As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Learn More.
The confusion is true when you find two products serving the same purpose yet varying in the case of pricing. Likewise, confusion arises about impact socket vs regular socket as well. Even professionals get perplexed about them and it is high time we cleared the topic for you.
There are more things about the impact units than just their prices. They differ also because of their construction and more importantly, efficiency. Let’s dig into the detail.
What Is an Impact Tool?
To make a tool more convenient and upgraded, the invention of impact tools has taken place. Till now, for turning a socket human strength is required. But impact tools come with an upgraded system that holds a small hammer set. For turning purposes, the hammers hit athwart an anvil. Hence, no more requirements for human strength!
Therefore, the tool is named ‘impact’. Moreover, the equipped hammers run with electricity or air power. The impact tool offers a remarkable mechanical advantage through banging the anvil. When turning the bolt, the tool runs at a high-speed rate.
Types of Sockets
You certainly cannot imagine a mechanical project without sockets. A mechanical task requires different power tools including fasteners. To use a fastener, however, you surely need a socket set. For jointing the bolts or nuts, sockets are a great help.
For faster loosening or tightening of the fastener, sockets are used for long. Therefore, the tool has become popular and remains in constant demand. There are wider types of sockets available in the market. Most of us, however, know about the impact and regular socket.
Except for the impact ones, most types of regular sockets are almost the same. They are also significantly related to each other. The most common regular socket is known as Hex Sockets. They come with twelve or at least six points. They are easier to handle since they come along with a square driver.
They are also equipped with socket bits for being compatible with long-reaching fasteners. Hex sockets are mostly used on bicycles. Furthermore, there are many other types of regular sockets including spark plug sockets, impulsive sockets, and all. They almost look the same. Nonetheless, they have different usage.
Necessity of Using Sockets
Whether to use impact or regular ones, sockets are very important for proper dealing of mechanical jobs. Manufacturers sell sockets in sets. These tools have some of the versatile uses written below.
- Sockets are used for both heavy-duty and soft tasks. They are one of the most necessary tools for mechanical and industrial jobs. Sockets make easier all the heavy repairs.
- As we have mentioned before, the first and foremost thing a socket does is it helps in taking off or tightening fasteners. With the help of a socket wrench, these tools perform these acts using the lever mechanisms.
- A socket set includes socket heads of different sizes. The sizes are meant for various sizes of bolts and nuts. They ensure proper loosening or tightening of the fasteners.
- Also, for taking out the motor tires, sockets are highly required. Moreover, being the constant garage hardware, they are used in battery changing as well.
- The tools are in demand for household and DIY uses also. For plumbing, door hardware, and kitchen issues, using of sockets is irreplaceable.
Impact Socket Vs Regular Socket
Even though both impact and regular sockets are similarly shaped, they have differences. To define it, impact socket is generally a modern tool for hand tools and impact wrenches. Impact sockets are used with the help of power wrenches while the regular sockets do not require any power tool to work.
- Design Material
Impact sockets are comparatively less soft and hardened. Yet they are heavier and typically thicker. Unlike, regular sockets, they are heat-treated. The impact sockets however have thicker walls. It is because most of them have a finish of black oxide or black phosphate.
Impact sockets are constructed with chrome molybdenum. The metal is ductile hence impact sockets hold out against vibrations. They are also highly durable.
On the other hand, regular sockets are simply made of chrome vanadium. That is why regular sockets are not that durable or resistant to vibration.
Unlike regular sockets, impact sockets are exclusively used. To describe impact wrench socket vs regular socket, their uses come naturally. The regular sockets are used with ratchets of 1/4, 3/4, or 3/8-inch, to remove fasteners or bolts.
But in the case of impact sockets, they cannot be used without a powered impact wrench. Also, to use an impact wrench, you will need impact sockets. Only the impact sockets are capable of applying the possible force that the power tool requires. The sockets empower more vibration resistance power than the tool.
Impact sockets are also perfect for offering great torque which is not possible by regular sockets.
- Locking Pins
Locking pins ensure safety. Top quality impact sockets are designed with a lock pin on their drive socket at the end side. The lock pin is highly efficient and useful. It resists the impact socket from befalling out of the impact wrench while running and vibrating. Regular sockets do not have this feature.
You will find most impact wrench sockets come in black color. It is because of its construction and finishing process. The socket surface has a carbonized finish to harden it. It enables the tool to adapt to situations when torque changes suddenly. On the contrary, the regular sockets are typically in silver color.
Impact sockets are expensive than regular sockets. It is because of their building materials, production technique, design, and all, not the regular ones. Hence, regular sockets come at a low price but they are efficient as well.
So, now you can see there are a hell lot of differences between an impact socket and a regular socket. People who keep asking why impact sockets are so pricy might now get their answer. You always have to pay more when you are up to buy the better one.
So that you understand the topic more in detail, we have come up with the reviews of one impact socket and one regular socket below.
