Routine maintenance is critical to make sure that your engine is running properly. Although car maintenance includes many different jobs, one of the most common activities for someone to do themselves is changing your automobile’s spark plugs. Part of doing this job is having the right tools. It is also important that you have the best spark plug sockets possible to ensure that you can remove them quickly and easily.
Many people think installing new plugs into your vehicle’s engine is a job for technicians at your local auto repair shops. But with the right tools and direction you can easily complete this job in your home’s garage or driveway.
With numerous spark plug socket options on the market you are probably wondering what spark plug socket is for you.
We will help you decide which spark plug socket is right for you.
But, why should you listen to us?
With over 20 years of automotive repair experience we have changed hundreds of spark plugs and learned which tools work best to easily get the job done.
Instead of looking at page after page we are going to cut right to the chase and find which spark plug socket is right for you.
So let’s find the right tool for you so you can get to work and get this job done!
What Are Spark Plug Sockets?
Spark plug sockets are specialized sockets that are created to remove and install spark plugs. Due to the delicate nature of spark plugs, they require the right tools to make sure you have damage-free removals and installations.
So, how do spark plug sockets ensure spark plugs remain undamaged during removal and installation?
By integrating a rubber insert deep in the body of the spark plug socket. This rubber insert “pinches” the top of the ceramic insulator of the plug ensuring that it is centered in the socket.
Some spark plug sockets also feature a magnet designed to keep plugs in place, preventing falls that could cause permanent damage.
Although spark plug sockets look cylindrical on the outside, note that their cross-section is hexagon-shaped just like all normal sockets. These sockets feature two open ends — one side fits a ratchet wrench to maximize torque, while the other holds the spark plug’s hex.
Finding the Right Spark Plug Socket Size
One misconception flying around in the automotive industry is that all spark plugs have one size. Although the main function of spark plugs is to kickstart the combustion process with the car’s ignition system, most vehicles utilize different spark plug sizes.
Before purchasing a spark plug socket, finding the correct spark plug size used by your vehicle’s engine is IMPORTANT!
Spark plug size, in this context, refers to the plug’s socket size. Currently, you’d most likely encounter the 13/16-inch or 5/8-inch spark plug on most engines. Although most newer vehicles feature the 5/8-inch spark plugs, you’ll spot the 13/16-inch variation on older vehicles.
Besides these notable spark plug sizes, other variants exist. As such, your car’s engine determines the socket you’d use for spark plug replacements. Here’s a table highlighting the different spark plug socket sizes available and engines that’ll require their usage:
|9/16||14||Certain cars (uncommon)|
|5/8||16||Small and new vehicles alongside motorcycles|
|3/4||19||Tractors and lawnmowers|
|11/16||8||Specific old cars|
As we’ve established, your car’s spark plug size determines the socket you’d need to use. If you’d like to double-check, read your automobile’s user manual or an online service manual.
You can also use a normal socket to get the exact size of the spark plug socket you need. Just be careful as using a regular socket can cause damage to the spark plug insulator causing the plug to be garbage.
Types of Spark Plug Sockets
You’d find multiple spark plug sockets on the market, each with different lengths, extensions, and other features. It’s important to note that most spark plug sockets are classified into two categories — magnetic and rubber grommet.
Magnetic spark plug sockets
A magnetic spark plug socket integrates a magnet inside of the socket. Placed inside the socket’s head, this magnet holds spark plugs during removal and installation using magnetism. This magnet prevents plugs from falling out of the socket and getting damaged.
Rubber grommet spark plug socket
The rubber grommet spark plug socket features a rubber insert at the socket’s deep ends. This add-on holds the spark plug and ensures its components aren’t damaged during removals and insertions.
With possible spark plug damage ranging from scratches to bends, spark plug sockets with a rubber retaining ring ensure these nagging issues never occur.
My personal choice of spark plug socket is the style that uses a rubber grommet. This type of socket holds on to the spark plug firmly and allows you to get into tight to reach areas.
On the Market for a New Spark Plug Socket? Consider These Crucial Factors
Maybe you’re tired of heading to auto shops for spark plug changes and you would like to save some money!!
