The best ratcheting screwdrivers

Make light work of screwdriver jobs and save space with a ratcheting screwdriver set.

Best ratcheting screwdriver: screwdriver on a wooden table with bits

by Chris Williams |
Updated on

The ratcheting system has made the humble screwdriver a bit more of a high-tech tool. No longer do we necessarily need a cluttered box full of various screwdrivers in different sizes for each screw size and type.

What is a ratcheting screwdriver?

A ratchet screwdriver bears the same mechanism as the ratchet handle for sockets. The mechanism turns and fastens when the handle is turned in one direction but spins freely in the other, meaning you don’t have to remove and replace the screwdriver tip onto the screw head with each turn. Ratchet screwdrivers can also be reversed to unfasten, or even frozen so they become a standard screwdriver.

Like electric screwdrivers, ratchet screwdrivers can make some jobs much easier, such as putting together flatpack furniture, or your new BBQ.

Related: The best cordless screwdrivers

So, no need for a screwdriver set, then?

There are specific scenarios where a regular screwdriver is still the best option. Circumstances where screws are placed in awkward, narrow places such as down in the bowels of an engine bay, or a delightfully awkward piece of Scandinavian furniture.

But for most cases, such as tightening the screws on a door hinge, a ratchet screwdriver is perfect.

Related: The best socket sets

The best ratcheting screwdrivers:

Includes regular and precision bits
Draper 42 Piece Set
Price: $43.62
Alternative retailers
Walmart$56.71View offer

For a great DIY set with all the common bits and at a great price, this Draper set takes the prize. With 20 regular 1/4-inch bits and 20 precision bits, this set will cater for most easy-access screwdriving eventualities.

Pros:

Value

Range of bits

Cons:

Stubby ratchet handles won’t reach awkward places

Contents:

1 x Ratcheting screwdriver

1 x Precision screwdriver

4 x 25mm plain slot bits: 3, 4, 5, 6mm

4 x 25mm cross slot bits: No.0, No.1, No.2, No.3

4 x 25mm PZ TYPE bits: No.0, No.1, No.2, No.3

4 x 25mm hexagonal bits: 3, 4, 5, 6mm

4 x 25mm Draper TX - STAR® bits: T10, T15, T20 and T25

5 x 30mm plain slot bits: 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5 and 3mm

3 x 30mm cross slot bits: No.000, No.00, No.0

2 x 30mm PZ TYPE bits: No.0, No.1

5 x 30mm hexagonal bits: 0.7, 0.9, 1.3, 1.5, 2mm

5 x 30mm Draper TX - STAR® bits: T6, T7, T8, T9, T10

Regular bits and nutsetters
Bosch 46 Piece Set

Rrp: $28.98

Price: $26.95

The Bosch set is like the Draper set but includes a range of nutsetters for hex screws and bolts, rather than precision bits.

Pros:

Bosch quality

Range of bits

Cons:

No precision bits

Contents:

32 x 30mm screwdriver bits PH 0/1/2/3; PZ 0/1/2/3 S 3/4/4.5/5/6/7/8/9; HEX 1.5/2/2.5/3/4/5/5.5/6; T 8/10/15/20/25/27/30/40

12 x nutsetters for hex bolts 3/16 inch, 1/4 inch, 5/16 inch, 11/32 inch,3/8 inch,7/16 inch, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 13 mm

1 x universal holder, magnetic

1 x manual screwdriver, ratchet function in clockwise/anti-clockwise direction, bit holder in handle

This Draper set comes with a basic range of common screwdriver and nutsetter bits. But crucially, it also comes with a bottle opener, because every screwdriving job deserves to be celebrated with a beer, yes?

Pros:

Includes a bottle opener

Screwdriver can angle to a pistol grip

Cons:

Modest range of bits

Contents:

Ratchet screwdriver

Plain slot bits - 3, 4, 5, 6mm

Cross slot bits - No.0, No.1, No.2, No.3

TX Star bits - T10, T15, T20, T25, T30, T35

Nut runners - 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11mm

Bottle opener

A special edition from Draper that will adorn the garage shelf very nicely.

Pros:

Magnetic bit holder

Excellent beer can container

Cons:

Modest bit range

Stubby ratchet handle not suitabe for hard to reach areas

Contents:

1x Stubby ratchet screwdriver handle

1x 1/4" Hex and 1/4" Sq. Dr. socket adaptor

3x 1/4" Sq. Dr. metric sockets 8, 10, 13mm

3x Plain slot insert bits 3, 4, 5mm

3x Cross slot insert bits No.1, No2. and No.3

3x PZ-TYPE insert bits No, 1, No 2 and No.3

4 x Draper TX-STAR® insert bits T10, T15, T20, T25

Stanley offers a no-nonsense set here. You get 15 screwdriver bits, plus six metric hex sockets and six imperial ones.

Pros:

Good socket range

Stanley quality

Value

Cons:

No precision bits

Contents:

1 x Stanley Ratchet Screwdriver.

6 x Metric 1/4in Drive 6 Point Socket: 5mm, 6mm, 7mm, 8mm, 9mm, 10mm.

6 x Imperial 1/4in Drive 6 Point Socket: 1/4in, 5/16in, 11/32in, 3/8in, 7/16in, 1/2in.

5 x 25mm Phillips Bits: PH1(2), PH2(2), PH3.

3 x 25mm Parallel Bits: 6mm(2), 7mm.

5 x 25mm Torx® Bits: TX10, TX15, TX20, TX25, TX27.

2 x 25mm Hex Bits: 3mm, 4mm.

1 x 1/4in Adaptor.

Best precision ratchet set

In addressing the lack of precision bits, this set is ideal for electronics, glasses, and other items using tiny screws. It has an impressive range of bits, including the smallest nutsetters.

Pros:

Value

Full range of precision bits

Cons:

No larger bits

Contents:

Magnetic screwdriver

Flexible attachment

Tweezers

59 precision bits

7 sockets

Bahco makes an effort to address the issue of reaching awkwardly-placed screws with its flexible ratchet screwdriver.

Pros:

Can reach screws in odd places

Bahco quality

Cons:

Small range of bits included

Contents:

3 x Phillips Bits PH1, PH2, PH3.

2 x TORX Bits: TX15, TX20.

2 x Square Bits: S1, S2.

3 x Flared: 4mm, 5mm, 6mm.

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