Impact Socket Example
1. Sunex 3342, 3/8 Inch Drive Master Impact Socket Set – Best Impact Socket for Professionals
Impact sockets are always the best but this Sunex 3342 socket is completely exclusive one. The set offers a great deal of 42 pieces of sockets that come in both SAE and metric measurement. With its 3/8-inch drive master, the set has a lot to offer to its buyers.
The set includes 16 deep and standard sockets of SAE sizes, 24 deep and standard sockets of metric sizes, one universal joint, and one 3-inch extension. Each impact socket is made of CR-MO alloy steel and chamfered openings. They also have radius corners.
To ensure brand quality, the sockets have roll stamping marks along with laser etching. This also indicates permanent socket identification. Overall, this impact socket set has all the socket combinations a professional might need.
Why Should You Pick This?
- Featured with optimum flexibility and strength.
- Radius corner feature prevents wear of the tool.
- Chamfered opening enables quick alignment of fasteners.
- Offers a heavy-duty storage container.
Regular Socket Example
1. Neiko 10074A Hex Bit Socket Set – Best Regular Socket Set
To pick the best one from regular sockets, Neiko is always in the first row to choose. Its 10074A Hex Bit Socket Set is the one for every job. This set offers a total of 13 pieces of sockets with 1/2” drive, 1/4” drive, and 3/8” drive. Though it is a regular socket set yet it is no less than the impact sockets in terms of flexibility, strength, and durability.
Their chrome vanadium metal construction delivers superior torque. The alloy steel of premium S2 delivers ensuring long-lasting properties.
Moreover, the sockets are equipped with automatically machined and precise bit tips. This feature enables accurate size. Also, the chamfered feature in the bit ends resists damage to both fasteners and bits.
In total, among all the regular sockets, this Neiko 10074A socket set creates a great addition to a professional’s toolkit.
Why Should You Pick This?
- The set is beneficial for multiple uses.
- Prevents wear-outs and increases torque strength.
- Comes with precisely machined bits.
- Offers storage for easy organization.
Can You Use Regular Sockets with an Impact Wrench?
This common question is asked by many, whether a regular socket can be used with an impact wrench. Well, the answer is, no. You certainly should not experiment a regular socket with this power tool. There are reasons why we are expressing it as a bad idea.
We have already mentioned the building materials and process of both regular and impact sockets. Apart from their price range and everything, they highly differ from each other in terms of material hardness and thickness.
Impact sockets typically have lower hardness as they are heat-treated. Hence, they are ductile and have wear-resistant properties. Therefore, when the sockets are used with an impact wrench, they can dissipate the forces better. So, the sockets are less likely to fail disastrously.
Again, an impact socket also has a larger outer diameter. This feature compensates for the lower hardness of the impact sockets. Also, it is the reason; the sockets come with a thick wall. It helps in moderating the higher stresses acquainted by the sockets.
All these properties we’ve just talked about do not include in normal sockets. The socket will surely crack when used on the powered wrench due to its brittleness. The damage mostly occurs because of the momentary shock that the regular socket is going to get from the wrench.
What’s the difference between impact sockets and regular sockets?
Both impact socket and regular socket have many uses in our life. That is why both tools are important and offer great value. They have differences that we have discussed already. However, the main difference is their hardness and thickness.
These properties are a game-changer and they have made impact sockets an incredibly unique tool. Also, to talk about their metal properties, molybdenum is more likely to captivate vibration than vanadium. So, now you know that why your regular socket gets cracked repeatedly.
The only drawback of using impact sockets is their price. You can also use them with a regular breaker bar or hand ratchet. Though there might be a chance of overkill yet the socket works with it. But unfortunately, you cannot use the normal sockets with a powered impact wrench.
Impact sockets have made it easier for beginners while regular ones might put you in trouble. Yet, according to your job purpose, you can pick regular sockets as they are also highly practical.
Impact Vs Regular Socket FAQs
Are impact sockets stronger than regular sockets?
Though both impact and regular sockets are made of metal chromium yet the impact sockets are stronger.
They are made of chromium molybdenum that makes them stronger and more adaptable. It empowers the socket to handle extended torque and decline extreme vibration. So, impact sockets are stronger than regular sockets.
Can impact sockets be used as regular sockets?
Fortunately, yes. Impact sockets can be used as regular sockets if you maintain some insignificant caveats. While using a ratchet, you can use impact sockets instead of regular sockets, as it delivers the same result. It is also safe.
Why can’t you use chrome sockets on an impact wrench?
Chrome sockets are harder even than impact sockets. This property leads them to brittleness. That is why for impact uses, chrome sockets are not suitable.
Impact sockets are made with a standard level of hardness that is suitable for impact wrenches. The heat treatment keeps the hardness lower than chrome sockets.
What type of socket should be used with an impact wrench?
Sockets that are only impact-rated should be used with an impact wrench. Regular sockets are not suitable for impact wrench as they shatter and crack within no time. Even for impact drivers, impact-rated nut or socket drivers should be used.