There is so much happening when you press a button on an impact wrench, and it starts drilling. You get a motor that generates power, the drilling nose that works on the lugs and nuts, and many other parts.
One such crucial part is an impact socket. It might not be a widely known term, but this is the part that absorbs the initial vibration caused by the motor. Hence you do not feel much discomfort while working with such a powerful tool.
However, only the best impact sockets can manage to absorb vibration yet provide the energy needed for drilling seamlessly. As you can see, this item is essential for an impact wrench, and you can know more about it from this comprehensive review.
Why Impact Sockets?
Impact wrenches and drivers are slightly different than ordinary drilling machines. You can do much more with them than just drilling. Moreover, you can fasten and unfasten multiple drill bits with the same tool. But to complement such a tool, you also need special sockets, and those are impact sockets.
These items work particularly well in coping with the copious amount of vibration that an impact wrench generates. If you do not use such a product, it will become challenging to control the machine in the first place, let alone unfasten something with accuracy.
You could use simple sockets too, but those will not have the brute strength that an impact socket can provide.
10 Best Impact Sockets Review
Needless to say that there are several sockets of various kinds available, and you are wondering which one would be the best. But no need to worry; sit back and follow the list to easily find a model that best suits your needs.
Many people are more comfortable with regular sockets that use vanadium steel as a primary element, as it keeps the price point at a low and lasts long. So, if you wanted the same element in an impact socket as well, you can look for the TEKTON 1/2 inch set.
It is a set of 15 sockets, all of which are suitable for any impact wrench. Even though the primary element is vanadium steel, which is also the main component of regular sockets, this still outperforms any regular ones for multiple reasons.
One of the main reasons is how it can hold any fastener’s flat sides and not just the corners. Hence a problem that most people face, which is rounding off of fasteners, will not happen when you use these tools.
They are quite deep as well, which allows them enough surface area to form a strong grip. As a result, you can work on the most stubborn lugs without stripping its surface or shattering the socket itself.
Besides having a sturdy exterior, these products are also ANSI certified. So, you can rest assured that it will defy corrosion and rust easily. Rust is especially bad for sockets as it can further damage the fasteners. But that issue will not happen with these products.
Moreover, you get 15 sockets varying in size. They range from 10 to 24 mm, which means you get a wide range of choices when you want to unfasten anything. Each of these items also has high-contrast laser etchings. So, you can easily identify the size, even in the dark!
A silly yet frequent problem most people face is not being able to find the correct sized tools. As foolish as it might sound, this issue can consume a lot of time, especially if you have a plethora of tools.
The same can also happen with your sockets, and usually, people keep more than one piece for obvious reasons. However, if you purchase a set from TEKTON, you will most likely never face such a problem.
It has permanent markings on each body. The high-contrast etching makes it super easy to see the size number, and also, it is quite apparent to the touch. So, you can guess the number in the dark just by touching the product. It is quite a handy feature as you get 12 of these in a pack.
All 12 of them vary in size, so you can use it according to the pin’s size that you want to unfasten. However, this model is 3/8 inches, which is different than the previous model we discussed. So, you have to use impact wrenches that fit this size.
However, having different size options makes it versatile anyway. This set is also very durable and has high-quality vanadium as its main body. So it can easily handle the torque from the drill. Besides that, its black color comes from a special coating.
A black phosphate finish protects the exterior from corrosion and rust, thus increasing its lifespan. The products are also suitable for fasteners that are on the longer side. And the 6-point deep broach can easily hold on to a fastener even if it is long.
Often you have to work with fasteners that are longer than the typical size. But you cannot use an impact socket even if it has impressive durability. You need something that has an extended length to support the size of the drill bits.
That is where the products from EPAuto can help. Their impact sockets are perfectly compatible with the special extension bars from the same manufacturer. These bars are long and can easily generate the high torque needed to work with large fasteners.
Besides that, these sockets are also compatible with breaker bars. You can attach them with bars of 24 inches and loosen a lug manually. They are especially handy if the lugs are very rusted, and you cannot use any pneumatic or electric wrenches.
