5 Types of Socket Wrenches

Set of wrenches

Are you planning to buy a new socket wrench? Also known as a socket spanner, it’s an invaluable tool for installing and removing fasteners with a hexagonal head. Socket wrenches offer a superior level of torque when compared to standard wrenches, allowing you to install and remove fasteners more easily. There are several types of socket wrenches, however, each of which uses a different method of operation.

#1) Ratcheting

Ratching is the most common type of socket wrench. Ratching socket wrenches are characterized by their ratcheting mechanism. In other words, you can use a ratcheting socket wrench to install or remove a fastener without lifting it during each turn.

#2) Flex Head

There are flex-head socket wrenches that have a swiveling head. Unlike with ratcheting socket wrenches, flex-head socket wrenches don’t have a fixed and stationary drive head. They have attachments that allow the head to swivel during use. Flex-head socket wrenches aren’t as common as ratcheting socket wrenches, but they are useful for applications involving small spaces.

#3) T-Handle

One of the most basic types of socket wrenches is the T-handle. T-handle socket wrenches live up to their namesake by featuring a T-shaped design. They feature a long vertical beam with a socket head at one end. On the other end is a horizontal beam, thus forming the shape of the letter. To use a T-handle socket wrench, you must grip the horizontal beam and turn it after inserting the socket head into a bolt.

#4) Nut Driver

Another type of socket wrench is nut driver. Nut driver socket wrenches are essentially handheld, manually operated screwdrivers with a socket head. They don’t have a Philip’s head or flat head. Rather, they have a socket head, which allows them to be used for fastening applications involving a hexagonal head.

#5) Gearless

Finally, there are gearless socket wrenches. Also known as a gearlesss ratchet, a gearless socket wrench is a relatively new type, but it’s becoming more popular thanks to its unique design. Gearless socket wrenches feature ball bearing that allow them to tighten or loosen fasteners without the use of gears.

Which type of socket wrench should you choose? For most applications there’s no substitution for a high-quality ratcheting socket wrench. Ratching socket wrenches offer excellent torque and they are easy to use. At the same time, you can change the socket head on a ratcheting socket wrench so that it fits your needs.

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