A socket is a tool that attaches to a socket wrench, ratchet spanner, torque wrench or another turning tool in order to tighten or loosen a fastener such as a nut or a bolt by turning it. Made from high-quality materials, such as forged metals, for strength and durability, these tools are designed to withstand high torque as they help to loosen or fasten nuts, bolts and other fasteners.Socket sets have an extensive range of all shapes and sizes with a square drive metric connection. The more pieces within the socket set, the more versatility this gives you to ensure you have the right socket for the job in hand. Socket sizes can come in a variety of sizes, from metric to imperial, ensuring you have the correct size for any job you require. Please see our socket sets guide for more information.Our range of socket sets features products from some of the most popular brands in the industry, including Bahco, Facom, GearWrench, RS PRO, Stanley, Teng Tools and Wera.
Why use a socket or socket set?
Having a socket set means that you have everything that you need at hand, meaning you won't find yourself unable to complete your tasks just because you don't have the right socket. Supplied in handy cases of many sizes, boxes or pouches that are easy to carry around, socket sets often come with their own storage, keeping them tidy, in the same place, and easy to access.Using a socket helps prevent you scraping your knuckles when fastening or loosening tight nuts and bolts as they are less likely to slip than if you used a spanner or wrench on their own.Sockets allow you to apply more force when a part is corroded, giving more surface contact points when loosening/fastening. They also prevent any further damage occurring to already weakened pieces.
Types of sockets
Sometimes socket sets will have a combination of socket types, whereas other may be focused on providing a range of sizes in one type. Sockets can be metric, measured in mm, or imperial, measured in inches, or they can come in Torx sizes, which are displayed as TX followed by a number.
- Hex Sockets - The most common type of socket with a square drive at one end to attach to a ratchet. The other end has a hex or bi-hex recessed socket head for turning your nuts and bolts. These can come in standard sizes as well as deep sockets for that can be used to go over a bolt or spark plug body.
- Socket Bits - A combination of a screwdriver bit and a hex socket that connects to a ratchet. The other end is then used fits into the female recess of your fastener.
- Impact Sockets - Give a better torque than ordinary drivers and wrenches. Are suitable for use with air guns. You can tell the difference to the other sockets because of the colour so are easy to identify.
Mechanics often use sockets in commercial or home garages. They use the sockets along with a turning tool to loosen or tighten nuts and bolts on cars, truck, buses and other vehicles. Smaller sockets can be used with a spinner handle or smaller ratchet for use on hard drives or computers for example.