Checked and updated on March 2, 2021 by Aaron Barnett
The best 3/8 inch socket set is made from CR-Mo and includes all the sized bits you will need in the future, with a variety of extensions and swivels. You want to make sure the kit comes with a durable case that won’t break so your impact socket set can always be well organized and protected.
#3 Most comprehensive 3/8 impact socket kit
Sunex 3351 50 pcs 3/8 in, metric impact socket set
#4 Deep Stanley Proto 3/8 impact socket set
Stanley Proto J72116 15 pcs 3/8 in, SAE impact socket set
#13 Some anti-slip 3/8 impact socket set
Kobalt 864581 10 pcs 3/8 in, metric impact socket set
#14 Small round-out resistant 3/8 impact socket set
Tekton 4845 8 pcs 3/8 in, SAE impact socket set
Best impact socket set 3/8 inch with a hand ratchet
#3 Cheaper 3/8 impact socket kit with a hand ratchet
Neiko 02440A 67 pcs 3/8 in, SAE/metric impact socket sets with a hand ratchet
#4 Dewalt’s 3/8 impact socket set with a hand ratchet
DeWalt DWMT74738 23 pcs 3/8 in, SAE/metric impact socket sets
Impact sockets are the attachments used to loosen and drive nuts and bolts on a power-driven wrench. They are used mostly with impact wrenches, which apply force to the fasteners in short powerful bursts. Impact wrenches themselves may be driven by electricity, compressed air (pneumatic), or oil (hydraulic).
Impact wrenches apply much more torque than any standard wrench can produce. This makes them especially useful for loosening nuts and bolts that have become stuck and unmovable due to rust and disuse.
Impact sockets are built for extremely high torque and percussive impact, which is why they are made of extremely tough materials. But apart from being robust, the material they are made from also has to be ductile (not brittle) to keep them from shattering.
What to think about first
What quantity and sizes do you need.
You should have sockets that fit onto most standard drive sizes, including ¼”, ⅜”, ½”, ¾”, 1”, 1 ½”, 2 ½”, and 3 ½”. You should also consider getting a socket that fits onto a less common drive size such as a ⅝”.
Do you need SAE sockets?
These sockets conform to the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) standards, which are based on the English/Imperial system.
SAE sockets will let you work on nuts and bolts on older vehicles, aftermarket battery terminals, and damaged fasteners that require smaller sockets than standard.
Do you need metric sockets?
Of course, you will need sockets that conform to the most commonly used measurement system in the world, which is the metric system.
Having metric sockets will let you work on a wider variety of nuts and bolts, including those on imported cars manufactured over the past 30 years.
What material are they made from?
Impact sockets should be made of chrome molybdenum, unlike the chrome vanadium steel used in standard sockets.
Chrome-molybdenum is a malleable substance that will become deformed instead of shattering, making it better suited for use with impact tools.
Do you need a deep socket depth?
Finally, 3/8 impact sockets should be deep enough to reach into blind bolts to get a grip on the nut. With a shallow socket, the length of the bolt may prevent you from reaching down to grip the nut.
Reasons to buy impact socket kit
There are many reasons to buy a set of ⅜” impact sockets, including:
For even more versatility, you can consider purchasing a cordless hammer drill as well for smaller fixings, which you can also use with these sockets with your impact driver with the right attachment. Read more here: best cordless hammer drill.
Impact socket set material: Cr-V and Cr-Mo steel?
Most regular sockets are made of chrome vanadium (Cr-V) steel, which works well enough for most applications. But impact sockets are subject to a lot more impact force, which is why the best examples are made of chrome molybdenum (Cr-Mo).
Although Cr-V sockets will withstand normal usage with a regular socket wrench, they are likely to shatter and will burr when used with an impact wrench due to the brittleness of the material. In contrast, sockets made from Cr-Mo are built to withstand the stronger impacts and will last a lot longer under the heavy stress of an impact wrench.
You can usually distinguish impact sockets from standard sockets by the black oxide finish.
Why coating and finishing of impact sockets matter?
Impact sockets are distinguishable by the black oxide coating, which protects them from wear and corrosion. Most standard sockets have chrome plate coatings, so you can easily tell the different types apart.
The reason why impact sockets don’t have chrome plating is that this finish is likely to chip or crack when subject to the blows from an impact wrench.
Keep in mind that some impact sockets may have black oxide coatings, even though they are made from chrome vanadium (Cr-V) steel. When choosing impact sockets, make sure they are made from chrome molybdenum (Cr-Mo), which is much stronger and built to last with a power-driven tool.
Can you use hand ratchet sockets with impact drivers?
Do not, under any circumstance, use regular hand ratchet sockets with impact drivers, impact wrenches, or any other powered turning tool. These sockets are not built to withstand the repeated impact of the above-mentioned tools and will likely shatter and burr damaging your bits.
You should only use impact sockets with impact wrenches, making sure that they are made of chrome molybdenum (Cr-Mo) steel.
