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post #1 of (permalink) Old 01-28-2001, 10:52 PM
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12 point VS. 6 point sockets

I just got a 101 piece Craftsman socket set. Half of the sockets are 6 point, and the other half (repeating the same size sockets) are 12 point.
I was just wondering what the advantages of each type of socket are. Is one better then the other in certain situations?
Thanks for your time.

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post #2 of (permalink) Old 01-29-2001, 12:12 AM
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Re: 12 point VS. 6 point sockets

12 point is much more likely to round off the bolt.
6 point, it is a little more likely to break the socket.

For small (low torque) harder to reach bolts a 12 point is a little easier to get on. For bigger high torque bolts 6 point is better.

Some Fords attach the driveshaft to the diff with 12 point bolts. Quite odd don't you think?

The problem with the craftsman sets is they don't give you many 1/2" sockets. Save youself the hassle and a full set of 1/2" sockets, 6 point. I've broken many 3/8" sockets and ratchets, but only one or two 1/2". There is no bigger hassle than having to stop in the middle of what you are doing and get a new socket.

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post #3 of (permalink) Old 01-29-2001, 07:06 PM
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Re: 12 point VS. 6 point sockets

I find 12's are more likely to break. But their advantage is only noticeable when using any driver OTHER THAN a ratchet. They let you set your breaker bar closer to the angle you want to apply max torque. (...and they're also handy on 12-point bolt heads.) The reason for 12-point heads is that you can apply more torque without stripping - kinda like 31-spline axles are better than 28's.

BTW I've built up my set by buying Craftsman tools at pawn shops - they're about 1/3 the price. And if you think it's somehow immoral to return a tool to Sears you didn't buy there, it's not: someone bought it there and paid for that lifetime warranty, so there's no reason not to use it!

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post #4 of (permalink) Old 01-29-2001, 11:16 PM
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Re: 12 point VS. 6 point sockets

Thanks for clearing that up for me guys.

post #5 of (permalink) Old 01-30-2001, 10:29 AM
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Re: 12 point VS. 6 point sockets


There is also another out of date reason why 12 points are made. Many years ago square bolts and nuts were more prevalent than they are today. You'll still find them on lawn machinery and set bolts everywhere. 12 points tend to fit these too.

As it was already mentioned 12 points are easier to slip on and when your ratchet is in a tight area, you've got more angle choices than 6 point. When it comes to cars and imports and small stuff 12 points are pretty useful. Now that you've got a big toy (your Bronco) you'll find 1/2" drive 6 points will be your tool of choice. Especially if your have a 24" flex bar which allows you to put some real torque on things.

When I'm loosening frame stuff on my old Ford, I use 1/2" drive 6 point impact sockets which are even tougher as even though Sears will take them back, it's another drive once you break it.

Pawn shops is a good idea, I scout flea markets too for all the 1/4" drive stuff that seems to vapourize or walk away every time I open my Craftsmen set.


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