If you have an impact wrench — you need impact sockets.
One of the most dangerous things that most people unknowingly do when working with impact wrenches (pneumatic, cordless, or corded) is when they pop a standard chrome socket on it & get to work. Although the drive size (1/4″, 3/8″, 1/2″, etc) will fit the impact — those chrome “CR-V” sockets have very thin and brittle walls that can crack, split, or explode under the extreme power of an impact wrench.
In general, you will find impact sockets made of one of two types of metal — Chrome Vanadium & Chrome Molybdenum — known simply as “CR-V” & “CR-MO”.
Typically CR-V is a harder and more brittle metal, and when a typical chrome socket that is designed for ratchets/breaker bars is made — it is very thin. On the other hand, CR-MO is a softer and more pliable metal that will bend/deform (vs splitting) and is normally used in much thicker-walled impact sockets. However, more and more we are seeing CR-V being used with impact sockets — with much thicker walls (matching the thickness of CR-MO). By doing this, it is preventing splitting/cracking due to extreme torque being applied & it also prevents premature wear (or “mushrooming” like we see on certain CR-MO sockets).
The Tekton impact sockets are part of the new style we are seeing — “Impact Rated CR-V”.
Looking at them side-by-side with the competitors (big truck brands), they actually win in many cases. The length, completeness of the sets without skipping sizes, a carrying case, and deep broach depths are not consistent qualities that you normally see with impact sockets. One thing that really bugs me with any socket set, is when it is missing sizes. And I know this, since normally the one size I am looking for, is the one size that the manufacturer decided to leave out! Tekton eliminates this issue, and does not skip ANY sizes in their “complete sets” (They do have alternative options for sets with less sockets, so do keep that in mind if you are looking at investing in one).
On each socket is very easy-to-read laser etching, and identifying which one you are looking for takes less than a second. This particular set includes 15 sockets, ranging from 10mm-24mm (without sizes skipped). As you can see from the pictures, they are the standard 6-pt (6 point) design, rather than a 12pt like you would normally see on chrome sockets. This allows maximum force, with minimal chance of rounding off the corners and damaging the fastener that you are installing or removing. They come in a heavy-duty blow mold case with spaces for each socket — and embossed numbers in the plastic to verify which socket goes where.
When you think about the “advantage” of a deep well socket, a few things come to mind :
- Overall length — allowing you to reach a fastener, where a shallow socket just wont work.
- Hollow interior — giving you the ability to slip the socket over a stud, and also fully seating on the fastener.
- Broach Depth — meaning how “deep” you can insert a nut/bolt before it bottoms out.
Looking at deep well sockets, you may think that they are all “made the same”. This is not true. For me, broach depth in-particular is very important — the Tekton sockets have a very deep broach depth (as opposed to extremely shallow ones with other brands). This allows me to use them in tight spots, and as I loosen a nut/bolt — it automatically “backs into the socket”. By doing this, it prevents the impact from moving backwards (wedging into a frame rail for example), because the fastener is fully backing INTO the socket -vs- bottoming out the socket and pushing the tool backwards.
Another thing to consider when using sockets is Torque Loss. That occurs when you use extensions, adapters, and universal joints. With just one additional “point of contact“, you will experience a 10%-25% drop in torque levels. For suspension bolts especially, this typically means the difference of getting the job done quickly (with an impact), or wasting time (with a breaker bar). Having a deep socket, instead of a shallow socket + extension, will allow your impact to have it’s maximum performance & wont kill the power levels.
Personally, I really like Tekton. I think that they make some very high-quality tools — and for the price, they are always hard to beat. This set of 15 sockets + case is coming in at under $50 — compare that to a set off the tool truck & $50 would barely pay the sales tax.
Also, if you ever have a problem with any Tekton sockets — they are “Always Guaranteed“! Simply shoot them an email & they will ship you out a replacement!