A reader linked to a product listing, asking for the story on how a retailer can charge more than $4000 for a single impact socket.
This has got to be a mistake, right? $4131 for one socket?!
Well, let’s shop around.
Check Price via Ohio Power Tool
Check Price via Amazon
Over at Ohio Power Tool, they have the Wright 858-255MM for $2871.47 excluding shipping fees, and a seller on Amazon has it for $5083.20.
Here’s the thing – that image is only representative of the product family, and the same image might be used for the entire lineup. Because of this, the image won’t always show you exactly what you’re getting. For that, you’ll have to look at the model number and any specifications that might be listed.
Shown in this listing, based on reading the model number and markings stamped into it, the image is of a 2-1/2″ drive 3″ 6pt socket. A quick check turned up a $616 price tag.
But what the listing is for, that’s a Wright 858-255MM impact socket. Thus, the actual product is a 2-1/2″ drive 255mm socket.
There are 25.4 millimeters to an inch, and so this is actually a ~10-inch impact socket. Looking at a couple of product catalogs, this looks to be the biggest 2-1/2″ socket available. I found one slightly larger 10-1/4″ socket, if you step up to a 3-1/2″ drive size.
Let’s put things into perspective. The average male human head measures ~6″ in width and ~8″ in length. This socket could fit around your head with room to spare.
Ohio Power Tool’s product specs say that the socket weighs 114 pounds. That shipping rate should give you an indication that something is up, but it’s actually the last thing I checked.
The type of air impact wrench needed to drive this socket, an Ingersoll Rand 588A1, costs around $27,000 at Amazon, and delivers 2,500 ft-lbs of max forward torque and 50,000 ft-lbs of max reverse torque.
How do people get tricked by this?
In my opinion, it’s all in the proportions.
There’s no sense of relative scale here, and so most people fall back to what what know and can relate to, which will usually be smaller drive-size impact sockets, such as 1/2″ drive.
Here, the proportions look similar to that of common automotive and even heavy equipment impact sockets, but this is still a 2-1/2″ drive 3″ 6pt hex socket, with a 5-3/32″ width and 5-3/8″ length.
If you need help visualizing this, a US dollar bill measures 6.14″ long and 2.61″ wide.
The actual 858-255mm product being sold for several thousand dollars measures ~9.49″ long, with a ~12.6″ outer diameter on the hex recess side, 6.50″ outer diameter on the drive end side, and ~4.73″ broach depth.
The socket is more than one-foot wide. It’s wider than an average-sized dinner plate.
Even if the product listing was accompanied by an accurate photo, it would likely still be absent of any sense of absolute size or scale.
As for the price, how many 255mm 6pt sockets do you think are sold in a year? What kind of equipment and tooling do you even need to broach a ~10″ wide 6pt hex recess, and to a depth of nearly 4-3/4″?
How many different brands sell something like this?
There’s not a lot of competition, there’s not a lot of demand, and this is the type of tool where if you need it, there’s likely no substitute. This is not a consumer product.
The only *gotcha* here is in the image, and this happens a lot with specialty fastening tools and accessories.
If you need something like a 2-1/2″ drive 255mm impact socket, the appearance is rarely going to be important, and you’re probably looking up model numbers in a product catalog or reference list anyway.
This time, the seemingly shockingly high price is associated with an impact socket, and what looks to be the largest 2-1/2″ drive impact socket in Wright Tool’s catalog. Other times, it might be a wrench size.
This $1250+ Proto Wrench has 3-1/2″ flats. (The wrench size in that listing, 3.5″, doesn’t match up with the provided image of a 4″ wrench, but the outside head width, thickness, and overall length are the same.) Can you visualize a 3-1/2″ wrench that’s more than 3-feet long?
Here’s a better example:
Look at these two wrench sets.
One of these wrench sets is typically priced at under $300, and the other Proto wrench set is priced at $1800+. This one tricks a lot of people too.
People are often surprised at the high price because the wrench set looks like a common combination wrench set. But, the sizes range from 1-5/16″ – not the typical 1/4″ – through to 2-1/2″.
Without any sense of scale, most people will *know* something is wrong, unless they see information that provides the necessary context.
I have come across this quite a few times over the years, and so I have become accustomed to cross-referencing spec sheets and model numbers. That’s not to say I’m not caught off-guard on occasion, because I still am.
Pricing mistakes still do happen, but that’s not what happened here.
This is still one of my favorites:
Maybe it’s made out of Adamantium.
Not a lot of folks who use this size socket on their cars – but if your building a suspension bridge across the bay to your cousin’s house – you might need one to tighten up the anchor bolts
I was wondering what had 255mm bolts. A suspension bridge makes sense. I was also thinking heavy duty mining equipment or cargo ship engine.
