Pros: Solid, guaranteed
Cons: Large head limits use in confined quarters
Craftsman ½ inch Drive Ratchet
This is the standard Craftsman ratchet that has been built since before I was born. It is 1/2" drive which is the size for fairly large work like trucks, earth moving, or industrial equipment. The only use I have for this is typically suspension work, tearing out differentials, springs, axles, and so forth. If you have that sort of job in mind, this is a great tool for the application. This wrench is also available for ¼ 3/8 and ¾ drive versions so you can work on anything from tiny mechanisms to the Alaskan Pipeline or oil derricks with a Craftsman ratchet and accessories.
The wrench or ratchet handle is made in the old fashioned teardrop design with a large head and fairly coarse gearing. This works out pretty well in the ½ inch drive size because the space to work on larger equipment is usually more generous than found in a typical passenger car, although not always.
For the 3/8" or ¼" size ratchet handles, I prefer the fine tooth ratchet with a small round head because the space is usually limited, both for access to the fastener and also for the room for swinging the handle to grab the next tooth. I actually had one of these 1/2" ratchets that belonged to my father years ago. It was made some time in the 1930s and it still worked just fine. My current half inch drive is this one and using it requires half inch drive sockets and extensions also. Sometimes you can get this in a set with everything complete and that is a good thing if you are just starting to acquire your tools.
The handle is 10-3/8 inches long which allows you to get good leverage against the stubbornly tight fasteners you run into on heavy equipment. The head is standard teardrop shape and the drive spindle takes standard 1/2 inch drive sockets. The wrench is finished in full polished chrome plating for ease of cleaning.
To reverse the ratchet from tightening to loosening is a simple one-hand operation using the reversing lever on the back of the head. The gearing uses 36 teeth divided into the 360° circle equates to a 10 degree ratcheting arc, meaning you have to swing the handle back 10 degrees to catch the next tooth. This is usually OK when you are working on large items with plenty of space to swing the handle but to contrast, a fine tooth head has twice as many teeth and will let you swing the handle back a mere 5 degrees which makes it much more user friendly and is more easily used in tighter quarters.
Use this ratchet with ½ inch drive sockets and extensions. The usual sockets used with ½ inch drive run from 7/16 thru 1 ¼ inch sizes so this is not for small jobs. Typical sockets used with this handle include standard sockets; flex sockets which allow working through angles and deep sockets which allow working with fasteners with longer studs protruding above them. These are also used for spark plugs with either 5/8 or 13/16 diameter depending on the type of plug. These two sizes will fit most of the spark plugs out there.
I paid around $22 for this. Like all Craftsman tools, the ratchet is guaranteed for as long as you own it. Satisfaction guaranteed. Just return it to a Sears store and it will be replaced on the spot.