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Comparison of Two Types of Sockets: 6 Point vs. 12 Point

Last Updated: 02 April 2021

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Sockets help mechanics loosen or tighten bolts of a machine or vehicle. A socket set is necessary for basic to professional tasks, maintenance, or repair jobs. Ports are named based on the number of vertices or points they have on the interior sides. Various holder ports are perfect for different jobs. So, 6 point vs. 12 point wrenches – whatever you choose you can’t deny they both are extremely useful.

What is a 6 Point Socket?

What is a 6 Point Socket

A 6 point socket has 6 vertices spaced evenly at 60° increments in a circular fashion. It is hexagonal and perfect for hexagonal fasteners. Most manufacturers make hexagonal outlets for bigger bolts.

6 Point Sockets: Advantages

  • A six-hole port helps you exert a lot of force. That is why impact outlets are almost always six-pointed.
  • They rarely slip because of the extra surface of contact along the fastener’s flat rim. It prevents the bolt from being stripped.
  • Plus wider walls make it less slip and flex prone.
  • Thicker walls make the port durable, so it does not break even in extreme conditions.

What is a 12 Point Socket?

What is a 12 Point Socket

A 12-hole socket has a double-hexagon shape. 12 vertices of this wrench are spaced at 30° rise in a circle. The 12 point socket set fits both 12 and 6 holed fasteners. Moreover, Snap-On’s patented 12 point flank drive reduces corrosion of hex nuts. Naturally, this 1966 invention is still extremely popular.

12 Point Socket: Advantages

  • The “extra notches” in a 12 hole socket quickly and easily connect with fastener. This especially comes in handy when it’s dark or the bolt is in a remote location.
  • Since you can attach it to fasteners at odd angles in hard to reach places, it has a greater range. But, if you already own a ratcheting socket wrench you don’t particularly need that feature.
  • Although 12 point fastener needs a 12 holed socket, 6 point bolts can be unscrewed with either 6 point or 12 point sockets.

Where are These Sockets used?

What are 12-points sockets used for? It is no different from a 6 point one. They can be found in 3 types of tools.

Non-Ratcheting Wrenches

A non-ratcheting wrench with 12 points can attach to the fastener in many positions. If you have trouble accessing the fastener, it can be very helpful. However, they are more or less useless on 6 point fasteners because they slip easily.

Ratcheting Wrenches

Most hardware companies have 12-holes on ratcheting wrenches. A ratcheting wrench with 12 holes has fewer advantages as the box end can be turned whichever way by hand. The 12-point box end wrench is great for lighter use.


Ports come in both 6-hole and 12-hole varieties. 12 hole port fits best on a 12-point fastener and a 6 point socket on a 6 point fastener.

General Characteristics of Quality Sockets

Here’s a list of general characteristics that applies to all sockets.

Metal Alloy

Sockets are usually built from chrome vanadium. However, impact sockets are made from shock absorbent chrome molybdenum.

Internal Structure

The flanks of six-point socket wrenches are wider than that of a 12 hole one. Torque evenly works on all sides of a hex nut. Torque is endured by all the walls of the wrench, not the corners.

Size of Connection with Ratchet

Size of Connection with Ratchet

Generally, a little lever at the head of the ratchet changes the wrench from tightening to loosening mode and vice versa. Drive fittings typically have four general sizes: ​1⁄4 inch,​3⁄4 inch, 1⁄2 inch, and ​3⁄8 inch. They are called “drives,” like “3⁄8 drive”. These drives are denoted by inches, but they are brand names. Drives come in 19 mm, 12.5 mm, 9.5 mm and 6.3 mm sizes. 1 inch or above drives are typically used on fasteners of large-scale heavy machinery.


Various brands offer 6 point or 12 point sockets at an affordable price. Compare them to find the best socket set.

Final Advice

In the 12 points vs. 6 point socket debate, we prefer six holed sockets because they grip the fastener tightly so there is less chance of sockets breaking or stripped bolts. 12-inch fasteners are pretty rare. Although they accommodate 6 points, you should have a 6 hole socket set for better grip. Ultimately, the best socket set for you depends on what kind of work you are doing.12 hole sockets are great for lightweight repairs but heavy-duty maintenance calls for 6 point ports. So which one did you choose? Let us know in the comments!

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