How to Use a Ratchet Set – The Definitive Guide

Whether you’re a mechanic or not, haven't you faced to deal with a toolbox ever? The answer is absolute ‘yes'. Even, you have to use a toolbox in future in many cases. If so, this content unveils to you a very important component of an ordinary toolbox, called ratchet set. Actually, a ratchet set is nothing but the heart of a toolbox.

All the components of a toolbox are subjected to screw the bolts in the socket. But, the only tool which does the opposite is ratchet. It is mainly used to unscrew the ratchets. You know, unscrewing is the first step for the internal maintenance of a machine. In that sense, you must have the perfect knowledge of what is a ratchet set and how to use a ratchet set. 

What is a ratchet set?

In a word, ratchet set is nothing but a collection of different ratchets. It's actually a toolbox component which is especially essential for all mechanics. Using a ratchet you can easily unscrew any bolts or screw of the mechanical object with whom you need to deal with.

 The only factor of a headache is to select the suitable ratchet for the suitable socket. If so, the process of unscrewing will be absolutely an easy task, no doubt.

Common sizes of ratchets you’ll find usually in your ratchet set

Well, it's very common to realize that a ratchet set actually contains a good variety of ratchets. The ratchets are mainly varied on the basis of their size, power, and socket dia. If you know about them briefly keep scrolling :-

1. Drive sizes of ratchets

It’s the most common size of ratchets that you’ll find in almost all ratchet sets. They are mainly of ¼”, ¾’” and .5” diameters. These ratchets are usually for the comparatively smaller sizes of sockets. The stress produced by these type of ratchets are appropriate for the most complicated small screws of any machine.

2. Geared drive ratchets

These are the mostly operated members of a ratchet set. The usual diameter of these type of ratchets is comparatively greater than the dia of the drive size ratchets. Most of these type ratchets are capable of operating in the multi-socket system. It will offer you higher tooth count facility. Hence, you can operate it by a very little swinging motion.

3. Gear-less ratchet

Here you'll get a roller bearing to operate the ratchet. The presence of this roller bearing will ensure a faster turn facility of the ratchets under a smaller movement. Especially, gear-less ratchet has greater and influenced turning than that of geared ratchets.

4. Jointed ratchets

The other name of this type of ratchet is flexible head ratchets. This is another special type of ratchet that'll allow you work in comparatively tight areas. While using these ratchets, you have the freedom to adjust the handle angle.

So, you can adjust the handle angle in the most suitable state to get the maximum stress. So, any nut and bolt whatever it'll tight or soft will come out in a comparatively very easy way in the shortest possible of time.

5. Additional locking equipment

While turning the screw through the ratchet, the worst challenge you’ll face will be the slip of socket. To prevent this, most of the ratchet sets will offer you additional locking equipment. The lock will prevent the falling of the socket. Moreover, you’ll find a button for quick-release also to open the lock while necessary.

Types of ratchet sets you’ll get usually

5-piece ratchet sets

It is a standard ratchet set with comparatively smaller numbers of equipment. These ratchets sets are especially useful for quick mechanical maintenance. Through this, you can unscrew comparatively simple nuts and bolts.

2 and 3 piece ratchet sets

These ratchet sets are for mobile use only. You can use these ratchet sets only for emergency use. No acute working can be done perfectly through this. Beginners will be the perfect customer of these type of ratchet sets.

Ratchet sets with multiple types of equipment

These types of ratchet sets usually contain more than 10 equipment. This number can be varied from 11 to 99 pieces of ratchets. Reversible ratchets are also a member of this type of set. These ratchet sets are, especially for the experienced mechanics. Almost all of the bolts can be unscrewed through these types of ratchet sets.

How can you make the best use of your ratchet set?

From the above discussion, hope you've already known what a ratchet set is and how to use a ratchet set will be your next intent to learn. Considering that here's a complete guideline for making the best use of your ratchet set. Let's start :-

1. Checking corrosion

It’s the very regular duty for you to check whether there is corrosion or not. Corrosion is mainly responsible for most of the maladjustment's of the ratchet. Ratchets can also be partially or fully broken because of corrosion. The presence of corrosion in ratchet will be a great barrier against your work with a ratchet.

2. Choose the perfect ratchet

It’s the very first duty for you before using the ratchet. Take the best suitable ratchet for your targeted bolt. If the bolt is small, then take the small ratchet. Again if the bolt is large, take a large one. The adjustment of the bolt shape with the ratchet is also important.

3. Use locker to avoid ratchet slip

To make the movement of the ratchet easier, use locker. This lock will prevent the slip of ratchet from the socket. Again, press the unlocking button while you need to move the ratchet from the bolt.

4. Use the ratchet which gives fasten facility

Some ratchet will provide you the fastening facility with a very little movement. That means, you will make a very little movement but the ratchet will turn the bolt in a quite larger way.

5. Make gentle movement in the ratchet

Last, of all make the movement of the ratchet in the gentlest possible way. Try to implement comparatively less stress in the handle. It'll be safe for you.

How to use a ratchet socket set?

Besides knowing what is a ratchet set and how to use a ratchet set, you should gather a proper idea on how to use a ratchet socket set. Actually in a toolbox, along with a ratchet box, you'll find a socket box also. It'll contain different types of sockets on the basis of their dia.

The range of the dia of the sockets will vary from ¼” to ¾” of dia. Standard sockets, low-profile sockets, deep sockets, 6 points or 12 points sockets and flexible sockets are also the common equipment of a ratchet set. To use the ratchet socket set in the best way you can follow the following suggestions :-

  • check
    Attach the socket to your ratchet at first. It'll allow bolts and nuts to loosen or tighten.
  • check
    Learn the color-code to differentiate standard and metric size sockets.
  • check
    Take the most fitted sockets for the suitable ratchet. In general, the smaller size of the socket is for the smaller ratchets and the larger size is for the larger.
  • check
    For getting the perfect head fastener with little clearance, use shallow or low- profile sockets.
  • check
    The universal socket is another one to use for almost all types of fasteners. No matter whether it's star spline or square.

Cautions need to follow especially for the beginners while using a ratchet set

  • Use gloves while using a larger size of ratchets.
  • Never implement greater pressure than necessary when the ratchet is smaller in size.
  • Try to make the perfect choice of a ratchet for the perfect screw.
  • Be careful about your eyes while working with a ratchet.
  • Try to get help from the expert mechanic at the very beginning.

Maintenance tips for ratchet set

  • Keep your ratchets on the ratchet pad inside the ratchet set box.
  • To avoid collisions of different sizes of ratchets in your ratchet box, maintain a suitable arrangement of your ratchets keeping the larger sizes of ratchets in the bottom.
  • Apply oil to your ratchets in a regular interval to prevent moisture.
  • If possible, recover the bronze coating of every single ratchet after using a certain long time.
  • Don’t forget to use the perfect ratchet for the perfect socket of the screw, otherwise, the ratchet might be broken down or at least get damaged.


From the above discussion, hope, now you have the ins and outs knowledge of what is a ratchet set and how to use a ratchet set. So, no matter you are a professional mechanic or not, you have acquired the very first knowledge for a mechanic.

Now you need to just make the perfect choice of ratchet from your ratchet socket set and make the best use of it with necessary cautions. You can very easily unscrew any types of bolts you’ll get further. Hope, in the next content, we’ll discuss the second steps for being an ideal mechanic. Till then, good day.

John Bryan

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