Milwaukee M12 Cordless ratchet wrench review

The Best Cordless Ratchet Wrench, Part III

A Cordless Ratchet Wrench that will Put a Smile on Your Face.

While Cordless Impact Wrenches have enjoyed an increase in popularity in recent years, the less known but affordable and handy cordless ratchet has become an excellent accessory tool for pretty much every tool slinger. However, since it’s still at an early stage in the game, let’s take a look at a few of today’s top sellers to see which ratchets are hot and well-liked.

This is Part III of Which Cordless Ratchet Wrench is Best?

milwaukee-cordless-ratchet-500x500 The Best Cordless Ratchet Wrench, Part IIISecond Place:

The Milwaukee M12™ Cordless 3/8″ Ratchet Wrench

As per the usual over a number of years, Milwaukee tools get into a “best of” list, this time with the cordless ratchet. A good overall design combined not only with the company’s standard for high quality but also some unique extras cause this tool to practically be a must-have in the cordless wrench department.

When compared to other tools in its class, it’s easy to see that the M12 ratchet is one of the top performers across the board.


  • A powerful 12-Volt motor which delivers up to 35 pounds of torque
  • Very fast: it produces 250 RPM and allows for variable speed adjustment on the fly
  • Battery life LED meter so you know how much power is remaining
  • The ratchet, battery, and charger are engineered with REDLINK to be optimized for each other, resulting in increased performance and safeguards against overloading
  • Built-in LED light that enables you to see where you are working
  • Sub-Compact size allows for use in the tightest of spaces
  • Interchangeable REDLITHIUM battery sizes which enable users to best modify the ratchet according to their application
  • Reinforced steel housing and metal trigger are durable and prepared for work in heavy conditions


58100_2456-21_B-lg The Best Cordless Ratchet Wrench, Part III
Sub-Compact, Light, Powerful, and Versatile
  • Part Number: 2457-20
  • Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Dimensions: 9.5×2.9×1.8 inches
  • Origin: Mexico
  • Model Number: 2457-20
  • Color: Red
  • Power Source: Battery-Powered
  • Voltage: 12 Volts
  • Package Quantity: 1
  • Measurement System: Metric
  • Included Components: Combination Wrench
  • Batteries Included: (only with kit)
  • Batteries Required: Yes
  • Battery Cell Type: Lithium Ion


Most notably to us right from the start is the M12’s compact size. The main benefit of a having a cordless power ratchet in the first place is so that it can reach into crevasses and spaces that larger tools cannot. When compared to another cordless ratchet wrench like the Craftsman, it’s easy to see the difference that size makes for the busy mechanic. In order to help the tool retain the smallest size possible, the battery is also compact in size–but, the great thing is that it is still able to use the larger batteries that are compatible with Milwaukee’s other cordless power tools, so if the extra oomph is needed but space isn’t an issue, then you can slip the larger battery on and off you go.

The years-long quality, durability, and performance of Milwaukee is well-known and they did indeed put a lot of that into this small ratchet wrench. They claim that it is one of the strongest in its class and, to be honest, we are confident that’s rather accurate. Surprised is the correct word, we believe, to describe just how most feel when they pick up this compact, 12V cordless ratchet and use it for the first time.

Price is indeed another selling point. There are a few other high-quality, cordless ratchet wrenches on the market that can outperform the Milwaukee M12, but when it comes to the actual cost involved to purchase one, the cost is tremendously lower and that difference only increases as one considers extra batteries and chargers.

This particular model of ratchet is also one of the top-selling and top-rated sellers on Amazon, garnering 4.5/5 starts from nearly 300 reviews at the time of this article’s writing–which is one of the main reasons we chose it. There are a few minor issues here and there, such as a reported DOA (dead on arrival), a replacement not given under warranty, and torque not being high enough, but when the majority are raving about the torque and are highly pleased with it, we cannot help but add our support as well.



While the M12 Cordless Ratchet from Milwaukee is indeed a quality tool and able to be used for some professional applications, we do believe that it would be difficult to fully back it as an all-around, daily mechanic’s ratchet. The main reasons are sustainability on the smaller, compact batteries, as well as overall torque. While the torque is quite good and, in many cases, superior to most other cordless ratchets, it is still lagging behind an air tool considerably and hasn’t yet established itself as a shop’s “must have” tool, though in time we believe it very well could be.

Be aware of which version of this tool you buy, because it is available in both baretool and kit form. “Baretool” means that it is tool only–no battery, and no charger!

More than a few professional technicians report that this tool lacks the power needed to compete in an everyday shop setting, so if you intend to use it heavily in such an environment, perhaps a stronger, heavier-duty ratchet would be best.

Some people are reporting that the variable speed setting on the Milwaukee M12 isn’t really that “variable” at all. If you are concerned about this specific performance, then it is something to consider. If possible, we recommend testing the product before purchasing in order to see if it’s gentle enough for your desired feel and application.



While this cordless ratchet wrench is a great, compact tool, it once again demonstrates and brings to mind some of the complaints I had about cordless tools “back in the day,” and that is power.

While it is indeed more powerful than most, the simple fact that it is not AS powerful as we would like–and many professionals need–has us looking forward to Milwaukee’s future offerings in the cordless ratchet realm. As with the cordless impact wrenches, we know that the technology will improve, causing power issues to be a thing of the past.

Nevertheless, for the majority of users and applications, this tool is too good in size (compact) and quality to kick to the curb simply because the power isn’t of god-like levels. It still surpasses most in its class and kills most anything in its price range. So, for those looking for an entry-level, professional, cordless ratchet, this could be a good fit.

Our Rating: 4.25 out of 5 Stars

The Best Cordless Ratchet Wrench Navigation:


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