When it comes to cars and tools for home use, sockets are one investment you can never go wrong with. However, with the barrage of impact sockets that flood the market these days, it’s become a Herculean task to figure out which are the best impact sockets.
For the most part, the best socket sets aren’t just the most efficient but the most cost-effective. To find out which sockets are good value for money yet can compete favourably with the big brands, you would need to carry out some research.
Best Socket Set Brand: Top Rated
Fortunately, we’ve got that done for you. Here’s a look at our top 10 impact sockets.
Top 10 Best Impact Sockets Review 2020
01. Stanley Impact Socket
This is one of the best complete socket set on the shelf. To begin with, it does a great deal at reducing slipping on any of rusted or frozen fasteners. This is probably helped by the fact that its sockets are made of alloy steel for strength and durability.
Perhaps, most importantly, they are treated with heat to strike the right balance between strength and hardness. Its packaging is top-notch as it comes in a brilliant sturdy case as compared to some others that come in plastic sticks.
To cap it all, each socket in the set is given an exquisite black powder coat finish. For all its worth, the thickness of each wall socket is optimised to provide strength. Yet, it retains access to restricted fasteners.
That said, it does have some of its cons. Take, for example; it is sometimes challenging to have them attached on your impact wrench for extended periods.
- Comes in a sturdy case
- Its wall thickness is designed to provide strength
- Does not wear easily
- Larger sockets like 15, 18, 20 and 23mm sockets are missing
- Sizes aren’t clearly written on the sockets
Comes with a case
02. Tekton Shallow-Impact Socket
This drive shallow impact socket stakes a good claim as one of the very best. Its shallow socket is definitely one of the perks its users love it for. The depth of the socket makes it easy for fasteners in really tight spaces.
Not only does its 6-point socket grip the corner sides of the fasteners, but grips its flat sides, hence, resisting round-offs. One of its biggest pros is the legibility of the sized markings, a property which makes it a tad better than most others.
Durability is one of its biggest strengths, and an advantage it has over most other standard sockets owing to its high-strength chrome vanadium steel build.
- Sized markings are legible and easy to read off the sides of the socket
- Its case is covered and compact
- It is very durable and highly resistant to wear
- Some sizes like 16mm are missing
- Markings are laser-etched and can wear off with time
- The Taiwan-made socket is made from heat-treated chrome vanadium steel. It is then finished with corrosion-resistant black phosphate
- Laser-etched size markings
- 6-pocket socket design comes with high torque
- Storage case
- Contains 14 sockets
03. Tekton Deep-Impact Socket
Just like its shallow-impact alternative, it is an excellent and cost-effective impact socket. Its main difference from the shallow-impact type is that it has a deep broach designed to accommodate even longer fasteners.
Tekton impact sockets are designed for the efficient transfer of torque from impact wrenches to fasteners, a job which it does excellently well. Even in extremely dim lighting, the size markings on the socket are quite clear and can be easily read. To resist corrosion, they are finished using a black phosphate finish.
The portability of its case is a major pro of the socket as well. Not only does it have a case, but its case is also heralded for its durability as it has functional plastic locking tabs which do not spill open. Above all things, the sockets were designed in accordance with set ANSI standards.
- Has a red blow-mould case
- Size markings on sockets are laser-etched and easy-to-read
- The case is also marked
- Sockets are coated lightly with oil to guide against rusting
- They contain the entire 10-24mm range
- They are not magnetic
- Deep broach depth
- Storage case
- Contrasting laser-etched size markings
04. Sunex Master-Impact Socket
Built with CR-MO steel which promises the right strength and flexibility needed to handle high torque impact tools, the Sunex 3/8-inch drive master-socket is easily one of the best socket sets out there.
Its radius corner finish makes it highly resistant to wear, as well as, increase the torque on fasteners. This increase in torque is buoyed by prioritising force on fastener corners rather than on fastener walls.
Just like the Tekton shallow and deep impact sockets, its size markings are laser etched onto its sides. In swivel applications, its universal joint adapts to whatsoever socket to be used. In like manner with some other impact sockets on this list, it has a heavy duty storage case which eases transport and storage.
- More durable than most others because of the use of chromoly steel rather than chrome vanadium steel.
