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    Socket Wrenches

    Socket wrenches are multi-piece hand tools used to fasten or loosen fastenings, such as nuts and bolts. They are composed of a drive shaft and a socket head attachment that envelopes a nut or bolt to facilitate fastening or loosening. They function in a similar way to spanners and wrenches, but their differences in design and functionality allow them to deliver more torque than other hand tools.

    Socket wrenches can also be used for a longer period with less fatigue, particularly when they are designed with an ergonomic, sturdy grip that guarantees safe and comfortable operation.

    Each socket drive shaft employs the use of an internal ratchet system to assist in the turning of rotary fastenings such as nuts and bolts without the need to remove the tool from the fastening after every turn, as you would with a wrench or spanner.

    Ratchet tools, especially those that leverage sockets, are popular tools to use in the automotive and manufacturing industries, though do often find a home with DIY enthusiasts and those keen on car or bicycle maintenance. For the latter two hobbies, ½ ratchets and ¼ ratchets are the ideal sizes.

    With a switch lever to activate a quick change of direction, socket wrenches are incredibly versatile tools that are used across a spectrum of industries and applications. A quick-release system also means that the sockets can be changed quickly and easily between different fastenings, rather than having to locate a different tool. Extendable ratchet handles add extra length to the drive shaft, increase torque, and make loosening and fastening much easier.

    RS' range of socket wrenches features tools and accessories from leading brands such as Bahco, Facom, GearWrench, Stahlwille, Stanley, Gedore and RS PRO.

    What Ratchet Socket Sizes are Available?

    Our selection of socket wrenches features a wide variety of imperial and metric drive sizes, with square and hex drive shapes available. From 1/4in to 3/4in and 6mm to 32mm, we're sure to have the drive size you're looking for. Popular sizes include 1/2in, 1/4in, 3/8in, 8mm, 10mm and 15mm.

    How do Ratchet Tools Work?

    The ratchet handle of the socket wrench provides the leverage to turn the nut or bolt to loosen or tighten. A square-shaped projection at the top of the handle accommodates the socket. Handles come in various lengths, with the most common being around 8 in, though extendable ratchets are available.

    The ratchet mechanism within the wrench keeps the grip on the socket tight when turned in the right direction, turning the socket and therefore the fastening underneath it. When the handle is turned in the other direction, the grip on the socket is loosened and allows the handle to be readjusted while remaining attached to the socket, rather than lifting the tool away and reattaching. This allows for quicker completion of the job as contact with the socket and fastening is maintained throughout, saving time on each job and increasing productivity.

    Where to Use Socket Wrenches?

    Socket wrenches are commonly used by professionals in a variety of industries, including car mechanics, engineers, and builders, but are also frequently used by DIY enthusiasts and home mechanics. For most situations that call for tightening or loosening and nut or bolt, socket wrenches are the preferred tool to use because they achieve the same results as a traditional spanner or wrench, but require much less effort.

    If your jobs are calling for tightening and loosening nuts or bolts in varying sizes, it is worthwhile to invest in a socket wrench set. These sets will come with at least one ratchet handle and a handful of socket head attachments, each of a different size.

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