We’ll admit to being a little stumped on this one. Harbor Freight lists the above pictured item as a “composite ratchet,” but we’re not exactly sure which parts are
plastic composite. The description page lists a “lightweight, rugged composite handle” but also touts “chrome vanadium steel construction.” Is it an all-composite handle, or does it just sport a cover-all “PVC composite” grip? Either way it’s just $10, and we’ve heard some positive buzz about it on various tool forums.
It’s certainly not going to compete with your brand name, tough-as-nails ratchets when it comes to pure resistance to brute force — we’ve never found a Harbor Freight tool that does — but it might make sense for lighter-duty jobs, especially if they involve working around easily-scratched surfaces. (Whenever I think about that kind of work, I hear my polished-machine-screw Harley-riding buddy talking up the special tools he uses to service it without scratching the fasteners. Really.) We also noticed its high-tooth-count gearing (72 teeth), which should make it pretty easy to position accurately for working in tight spaces.
It looks like the ‘Freightster offers a variety of ’em, too: We found a 1/4″ model for $8 and a 3/8″ model for $9. Buy at your own risk. But hey, it’s $10. How much risk is that?
1/2″ Heavy Duty Composite Ratchet [Harbor Freight]