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.
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: