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Older Made in USA Kobalt ratchets


BMack37

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I bought a really nice Kobalt socket/ratchet set back in high school, upon research it was made by Williams. I've always LOVED this set. My single ratchet in that set is 3/8" which is great for what I need...but recently, I'm in need of a 1/4" ratchet and would like another 3/8" ratchet for the workshop. I cannot find the old Kobalt Williams ratchets for less than ridiculous money, but I can find Williams from Taiwan(same aesthetic style) or I can find the Kobalt made in USA by Danaher(I believe). (As you see, I did research before asking)... well, if you were in my position, NOT limited to the aforementioned ratchets but knowing I have a fondness for the Kobalt Williams ratchets; what would you recommend? I don't have a Snap-on budget and I'm not dead-set on USA made but it would be nice. I'm not opposed to searching for and buying used or NOS on eBay or Amazon.

 

This is the Kobalt by Wiilliams:

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This is the Williams built in Taiwan:

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This is the Kobalt that I believe is made by Danaher:

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Those original Kobalt ratchets were indeed contracted to Williams from the introduction of the Kobalt line in 1998 until the Danaher contract began in late 2002 or early 2003.

I still have damn near all of my original Kobalt stuff including ratchets, screwdrivers, and socket that still make up a bulk of my daily users.

That same exact ratchet is still available under Snap-On's Blue Point line, though it is now Taiwan made.

What is your budget and what type are you looking for? Long, short, flex, comfort grip, etc? Give me some info and I'll suggest something

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Any mechanics tool with a model number beginning with 0 is a 1st generation tool. If it starts with a 2 it's a 2nd gen tool. By about the end of 2012 Lowe's was importing the 3rd generation, a lot of which was sourced from J&S Products.

It's also noteworthy that quality started to decline in the Danaher era. By the end of the 2nd gen a lot of it was pretty much garbage. The 3rd generation Taiwan stuff was actually an improvement.

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I'm looking for something very basic, 7-8" for the 3/8" and a little shorter for the 1/4". I'm not looking to spend a lot, I'm thinking about $10-15 each. It's fairly light duty work but I hate "cheap feeling" tools(if that makes sense). For example of that "Cheap feeling" I HATED the Blue Hawk ratchets I saw today at Lowes. The (current) Kobalts were ok. I like the push button release and I want all steel(no rubber grip). At one point I was considering the Harbor Freight stuff(which is also 72 tooth instead of 36 tooth) and they feel ok to me but I'm worried those will break in and get "sloppy." I'm sorry, I know this is rather vague description of what I want but I can only get hands-on with soo many tools, many of these are only available online.

 

Based on the decline in the Danaher era, I assume you think I should avoid, is that correct? With the Williams and I guess Blue Point Taiwan stuff, better/worse/same as the USA stuff? If it is that much better I guess I can bump up my budget.

 

My Kobalt is the 1st generation 03030 :)

 

Thanks for the replies thus far

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Well, that isn't much room to work with. For perspective, my 6 year old's bottom of the barrel 1/4" Stanley rat was $12 at Wal-Mart. At that price anything that works will be a victory.

Let me throw some ideas out there.

1: Check out the 72 tooth Blackhawk ratchets. These will be model #'s BP1214QR (1/4"), BP1338QR (3/8"), and BP1412QR (1/2"). You can also save a couple bucks by not getting the quick release (remove the QR from the model #'s. These are pretty stout ratchets and very unique looking. I carry these on my race trailer because they're cheap and dependable so if I lose one in a field in the mud, I'm not out $50. They're a little stiff when new, but the loosen up with use to be very nice ratchets.

2: If you aren't set on a fine tooth ratchet, get yourself a set of classic Proto pearheads. J4749 (1/4"), J5249 (3/8"), and J5449 (1/2"). These ratchets have been in use in some variation since well before WWII. They're going to be out of your budget new, but you can find them on eBay really cheap and repair parts will be available until the end of time. They're 24 tooth, but they're stout as hell and smooth as butter, so you really don't notice the low tooth count. They haven't been around 80+ years because they suck. When you search for the on eBay, don't use the J in the model #. If you do, it will only return new ones. Search Proto 5249 or Proto 3/8 ratchet, etc.

Check those out and let me know what you think

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Well, that isn't much room to work with. For perspective, my 6 year old's bottom of the barrel 1/4" Stanley rat was $12 at Wal-Mart. At that price anything that works will be a victory.

Let me throw some ideas out there.

1: Check out the 72 tooth Blackhawk ratchets. These will be model #'s BP1214QR (1/4"), BP1338QR (3/8"), and BP1412QR (1/2"). You can also save a couple bucks by not getting the quick release (remove the QR from the model #'s. These are pretty stout ratchets and very unique looking. I carry these on my race trailer because they're cheap and dependable so if I lose one in a field in the mud, I'm not out $50. They're a little stiff when new, but the loosen up with use to be very nice ratchets.

2: If you aren't set on a fine tooth ratchet, get yourself a set of classic Proto pearheads. J4749 (1/4"), J5249 (3/8"), and J5449 (1/2"). These ratchets have been in use in some variation since well before WWII. They're going to be out of your budget new, but you can find them on eBay really cheap and repair parts will be available until the end of time. They're 24 tooth, but they're stout as hell and smooth as butter, so you really don't notice the low tooth count. They haven't been around 80+ years because they suck. When you search for the on eBay, don't use the J in the model #. If you do, it will only return new ones. Search Proto 5249 or Proto 3/8 ratchet, etc.

Check those out and let me know what you think

 

Thanks! This is very helpful, I guess I should be a little more realistic on budget, it's just hard for me to swallow how expensive things like ratchets are getting. I haven't shopped for ratchets in 13 years. Thanks again for both being soo helpful and soo patient.

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