Whether you’re a mechanic or a homeowner, having a socket set is crucial. Whenever you need to deal with nuts and bolts, a socket set is very helpful. A good socket set gives you all the sizes necessary. Thus saving you a lot of effort.
But, understanding socket sizes is a bit critical. People often ask, why is it important to have a socket size chart?
Sockets follow two different sizes. There are SAE-sized sockets and metric sockets. The sizes are often used interchangeably. Knowing about both is important if you need to use your sockets regularly.
This might not be enough for you to understand the whole concept. But don’t worry. In this article, we’re going to discuss everything you need to know about socket sizes.
Why Do You Need Socket Sets?
Sockets are generally used to tighten or loosen different fasteners. They can be an alternative to the conventional wrench if you know their usage. Most DIY enthusiasts and mechanics prefer having a set handy.
The use of socket sets is very common in automobiles. Sockets are very common in many fastenings in cars and trucks. If you’re doing something technical like insulating garage ductwork, having a set of sockets can be beneficial.
One of the main benefits of having a socket set is versatility. If you’re dealing with a tight fastener, having multiple sockets can be beneficial. Also, it provides better grip when compared to wrenches.
Finally, when working with something slippery, sockets of the right size give a very good grip. This gives you a smooth experience and prevents injuries of any sort.
Types of Socket Drives
The drive is the main part of the socket. It is the hole where the socket is attached to a turning tool. Like a wrench or a ratchet. The type of drive depends on the task at hand.
Choosing the right driver is important There are three main types of drivers, these include-
The largest drive available is the ½” drive. Generally used for heavy jobs, they’re a must-have in any mechanics workstation. You’d see these drives in 19mm socket sizes often. They’re generally used in mounting TVs or fixing shower vents.
The most common category of drives available is the ⅜” drives. They’re common in most socket sizes. Also, they’re very versatile. It’s a good idea to have a number of ⅜” drivers at your disposal.
If you’re looking for low torque, high-precision jobs, 1/4 “ drives are the way to go. While they are mostly seen with enthusiasts and mechanics, they’re very useful. Especially if you’re working with small parts, such as fixing a broken valve.
Types of Sockets
Now that we’ve discussed the types of socket drives, let’s discuss the types of sockets. There are two common types of sockets available. The use of sockets has changed a lot over the years.
The popular type of sockets is often used interchangeably. These include-
If you use hand tools, you’re probably familiar with impact sockets. Most hand tools have a classic design with a very sturdy build. As a result, it’s very hard to find sockets for them. And that’s where the impact sockets come in.
The good thing about impact sockets is they can withstand very high torque. As a result, they’re used with high-power tools such as pneumatic or electric wrenches. They’re ideal for heavy tasks such as dealing with a stuck valve.
Also, they’re relatively less expensive when compared to point sockets. So, If you’re looking for something to start with, impact sockets are a great starting point. However, with the increase of automated tools and newer designs, they might become obsolete.
If you’re new to using sockets, point sockets are the way to go. The most common point socket is the 12-point socket. The biggest benefit of the 12-point socket is that it’s easy to use. Simply slip the socket over any of the 12 positions and you’re set.
Another popular type of socket is the 6-point socket. They’re generally used for heavy tasks. These include labor-intensive tasks such as replacing main water shut-off valves. They generally don’t slip or move, so you need some expertise to get into these.
Point sockets are slightly more expensive than regular ones. Mostly due to the fact that they’re available in a lot of sizes together. If you’re planning to spend, point sockets are a good idea.
Metric Socket Size Chart
The most common size chart for sockets is the metric size. They’re used all over the world minus a few exceptions. If you’re in a part of the world where the metric system is followed, this is the right chart for you.
When it comes to choosing the right socket, make sure you get the size that suits your drive size. The metric socket size is as follows-
|3/8″ Drive||1/4″ Drive||¾” Drive||½” Drive|
These are the sizes for sockets in the metric system.
SAE Socket Size Chart
The SAE measurement system is slightly complicated. It’s used more prominently in the USA and nearby regions. Here, the SAE measurements are used instead of the metric. It can be a bit challenging to navigate.
The SAE size chart is shown below-
|3/8″ Drive||1/4″ Drive||3/4″ Drive||1/2″ Drive|
These are the size of sockets for the SAE system. Now that we’ve discussed both the systems, let’s see their conversation!
SAE to Metric Conversion Chart
Both the SAE and Metric charts are pretty common. In certain parts of the world, both systems are used extensively. If you’re from any such part of the world, knowing both is crucial for you.
Generally, the conversion is done from metric to the imperial system.If you’re savvy with the Imperial to Metric conversions, this might be easy for you.
If you aren’t that savvy with numbers, we got you covered. To make life easier for you, here’s a simple conversion table for both systems-
|SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) Size||Size (Metric)||Decimal Inches|
|5/32″||0.156||5/32″ and 4mm are|
|5/16″||0.313||5/16″ and 8mm are|
|11mm||0.433||7/16″ and 11mm are|
|15/32″||0.469||15/32″ and 12mm are|
|15mm||0.591||19/32″ and 15mm are|
|19mm||0.748||3/4″ and 19mm are|
|23mm||0.906||29/32″ and 23mm are|
Here, we’ve discussed how to convert metric sizes to SAE ones. Follow this table and you won’t have to take the hassle every time.
If you’re wondering which socket sets to choose from, check out this list-
These are some of the best sockets sets out there! Check their reviews for more.
With that, we’ve discussed everything you need to know about sockets. We hope you find this useful!
Question: How can I tell my socket size?
Answer: If you have a socket set, your socket size will likely be written there. Otherwise, you will have to measure it with tape.
Question: What are the most common socket sizes?
Answer: Generally, the most common socket sizes are the 10mm and 36mm ones. In the SAE size, it’s around 13/32” for the 10mm ones. They’re the most common socket sizes used for screws.
Question: How do I find out my wrench size?
Answer: Finding the size of your wrench is pretty easy. Multiply the bolt number of your wrench by 1.5. The number you get is the standard size for your wrench.
Now you know the socket size chart. Sockets are a versatile tool. They’re very easy to use and they can improve your experience drastically. The key to a good experience with sockets is knowing which one to use.
In this article, we’ve discussed all types of sockets and drivers. Along with a comprehensive chart.
We hope you find this article helpful!