Whether they specialise in electrical, plumbing, construction, or another industry, successful trade businesses need access to the right tools for the job. Spanners are a necessary tool across all of these applications.
However, there are several categories of spanners and even more varieties within these groups. This article will talk about one popular spanner category, the ratchet spanner, and its most common types.
What is a ratchet spanner?
Ratchet spanners allow users to make easy angle adjustments without removing the tools from the fastener. They’re also known as socket wrenches.
Socket wrenches offer a range of benefits over standard wrenches, such as greater torque. The ‘socket’ name comes from the design of the tool—it has a closed socket head that grips the fastener. Most designs have hex heads intended for tightening and loosening hexagonal fasteners, but other options are available.
Common types of ratchet spanners
Now, let’s discuss some of the most common ratchet spanners and how you might use them.
The T-handle socket wrench is one of the most recognisable varieties. As you might expect, they have a T-shaped design: a long vertical beam, a socket head at one end, and a horizontal beam at the other hand. You can achieve a strong grip by holding the horizontal beam and twisting to loosen or tighten the fastener.
The ratcheting socket wrench is named for its ratcheting mechanism, which allows you to remove or install a fastener with a reciprocating motion. There’s no need to remove and refit the wrench each time you turn it.
This system makes the ratcheting wrench faster, portable, and more efficient than convenient wrench designs.
3. Flex Head
Flex head ratchet spanners have a swivelling rather than a fixed head. This feature makes them useful for working in small, awkwardly shaped, or hard-to-reach spaces.
You might also see flex head spanners referred to as roto-ratchets or swivel-head ratchets.
4. Click-style Torque Wrench
These wrenches are unique in that you can preset the desired torque level. When the tool reaches the limit, it clicks in place. Some varieties will also have a digital screen allowing you to take a quick read-out of the torque level
Some users might combine a torque multiplying device with a torque wrench to apply more power, such as when working on heavy machinery, structures, or vessels.
Gearless socket wrenches are a newer type of ratchet wrench. Thanks to its innovative design, its popularity has been on the rise, although traditional geared ratchets are still the preferred choice in most industries.
Instead of gears, gearless wrenches use bearings, eliminating arc swing and producing little to no audible clicking sound. These tools are useful for working in tight spaces like flex head ratchets.
So, which is the most popular type?
To sum up, there is a range of ratchet spanners or socket wrenches available to suit unique applications—so it’s best to choose a variety that suits your business’s needs. However, if you’re just looking for the most popular option, go for a ratcheting socket wrench.