I have a full set of Craftsman hex bit sockets, as well as a small rail with backups that I sometimes pop into a portable tool kit. I also have a bunch of bit holder sockets (more on those in a later post).
Bit sockets are great because, when coupled with a ratchet, breaker bar, or sliding T-handle, they allow for far greater torque and better fastener access than can be achieved with hex keys and screwdriver-style drivers.
I had always been curious about how SK Hand Tool’s bit sockets would compare to the sockets and adapters I typically use, and SK was kind enough to send a set over for testing and review.
This is a 12-piece 3/8″ drive inch set, model 19722, with sizes ranging from 1/16″ to 3/8″. The sockets have a high polish SuperKrome finish, and the bits are made from S2 tool steel and are user replaceable.
This set retails for about $90 via Amazon and other SK distributors.
SK Hand Tool’s SuperKrome plating is said to give their tools a jewelry-like finish, and it really does. This is the best chrome plating I’ve seen in a while, which most certainly must add to production costs.
The sockets are great to use. They clean up well, they seem extremely strong, and the recesses for the bits are better defined and presumably stronger than my Craftsman bit sockets.
Bit replacement is relatively easy – I was able to use a pin punch and mallet to remove the smaller bits without much effort. The larger bits are tougher to remove, but they should also be more resistant to wear and breakage due to their size.
You get simply vinyl holders with the set, and there’s a larger set that come with a plastic box.
Bottom line, these sockets are really nice to use.
A number of the bits have surface rust, right out of the shrink-wrapped packaging. It’s not a big deal for two reasons – 1) the bits are replaceable (but strong enough that you won’t need to replace them for quite some time), and 2) a little bit of surface rust won’t affect normal usage in a lot of cases.
However, if I had purchased this set for $90, instead of having received them at no-cost from SK for testing and review, I would be quite frustrated. I would have sent them back for a replacement.
It’s hard to imagine that there could be better replaceable-tip bit sockets than these, they are that spectacular.
If you tend to use one or two bit holder sockets with bits at a time, then these sockets probably aren’t for you. But if you might need a couple of sizes to go back and forth between, that’s where these bit sockets save you time and effort.
Bit holder sockets are far less expensive. Instead of buying this set, you could buy a single SK Hand Tool bit holder socket for about $12.50, and then 12 hex bits. That’s not entirely true, as the two largest bits (5/16″, 3/8″) have larger tips and thus larger socket recesses, but you get the point. For the same price as this set, you could put together your own set with a couple of hex bit sockets and a handful of hex and Torx sizes.
However, there is a HUGE convenience in being able to use bit sockets with proper size markings and dedicated sizes. This makes it easier when working on a project that calls for numerous bit sizes.
Compared to other 1/4″ hex bit holder sockets I have used, these provide much better bit retention. With bit holder sockets, easy bit changes is the name of the game. With these, it’s about having the ability to have fixed-sized bit sockets available and ready to go.
I think these are better than my USA-made Craftsman bit sockets. If anything, I believe that these SK bit sockets are stronger, due to their tighter and better-shaped recesses.
If you’re on the fence, try a lesser brand first before investing in SK’s. Or buy just one of their bit holder sockets. If you like the quality, splurge for a set when the need or budget arises.
As for the rust on the bits – maybe these were stored improperly or something. I don’t see widespread complaints, and so I’m trying to look past that. But, as mentioned, if I paid full retail for these bits, I would definitely be less accepting of the rust.
These sockets are made in the USA, and to an obviously high standard at that.
Note: These are meant for use with hand ratchets, and are NOT rated for use with impact wrenches.
Thank you to SK Hand Tool for providing the review sample unconditionally. Review samples are typically given away, donated, or retained for editorial and comparison purposes.