The Best Air Ratchet Under 100 (Review & Guide) – 2021

What’s the best air ratchet under 100 for your job?

There are many air ratchets available. Different sizes, different torque levels, and different prices. Wondering which one is most powerful and most reliable?

You’ll need to understand the differences in order to find the best air ratchet for under 100.

This post may contain affiliate links. That means if you click and buy, I may receive a small commission (at zero cost to you).

Our top pick is the |Aircat ACR802R 3/8″.

It’s our top pick because not only does it have 90 ft-lb of torque, making it extremely powerful and helpful for most jobs around the car and garage, but it’s also quieter than many other air ratchets under the $100 price point.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR TOP PICK

At A Glance: Our Top Picks For The Best Air Ratchet Under 100

Air RatchetSpecs
Best Overall Choice: 3/8″ Air RatchetAircat ACR802R 3/8-Inch RatchetWorking torque: 5-70 ft-lb
Max torque: 90 (ft-lbs)
Free Speed:  280 (rpm)
Noise level: 85 dB(A)
Bolt capacity: 3/4″
Weight: 2.75 lb
Length: 10.5 “
SCFM air compressor size: 4
Runner Up:
⅜” Air Ratchet
Ingersoll Rand 170G 3/8-Inch Edge Series Drive Air RatchetWorking torque: 10-55 ft lb
Max torque: 55 (ft-lbs)
Free Speed:  170 (rpm)
Noise level: 94.8 dB(A)
Bolt capacity: 3/8″
Weight: 2.6 lb
Length: 10.4 “
SCFM air compressor size: 3
Best Overall Choice: ¼” Air RatchetIngersoll Rand 105-D2 1/4-Inch Air RatchetWorking torque: 5-20 ft lb
Max torque: 25 (ft-lbs)
Free Speed:  250 (rpm)
Noise level: 81.8 dB(A)
Bolt capacity: 1/4″
Weight: 1.4 lb
Length: 7.3 “
SCFM air compressor size: 3
Best Budget:
⅜” Air Ratchet
Autolock Pneumatic 3/8″ Air Ratchet WrenchWorking torque: 5-20 ft-lb
Max torque: 45 ft-lbs
Free Speed:  250 rpm
Noise level: NA
Bolt capacity: 3/8″
Weight: 2.6 lb
Length: NA
SCFM air compressor size: 4
Best Mini:
3/8″ Air Ratchet
AirCat ACR801R 3/8″ Mini RatchetWorking torque: 5-35 ft-lb
Max torque: 35 ft-lbs
Free Speed:  320 rpm
Noise level: 85 dB(A)
Bolt capacity: 3/8″
Weight: 1.63 lb
Length: 8.5″
SCFM air compressor size: 3.5

IN THIS GUIDE

TOP Air Ratchets Under 100Things to Look for When Choosing an Air Ratchet
FAQs For The Best Air Ratchets Under 100Is a cordless impact wrench the same as a torque wrench?
Is an air impact wrench the same as an air ratchet?How does a pneumatic ratchet work?
What is a pneumatic ratchet?What size air compressor do I need for an air ratchet?
Can you use an impact socket with hand tools?What size air compressor do I need for an air ratchet?

TOP Air Ratchets Under 100

Best Overall Choice: 3/8″ Air Ratchet

Aircat ACR802R 3/8-Inch Ratchet

Specs

  • Working torque: 5-70 ft lb
  • Max torque: 90 (ft-lbs)
  • Free Speed:  280 (rpm)
  • Noise level: 85 dB(A)
  • Bolt capacity: 3/4″
  • Weight: 2.75 lb
  • Length: 10.5 “
  • SCFM air compressor size: 4

What We Like

  • Very powerful
  • Quite durable and lightweight
  • Low noise
  • Easy and comfortable to use

What We Don’t Like

  • Does not have additional accessories in the package

Summary

The Aircat ACR802R 3/8-Inch ratchet wrench is a powerful and comfortable to use tool; the reason you find it with most professional auto mechanics. The overflow of rave reviews mentioning its durability and smooth functionality is the best indicator of its quality, making it our top choice for the best air ratchet under 100.

Not only that but it’s the most powerful, high torque air ratchet on our list, with 90 ft-lbs of torque, another reason it’s our top pick.