Of course, you can use impact sockets with hand ratchets. Most ratchets will accommodate the exact same impact socket sizes, and won’t harm these sockets in any way.
Impact sockets in your hand wrench will last a very long time before wear and tear and burring, so you can safely use them without any worries in both types of tools.
What makes an impact socket set complete?
Apart from having the standard, SAE, and metric sockets, it would also be nice to have an impact socket set that includes ratchet handles and accessories such as drive adapters, universal joints, and extensions. If you have to work on hard-to-reach or awkwardly positioned nuts and bolts, an extension will come in handy.
Some professional socket sets can be quite extensive, consisting of up to 300 individual tools, including pliers, hammers, spanners, and more. They may also include Allen keys for loosening and tightening Allen screws that are often used in automotive components and home furniture, and also some meaty roofing screws.
Choosing the best 3/8 impact socket set
#1 Strongest SAE and metric 3/8 impact socket set
The Gearwrench 84916N features chrome molybdenum alloy steel (Cr-Mo) construction for unparalleled strength and durability. The unique off-corner loading design reduces the risk of rounding out fasteners, and the black phosphate coating prevents corrosion.
It is also laser etched with highly visible markings and has size labels that are hard stamped right on the material.
Other features from Gearwrench are that the 3/8 deep impact socket set is metric and SAE. The 6-point sockets have chamfered openings, a parallel neck down design for better access, and attachment ports that ensure compatibility with standard ratchets.
If you are looking for high-performance impact sockets for heavy-duty work, the Gearwrench 3/8 impact socket set is worth a closer look.
#1 Best large 3/8 impact socket kit
The Sunex 3580 set delivers premium quality with a price tag to match. Even so, it provides excellent value for the money, with exceptional strength and durability care of the Cr-Mo steel construction.
Designed specifically to withstand the extremely high torque of impact tools, the Sunex 3/8 impact socket set has radius corner designs that minimize wear while increasing torque by directing the force to the fastener walls instead of the corners.
#1 A cheaper 3/8 impact socket kit
The Casoman set features a 44-piece selection of impact sockets made from drop-forged and chrome vanadium steel. Heat-treated for maximum strength and durability, the sockets have a black phosphate finish that prevents corrosion and withstands heavy use.
The 6-point sockets have chamfered openings and attachment ports that allow for use with standard ratchets. They also have high-contrast markings and size labels for convenience.
The Casoman set comes with a rugged blow-molded case for storage and transport.
#1 Most affordable 3/8 inch impact socket to buy
The Tekton 4845 8-piece set might not be the most comprehensive 3/8 impact socket set on the market, but it does deliver great value for the money. Made from chrome vanadium steel, these sockets are built to withstand high torque and drive-end round out.
The Tekton 3/8 impact socket set provides a secure grip on the flat sides of fasteners, so you are less likely to strip the heads or damage sockets.
Choosing a 3/8 inch impact socket set [With a hand ratchet]
#1 Most comprehensive 3/8 impact socket kit with a hand ratchet
The Grey Pneumatic 81659CRD impact socket set may be pricy, but you do get a whole lot for the money. One of the most comprehensive impact sockets you can get, it consists of 56 individual pieces, with 6-point sockets matched with ⅜” drives.
Each piece is a Duo-Socket model with a roll stamp on one side and laser etching on the other for quick and easy identification. The set includes a 72-tooth quick-release ratchet for quick withdrawal and two extensions.
You also get a blow-molded case that keeps your sockets organized and ready to use at a moment’s notice.
#1 Best value impact socket 3/8 inch with a hand ratchet
The Neiko 02440A 67-piece set combines rugged durability with state-of-the-art design. The set includes SAE as well as metric sockets, so you are covered for almost any application. The sockets are made from chrome vanadium steel, so they may be a bit brittle under heavy loads.
The 6-point hex design does help minimizes the risk of round-outs, whether you use them with standard hand wrenches or impact wrenches.
Who uses impact socket sets the most?
Almost anyone will have a use for an impact socket set. But they are most commonly used by car technicians, builders, car owners, and DIY’ers.
When do car technicians need a 3/8″ impact socket set?
Impact sockets are among the most useful tools that a car technician could own. They can be used to remove nuts and bolts that have become extremely tight from rust or lack of use. They are especially useful for removing fasteners from caliper bolts, ball joints, and other car components.
With an impact wrench and a varied set of impact sockets, car technicians can remove stuck fasteners without having to cut into the surrounding metal or cutting the bolt.
And with a comprehensive set that includes SAE and metric sockets, you can work on almost any car model, whether local or foreign.
The recommended best tool to drive impact sockets is a battery wrench .
When do builders need a 3/8″ impact socket set?
Builders often come across as rusted and hard to remove fasteners as well, which is why an impact socket set will always come in handy. When working on nuts and bolts that are at risk of being damaged–or are already damaged–a socket wrench is often the only tool that can remove them safely.
And if you don’t want to damage the surrounding material, a socket wrench could be your only option.
