What Sockets to Use with a Torque Wrench?

What Sockets to Use With Torque Wrench

Utilizing impact sockets with a torque wrench is a good option because they can absorb higher torque. However, the only disadvantage you can find is that impact sockets are more robust, meaning an impact socket will not fit some tight applications.

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Three Types of Socket Sets to Consider

Personally, I like to have an impact and chrome socket set in my toolbox because you never know when you will need a special socket and wrench to work on the car or around the house. (Below) I’m going to suggest three types of impact and chrome socket sets that you should consider having in your toolbox as well, including the heavy-duty impact socket set, chrome socket set, and combination socket set.

1. Heavy Duty Impact Socket Set

ABN impact socket sets are for heavy-duty jobs requiring primarily pneumatic or electric tools. Impact sockets are built to resist higher torque due to their malleable steel composition.

You can also use them with a torque wrench.

Impact Socket Advice

2. Chrome Drive Ratchet & Socket Set

Chrome sockets are the most common type of socket available on the market. These sockets are best used for automotive repair, household jobs, and outdoor projects involving non-powered hand tools.

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3. Combination Socket Set SAE & Metric

Combination socket sets are ideal for do-it-yourself projects including smaller jobs or for tasks that require multiple types of tools. Therefore, different socket sizes have different strengths, ensuring that the socket size matches the job to be done. And, again, avoid using non-impact sockets with an impact wrench. It is crucial to know the basic types available and the distinctions between them.

Socket sets are available in standard or metric, and most sets offer both options. For example, some multi-piece sets often include ratchets, joints, adapters, extensions, a 6-1 screwdriver, and regular and deep sockets. As you can see from the images, socket sets are available in different sizes to suit your needs. A smaller set is good for the simplest everyday tasks. In comparison, a more extensive set can offer additional deep sockets and multiple drive sizes. By choosing the suitable socket set, you’ll be ready to tackle any project that comes your way.

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Can You Use Regular Sockets With a Torque Wrench?

Yes, you can; however, my suggestion is to use regular sockets with a torque wrench for light and tight applications. For example, if you have to ride your bike and put it together to torque specs. And maybe you need to apply torque to the oil drain plug, brake pads, or especially when replacing deep spark plugs. A crucial aspect to consider is that most regular chrome sockets are not made for heavy use because of their metal components. As I mentioned earlier, impact sockets tolerate more torque than regular chrome sockets. Still, because of their rugged design, impact sockets are not suited for some tight applications.

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Can You Use a Reducer On a Torque Wrench?

Yes, you can; using a reducer on a torque wrench will not affect its performance. You might also be wondering if you can use extensions on a torque wrench and the quick answer is yes; you can. It has been shown that even if you use several extensions simultaneously, it will not affect the performance of a torque wrench.

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What Happens if You Don’t Use Impact Sockets?

If you use a chrome socket instead of an impact socket, here’s what will happen: You might wonder if impact sockets are necessary, and the quick answer is yes, they are necessary. Don’t use a chrome socket on an impact tool or under heavy torque for two reasons:

  1. Metallurgically, a chrome socket is incompatible with the forces that will be applied against it. It will crack and break.
  2. The retaining system is also incompatible because the retaining ring will fill the retainers and lock the socket into the impact tool. Now you will have to pry to remove the chrome socket and eventually break your power tool.

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So, let’s compare the two types of sockets, chrome, and impact to better understand the dynamics of both. As we already know, metallurgically chrome and impact sockets are very different; both are made of chromium steel alloys.

  • The chrome socket is usually made of chrome vanadium steel or 8650 steel.
  • The impact socket is made of chrome-molybdenum or chrome-molybdenum steel.
  • The chrome-plated socket will be harder and more brittle than the impact socket.
  • The impact socket will be softer and have more excellent ductility.

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This means impact sockets can deform and reform their shape under the higher stresses of being hammered by an impact power tool at the same time. Therefore, the two are designed for very different applications. For example, to compare, some of the outer diameters of a chrome socket are 25.9 millimeters. The wall thickness is 3.7 millimeters. The outside diameter of the impact socket is 28.03 millimeters, and the wall thickness is 4.47. As I mentioned before, impact sockets do not fit some tight applications because of their robust design.

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Can You Use Impact Sockets For Everything?

You can use an impact socket in many places where you could use a chrome socket with a hand tool. However, if you need a thinner wall application socket, the chrome socket will be the socket of choice. And because the chrome socket is more brittle than the impact socket, the impact socket is better for power tool applications. Still, again, you can use it with hand tools as well, including a torque wrench.

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Why Do Impact Sockets Have a Hole?

The impact socket hole is intended for use in an impact power tool with a pin retainer system. Most impact power tools have a spring-loaded pin in the anvil section where the socket is inserted into the impact power tool. The pin retainer pops out and locks into the impact socket hole. Now, to remove the socket from the impact power tool, you have to take a unique tool and press the pin so that the socket slides out of the impact power tool.

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What Not to Do With a Torque Wrench

A torque wrench is a very sensitive and precise tool that you should only use to apply torque. There are many things you should not do with a torque wrench, including the following:

  • Do not drop it
  • Don’t use it as a breaker bar
  • Do not remove nuts and bolts
  • Always pull and never push
  • Never use a tube to extend the handle
  • Do not strike with a hammer
  • Do not expose to rain or moisture
  • Do not store it under high pressure, and always release the handle
  • Never use it over its capacity