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October 03, 2022 4 min read


Using a socket wrench correctly requires you to first understand how these handy devices work. In this guide, we'll go over the many kinds of socket wrenches and explain how they work. Let's get started.


What Is a Socket Wrench?

 A socket and wrench on a work bench with some screws and other sockets behind it

Credit: Envato Elements/ rawf8


A socket wrench is a common hand tool with a ratchet handle and a socket for quickly tightening and loosening fasteners like nuts and bolts. Since they contain a ratchet and socket combination, they are frequently referred to as ratcheting socket wrenches or ratchet wrenches.

Socket wrenches are typically sold in sets that include different extension bars/ratchet handles and a range of different size sockets  The extension bars can help you get your wrench into confined spaces, such as an engine block. With a socket wrench, you can accomplish any task you need to.


What Type of Mechanism Do Socket Wrenches Use?

 A socket wrench with a screw that is going to be used in a car engine

Credit: Envato Elements/ joebelanger


Due to their ratchet socket combination, socket wrenches operate via a ratcheting mechanism. A ratcheting mechanism is a mechanism that allows you to swiftly tighten or loosen nuts or bolts without removing the wrench from the fastener. This entails that you can tighten the fastener by turning it clockwise and loosen it by turning it counterclockwise without constantly removing the socket wrench to make adjustments.


Types of Socket Wrenches


There are various varieties of socket wrenches. Below are a few popular types:


1) T-Handle Ratcheting Socket Wrench

 A lady in blue overalls using a socket wrench in the engine of a car

Credit: Envato Elements/ stokkete


The T-handle socket wrench is one of the most popular types of socket wrenches. These wrenches have a T-shape. They have a socket head on the long, vertical beam at one end. The other end is connected to a horizontal beam, which gives the wrench its shape. 

A T-handle wrench is a specialized tool that can help with blockage issues and speed up rundown. They're widely used by mechanics to tighten or loosen nuts and bolts on automobiles, and plumbers also use them to do the same with pipes.


2) Flex Head Socket Wrenches

 A set of silver flex head socket wrenches

Credit: iStock


Flex-head socket wrenches have a moving driving head rather than a fixed, stationary one. They work like a socket spanner and have a flex point that enables the ratchet head to be at a different angle than the rest of the handle.

Although they are less popular, flex-head socket wrenches are excellent for applications involving tight areas. They come in a variety of sizes and sets and are frequently constructed of chrome vanadium steel.


3) Nut Driver Socket Wrench

 A nut driver socket wrench with a green and black handle

Credit: Shopsystore


Nut drivers are used to tighten or loosening nuts or bolts. Their heads are either octagonal or hexagonal. The advantage of using a nut driver instead of a regular socket wrench is that the nut driver is less likely to come off the nut or bolt head, making it easier to apply the right amount of torque.

Before applying any tension while using a nut driver, always make sure the socket is securely fastened to the nut or bolt head and that it is the right size. Using the incorrect size socket and applying the torque carelessly might result in damage to the head of a nut or bolt.


4) Gearless Socket Wrench

 A bright silver gearless socket wrench

Credit: Sealey


The gearless socket wrench, often known as the gearless ratchet, is a relatively recent invention that is becoming more and more well-known for its unique appearance. These wrenches include ball bearings that enable them to tighten or loosen fasteners without the need for gears.

Gearless socket wrenches are less complicated in design and have fewer components than a typical socket wrench. They look very similar to torque wrenches but function very differently. Similar to the above-mentioned socket wrenches, gearless wrenches are great for operating in small places.


5) Universal Socket Wrenches

 A Dia Grip universal socket wrench in a black box with logo

Credit: Dia Grip


A universal socket wrench is a socket wrench that includes a universal socket. Universal sockets resemble typical deep sockets, but its head is packed with tiny metal pins. Due to this construction, a universal socket fits completely with almost any fastener or bolt. They feature an open end that attaches to a ratchet or breaker bar.

Universal socket wrenches are articulated socket joints that come in different sizes. If you're looking for an excellent, dependable universal socket wrench, check out Dia Grip. This portable, lightweight socket wrench is easy to store and has a compact design that makes it always available for use. It can help you in any emergency. It is designed to simplify your life.




By understanding how socket wrenches operate, you can be a better handyman. When choosing the best socket wrench, keep in mind the type of hardware you will be using. If you want to utilize a socket wrench for multiple jobs at once, go for a universal socket wrench. These tools eliminate the need for having multiple tools for different projects.


Alex Wittle
Alex Wittle

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