Impact Sockets Vs. Regular Sockets – Which is Better?

Most of you have heard about 2 Qualities of Socket Sets, which are;

  • Impact Socket Set
  • Regular Socket Sets

If you are confused and looking for an answer about which one is better than the other and which one to buy then you have come to the right place.

In this article, I will differentiate between Impact and Regular Sockets in detail, and also tell you how to identify them during buying. And, after learning every important thing about these two qualities of Socket Sets, you can easily choose which is better for you. So let us start to begin our journey right away!



What’s the Difference between Impact Sockets and Regular Sockets?

You can compare Impact Socket Sets and Regular Socket Sets  in the chart below;

        Regular Sockets         Impact Sockets
                  ColorMostly Chrome ColorMostly in Black Color
        Rust Resistance🗸🗸🗸🗸🗸
    Shattering ChancesMoreLess


●      Manual light-duty work●      Manual light-duty work

●      Impact Driver Heavy-Duty Work

Regular Socket ( left ) and Impact Socket ( Right ) Comparison
Regular Socket ( left ) and Impact Socket ( Right ) Comparison

What is the Difference between Impact Sockets and Chrome Sockets?

Well, the difference between Impact and Chrome sockets is;


Chrome SocketsImpact Sockets
DefinitionChrome sockets define sockets that have a Chrome-plating and are only used for manual light-duty work.Impact Sockets define sockets that are used for heavy-duty impact work but you can also use them for light-duty work.
Made from●      Normal form of steel alloys

●      Sometimes from Cr-V for higher quality

●      Chromium Molybdenum ( Cr-Mo )

●      Chromium Vanadium ( Cr- V )

Coating●      Chrome-Plated●      Black Oxide Coating

●      Phosphate Coating

●      And other impact resistance coatings

Hole(s) At BaseMay Or May not for Locking Pins MechanismMust have a hole for Locking Pins Mechanism
Chrome-Plated ( Left ) Vs. Impact Sockets ( Right )
Chrome-Plated ( Left ) Vs. Impact Sockets ( Right )

Are Heavier Impact Sockets Better?

Yes, heavier impact sockets are better than lighter sockets because;

  • The heavier the sockets will be, the more force will be needed to overcome socket inertia, and hence less force will be applied to the nut/bolt to move them. For example, it’s like using a small hammer Vs. Big hammer to pound a nail, you will see small hammers are lighter but take a lot of strikes to completely insert a nail, while big hammers are heavier but usually install a nail in 1 ~ 3 strikes.
  • Heavier sockets mean they are thicker which means they are more durable.

Plus, rigidity is also very important along with weight, the more rigid the socket, the more efficiently force will be applied to a nut/bolt to loosen or tighten it, and hence the better will be the socket.

Is Heavy Impact Socket Better than Light Impact Socket
Is Heavy Impact Socket Better than Light Impact Socket

Do You Really Need Impact Sockets?

Yes and no. Whether you need an impact socket(s) or not will depend upon what intensity of work you are doing.

If you are using a manual ratchet ( for daily personal work which does not include impact work ), then a normal socket will be perfectly fine and you do not need to spend extra on a professional impact socket set.

But if you are using a machine-powered impact driving system ( for intense work ), then a normal socket set will most likely shatter or get damaged. So, in this case, buy a high-quality impact socket set that will not only work well with the impact driving system without shattering or cracking but will also last longer than a normal socket set.

Uses of Impact Sockets
Uses of Impact Sockets

Why is there a Hole in Impact Sockets?

All Impact sockets have a hole at the impact driver ( gun, wrench, e.t.c. ) attachment side of the socket. The main function of this hole is to allow the retaining/locking pin to get into it and attach the socket and driver ( gun, wrench, e.t.c. ) firmly so they do not get separated during operation.

A Hole at the bottom of each Socket
A Hole at the bottom of each Socket

For impact socket hole, there are 2 kinds of locking pin mechanisms;

  • Detent Pin
  • O-Ring and Pin

a) Detent Pin

The first kind of locking pin is called a detent pin, it is fixed in the gun/wrench head and consists of a spring mechanism.

When you push the socket onto, the pin will be pressed down, but when the hole will come onto the pin, the pin will rise and get locked automatically into the hole due to spring.

This will ensure that the socket and gun/wrench do not get detached due to vibrations.


b) O-Ring and Pin

The second kind of locking pin mechanism will consist of a straight pin rod and an O-ring.

In this case, the gun head will also have a hole in it, and for attachment, both socket and gun head holes will have to align, then the pin will be inserted down all the way, and an O-ring will be placed over the pin, so it does not fall off.

This mechanism is very tiresome, and you need to get the pinout and push it again every time you change a socket. But professionals say this mechanism is safer than the 1st one.


Can You Use a Spade Bit in an Impact Driver?

Yes, absolutely, you can use a spade bit in an impact driver to drill holes. In fact, using a spade bit with an impact driver is much more efficient than using a spade bit with a normal drill.

When using a normal drill, spade bit may get stuck during drilling and all the torque will be transferred back to a user which will either cause;

  • The drill to snap out of the user’s hands
  • Or Will damage the user’s body by transferring all the unbalanced torque to it.

In both cases, there is a very high chance of injury and possessions damage. But,

When using an impact driver, the spade bit will be moving with a very high torque which will be caused by the very high-speed stop-start, stop-start motion mechanism of an impact driver. So, first of all, the spade bit will not get stuck easily, and even if it gets stuck, the very high torque will free it very easily.

Using Spade Bit with Impact Driver on Wood
Using Spade Bit with Impact Driver on Wood

How to Identify between Impact and Regular Socket Sets?

It is important to note that Chrome-Plating is always done on regular sockets and never on impact sockets because chrome-plating is hard and will most likely chip-off if used on impact sockets.

So, when you see a chrome-plated socket in the market, it will be a 100% regular standard socket, and

If you see a black color socket ( Black oxide and phosphate coatings, e.t.c. are black ) in the market, it will be most likely an impact standard socket. It is important to note here black color sockets are not always of impact standard because manufacturers these days may coat their regular sockets with black color coatings. So always see on packing if the impact standard is mentioned or not.

Color Difference between Impact Vs. Regular Sockets
Color Difference between Impact Vs. Regular Sockets


You can say that both Impact and Regular Quality Socket Sets have their own uses. Regular Socket Sets are lesser in price, average in quality but are fit for light-duty ( non-impact ) daily-life work, while Impact Socket Sets are higher in price, professional-grade in quality, and use for mostly heavy-duty impact work.


Special Message:

If you are looking to buy Regular / Impact quality Socket Sets, then you can choose from these famous manufacturers, such as DEWALT, SUNEX, STE, e.t.c. because they can provide you with socket sets not only of the best quality but also at the best prices.

And in case you are looking to buy Socket Sets in Large Volume, contact the manufacturer directly, such as STE, e.t.c. if you want a factory discount as well as quality, color, number of items, and a lot of other choices in your socket set order.

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