- They fit fastener excellently well
- In addition to being laser-etched, the size markings are stamped
- Its swivelling action is spring-loaded and very smooth
- Its square drive hole does not make provisions
- The size stamps are rather small
- Heavy-duty storage case
- Laser-etched size markings
- Has a radius corner design
- Designed to meet set ANSI standards
05. Tacklife Drive-Impact Socket
With a 6-point socket design which creates a considerable contact surface between fasteners and sockets. Tacklife Drive-Impact Socket is one of the best impact sockets for the money, worth every buck you choose to part ways with.
Even in dim light situations, the size markings are extremely clear and easy-to-read. Its storage box is custom-designed to have designate slots so that the sockets in the box do not come off or fall off easily.
The sizes of the sockets are also printed on the box next to the card slots. Just like many others on this list, it is treated with chrome vanadium steel.
In addition to that, its surface is treated with black phosphoric acid to prevent all forms of corrosion. Perhaps, its biggest perk is the fact that it can reach very narrow spaces without the need to disassemble.
- Case is well-built and durable
- Included extensions
- There are no missing sockets
- Works brilliantly with an impact gun
- Organised storage owing to designated slots in the box
- Its colour finish fades too quickly
- Size on socket could erase following heavy usage
- Comprises of 18 sockets
- 6-point design
- Comes with a storage box with designated slots
06. Neiko Deep-Impact Socket
If you are seeking for one of the best socket set brands, the Neiko ½ inch Drive Deep Impact Socket fits the bill. With a unique 6-point flank drive design, it has a good hold and grip of fasteners on the flat sides so that rounding off corners are reduced to the barest minimum.
Also, the socket has a high resistant to rust corrosion, a property helped by its coating with premium black phosphate. This coating does not only guide against corrosion but protects the sockets from oil, dirt and grease, which could inadvertently affect the quality of the socket negatively.
Its laser etched markings makes it easy to locate sockets of various sizes with ease rather than waste time guessing which socket is which. Putting things in perspective, it is about the best impact socket for removing lug nuts and really stubborn fasteners.
- It is highly durable
- Black phosphate finish more effective at tackling corrosion and rust than regular black oxide finish
- Pairs brilliantly with an impact wrench
· The sockets are a bit heavier than regular sockets
- Unique 6-point flank drive design
- Premium black phosphate finish
- Laser-etched markings
07. Gearwrench Deep-Impact Socket
This ½ inch drive deep impact socket is heralded for its strength and durability. Its durability and strength are attributed to the chrome molybdenum alloy steel from which it was forged.
Just like others on this list, it has close to zero toleration for corrosion, thanks to a black phosphate coating.
Laser-etched size markings and stamped labels makes the size labels easy to read even in poor lightning conditions.
- Case has latches on the sides to prevent sockets from slipping out
- Made of chromoly instead of the weaker vanadium
- Laser-etched markings plus size stamp means the sockets will always be identifiable
- It has a good bite of the fastener and fits just well into the impact gun
- Good value for money
- There are no designated slots for the sockets in the box. Hence, the sockets can be jostled around when the box is being transported.
- Swivel pin doesn’t hold in well in high-impact situations
- Case is without a handle and can be slippery on the hand in some cases.
- Corner loading technology to tackle rounding off of fasteners even after continuous use
- Corrosion resistant coating
- Secondary stamping and laser-etched size markings
08. Gearwrench Metric-Impact Socket
Instead of vanadium, Gearwrench’s 6-point standard and deep impact sockets are forged out of chrome molybdenum alloy steel (CR-MO), hence, improving their overall strength and durability.
With an off corner loading technology, it promises a reduction in the rounding off corners of fasteners. A parallel neck down design that cuts across the small sizes like 8mm, 9mm, 10mm and 11mm makes it easy to reach restricted fasteners with little accessible.
There are stamped size labels cum high visibility markings on the side that are easy to read off from a reasonable distance and under dim light conditions. To tackle corrosion, it was coated with black phosphate.
- Strength and durability is increased due to off corner loading technology
- Black phosphate coating reduces corrosion
- Laser-etched markings allow for quick size identification, hence, increasing productivity
- Openings are chamfered to make sockets and fasteners fit together properly
- Case has four clasps at the side for proper closing
· Has all sockets from 8mm to 21mm save for the 20mm socket.
