What’s the purpose of 12 point sockets

So I took off work today as I have some vacation time to use or lose before the end of the year. Decided to cut down a cedar tree in the yard that I accidentally half killed when burning leaves last year. Long story, but that thing went up like a Roman candle. I went to get my trusty old chainsaw, and of course it needs fresh gas and I need to tighten the chain. Went to the toolchest, grabbed a 1/2” socket…wait that’s a 12 point…stuck it back in its slot and grabbed the six point. That got me thinking…I always do that. The 12 points look brand new. In what circumstance would a 12 point be better? Obviously, it would be better for a 12 point bolt head…which I think I’ve seen somewhere (on an old motorcycle maybe?), but I don’t recall where. Is there an occasion where I’m using a 6 point where I should use the 12? Am I doing something wrong? The only reason I even own any 12 points is they came with the Craftsman set.

They go on in more orientations, and work fine 99% of the time. Only a problem in high torque situations, in my experience. But I could have lived with all 6 points, had they come with the Craftsman sets I bought.


Yeah, I can see that. I mean I guess they go on in twice the orientations, right? But to get a six point socket to fit instead, you just have to rotate it a very slight amount. I can’t think of many times where I couldn’t orient a 6 point on the head of a bolt where a 12 point would have helped. I can see the orientation benefit on a 12 point wrench, of course.

Come to think of it, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a 6 point wrench. I imagine they’re out there but I do not own any.

Agree with @texases post completely.

I have run into 12 point bolts or nuts maybe a dozen times in my life… the only times I really needed 12 point sockets.

Never really noticed one way or another. The only sockets I ever broke were the 1/8 adapter

I’ve broken a few 12 points. Thinner walls. They were cheap sockets, though and I was trying to loosen things that did not want to be loosened lol


Would a tubing wrench count as a six point?


I dunno. Maybe… I ain’t got nurn.

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I bought a set. I used it to get a brake line fitting off. I had to slide the wrench in from the other end. The flare fitting wrench with its open end was expanding too much and was about to slip off, and a 12 point wrench was going to round off the fitting. These wrenches are useful with rusty bolts that have become half a size smaller.

My half inch which are 50 years old are mostly 12 pt. so they are reasonable quality. Never had a problem with them even under high torque but prefer the 6 pt with less worry of rounding the nut. Never heard of a 12 pt nut though. As far as from what I have experienced, in a tight access situation, it is not as hard to slip the socket on the nut is all. To be honest I could say what my wrenches are though-some of both I assume. If you gotta go buy a 15 mm, you take what they have.

12 point sockets fit square head bolts & nuts.


I expect that’s the main benefit. That could prove highly beneficial $$-wise if your were manufacturing something, b/c it would decrease the amount of time it would take the workers to install the fasteners. If the ratchet you were using was a cheapo-type with coarse angular clicks, click challenged in other words, a 12 point could help make up for the ratchet’s limitation. As mentioned above, a 12-point’s ability to work w/square bolts might prove a benefit at times. Every time I’ve encountered a square fastener though, which isn’t very often, turning it has always required a wrench , usually b/c there’s the threaded part of the bolt extending too far, or something else is in the way.

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Square bolts are used on garage door springs and bearings. I had one 12 pt 5/16 or something or other that fit. It was quite helpful when changing door springs, winding the dang things and then holding them while tightening the bolt down. Last time the socket fell on the garage floor and disappeared. Couldn’t find it anywhere. I had to go down and buy another one right away. We use a high trash pail to hold the flags etc. in the corner of the garage. A couple months later the wife was cleaning and asked if this was what I was looking for. It had hit the floor and bounced up about 3 feet into the pail. Now I have two of them. I paint them brown so I know what they are for. Red stripe-ASE, blue stripe-Metric, brown-specialty. Next time that’s one of the first places I’ll look after checking my pockets.

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Crescent wrench standard wrench or vice grips for the square bolts, would not even think of a socket, PBlaster a standard.

If you ever wound a garage door spring, socket comes in handy. You wind it up and while holding the winding bars with considerable force with one hand, need to tighten the set screw to hold it in place with the other. Letting go or getting tired leads to broken bones.


Replaced my garage door 30 years ago, don’t remember the particulars, daughters new house garage door hosed, needs adjustment, will keep it in mind.

Works on hex and square heads as long as the heads are in good condition and the socket is a good fit.

There are times a 6-point socket won’t fit, but a 12-point will.

12 points are designed to round off rusty bolt hex’s.


If you are wprking in a tight space where you only have room for one click of the ratchet, you might not be able to get the 6 point socket on. As regaurds to line or flare wrenches, I have learned that if the parts are rusty, as all our parts on over one year old cars are, I clamp a vise grip over the flare wrench to break the fitting loose.

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