Socket Wrench vs Ratchet

socket wrench vs ratchet

Socket Wrench vs. Ratchet – A Guide in Picking the Right Tool

You most probably have seen what a wrench looks like and what a socket looks like. But when you are just starting to use these tools, it might feel like too much to handle. It feels like that because their use is not clear as a screwdriver or hammer. Ratchets and sockets pretty much do the same things as a wrench. But these tools help you to tighten or loosen the fasteners more efficiently.

Let us find us how they do that exactly in this article about comparing socket wrench vs. ratchet.

Ratchet vs. Socket Wrench – Key Differences

Ratchet wrench vs. socket wrench what makes them different them one another? Let us find out below.

FeaturesSocket wrenchRatchet
HandleIt has oneDoes not have one
UseTighten or loosen boltsTighten or loosen bolts
AttachmentDoes not attach to anythingIt is attached with a socket wrench

Ratchet vs. Wrench Socket Detailed Comparison

Socket Wrench vs Ratchet 1

Socket Wrench

Socket Wrench vs Ratchet 2


This section discusses the detailed comparison between a wrench socket and a ratchet. Intently read it before you pick the ideal tool for your project.


Ratchets are sold in different sizes. 1/ 4-inch drive, 3/ 8 inch-drive etc. They use a gear drive, but gearless ratchets are jointed of containing flex-head so that they can reach hard places without any problem.

Different types of sockets can connect with the ratchets, such as SAE sockets, metric sockets, impact sockets, Torx bit sockets, depending on the use.


The substance both of them are made of is metal. But there is some socket whose surface is made of oxide for complete protection from corrosion. While ratchets are only made of metals.

This way, some models of sockets are corrosion-proof but ratchet are not.


Sockets can is compatible with both breaker bars and wrenches. They can also work with ratchets by attaching them. Smaller sockets fit with smaller fasteners and the large ones fit with large drive sockets.

Usually, ratchets do not have many attachments except the gears that help the ratchet turn faster with fewer movements. Some locks help sockets attach with ratchets more strongly. It also sticks with the fasteners and moves even faster than geared drives.


Ratchets usually work with the geared drive, which has more tooths helps you work with a slight swinging motion. There are also gearless ratchets that have roller bearings. They need even less movement to accelerate the fasteners.

There are also ratchets that with locks to the sockets that attach with the ratchets from falling. It also helps to stick to the fasteners. You can also adjust the handles of flexible ratchets to help you in tight spaces.

There are also different uses of sockets based on the socket type. The shallow sockets with a low profile can fit into places with little free space. The deep sockets can be used to reach the nuts that are on long threaded bolts. You can even reach recessed fasteners with deep sockets. The universal sockets can fit with more categories of fasteners such as square, star, spline, etc.

Some sockets are flexible that have built-in joints that let you use them in different angles for tight spaces.

Socket Wrench vs. Ratchet Wrench – Which one is better

It might feel like one might be better than the other when you compare two things. But in this case of ratchets and sockets, they create synergy when you combine these two tools and help you give better output. When you combine socket and ratchet, you turn fasteners such as nuts or bolts without reorganizing the tool’s position.

But when you were using the wrenches, you needed repeatedly reorganize the wrench’s position for every turn you made with the wrench. You may face a hard time while playing with wrenches in tight spaces. But the combination of socket and ratchet, you will efficiently operate in the tight spaces and corners as it is opposed to wrenches can give more space that you can leverage. You can loosen and tighten the fasteners easily if you use the socket and ratchet combination. You can even do that with or without using extensions. When you use wrenches, they can slip sometimes. And the possibility of them slipping when you are working faster than usual will be higher. But with the combination of socket and ratchet, it will be less likely for you to slip while using that. The possibility is lesser than you using the wrenches. This happens because the tools fit completely with the fasteners.


What do you use a socket wrench for?

It is a tool that helps you in turning bolts and nuts easily than regular wrenches. A ratcheting feature of socket wrenches helps the socket wrench be connected with the bolts. This removes the need to fit it to the bolts repeatedly after every turn. When the space is limited, this helps you immensely.

Is socket wrench a ratchet?

It is sort of a wrench, also called spanner in British. It inserts itself into the socket so that it can turn fasteners (bolts and nuts). Mostly, the ratchet is another word for socket wrench ratcheting.

Can you use a wrench instead of a socket wrench?

Ratchets and sockets have the same functionality as wrenchers. This tool is usually used for tightening and loosening fasteners. But the situations and differences call for the use of one or the other.

Last Words

You need to understand is that socket wrench vs. ratchet is not a comparison that is winnable. Both of them are used to make a combination. If you use the right size of a socket wrench with the right size of ratchet appropriate for your work condition, you will be able to do your work more quickly and efficiently. This article will lead you to that precise understanding you need.

Hopefully, with the above discussed guideline, picking the right tool for your project will be much easier than before. Always prefer your projects requirement first and choose the best-suited tool.

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