Tool Chest

Stanley Rotator Ratchet

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Twist handle to rotate socket

This tool has been my go-to ratchet for the past 18 months on a slow-moving Vanagon restoration job. It is the absolute best option for getting to nuts and bolts in difficult to reach places or scenarios when you have to add extensions and swivel adapters to reach a fastener.

This tool functions as a normal ratchet would, but adds one unique and indispensable feature; the handle can twist to rotate the socket. What this allows you to do is to get the socket on a nut or bolt in a difficult to reach area, and then turn the handle to tighten or loosen the fastener without having to “swing” the ratchet from side to side. It is truly a zero arc ratchet when in the twist mode.

Even better, you can twist the handle either left or right and BOTH twisting actions work in whatever mode the ratchet is set in. So you are loosening a bolt in a tight area, you can twist the handle left AND right to continue loosening. This ratchet has allowed me to finish some tasks that would require possibly removing engine components to get enough arc room to swing a conventional ratchet, adding more time and frustration to the task.

I wouldn’t use this ratchet to snug or break loose stubborn hardware, as I worry this extra wizardry comes at the cost of strength/durability (I hope someone does a teardown on one someday so I can wrap my head around how it works!), but I have never had any issues arise and this is likely overcautious on my end.

-- Ross Carmichael 02/12/21