One dilemma I’ve run into in the past was whether I should be buying bit sockets or bit holders than can be used with 1/4″ hex screwdriver bits that are 1″ long or longer. There are a couple of other standard sizes to use for larger bits as well, such as 5/16″.
Bit sockets are typically bit holder sockets with press-fit bit tips that have size markings right on the side of the socket.
Bit holder sockets typically work with screwdriver bits using magnetic, C-clip, or locking retention.
Bit sockets with press-fit screwdriver bits are semi-permanent, in that you can remove and replace the bits, but it’s not always easy. Often this can be done by knocking out a bit with a pin punch through a hole in the socket recess. Bits aren’t replaced frequently, so you get a purposefully tight fit.
Sometimes you have to buy special tool bits made by the socket manufacturer, other times you can use standard bits. This isn’t something I have a lot of experience with.
Bit holder sockets are designed to be temporary bit-holding solutions. I prefer locking bit holders, such as the Wera one shown above, but have a couple of other plain industrial sockets as well.
Bit holder sockets are much more economical, bit sockets are much more convenient, especially when you’re working with multiple screwdriver bit sizes and styles. The sockets are individually marked, and so there’s no need to swap back and forth or hunt down a misplaced bit when you need it again.
If you’re looking to splurge, I definitely recommend Wera’s 8784 A1 and 8784 B1 bit adapters. They don’t lock in the same way as their 1/4″ hex Rapidaptor bit holders, but they’re still quite good.
I tend to prefer bit holder sockets, but can appreciate the convenience dedicated bit sockets offer. Which do you prefer?