Impact sockets are particularly useful for loosening fasteners made of soft metals. If you are worried about breaking a bolt head with a standard socket wrench, consider using an impact socket wrench instead.
And of course, an impact wrench will save a lot of time and your apprentice’s arm to instead drive coach screws and concrete anchors instantly into a dense material.
If you need to pre-drill holes into your wood for coach screws, consider picking up some cobalt drill bits that can also be used for metal.
When do car owners or DIYers need a 3/8″ impact socket set?
DIY work often requires dealing with stubborn and hard to remove fasteners, such as nuts and bolts that have rusted in place. Whether you are refinishing your deck or working with old cabinets, an impact socket set could be just what you need to loosen up those pesky fasteners.
Impact sockets are also useful for working on your car. Nuts and bolts used in engine blocks and brake pads are notoriously stubborn, and an impact wrench is often the only tool that can loosen them.
And with a full set of impact sockets at home, you won’t have to take your car in for servicing.
Tips before buying 3/8 inch impact socket sets
Many beginners make the mistake of buying impact socket sets that don’t come with ratchets, break bars, or extensions. But sets that include these accessories often don’t cost much more than sets without them.
And if you have to buy these accessories individually, you will end up having to spend more money than if you had spent a little more on a full set in the first place.
Many people also purchase sockets with black oxide finishes thinking they are actual impact sockets. But some of these are made of chrome vanadium (Cr-V) instead of chrome molybdenum (Cr-Mo). Make sure to get Cr-Mo sockets, which are much less likely to shatter than their Cr-V counterparts.
Consider getting a tool cart to keep your impact sockets organized. Not only will this keep your sockets and other tools out of the way, but it will make it easier for you to find what you need as well. Plus, you will be less likely to misplace your impact sockets.
Comparing impact socket sets 3/8 inch
|Gearwrench 84916N||Sunex 3580||Sunex 3351||Stanley Proto J72116||Milwaukee 49-66-4419||Grey Pneumatic 1226M||Casoman||Metakoo||Makita Impact Gold B-34833||Casoman Complete||Craftsman CMMT15880||Tekton 47925||Kobalt 864581||Tekton 4845|
|Verdict:||Strongest case||Premium socket kit|
|Impact socket quantity:||44 pcs||80 pcs||50 pcs||15pcs||8 pcs||26 pcs||44 pcs||30 pcs||9 pcs||35 pcs||9 pcs||13 pcs||10 pcs||8 pcs|
|SAE socket sizes:||5/16 in to 1 in||5/16 in to 3/4 in||none||1/4 in to 1 in||5/16 in to 3/4 in||none||5/16 in to 3/4 in||none||5/16 in to 7/8 in||3/8 in to 1-1/4 in||1/4 in to 3/4 in||none||none||3/8 in to 13/16 in|
|Metric socket:||8 mm to 22 mm||8 mm to 19 mm||7 mm to 22 mm||none||none||7 mm to 19 mm||8 mm to 22 mm||6 mm to 20 mm||none||8 mm to 24 mm||none||7 mm to 19mm||8 mm to 19 mm||none|
|Material:||Cr-Mo alloy steel||Cr-Mo steel||Cr-Mo steel||alloy steel||High carbon steel||Cr-Mo alloy steel||Cr-V steel||Cr-V steel||alloy steel||Cr-V alloy steel||Cr-V steel||Cr-V steel||steel||Cr-V steel|
|Socket type:||standard and deep||standard,deep, universal||standard, deep, universal||deep||deep||standard and deep||deep||standard and deep||standard||standard and deep||shallow||deep||deep||deep|
Comparing impact socket sets 3/8 inch with a hand ratchet
|Grey Pneumatic 81659CRD||Grey Pneumatic 81635MRD||Neiko 02440A 6||DeWalt DWMT74738|
|Verdict:||Most comprehensive kit with hand ratchet|
|Impact socket quantity:||56 pcs||32 pcs||67 pcs||23 pcs|
|SAE socket sizes:||5/16 in to 1 in||none||5/16 in to 3/4 in||5/16 in to 3/4 in|
|Metric socket:||7 mm to 27 mm||7 mm to 22 mm||8 mm to 19 mm||12 mm to 21 mm|
|Material:||Cr-Mo alloy steel||Cr-Mo alloy steel||Cr-V Steel||CR-440 steel|
|Socket type:||standard and deep||standard and deep||standard and deep||deep|
The Gearwrench 84916N consists of some of the strongest and most durable impact sockets you can buy at any price. The chrome-molybdenum (Cr-Mo) alloy steel construction gives it the ability to handle the most demanding jobs, and it comes with a variety of socket sizes for maximum versatility.
The Grey Pneumatic 81659CRD is one of the highest-rated impact socket sets on the market for good reason. It can be used with a wide variety of hand tools, as well as cordless impact tools. They also have a 6-point design that adds to their versatility.
If you liked this review and also what to know what the best 1/2 impact socket set it is also made by Gearwrench.
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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.
If you have any questions about your car restoration projects or if you have any queries about pricing a construction job, you can find out more about me here.