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This Tiny Socket Adapter Will Save You From Big Headaches

You’ll be astounded by how useful a simple adapter can be while working on your car.

socket adapter

Have you ever run into a situation where you had the right-sized socket but the wrong-sized ratchet? If you’ve spent any time working on cars, you’ve probably been in this predicament before. It happened to me almost every time I try to fix something on one of my trashed project cars. That’s why I finally invested in a good set of socket adapters.

Socket adapters are some of the most basic must-have tools in your arsenal. As the name suggests, they’re simple adapter pieces that allow you to mount sockets of a certain size to ratchets of a different size. There are dozens of different socket adapter variants, but the most popular types involve 1/4-inch, 3/8-inch, and 1/2-inch bases. With socket adapters, you can use sockets on ratchets you wouldn’t normally be able to, expanding the available combinations you can make with what you have. Have a 10-millimeter socket with a 3/8-inch base, but only own a 1/2-inch ratchet? Well, with a socket adapter, you can use that 10-mil like any other 1/2-inch socket.

If you’re the type who loves to get clever with tools, you’ll be happy to know socket adapters can also be used as extensions in a pinch. They’re especially useful if you own a bunch of extensions that might not match up with your collection of sockets. For example, if you own a handful of 3/8-inch sockets but need to use a socket with a 1/4-inch base, then socket adapters can play two positions at once, acting as both an adapter and an extension.

I find socket adapters especially useful when I have to use an impact gun with a socket that won’t fit on the gun’s tip. The impact gun I use has a 1/2-inch tip, which, without adapters, means I’m limited to only 1/2-inch sockets. But with socket adapters, I can use 3/8-inch sockets or even 1/4-inch sockets without having to buy another impact gun. It’s worth noting you should only do stuff like this if you’re using impact-rated adapter and sockets. Impact guns put a lot of stress on sockets, meaning normal, non-impact-rated units can break or fracture under those loads.

Socket Adapters - 4-Pack

Because socket adapters are so simple, they’re very affordable. Gearwrench sells a set of four adapters that includes the most popular sizes on Amazon for $23.99. If you really want to step up your adapter game, the company also offers a 10-piece set that comes with a bundle of universal joints. Think you’re going to be using these adapter on your impact wrench a bunch? More good news: Gearwrench offers a six-piece set made from chrome molybdenum alloy steel, specifically rated for impact tools. It’s yours for just over $40.

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