What Is a Swivel Socket?

A swivel socket is a special type of metal tool that is utilized for tightening or loosening bolts. The socket head swivels in varying directions to enable a user to access bolts in compact spaces and at awkward angles. Meanwhile, the socket is affixed to a driver that the user can turn and apply force to in order to loosen or tighten a bolt. Furthermore, swivel sockets are generally designed according to application, and the size of the socket opening can also differ to accomodate a myriad of bolt sizes.

One of the most popular swivel bolt designs features a ball joint which is a ball end that is fitted into the socket frame. This configuration allows the frame to move in a circular motion relative to the socket ball that is attached to the driver to apply force. That being said, the joint functions like a human’s hip joint, permitting the circular movement of the leg. More than that, a swivel socket set will include several socket sizes along with this ball joint design to provide more flexibility when dealing with bolts of varying sizes.

The other major type of swivel socket only swivels in one or two directions. For example, some box wrenches are designed with a swivel socket at the other end of the tool, and the socket will only have the range to swivel in a forward and backward orientation. Since it cannot swivel in the direction necessary to access a bolt in a hard-to-reach area, the user will be limited to only a few specific uses. Nonetheless, this is an incredibly helpful addition to any tool box. For instance, when working on automobile engines, where bolts may be oriented in unconventional directions or located in tight spots, swivel sockets are great tools.

To increase the usability of a swivel socket, it can be attached to an extender that is connected to the end of the socket driver. By doing this, you can extend the length of the socket, but it does not increase the socket’s overall mobility. Generally, most sockets swivel in a forward and backward direction, allowing the user to apply torque to the driver without the tool slipping or failing to attach itself cleanly to the bolt. In terms of disadvantages, swivel sockets are not very durable. This is because adding a joint to the socket decreases its strength and resistance to torque damage. Despite this, for normal use, swivel sockets are usually reliable.

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October 6, 2022

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