I work in the Oilfields, this size range is typical of what we use for pipeline flange connections. Although we use hydraulics for torqueing, not pneumatics as mentioned in the article.
That’s a government project then, which means the invoiced price will be 4x what’s seen here
all the middlemen deserve a markup, don’t they? 🙂
For a bridge across the bay, you’d need two of these, because one rolled off the edge…the lanyard wasn’t adequate.
I’d hate to be the guy the lanyard was hooked to.
“…and that’s the last we saw of him”
The Government/Military is the target customer do now it makes sense, no matter what the size!😜
Someone needs to take a few minutes and Photoshop in a banana for scale. 🙂
Or King Kong…😜
That socket is unbelievable…never knew they made them so big.
As far as the (somewhat) large-sized end wrenches: I have some pretty large machines, and I have several “cheap” sets of end wrenches that go up to 2.5-3″. Don’t need “good” ones as I have one set of decent impact sockets of the same size. I’ve never had a problem with the cheapie (relatively speaking) end wrenches holding the back side of the bolt when the good impact socket was on the nut. I don’t need an $1800 Proto set. Many of my sets are getting old but the last set I bought was maybe $450 or so if I remember correctly. So I guess “cheap” is a relative term.
Many times the large end wrenches are just needed for flared hydraulic lines and they aren’t really that horribly tight….
A few thousand $$ worth of big wrenches pay pretty fast if they keep you from having to call a $150/hour mobile mechanic. Plus the downtime waiting for him to come costs more than his fee…
This is one of those specialty “either you know what you’re looking for, or you laugh at the typo and move on” sorts of things.
Dean in Des Moines
This will be the next trend in side tables.
It would make for one hell of a paperweight on a sturdy desk and a real conversation starter.
Good to know I can use my 10” socket in a pinch if the 255mm rolls behind the bench
well yea…..because 255 mm “is” the new 10mm!
If only there were some standardized object that could be included in the product images to increase the viewer’s ability to judge it’s size. Maybe call it a “ruler”.
If an actual customer needs to know the size, that’s what spec sheets and dimensional drawings are for.
Take a look at their catalog – sample image, representative dimensional drawings, and then specs tables.
Many industrial tools and supplies are conveyed in this matter.
Consider caster wheels or leveling feet. A catalog or online listing might not have different images for every single different type of product. That does get frustrating at times, but often an accurate representations product family image is enough.
One of my favorite “read carefully” listings was one I recently came across while shopping for a decent pepper mill: https://us.peugeot-saveurs.com/en_us/paris-icone-duo-of-manual-salt-and-pepper-mills-ebony-18-cm.html An online store where I originally ran across the mills didn’t go into details about the wood, just listing the color as “ebony”.
Ebony, in this case, is not the color, but the actual wood. Thus the $1,000 for a salt and pepper mill set, which, for the record, I did not buy.
Good News!! I clicked your link. The pair of Salt and Pepper mills are now on sale for $600. Still “Ebony” and looking darn good. At only $300 per mill you might want to reconsider.
There is 5/8” clear heater hose on Amazon. The photo shows a rolled up coil of hose. Looks maybe 3-4 feet long. No length specified anywhere in the ad. Then you read the item reviews. Most state: Warning this hose is only one foot long, not a long coil as pictured. Works out as a huge price for a one foot hose section.
I’ve seen those too that I think are almost purposely misleading. Then you also have my favorite ones where it like “purchase price is per foot, amounts up to 10 feet will be delivered as a contiguous section, anything over 10 feet will be a number of 10 foot segments and then any remaining amount under 10 feet.” I see it too with some specialty wire, you can only buy it by the foot, not by the spool, but if you buy more than 100 feet or whatever you will get a 100 ft spool (or however many fit the order) and then a cut section for whatever is left to be made up. The worst is where they don’t specify the unit being purchased, like your listing, where the expected price is unknown and it could be that price per roll, or that price per foot, and there’s no easily findable specification as to what you’re ordering / how to order. I’ve even seen (thankfully not anymore / recently) where the price is per foot, and they don’t guarantee any contiguous length of any size more than 1 foot. So order 15 feet and you could get a 15 foot section, a 7 foot and 8 foot section, or 15 1 foot sections. Nuts!
Sometimes the pictures of a coil can give more detail than just a foot section. I’ve gotten some tubing or wire or similar now and again where they show a 1 foot section, and I get it because it looks a little bendy, but get it and it’s very rigid, just bent from likely being on a (very large) roll. If I can see the picture of the roll, I can see if the item is bendy enough or coilable to fit whatever roll it’s on, or if it’s a stiffer material that needs larger hoops or a large roll.