Typically, Aircat is a leader in innovation and technology, and this ratchet does not disappoint. They employ their unique technology to significantly reduce the uncomfortable noise, primarily associated with typical air ratchets, with no effect on its efficiency.

Its trigger lever is easy to use and therefore worth mentioning.

Many users have crowned it as one of the easiest and most comfortable triggers in the market today, and it’s hard to disagree that this is the air ratchet you’ll want in your tool box. It’s lightweight, something that comes as a surprise to many because people often associate quality power tools with some weight.

The Aircat ACR802R 3/8″ air ratchet tool pushes through a satisfying, high torque of 90 ft-lbs and 280 rpm free speed, enough to complete the tasks you throw at it.

Runner Up: ⅜” Air Ratchet

Ingersoll Rand 170G 3/8-Inch Edge Series Drive Air Ratchet

SPECS

  • Working torque: 10-55 ft lb
  • Max torque: 55 (ft-lbs)
  • Free Speed:  170 (rpm)
  • Noise level: 94.8 dB(A)
  • Bolt capacity: 3/8″
  • Weight: 2.6 lb
  • Length: 10.4 “
  • SCFM air compressor size: 3

What We Like

  • Enough torque and speed for a quick job
  • Budget-friendly
  • Great design for tight spaces
  • Comfortable to use

What We Don’t LIke

  • The ratchet is a bit loud
  • Handle trigger could do with some improvements

Summary: Ingersoll Rand is a brand that needs no introduction, with the Ingersoll Rand 170G 3/8 Inch Edge Series Drive air ratchet, which is compact, robust, and boasts speeds to leave any gearhead with a smile. It has speeds of up to 170 rpm and a maximum torque of 55 ft-lb.

The air ratchet has a relatively compact design allowing you access to tight spaces. Other features such as the unique design handle and grip enhance the user experience. It’s easy to hold and press when held in the correct position.

Another reason this air ratchet is at the top of our list is that it’s a high torque air ratchet with the second-highest torque capability, next to our top pick, the Aircat ACR802R 3/8″ Ratchet.

It comes with a heat-treated ratchet head for durability and strength to overcome abuse that comes with the job. However, the handle trigger could do with some improvements.

Best Overall Choice: ¼” Air Ratchet

Ingersoll Rand 105-D2 1/4-Inch Air Ratchet

SPECS

  • Working torque: 5-20 ft lb
  • Max torque: 25 (ft-lbs)
  • Free Speed:  250 (rpm)
  • Noise level: 81.8 dB(A)
  • Bolt capacity: 1/4″
  • Weight: 1.4 lb
  • Length: 7.3 “
  • SCFM air compressor size: 3

What We Like

  • High speed and power to deliver
  • Durable and unique head construction
  • User-friendly forward and reverse control
  • Comfortable handle and coupling nut

What We Don’t Like

  • It may be a bit short for some tight spaces
  • Some users say that it’s not as sturdy as older models

Summary: Durability and reliability are two desirable qualities in every power tool, and this is where the Ingersoll Rand 105-D2 excels. This air ratchet has a higher RPM, at 250 rpm free speed, than its sibling, the 170G, with 170 RPM, and therefore more efficient.

Its maximum torque is 25 ft-lb, making it a bit underpowered than others in this review, but that doesn’t keep it from delivering impressive power and making the top of our list for being the best 1/4″ air ratchet under $100.

This ratchet boasts a durable and unique head construction for durability and strength. It is consistent over its lifespan, and therefore, good value for money. Another great feature is the low profile forward and reverse control to ensure easy gripping and prevent unintentional changing of directions.

On the downside, this Ingersoll Rand ratchet may be a bit too short for particular applications where you need to get to the tight spots. It may also not be as strong as older models, according to reviewers.

Best Budget ⅜” Air Ratchet

Autolock Pneumatic 3/8″ Air Ratchet Wrench

SPECS

  • Working torque: 5-20 ft-lb
  • Max torque: 45 ft-lbs
  • Free Speed:  250 rpm
  • Noise level: NA
  • Bolt capacity: 3/8″
  • Weight: 2.6 lb
  • Length: NA
  • SCFM air compressor size: 4

What We Like

  • Compact and comfortable to use
  • Steelhead construction and aluminum housing for sturdiness
  • Safe and ergonomic handle
  • Forward and reverse control to prevent a change of directions

What We Don’t Like

  • The ratchet feels heavy for some people

Summary: This Autolock pneumatic air ratchet wrench is compact and comfortable on the hands. It slots easily in tight spaces and delivers the goods in power and speed. The maximum torque is 45 ft-lbs, and the free speed is 250 rpm to sufficiently complete the task and in good time.

