What Is a Socket Wrench: Different Types and Uses

What Is a Socket Wrench: Different Types and Uses

There are literally hundreds of different tools you might be considering when it comes to building your own professional or personal toolbox. At the end of the day, some of these tools you might need whereas others might not be as essential. But when it comes to socket wrenches, you’ll always need a couple on hand.

If you’ve ever wondered, what is a socket wrench, the answer is simple! They’re unique tools that are incredibly adaptable to numerous situations, and you’ll undoubtedly need to find one to make everyday projects easier.

Prior to purchasing a single socket wrench, it’s important to think about why they’re so popular and whether they’ll truly be adaptable to the type of work you intend on doing.

How Does a Socket Wrench Work?

The easiest way to understand a socket wrench is to learn how they’re designed to make your life easier. Similar to a traditional combination wrench, a socket wrench gives you the ability to tighten and loosen bolts, but in an easier fashion.

The ratchet, which is the handle, can be attached to the socket, which is the fastener, with the help of a square connector. The opposite end of the socket should be placed on top of your bolt, giving you the ability to fasten the bolt when you turn it to the right and loosen the bolt when turned to the left.

What makes a socket wrench different from other tools is that you can quickly switch between loosening and fastening without having to adjust your grip or adjust the wrench. In addition, you’ll have more torque within your hands for stronger tightening power.

What is a Socket Wrench and What Does It Do?

Much like it’s important to understand how to use a socket wrench, it’s important to consider their uses so you can determine whether it’s the right tool for you or not. Although the device may operate similar to a conventional wrench, there are tasks that will require the use of a socket wrench.

One of which is when you have to tighten a bolt in a hard-to-reach area, as the sockets are specially designed to fit around the head of the bolt to prevent slipping, even if you’re working in a tight place. Also, if you don’t have enough room to turn a conventional wrench entirely around in order to tighten or loosen a bolt, a socket wrench will become your best friend.

When it comes to figuring out specific uses for this tool, it’s easy, as it’s incredibly adaptable. You can do anything from setting up a camping site to repairing parts on your vehicle, as long as there’s a bolt available you can take advantage of using your socket wrench.

The Different Types of Socket Wrenches

As with the vast majority of tools that you can purchase from hardware stores, there are different types of socket wrenches you might want to take under advisement, depending on the type of work you want to do. Also, some higher end models might include different features that you wouldn’t find in lower-end models, such as higher tooth counts.

Drive Size:

One of the most important things to think about when you’re looking for the right socket wrench, or ratchet, is the drive size. The drive size will be important when it comes to choosing different size sockets, for example, a quarter-inch drive will work with quarter-inch sockets.

Tooth Count:

Tooth count can be important, especially if you’re particularly fussy about the tools that you have at your disposal. Socket wrenches with a higher tooth count give you the ability to tighten and loosen bolts with smaller swinging motions, which is phenomenal for getting into hard-to-reach places where you might not have access to a full range of motion.

Geared vs. Gearless:

The vast majority of socket wrenches will be available in the geared variety, but there are gearless models on the market as well. With a gearless ratchet, they work using a roller bearing, which enables you to operate the wrench will shorter movements when compared to a geared model.

Quick-Release and Locking:

If you’re a beginner, the idea of a quick-release and locking might not be that important, but if you’re someone who is looking for a wrench that they can operate single-handedly, quick-release is essential. The locking mechanism is designed to ensure that once the socket is added to the wrench, it won’t fall off.

Once you’ve finished the task, you can use the quick-release button to disengage the locking mechanism, so the socket easily falls off.

Adjustable Heads:

As the final, and one of the more important features of a socket wrench, you’ll want to think about whether it offers a flexible head. Jointed (or flexible) heads are great for enabling you to adjust the reach your wrench has, which is also important for getting into tight spaces.

The Disadvantages of Using a Socket Wrench

As you can see, there are very little disadvantages to using a socket wrench as they help to make jobs quicker, easier, and more convenient. However, there are a few small disadvantages to take into consideration.

Heavy and Bulky:

One of the largest concerns that many people have with a socket wrench versus a traditional wrench is they are typically far heavier and bulkier than the latter. This is because you’re not only working with a hefty ratchet, but also a hefty socket as well. This can lead to hand and wrist fatigue, particularly if you’re using the device on a regular basis.

Requires Accessories:

It’s also important to remember that even though you might have found the perfect socket wrench, you’ll need to consider buying several different types of sockets as well. This is why the majority of people decide to buy socket wrench sets as they come equipped with all of the parts and accessories you could ever need.

Choosing a Socket Wrench is Easy!

No matter how you look at it, as long as you have a clear idea of what you’re going to need a socket wrench for, finding one is easier than you think. With plenty of models out on the market, all you have to do is find a reliable brand name that comes with an assortment of versatile sockets, and you’ll be well on your way to amassing the perfect toolkit.

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