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cessna1466u 01-16-2012 11:51 AM

12pt or 6pt Sockets?
Hello Everyone, so after breaking 2 Stanley (Taiwan Made) sockets this weekend working on my van, I decided to buy something a bit better that will last longer. I am only 38 so I plan to be working on things for a while. So I want something that will last. The tools I have now are all Home Depot, Stanley or just plain no name brands. I am not a pro mechanic and my job doesn't involve the use of any tools at the moment. These will be used mainly for small repairs on our imported mini-van and my Ford F-250. Also for home repairs and DIY projects around the house.

Here is my dilemma, I already have a Craftsman 12pt Wrench set, both MM and SAE. I need a new socket set but don't know what my money would be best spent on, 12pt or 6pt. There is a set at Sears for $400 that has 1/4", 3/8", 1/2" drive sockets in both 12pt and 6pt. But the problem is that a lot of the sizes are doubles, both in 12pt and then again in 6pt. I checked and if I stick to say 12pt only I can get all the sizes in this ultimate set for about 1/2 the price, the same with 6pt.

So what do you guys think? Is there ever a time were one type worked better than the other? Is it necessary to have both types? (12pt & 6pt)

Any thoughts would be awesome!

joecaption 01-16-2012 11:57 AM

A 6 pt. will work fine. A 12 pt will have thiner walls the advantage is it's faster to get the socket on the nuts without having to turn it as far to get it to lock in. A 12 is also more likly to slip on a rusted or messed up nut.

cessna1466u 01-16-2012 12:01 PM

Thanks Joe, do you think the same goes for wrenches? I have not opened the new wrench set yet and can exchange them for 6pt. The last thing I want is to have a wrench slip and my knuckles jammed against the sharp sheet metal in the van, because that would be the farthest flying wrench anyone has ever seen. :wink:

joecaption 01-16-2012 12:14 PM

If you have not smashed your hand yet then you have not done much real work.
Differant story with a wrench, With a 12 you can get into tighter spots where you do not have the option of room to turn it.
I own a set of combination wrenchs with the boxed end that ratchets, and love them. There Craftsman.
It does not pay to ever buy cheap tools, Craftsman wrenchs and sockets have worked for me for over 30 years.

cessna1466u 01-16-2012 12:17 PM

Thanks again Joe. While at Sears this weekend I saw a set of ratcheting box end wrenches. They were the black multi-fit ones and I swear my wife had to drag me way. They looked so nice and beefy! I figured that would be a good set to have since it will combine having a multi-fit set with a ratcheting set. Thanks for all the advice, I appreciate it.

ratherbefishing 01-16-2012 06:39 PM

I've been working on cars as long as you've been. 6 point sockets and 12 point wrenches! 6 point wrenches will drive you crazy, rarely is there enough room to turn 60 degrees to get a new bite. On sockets, it usually doesn't matter, since they are on a ratchet. 6 point grips the fastener better. If you really want to have a tool that works, quit buying sockets and wrenches from Sears. Spend some of that $400 on a set of 6 point 3/8 drive sockets from Snap-On or Matco.

cjm94 01-16-2012 06:50 PM

I have mostly snap-on tools at work as a mechanic I use the hell out of them and wouldn't buy anything else 400 won't get you much. For at home craftsman is more than enough.

Hardway 01-18-2012 12:08 PM

For 42 years I have been working on cars, trucks, motor cycles, ATVs, tractors and lawn mowers, oh my. I have a lot of craftsman tools the older tools. The new craftsman tools are not the same quality as in the past, but still good tools. I have broken a 1/2Ē breaker bar without a pipe on it, just saying. I donít buy a lot of tools anymore, but still buy some specialty tools. I bought a set of metric and standard ratchet box wrenches from Sears recently and they work fine. Harbor Freight has some tools such has their Impact sockets, I recently purchased a set of metric and standard for the barn up north and they are holding up. Also I have split craftsman chrome sockets, pushing on them. Harbor Freight is also good for expendable tools and supply. Also flea markets you can get a good deal on craftsman tools.

mem 01-21-2012 02:41 PM

Yeah, Snap-On and Matco are probably some of the best you can get, and the least likely to fail. Craftsman are good tools as well and very easy to replace, if (re: when) they do fail, just walk into any Sears store and exchange it.

I agree with ratherbefishing, six point sockets and twelve point wrenches-for starters anyhow. Six points grip a hex head better but won't fit on a square nut or bolt head, but there's not many of those on a vehicle. Elsewhere around the house they can be more versatile.

I have found a lot of Craftsman, and some Snap-On, at garage sales and flea markets for under a buck a piece. Hard to beat and you can even buy broken ones and exchange them for brand new!

Thurman 01-25-2012 06:03 PM

Six point sockets and 12 point wrenches for me also. Thirty-eight years of industrial maintenance and rebuilding older cars also. One thing I have learned during all this time: Stay away from those large sets of tools. You know, the one's with a zillion pieces for $14.95 and each allen wrench is counted. An "old timer" taught me years ago to buy only what I really needed. It may seem to cost more per tool, but in the long run you will not have tools you never use that tied up your money. Pay for quality, it will pay you back in due time.

Matco88 02-03-2012 02:46 PM

6 point sockets for the majority of your work. 12 point works best on rusted nuts. I only have 6 point sockets, 12 point wrenches and breaker bars. They work for me.

Just my opinion, but for a DIYer, I would pass on the truck brand sockets and treat yourself to a pro grade ratchet. The Matco 88 and Snap On Dual 80 are hard to beat right now. You can also check out Williams or Armstrong ratchets as well.

I love my Matco 88 locking flex head ratchet. My Cman collects dust. My GW is used in the home. Try a pro grade ratchet and you'll never look back.

The CMan sockets are good quality ones that are easy to warranty if needed.

DrHicks 02-03-2012 03:21 PM

Just the other day I came across a 12-point bolt head. I have no idea when I last saw one of those. Glad I had a 12-point socket, because it was 13mm, and was set too tight for a 13mm wrench.

What's really dumb is that there are 3 metric bolts on an otherwise all SAE front end assembly. I love my old Grand Cherokee, but there are some things that leave me scratching my head...

Mort 02-06-2012 12:06 PM


Originally Posted by DrHicks (Post 843376)

What's really dumb is that there are 3 metric bolts on an otherwise all SAE front end assembly. I love my old Grand Cherokee, but there are some things that leave me scratching my head...

Ever try working on a mid 1980s GM product? Better have a complete assortment of metric and standard for those pigs...

I've got Craftsman for my home set, and for the most part they're pretty good. I'm not impressed with their new ratchets, but the sockets and wrenches and stuff seem to be pretty well built. Spend the money for Snap On ratchets, but the sockets aren't worth 10 times the money, unless you're a professional wrench turner.

cessna1466u 02-06-2012 12:25 PM

Went with Craftsman and both 6 and 12
Thanks guys for all the advice, I appreciated. I decided to go with Craftsman since I am just a weekend warrior and we have a sears in town that will exchange any of their hand tools that break. I purchased online from Sears a 399 piece socket set that claims to have every socket size they make in all ratchet sizes, in both 6 and 12 point. Haven't received it yet but we will see. I also ordered a couple of their older teardrop style ratchets, I agree with Mort the new ones at the store felt really flimsy. Thanks again.

DrHicks 02-06-2012 02:01 PM


Originally Posted by Mort (Post 846014)
Ever try working on a mid 1980s GM product? Better have a complete assortment of metric and standard for those pigs...


And I thank you for putting me a foul mood and starting a lot of cursing! :laughing:

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