A Guide to Socket Sets


No homeowner’s toolkit will be complete without a socket set. Practically every job will require the use of some sort of socket tool or wrench, but there are lots of elements of a socket and wrench system which means that it can be hard to know what the different parts are in your socket set. Here is all that you need to know.

What is a Socket Wrench?

First, it is important to know what a socket wrench actually is and what it can be used for. This type of tool uses a handle – the ratchet – snaps into one end of a socket by a square-drive connector with the other end fitting over a type of fastener. The ratchet has a mechanism that allows the handle to tighten a fastener when turned clockwise whilst turning freely when turned anti-clockwise. This makes the tightening or removing of bolts or other fasteners incredibly easy, fast and straightforward.

1/4 inch, 1/2 inch and 3/4 inch

Sockets are attached to the ratchet and there are many different sizes available so that all kinds of tasks can be completed. You can easily find 1/4 inch, 1/2 inch and 3/4 inch sockets and they are available in both standard (SAE) and metric sizes.

Hex Socket

A hex socket is designed to fit the head of a hexagonal fastener – usually a nut or bolt. They are also known as 6 point sockets as six points are made where the internal walls from the hexagonal recess meet. These are highly common and can come in a wide range of sizes.

Driver Socket

You can also purchase a driver socket as part of a socket set from places like RS. These contain screwdriver bits so that you can easily tighten or loosen flathead, Philips, hex or star-headed screws and of a variety of sizes.

Impact Socket

An impact socket is designed to use with pneumatic or cordless impact wrenches. They are made with a heavy duty material which will be able to handle the impact action with damaging the socket – they usually have a thicker wall and have a darker finish so that they can easily be distinguished from regular sockets (which would be unsafe to use).

These are just a few of there different types of socket you can get but there are many more. Most socket sets will contain all of the above and various others, but it is important that you know which socket to use for which application to work safely and properly. Every homeowner needs one of these sets as they can be incredibly versatile and will enable you to take on a wide range of different projects around the home with ease.