Checked and updated on March 3, 2021 by Aaron Barnett
The best socket set for a 1/2 inch impact wrench is made from Cr-Mo alloy steel. Gearwrench, Sunex, Craftsman, Tekton, Bacho, and snap-on are brands to consider. The toughness from CR-Mo is important as standard sockets built from harder steel will be more brittle and break under the pressure from an impact wrench, or impact driver, and softer metals will burr.
With build material in mind, you also want an impact socket set that contains all the bits you would need in the future and a case that is strong and durable enough to withstand your conditions to organize your bits nicely.
#3 Best Sunex comprehensive 1/2 impact socket kit
Sunex 2569 38 pcs 1/2 in, metric impact socket sets
#4 Another Sunex 1/2 deep impact socket set
Sunex 5153DD 29 pcs 1/2 in, SAE/metric impact socket sets
#13 Well organized DIY 1/2 impact socket kit
Tacklife HIS2A 14 pcs 1/2 in, SAE impact socket set
#14 A Cr-V 1/2 impact socket set
Neiko 02476A 14 pcs 1/2 in, SAE impact socket set
#15 A small impact socket set 1/2 inch
Craftsman Evolve 16886 10 pcs 1/2 in, SAE impact socket set
#16 Cheap DIY 1/2 impact socket set
EPAuto 11pcs 1/2 in, metric impact socket set
Best 1/2 impact socket set with a hand ratchet
#3 Smaller Grey Pneumatic 1/2 impact kit
Grey Pneumatic 82622 18 pcs 1/2 in, SAE impact socket sets with a hand ratchet
Impact sockets are the removable components of socket wrenches that fit onto nuts and bolt heads. They are the primary point of contact with the fasteners, loosening or tightening them as needed.
Impact sockets are designed specifically to work with impact wrenches, which deliver bursts of twisting power to loosen or tighten fasteners. These sockets work pretty much the same way as sockets used in hand ratchet wrenches and standard socket wrenches.
However, they are made of a much stronger material that will not shatter, or burr when subjected to extreme torque, if they are made from the right materials.
Impact sockets are used mainly by automotive technicians and builders. They are also used by DIYers, particularly car owners who prefer working on their own cars instead of bringing them to a car repair shop.
Reasons to buy 1/2 impact socket set
½ inch impact socket set is the best and most common size for impact socket wrenches, so a set that includes this size will let you work on a wide variety of nuts and bolts. Here are some other reasons to buy ½” impact sockets:
Features to consider before buying
The socket quantity.
Your set should have a comprehensive range of standard-sized sockets, including the common drive sizes such as ¼”, ⅜”, ½”, ¾”, 1”, 1 ½”, 2 ½”, and 3 ½”. It’s also a good idea to get sockets in less common sizes such as ⅝”.
Included SAE sockets.
Try to get a set that includes SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) sockets. These sockets are based on the English/Imperial measurement system and will fit fasteners used in older cars as well as certain brands of battery terminals.
Included Metric sockets.
These are essential for working on most nuts and bolts used around the world. Metric sockets are especially important if you ever need to work on foreign cars manufactured since the 1990s.
Socket build material.
The socket depth.
It’s a good idea to get along with the shallow sockets that typically come with a set. Deep sockets will let you reach into blind bolts to get to the nut and accommodate long bolts as well.
Why you can’t use regular sockets in an impact wrench
Although you can use impact sockets with standard wrenches (powered or manual), the opposite isn’t the case. Regular sockets will burr and likely shatter when used with impact wrenches or impact drivers and potentially cause serious injuries and frustrations.
Make sure to use only impact sockets with impact wrenches and drivers, that are made of chrome molybdenum (Cr-Mo) steel.
Understanding standard and deep sockets
Most impact socket sets come with standard or “shallow” sockets. These will work well for most situations, and most people won’t need any other types of sockets. are especially useful for working in tight spaces or on cars and motorcycles, where there is usually very little room to maneuver.
Deep sockets are better suited for specialized jobs, such as working on bolted joints and blind bolts. These applications require more reach than standard “shallow” sockets can provide. Deep sockets are also more useful for loosening the clamp bolts that hold exhaust pipes in place.
