Best Product – Can You Use Milwaukee’s Cordless Ratchets Manually?

Milwaukee M12 Fuel Impact Ratchet

Earlier this week we posted about Milwaukee’s new M12 Fuel Extended Reach cordless ratchets.

Jared asked a great question, about whether the ratchets can be used manually.


Just curious, after tightening under power, can you finish manually so you can feel the torque you are applying? If so, is it safe to exceed the 55ft/lbs the tool is capable of applying? Just curious whether that would damage the tool -especially with these extended models where it would presumably be easier to apply more torque with your hands.

I thought it might be alright, but wanted to double-check with Milwaukee just to be sure.

I asked Milwaukee Tool whether their cordless ratchets can be used manually (unpowered) for final tightening or initial loosening without concerns about damage to the gearing or internal components

Here’s what they said:

We understand people do this but it is not recommended with these products.

So, although you could use the ratchets manually, it’s not recommended. I would think that final tightening is less stressful on internal components than breaking stuck fasteners free, but I suppose that depends on the circumstances.

If a cordless ratchet can’t break a fastener free, use a breaker bar, which mirrors how you’d use traditional hand tools. Or, if the fastener’s in a more accessible space, you could use an impact wrench. And if you need more torque than the ratchet can provide, then use… maybe a larger-sized tool or a torque wrench?

For those of you that use cordless ratchets regularly, do you use any other tools for your final tightening, or do you turn the unpowered ratchet by hand?

Buy Now(Milwaukee M12 Fuel Ratchets via Tool Nut)

Update (1/28/21) – Regarding the New M12 Fuel High Speed Ratchet

Milwaukee M12 Fuel High Speed Cordless Ratchet

Milwaukee recently announced new M12 Fuel high speed ratchets, which are said to be the fastest and most compact tools of their kind in the industry.

Milwaukee says this about the new ratchets:

The new ratchets can also be used manually without engaging the motor, allowing users to break loose and snug tight fasteners that require more torque.

But… when answering the question for this post, Milwaukee had recommended against such practices.

I asked for confirmation – “Why is manual tightening/loosening okay for these ratchets, but recommended against for the extended length and other ratchets?”

Our other ratchets are capable of manual tightening and loosening as well.

I asked for clarification once more, and this is what they said:

We don’t recommend putting a lot of weight on them, but they can be used to break loose and snug tight fasteners.

So, there you have it.

Milwaukee’s cordless ratchets can be used manually.

You might want to take it easy with the extended length ratchets in particular, and definitely don’t use a cheater bar. But if you need to use them manually for final tightening or breaking fasteners loose, you can, or at least it’s not frowned upon (too much?).

Se Also:

Buy Now: 1/4″ Kit via Acme Tools
Buy Now: 1/4″ Kit via Ohio Power Tool
Buy Now: 3/8″ Kit via Acme Tools
Buy Now: 3/8″ Kit via Ohio Power Tool