Should I buy chrome or impact sockets?

Need a set of tools? Find yourself wondering, “Should I buy chrome or impact sockets?” 

Spoiler Alert!

If you are buying your first set of tools, we think you should buy a good set of impact sockets. Read on to find out why.

Can I use an impact socket on a hand ratchet?

Thorium - The Element of Tools

You can absolutely use an impact socket on a hand tool ratchet, a breaker bar or a torque wrench without damaging the tool or placing yourself at risk. New impact sockets are designed with a shoulder that is stepped down to a parallel neck. This new socket design means that the overall width of the socket is no more than 1/16th inch (1.5mm) bigger on each side wall. There will be very few places that an impact socket won’t fit.

Can I use a chrome socket on an impact gun?

I haven’t found a mechanic (or a lawyer) yet that will say it’s a good idea to use a chrome socket on an impact gun. This post explains the differences in the materials between the two types of sockets. The short version: Chrome sockets (Cr-V) are harder, stiffer, and don’t flex as much as the more ductile chromoly sockets (Cr-Mo). 

Because Cr-V sockets aren’t built to flex and absorb impact, they won’t hold up to the percussive force of an impact gun. At best, the chrome will flake off, leaving sharp edges to cut you up. At worst, the socket may shatter and cause injury. Do not use a Cr-V socket on an impact gun. 

What do the professionals say?

Here is a great video from a professional mechanic talking about this very topic.

He is The “Flat Rate Master” on youtube, and works with his tools everyday, and he reaches for an impact socket to get the job done. 

Save money, buy a good set of impact sockets that will last.

Thorium Tools - Impact Socket Sets

From a cost perspective, a good set of chrome sockets will cost about $2.00 per socket. A good set of Cr-Mo impact sockets will run about $5-$7.50 per socket. Now, why does the price range of the impact sockets vary so much? Good question. It all depends on how many sockets you’re buying in your set, and whether or not they are deep sockets or shallow sockets. Deep sockets require more material, so they are more expensive.

When it comes to saving money, we need to plan ahead. Buying a good set of impact sockets without buying a set of chrome sockets will end up saving you money in the long run. By not buying multiple socket sets, you have more money in your pocket to spend on an impact wrench, a breaker bar, a torque wrench or a birthday present that you forgot to buy for your wife. 

Whatever set of sockets you decide to buy (we hope you’ll consider buying ours!), get out there and do your best work!