On top of that, you get 11 different sizes, and all of them will fit the breaking bars and extension bars easily. So, this set is a very versatile set that has both manual and electrical implications. Moreover, the long bar also makes it easy to manually wrench the lug open.
Besides that, each socket should last for a long time since it has a fantastic vanadium steel construction, sourced straight from Taiwan. Professional engineers have also run rigorous tests on these tools and thus released them for common consumers.
So, it is certain that these will not cause additional damage to your product or even your health. For added protection, it also has a manganese phosphate coating and a sandblasted finish, which gives the socket its smooth outlook.
When a drill bit is on something for a long time, it might start to lose its shape. This factor makes it hard for sockets to get a firm grip to begin with. As a result, a loose grip does not help in the loosening process.
However, the 19 piece set from GEARWRENCH has an ingenious solution to this problem. Their products have a chamfered opening, which basically means that the angle is at a convenient position. So, you can easily insert the wrench.
Moreover, if you notice closely, you will see that the sockets’ edges have a slight wave. This wave prevents the fasteners from rounding off. So, even if you put high pressure while pulling, the socket will not harm the drill bit’s shape at all.
This off-corner technology not only protects the lugs but also saves the socket from getting chipped. Besides such additions that are much needed by professionals, this set is also very well-rounded for them. It has 19 pieces! And will undoubtedly meet all the sizes any professional might need.
They are also extremely sturdy. Unlike regular sockets, this set uses chrome molybdenum alloy. This material is more resistant to high pressure, which means it is less stiff. Thus the chances of it shattering is low as it can handle some expansion under pressure.
Each of the items also come with distinct size marks along with a secondary hard stamping. Again, another feature that increases productivity in the work field makes it the best professional impact socket. You also get a very sturdy blow mold case for storing all the items.
When you look at regular sockets and impact sockets side by side, you will always notice that the impact ones are dark and have a matte finish. Well, we are here to say that this small feature actually plays a crucial part.
That is why you should consider Neiko products as they also have a black finish. They achieve this look with the help of black phosphate coating. But it is not just any black phosphate from a lab; it is of premium quality.
This material helps water and moisture to bounce away from the surface. Since wrenches work with high pressure, it is possible that moisture can get trapped. But thanks to this coating, the vapor cannot harm the item.
Besides that, the product itself is quite strong. It has vanadium steel alloy as its main component that gives the product exceptional strength. And it allows the wrench to amplify the torque by a lot.
As a result, you get more output from the same power-tool. Hence, the tool is an excellent purchase as it is less corrosive, does not form rust, and also increases power. It also has smart markings for easy identification! But besides all of that, you also get quite a versatile set.
With 15 sockets ranging from 10 mm to 25 mm, you get a wide range to work with. Plus, the set does not skip any size. So, you will not have to search for a separate piece to complete the set. Moreover, all of these have a strong grip, thanks to the flank drive design.
If you are a professional, dealing with impact wrenches, you can never have enough sockets. There are so many drilling bits, lugs, and nuts you need for different work around the construction site.
Hence SK Hand Tools decided to give you a hand while making your perfect socket kit! They offer a set with 40 different pieces, all of them of varying sizes. You will get 8 mm to 19 mm whole sizes, without any skipping.
You will also get some fraction sizes such as 3/4”, 3/8”, 1/2”, and many more. It is a great kit, and you will not have to look for single pieces to get a complete package. Moreover, all the 40 pieces come in a blow mold case, and each has its own slots.
So, it becomes very easy to organize and keep track of the pieces. Since they are so many, you are bound to confuse the sizes. But do not worry, as they have laser-engraved size markings for easy readability. So, you can easily place them in the slots according to their size.
Besides being a professional kit, this pack is also very sturdy and long-lasting. It has a strong rust-preventing compound that keeps the product clean. Hence, it does not corrode easily. Moreover, it has minimal rounding off.
The design inside the socket prevents the sharp edges from rounding off. As a result, you can use the same socket for a long time, and it will still have a firm grip. It also has a unique nose-down design that improves gripping on straight wall designs.
