A socket set is a nifty bundle of toolkit accessories that offer the flexibility to hold different sizes and types of fasteners. They are used to fit a wide range of nuts and bolts and they come as a single handy case, pouch, or box of several interchangeable attachments. With the wide array of varied-sized nuts, bolts, and fasteners available in the market, it is unlikely that a single socket set kit has all the fasteners you might need. However, most of the full sets come with sockets for the most commonly used fasteners, if not every possible size.
One of the easy ways to ensure you have the right fasteners is to know the types and sizes of the nuts and bolts you are most likely to come across. It will help you determine which socket set or combination of socket sets suits you better. However, as mentioned above socket sets come in a wide range of sizes in metric and imperial types. Hence it is important to know the two measurements of socket sizes, namely:
- The size of the drive socket
- The size of the socket head
Size of Drive Socket – this is the part that we attach to the socket wrench. They are always shown in imperial measurements and are denoted as 1/4", 3/8", 1/2", 3/4", or 1".
Size of the socket head – this refers to the part that fits over or into a fastener. The general rule is that the smaller the drive socket size is, the smaller the socket head size, and vice versa.
You use a ratchet spanner to tighten and loosen the nuts and bolts. The ratchet is designed in such a way that it exerts pressure only in one direction. It means that you can quickly undo or tighten nuts and bolts without constantly lifting the ratchet off, which you would have to do if you were using a traditional spanner.
Most rachets accept sockets with a square drive and the most common sizes used are ¼ inch, 3/8 inch, and ½ inch. Let us see what these sockets are used for, and which one should you get.
- 1/4 inch – it is used for smaller sockets and precision work. It is very useful for dismantling individual components on the bench.
- 3/8 inch – it is a middle-sized socket and highly useful for use on a car. It can drive sockets of all sizes because it is large enough to apply some force, and not too big to fit into smaller spaces.
- 1/2 inch – it is usually used for nuts and bolts from around 10mm and up. It is also a very useful tool as a 1/2" drive socket can be forceful enough to every nut on a car.
Apart from these, there are the 3/4" and 1" ratchets. They are usually used for bigger machines across various industries.
Choosing a drive size depends on your particular needs. If your need is for small, precise components, a ½ inch socket set is more suited for you. However, if it is not precision that you look for but general use and adaptability, then it makes more sense to opt for a ½ inch socket set. Whatever size you choose, opt for a good-quality product as a socket set can last a long time. Visit RS Components for a full range of socket sets.