Battle of the Sockets – 6 Point vs. 12 Point Sockets

Okay, so it is time for a super quick “did you know” style post.  Which are better, six point sockets or twelve point sockets?  In this case………..(spoiler alert)…….less is more.  Below is a list, outlining the advantages of the two types.

I suggest keeping these points (no pun intended) in mind the next time you hit up your favorite hardware store or online retailer for some shiny new tools.  Aren’t those the best days?

6 Point Sockets – Advantages

1) Better for jobs requiring a large amount of force.  Something to note is that impact sockets almost always come in the six point configuration (with good reason).

2) The additional contact surface along the flat edges of the fastener makes it much less likely to slip around corners, stripping the bolt.

3) Similarly, the thicker walls means it is less likely to flex and slip.

4) Thicker walls also means the socket is less likely to break under extreme conditions.  Trust me, it can happen – I broke one while tightening one of the head bolts on my first Shovelhead.

12 Point Sockets – Advantages

1) The additional “notches” in the twelve point make it easier to connect with the head of the fastener, saving time.  This is especially good in situations where the bolt is hard to see.

2) Better range of motion due to the fact you can connect at more angles.  In other words, good for tight spaces.  However, this is sort of meaningless if you have a ratcheting socket wrench.

3) You need a twelve point socket for a twelve point fastener (although these are somewhat rare).

Bottom line, a six point sockets leaves less room for an annoying or costly mistake (i.e. stripped bolt or broken socket), and that is why I declare them the winner.  Personally, I find myself reaching for the six point sockets most of the time and the twelve point box wrench when I literally have no room to work. 

Motorcycles have a lot of tight spaces and corners, so ultimately you are going to want a well rounded set of tools that allow you to pick the right tool for the specific job.

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Happy Wrenching!

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