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Sockets 6 or 12 point

Hello everyone I have been running in to a lot of 12 point at harbor freight was wondering what are the pros and cons when dealing with 12 point sockets

I’ve noticed HF doesn’t have many 6 points. I think they have them in their large mechanic set but not in the small sets. I don’t have problems with the 12 points most of the time. The 12 points are easier to use, more access points. It’s when you have a stuck bolt the 12 point might round off easier than a 6 point. Last summer I had a tough bolt that started rounding off, I found a 6 point set at the parts store and managed to get it off without ruining it.


I only use 12 point sockets when doing so is necessary. A 12 point socket on a 6 point fastener is significantly more prone to fail.

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Yeah I kinda figured that just wanted to ask because a lot of people say get six point but at this point I am only getting what I could afford which is harbor freight I don’t see an issue with them next I am going to order from tekton and then to Lowe’s and home Depot line of hand tools pretty much stock piling

my experience with HF’s 12-point was quite mixed bag: some of them are OK-ish, some are plain too loose and strip the edges, even on new bolts

my specific frustration was with S-shaped metric set I bought to reach for tight spots around exhaust system: they were so loose, they barely held nuts, but I had no other choice at that location… same size Stanley (not the best tool you can get too) was holding nuts much better, but would not reach where I needed

Does Stanley make ok tools look wise they look okay what other experience do you have with them

“whatever floats your boat” :slight_smile:

long time ago (15+ years) I happen to buy a decent set of Stanley tools which did not yet give up, but I’m a “casual mechanic” (AKA DIY)

I would not take upon giving recommendations really

hopefully some of professionals here will opine on relatively inexpensive tools

the only advise I have is of “negative sort”: I did not like cheap HF tools, period

I prefer six point, especially for small nuts and bolts. I have plenty of both six and twelve. I’m not sure I’ve ever found an advantage for twelve point sockets. If I have, it’s slipped my memory.

There are a few 12 point fasteners in use but they are very rare and when it’s necessary to use a breaker bar in a confined area the 12 point can be necessary. A DIYer would rarely need them though.

Dollar for Dollar the Craftsman hand tools are the best I have found and hopefully the quality will remain now that Sears has sold the brand. Snap-On is likely the top of the line in hand tools but for the DIYer paying 300% more for quality that will likely never be recognized isn’t worthwhile. But for those making a living with hand tools a broken socket can cost hours or even days of lost time.

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You’re right

That’s true. Ironically, the need for a breaker bar usually dictates a 6-point socket, but when space is tight sometimes a 12-point is the answer.

For the record, my favorite socket set is a “Mr. Goodwrench” set that I got as a doorprize in '95. My then-wife had talked me into buying a Saturn and I attended a maintenance seminar for new owners. It’s too bad the car wasn’t nearly as good quality as the tools. :grin:

I had a hard time finding 1/2" 6 point sockets in stores when I looked for them last summer. I think I went to 3 places before I found an impact set at the parts store. Most places only have 12 point.

I don’t believe I have ever owned or used a 12 point impact socket. And can’t imagine I ever would.

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I’m saying nobody carried 6 point sockets, the only ones I found were impact sockets.

This catalog page link indicates that all Duralast sockets are 6 point.

as does this Tractor Supply ad

Might have to take a trip to AutoZone

I didn’t go to Autozone, it’s not close to my house. I know I went to Advance, O’Reillys & HF. Advance & O’Reillys only had 12 point sockets. O’Reilly’s seemed to be switching over to Ultra Steel or Hyper Tough brand tools which are total garbage, they sell it at Walmart as well.

Thanks I will check them out

And FWIW here is a page from Snap-On

They offer most every possible alternative, their quality is excellent but their price is tough to justify for the DIYer.

Any flea markets near you? I’ve seen stalls with hundreds of tools, you could match up a set possibly for cheap, as long as you know prices.

As for 6 vs. 12 point, most of mine are 12 pt Craftsman, have worked fine for 45 years, 1/4", 3/8", and 1/2" drive.