Snap on vs Craftsman ratchets

I bought some snap on ratchets recently. The ratcheting mechanisms feel much better than those of Craftsman. However, I’m very disappointed by their lack of “quick release” feature. When my hands are greasy, it is very hard to take off a chrome sockets off the ratchet.

What kind of ratchets do you guys use? I’d like to hear some opinion.

Thank you.

craftsman. alot cheaper and have a lifetime warranty. free replacement at any sears store. i have 1 thats 20 years old and still works great.

alhough i am just a diyer, i have some snapon, some easco, and by the largest part craftsman.

the convenience of getting a replacement tool on saturday and sunday, (at least for my use) far outweighs any other consideration for brand.

some of the pros no doubt use snapon, (which has just as good a warranty as sears, but is only available during normal business hours) but for me it isnt worth the restricted availability.

probably the only reason to use snapon would be to get some of their specialty tools. but if you get the sears big hand tool catalog they have darned near all the specialty tools also, you just have to special order them.

one other point, is to check the craftsman ratchets before you buy. some have a finer tooth count, so they ratchet smoother than others.

I have none by Snap-On, very few by Craftsman. Stanley makes good quality automotive tools and they are available everywhere.

Snap-on’s are definitely the best in terms of quality, but they’re far more expensive than brands like craftsman. Most nicer tool brands have the replacement warranty, but professional mechanics can’t afford to spend the time to go replace it, so Snap-on makes tools that just don’t break. Also, I’ve heard that Sears is requiring a reciept to replace a tool now, which sort of reduces the usefulness of the craftsman warranty. I haven’t had a chance to test it because I haven’t broken any of my Craftsman tool in years.

Snap-On’s don’t break? My father would laugh in your face as he showed you the ammo box full of broken Snap-On sockets, ratchets, and wrenches so he could get replacements whenever the tool truck showed up.

He was a heavy equipment field service technician. And he switched from Snap-On to Craftsman tools because when a Snap-On tool broke in the field, he couldn’t get a replacement until the tool truck showed up at the shop. And if you can’t finish the repair on a piece of equipment because of a broken tool, not only does that make you look bad, but the customer is not very happy because his equipment is still down.

He replaced a majority of his tools with Craftsman. First, they were just as tough as Snap-On’s, second, they were cheaper, and third, if a tool broke in field, he could send his assistant to the nearest Sears store to get a replacement so he could finish the repair.

I’ve used Craftsman tools for over thirty years. And I can count on one hand how many Craftsman tools I’ve had to have replaced.


I have most of the 46 year old Craftsman tool set that was a gift from my dad all those years ago. They are still used occasionally. The allen wrenches and most screw drivers are long gone, but the sockets and ratchets have survived. Snap-on tools, Mac tools, etc., seem to stay ahead of the curve on special tools and special features. The tamper proof torx bits come to mind, and thin wall sockets. Flex head impact sockets in 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2 drive are a must have and these take a real beating and I have never seen them anywhere except the tool trucks.

I think that the Snap-on tool’s representative is often the key to the tool company’s success. If he keeps up to date inventory and makes an effort to support customers, customers will complain about the cost and continue to buy the tools. My local Snap-on man is very good.

Most DIYers wouldn’d believe what is spent annually on tools to make a living working on cars.

Thanks to all the replies. It seems that Craftsman should be good enough for DIYers. I love Snap on, but feel sick by their advertising their lack of “quick release” as “sealed head”.

Craftsman is fine for almost all DIY’ers. The cost is way below the pro tools, and as stated, the warranty is a big selling point.

Some pros will tell you if you have a ratchet or wrench in your hands for eight hours a day most everyday that the pro tools make a huge difference. I would agree. I like Snap-on and Mac and have quite a bit of Stahlwille (German tools), but I use a lot of vintage Craftsman as well. My personal opinion is that the Craftsman tools of today have far less quality than 20-30 years ago. The warranty is the same but I don’t like the way the new wrenches and sockets fit the fastener. Not really precise. If you can find some 20-30 year old Craftsman wrenches for sale grab them. Probably the best deal out there.

The Snap-on and Mac trucks have the pro shops on their route and visit them weekly. For specialty tools the pro tools have the big advantage. It’s also very expensive to buy a specialty tool to finish a job, and know you won’t use the tool again for six months.
One of Snap-Ons biggest selling point is in house financing. If you’re just starting out the Snap-On dealer will set you up with the basic tools then sell you a few more every month. Not a bad way for a young person to start building their investment. And investment it is. Most people have no concept how many dollars in tools it takes to work professionally.


I have had a long (35+) year relationship with Snap-on. My conclusion I am perfectly happy with my Craftsman rachets (used professionally) Snap-on does have some unique tools that you wont find at Sears. If you think your going to walk up to a Snap-on truck you see parked at a garage and get service on a tool you bought at a swap-meet you may be disappointed. These guys provide the legendary Snap-on service to their regular customers,when the salesman doesnt know you and your not a regular customer things change.

