How to Buy the Right Socket Sets

A socket set is used to fasten or loosen nuts and bolts. Sockets of different sizes can be attached to a toque wrench and used as the perfect tightening tool for varied purposes. Socket sets are not meant for mechanics only. Every home and vehicle owner should possess this basic tool.

The socket and toque wrench combination allows fasteners to be tightened completely, and to the right level, ensuring the safety of the auto part or appliance. This is especially critical for gearboxes, wheels, clutches and engines in automobiles. This tool is also highly useful around the house for fixing washing machines, dryers, dishwashers and cupboards. Sockets allow painless access to tightly fitted and recessed fasteners.

How to Choose the Right Socket Set

For buying the right socket set, you need to consider the following factors:

  • Frequency of usage: If you aim to use your socket set frequently, select those made of chrome vanadium steel, as these are more durable.
  • Size: Socket sets range from four to one hundred sockets, with sizes measured in inches (SAE) or metric. Your vehicle or appliance manual would usually mention the measuring units. The torque wrench has a ratchet mouth and is available in four standard sizes, i.e. 1/4 inch, 3/8 inch, 1/2 inch, and 3/4 inch. The number of gear teeth that a ratchet has is usually 24, 30, 45 or 60.
  • Variety: A socket set can also be judged by the types handles it contains. The set should comprise of a T-bar, ratchet handle or spinner handle to turn sockets. One or more extension bars also make the set worth buying. The specifications of every piece should be included in the set. The set that has bits, such as usual screwdrivers, torx head, Allen or hex heads, would be an additional advantage.

The Main Features Of a Quality Socket Set

  1. Chrome plated for resistance to corrosion
  2. Reversible ratchet mechanism
  3. Colour coded for easy identification of size
  4. Multiple widths drive socket
  5. Push button to release out sockets
  6. SAE and metric sizes
  7. Optimum drive size for strength
  8. A storage case moulded to snugly hold every socket

For fasteners that have damaged tips caused by excess loosening or tightening, six-point hexagonal sockets should be preferred.

Powered wrenches, also called impact wrenches, are ideally used with heavy-duty impact sockets. Don’t forget to wear eye protection while using them.

The torque wrench should have a fine rubber handle to allow a good grip. Make sure you clean your sockets and ratchet to keep the mechanism working smoothly. Using a mild solvent can do this.

You need to be cautious while buying socket sets, as using poor quality ones may have dangerous consequences, such as eye injury or ripped fingers. Cheap sockets may also lead to fastener rounding.