One of the signs of a quality ratchet (at least according to my Father) is a small “sweep” — how much you have to turn it to engage the next “cog.” A reader tipped us off to Northern Tool’s gearless ratchets this morning, and though Northern doesn’t say much about them on their website, this caught our eye: they offer a “less than 3 degree sweep.” Compare that to GearWrench’s 5 degree sweep or common ratchet’s 12 degrees.
A smaller sweep lets you fit the ratchet into tighter spaces because you don’t have to rotate the wrench as much to make it “ratchet.”
The bad news: We can’t tell you how it works. We’ve never looked inside a “gearless” ratchet, so you’ll have to wait until next week when we can call around a bit and get the inside (literally) scoop for you. (Unless, of course, one of you could enlighten us in comments?) We do, however, remember hearing that Mac Tools offers a “gearless” ratchet as well. We’ll check into that, too.
Thanks, Frank, for the heads-up.
Gearless Ratchet Set — 1/4″ & 3/8″ Drive [Northern Tool]