To save costs and get the perfect socket for your car’s spark plug changes, consider these important factors:
As we’ve established, engine type is one major factor to consider when choosing a spark plug socket. Most cars typically feature 13/16-inch and 5/8-inch spark plugs. On the other hand, smaller engines utilize spark plugs with smaller diameters. To know what socket size suits your car’s engine, look at its manual or see if you can find a manual through internet research.
Standard or deep
When considering a new set of spark plug sockets, another important factor to gauge is how spark plugs are placed in your automobile’s engine. Find out if they sit underneath the engine or are placed in an accessible position for easier installation.
If your vehicle’s spark plugs are built into a hard-to-reach space in the engine, you’ll need to purchase a deep socket with an extension. Although normal sockets are two to three inches long, a deep socket has an extended length to aid spark plug removals and installations in tricky positions.
The next factor to consider when choosing a spark plug socket is wall thickness. Wall thickness simply means the thickness of the socket.
If your vehicle’s spark plugs have little room around it, purchasing sockets with a thin wall design would be best. On the flip side, if there’s sufficient room around the plug, regular sockets will work just fine.
When you make your spark plug sockets after considering these factors, DIY plug replacements without hassle are 100% POSSIBLE.
Best Spark Plug Sockets: Top 7 Alternatives to Consider
We have done the research and have created this easy to read and understand guide of 7 of the best spark plug sockets you can find. Take a look below to see which socket will fit your needs the best and find its home in your toolbox.
GEARWRENCH Magnetic Swivel Spark Plug Socket
- Fully polished finish
- 5/8-inch spark plug socket
- Internal magnet
- All-inclusive swivel joint and extension
- Knurled grip
Ranking top of our list for changing spark plugs is the GEARWRENCH Magnetic Swivel Spark Plug Socket. This spark plug socket was specifically designed for 5/8-inch spark plugs. Hosting a 3/8-inch drive, this socket hosts an all in one extension and universal joint delivering 360° swivel action.
The GEARWRENCH Magnetic Swivel Spark Plug Socket also has a knurled grip on its shaft. This add-on provides a non-slip surface perfect for low torque applications. Incorporating an interior magnet, this socket gives users the firm grip required for easier spark plug installations. Note that this magnet is all shades of rock-solid and doesn’t wear out like a traditional rubber gasket.
Powerbuilt Spark Plug Socket Set
- Five piece socket set — 5/8-inch, 3/4-inch, 13/16-inch, 14mm, and 18mm
- Larget markings to indicate socket size
- Constructed with chrome vanadium steel
- Chamfered opening aids easier bonding with bolt heads and nuts
Do you have automobiles with different engines parked in your garage? If yes, set your eyes on Powerbuilt’s five piece set featuring 5/8-inch, 3/4-inch, 13/16-inch, 14mm, and 18mm spark plug sockets. These 6-point sockets have a deep thin wall perfect for spark plugs with little spaces around them.
Each socket in the Powerbuilt Spark Plug Socket Set is built from chrome vanadium steel. As such, featured sockets can withstand rust and last longer. There’s also a rubber boot integrated into each socket, protecting and keeping spark plugs in place. The Powerbuilt Spark Plug Socket Set is manufactured to reach and exceed ANSI standards.
Craftsman Spark Plug Socket Set
- Four-piece spark plug socket set — 3/4-inch, 5/8-inch, 13/16-inch, and 18mm
- Each socket has six contact points
- Holds Craftsman’s Lifetime Guarantee
- Easy-to-read markings
- Rubber grommet included
Are you searching for a socket usable on multiple spark plug sizes? Consider the Craftsman Spark Plug Socket Set. The kit features 5/8-inch, 3/4-inch, 13/16-inch, and 18mm sockets. Each spark plug socket has 6 unique contact points. Signature of all spark plug sockets created by Craftsman, there are significant size markings on each socket. That way, using the wrong socket for spark plug replacements is almost IMPOSSIBLE.
This socket set provides you with one set of spark plug sockets that will work for many different vehicles. A rubber spark plug insert allows the spark plugs to grip the spark plug and keep it from falling.
This ⅜” drive socket set really is Craftsman quality at its finest. Craftsman has been making tools since 1927 and they really fit well in a home toolbox while providing those awesome professional features that they have been known for. You will not be disappointed adding this great set to your tool box.