That usually happens due to 3rd party seller listings gumming up the works.
They should make that socket out of titanium or something -cut down on the shipping weight? (in case no one finds the humor there tis joke)
Wouldn’t surprise me if other than cable cinches it might well be as someone else said used for large marine diesel’s. I’m thinking crank pulley or maybe even head bolts.
OH and that price includes lawyers fees for when the 2x safety factor might not have been enough.
Don’t forget the $8.05 shipping on the axe. That’s a deal breaker for me.
Depending on application hoses can be very expensive: https://www.masterflex.com/i/masterflex-i-p-precision-pump-tubing-gore-sta-pure-pfl-series-i-p-26-24-pk/9624226
Here is 2ft of 1/4″ ID hose for $1500.
Their issue was the listing. The photo showed what looked like a long coil of hose. And there was no length in the description. The hose price was probably fair. Not sure why it was only one foot. Perhaps their boss told them, “find a way to sell more connectors”!
It is short to put through a peristaltic pump head. It is actually 1500 for 2 ft of hose, it is also single use. Same as the socket, highly niche market, single vendor, regulatory environment all combine to give sky high prices.
Ok, thanks for the info.
It’s a bargain, compared to the Snap-on 2.5″ impact sockets! They offer a set of 2.5″ sockets (14 pieces) for a mere $47k, if you really want to save some money, though.
I’ve seen a socket like this at the refinery where I used to work. That and an open end adjustable wrench.
If your looking for something on a smaller scale. Amazon has the Wera 39 piece tool- check plus imperial for around $68 & change( free shipping). The price has been in the low eighties for quite awhile, and has been cycling down to the current $68 plus.
Like Festool, Wera is a German company.
Set might be made in the Czech Republic.
Again, like Festool. 😂
I expect if you use and need $4k sockets you’ve got a tool rep you can call to get one….
Too bad my budget for an axe is only around $98 billion.
I can custom make a superior axe for 60 billion fixed price. No hidden charges. And it will come in a hand crafted ebony box with a separate display case with your name on it. Freight free delivered to your door by the end of the year. I will start as soon I revive your 50% deposit
A neighbor of mine was a Millwright rebuilding power generating stations. He showed me a 8 inch hex nut that required a socket such as this listing. It was massive! The catalog price for 1 nut was $600. You better have a real truck if you wanted to hang two of those on the back!
We have lots of those on the Turbines I’m staring out the window at right now. when we remove them we use a hydraulic ‘nut buster’ instead of a ratchet. I had one of the Snap-on ratchets from an old plant, 1.5″ drive head, solid steel 3′ handle, 1″ in diameter. It took a lot just to lug the ratchet around, let alone use it. Ended up trading it to a guy that worked on quarry trucks out in Navada.
Chuck Norris uses that to remove the tires on his bike
Quality. I had a chuckle.
Now I know what to get my teammates on my softball team for Christmas
If it’s big enough to be worn as a helmet, AND it’s Impact Ready… That price makes total sense. Especially the Niche Market element of its nature. Yes. I think this would be more for building bridges, or changing Tank Treads… If the bolts are EVEN that big… I think those are more like 5″ hexes, but don’t quote me. They’ll eventually scale up an Abrams that may need one of these.
And, for reference, used and in-need-of-restoration models of Tank are regularly bought by Civilians who are into restoration. The Military often take out all the Military electronics and disable the canon, then try to sell the shell to the civilian market for some kickback in terms of budgets. For these restorers, I believe Bruce Dickenson? Lead singer of Iron Maiden? He restores Tanks as a hobby. When the current generation of M1 Abrams tanks get put into the restoration market, I’m sure at least SOME fastener is going to need one of these. And, for the value of the tank, $5 grand seems… Worth it somehow.
Same for a Bridge. a Monster Truck Axle Bolt? If this is the only one on the market, it’s going to be on astronomically huge items.
Back in the 80s, in my artillery battalion motor pool, we had very large sockets in our tool truck but they were not impact rated. They were made from stamped steel, certainly not impact rated, and used for things like large wheel bearing nuts on 2.5 and 5 ton trucks. We used typical 1/2 and 3/4 inch drive tools, arm power only. Most fasteners on our tracked vehicles (M577 command posts, M548 ammunition carriers, M110 howitzers) were, as I recall, generally under an inch but with lots of them. We sure could have used powered impact tools but we didn’t have such luxury items authorized to us. Armor (tank) units (and perhaps mechanized infantry units too) had 24v dc powered electric impact wrenches in order to reduce the amount of time to repair thrown track or remove/replace track shoes.
