Types of socket – The Complete List (2021)

At one morning you are seeing that one of your car wheel nuts have been damaged somehow. Now you need to do without calling for a mechanic? When you can easily remove the wheel nut then what is the need of call for a mechanic! Exactly, this type of mechanic works where there is a need for socket you can do by yourself when you have a complete knowledge of the socket.

So, you can see how the first thing is you have to know about different types of sockets for knowing which one is being used where. Are you thinking who is going to give you some information regarding this? Then you are at the right place! Here I am going to discuss about them.

As you can see while you need to do socket related works in a short time and you have no time of calling a mechanic, also you can save your money, then you better know about this. And obviously, help yourself. So the summary of here is you are going to know about sockets and its tools here. So stay here with me!

What is socket?

You have little knowledge on the socket and for working with this tool need to know what it is. Socket or socket wrenches are two types on the basis of operating – manual and electric. That means you can operate this only using this tool where there is no need for electric.

It has two parts also – ratchet and socket. There is a gear attached to a ratchet which helps to move it when turned in a direction. And turned in another direction, locks it. Ratchet has a square nub and you can adjust different types and size of socket.

Any type of socket will not fit in your work if you need a specific one. By a square driver connection, a ratchet is attached at one end of the socket and the other fits on a fastener.

Types of socket

Each socket is different in terms of the fastener. And each design each different from another on the basis of use. You can also use sockets depending on turning tools as there are several types.

So, here is a brief discussion on types of the socket from where you can know which you can use where. Different sockets are :-

1. Hex sockets:

Hex socket is the short form of a hexagonal socket which fits only around the hexagonal nut or bolt. You will see in the market two types of hex sockets among various types. These are six-point hex socket and twelve-point hex socket.

Inside the bolt of the six-point hex socket, there is are six angles. As well as twelve points' are consist of twelve angles inside the bolt. Twelve points are also known as double hex.

Hex sockets are the most common type of sockets. There has a square drive socket at one end which generally attaches it to a turning tool like a ratchet. The other end turns fasteners like nuts and bolts.

2. Impact sockets:

One of the known sockets is impact sockets. The difference which you will notice between impact and regular sockets is the color. Instead of polished metal of general sockets, impact sockets have industrial surface finishing which makes these black.

When you need more strength and vibration for removing fasteners you may use impact sockets. These have strong power tool attaching inner rotating hammer. So you can say these sockets are made for power impact wrenches.

As these are using in high power works so the wall of sockets has to be thick enough and also noncorrosive finish. Impact sockets can deliver more torque than any other sockets. There is a use of impact drivers like air guns with impact sockets. Ductile and less brittle steel are materials for these type of socket to stand the greater torque and vibration.

3. Spark plug sockets:

The necessity of this kind of socket is as same as it sounds by the name. If you need to fit or remove a spark plug into an engine, these sockets are going to need. The size of these is much longer than any other sockets you know.

There is a foam rubber insert in these sockets to prevent the spark plug from damaging. Also, this rubber helps to hold the spark plug. These are of different sizes – 16mm, 18mm, 21mm, 13/16", 5/8".

When you are using spark plug socket, keep in mind that you have to use the actual size plug for your car. The wrong size spark plug on metric plug may cause damage to the spark plug which may make it impossible to remove. So be careful when you are using this.

4. Socket bits:

Socket bits are as same as hex sockets with a kind of bit inside the socket. The frequently used bits are screwdriver bits though these are less common types. Like the other types of sockets, these have square ratchet end. Mostly these are coming in sets, and you can operate this manually as well as with impact drivers.

These sockets can be either constructed from two detached parts or then attached together or from one metal solid piece. One piece socket bits have screwdriver bits attached to the other end or will have body shape molded which is in the shape of driver bit.

There are a socket body and a removal driver bit in the two-piece socket. Each socket bit has its design for a particular fastener head.

5. Pass through sockets:

When you have to work with a bolt and along the shaft, then you need a pass-through socket to work with your bolts. These sockets have a pass-through hole which is making it a hollow tube. Because of this where there is no issue about length, you can use these socket.

A pass-through ratchet clamping around the socket is going to need rather than a square nub. If a deep socket cannot reach the nuts of very long bolts there you can use pass-through sockets.

6. Universal Joints:

Maybe you are trying to reach a bolt which is not in a convenient place. There you may have to have a hardware but can't reach there as the angle is not in range or some other thing can happen.

