How to Use a Socket Set: The Right Way

New with mechanical tools and looking for some expert support? Thanks for landing at the right place. In here, we’ll be open to you with a detailed discussion on one of the most familiar tool- socket set, as well as how to use a socket set.

A socket set is a common tool for any DIY projects or mechanical project. So, you can see it is very important to know the right way of using the socket set.  If you need a guide for using a socket set I am here to help you out.

What is a Socket Set?

The socket is a simple mechanical tool that is made of solid metals. It is very strong and heavy duty because it helps us to turn nuts and bolts with ease. There is a ratcheting feature in this that allows you to keep the wrench on the bolt and other elements.

When the working place is limited it is the only tool you can rely on. There is the imperial and metric size of socket sets. So, you have to choose which one can comfort you most.

Let’s dig a little deeper

Why should you use a Socket set?

There are spanners and other tools that people used to use before sockets came. So why people are leaving all those staffs and choosing sockets? Of course, the sockets have some benefits of using them. Here is a short list of why you should use a socket set:

Here is a short list of why you should use a socket set:

  • Now as sockets are broadly used in automotive, a socket set will help you in the garage.
  • For torque wrench, you can use sockets that will suit perfectly.
  • There is a huge option of choosing the size of a socket.
  • This socket can reduce the space you are carrying than previous tools.
  • It’s easier than using a spanner.
  • These sockets have versatile usage, so you can use in a multi-purpose job.
  • Sockets are comfortable to hold and it is important for the job.

Steps of using a Socket set in the right way

There are different steps of using a socket. We are here to make you comfortable with all those steps as we think you are a novice user.

In this stage of the article, you may find out the answer to the question, ‘how to use a socket set’. So, here we go with a description of the steps of using a socket set.

Step 1: Choose the right size of Socket

You need to pick the right size of the socket, otherwise, the Socket and fastener might get damaged.

Choosing the Right size of the socket from the sets made of dozens or Hundreds is not as hard as you might think because most of the sockets laser etchings which indicate their sizes.

But if you are not sure about the size of the fastener you need then you can choose the one which is similar to the closest fit.

If the socket is too small then try the next largest size. If the socket too large then try the next smallest size. You should use the Socket with the appropriate drive.

Step 2: Connect the Socket on The Ratchet

After choosing the right socket, attach ratchet and socket together. To do this, it’s necessary that the socket drive square and the ratchet drive square are of similar size.

But if you don’t have the similar size of ratchet drive you will need an adapter to use it. A maximum number of socket drives have either groove or notch and others have a side hole.

Line it up with the drive square ball bearing when it has a side hole.

Some ratchets have quick release buttons along with the ratchet head. This lets’ go of the ball bearing and to connect the socket it might require pressing.

When the Socket has been properly lined then tap the socket on the ratchet drive square. You are going to hear a snap when the ball bearing fits in the notch or side hole.

Stay with me.

Step 3: Check the turning direction

You need to be sure if you are turning the socket in the right direction. You might use your left hand to hold the socket and to move the ratchet right and left use your right hand.

If you want to loosen a fastener, turn the ratchet anti-clockwise. Turn the ratchet clockwise to secure a fastener.

Be sure the ratchet move as expected. Otherwise, change it before putting on the fastener. At the back of the ratchet, there is a lever, you need to flip that left or right to loosen or tighten a fastener.

Step 4: Putting the Socket onto your Fastener

It is almost like the best soldering station. Precision is an important matter that you need while using sockets and ratchets.

You should place the head of the socket like it lines up over the fastener you are working with. If it is necessary you can rotate the socket. It helps you to tighten or loosen your nuts or bolts.

The clockwise turning can tighten your fastener and counter-clockwise turning can loosen them. But before it, you should put the socket on the fastener.

Step 5: Re-Positioning your turner

If you are following our steps this time you should be handling your turner’s position. In this step, we will talk how you can turn your wrench or ratchet.

If you are turning in one direction and you ran out of space, you can rotate the handle to opposite side. This will create you more space to turn again in the same direction.

Moreover, you can do this for comforting your handle. Suppose you are comfortable turning handle in half circle all the time. So you can return the handle every time you reach half circle and do your job comfortably.

Step 6: Continue The Turning

Following those previous step, you should keep turning your wrench or ratchet. If your objective is to tighten the fasteners, you should keep turning clockwise until it’s tight enough.

But if you want to loosen it keep turning it in anti-clockwise. It will eventually loosen the fastener.

After finishing with the fasteners, you have to remove the socket. For this, some wrenches give you a release button. If you have this you can just push that button and the socket will pop off the fastener.

If you don’t have it, you should just make a good push and detach it from the fastener.

What’s the bottom line?

Using different types of sockets

Sockets are of different types. While working on a DIY project or working with any machines, you may need a socket. So, if you are new in using a socket you should find out what type of sockets you will work with.

There are some special and different types of sockets and we are going to demonstrate some process to make it easy to you to use:

Hex Sockets :

Hex sockets are most common sockets that you will come across. It may be hexagonal or bi-hexagonal. It has square drivers in it. Moreover, it may have six or twelve points. So be careful when choosing hex sockets. And of course, use them for hex fasteners. You can see this type of sockets on a bicycle.

Impact Sockets :

Impact sockets are for using different projects. Most precisely, they are designed for using it with impact drivers. There are various types of impact drivers like air guns and car wheel nuts. If you have an air gun you may have used one of these sockets.

Moreover, if you ever used any impact drivers to remove car wheels, this is the socket you have used. They are made of a ductile grade of steel that is less brittle. So it can take all the great torque and vibration.

Insulated Sockets :

To insulate the metal body of a socket from electric current you have to have a coating on the sockets. This type of sockets may have a yellow or red coating on it most often. Insulated sockets are secured and tested before selling. So, there are no questions about its safety. No matter the supply is AC or DC. So use the right size of sockets and follow the steps, you can use it in the right way.

Oil Filter Sockets :

Oil filter sockets are not like all other sockets you came across. They are large in size and don’t match up with other sockets. Though they have square drives, they are made of plastic. Vehicles have oil filters in it. So, if you want to remove it you have to use this socket especially. They are large because they don’t need to work with high torque. So, if you keep following steps of using it you can handle it swiftly.

Spark Plug Sockets :

If you want to fit in a spark plug or remove one, you have to use a spark plug sockets. Spark plug sockets have rubber inside it. So, it helps the socket from damaging. It also made the hold tight and snugly.

For using this type of sockets, you have to use the exact right size of sockets. Else it can make a severe damage in the engine. It may end up being hard to remove if you use the wrong sized sockets.

Some tips and warning for newbies

We are talking about the right way of using a socket set. So if you have completed reading this article you must get a clear idea of using one of it.

But before that, we want you to know about some points that you should follow to avoid any danger. So, here are some tips and warnings:

  • You should invest for the best quality sockets to get the best output.
  • Don’t use any sockets that are too large for fasteners you are working on. It may cause damage to the tool.
  • Use extension bars if the socket wrench is not enough. This will create more leverage with a long reach.
  • Be aware of using the right size of sockets. There are two size measurements: Imperial and Metric.
  • For security, you can use extension bar for spark plug sockets.
  • If you are using an impact socket, you should not use regular sockets.

These are some useful warning that may be helpful for the newbie. So follow the steps we have talked about and be aware of these things. This may help you to be good at handling sockets.


After reading this article, I hope you have gathered some core knowledge about how to use a socket set. This whole article is designed for first time users of sockets.

It is rich with info that may help some professionals. So, I hope you can gain something reading it. Therefore, I can say, your valuable time is well invested.

John Bryan

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