Best Locking Flex Head Ratchet

Is there anything more annoying than a difficult to reach bolt or nut that nothing seems to latch on to? While it might seem like overkill or a waste of your hard-earned cash to purchase a set of locking flex head ratchets, once you start using them regularly, you won’t want to use anything else. (Well, most of the time anyway) 

If you can’t quite picture the tool I am talking about, or if you are wondering what the heck the difference is between a regular ratchet and a locking flex head ratchet, I’m betting you have seen them before but you may not remember it or recognized the tool.

A locking flex head ratchet is the one that has the small toggle mechanism on the back. When you move the toggle “switch” to one side, it unlocks the ratchet head so you can set it for nearly any angle you need. Moving the toggle switch back will lock the ratchet head in place. 

You might be old enough to remember flex head ratchets that didn’t lock. Those were good to use in certain applications, but the inability to lock the head into a certain position made working with these tools difficult as the head continued to move back and forth, refusing to stay in place. The new locking flex head ratchets are an answer to every mechanics prayer. 

Don’t Forget the Drive Size

It’s probably fair to say that most people use a 3/8-inch drive ratchet, but there are times when that 3/8-inch drive just won’t do the job. Consider the drive size of the sockets you have. 

I’m listing 3-piece drive sets (1/4, 3/8, ½) because these seem to be the best value

One Last Thing

Double-check before you buy since some items only have a toggle that allows you to reverse the socket direction, and while these might look like the locking flex head ratchets, they are not the same. Be certain that what you are buying is a locking flex head. 

Let’s get down to business and talk about a few of the best locking flex head ratchets on the market. 

Prices and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

GearWrench 3 Piece Locking Flex Head Teardrop Ratchet Set-81276

Specifications:

  • 3-Piece Locking Flex Head Ratchet Set Includes ½, 3/8, and 1.4 Inch Drives
  • All Drives Have 84 Teeth
  • Flex Heads Move 180 Degrees
  • Shaft Lengths: 1.4 Inch Drive 6.5 Inches, 3/8 Drive 11.5 Inches, ½ Inch Drive 17 Inches

The GearWrench 81276 set is a real beauty! You can’t help but be impressed by the way these puppies shine! This set has a classic teardrop shaped handle and the chrome finish is very impressive. The smooth operation of the 84 teeth make them feel terrific in your hand and, to be honest, while these don’t have a case, you want to place them on top of your toolbox, simply because they look so amazing!

Pros:

  • Feel sturdy in your hand
  • Beautiful design
  • Smooth ratcheting operation
Cons:

  • Basic warranty 
  • Numerous complaints about lack of quality 
  • The ½ inch drive gets especially poor reviews and multiple complaints

YOTOO Extendable Ratchet Set 3 Pieces 

Specifications: 

  • 3-Piece Locking Flex Head Ratchet Set Includes ¼ Inch, 3/8 Inch, and ½ Inch Drives
  • All Drives Contain 72 Teeth
  • All Flex Heads Move 180 Degrees
  • Adjustable Shaft Lengths: ¼ Inch Drive Extends From 6.75 to 8.75 Inches, 3/8 Drive Extends 9.5 to 13.5 Inches, and the ½ Inch Drive Extends From 13.5 to 19 Inches

You can’t ask for more with the YOTOO extendable ratchet set. Seriously, where else can you get 3 ratchets that extend, a sturdy handgrip, quick release buttons, AND a nice little carrying case for this price? If you need a nice little flexible ratchet set, but your budget tight, you can’t go wrong with this choice. 

Pros:

  • Has many of the features other ratchets have for a lower price
  • One Year Warranty
  • Sweet carrying case
Cons:

  • Customers complain about poor quality
  • May not hold up to heavy use
  • Buyer Beware-Sometimes you get what you pay for

EZ RED MR482FL 

Specifications: 

  • 3-Piece Locking Flex Head Ratchet Set Includes ¼, 3/8, and ½ Inch Drives
  • All Drives Contain 72 Teeth
  • Flex Heads Move 180 Degrees
  • Adjustable Shaft Lengths: ½ Inch Drive Extends From 13.4 to 19.45 Inches, the 3/8 Drive Extends from 10.2 to 14.1 Inches, and the ¼ Inch Drive Extends From 6.9 to 8.85 Inches

This is a terrific little locking flex head set with nearly everything someone could ask for. Perhaps the only thing missing is a case! The extending feature is a real plus in my book. I also liked the easy grip handle. This feature makes the EZ Red brand stand out since nearly all others have a smooth, tear-drop design. 

Pros: 

  • Middle range pricing
  • Low profile head means it can fit into tighter spaces
  • Extendable shaft makes them super convenient
Cons

  • No quick release button, which can be a pain if your hands are greasy
  • Slightly heavier than other brands
  • Limited 90 -day warranty

Of course, you could spend your time piecing together extensions and long sockets to reach that impossibly placed bolt, but why do that when all you really need to do is reach for the locking flex head ratchet of choice? 

Tell you what, I know what I would rather spend my weekend doing and it isn’t making long configurations out of extensions and swivel sockets! 

For my money, I can’t help but be impressed by the EZ Red MR482FL. Middle of the road pricing, extending feature, and easy grip handles are features I find the most attractive. 

I do want to say that everyone has their own preferences. If price is what really matters, then the clear choice is obvious. To others, they feel comfortable with a name they know. Whichever locking flex head ratchet you choose, you will probably find yourself reaching for your favorite again and again. 

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