Flex head ratchets provide better flexibility and access in confined places, making them a popular tool among many professions. They are, however, pricey and have a more complex construction than fixed-head ratchets.
So, are flex head ratchets worth it? In this article, we’ll look at the benefits and drawbacks of flex head ratchets. This would help you determine if they’re the correct tool for you.
- Advantages of a flex head ratchet
- Fixed head ratchet or flex head ratchet: Comparison
- Concerns about buying a flex-head ratchet
Advantages of a Flex Head Ratchet
Flex head ratchets are smaller in size than fixed head ratchets. This adaptability can save time spent searching for the correct mix of extensions to utilize with a standard ratchet.
Some other specific advantage points, along with their reasons, are as follows.
Greater Flexibility and Access
With a greater flexibility option over 90° from the center, it saves your knuckles, giving you easier access. You can bend it approximately up to 182° from the center.
Again, you can easily access several difficult spots when using it. This flexibility can save you time spent searching for an appropriate combination of extensions.
Tooth Count and Swing Arc
Flex head ratchets feature a larger tooth count, ranging from 72 to 160 approximately, and a smaller swing arc. This special feature makes them simpler to operate in small places.
Ratchet Shape and Size
Because it is circular, the flex head is a little warped. It is more correctly described as pear-shaped.
It is rather light. 1/4-inch drive, 3/8-inch drive, and 1/2-inch drive are the most popular ratchet sizes. Having multiple socket wrench sizes allows you to operate multiple socket sizes depending on your own unique requirements.
Some flex head ratchets feature detents (ball bearings) to keep the ratchet in place, while others do not. Ratchets with detents are more sturdy and easier to operate since they do not flap about.
Loose flex head ratchets flop around while you use them, whereas locking ones provide stability and ease of use. For the most enjoyment and convenience of usage, utilize a fine-toothed locking flex head ratchet.
Flex head ratchets are durable and well-made. They frequently have a lifetime warranty from a renowned company.
Comfort and Grip
Flex-head wrenches are easy to use. The handle is designed with rounded edges that do not dig into your hands like other ratchets do.
There’s also an indentation running down the center of each handle. In the indentations, your thumb may rest, making the grip easier to use.
Flex Head Ratchet vs. Fixed Head Ratchet
You can view the following comparisons between a fixed head and a flex head ratchet for an easier decision.
Flex head ratchets can fit in more spaces, while fixed head ratchets are limited in use in tight spaces.
Flex head ratchets are flexible and can easily be used in compact mechanisms. But fixed head ratchets can’t be used in several modern-day machines because of accessibility.
Winner Flex Head Ratchet Wins
Presence of Pivot
Flex head ratchets have a built-in pivot that helps access hard-to-reach fasteners. This allows the ratchets to have a flex-point that allows the ratchet head to be at a different angle.
Meanwhile, fixed head ratchets have no pivot for the angular characteristic.
Winner: Flex Head Ratchet Wins
Additional Extension Requirements
Flex heads can save more time as they don’t require more extensions; fixed ones may require additional extensions.
Fixed head extensions require additional extensions for a better grip or for reaching into specific spaces. But a flex head ratchet does not require extensions for this purpose as it already has these features installed.
Winner: Flex Head Ratchet Wins
Rigidity and Stability
Some flex head ratchets have detents to eliminate floppiness, and some don’t, while fixed heads are rigid and stable.
Because of the flexible head, flex-head ratchets are often loose and unstable while doing the job. Even when time passes, the detents may not work at some point. But fixed head ratchets are always stable.
Winner: Fixed Head Ratchet Wins
Complexity and Expense
Flex head ratchets have more parts and are generally more expensive, but fixed head ratchets are simply designed and affordable.
Because of its various functions, a flex head ratchet has several parts, making it a complexly designed tool. Since it’s complex, it’s a bit costly compared to a fixed-head ratchet. Since fixed-head ratchets are simply designed and more affordable.
Winner: Fixed Head Ratchet Wins
Many mechanics prefer flex-head ratchets because of their versatility; some prefer fixed-head ones because of their durability and simplicity.
Mechanics with different jobs need different types of ratchets. The ratchets they prefer are selected according to their own personal preferences.
Winner: Flex Head Ratchet Ties With Fixed Head Ratchet
For a better comparison, you can check out the video below.
Furthermore, if you want to buy either of them, you can compare several brands that sell them. Compare and see Neiko vs. Sunex, for example, and purchase what’s best for you. When you make that choice, you can always purchase your own Sunex flex-head ratchet or Neiko flex-head ratchet.
|Sunex flex head ratchet
|Neiko flex head ratchet
Factors to Consider when Buying A Ratchet
Some factors you should consider before buying any kind of ratchet are-
The first thing you need to know is the drive size when buying a ratchet. This is because it states for what purpose you are going to use it. From the three common sizes available for all types of ratchets, you can choose any.
The sort of mechanism that does the ratcheting is frequently determined by the design of the ratchet head. You need to first decide whether you need a pear-shaped or a round-shaped ratchet to serve your purpose.
Determine if you need a fixed head, flex head, or a swivel head ratchet based on the head’s purpose. If you want a stable and affordable ratchet you can choose a fixed head. But for flexible use, you can buy a flex head ratchet.
The tooth count corresponds to how far the handle must be moved to engage the next tooth. You need to decide first if you need a low-tooth-count ratchet or a high-tooth-count ratchet.
Quick/Standard Release type
Depending on how you want to remove the socket, you can choose either a quick-release ratchet or a standard-release ratchet.
Quick-release ones require hitting only a button, allowing you to remove the socket that is linked to the ratchet. But the standard ones require you to remove them manually.
Ratchet length tells you how much pressure you can apply with the ratchet. If you want more torque, go for a longer ratchet. But if you want it for cramped quarters, choose a small-length ratchet.
You can choose your ratchet based on what type of grip you want; you can choose a comfort grip, a chrome handle, or an acetate handle.
As their name implies, flex-head ratchets are flexible with all the factors mentioned above. Except that it is considered better to choose a head that is flexible with most factors.
Also, you can choose to store them in either your husky or gladiator spaces, according to your preference. But if you do not have the storage space, you can compare and buy.
Flex Head Ratchet Buying Concerns
Due to their more refined construction, flex-head ratchets are often more costly than fixed-head ratchets.
For this, you can compare the costs of several flex-head ratchets within your price range. But do avoid extremely low-cost solutions that may impair quality.
Is More Teeth On A Ratchet Better?
Yes, more tooth count on a ratchet is better. You can turn the ratchet minimum when the tooth count is maximum. A higher tooth count is better when you are working in a confined space and must apply minimum turns.
Can Flex Head Ratchets Be Used In Tight Spaces?
Certainly, flex head ratchets can be used in tight spaces. Because of the built-in pivot, flex head ratchets provide better flexibility and access when it comes to confined locations.
What Are Flex Head Ratchets Good For?
Flex head ratchets are good for their flexibility. The flexibility of a flex head ratchet to access bolts and nuts in difficult-to-reach areas is its principal benefit. The flexible head enables increased movement, allowing users to move more easily around obstacles, curves, and tight spaces.
In conclusion, whether are flex head ratchets are worth it depends on your unique demands and tastes. If you routinely work in confined locations or on complicated jobs, you can choose a flex head ratchet.
But if you work on heavy-duty tasks requiring high torque or have a restricted budget, choose a fixed-head ratchet. Investing in a high-quality flex head ratchet can always be a significant addition to your collection.