For those people who don't know, Sears has started replacing the USA made Craftsman ratchets with imported ratchets. The raised panel (RP) ratchets will now be Chinese. There have been posts on another site showing that the 60-tooth thin profile model is now made in Taiwan and the regular RP ratchets are now being made in China. All these ratchets had been USA made.
I went to my local Sears to see if they had any of the new Chinese raised panel ratchets. They only had them in ¼” drive. All the other ratchets were still the USA made variety. They did not have any of the Taiwanese fully polished ratchets.
NOTE- In all pictures but one the Chinese ratchet is on the left.Packaging
The packaging is almost identical on the USA made and imported ratchets. After the recent redesign of Craftsman tool packages, they moved the “made in the USA” marking to the back in small print and removed the “Made in the USA” badge from the front of the packaging. Note in the second pic that the ratchets have the same part number (44807), but the SKU is different. Initial impressions
The Chinese ratchet is definitely chunkier. This is especially obvious at the head of the ratchet. If you didn’t have them side by side, you might think they were identical, because the shapes are very similar. Mechanism
The mechanism appears to be identical, but the USA ratchet had far more lube. The parts are interchangeable. I swapped gears between the two ratchets and the Chinese pawl worked fine with the American gear and vice versa. One obvious difference is that the Chinese quick release is slightly different. When you push the button the retainer ball retracts, but a small shaft also pops out of the end of the gear to help push off the attachment. Both mechanisms seem to work about the same. The USA ratchet is slightly quieter, but I believe that is because it has a thicker lube than the Chinese ratchet. The Chinese ratchet has a metal selector switch. The selector on the USA ratchet is plastic.
NOTE - in this pic the USA gear is on the left. The gears have some cosmetic differences. The drive end of the Chinese gear is slightly longer. The profile of the gear teeth is also slightly different. The USA gear has the teeth flattened on the end. Measurements Rant
I’m really disappointed to see Sears allow the basic Craftsman hand tools to be imported. I used to work for Sears in college and I have a soft spot for the company. When people were criticizing Sears for outsourcing the Pro wrenches, pliers and other tools, I always assumed they would keep a core of USA made, basic tools. I assumed the sockets, ratchets and RP wrenches would stay USA made. I guess I was wrong.
I believe the USA made sockets and RP wrenches are by far the best bargain in USA made tools. While my local store still has USA made RP wrenches and sockets, I assume it will only be a matter of time before those are replaced with imported copies.