Well, looks can be quite deceiving. This compact pneumatic tool has a steelhead construction and aluminum housing for the needed sturdiness. The handle and coupling nut comes with an ergonomic handle with no sharp edges for your safety.

Even though the tool feels well-balanced, some feel that it falls short when it comes to weight because it’s somewhat heavy.

Best Mini 3/8″ Air Ratchet

AirCat ACR801R 3/8″ Mini Ratchet

SPECS

  • Working torque: 5-35 ft-lb
  • Max torque: 35 ft-lbs
  • Free Speed:  320 rpm
  • Noise level: 85 dB(A)
  • Bolt capacity: 3/8″
  • Weight: 1.63 lb
  • Length: 8.5″
  • SCFM air compressor size: 3.5

What We Like

  • Small size and functional
  • Powerful air ratchet
  • Comfortable trigger and handle
  • Relatively quiet exhaust

What We Don’t Like

  • It may not be the best for heavy-duty torque applications

Summary: The powder-coated AirCat ACR801R ratchet is all about compactness and functionality. It’s powered by 35 ft-lb torque and 320 rpm to handle the bolts and lug nuts that come their way and in good time. The ratchet has a fast rundown.

The internal mechanics are superior, and overall, it is comfortable to use, thanks to a feather trigger and ergonomic handle. The tool boasts a convenient and straightforward trigger for easier use. And with a quiet-tuned exhaust, the ratchet is less noisy than some of its peers.

Lightweight and compact ratchets allow you to access some of the most challenging sections of the vehicle. This single pawl ratchet only weighs 1.63 lbs and is only 8.5 inches.

Then again, the small ratchet may not have sufficient power for heavy-duty applications.

Best Mini 1/4″ Air Ratchet

Craftsman 9-19930 1/4-Inch Mini Ratchet Wrench

SPECS

  • Working torque: NA
  • Max torque: 20 ft-lbs
  • Free Speed:  250 rpm
  • Noise level: NA
  • Bolt capacity: 1/4″
  • Weight: 1.55 lb
  • Length: NA
  • SCFM air compressor size: NA

What We Like

  • Powerful and fast
  • Lightweight design
  • Unique sealed head to handle extreme forces

What We Don’t Like

  • It may feel underpowered for some people
  • The button is not the best material

Summary: The 20 foot-pounds torque automotive air tool pushes up to 250 rpm to provide the power and speed you need. The Craftsman’s 9-19930 Mini Ratchet Wrench has a composite housing for a lightweight design. It only weighs 1.55 lbs.

Combined with the ergonomic handle and low-profile trigger, the tool is relatively easy to handle and comfortable to use.

You will notice that the ratchet has a unique sealed head. This is to prevent spreading when exposed to extreme forces.

It uses the twin pawl ratcheting mechanism, responsible for a smooth operation. The rear exhaust and inbuilt silencer do an excellent job of reducing the noise.

However, the material on the trigger does not feel as sturdy as you’d expect. Its overall power does not match that of its other peers and will somehow feel underpowered.

DEWALT Air Ratchet, Square Drive, 3/8-Inch (DWMT70776L)

SPECS

  • Working torque: NA
  • Max torque: 65 ft-lbs
  • Free Speed:  180 rpm
  • Noise level: NA
  • Bolt capacity: 3/8″
  • Weight: 2.6 lb
  • Length: NA
  • SCFM air compressor size: NA

What We Like

  • Durable and strong
  • Powerful for the stubborn fasteners
  • Easy to use control trigger

What We Don’t Like

  • Produces a lot of noise
  • It may not fit in some of the tight spaces

Summary: At 65-foot pound torque, the DEWALT 3/8″ Air Ratchet (DWMT70776) boasts sufficient power to move some of the most stubborn rusty lug nuts and bolts. The free speed of 180 rpm complements this power for complete control.

This Dewalt air ratchet has a sturdy and durable aluminum body design that is up to the task at hand. It also has a closed head to prevent chipping on contact with numerous fasteners. The device is made to last.