- Off corner loading technology
- Black phosphate coating
- Laser-etched size markings and secondary size stamps
- Parallel neck design for sizes 9mm, 10mm, 11mm
- Blow-molded case
09. Sunex Master-Impact Socket
With CR-MO steel, Sunex ½-inch drive master-impact socket boasts of high strength and durability even under rough use.
In addition to reducing wear just like the off corner technology in some others, the radius corner technology increases the torque transferred onto fasteners by prioritising the placement of force on fastener walls over doing the same on fastener corners.
It also has a chamfered opening like the Gearwrench sockets, an opening design which makes it easier for sockets to align better with fasteners. In swivel applications, it allows for accessibility to almost all forms of fasteners.
Its red case makes it easy to transport and store away. With its full complement of extensions, it has an easy access to all recessed fasteners. Above all other things, it was designed per set ANSI standards. Hence 99
- They fit well into impact wrenches
- They are reliable and durable
- Case has two secure clasps
- Perfect for the barrel nut
- No size missing
- Case clasps come off easily
- A bit bulky compared to other impact sockets
- Double size indication – laser-etched markings and size stamps
- Radius corner technology
- Chamfered opening for aligning socket with fasteners
- Comes with storage case
10. Wera Metric-Ratchet Set
Wera ¼-inch metric ratchet set comprises of 13 metric sockets, a sliding T-handle, a wobble extension and two flexible lock extensions. In addition to this are an adaptor and 22bits. What makes this ratchet exceedingly special if not unique is the fact that it combines into one tool the features of 5 ratchets.
Summarily, it functions as a screwdriver. The ratchet is exceedingly comfortable for handling with a handle that fits well with the shape of the hand. With 72 fine-pitched teeth, the reversible ratchet is designed to work even in very restrained or confined places.
Placed in a robust steel case, it is handy and can be easily transported or stored.
- With an adaptor and bit, the ratchets can be used as a screwdriver
- Has a distinctive knurling to make manual tightening easy
- Bits included in the set are of excellent quality
- Because of the heavy rubber used to pad the case, several cases can be stored by stacking without fear of slipping.
- Can be challenging to use when removing drive shaft U-clamp bolts
- The strength of the ratchet is questionable
- Premium extensions
- Sliding handle, lock extensions and wobble extension
- Steel storage case
Consideration to be Made when Purchasing the Best Socket Sets
When going for sockets and ratchets, it is necessary to make several considerations to get the right tools for the job, whether it be some light or intricate maintenance work. Here are some of those considerations to be made.
This is one of the most significant considerations to be made while shopping for sockets and ratchets. This is because they play a pivotal role in how the tools last and how much stress they can endure.
When it comes to the small matter of durability, chrome molybdenum and vanadium are considered the best choice. Chrome molybdenum steel known for short as CR-MO is touted to be even more durable than the vanadium variant.
Sockets forged from CR-MO are designed to withstand higher torque stresses under which sockets made from vanadium would have shattered. For this reason, most impact sockets are made from CR-MO rather than chrome vanadium alloy steel.
It is therefore imperative that you go for tools with any of these materials for prolonged service life.
Size of drive
Metric and SAE sockets are available in a wide range of sizes. These sizes include ½-inch, ¼-inch and 3/8-inch. This wide range of ratchets are expected to work with a host of different ratchets. In some cases, they might need an extension unit to function.
For buyers who can afford to get only one size instead, the 3/8-inch drive would usually suffice as it can work with virtually all sockets available.
For reaching bolts and nuts in realty tight places, the ¼-inch drive sockets are the recommended while the ½-inch drive socket was built for large fasteners. Besides, it can take in more torque.
While this is not the most factor to put into consideration when shopping for sockets, it is imperative as it can improve productivity. With high visibility markings, you can identify the socket sizes at a glance in dim light situations rather than squint your eyes to read small figures.
Hence, you need not waste time guessing which size is which.
Protection from corrosion
As you would be working with objects with plenty of grease, oil, water and dirt, it is very easy for your tools to start corroding. However, a black phosphate coating on the sockets can prevent corrosion of the tool.
Consequently, buyers should go for products with some form of protection against rust, grease and dirt.
A storage case is one thing to look out for when purchasing a socket case. These cases help to protect the socket from damage when not in use. With a case, it is also difficult to lose your tools.
It goes without saying that the locks for the case should be perfectly fitted to prevent its contents from slipping away. The same goes for ratchet cases.