As you can probably tell, the products undergo extreme heat as the wrench starts drilling with extreme force. However, a cheap quality socket might not be able to tolerate such heat. It would ultimately deform the product’s shape.
Thus you will experience a lack of gripping and lack of overall ease of loosening. But the Stanley sockets will not pose such problems. Each of the products is heat-treated, which means it can easily withstand the general amount of heat generation during drilling.
These products are also ANSI certified, which says that the set has passed important tests and is fit for you to use. Moreover, the chrome vanadium alloy ensures that the product is apt for use in any impact wrench.
Besides that, it also has features that allow you to work on rusted or even frozen fasteners. Its 6-point deep space creates enough space for the socket to grip on to the sides of a fastener. As a result, it can generate more torque than most sockets.
Its unique shape also makes sure that the rusted-edges of a drill bit cannot harm the socket. At the same time, this shape protects new drill bits as well. So, even with extended use, you will not notice the edges getting chipped or wasted.
Among other protective features, it also comes with a black phosphate coating. This extra layer makes sure that moisture cannot get trapped inside or on the product’s surface. Hence you will notice minimal rust and corrosion.
A socket can be sturdy and have all the features you want, but if it does not sit well on the wrench, then it really is of no use. Unfortunately, many brands have this problem where the product flings off the wrench.
That can be dangerous as well as a waste of time, trying to fit it again and again. However, TEKTON built its products in such a way, that it always attaches securely on to the wench. You will notice small holes at the base of each socket.
These holes are what locks on to the drive tank of an impact wrench. So, no matter how much speed the motor is generating, the socket will always stay put. Besides that, you will also love this set for its durability and versatility.
It comes with 38 pieces of different shapes. Some have a tapered nose, some are compatible with extension bars, and all are of different sizes. In fact, it has 11 special pieces which are dual-sided!
So, you get a nice mix of sockets in one pack. All of them come neatly organized in a sturdy case as well. Hence the chances of misplacing are low. You can easily carry the whole set to your workplace. As for the durability of these products, each of them is heat-curated.
Thus, heat and pressure from the drilling cannot alter its shape. Besides, the vanadium steel is very strong, which will ensure that it can tolerate the high torque. Moreover, it also gets extra reinforcement, thanks to the beveled-nose design. It prevents the socket from losing its interior shape and grab the flat side of fasteners with ease.
We have already talked about a set from GEARWRENCH, and if you loved that set but were wishing for a few more sockets in the list, then we might have good news for you!
The set we are introducing now has 44 different sockets! Among these 44 pieces, you not only get the essential sizes but also get some unique pieces like extension bars or other specialty pieces like universal joints. These extension bars will come in 3/8” and 1/2”.
You will also receive more than one universal unit. On top of that, you will get an extremely sturdy case that is metal clad. The interior is just as elegant as the exterior, with foam coated slots for each of the 44 pieces. So, when you store them, the foam will protect it.
Moreover, the organization becomes even easier, thanks to the high visibility of hard stamped labels. The etchings are deep enough that you can figure out the number by running your fingers across it. However, do not worry that laser printing causing damage to the body.
In fact, these pieces have one of the strongest elements suitable for an impact socket. Like the previous model, this will also boast molybdenum alloy steel, which drastically improves each product’s strength. Additionally, it also has an off-corner system to prevent dullness.
So, when you insert the socket onto a fastener, the sharp edges of the object will not align with the product — thus preventing rounding off. As a result, you can use this set for a long time without having to purchase replacements.
We cannot finish a list of some of the best sockets without including a DEWALT set. This particular set has some top-notch features that will surely grab your interest if you want nothing but the best for your wrench.
These sockets have the ability to generate more torque across flat sides, thanks to its recessed corners. So, it holds on the sides very securely and expends all the energy in torque creation rather than trying to grip it strongly.
This feature also helps to extend the life of the product and the black coating that also works for the same cause. The matte finish is a brilliant addition that helps water and moisture bounce right back, causing decreased rust-formation.
