Last Updated on August 19, 2020 by builder Aaron Barnett
When looking for the best impact socket set, make sure its made from Cr-Mo so there build to withstand the impact of a power tool, like an impact driver or impact wrench. Getting a kit that includes both a 3/8 and 1/2 bits means you can double your impact socket set as your standard socket set as well.
So you don’t have to organize and separate your Cr-M0 and Cr-V bits and impact socket bits will work for everything.
Best impact socket set [3/8 & 1/2 inch]
#3 Best SAE & metric Cr-V impact socket set 3/8 & 1/2 combo
Casoman 35 pcs 3/8 in and 1/2 in, SAE/metric impact socket sets
#4 Best anti-corrosion 3/8 & 1/2 impact socket set
Neiko 02443A 35 pcs 3/8 in and 1/2 in, SAE/metric impact socket sets
Impact sockets are attachments for impact wrenches and drivers. They are typically used to loosen nuts and bolts that have become stuck due to time, rust, or some other issues. When used with impact wrenches, these sockets firmly grip the fastener head while the wrench mechanism delivers short, powerful bursts. The repeated impact is often enough to loosen even the most stubborn fasteners.
Impact sockets come in many diameters, although the most common are ⅜” and ½”. A set that includes sockets in these sizes should cover you for most automotive, building, and DIY jobs.
Reasons to buy a 3/8 & 1/2 impact socket set combo
Here are the most important reasons to purchase 3/8 and 1/2 impact socket sets:
Features to consider when buying an impact socket set
Number of sockets
Your socket set should have a good range of ⅜” and ½” sockets, which are the most commonly used sizes. It is also preferable to have a variety of sockets in other standard sizes (¼”, ¾”, 1”, 1 ½”, 2 ½”, and 3 ½”), as well as less common sizes such as ⅝”.
SAE and metric sockets
Metric sockets and sockets that conform to SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) standards will allow you to work with a wider variety of socket sizes, including those that don’t conform to standard English/Imperial measurements.
Sockets intended for use with impact drivers should be made of chrome molybdenum (Cr-Mo) to withstand the extremely high torque.
What makes a socket set compatible with an impact wrench?
Standard wrench sockets and impact sockets are typically available in the same sizes. As far as size is concerned, standard sockets and impact sockets are pretty much interchangeable.
But even though a set of standard sockets will fit in your impact wrench or driver, that doesn’t mean that you can use them safely.
Most standard sockets are made of chrome vanadium (Cr-V), which is likely to shatter or burr when subjected to high-torque applications.
For full compatibility with impact wrenches, a socket set should not only conform to the proper size specifications but also have individual pieces made from chrome molybdenum (Cr-Mo).
Do you need both 3/8 and 1/2 sockets in one kit?
An impact socket set with ⅜” and ½” sockets will cover you for a wide variety of automotive, machining, construction, and DIY jobs. These are the two most common nut and bolt sizes by far, and you are much more likely to come across fasteners in these sizes than any other.
Of course, a full kit will come with sockets in other sizes, including other standard sizes, as well as less common sizes. Some even come with SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) and metric-sized sockets, which will allow you to work with an even broader range of fasteners.
Even if you have to purchase hand ratchets and extensions separately, go with as comprehensive a range of sockets as possible. And you only need one kit to use with your hand wrench and your impact wrench, without having to keep two kits separate.
If you are only looking for a dedicated ⅜” impact socket set, like Tekton impact sockets or you simply wants to know the comparison between Gearwrench vs Tekton, because you only work on small jobs consider purchasing only a Gearwrench 3/8 impact socket set.
Ingersoll Rand vs. Klutch vs. Casoman?
When choosing between impact socket sets, I would choose the following in order: Ingersoll Rand, Klutch, and then Casoman. I would go for Ingersoll Rand for the absolutely flawless quality, electro-phosphate finish, and laser-etched markings.
Klutch would be my second choice, simply based on the wide range of sockets that come in the set.
Casoman would have to be a distant third because the sockets are made of chrome vanadium (Cr-V), which isn’t nearly as durable as the chrome molybdenum (Cr-Mo) used in the Ingersoll Rand and Klutch sets.
If you are looking for only a half-inch impact socket set kit like Craftsman impact sockets, you may want to consider only getting the Gearwrench or Sunex 1/2 impact sockets.
What puts Ingersoll Rand ahead for the best 3/8 and 1/2 impact socket set?
Ingersoll Rand sockets have the look and feel of high quality, professional-grade tools. From the laser-etched size markings to the chrome-molybdenum material, you can tell that these sockets are made to go the distance.
The electro-phosphate finish is a nice touch, giving these sockets an elegant look that you won’t see in many impact socket sets. And with SAE and metric-size sockets available, I really don’t need anything else for automotive work and construction jobs.
Impact socket accessories: When do you need them?
Top choices when looking for an impact socket set
The Ingersoll Rand SK34C86 is the highest-rated impact socket set in this roundup. It is also the most expensive, although it is easy to see where your money is going.
The look and feel of the entire set is sheer class, with a futuristic appearance due to the electro-phosphate finish.
But the SK34C86 is more than just a pretty face. Chrome-molybdenum steel construction, laser-etched size markings, and a wide range of socket sizes make this one of the best values in the impact socket market despite the price.
