Best ratchets, outperforming truck brands for far less money

One area expensive truck brands (like Snap on, Mac tools and Matco) have fallen behind in are high tooth count ratchets.

What the tool brands are advertising as dual pawl, relates to the single pawl being broken into two parts and being connected by a spring. By breaking up a single pawl into two peices, the brands are able to get higher tooth engagement from the single pawl which allows for higher torques before failure; and in turn allows for finer teeth. However, there is a limit before the teeth just get too small. That limit is right around 88 teeth.

Relative to a traditional one piece pawl, I would say using the term dual pawl to describe a single pawl broken into two pieces is a misnomer.

The design is patented by snap on circa 2008:
Dual pawl ratchet mechanism and reversing method
US 20080229887 A1

What I would classify as real dual pawl has recently been invented and patented in 2012 by a company called Apex Brands, Inc. the parent company of gearwrench and armstrong:

Covered in patent Reversible Ratcheting Tool With Dual Pawls
US 20140083259 A1

This design actually utilizes two separate full sized pawls that are stacked on top of each other that alternate engagement. The benefit to this is the ability to use coarser (and thus stronger) teeth on the gear ring and pawls, while allowing for a doubling of effective “teeth” and therefore a significant reduction in arc swing of the ratchet.

Gear wrench has released their Gear wrench 120XP wrenches which utilize this patent. Not only do they have the aforementioned two pawls, but they have also designed the ratchet to be as thin or thinner than their competition.

Low arc, low profile, and you can buy the whole set for the price of one wrench from one of the tool brands. Since Apex has the patent, looks like the truck brands are out of luck, until they invent something new.


1 Comment

  1. If you cut the width of the pawl in half, you have cut the strength in half and doubled the stress on the teeth. Now make it thinner and the problem is made even worse. Not much question that this design is going to wear far more quickly than the Snap-on system. Ultimate strength in either design will be engineered to be greater than needed but useful life is not part of that equation. I have both types and I like them both but I expect Snap-on to outlive me. On the other hand, my Mac has already been rebuilt once. Considering how hard it is to find a truck, I tend to use the Snap-on just to avoid that hassle.

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