Impact Sockets vs Regular Sockets – Products Guidance And Comparison

Especially when we search for socket types, there are two types available then: impact sockets vs regular sockets. In fact, it is quite hard to compare them since they do share a lot of similarities. 

In this post, let’s learn about their main features to get an answer to the question “What’s the difference between impact sockets and regular sockets ?”, and decide which one you should choose.

Impact Sockets vs Regular Sockets – How To Differentiate Them?


One of the key differences to compare the impact socket vs regular socket is based on the materials they were made from. First, the regular sockets use chrome vanadium finish which is force and heat-resistant.

Inheriting the advantages of its older versions, the impact socket is made of chrome molybdenum, then carbonized through top-notch technology. Consequently, the final impact sockets have a flat, black exterior.

What is so special about molybdenum? In short, it is an extremely resistant and tolerant metal that can endure more vibration than the vanadium of regular sockets.

Moreover, molybdenum can handle cracking and splitting, even after receiving a million slam and hits from impact hammers. 


Color is also a point to help us contrast the two types. The impact socket is mostly black, while the regular sockets can come with many different scents.

Specifically, the impact sockets’ surfaces are made of carbon to make it harder, so black is the chosen color. Why is it a must to harden the surface? Well, the stiff and firm surface can make the torque less likely to be impacted.


We will compare the size and how we use them for work. First, the standard regular sockets use 3/8 inch, 1/4 inch, or 3/4 inch ratchets to discharge the bolts that are not fastened.

In contrast, the impact socket is designed with powered impact drivers and wrenches, making it able to use stronger force to remove seized bolts and nuts. 

With the design of impact sockets, users can cope with the vibration caused by the impact wrench, which the regular sockets cannot.

Locking Pins

We want to discuss one of the most outstanding features of impact sockets – locking pins. In our opinion, this is the selling point of the impact sockets.

You can find the locking pins inside any impact sockets. Regarding the exterior, they look like grooved rings located at the end of the drive socket.

So, what are their functions? The locking pins are designed to block the socket from falling off the end of the impact wrench because of powerful vibration. In other words, the locking pins limit the breaking down of the socket.

Which One Is Better?

After providing all the features and comparisons above, now it’s time to decide “Which one is better?” among these two. In every angle, the impact sockets overshadow its competitor. 

In terms of efficiency, the impact version works better because of the locking pin. The color is also identical, and the materials made are proven to be more resistant.

Furthermore, the impact sockets can tolerate stronger forces and vibrations from impact wrenches than the regular version. So, why do you have to consider the regular sockets anymore, right?


Can I Use Regular Sockets With An Impact Driver?

Yes, you can. However, we don’t prefer you to do that because there is no guarantee that the regular sockets can endure the forces from the impact driver. 

On the contrary, the impact sockets consist of special materials, making them firmer and stronger than the regular ones.

Can Regular Sockets Be Used With An Impact Wrench?

Yes, you can. But we don’t think it is a smart idea. As mentioned above, the regular sockets cannot endure much force from the impact tools. Therefore, if you use the impact wrench with regular sockets, the normal sockets can break or crack gradually.  

Can You Use Impact Sockets As Regular Sockets?

Yes, it is totally possible to use. The impact socket is an updated version of the regular one, so it inherits all the best features from the normal and added extra functions. 

Therefore, you can use the impact sockets as regular sockets. However, because there will be some differences between the two types, you can experience some minor caveats, but not significant.

Final Verdict

We have discussed the differences between impact sockets vs regular sockets. The impact sockets outstand its competitor in all features mentioned above.

Hope this post provides you with useful information. Thank you for reading, and good luck with your purchase!

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