Automotive Education/Info Tool Review

Snap On Cordless Ratchet Smokes and Catches Fire!

Watch this Snap On cordless ratchet smoke!

So, before I get started on this post about my experience with a smoking hot Snap On cordless 3/8 ratchet, I’m going to admit one thing. I’ve abused this old Snap On ratchet for several years. It is actually one on the
ever shortening list of Snap On tools I would recommend.

Now that I’ve said that, I’m going to go ahead and tell you that I am a Milwaukee power tools fan. In most cases, I recommend Milwaukee electric tools versus Snap-On electric tools due to things like price point, durability, warranty etc. I’m not gonna get into the Snap On versus Milwaukee argument in general. Another day, another time.

I definitely have a soft spot for this old Snap On cordless ratchet. After you watch the video, you’re going to see why I’m pretty upset.

Watch my Snap On ratchet meet it’s maker on YouTube!

Like I said above, this Snap-On electric ratchet has been highly abused over the last couple of years. It’s been one of the best go-to cordless electric ratchets since I got it off the Snap-On truck back in probably 2018. That was before I started buying a lot of Snap-On alternatives.

My biggest knock on the CTR861DB has always been that it’s maximum RPM is pretty low and it can cost you a little bit of time on big jobs. As far as durability and torque though, it has always performed well.

On this cold day in February up in the North Country though, the old Snappy electric ratchet bit the dust. It did so in a fantastic and awesome way given it’s long history.


Related Post- Is Milwaukee’s Cordless Die-Grinder the Best Battery Tool on Earth?  

Rebuild the tool or buy the new CTR861DB brushless model? 

Naturally when one of my favorite tools breaks, my first thought is how am I going to replace it? Should I buy a new Snap-On ratchet or have the old one rebuilt? Should I look into the Milwaukee Fuel M18 3/8 drive version? It is much cheaper and the reviews are great. What should I do with this Snap-On cordless ratchet?

I dealt with this same dilemma the five times I bought Snap On neck lights. I loved those neck lights more than any other light in my toolbox. Sadly, they had a fatal flaw in the neck band and I bought 5 pairs by time I gave up. I also purchased one set of the detachable Snap On neck light. Quality was much better on the detachable neck lights, but I lost one of the side lights in a Nissan Rogue. Now they are back ordered and I was trying for months to get another before I found a cheaper alternative that worked even better. But, back to this cordless ratchet.


Related Post- Did Someone Finally Knock Off Snap-On Screw Drivers? 

I decided to buy an M18 cordless ratchet and rebuild my Snap On.

I pondered the question all day and came to a conclusion at the end. Since it only cost around $150 to rebuild the Snap On CTR861DB cordless ratchet, I’m going to go ahead and do that. But… I’m also going to buy the newest version of the Milwaukee Fuel cordless ratchet and give that a try. I can buy the M18 3/8 cordless electric bare tool on Amazon for $180 and use my existing Milwaukee-compatible batteries.

My logic is this.

If I can pay $150 and have an essentially new Snap On electric ratchet, I’m going to do that any day of the week. But at the same time, I’m a tool junky and I want to take a shot at the Milwaukee Fuel M18 cordless ratchet.

There’s one other option I considered. That’s buying the new Snap On CTR861DB brushless 3/8 drive cordless ratchet. At a tool-only price of around $380, I was a little turned off. Especially since I’ve noticed a drop off in quality with their 14.4V battery electric line. For the same $380 I can buy a pair of M12 Milwaukee Fuel 3/8 ratchets and use one of the dozen M12 batteries I have laying around.

If you like Snap On, check out my post comparing it to Icon Tools from Harbor Freight.


Check back soon and I’ll have the scoop on which one becomes my newest go-to cordless 3/8 ratchet. And since we’re talking about tools here and Snap On in general, check out my post comparing Icon tools to Snap On.







By John Green

I’m John Green. I’m a 33 year old auto technician from Upstate New York. I have 18 years of experience as an automotive light duty and heavy duty truck mechanic. Cars, trucks and anything with moving parts are my passion in my professional life.

Aside from my life as a technician, I am also a seasoned investor and consider myself very financially literate. I use this other passion combined with my passion for cars, trucks and tools to look for ways to save money for my technician friends.

Raising my three girls and teaching them the proper way of life is my personal passion in life. If you want to know more, just ask! I’m on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube as well!