And if you have to loosen the nut on a long bolt that extends farther than the length of a standard socket, only a deep socket will do.
SAE, metric, or both?
SAE sockets are based on the English or Imperial measurement system adopted by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). These sockets are typically sized in fractions of an inch, such as ½”, ⅜”, and ¹³⁄₁₆”. These sizes were common in trucks and cars in the 1970s, although they are still used in vehicles manufactured as recently as the mid-2000s.
The metric system is, of course, the most widely-used measurement system in the world. They are used in almost every foreign car manufactured in the past 30 years.
So should you go for SAE or metric sockets? Most socket sets you could buy today probably consist of metric sockets. I suggest purchasing SAE sockets in the most common sizes to cover you for every conceivable application.
Can you use impact sockets with a hand ratchet?
You can absolutely use impact sockets with hand ratcheting wrenches and even other powered turning tools. Impact wrenches and impact drivers deliver the most torque among all tools, so impact sockets are naturally built to withstand the punishment.
If an impact socket fits onto your hand ratcheting wrench or even your manual socket wrench, you could go ahead and use it without worry–it will hold up and last much longer than a standard bit.
Remember, this doesn’t apply to regular sockets. Do not use your standard sockets with your impact tools, or they will probably shatter. Only use impact sockets (preferably made from chrome-molybdenum) with impact tools such as the Milwaukee impact wrench , and you should have no trouble.
Top 1/2 impact socket sets
#1 Best quality impact socket set
The Gearwrench 84947N is a huge collection of high-quality sockets, consisting of 39 pieces in all. Each piece is made of high-grade chrome molybdenum (Cr-Mo) alloy steel for the ultimate in strength and durability, making it suitable for the most demanding professional applications.
Some of the sockets in the set have parallel necks that allow for working in tight areas where standard sockets won’t fit. The sockets also have sliding lock mechanisms that ensure a secure attachment to the extension for worry-free operation. And with chamfered socket openings as standard, you are assured of a snug fit with any type of nut or bolt.
#1 Largest DIY 1/2 impact socket set
If the quantity is what you are after, look no further than the Craftsman CMMT16548 set. A staggering collection of 48 sockets, this set will cover you for virtually any application. Each piece is precision-crafted to withstand extremely high amounts of torque, and you get both standard and metric sizes for maximum versatility.
The Craftsman 1/2 impact socket set even comes with a rugged hard-shell case that protects the sockets from loss or damage.
#1 Best value 1/2 impact socket kit for your money
The Sunex 2569 set offers one of the best values in the impact socket market, with 38 individual pieces, extension bars, and even universal joints. Each socket is made of high-grade chrome-molybdenum steel, assuring you of utmost strength and reliability. The radius corner design of each socket helps increase torque while preventing rounding off of fastener corners.
Other features of the Sunex 1/2 impact socket set include chamfered openings for quick socket alignment and dual-size markings for easy identification.
#1 Most affordable impact socket kit 1/2 inch
The EPAuto impact socket set is one of the cheapest of its kind on the market, but don’t let the low price tag fool you. This 11-piece set consists of quality chrome vanadium sockets built for the most demanding applications.
The set comes with a ½” drive coupled with a 24” breaker bar, so you can use it right out of the box without having to purchase anything else.
Top 1/2 impact sockets with a hand ratchet
#1 Impact socket set [1/2 inch] with a hand ratchet
The Grey Pneumatic 82629MD set is admittedly pricier than most, but you do get a lot of value for your money. The set consists of 27 pieces with included extension bars, with each piece manufactured for precision fit and quality finish.
The sockets all have a nice heft to them, giving you the impression of genuinely high-quality construction. Each one is double-marked as well, so you always know what size to pick up in the heat of the moment. If you need a dependable set of impact sockets for automotive work or any other task, the Grey Pneumatic 82629MD set is worth a closer look.
