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Time on my hands....mad cow disease...tool question

I’ve never found any advantage to 12 point sockets over 6 point sockets, but they can round off small bolt heads. Anybody have any idea why they sell 12 point sockets?

In a tight place where a ratchet won’t work you can work faster witha bolt.

You are rightabout stripping small bolts out with these wrenches, so it is recommended that if you 12 piont tools, you also have 6 pointers too. That is the same for sockets.

I have worked with 12 point bolts and nuts.

Like Wizard said, 12 point sockets are easier to put on to a bolt or nut in a tight place. You dont have to rotate the socket so much in a tight area before it falls onto the bolt or nut. I dont recommend using them (Especially the chrome ones) on bolts and nuts which are known to be tight. For example, exhaust manifold bolts. The black impact sockets are a different story though, the 12 pointers are stronger than the chrome 12 pointers.


All my impact sockets are 6 pointers. I go for max strength. Most of my hand-sockets are 12-point from 13mm up, but from to 12-mm down, they are 6-point. But, 12-point box-end wrenches are a must. It tight spaces, you need the extra points to widen the angle range.

I think 12 point sockets get on the bolts and nuts easier. I haven’t rounded a bolt in a long time. Of course, I use good quality tools with good tolerances. Cheap sockets from China probably will round out a bolt quicker than Craftsman.

I myself had the idea that black impact sockets were stronger,the Snap-On man explained the black impact sockets are softer,less likely to shatter or split,just what I was told.

The metal is more malleable, but there is more of it. Check the side wall thickness of an impact socket versus a typical ratchet socket. Also, some will say that flexible is stronger. At least the bridge engineers at my office.

Twelve point sockets also fit both square and hex head fasteners.


12 pts are easier to install onto a fastener in a low clearance situation. But I have found with the proper extensions and a ball type u-joint a 6pt will fit fine. I am in a slow process of replacing all my 12pts. with 6 pts.

Don’t get rid of all your 12 pt. sockets. You might need them when you run into 12 pt. fasteners. Haven’t run into any 12 pt fasteners? Work on cars long enough and you will.

What’s far worse than deciding between 6 or 12 point sockets is wrestling with metric bolts/nuts that have had standard sockets used on them or vice-versa.

That 17 MM drain plug that is partially rounded from the slightly larger 11/16" tool for instance… :slight_smile:

Tools are not thrown away since any tech knows someday it will be needed and yes I have had to deal with them plenty.

When forging a socket, it’s much easier to stamp out a 12 point over a 6 point…They are cheaper to make, so there are more of them in use…

Twelve point sockets are also thinner and work where a bolt is right next to something else.

Some good points made here. I must have been REALLY bored last week.

Yeah, like most guys I have extensive multiple sets of both 12 point and six point in both SAE and metric all organized in my chest-on-chest-on-chest. Both in chrome and impact. Along with all the requisite wratcheting box-ends, open/box ends, and wratchet wrenches from stubbies to one three feet long with a 1" drive (can’t remember why I got that…must have been planning to fix a locomotive!). Bazillions of tools. Probably my favorite is my speedhandle. I have three of those actually.

Anyway, thinks for the insight. Happy Holidays.