One of the standout features is the touch-control trigger, comfortable to use, especially in tight spaces. Talking of comfort, the device has a rubber cushion grip and an ergonomic handle that makes it easy to use for prolonged periods.

On the other side of the coin, this air ratchet is not as quiet as you may wish. You will need earplugs. Furthermore, its body is a bit thick to fit in some of the tight spaces.

Best Cordless Air Ratchet

ACDelco ARW1209P G12 Series 12V Li-ion Cordless 3/8″ 45 ft-lbs Ratchet Wrench Tool Kit

SPECS

  • Working torque: 5-35 ft-lb
  • Max torque: 45 ft-lbs
  • Free Speed:  170 rpm
  • Noise level: NA
  • Bolt capacity: 3/8″
  • Weight: 1.98 lb
  • Length: 11.5″
  • SCFM air compressor size: NA

What We Like

  • Made from high-quality materials
  • Fast and easy to use
  • Powerful ratchet wrench
  • Electronic brake for total control

What We Don’t Like

  • At 2.3 lbs, the item is heavier than most others on the market

Summary: If you’re looking for the best cordless air ratchet for under 100, and versatile, then the ACDelco ARW1209P pretty much fits the bill. The fact that the tool is lightweight and compact makes it useful in tight spaces, and no bolt or lug nut is out of reach.

But despite its small size, this cordless ratchet wrench packs a lot of power, with 45 ft-lbs torque. Its no-load speed is 170 rpm, and together with the electronic brake, you have total control over the process. And the inbuilt safety lock switch enhances your safety when using the ratchet.

This air ratchet wrench has an ergonomic handle design for cushioning your hands against shock. Also, the slim body design fits quite well on your palms.

Unfortunately, this cordless tool packs some additional weight, which makes it heavier than the others in its category.

Tooluxe 31456L 1/2″ Reversible Air Ratchet Wrench, 150 Rpm | 45′-Lb Max Torque

What We Like

  • Moves clockwise and counterclockwise for versatility
  • Built-in air regulator for easier control
  • Gear reduction mechanism to ensure durability
  • Alloy steel aluminum body

What We Don’t Like

  • It is a bit slow
  • It may not be sufficiently robust for stubborn bolts

Summary: The air ratchet that moves both clockwise and counterclockwise makes the vehicle technician’s work a lot easier – no need to switch between tools when dealing with fasteners. Apart from the reversible four vane motor, the Toolux air ratchet wrench, with a free speed of 150 rpm, comes with a controllable trigger.

The built-in air regulator allows you to control the trigger easily and the amount of torque applied. Different fasteners require different amounts of power. And this air ratchet has a gear reduction mechanism to ensure performance on various applications and make it more durable.

On the downside, the tool is a bit slow and may struggle to break loose some of the stubborn bolts.

Chicago Pneumatic CP886H 1/2-Inch Standard Duty Air Ratchet

What We Like

  • Compact head design for flexibility in tight spaces
  • Easy to use the reverse lever
  • Hardened gears for durability
  • Versatile

What We Don’t Like

  • A bit weighty
  • It is also very noisy

Summary: The Chicago Pneumatic CP886H 1/2″ standard-duty ratchet has several great features that you would expect from a ratchet that makes the list for the best air ratchet under 100. For example, it has a compact head design for adequate flexibility in some of the tight areas and it has a comfortable reverse lever for an effortless change of direction.

The Chicago Pneumatic CP886H 1/2″ air ratchet demonstrates greater durability than its peers on the market, thanks to the hardened gears. It’s versatile and the kind of ratchet used on various applications such as exhaust systems, water pumps, radiators, and spark plugs.

However, the tool is a bit heavier than most of the other ratchets on the market. You will also need earplugs when using it because it is noisy.

Things to Look for When Choosing an Air Ratchet

1.    Drive Head

The drive head size is one of the most important considerations when choosing the best air ratchet under 100. The standard sizes are 1/2-inch or 1/4-inch, but you will still come across 3/8-inch and larger. Your ideal tool size depends on the application you will be using it on.

The 1/2 and 1/4-inch ratchets are for heavy-duty applications, while the 3/8-inch are for lightweight and medium weight applications.

