Tool Review: Chicago Pneumatic air ratchets

Aug. 1, 2005
A look at how Chicago Pneumatic's new Quiet ratchet performed in our Innovation Award panelists' shops.

New from Chicago Pneumatic is their CP7830Q and CP7830HQ line of quieter 3/8" and 1/2"-drive air ratchets. According to the company, adjustable noise level controls allow these ratchets to run as quietly as 79 decibels without losing power. Additional features include outputs of up to 90 ft.-lbs. at a maximum rate of 190 RPM with a TriSpring ratchet head and overall tool design that's more balanced, and lighterweight.

To see how these Quiet ratchets would hold up under shop conditions, we put them in the hands of Innovation Award panelists and ASE-certified master technicians:

  • Joe Marconi, owner of Osceola Garage in Baldwin Place, NY.
  • Rick LaChance, president of North Eugene Automotive in North Eugene, OR.
  • Chuck Svitak, owner of AutoTech in Boca Raton, FL.
  • Mike Steptoe, owner of Reliable Auto Repair in Fort Atkinson, WI.

The Review

The high points from using this latest CP power tool were nearly unanimous, but each technician offered their own unique take on why these features were important to them. The benefits cited by each included:

  • The lower noise output.
  • Less noise did not translate to less power.
  • The tool's design and handle allowed for greater control and accessibility.

"The first thing you notice after pressing the trigger is the low noise level," stated Marconi. "Anything that can help save your hearing is a huge benefit. But it doesn't stop with just the low noise level. This ratchet is powerful and durable, and it's also lightweight and balanced to make it easy to maneuver," he added.

Svitak and LaChance also liked the lower noise level, but for another reason. Both explained how important it is for them to be able to effectively answer the phone and clearly communicate with customers while work is being done, because of how close their service counters are to the repair bays.

"When you've got a typical ratchet screaming away in the background, it's tough to talk," explained Svitak. "With this tool I don't have to tell the guys in the shop to stop working so I can hear the phone, or put the customer on hold so I can go into the office to take the call," stated LaChance. "It just adds to the shop's overall efficiency."

"It's a very smooth tool," reinforced Steptoe. "With a number of my other power tools, sometimes changing between forward and reverse can be a little sticky, but not here. The only problem is that with the ratchet running so quiet, I felt like I had to check that things were tight enough, and they always were. It was just deceiving because of how effortlessly the tool seemed to be working.

"The trigger is also positioned really well for getting into some tight spots," he added. LaChance agreed, sighting water pump bolts as a particularly handy application.

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