In that case, a universal joint can help you as this socket has ball-swivel which gives the advantage of 360 degrees turning action. Your spot is so tight and you can’t reach? Therefore, go with universal socket.

In universal sockets, there are lots of spring-loaded pins in the socket. The socket is placed over the fastener and the pins which are in contact with the fastener have been depressed.

The other remaining pins grip the fastener head. Among all types this socket can fit many sizes of fastener heads but also some may damage fasteners. Again, universal sockets are only capable of gripping the fasteners head.

7. Insulated sockets:

As we can see from the name of this socket, this socket has a coating on it to protect it from electric current. The coating may be of two colors – red and yellow.

These sockets are mostly used for both AC and DC current. Unless these are used with other insulated tools, these are not fully safe for electrical current. So an insulated socket set is generally a usual part of insulated sockets.

8. Oil filter sockets:

These are large and shallow sockets. These are used to remove oil filters from vehicles and designed in this way. These do not have to stand very strong torque so these sockets can be of the thinner wall than any other sockets of smaller sizes. Oil filters have a plastic thread and this does not allow the filter to be excess tighten.

These attach to a turning tool with square drive socket and the drive is usually of 3/8". Then the head has become fits over an oil filter cap for turning it. Oil filter sockets work as like as the other sockets of general you have known.

9. Bolt grip sockets:

When you need to remove damaged, seized and even corroded fasteners then you can prefer bolt grip sockets. These are not actually for tightening fasteners like other sockets. Its internal wall has reverse spiral flute design and of concave shape.

Any type of fastener head you can attach to it. The reverse spiral flute design is generally for digging into the metal fastener head. The process gives a tight grip which is essential for removing corroded, seized, painted as well as damaged fasteners.

You will find these sockets as a set of five sockets ranges from 8mm to 19mm or 5/16”- 3/4”. On both the fasteners, metric and imperial you can use bolt grip sockets among non-adjustable sockets without giving any second thought. Because they have such design which helps to bite the head of the bolt.

And this is so unique ability than any other sockets. 3/8" driver is necessary for attaching bolt grip sockets to a turning tool. Again if you do not have a ratchet then these sockets allow to spanner or adjustable spanner to use with them.

Turning fasteners anti-clockwise to loosen them is the only difference from other types of sockets or standard ones. In all the case these are all same with standard sockets.

For more info, please check this video.

Difference between sockets and wrenches:

People may think that sockets and ratchets are all same and have the use in same works. Well, they both are necessary for loosing or tightening the fasteners. But there was some difference between these two. Without re-positioning the tool, you can turn a nut or bolt using different kind of sockets.

But you need to set the position of the tool when there is not enough room for turning in full scale. When you working with sockets you may have confusion so having the knowledge of this thing is necessary.

Types of sockets tools:

The main tools of sockets are sockets themselves and various sizes of drivers.

For small jobs in fit spaces, you can use screwdriver style socket. When there is a specification of torque-speed you better use torque wrench drivers. Need to access the bolts in odd angles and the angles you can't reach swivel sockets are the best option.

Automobile mechanics will need an extender with swivel sockets. The extender is normally a long bar to connect the driver and the socket. It can reduce the amount of torque if there is excess.

In a spark plug, you need rubber gasket inside it which creates a strong bond between the socket and spark plug. Torque drive is one of the important tools of sockets. It prevents from over tightening of the bolts. When there is a presence of excess torque driver helps to reduce it and save the bolt from damaging.

Pass through socket need specially designed ratchets. Impact socket needs pneumatic or cordless wrenches. Socket adapter is one of the socket tools. Drive adapters allow fitting a socket to any ratchet. Hex shank adapters fix square driver socket to hex drive.

As there are various types, it’s usual to have as kinds of tools for each. So knowing about these is better.

Final verdict:

You have interest in mechanic works, want to know about these, or you may not want to waste your time on a mechanic, want to save money. Then the better option is to know how to work with the socket. And for this, the foremost thing is you must know about different types of socket.

Here is a sufficient information on this topic and I think you will be the beneficiary. Besides the thing is knowing about types of the socket and its tools can increase your knowledge.

So this is the right place for you to discover these things. After going through this now you can easily help yourself with this kind of mechanic works. And maybe an expert!

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John Bryan

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