Light cases with handles are the ideal set of cases as they can be easily handled, transported and stored.
This is a very important factor to consider when making socket purchases. The shape of sockets available range from 12-pointed star sockets to a six-pointed hexagon socket. For the most part, the six-point hexagon variant is usually the most versatile and reliable.
This is not unconnected to the fact that its walls can fit in properly with the sides of the nut to be loosened. They are the most practical of both types and are ideal for large hardware which needs serious torque.
That said, the 12-point variant is the easiest to use. This is because it can be easily put into position and lined up. It is, therefore, the most suitable for light work of any nature.
Quick release button
This is a significant factor to take into account when getting a ratchet. This is because a quick-release button can come in very handy while using a ratchet.
In general, ratchets are designed to come with any of a dial or lever to reverse an action. Any of these variants are fine and brilliant for a good ratchet. However, if the work to be done is in a packed engine bay, a ratchet with a reversing level would usually be the more preferred option as it is a bit easier to operate than one with a dial.
With the right corner technology, rounding off in your fasteners is reduced to the barest minimum. The most common forms of corner technology are the radius and off corner technology.
While off corner technology does the primary job of reducing wear and rounding off, radius corner technology does a bit more.
It increases the torque transferrable to the fasteners by placing the force on the walls of the fastener rather than on the corner.
What to Buy- Chrome or Impact Sockets
Crucial FAQs of Best Impact Socket Sets
What exactly is a socket set?
A socket set is a collection of different sizes of socket heads which can then to be attached to a wrench, ratchet or any other turning tool of your choice. With that couple, you can loosen or tighten fasteners like nuts and bolts with improved speed and ease over what is obtainable with traditional spanners.
The socket set might also include a lot of other things asides socket heads. This includes extensions and in some cases, sockets in a bid to reach the hard-to-access bolts and nuts.
Altogether, a socket set is designed to contain all the tools needed to tighten or loosen bolts, nuts and indeed any other fastener with ease.
What sizes of ratchet and socket sizes are there?
There are three main sizes of ratchets and sockets. They include 3/8, ¼ and ½ inches. Most often than not, any of these three would get the job done. In the case that they do not, you can get your job done with the use of a converter.
Can a universal hex socket be used with an impact gun?
While some individuals do this, it is not standard practice. It is ideal to use impact sockets instead with an impact gun. This is because the high torque from the impact gun could shatter the hex socket regardless of whether it was forged with chrome vanadium or the torque-tolerating chrome-molybdenum steel.
How can round off of fasteners be prevented?
To begin with, let us discuss what rounding off of fasteners is all about. Rounding off of fasteners is the slipping off of socket as you use it to tighten or loosen a fastener. To prevent rounding off of your socket on fasteners, use a 6-point socket designed with radius corners.
The radius corners help to build more traction with the flat sides of the bolt. As such, the probability of the socket to round the corners of the bolt or to slip is greatly minimized.
When applying a deep socket, ensure the ratchet is in line with the bolt’s centre. This would inadvertently prevent slipping. If the bolt to be removed is stuck, heating up with a blow torch would help to make its removal easier.
This it does by expanding and loosening it. Another brilliant option is lubing it with a silicone spray which could help you reduce the stuck bolt without rounding it off.
What distinguishes impact sockets from their non-impact equivalents?
The main difference between both forms of sockets is the durability. Impact tools are more durable than non-impact tools. As such, air tools can be used in driving them. While powered air drivers can be used for driving non-impact sockets, a handheld ratchet is more suited for driving non-impact tools.
Are sockets and ratchets worth the hype?
Sockets and ratchets attract a lot of hype for the right reasons. They have a wide range of applications, including at home and in the industry. Because of this versatility, they are worth every buck and penny you are willing to give up for them. They work better than traditional spanners or screwdrivers in tightening or loosening bolts, nuts and any other fasteners.
Wrap It Up
If you are conscious about getting a real value for your money spent, the above-listed are tailor-made for you. This list features some of the best ratchets and sockets you could lay your hands on.
They are the perfect tools for everyone, including hobbyists, industrial workers, DIY enthusiasts and mechanical professionals.
In addition to meeting the demands and requirements of the job you need to get done, they are a perfect mishmash of affordability, convenience and ease of use. Perhaps, most importantly, they are a great deal of value.
Read More: How to Buy the Best Screwdriver Bit Sets.