Tool Review: Matco Tools 3/8" Air Ratchet and 12V Cordless Infinium 3/8" Ratchet Kit

A dynamic duo of power tools help get underhood work done fast.


The Matco Tools 12V Infinium 3/8” Cordless Ratchet, No. MUC1238RKIT, comes with a 2.0 Ah battery that has 33 percent more run time than previous 1.5 Ah versions. It is designed to have all the benefits and ruggedness of a pneumatic ratchet but with the following features: 55 ft/lbs of torque, feather trigger to adjust torque, LED trigger activated light, patented grease fitting in the yoke for reliable servicing of the tool, battery "fuel gauge," and a one-hour charge time for the battery.

The Matco Tools 3/8” Air Ratchet, No. MT2854, can deliver up to 100 ft/lbs of reverse torque to remove the toughest fasteners and includes a variable-speed feather trigger so users have power and precision that's key when working in close quarters. The tool can be greased via a fitting in the yoke. The review

Alex Portillo, the lead technician at Car Clinic, an auto repair facility in Mahopac, NY, had all but given up on his 3/8” air ratchet. Even though he paid good money for a “name brand” one, that ratchet simply did not cut it. It was too weak to break bolts and it often was just a waste of time to even pull out. Now he had the opportunity to test two different ratchets to see if they would be an upgrade to his arsenal.

The nut-busting torque made all the difference in his book. “The air ratchet is light and much more powerful than my other air ratchet,” noted Portillo. “On the box it says the MT2854 has a peak torque of 100 ft/lbs, about twice that of my other air ratchet. It makes all the difference in my opinion. It has a ton more power and it can loosen stuck-on bolts without manually wrenching the bolt out.”

Matco’s air ratchet, with it’s smaller and higher located trigger, also interested Portillo. “The Matco one is well proportioned; it feels good in your hand. I like its trigger,” he said. “It is sensitive so that I can adjust torque for different applications, but not too sensitive. A lot of air ratchets have a long trigger in the bottom. For example, the cordless Matco one has this. To be honest, I prefer the smaller trigger. It reminds me a lot of the ‘Z' button on my old Nintendo 64 controller. It gives me a feeling of greater control.”

Many technicians shopping around for power tools may be debating to wait until electric tools become more powerful, or to buy a set of both. Portillo appears to be sold on a dynamic duo.

“Personally, I think it's an advantage to have both tools. The cordless ratchet, because it has no hose, fits into tight spots easily,” observed Portillo. “It does not have the same power as the MT2854, though. To save time, I use the MT2854 to loosen everything and the cordless one to put everything back together. Using them in tandem works great.

“As a side note, that battery really does charge to full capacity in about an hour,” Portillo added. “I don’t know how they do it.”

He rated both tools a “9 out of 10.” He did notice that the Matco tools were a little bit longer than the air ratchet he was used to. “The drawback of both tools is that they are a couple centimeters longer than the other air ratchet I’m used to,” said Portillo. “To be honest, this is not really a big deal, it is a very small difference, but it is worth mentioning.”

Overall, he was impressed. “These tools have permanently earned a space on my tool cart,” Portillo said. “I’m selling my other air ratchet tomorrow.”

 

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