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How To Use a Socket Wrench?

If you are a mechanic or just curious to know about tools, one of the most convenient and helpful tools that every professional carries is a socket wrench. As compared to a standard wrench, a socket wrench is much easier to use and allows you to loosen or fasten the nuts pretty quickly.

That said if you too have a socket wrench in your tool kit but have no idea about how to use it properly. Don’t worry, you have just landed on the right page as we will be discussing everything related to a socket wrench and also explain how you can use it in the easiest and convenient way to make your work easier than ever. Thus, make sure to follow and read this post until the end carefully.

What Is A Socket Wrench?

Before we start discussing how to use a socket wrench properly, there might be some people who haven’t seen a tool like this before. So, we should discuss what actually a socket wrench is and how it works. Basically, a socket wrench is just an enhanced upgrade to a standard wrench that comes with a ratchet mechanism that helps fasten or loosen the nuts without needing to adjust the wrench after every push or pull movement.

Unlike a standard wrench, the socket of the wrench keeps holding the nut in place while the ratcheting mechanism allows you to reposition the wrench without losing the grip on the nut. This way, fastening or loosening the nut becomes quite a quick and easy process.

Are Ratchet and Wrench the Same Thing?

Well, we can say that a ratchet and a wrench, both are the kinds of tools that are used to loosen or fasten nuts. But, they are not typically the same as a ratchet is just one type of wrench.

There are standard types of wrenches available in the market too while a ratchet is just an upgraded version of them. So, when someone is using the word ratchet, they typically mean a socket wrench. On the other hand, if someone uses the word wrench, it could be any type of wrench.

The Best Way To Use A Socket Wrench

Well, if you are wanting to know how you can use a socket wrench to its best, here are some of the most important steps that you should know to use a socket wrench properly and make your work finish quicker.

1. Choose The Correct Socket

Unlike standard wrenches, having a socket wrench is much more convenient as you don’t need to keep an entire tool kit of wrenches of different sizes. Since one socket wrench is good enough for all sizes of nuts, it’s much easier to manage and use. So, whenever you need to use a socket wrench to fasten a nut, make sure you choose the right size of the socket so that it can be used to fasten or loosen a nut.

If you pick a socket of larger size than the fastener, it won’t grip it nicely, so you won’t be able to use the wrench. Similarly, if you decide to use a smaller size socket, the nut won’t fit the socket. That is why choosing a socket of the right size is one of the most important and basic tasks that you need to take care of.

2. Join The Socket

Once you have decided to choose the right size of socket for the nut that you want to fasten or loosen, it’s time to attach the socket to the wrench. Since most socket wrenches come with detachable sockets, replacing the current socket with the desired one won’t be a big task for you.

3. Check the Tool

Before you start using your socket wrench, make sure the socket that you have decided to attach is fixed well. Also, make sure the tool is fitting the nut nicely so that you can fasten it. Moreover, don’t forget to check if the ratcheting mechanism of the socket wrench is in working condition or not.

4. Fit The Socket On The Nut

If you are done with inspecting the tool, place the tool over the nut and push the wrench on it to fix it in place. Now, make sure the tool is fitting tightly and gripping the fastener very well. Also, make sure that the socket wrench is set for fastening or loosening the nut. You can simply do it by rotating the knob on the socket wrench.

5. Rotate The Fastener

Now, as you have fixed the wrench in its place, it’s important to understand how it works. If you move the handle of the socket wrench clockwise, and it’s ratcheting counter-clockwise, it means that the wrench will fasten the nut. On the other hand, if you move the handle counter-clockwise, and it ratchets in the clockwise direction, it means that the tool will loosen the bolt.

6. Keep Rotating

To fasten or loosen a nut using a socket wrench, you need to keep rotating until the nut stops moving in forward. Once the nut is fully tightened, it’ll feel more resistive to move the wrench. On the other hand, in case you are using the wrench for loosening the nut, keep rotating until the nut is loose enough to easily take out with your hands. Don’t loosen it all the way as it can get stuck inside the socket.

Tips And Tricks

  • Get a high-quality socket wrench kit, if you are a professional worker, or like to do most of such jobs on your own at your home. An advanced socket wrench kit will come with sockets of various sizes. In fact, most advanced socket wrenches even come with a quick-release button that allows you to quickly remove the socket off from the fastener, for a quick and convenient experience.
  • While you use your socket wrench for fastening a nut, always make sure to tighten the nut all the way until the wrench gets hard to rotate. While keeping that in mind, don’t try to put much stress on tightening the nut as it can even bend the neck of the socket wrench.
  • Using the right size of the socket is the key. Although sockets that are slightly bigger than the fastener will also seem right to use sometimes, you should avoid using them as it can be accidental. Bigger sockets are obviously looser and can lose their grip on the nut which can be highly dangerous as it can make the wrench easily slip from your hands.
  • If you feel pain in your arms after you use a socket wrench, you can make this job a little easier for your arms by adding an extension to the wrench’s handle. A wrench with a longer handle is usually easier to move and tighten nuts.
  • Keeping your socket wrench kit organized is one of the most important tasks that you should not be failing at. If you make it a habit to keep all the sockets organized according to their size, you will be able to save a lot of your energy and time the next time you take out the kit for any job.


So far in this post, we have covered what actually a socket wrench is and how you can use it properly. If you haven’t started using a socket wrench till now, you should definitely buy yourself a new socket wrench kit as it’s one of the most useful and easy-to-use tools that are so important for everyone to have at their homes. In case you own a socket wrench already, but didn’t know how to use it, this article has got you covered, so you can easily learn it as we have explained it thoroughly. Apart from that, in case you have any other doubts revolving in your mind, feel free to share them with us in the comments section below.

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