REVIEW – With the current supply chain issues and the general rising cost of goods and services, there has been a lot of focus lately on the “right to repair” for consumers. I’m a huge DIY advocate especially when it comes to automotive repairs but I’m often limited in what I can do by the tools available to me. One tool I’ve been meaning to add to my collection is a good electric ratchet wrench. These tools are great for auto work, are relatively inexpensive, and save a lot of time. I recently tested the Hammerest Electric Ratchet Wrench and while it did the job, I was not impressed with the quality of the tool nor with the price of $89.99.
What is it?
The Hammerest Electric Ratchet Wrench is a battery-powered 3/8 in. ratchet wrench which operates like a normal socket wrench except the head spins automatically when you pull the trigger. Electric ratchet wrenches like the Hammerest are meant for low torque applications and work well in tight spaces where a traditional socket wrench wouldn’t fit.
The Hammerest arrives in a nondescript cardboard box with no branding at all. The unit and its components are shipped inside of the plastic carrying case.
What’s in the box?
- Hammerest Electric Ratchet Wrench with 3/8 in. head
- 12 V Lithium-Ion Battery
- 12 V Power supply
- 10 mm
- 11 mm
- 12 mm
- 13 mm
- 14 mm
- 15 mm
- 17 mm
- 1/4 in. adapter
- Voltage: 12 V
- Stated Torque: 40 ft-lb.
- Rotational Head Speed: 280 rpm
- Handle Size: 12 x 10 x 3.5 in.
- Weight (with battery): 1 lb. 14 oz.
- Battery life: 45 min – 60 min
- Charging time: 90 min
Design and features
The Hammerest Electric Ratchet Wrench has a similar design to most tools of its kind. The body is made of plastic with the head made of steel.
The Hammerest has a 3/8 in. head which is most common for automotive work.
The head of the Hammerest looks and functions similar to a regular socket wrench with a socket connector on the front and a directional switch on the back. Turning the switch to the left allows the head to rotate clockwise for tightening and turning it to the right rotates the head counterclockwise for loosening.
A small ball bearing holds the sockets in place once they are attached to the head.
As with a standard socket wrench, the sockets stay attached to the head and require a bit of force to remove. When in use on particularly stubborn bolts the sockets may become detached from the head.
The head is connected securely to the body with four Allen bolts.
The grip of the Hammerest Electric Ratchet Wrench feels good in the hand and with the battery installed it’s easy to maintain control during use.
The only controls on the Hammerest are a trigger for activating the head and an on/off switch which acts as a safety lock preventing the trigger from being pulled.
When the unit is charged three colored LEDs on the handle convey the battery level when the trigger is pulled.
The Hammerest Electric Ratchet Wrench comes with seven six-point metric sockets and one head adapter that all snap in place in the carrying case for storage.
The seven sockets range in size from 10 mm to 17 mm, the head adapter is 1/4 in.
All of the included sockets have a 3/8 in. connection with the 1/4 in. adapter employed for using sockets with a 1/4 in. connection.
For $89.99 I would have expected the Hammerest to include more than seven sockets like other standard sizes including 1/4 in. 3/8 in., 1/2 in., and 3/4 in. sockets.
Along with the sockets, the carrying case has space for the Hammerest unit, the power supply, and the battery pack as well.
The carrying case snaps closed with two rather flimsy red plastic latches.
The case itself has a textured surface with no markings or branding on it at all.
There’s a small integrated handle in the case making it easy to carry the Hammerest and all of its accessories.
The power supply for the Hammerest Electric Ratchet Wrench is a standard 12 V plug and cable.
The power supply connects to the battery via a small port on the top of the pack
The battery pack connects to the Hammerest and snaps securely in place with two side tabs. The three-sided design of the battery does make it difficult to immediately pop the battery in place though. I often found myself rotating the battery around a few times before it fit.
One majorly disappointing aspect of the Hammerest was that all of the components appeared to have been previously used despite being marketed as brand new.
The case had obvious wear and tear on it with parts of the interior broken. Out of the box, on close inspection, the battery pack had tons of scratches indicating that it had been inserted and removed from the unit a number of times.
The Hammerest Electric Ratchet Wrench itself also had scratches, grease marks, and scuffs all over it right out of the box, at $89.99 this is really unacceptable.
The only setup required for the Hammerest is to charge the battery pack.
Using the included power supply, a full charge from empty takes about 90 minutes on average.
I used the Hammerest Electric Ratchet Wrench on a variety of jobs over about a month, but the main test of the unit for me was the removal of a couple of old rusty rock rails from my FJ Cruiser.
I’ve been meaning to remove these rails for a long time now but have been avoiding it because the bolts are pretty long, in tight spots, and rusted in place. A perfect scenario for using an electric ratchet wrench.
Because electric ratchet wrenches like the Hammerest are meant for low torque applications I used a standard socket wrench to loosen the rusted bolts first. While I barely had room to operate the standard socket ratchet wrench in the tight confines under my truck, the Hammerest had room to work with no problem.
Since only the head on the Hammerest moves, it requires a lot less space to work in. The built-in LED of the Hammerest came in use as well since it was difficult to see while working underneath the vehicle. It would’ve been great to have an option to turn the light on without engaging the head though.
The first rail came off with no problem and the speed of the Hammerest helped cut the job time down significantly.
The bolts for the rail on the other side of the FJ were a bit more difficult and harder to reach.
Even with the tight space restrictions, it wasn’t difficult to get the Hammerest in place
Once positioned and with the socket loosened by the standard socket wrench the Hammerest made short work of the remaining bolts as well.
The Hammerest Electric Ratchet Wrench worked well on this job and most of the other jobs I employed it on. The battery life and charge time were consistent with what the manufacturer stated, the torque of the head seemed consistent with similar units, and features like the LED light and battery indicator functioned as designed. I do worry about the longevity of the unit though mainly because it seems to have been previously owned.
What I like
- Fits in tight spaces
- Easy to use
- LED light is useful
What needs to be improved
- Should include more sockets
- Carrying case is flimsy and breaks easily
- Unit appears previously used
The Hammerest Electric Ratchet Wrench was able to complete every task I used it for, but I was disappointed to find that the unit had wear on it indicating that it had been previously used. For $89.99, the Hammerest kit should provide more value like a sturdier carrying case and more sockets, especially an extension. While the Hammerest has most of the features you look for in an electric ratchet wrench like an LED, safety lock, and power indicator, there are a lot of cheaper options out there of much better quality from well-known brands.