A breaker bar is the wide range of used essential tools for nuts, bolts loosening and tightening. On the other hand, a ratchet is a flexible tool like a breaker bar used in regular automotive and household sockets, bits related work areas to get fast loosening and tightening results.
The work of the two tools is almost the same; that’s why many experts and beginners are a bit confused about which of these two tools work and which one is perfect for them. That’s why we have analyzed the main differences between breaker bar vs ratchet part by part in this guide, which will help you a lot to remove the confusion. So let’s see.
What is a Breaker Bar?
Many of us are already familiar with the Breaker Bar, and it is a common purpose used tool. Many people know it as Power Bar. Although it is used especially in loosening tasks, it is also used for tightening purposes in the absence of a torque wrench. Also a very effective tool for easily breaking extremely tight fasteners.
Its long non-ratcheting bar helps you to produce a lot of torque and force. Besides, it is a powerful tool, which can be easily rotated in any direction.
What is a Ratchet?
Ratchets use machinery objects to provide rotary or linear motion in a particular direction. Ratchet is mainly used for flexible tightening or loosening of any type of nuts and bolts in any direction.
Also, if you don’t need accurate tightening for regular working purposes, the ratchet will help you a lot to get an immediate tightening result.
Breaker Bar vs Ratchet: Detailed Comparison
In this section, we will share the main differences of these two tools part by part, which will help you to easily understand which tools will come into use for which purpose. Let’s see.
We Look at The Following Features:
Breaker bar and ratchet have much the same price range. And in terms of price, there is no difference between these two tools. You can buy two tools from the market within budgets. However, in this case, the price may increase or decrease due to the difference in the size of the popular brand.
If we compare the power and customization of these two tools, we can see that the ratchet is far ahead of the breaker bar. There are several reasons for this, one of which is that you can customize the ratchet tools according to your project. As well as combining ratchet and socket, you can easily tighten and loosen any type of nuts and bolts in a short period of time.
On the other hand, with the help of a breaker bar, you can easily tighten and loosen the nuts and bolts, but there is not much option for customization.
The breaker bar and ratchet are almost the same in size. However, different pressure is required for different work purposes, and you can see different sizes of breaker bar and ratchet. According to your work, you will find the right size of both tools available in the market.
If you ask me which one of these two tools would be perfect for heavy duty-related work, then I will first recommend the breaker bar; with the help of this, you will get both force and accuracy. It is also very effective for opening bolts effortlessly from large wheels.
On the other hand, if you have worked in tight spots or exact positions in the details, then ratchet is definitely a perfect choice for you. With the help of this, you can easily flexibly complete the work in tight spots.
5. Design & Durability
Breaker bar built from chrome vanadium steel and mirror finish to resist corrosion. You can adjust the handle of the breaker bar to get your desired result, and it also helps you to use more torque. It is also made of durable materials and is designed to work on any type of project.
On the other hand, the ratchet is designed to move in one direction so that it can move effortlessly clockwise or counterclockwise in both directions. The gear also has a pawl, a type of lock consisting of a spring-loaded, tapped lever.
Both tools are designed with a sturdy surface and a comfortable handle to prevent them from slipping easily while doing hard work. Also, both tools are compact in size, easy to handle and carry.
When to Use a Breaker Bar
Breaker bars are ideal for specific situations where significant torque and extra leverage are required. Consider using a breaker bar in the following scenarios:
Breaking Loose Stubborn Fasteners
When dealing with overtightened or rusted nuts and bolts, a breaker bar’s longer handle provides increased torque, making it easier to loosen stubborn fasteners.
Navigating Limited Space
In tight spaces where a ratchet’s head might not fit, a breaker bar’s longer handle can help you apply torque without the need for a full swing.
For tasks that demand considerable force, a breaker bar’s leverage allows you to apply torque more comfortably without straining yourself.
Enhancing Ratchet Performance
When working with a particularly tough fastener, you can use a breaker bar to break it loose initially and then switch to a ratchet for easier turning.
When to Use a Ratchet
Ratchets are versatile tools that find use in a wide range of applications. They are indispensable for tasks that require controlled tightening and provide convenience in various situations:
Ratchets are specifically designed for both tightening and loosening, making them suitable for general repair and assembly work.
Working in Compact Spaces
With their compact head and reversible mechanism, ratchets excel in tight spaces where a breaker bar may not be practical.
Convenience and Speed
Ratchets allow for continuous turning without resetting the tool, enabling quick and efficient fastening or unfastening of multiple bolts.
For tasks requiring specific torque settings, a ratchet with a torque wrench attachment can provide accurate and consistent torque application.
Breaker Bar vs. Ratchet: Pros and Cons
Breaker Bar Pros:
- Provides extra leverage for breaking loose stubborn fasteners.
- Suitable for high-torque applications.
- Useful in tight spaces where a ratchet’s head may not fit.
- Reduces physical strain when applying significant force.
Breaker Bar Cons:
- Limited to loosening tasks only.
- Bulky and may be less convenient in certain situations.
- Ideal for both tightening and loosening fasteners.
- Compact design allows access to tight spaces.
- Saves time and effort with continuous turning.
- Offers torque control with torque wrench attachments.
- May struggle with very tight or rusted fasteners.
- Requires more effort for overtightened fasteners.
Frequently Asked Questions on Breaker Bar vs Ratchet
Q: What is the most common size breaker bar?
Ans: A shorter breaker bar is a perfect choice for small nuts and bolts loosen and tightening purposes. But 18 inches is the overall most common size breaker bar. Which produces enough torque and, without any damage, helps to remove lug nuts from the wheels.
Q: How do you measure a ratchet wheel?
Ans: It is very simple; try to memorize the following two simple formulas when using the ratchet wheel.
- α = coefficient: 50 for 12 teeth or less, 35 for 13 to 20 teeth, and last 35 for 13 to 20 teeth.
- N = Number of Teeth in Ratchet Wheel.
Q: Can you use a breaker bar to tighten lug nuts?
Ans: Yes, you can tighten the lug nuts with the help of a breaker bar. But since the breaker bar does not have any kind of measurement mechanism, in this case, you have to check again and again to see if the lug nuts are getting too tight or loosened. You can also use a straight breaker bar for tightening lug nuts.
Which One is Better?
Breaker bar vs ratchet Which is the perfect option? It is really a very tough question. These two tools are used for different purposes, and the two tools have individual specifications. However, the work of the two is quite similar.
If you are looking for tools to work with extreme tightness and pressure in a place, then a breaker bar is a great option; conversely, a ratchet is an excellent pick for simple and detailed mechanical work.
But in my opinion, if you are working on different projects, then you need to have both tools so that you can easily get both devices when you need them.
Martin A. Sims is a technician at a reputed automobile service center for the last 5 years. After studying at San Mateo College of Silicon Valley on vehicle engineering, he has started his career at age of 24. now he is spreading his knowledge among beginners around the world through thewrenches.com.