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What are the Different Types of Sockets and Ratchets?

Sockets and ratchets are the most critical tools in any mechanic's or enthusiast's kit. They can be used to take apart small devices to adjust car parts, engine components, and much more. Though all sockets and ratchets are used to tighten and loosen fasteners, various sockets and wrenches are available in the market. This blog will introduce types of sockets and ratchets and their types. 

Socket: A socket is a tool that can tighten or loosen fasteners by fitting it over the head of bolts/nuts. Sockets come in various shapes and sizes depending on what type of bolt or nut you are using. 

Ratchet: A ratchet is a handle used with a socket allowing you to apply enough pressure to tighten or loosen fasteners. In one direction, it moves freely, and in the other, it locks automatically. 

A socket and ratchet, when combined, are referred to as socket wrenches, and when there are interchangeable sockets of different types and sizes available, they are called socket sets. This is because there are various sockets with fixed dimensions, and the handle can be attached to various sizes of sockets. Socket wrenches have various advantages, one of which includes that fasteners can be loosened or tightened without removing the tool to remove and reposition. However, a socket wrench can also be used in tight conditions with low clearance and does not permit the wrench to swing freely in a complete circle. 

Types of Ratchets

The size of a ratchet will determine the type of drive it has. The most common types of ratchets are ¼ inch drive, ? inch drive, and ½ inch drive. Though, they are also available in ¾ inch drive and 1-inch drive options.

Different mechanisms in ratchets can have benefits depending on the situation. For example, a gear with a higher tooth count is valuable when there are tight clearances that afford limited handle movement. At the same time, a roller bearing may be more appropriate for situations where you need maximum rotation without sacrificing too much swing speed or range of motion.

Flexible head ratchets are available for those who want more versatility and an easy approach to tight spots with limited space or reach depth. Powered ratchets come into play when more prominent and influential tools are needed. These use air or hydraulic power to deliver higher torque with less effort on your part.

Types of Sockets

Sockets can be categorized by size, number of points, application, and material. The following are the most common types of sockets.

Metric Sockets

Metric sockets come in various sizes to match the drive of your ratchet, and are used for tightening or loosening metric fasteners. They are available in ¼" drive, ?" drive, ½" drive, ¾" drive, and 1" drive sizes.

Standard Sockets

Standard sockets come in inches or fractions of an inch. They are also called imperial sizes or SAE sizes and are among the most common sockets used in the US. The most common sizes are ¼" drive, ?" drive, ½" drive, ¾" drive, and 1" drive.

Impact Sockets

Impact sockets are the perfect tool for removing frozen or heavily-rusted fasteners. These quick-fix tools can be powered by compressed air, but there are also corded electric and battery-operated models.

Socket Point Shape Types

The socket point shape of these components refers to the machined geometry, usually 12-point or 6°. These shapes are commonly known as driver sockets because they can be used with impact drivers rather than manual ratchets; they have become more widespread and drive innovation within industry standards.

Socket Length Types

When choosing socket lengths, it is essential to consider their intended application. There are two basic types: shallow sockets and deep sockets. Both of these types can be used for various applications depending on your needs, from reaching into tight spaces to having a long bolt that goes into hard-to-reach places.

In Conclusion

Apart from the standard sockets and ratchets mentioned above, sockets and ratchets are designed for specific applications such as those regarding pass-through sockets, spark plug sockets, bolt extraction sockets, and insulated sockets. However, they all have one thing in common. Their purpose is to make your life easier by allowing you to tighten or loosen fasteners easily. Industrial 360 is a premier distributor of industrial products, offering all-inclusive parts backed by rapid lead times and cost savings. As we are available 24/7x365, get in touch with us by phone or email for a quick quote for your comparisons, and experience the best online purchasing has to offer.


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