tremendous power. This is evident in the ratchet’s comfortable anti-slip grip as well as the max torque failsafe. Unlike air ratchets that can cause severe jerks upon reaching maximum torque, the R3130 just stops until pressure is reapplied.

Furthermore, the adjustable speed setting delivers a good level of control to the user. For more demanding nuts, the speed can be turned up to the maximum to achieve greater power. For regular operation, it can be set at a lower setting to save up on the charge.

Not that the charge needs saving up on. The tool can be purchased with either one or two 2.5Ah lithium-ion batteries. Just one of these batteries will work for ages. Swapping between them is easy, and the spare can be charged using the IQV20 fast charger when the other one is in operation.

Some customers noted that they had concerns about the R3130’s size. Upon taking it out of the box, it looks and feels larger than other cordless ratchets. However, it is still compact enough to be easily maneuvered in tighter spaces. The slightly larger size is the result of the powerful motor that generates 54 ft-lbs. of torque.


Great performance: Milwaukee 2456-21 M12

Reasons to buy:

  • Compact design
  • Low-profile head
  • Sufficient torque
  • Lightweight
  • Durable build
Reasons not to buy:

  • Operating speed could have been faster

Good For:

The Milwaukee 2456-21 M12 may cost you a few more dollars than other cordless ratchets, but it pays back in performance. This tool is the perfect addition to any auto mechanic’s inventory because of its power and compact form. For the casual DIYer, it is an absolute powerhouse.

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Milwaukee has become one of the top five brands most tradesmen think of when buying power tools. Owing to its value innovation and reliability, customers have come to trust the brand and its offerings, and Milwaukee hardly ever lets its customers down.

The Milwaukee 2456-21 cordless ratchet was released a while ago as part of the manufacturer’s M12 lithium-ion tools. This is a 0.25-inch ratchet kit that includes the tool itself, one battery charger, and one RedLithium battery, which is Milwaukee’s take on conventional lithium-ion batteries.

Milwaukee has designed the 2456-21 M12 to replace older air ratchets. With the tremendous torque that this tool produces, this is an easy possibility. Air ratchets may soon be going out of favor because of the advancements leading manufacturers are making with cordless alternatives.

When operating at full capacity, this 0.25-inch ratchet generates a maximum of 30 ft-lbs. of torque. It also achieves a to rotation speed of 250 RPM. This is sufficient power when taking into consideration the tool’s form factor. The power-to-weight ratio is quite impressive.

The M12 has won many hearts and pockets due to its portability and compact form. When unboxed, the ratchet measures at 10.75 inches. This is a massive step-up from older air ratchets which are bigger and bulkier. It also weighs only 1.9 lbs.

It is great for mechanical and automotive work as the head is designed to be low profile. At a minimal 0.75 inches, the tool can be inserted into smaller spaces without any issue. The small head design allows for easier movement in tight spaces, which is a primary requirement for automotive mechanics.

This cordless ratchet has received overwhelmingly positive reviews. There have been hardly any complaints about the tool’s performance, although there have been some isolated issues. Some customers reported the 0.25-inch adaptor coming loose, but this is covered under Milwaukee’s generous 5-year warranty.


Find the best cordless ratchet wrench for you

Now that we have gone through some of the best cordless ratchets you can get your hands on, let’s discuss a bit more about what makes a cordless ratchet worth buying. Surely, any new buyer would want to search the market for themselves and not rely on the limited recommendations here.

When shopping for a cordless ratchet, you may find yourself surrounded by countless options, each one looking as promising as the last. Getting a grip on your impulses and taking the time to go through the options in detail may sound troublesome, but doing so will help you select a ratchet that fits your needs.

However, doing so requires some knowledge of important features to consider. You will also need to know what the ideal feature set should be so that you’re not wasting your money on a tool that sits in a corner without seeing the light of day.

For this purpose, we have picked out and explored some of the key elements you should consider in any pick. These features often vary between models, so it’s important to assess them before making a decision.

Safety

This is one of the foremost features to consider on any power tool. This is because the environment that power tools are most often used in isn’t always favorable. Mechanics and tradesmen work in dangerous situations where accidents are just one mistake away.

Safety, therefore, is a priority when purchasing any power tool. It is easy to write this consideration off for smaller power tools such as the ratchet. When compared to some other tools that tradesmen work with, the ratchet feels considerably inessential. However, ignore the safety consideration at your own peril.

Some safety features that any good cordless ratchet should come equipped with include:

  • Overload protection to prevent damage from battery malfunctions
  • Max torque failsafe to prevent sudden jerks when the tool reaches its torque limit
  • Ergonomic handle with rubber protection to reduce discomfort during long usage
  • Integrated LED work light for working in tight corners where lighting is an issue
  • Durable build that can withstand drops but is light enough to not cause injury if it falls

Portability and Size

Portability is probably the primary reason why most users make the switch from air ratchets to cordless ones. Cordless wrenches are lightweight and compact, so they are easy to carry around and use for longer periods of time. It also makes them more useful when working in tight spaces.

When purchasing a cordless ratchet, don’t get carried away with its power or speed. Consider its utility. Where will you be using the ratchet? What will you be using it for the most? For auto mechanics, compact wrenches work best as they allow them to work on engines without the wrench getting stuck.

Consider the ratchet head, handle and battery pack. A versatile tool will have a low-profile head, a robust but relatively slim handle, and a battery pack that does not protrude too much. Some ratchets have weird battery configurations that make the tool too wide; avoid them for smaller spaces.

Air Ratchet vs. Electric Cordless Ratchet

If you’re here, we are going to assume you have considered other options and set your mind on buying a cordless ratchet. However, if this is not the case, let’s go over the two major ratchet types you can purchase and what you can expect from each one.

With any tool, it is important to set your expectations right. When considering a cordless ratchet, you need to be completely aware of what you are getting. If you go in and make a purchase with incomplete information or inflated expectations, you might end up disappointed.

A cordless ratchet will hardly ever be as powerful as the much bulkier air wrench. Air wrenches work on pressurized air supplied from a compressor through a connected cable. This gives them exceptional power to take off multiple lug nuts in seconds.

A cordless ratchet will not do this as it does not receive the same amount of power. It runs on batteries that cannot compete with the force of a pressurized air compressor. However, it is great for general maintenance and repair tasks that do not require much power.

Conclusion

We hope that our recommendations and buyer’s guide will have left you better equipped to find the perfect cordless ratchet for your needs. Do remember that there is no one ratchet that will be perfect for everybody.

The cordless ratchet that is best for you will come down to your utility and the tasks you will be using it for the most. Our top recommendation, the Milwaukee 2456-21, is both powerful and affordable. Couple that with Milwaukee’s long history of making reliable power tools, and what you get is a tool that you will not regret purchasing.