Top 3/8 and 1/2 impact socket set to buy
With 94 individual pieces in all, the Klutch impact socket set provides everything you could need for automotive work, building, and more. Each piece is meticulously crafted from high-grade chrome-molybdenum steel, so they can handle even the toughest jobs with ease.
Like the best impact sockets, these are designed specifically for high-torque applications and are finished in manganese phosphate for corrosion-free performance. The Klutch set includes SAE as well as metric-sized sockets.
Biggest impact socket set 3/8 and 1/2
If value for money is your first priority, the Neiko 02443A impact socket set is the one for you. The chrome vanadium steel construction makes these sockets ideally suited for high-torque applications. Each individual socket is coated in black electroplate finish, ensuring resistance to oil and corrosion.
The Neiko 02443A sockets also feature a 6-point flank drive design. This focuses the turning force on the flat sides of bolts, allowing for maximum torque without the risk of damaging corners.
Most affordable 3/8 and 1/2 impact socket set
Best coating and finishing for impact sockets
Most standard sockets have chrome plating coatings, which look good and seemingly prevent corrosion. But these finishes are not nearly as robust as they look, and tend to wear off sooner or later. And if you use these sockets in an impact driver, they will likely crack and chip off after only a few uses.
The best finish for impact sockets is a black oxide, which effectively prevents wear and corrosion. However, some standard sockets may have black oxide coatings as well, so make sure that they are actually made of chrome molybdenum before you attempt to use them with your impact driver.
Quantity vs. Quality
Quality is always better than quantity, but you do want a set that has all the standard sizes available. It would also be nice to have a few accessories bundled in, such as an adapter, a hand ratchet, and extension bars.
Even so, always consider the quality of the individual sockets first and foremost. Even with a lot of accessories included in the package, an impact socket set wouldn’t be much use if the sockets break down and shatter after only a few uses.
Considerations before you but 3/8 and 1/2 impact socket sets
Check the compatibility.
Make sure that the sockets you buy are compatible with your impact wrench or driver. Sockets from known brands usually come in standard sizes, so it is best to stick with major manufacturers. Find out more about compatibility with cordless impact wrenches here .
Check the durability.
Impact sockets should be made from chrome molybdenum (Cr-Mo) steel. Avoid chrome vanadium (Cr-V) sockets, which are better suited for manual socket wrenches and are likely to shatter in high-torque applications.
Research the brand.
Manufacturing companies that have a reputation for quality are likely to have high-quality impact socket sets as well. If possible, go for socket sets from reputable manufacturers of quality power tools.
Think about the price.
Socket wrenches aren’t really that expensive, but some sets do offer better value than others. Look into bundled accessories such as adapters, hand ratchets, and extension bars that will add more value to an impact socket set.
Consider the number of pieces in the set.
You will want a set that provides all the common sizes, as well as a few less common sizes.
Tips for using 3/8 and 1/2 impact socket set
Comparing 3/8-1/8 impact sockets combo
|Ingersoll Rand SK34C86|
|Klutch 94 pcs||Casoman 35 pcs||Neiko 02443A||Klutch 59 pcs||Tacklife 49 pcs||Pittsburgh 68011|
|Verdict:||Best high-torque socket set with case||Most comprehensive set||Low-cost sockets|
|Material:||Cr-Mo steel||Cr-Mo steel||Cr-V steel||Cr-V steel||Cr-Mo steel||Dont know||Cr-V steel|
|Quantity:||86 pcs||94 pcs||35 pcs||35 pcs||59 pcs||49 pcs||34 pcs|
|Socket type:||standard and deep||standard and deep||standard and deep||standard and deep||standard and deep||standard and deep||standard and deep|
|SAE 3/8 inch drives:||3/8 to 3/4 inches||5/16 to 3/4 inches||3/8 to 1-1/4 inches||7/16 to 1-1/4 inches||5/16 to 1 inches||3/8 to 3/4 inches||5/16 to 3/4 inches|
|Metric 3/8 inch drives:||9 mm to 19 mm||9 mm to 19 mm||none||none||8 mm to 22 mm||6 mm to 22 mm||8 mm to 17 mm|
|SAE 1/2 inch drives:||7/16 to 1-1/4 inches||5/16 to 3/4 inches||none||none||3/8 to 1-1/4 inches||3/8 to 1-1/4 inches||7/16 in to 1 inches|
|Metric 1/2 inch drives:||10 mm to 27 mm||9 mm to 19 mm||8 mm to 24 mm||10 mm to 24 mm||10 mm to 24 mm||10 mm to 24 mm||9 mm to 22 mm|
The Ingersoll Rand SK34C86 is one of the highest-rated best impact socket set in this roundup, and for a good reason. It is designed specifically for high torque applications and is made from chrome molybdenum for utmost durability.
The electro phosphate finish gives it a look that is pure class while protecting the material from corrosion. It even has size marks in gold laser etching, further adding to the elegant appearance. For look and performance, the Ingersoll Rand SK34C86 set is the one to beat.
I hope you’ve found this rundown of the top ⅜” and ½” impact socket sets informative. Make sure to read our review of the best impact wrenches as well.
Sounds like this can be improved for the next reader.
Please share how this article can be improved?
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.