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Do you know which socket to use on your impact wrench?

January 21, 2019

Accessories Expert Corner Solutions

There are many types of sockets on the market, but all can be split into two categories: impact sockets and regular sockets.

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How to differentiate impact sockets from regular sockets?

The main difference is wall thickness but it is very easy to differentiate between the two by just looking at them: impact sockets are matt while most of the standard sockets are glossy. You can learn more in the table below:

  Impact Sockets Regular Sockets
(also called non-impact / normal / standard)
Finish Matt and black
(due to a black oxide coating, also known as ‘industrial surface finish’)
Chromed and glossy
Composition Molybdenum chromium steel Chrome vanadium steel
Main characteristics Thick walls Thin walls
Tool Fitting Designed with a cross hole in the handle end, compatible with a retaining pin and ring, or locking pin anvil No cross hole in the handle end
Tools recommended usage Powered tools (impact wrenches, nutrunners…) Hand tools only

Two reasons why you should only use impact sockets for your impact wrench:

square impact socket illustration - expert article

  1. Ensure safety: Contrary to regular sockets, impact sockets are designed to support and absorb the momentary shock of each impact, therefore preventing cracks or breaks, and prolonging the life of the socket.

    If a regular socket is used on powered tools, the possibility of ruptures is very high. This could result in a serious safety risk for everyone in the same work space as any cracks in the socket can make it explode at any time, causing severe injuries to any operator. 

  2. Achieve optimal efficiency: Impact sockets provide a perfect fit to powered tools, and therefore will avoid unusual deformation or damages to the tool’s square drive.

Annabelle Bray - expert corner - head zoom

Using the right socket for your impact wrench is crucial to ensure safety and efficiency

Annabelle Bray , Accessories Product Manager at Chicago Pneumatic
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To identify the socket you should use on your impact wrench at a glance, download our free poster for your workstation.


Chicago Pneumatic Experts - what gives power to an impact wrench - how does a pneumatic grinder work

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