Oh, not related at all to the huge socket but something military vets can relate to is heading out on a training exercise where everything seems to randomly break down as you head to your training area. When it’s time to head home, soldiers manage to nurse the most sickly vehicles back to the motor pool so they can get back to beer and their families. The more you sweat in training the less you bleed in battle.
Whole article breaks down to the following.
It’s expensive because:
1. It is a REALLY big impact socket
2. It is sold by Grainger.
A lot of their stuff is grossly marked up.
At some point it has to be more viable just to machine your own socket.
Thanks for posting this Stuart! Lot of entertaining responses! But you’re right, our brains don’t associate sockets with sizes and price tags like that…..especially when the picture doesn’t include anything to scale it. And sure, those who actually use them, wouldn’t question the ad because they know what they’re looking for even though a generic pic is used. Thanks again for posting.
The $15 delivery charge on that Ingersoll Rand, outrageous!! 😂😂😂
These kind of sockets and the impacts are used heavily in rail / locomotive maintenance. My friend works as a mechanic at a rail yard. I’ve toured the massive building where they service and tear apart the locomotives. They have suspended from the ceiling on its own hoist a massive 2 1/2″ drive Ingersoll and Rand air impact. It’s fed by a dedicated 2″ air line. Everything about the operation is massive. The compressor is a 3ph 450cfm @ 120 psi rotary vane unit that’s got an air drying system that probably costs as much as a used Lamborghini by my estimation. The primary tank it feed into was a 2000 gal vertical unit and then there was auxiliary tanks everywhere.
The craziest thing I saw though was the tool cage. It was under heavy lock and key. They had specialized stainless steel locked tool carts mechanics would check out. A few of them contained a complete set of massive impact sockets from Snap On much like the one posted here. My friend casually said the sets only set them back about 70k each or so from Snap On.
My point is when you step up to being in an industry or a place that needs these things $2500+ per socket is just a drop in the bucket. So it doesn’t surprise me what they want for this one.
Oil rigs, wind energy, and boat turbines. I was looking at big sockets a couple of months ago. Wright went up to $7.5k or $8k and Koken went up to about $11k (I may have them reversed). The impact driver could easily be between $35-50k. It needs to be hoisted or on a crane and operated by two or three persons.
I’ll give you an example where this sort of thing might actually be used. Municipal water plants often use ductile iron pipe which is essentially a much stronger cast iron more or less accidentally discovered about 60 years ago. It has to be pressure tested to hold 500-1000 PSI for 10 seconds. So if we are testing say a 24″ diameter pipe the inside diameter will be about 22″. That’s still 380 square inches or 380,000 POUNDS of pressure. The pressure test machine has a very large 30″ diameter hydraulic cylinder running at high pressure used to squeeze the pipe to hold in the water while it is pressurized to 1000 PSI using a turbopump. And the hydraulic ram is attached to a 6″ thick steel plate which is held to another identical plate at the other end by several large high strength steel rods which are threaded and held by nuts on the end.
In the past we would actually use hydraulic torque wrenches to tighten these up. Obviously these came on a steel cart and the wrench itself needed a fork truck to maneuver it into place, never mind the nuts. No more. The pressure to do this is insanely high. A MUCH simpler approach uses Supernuts. These are the same very large nuts threaded on the end but once they are snugged up, several smaller push bolts that thread into the outer nut apply pressure. The pressure on the smaller bolts is vastly lower and it is much easier to apply even and consistent pressure on the main nut in this way, using much more conventional tooling. Don’t get me wrong…the nuts are still enormous and weigh a lot but it’s not nearly as crazy as what an outright large nut requires and the pressure requirements are far less.
The plant I worked at was closed down about 10 years ago, victim of the last recession. But the same pipe is made elsewhere and the need for pressurized testing still exists. That $4,000 socket might still be required but that’s just to snug up the supernut before engaging the much smaller pusher nuts.
IIRC, HF used to sell individual sockets for pocket change. But when you get bigger than 1″, the price starts skyrocketing. The price of the jumbos and super jumbos would really get your attention. On the bright side, it’s hard to lose a 4-1/2″ socket.
Are you responding to the post or comments? We’re talking about a 10-inch socket.
Let’s see, for 1/3 of 27K you can buy a serviceable old lathe and milling machine, and they usually throw in a lot of tooling. I’m thinking you could build your own for a mere $8K. The next one would cost around $400, including the heat treatment.
$27K is for the 2.5” drive air impact wrench capable of delivering thousands of ft-lbs of torque.
This titanium impact wrench is bigger and way more powerful, biggest in the world!