2.    Torque / Power rating

The power rating or the torque determines the ability of the tool to fasten and unfasten. Typically, the higher the torque, usually measured in foot-pounds, the more power the ratchet has to break the stubborn fasteners loose.

You don’t need a very powerful air ratchet if you will only be using it on basic fasteners. A 20 – 30 ft-lbs may be enough- reserve the higher powered ones for heavy-duty applications.

3.    Speed / RPM

The rate at which the drive head spins, measured in rpm, determines how fast it screws or unscrews the fasteners. High rpm models are ideal so that you can move to something else. Some of the top models have speeds of between 150 and 400 rpm.

4.    Length & Weight

As a handheld device, the weight and length of the air ratchet are critical. They affect the ease of use.

The Best air ratchet under 100 can mostly be a lightweight and shorter machine that easily slots in tight spaces, such as car engines, to work seamlessly. Lightweight models are easier to use for extended periods with little or no hand fatigue.

5.    Noise level

Some of the old-school air ratchets are very uncomfortable to the ears. You need ear protection when using them. While the ratchet wrenches cannot be completely silent, there are the latest models in the market with a lower noise rating.

Something like 80 dB and lower is ideal for the best air ratchet under 100. Go for the quieter models as they make your work easier and comfortable.

6.    Grip

A comfortable handle and grip prolong the period of use for the air ratchet wrench. It works hand-in-hand with the weight of the machine to reduce hand fatigue.

An ergonomic handle design and a rubberized handle go a long way into reducing hand discomfort.

FAQs For The Best Air Ratchets Under 100

Is a cordless impact wrench the same as a torque wrench?

No, an impact wrench is not the same as a torque wrench. The main difference is that an impact wrench, sometimes referred to as an impact tool, is a power tool that can exert a high impact force to tighten and loosen tight bolts. On the other hand, a torque wrench is a hand tool with torque control that helps tighten the lug nuts and bolts.

Is an air impact wrench the same as an air ratchet?

No, an air impact wrench is not the same as an air ratchet. The difference is in torque(twisting capability). Air impact wrenches are designed to output higher torque than ratchets which makes an impact wrench a better tool for loosening a lug nut or bolt. Air ratchets are useful for loosening or tightening lug nuts and bolts that require low-to-medium torque. But be cautious because an impact wrench can over-torque the bolts and damage the threads or break the nut or bolt heads.

How does a pneumatic ratchet work?

A pneumatic ratchet works with force from an air compressor. The motor is activated when you push the trigger and the air compressor provides pressurized bursts of air to operate.

What is a pneumatic ratchet?

A pneumatic ratchet or any pneumatic tool is a tool that works with compressed air instead of electricity or human force. All pneumatic tools require an air compressor to provide a pressurized burst of air to operate.

What size air compressor do I need for an air ratchet?

According to Northern Tool, for a 1/4″ ratchet, like the Ingersoll Rand 105-D2 1/4-Inch Air Ratchet, you’ll need between 2.5 – 3.5 SCFM.
If your ratchet is 3/8″, you’ll need a larger size, somewhere between 4.5 – 5 SCFM.

Northern Tool also provides a helpful explanation about the SCFM (standard cubic feet per minute) measurement:

When matching a pneumatic tool’s requirements to an air compressor’s capabilities, the most important rating to consider is how much air the compressor can deliver, which is measured in standard cubic feet per minute (SCFM). Tools powered by air compressors also have SCFM ratings, which indicate the air flow required for optimal operation.

Can you use an impact socket with hand tools?

According to the Napa Know How Blog, you can definitely use an impact socket with hand tools, however, they state:

You’ll notice that they are heavier than standard sockets and maybe too thick at the borders to fit into tighter spots. Can you use regular sockets with an impact gun? You can, but you’re running the risk of shortening the life of the socket due to the vibration and stress associated with the driver

Summary: The best air ratchet under 100

Hopefully, this article has been helpful and will make your purchase decision simpler.

As you can see, there are many air ratchets available. Different sizes, different torque levels, and different prices. From the research that we’ve done, we’re recommending the Aircat ACR802R 3/8″.

The Aircat ACR802R 3/8″ is our top pick because not only does it have 90 ft-lb of torque, making it extremely powerful (most powerful on our list) and helpful for most jobs around the car and garage, but it’s also quieter than many other air ratchets under the $100 price point.

Last update on 2021-12-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API