#1 Premium 1/2 impact socket set with a hand ratchet
The Neiko 02446A set consists of 28 individual pieces, each crafted from high-quality chrome vanadium steel. Drop-forge manufacturing ensures the ability of each piece to withstand extremely high amounts of torque.
The set comes with extension bars, joints, a reducer, and an adapter, so you could pretty much get started on any project right out of the box. And with standard as well as SAE sizes included, the Neiko 02446A set provides total versatility at low cost.
Tips for using impact sockets
Impact sockets are some of the most durable and hard-wearing fastening bits you could own, but that doesn’t mean you should just throw them in a toolbox without care!
Comparing 1/2 impact sockets
|Gearwrench 84947N||Sunex 2569||Sunex 5153DD||Craftsman CMMT16548||Bahco DD/S14||Stanley Proto||Gearwrench 84935N||Milwaukee 49-66-4484||Ingersoll Rand SK4M14LN||DeWalt DW22812||DeWalt DWMT74739||Tekton 4880||Tacklife HIS2A||Neiko 02476A||Craftsman Evolve 16886||EPAuto|
|Verdict:||Strongest 1/2 case||Best Sunex 1/2 kit|
|Impact socket quantity:||39 pcs||38 pcs||29 pcs||48 pcs||14 pcs||19 pcs||10 pcs||8 pcs||14 pcs||8 pcs||23 pcs||14 pcs||14 pcs||14 pcs||10 pcs||11 pcs|
|SAE socket sizes:||3/8 in to 1-1/2 in||none||7/16 in to 1-1/4 in||3/8 in to 1-1/16 in||none||3/8 in to 1-1/2 in||3/8 in to 1-1/2 in||3/8 in to 7/8 in||none||7/16 in to 7/8 in||7/16 in to 1 in||3/8 in to 1/4 in||3/8 in to 1/4 in||3/8 in to 1/4 in||7/16 in to 1 in||none|
|Metric socket:||none||9mm to 30 mm||10 mm to 27 mm||12 mm to 27 mm||10 mm to 27 mm||none||none||none||10 mm to 27 mm||none||13 mm to 24 mm||none||none||none||none||10 mm to 24 mm|
|Material:||Cr-Mo steel||Cr-Mo steel||Cr-Mo steel||Cr-V steel||alloy steel||alloy steel||Cr-Mo alloy steel||steel||Cr-Mo steel||steel||Cr-440 steel||Cr-V steel||Cr-V steel||Cr-V steel||alloy steel||Cr-v alloy steel|
|Socket type:||standard and deep||standard and deep||double deep||standard and deep||standard||deep||deep||deep||deep||deep||standard||deep||deep||deep||deep||deep|
Comparing 1/2 impact sockets with a hand ratchet
|Grey Pneumatic 82629MD||Neiko 02446A||Grey Pneumatic 82622|
|Verdict:||Most comprehensive kit with ratchet|
|Impact socket quantity:||27 pcs||28 pcs||18 pcs|
|SAE socket sizes:||none||3/8 in to 1-1/4 in||3/8 in to 1-1/2 in|
|Metric socket:||10 mm to 36 mm||10mm to 32 mm||none|
|Material:||Cr-Mo alloy steel||Cr-V steel||Cr-Mo alloy steel|
The Gearwrench 84947N is a whopping 39 piece set that offers both standard and deep sizes. Crafted from impact-grade chrome molybdenum (Cr-Mo) alloy steel, these sockets boast of impressive strength and durability. Features such as parallel necks give you the versatility to handle a wide range of applications, making this one of the best ½” impact sockets you can get for the money.
The Grey Pneumatic 82629MD set consists of 27 pieces with extension bars. It also comes with a hand ratchet so you can use it for a variety of tasks right out of the box. Each piece is noticeably high quality, with a pro-level fit and finish. The double markings and the nice heft further add to the impressive feel of the set.
If you also need a smaller set of sockets for your 3/8 inch tool make sure to check my review of the best 3/8 impact socket set as well!
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Hi, my name is David, and thanks for reading one of my articles.
As a construction cost estimator, and a car restoration enthusiast I share some of my skills here at Bangingtoolbox.
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