Mine are a mix; mostly Snap-On and Craftsman with a few Macs and odd ones thrown in.
JMHO, but the Snap-Ons are much better quality wise. My Snap-On ratchets are approx. 30 years old, work fine, and have never been a problem.

I’ve had probably 3 or 4 Craftsman ratchet failures over the years due to the mechanism stripping out and a couple of 1/2" drive breakover failures but of course these were all replaced free by Sears.
That’s not knocking Craftsman at all and they make excellent tools. These problems could be more related to overloadiing the tools rather than the tool quality itself.
I’ve had some concern over the last few years as to whether the Sears/K-Mart merger, etc. might have an effect on tool quality but we’ll wait and see on that one.

I used Snap-on in the past because the truck would be at the hanger were I worked every Thursday. Now it is Craftsman because there is a Sears near by.

I have Snap-on tools that I inherited from my father and they have been around since I can remember. Used them when I was in high school, and I am old enough to remember the Big Bang.

Most of my tools are Craftsman along with some S&K and others. It is hard to beat the value you get with them and they do use good ideas, like the quick release, in their tool lines. I am not a pro and so I don’t need the high dollar tools though I do like quality and feel that Craftsman delivers it. They do also have a pro line of tools available. There are other good tools available also for a reasonable price.

use SNAP-ON sockets and they release perfectly.

other sockets do not have the correct tolerance.(which makes them a pain to get off the ratchet).

SNAP-ON makes great tools,the only way to break them is ABUSE,and many year of use.

I have found the ratchet that I love. It is a “Chinese Junk” — Task Force 3/8" ratchet with life time warranty. LOL

Compared to Craftsman, it has soft-grip, sealed head, better ratcheting mechanism. Compared to Snap on, it has “quick release”. It feels very good. I’m loving it.

Snap-on is GREAT…I own a couple of ratchets. Most of my tools are Craftsman and Husky (they’re actually made by the same manufacturer).

As a DYER I just can’t justify the cost of Snap-on. I’ve had ONE ratchet break in the past 35 years. Took it back to Sears and they replaced it without question. And you can’t beat their sales…especially around Christmas.

Now their power tools is another story. They use to make GREAT power tools. Not anymore. I can almost always find better power tools at a better price then Craftsman.

There have been a very few times that a nut, or bolt, because it was very tight, necessitated the use of a close fitting tool like a Snap-on. A looser fit socket, or wrench, would round the head if one tried to loosen the very tight nut or bolt.

Today, almost any country, exporting to the USA, has high quality tool steel alloys. Now, today, something made in Taiwan, I’ll take it. Even China (mainland) is improving; though, not there, yet.

Now here’s a cool ratchet I got not too long ago. What I like about it is, when you twist the handle it causes the square drive to rotate. So if you’re in a tight place where you can’t get a good swing on the ratchet, just twist the handle to remove/install the fastener. Or you can use it as a regular ratchet.


That quick release is sold only by Sears at this time because it is patented. Some guy developed and patented it. Sears offered him a modest amount of money, saying it was going to involve limited sales as a specialty item, and once the papers were signed, put it on everything. He got an attorney, filed a lawsuit for false representation, and WON, By memory, I think he got millions in the court ruling.

I am not going to get into it too far, because it is political, but IMO the patent and copyright system in the US is totally out of control, manipulated by certain large business interests. I am pretty conservative, but there are limits of decency. We had stable copyright laws, then Mickey Mouse was going to be open domain, and Disney spent a fortune to extend copyrights to save him. RIAA pants and rants about piracy stealing intellectual rights of the musicians, but the musicians get almost none of the money people pay for music. Not long ago, Radiohead gave their music away for whatever the people wanted to pay and when they sold full mastered CD’s, it was a top seller.

I like Craftsman, but I also own generic Taiwan ratchets as well. I have busted one or 2 over time, but not that big of a problem. Most of the stuff I work on is trucks and farm machinery, and I have found that tighter tolerance tools aren’t that big of an advantage. Most of the time the nut or bolt has mud, dirt, or rust caked on it and isn’t that high tech to start with.

One thing I do believe in Snap On for is screwdrivers. Back in my tournament fishing days I used to pay a lot of entry fees and baits by fixing and cleaning reels for guys. I also work on firearms for people.

Both reels and firearms are tough on screwdrivers. It’s absolutely critical on a reel or firearm to have a screwdriver that fits the fastener exactly right. If not, you run the risk of ruining the fastener, not being able to get it out, and screwing up someone’s reel or gun. Craftsmen screwdrivers are better than many. The cheap screwdrivers aren’t worth a damn. After breaking a blue zillion screwdrivers and messing up screws along the way, I bought a set of Snap on screwdrivers. 6 screwdrivers that cost me almost $80 and IMO, worth every penny of it.