LEXIVON Swivel Magnetic Spark Plug Socket
- Designed for 9/16-inch plugs
- Ball-spring mechanism
- Heavy-duty magnet
- 360° swivel action
- Knurled shaft for better grip
- Chrome plated mirror finish
- Meets and exceeds ANSI standards
The LEXIVON Swivel Magnetic Spark Plug Socket is a 6-point socket created for 9/16-inch spark plugs. Ranking amongst the most affordable spark plug sockets, this variant designed by LEXIVON provides 360° swivel action. As such, if you seek maximum flexibility while removing or installing spark plugs, make the LEXIVON Swivel Magnetic Spark Plug Socket your GO-TO.
Unlike the traditional rubber head gasket, this LEXIVON socket has a heavy-duty Magnetic Core. This core ensures that spark plugs remain in place and does not fall into the engine compartment when replacing spark plugs. The socket also integrates a ball-spring mechanism that enables it to reach spark plugs in tight spots. A knurled shaft design ensures the socket doesn’t slip from your hands during crucial.
OEMTOOLS Magnetic Spark Plug Socket Set
- Three-piece socket kit — 5/8-inch, 9/16-inch, and 13/16-inch
- Chamfered ends
- Deep engravings to easily identify sockets
- Magnetic spark plug holder
- Hard chrome finish
Are you searching for a 3-piece spark plug socket set that’ll allow you to change plugs seamlessly across different engines? The OEMTOOLS Magnetic Spark Plug Socket Set was manufactured to really fit this need. Instead of a single socket size, this kit is a set that comes with 5/8-inch, 9/16-inch, and 13/16-inch sockets.
Each socket is constructed with a unique heat-treated alloy steel alongside a hard chrome finish that protects against rust and corrosion. Since dropped spark plugs can cause engine misfires, each socket in this kit has a magnet to prevent plugs from ever falling.
Neiko Magnetic Spark Plug Socket
- 5/8-inch spark plug socket
- Manufactured using chrome vanadium steel
- 11-inch leverage
- 360° swivel head
- Fully polished and chrome plated mirror finish
- Interior magnetic head
If you’re on the lookout for a top-tier 5/8-inch socket, consider what the Neiko Magnetic Spark Plug Socket has to offer. This socket also has an 11-inch extension that’ll allow you to seamlessly reach spark plugs placed in those dark and hard to reach areas.
With its chrome vanadium steel construction, the Neiko Magnetic Spark Plug Socket is guaranteed to last by offering oil and rust resistance. As its naming suggests, this socket fields a magnet designed to maintain spark plugs’ positions for simple installations and removals.
Magnets can have their advantages as well as disadvantages. The holding strength of the magnet may not be as strong as a rubber alternative but it will not break down. The rubber style spark plug socket insert can be contaminated by oil and other chemicals resulting in swelling and eventually possibly falling out.
This spark plug socket and extension is a great option for those really hard to reach areas but one of the best features is the locking extension. When you are installing spark plugs the socket can fall off the extension making it difficult to install some spark plugs. The locking extension on this spark plug socket ensures the socket will never fall off.
ARES Magnetic Swivel Spark Plug Socket
- 5/8-inch magnetic spark plug socket
- 10-inch swivel extension with 360° rotation
- CR-V Steel construction
- Magnetic plug retainer
- 3/8-inch drive
- Knurled grip
ARES isn’t new to producing swivel sockets as they’ve got quite a number on the market. This particular variant is for 5/8-inch spark plugs. Featuring a 10-inch swivel extension, the ARES Magnetic Swivel Spark Plug Socket is great for reaching hard-to-reach areas and replacing spark plugs without difficulties.
To guarantee longevity, this spark plug socket integrates chrome vanadium steel into its make-up. Its mirror polish finish makes it resistant to corrosion. Fielding a 360° swivel, the ARES Magnetic Swivel Spark Plug Socket has a magnetic plug retainer to aid hassle-free installations.
The ARES comes in many different sizes so you can purchase the socket set that you need for your specific vehicle. The etched numbers will have you quickly identifying the socket in your toolbox when you need it.
Parting Shot: Best Spark Plug Sockets
There you have it! We’ve examined the ins and outs of spark plug sockets, their notable types, and what to consider before purchasing one. If you’re on the lookout for a top-tier alternative with great add-ons, the options listed by our experts should suit your preferences to the tee.