Do Impact Wrenches Need Special Socket – Mechanic Advice!

Impact wrenches use sockets to apply the torque to the nut or bolt. When you use an impact wrench, you will need a special socket because the impact wrench has a higher impact rate and torque. So let’s see what kinds of impact wrench socket is needed for you.

Impact wrenches need special sockets made with molybdenum steel. An impact wrench is higher vibration and torque. Hence you can’t use a regular socket in the impact wrench. The socket is designed with a specific structure and shape as it can withstand higher vibration and torque.

So let’s see all in detail about what kinds of special sockets can be used in an impact wrench. Here I have some special knowledge from an experienced mechanic. So let’s see what is his idea!

Related Topic

How Impact Wrench Mechanism Affect to Socket?

First of all, we must know how an impact wrench is used. Because we must know how vibration and torque are generated. In-depth I can explain you as below.

Impact wrenches are used to drive lug nuts. Normally we can use our hands to tighten a nut by rotating. When we use a machine, we can do it easily. So impact wrench is the torque production machine that helps the nut or bolt as it rotates with high torque more than hand.

Impact wrench produces high torque. How this torque is produced. As you are well aware, how does an impact driver work? There is a hammer and anvil rotation mechanism. It will produce torque less than the impact wrench but enough for driving screws.

Impact wrenches use advanced impact driver mechanisms. It consists of a gear system and sometimes a hammer and anvil, the same as the impact driver. The gear system is called the epicyclic gear system (sun, planet gear system). Using this system, it can produce more than 2000 Nm breakaway torque in high torque tools. But there are about 500Nm tools that can use for domestic and DIYs. That is amazing and really helpful to losing the lug nuts.

The amount of impact that occurs in a minute is called impact rate (IPM). High IPM is really helpful. It can be changed with the RPM of the tool. This will vibrate the tool.

Due to this vibration and high torque, you will need a special socket.

When you use a regular socket in the impact wrench, you can see cracking or breaks due to high force distribution.

Read More About – How an Impact Driver Work? – Mechanism, Usage, Troubleshoot

Suitable Sockets for Impact Wrenches

As I discussed above facts, you can realize the necessity of a special socket. So that should withstand high torque and vibrations. So selected material should be with high tensile strength, hard and less brittle.

Generally, sockets are made with chrome vanadium steel. You can identify them with their colour, shape, weight, hardness etc. These sockets are not resisted torque and vibration. Hand-operated tools will not produce vibration. So these are harder and inexpensive. But really suitable for the rachets in general usage.

In the impact wrenches, this is completely impossible. In order to withstand the vibration and torque, it needs more tensile strength and less hard. So, chrome-molybdenum steel has been used as the material of these sockets. These sockets is called impact sockets.

Chrome is used as a coating. That will add more durability, friction resistance, heat resistance and add additional strength to the socket.


Impact Socket Structure for the Higher Torque and Vibration

So let’s see, how impact sockets successfully stand against the high torque and vibrations. Normally there is a special structure than regular sockets.

You can observe the structure is completely different rather than regular sockets. Let’s discuss each one in detail; how do they support the impact mechanism.

Wall Thickness

Normally impact sockets are with thicker walls. When the torque is transfer to the nut with a high impact rate, the wall needs more strength. When the wall thickness is increased, the included material amount is increased. This will help to apply more load and vibrations.

Wide Drive Socket

The socket is mounting place is called drive socket. The drive socket is really thicker and wide. This has been designed due to applying more loadings. When this is wide, there is more material, and it will help to resists the force. There are no cracks due to shear force.

Flank Drive Design

When you use regular sockets, you can see the flat internal walls. It will distribute the force to the nut in an inclined way. Hence there will be force reduction. As a solution of this socket has been designed with curved internal walls with points. When you use this internal socket wall will touch perpendicular. So this will increase 20% of force. That is amazing. You can see this kind of design in regular impact wrenches.

Flank drive design

Read More About – Impact Socket Vs Regular Socket – What You Should Use?

How to Identify the Impact Socket and Regular Socket?

After considering all, you must know how to identify the impact socket and regular socket. So it is easy, it can identify by its seen. Read the below points you can remember.


Normally impact sockets are black in colour, and regular sockets are glossy (silver)


Impact sockets are taller than regular sockets. There is a thicker inside wall, and a thicker drive socket and stepped collar are the least. Sometimes stepped collar is higher than the external wall diameter.


Normally, impact sockets are really harder than regular sockets. When you touch it you can feel it.


Impact sockets are more weight than same size regular socket. Colour and weight is real identification.


Most regular sockets can see the side hole for safety. But impact sockets have a side hole for safety. The collet ball bearing will fix the hole, and it will not lose while it is rotating.

Read More About – Is Impact Wrench Worth It? – Facts Revealed!

Are Impact Sockets Worth It for Impact Wrenches?

Impact sockets are really worth it for impact sockets rather than regular sockets. Impact sockets are more durability, strength, vibration resistance, thermal resistance, and more safety. It will cost a 75% higher price for the impact wrenches. But it will increase the force by 20% and really user-friendly to use.

But there are some cons too. When you use the socket, you will take additional time to mount to the collet due to ball-bearing if you use a pin detent impact wrench. Another thing is expansiveness, as I described above. But it is the one and only solution for the impact wrenches.

So I can recommend you to use a special socket for the impact wrenches. Those are impact sockets and the best solution for the impact rate and torque.

Tom Mackency

Tom Mackency

Hi, I am Tom Mackency. It has been 10 years that I have been working as a professional woodworker since 2013. I am really enjoying my carrier by creating many kinds of projects in my workshop. But mostly I like for home improvement projects. Home improvement and DIY projects are the most interesting things for me. More than that, the coolest things are power tools. Those are very precious and efficient than a decade ago. So I try to introduce so many things about power tools, woodworking, DIY projects, home improvement and many more interesting topics here.