Hog Ring vs Detent Pin Anvil – Why Should You Care?

Many people ask us where we’re at with the Hog ring vs Detent pin battle. While some praise hog ring as the only feasible option, others swear their detent pin is the one that saves their life a headache.

Our answer’s going to be clear, but it won’t be as simple, because there are upsides and downsides on both fronts, so it all comes down to the individual preferences and the work style the impact wrench will take on itself. Here, we will try to explain all you need to know and what you need to have in mind when buying an impact wrench for your business or your DIY collection. Hog ring vs Detent? Let’s see!

Quick answer: Hog ring is a great choice for versatility, frequent socket switching, while detent pin is great for not so frequent switching one-socket impact wrenches.

How Impact Wrench Retains the Socket?

hog ring anvil vs detent anvilOther than the specs of a particular wrench, you got to choose the anvil, because that’s how all your add-ons will be.

The anvil is the head of the wrench on which you put a wrench socket and other add-ons. That’s the thing that spins the socket and screws and unscrews the bolts. It’s one of the most important parts of the gear to consider when choosing an impact wrench.

The motor of an impact wrench can be okay, the battery can last as much as it wants, but if the anvil doesn’t do the job right, it’s all in vain. The fact of the matter is that the anvil keeps the sockets in their place, and if it fails, all the power of the impact wrenches in the world won’t screw that bolt up.

So, an anvil has to be the sturdiest and the most durable part of the gear, because it takes the force of the motor on one side, and the friction and resistance of screws and bolts on the other side. It also needs to keep the sockets securely and firmly, not letting them loose before the time is right.

One thing to consider is that, for some, it’s also important to have an impact wrench anvil that doesn’t give you a hard time when you want to switch and change your sockets – if you’re going to change the sockets often, you want to do it with the least effort and in less time.

There are two types of anvils you can choose from on the market: friction ring or detent pin anvil.

The difference between hog ring and detent pin anvils

Before we choose between the hog ring and detent pins, you might want to know a thing or two about their anvils, because they are the things that keep the good stuff in place.

At the first sight, you’d say that there’s not much difference between hog ring and detent pin anvil, but you’d be wrong. In both cases, there are parts that suffer wear and in both cases, these parts need to be replaced once they don’t serve their purpose well.

Other than that, anvils themselves also take their part of wear, and using the impact wrench correctly is important to minimize this wear. Don’t worry, if the anvils take too much damage, they too can be replaced.

Other than the anvils, the hog ring and detent pin parts can be worn off over time and you’d need to replace them eventually. Both anvils contain a spring that pushes both the pin and the ring in its place, so replacing them can be tricky.

The way the parts are positioned within the anvil brings points to the hog ring on the account that the body of the anvil is more symmetrical, which can bring benefits in the long run. The pin and the spring inside the detent pin anvil make the anvil slightly asymmetrical, so the manufacturers have to counter that with different placements of the materials. In the long run, especially in cases when the anvil spins in high torque, produces more vibrations, and tires the hands and arms more.

Now that we’ve explained the anvil, let’s explain both mechanisms as best as we can.

Impact Wrench with Hog Ring

DEWALT 20V MAX XR Impact Wrench Kit, Brushless, High Torque, Hog Ring Anvil, 1/2-Inch, Tool Only (DCF899HB) Hog ring gets its name from a ‘c’ shaped round metal pin that can be stretched open and closed because of its shape. The point of the pin is that it’s a little wider than the inside of the socket, so when you push the socket over it, it shrinks but wants to expand back out.

This force brings friction to the socket, and this friction keeps it in place. Depending on the model of the impact wrench, the pin is either in the bedding of the anvil alone, or the spring supports it and keeps it in place (and adds more force to the pin so its friction’s bigger).

The biggest benefit of the hog ring is the ease with which you can put the sockets and take them off. Definitely, this is the much easier way. So, if you need to often exchange the sockets to work with different size bolts, the hog ring saves time and effort. This is except when the pin is brand new and fresh – it will need to take some wear in order to get the sockets on and off more smoothly.

The benefits of the hog ring without the spring are obvious – aside from the anvil, the pin is the only part. The downside is that once it shrinks to a certain degree, it won’t hold anymore, and needs a switch. The benefit of the hog ring with the spring is that it takes longer for it to wear, but watch out not to lose the spring because when you take the pin off you’ll trigger the spring, and it can easily launch across the workshop.

Impact Wrench with Detent Pin

Hog Ring Anvil vs Detent Anvil: How Impact Wrench Retains the Socket? 1

In detent pin anvils, the pin goes out from the side of the anvil and it’s regulated by a spring. Once you put the socket, two things can happen: the pin is the one that gives friction to the socket, but to a much lesser extent compared to the hog ring. Or, you can match the pin with a round hole on the socket, and the pin will slide into this hole, immobilizing the socket.

Taking the socket off takes more effort and power and even additional equipment (a small nail to push the pin in and slide the socket off) which can be a nuisance if you want to switch between the sockets often. But, this can be vital if you work at jobs that take just one socket all day long, seven days a week. In the cases where you don’t change the socket so often, a detent pin is definitely great for you because its durability is much higher than the hog ring, so to say permanent.

On the downside, the detent pin usually has at least one additional part to take care of compared to the hog ring, or even two, given the way you disassemble the detent pin (you need another pin to ‘open’ it up). Also, some manufacturers make their detent pin ‘tall’, so you’ll always need a nail or a screw to push the pin so that the socket can go over it, in or out.

Read what dewalt.com had to say about “difference between hog ring anvil and detent pin anvil on an impact wrench”

Detent Pin vs. Hog Ring Comparision Chart

  stability switchability maintenance durability
Hog Ring                       **** ***** **** ***
Detent Pin                     ** ** *** *****

As you can see, Hog Ring wins the race by a hair, and that’s only because the switchability with hog rings combined with their overall stability against the sockets balance out so well.

Nevertheless, when choosing either a hog ring or detent pin, have in mind the style of work you need to do. If you want versatility, go with a hog ring impact wrench, and if you want a one-socket-all-the-way specialty, definitely go with a detent pin impact wrench.

What is a hog ring on an impact wrench?

A hog ring is a small plastic ring that is used to protect the end of the drive of your impact wrench. They are made of very strong plastic and are designed to withstand most types of impacts. They’re also very easy to replace and are available in many sizes and shapes. The best impact wrenches usually come with a set of these rings included in the package.