Holiday Gift Guides

Tools Under $30 Gift Guide: Stubby Ratchets

Short on size, long on versatility. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

Whether it’s for a holiday or birthday, this Tools Under 30 Dollars Gift Guide Series shows you important, yet somewhat uncommon, tools that any gearhead would want.

Today, let’s talk about Stubby Ratchets.

***

When it comes to ratchets, bigger does not always mean better.

Thanks to Archimedes‘ principles of leverage, the longer the lever, the more force you can exert—hence why long-handled breaker bars are an essential tool for turning stuck, stubborn bolts.

But what about the flipside of that equation?

Say you have a bolt or nut that shouldn’t be snugged down tightly, like an oil pan drain plug or an interior trim bracket. For those situations, you don’t want a lot of leverage.

Or say you’re in a tight engine bay and don’t have the space to fit a normal-sized socket wrench.

Enter our friend, the stubby ratchet.

A short-handled ratchet is a smart way to avoid over-tightening a drain bolt. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

A stubby ratchet is simply a socket wrench with a short, stout handle. And as alluded to above, it can be darn handy in a lot of situations.

For starters, it’s our go-to choice for oil changes, as the short lever mitigates the chance of us accidentally over-tightening a drain plug—or an oil filter, if you’re using an oil filter socket.

It also saves a ton of frustration in a cramped space: Ever spent 10 minutes listening to the thunk-thunk-thunk of your ratchet handle knocking against an obstruction while you make 1/16 of a turn at a time? Then you know what we’re talking about here.

The stubby ratchet and U-joint combo is a perennial favorite for working in tight spaces. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

All told, the stubby ratchet is a tool you get, toss in your toolbox, and thank yourself for buying it every time you grab it.

***

A short-handled stubby ratchet is an often overlooked tool, even for die-hard gearheads, making them excellent gifts to give and receive. Best of all, they can be pretty affordable, so there’s a good chance you can get a nice stubby ratchet for under 30 bucks.

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.