What is a Ratchet Screwdriver?

In This Guide, You’ll Discover What a Rachet Screwdriver is and Why You Should Have One!


A ratchet screwdriver is a type of screwdriver that allows you to quickly and efficiently fasten screws without having to take your hand off the handle. The ratcheting mechanism allows for continuous turning in one direction, allowing you to apply pressure while also turning the screw.

This makes it easier to use than a standard fixed screwdriver, as it eliminates the need to constantly reposition your hand as you tighten or loosen the screw. Ratchet screwdrivers come in various styles and sizes, making them perfect for a verity of jobs.

How Does the Internal Mechanism of a Ratchet Screwdriver Work

Let’s have a look at how ratchet screwdrivers work. The internal mechanism of a ratcheting screwdriver consists of a handle, a ratchet gear, and pawls. This mechanism allows the user to easily screw or unscrew by repositioning their hand without having to remove the screwdriver from the fastener.

When the handle of a ratcheting screwdriver is turned clockwise, the ratchet gear engages with the pawls, which are small metal components that fit into the gear teeth. As the gear rotates, the pawls lock into place, allowing the gear to turn freely in one direction while preventing it from rotating in the opposite direction.

This design enables the user to apply continuous force in one direction while maintaining a steady grip on the handle. When the desired torque or depth is reached, the user can release the pressure and reposition their hand without needing to remove the screwdriver from the screw or fastener.

The ratcheting mechanism provides convenience, speed, and efficiency, making ratcheting screwdrivers popular among professionals and DIY enthusiasts alike.

Ratchet Screwdriver Vs Regular Screwdriver?

What is the difference between a ratchet screwdriver and a regular screwdriver? Ratchet screwdrivers offer several advantages over regular screwdrivers. First, they are more efficient to use, since the ratcheting mechanism allows the user to turn the shaft of the screwdriver in one direction while tightening or loosening screws with their other hand. This eliminates the need to reset one’s grip on the screwdriver every time they want to apply pressure in the opposite direction.

Ratchet screwdrivers also provide better precision and more torque compared to traditional fixed screwdrivers, making it easier to work with smaller or tighter screws.

Finally, ratchet screwdrivers often come with a variety of interchangeable heads for different types of screws and materials, giving users even more versatility for their projects.

When to Use Ratchet Screwdriver?

Ratchet screwdrivers are typically used when precision, speed and torque are important to get the job done. They are ideal for working with smaller or tighter screws that would be difficult to access or require plenty of torque to loosen, which a regular screwdriver will struggle with.

Ratchet screwdrivers also come in handy when working on projects that require frequent changes of direction, as the ratcheting mechanism makes it much easier to switch back and forth between tightening and loosening.

These tools can also be beneficial for people who find themselves having to work one-handed due to physical limitations or obstacles.

In short, ratchet screwdrivers provide greater precision, torque, convenience, versatility, and efficiency compared to traditional screwdrivers, making them well worth considering for a variety of applications that require a screwdriver. See which ratchet screwdriver you need here.

How to Use a Ratchet Screwdriver?

To use a ratchet screwdriver, first choose an appropriate bit for the type and size of screw. Insert the bit into the handle of the ratchet screwdriver, making sure that it is securely attached before proceeding.

When ready, hold the ratchet screwdriver firmly in one hand and position it against the head of the screw. Turn the shaft of the ratchet screwdriver in one direction to tighten or loosen, depending on what you are trying to accomplish.

If needed, you can reverse directions by pressing down on the thumb lever or switch located at the base of the tool. Depending on your project, you may also want to consider investing in a variety of interchangeable bits that can be utilized according to your needs.

Which Screwdriver Bits Are Required for Ratchet Screwdrivers?

Ratchet screwdrivers usually require hex head screwdriver bits. These bits come in a variety of sizes and shapes, allowing you to choose the one most suitable for your project.

You may also want to consider investing in a bit holder that is compatible with your ratchet screwdriver. Bit holders allow you to extend the shaft, meaning you can reach in to difficult places and apply more torque.

Additionally, many ratchet screwdrivers come with a variety of standard bits already included, making them a great option for those just getting started with this type of tool.

What is a Ratchet Stubby Screwdriver?

A ratchet stubby screwdriver is a type of screwdriver featuring a shorter handle and shaft than standard ratchet screwdrivers. This compact design makes them ideal for reaching into tight spaces and easily navigating around obstructions in order to access screws or bolts.

They come with interchangeable bits, usually including Phillips, slotted and hex head varieties, allowing you to use the appropriate bit for each job. Many ratchet stubby screwdrivers also feature a rotating cap at the top of the handle, which allows you to turn it even with limited gripping power.

Can You Use a Ratchet Wrench as a Screwdriver?

A ratchet wrench is primarily designed for use with nuts and bolts, but in some instances, a ratchet wrench can be adapted to work as a screwdriver. This is usually done by using a bit adapter, which converts the square drive of the ratchet into a hex socket for screwdriver bits.

Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Get a Bit Adapter: The first thing you’ll need is a bit adapter. This is a small tool that fits into the socket of your ratchet wrench and provides a hex-shaped hole on the other end where you can insert various screwdriver bits.
  2. Insert the Adapter: Place the adapter into the drive socket of the ratchet wrench. Make sure it’s securely fitted.
  3. Choose the Right Bit: Once the adapter is in place, choose the right bit for the screw you’re working with. This could be a flathead, Phillips, Torx, or any other type. Insert the bit into the hex hole of the adapter.
  4. Use the Ratchet Wrench as a Screwdriver: Now you can use the ratchet wrench as a screwdriver. The ratcheting mechanism allows you to turn the screw while keeping the tool in place, making it easier to tighten or loosen screws, especially in tight spaces.

Remember, while a ratchet wrench can be used as a screwdriver, it’s not a perfect substitute. A dedicated screwdriver or a ratchet screwdriver will be more comfortable and efficient for most screwdriving tasks.

If you require a wrench like handle to reach into awkward spaces, there are some ratchet screwdriver designs that allow you to put the screwdriver bit straight in without modifying adaptor.

Is a Ratcheting Screwdriver Worth it?

Yes, a ratcheting screwdriver is definitely worth investing in, be sure to see our guide on: best ratchet screwdrivers. It makes quick work of fastening and unfastening screws, as it allows for greater speed and efficiency. It eliminates the need to reposition your hand for each turn of the screw, making work more comfortable and efficient.

Additionally, many ratcheting screwdrivers come with a variety of interchangeable bits, so you can choose the one most suited to your project. This makes them exceptionally versatile and ideal for all sorts of DIY jobs around the house, and professional contractors.