I have found that there are certain tools that people tend to get very polarized about. 1/4″ socket spinners are a great example of this. From what I have seen, professional wrenches and weekend warriors alike either love socket spinners, or they hate them.
A socket spinner is a screwdriver-shaped tool with a 1/4″ square drive at the tip. Pop on a socket, and spin in like you would a screwdriver. This allows users to very rapidly install longer bolts and the like.
Spinner handles allow you to create a set of space-saving nut drivers, although spinners with sockets lack the through-hole shafts that nut drivers often feature for spinning nuts onto long bolts or threaded shafts. This is why brands like Klein, which aren’t often tied to the automotive or aerospace markets, offer socket spinners.
Some spinners, such as the Williams, SK, and Proto models linked below, feature a female 1/4″ square recess at the end of the handle. This allows the spinner to be used with a ratchet or breaker bar.
Socket spinners with square recesses can be more convenient than those without, as they serve double-duty as long extensions.
T-handle spinners, or “speed wrenches,” are also available.
While I have nothing against socket spinners, I find them useful in theory but unnecessary in practice. I have yet to come across an application where I couldn’t speedily use a nutdriver, Wera Zyklop ratchet, or Gearwrench Roto Ratchet. But if I didn’t have nutdrivers or swivel-head ratchets, spinner handles would probably appeal to me even more.
I used to keep a Craftsman spinner around here for “just in case” purposes, but have lost track of it over the years.
Buy Now: Klein 65621 | Williams M-106A | SK 40953 | Proto J4769 (via Amazon)
Socket spinner handles are typically available for $10-20.
What do you think? Are socket spinners underappreciated tools, or are they just plain unnecessary?