A quick study of the mechanic’s arsenal will reveal several tools and contraptions based on their area of specialty. Still, one thing that will always be present is the quintessential socket set. Socket sets are extremely important when dealing with screws, nuts, and bolts, which are almost universal in their presence inside machinery, both simple and complex. This nifty buying guide will help both amateur DIYers and experienced mechanics choose the right socket sets for their tasks.
The types of socket sets are almost as varied as the types of machines they can be operated on, so it will be simpler to differentiate these tools based on their properties and features. The primary points include the dimensions of their principal parts, the materials they are made up of, their design, and the presence of unique capabilities.
The fundamental way to distinguish between screws and nuts is through their size. Since socket sets work on these things only, they also differ over the dimension of their parts. There are two standard sizes available, along with rare, non-standard sizes for specialized applications. The buyer must choose amongst them according to the size of their machine’s fasteners. The first variant available is the small-type perfect for intricate devices, which has a head socket radius ranging from 3 to 22mm. The second type is the large set, with drive size ranges of 19-50 mm, commonly used with weighty fasteners.
Durability is a universally-acclaimed property, which is even more magnified in the field of mechanics and repair. Put merely, socket sets made with highly-durable material can easily withstand the high amount of torsional wear-and-tear, which is generated when working on loosening and fastening nuts. Another must-have feature is the presence of an anti-oxidation coating protecting against the wrath of environmental moisture. Such a coating not only protects the socket but the drill as well. A good combo of construction materials ensuring these properties would be a treated steel alloy body for hardiness with a manganese or phosphate anti-rust coating.
Apart from all the above facilities, some design sensibilities help buyers identify the best socket sets. These include an ergonomic, non-slip body to avoid the annoyances of a lost nut and socket, perfectly chamfered edges for a quicker attachment, and lastly, a uniformly done basic body construction. The last point, in particular, is highly critical, as a roughly-made socket can sustain unequal amounts of strain in different parts of its body. It may then either prematurely gives way under duress, or in the worst case, may damage the mechanism itself.