For the past 2 or 3 years I've been using the Harbor Freight impact hex bit sockets. They've held up pretty well, but at 3″ I've found them to be a little long at times. Longer bits certainly have their place, but more often than not I find myself needing/preferring a standard length bit socket.
In accordance with my normal procedure, I started clicking around Proto's website looking for a solution when I stumbled upon these:
To be honest, I was somewhat surprised to find this set. In the vast number of hours I've spent looking at and talking about tools online, the UH1216CS and I had never crossed paths. This set comes from Proto's Blackhawk line. If you're a regular TIA reader, you might remember our feature on Blackhawk back in May. If not, then by all means check it out.
I actually set out looking for metric only because I just really don't use SAE hex bits all that much, but I was still drawn to the fact this set included both. This 16 piece set includes 8 metric sizes and 8 SAE sizes, all in 1/2″ drive and all in the 2-1/4″ standard length. The blow molded case measures 12-1/4″ long x 6-1/4″ wide x 2-1/8″ deep, so it's not one of those overly large cases you'll throw away right off the bat. It's compact enough to fit in most drawers and if you live somewhere like me where summers tend to be humid, a case goes along way to protect impact sockets from corrosion.
Included sizes are:
Metric: 6mm, 7mm, 8mm, 10mm, 12mm, 14mm, 17mm, and 19mm
SAE: 1/4″, 5/16″, 3/8″, 7/16″, 1/2″, 9/16″, 5/8″, and 3/4″
Features & Design
As you'd expect from Blackhawk, these sockets are made well. The 1 piece design features chamfered ends for easy insertion into the fastener and the dentent hole allows for the use of hog ring or pin dentent type impact guns.
The sockets are finished in the modern “slip-resistant” black oxide finish and feature both laser etched and stamped sizes for maximum staying power. Sizes are also stamped into the case, so you'll not have to fumble around turning sockets to find the correct size.
As you can see, these are in line with standard length bit sockets as opposed the longer design of the HF models and many of the other sets on the market.
I can tell you that in the 2-3 months I've had this set I have no complaints at all about it's performance. With impact sockets it's really about longevity, and while I can't tell you how many years you'll get out of them, I can tell you I expect the same years of trouble free service I've always gotten from Blackhawk. No worries though, should a problem ever arise, the UH1216CS is backed by the same lifetime warranty as all Blackhawk hand tools.
The UH1216CS is a pretty nice set and appears to be worthy of the Blackhawk name. Blackhawk is a global sourced brand and while they offer many USA made items, the COO on this particular set is Taiwan. It can be had from Zoro Tools or from Amazon for right at $100 with free shipping, so it's a pretty good value as well.
Thanks for reading and as always, stay tuned to TIA for more from Blackhawk!