Besides that, the black also allows the golden laser marking to pop even more. All the size labels are printed with laser etching in golden, that helps you identify the numbers with ease. The markings will also distinguish between the eight sockets and two adapters.
So, in total, you will receive ten pieces in this set. They will come in a compact black case. It is also very portable and easy to store. So, it is safe to say that the case will not take much space in your work station.
The case also has a unique trick to keep the small sockets in place. It has pivoting pins that hold them in place. The sockets themselves are thin so that it can reach tough places with ease. More importantly, they are compatible with both corded and cordless drivers and wrenches.
Things to Consider Before Buying
Now that you know which ones are worth it, you might have decided to purchase already. But hold on, because you need also to check whether your favorite model specifically meets your demands or not. And you can figure that out with this buying guide.
Choosing a set is very simple, and you will know which sizes you usually need to work with. However, if you are just starting to build your kit and do not know which sizes are a must, you can go for sets with more than ten pieces.
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Those sets will usually contain the most important sizes, and if you simply need sockets for DIY projects, such sets will suit you.
If you are a professional, you might want to indulge in a larger set with more tools. You can also look for extension bars, breaker bars, and universal units if you want an all-around set. However, always keep an eye on whether the set is skipping sizes or not. If it does, you will have to buy individual pieces of the missing size.
The main element of these products determines a lot about their overall performance. These products are small, to begin with, and do not have many parts. So, the main body is all you get, and that body has to be strong to absorb the vibration like it is supposed to.
Usually, chrome vanadium alloy is present in these items; that material will give you the best impact sockets for the money; however, if you want extra strength, molybdenum alloy. They pack more punch and are more malleable. As a result, chances of chipping are significantly less with this material.
Aside from absorbing additional vibration from the pneumatic or electronic wrench, these items can also amplify the toque. It does so with the help of its unique shape and strong gripping power. The more well-made sockets will have off-rounding features so that the sharp edges do not get dull over time.
This system should protect the sockets from losing shape and also keep the lugs and nuts safe. At times, the products also have a deep slot that lets you accommodate larger fasteners. It also provides more surface area for better gripping.
To ensure that your products have extra protection, all you have to do is check whether they have a black coating or not. The black coating is usually a hydrophobic phosphate substance. So, it repels water and makes sure that the surface cannot harbor moisture. Thus, it does not rust frequently and takes a lot of time to corrode.
Since you are looking for sets, it is obvious that you will get more than one socket. But since they are so small, it is easy to misplace them. That is why you should always consider a brand that offers a sturdy case. The case will let you store all the pieces in one place and also make them portable.
You should also check if the pieces have numbers or sizes. If the stamps are absent, it might be hard for you to understand each socket’s size.
Impact Sockets vs Regular Sockets
The primary difference between these items is the core material. An impact socket is much stronger and can absorb more vibration. That does not mean a regular socket is all bad, but its capability is slightly less than an impact one.
Another major difference is the exterior of the impact one. You will always notice a black finish on them, which is from being heat-treated or from having a phosphate layer. This extra layer protects the surface from moisture, which is absent in regular sockets.
The first model also has unique structures that prevent chipping and dulling, thus helping in preserving shelf life.
However, you should also note that an impact socket will be pricier than the regular ones, and for good reasons. So, if it suits your budget, you can always go for impact sockets.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I use regular sockets on an impact wrench?
Yes, you can, but it is better to use an impact socket.
- Is a breaker bar automated?
No, you have to use a breaker bar manually.
- How do I know the item will stay put on the wrench?
A socket will stay put on the wrench with the help of a strapping pin that you have to insert through the hole.
- Why are the impact sockets black?
The extra coating or heat treatment gives that specific shade to the product.
- What can I do if the interior gets dull?
If the interior gets dull, you have to replace it as it can no longer grip properly.
It is always better to invest in the best impact sockets than to replace them again and again. You can easily fall in that loop if you do not know which brands to look for. But luckily, this article should have solved that issue, and you now know where to start!