The 10 Best Nut Driver Sets for Any Project

The 10 Best Nut Driver Sets for Any Project

Whether you’re a professional mechanic or a humble renovator, every DIYer knows the struggle of trying to loosen a rusted or tightly wound fastener. That’s why you should always have a set of nut drivers on hand. Designed specifically to maintain maximum grip, a nut driver can make short work of any tight, tricky, or fiddly fasteners.

While some mechanics may argue that a socket wrench renders nut drivers obsolete, you’ll find that more often than not, a specialized set of nut drivers is much better suited to unsticking stuck fasteners. Not only are nut drivers often shaped to the exact configuration of your nut, but they can also be easily adjusted to suit older nut styles and shapes.

Whether you’re thinking of pursuing your own DIY jobs or working professionally as a mechanic, a top-quality nut driver set is a practical, versatile tool that will help you get your jobs done faster and to a higher standard.

In this guide, we’ll be breaking down the key components of nut drivers, common nut driver terminology, what makes a good nut driver, and the best nut driver sets of 2021.

What to Look for in a Good Nut Driver Set

Before we take a look at the top 10 nut driver sets currently on the market, we first need to learn more about what actually makes a good nut driver set. To this end, we’ve compiled a list of the three most important features to consider when shopping for a nut driver set in 2021.

Nut Variety

As is so often the case, the type of nut drivers you need can vary significantly depending on the task at hand. Today, the most commonly encountered nuts are 6-point nuts (also known as hex nuts). Other commonly used nuts include finish nuts, wing nuts, and jam nuts.

If you want to know more about all the different nuts used in construction and DIY projects, make sure to check out our extensive breakdown of nut variety further down in this very guide.

If you know you’ll be working with a variety of different nut types and sizes, the most cost-effective option is usually to purchase a nut driver set with multiple socket types — having sockets to accommodate for different nut types and sizes will not only save you from having to waste money on buying separate nut drivers, it will also minimize the amount of dedicated storage space required in your workshop.

Material Quality

Whether you use nut drivers every day, or you only need them for occasional tasks around the house, you want your tools to last. Unfortunately, not all steel is created equal. That’s why it’s important that you take notice of the materials used to manufacture the shaft, socket, and handle of your nut drivers.

Broadly speaking, a high-quality nut driver will be manufactured from steel that is coated in chrome vanadium (often shortened to CR-V). Thanks to its chemical structure, a CR-V coating will both strengthen steel and also improve its anti-corrosive properties, resulting in a long-lasting tool that will stand many years of hard use.

There are many other materials that can help protect your nut driver set against rust, deformation, and general wear and tear. A nickel coating, for example, can be particularly beneficial if you’re concerned about corrosion build-up from exposure to mechanical fluids and moisture. To learn more, check out our discussion on the pros and cons of different nut driver materials further down in this guide.

Nut Driver Shaft/Handle Style and Ergonomic Grip

Using a nut driver with the right kind of handle can be the difference between a job well done and an object that quickly falls apart. Some different kinds of nut driver handles include:

  • Spinner handle
  • T-handle
  • Flex shaft
  • Ratcheting handle
  • Shaft with recessed magnets

Each of these styles of shaft or nut driver handles has a specific use in the workshop. To learn more about the uses of these handles, take a look at our guide to handle and shaft styles further down in this guide.

The final key factor to consider when purchasing a nut driver set is the durability and ergonomics of the handle. Most nut driver handles will be composed of plastic of PVC. From a durability perspective, this is an excellent option as plastic is hard-wearing, difficult to snap, and relatively inexpensive to boot!

Unfortunately, a bare plastic handle is often uncomfortable to use and the untextured surface can make it difficult to maintain a solid grip. To counter this, we recommend that you look for a nut driver handle that has a rubberized grip. Not only will this help you keep a better hold on the tool, but it will also save your hands from painful blisters and/or sores.

Now that you know exactly what you need to find the perfect set of nut drivers, let’s take a look at the best options on the market today.

Top 10 Best Nut Driver Sets 2021

1. Best Overall Pick: Klein 7-in-1 Nut Driver Tool

Klein 7-in-1 Nut Driver Tool

Why we like it: Everything you need packed into one convenient tool, this 7-in-1 nut driver is the perfect all-rounder.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts

  • Pieces: 7-in-1 set
  • Shape: Hex/6-point
  • Sizes (SAE inches): 1/4, 5/16, 11/32, 3/8, 7/16, 1/2, 9/16
  • Magnetized: Yes

Comprised of multiple nut driver bits in one, this multi-tool is an essential piece for any handyman. Rather than dragging around an entire set of nut driver bits and additional accessories, this nut driver includes seven sizes in one.

Stored within a sturdy PVC spinner handle, each nut driver bit shaft is hollowed to allow for maximum driving ability, no matter the length of the bolt. What’s more, each nut driver bit is equipped with a rare earth metal magnet to keep the nuts securely in place, while wrench assist adds much-needed torque for rusted or tight nuts.

This compact tool is not only conveniently color-coded for easy bit identification but is also manufactured with a reinforced steel shank. The only downside to this nifty tool is the need to swap nut driver bits. If you regularly need to use different sized nut driver bits in quick succession, you may find this tool a little awkward.

If you’d rather a nut driver set with individual nut driver bits and plenty of size variety, check out DeWalt’s 71-Piece Nut Driver Bit Set with Screwdrivers.

Pros

  • All-in-one tool
  • Color-coded for easy bit identification
  • Wrench assist

Cons

  • Slow interchangeable bit design

2. Best Budget Pick: DeWalt 3-Piece Impact Nut Driver Set

DeWalt 3-Piece Impact Nut Driver Set

Why we like it: This affordable 3-piece set is just as much an expansion set for mechanics as it is a starter set for beginners.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts

  • Pieces: 3-piece set
  • Shape: Hex/6-point
  • Sizes (SAE inches):1/4, 3/8, 7/16
  • Magnetized: Yes

This budget-friendly nut driver bit set is a fantastic option if you’re new to the world of nut drivers or if you’re looking for an inexpensive way to add nut driver bits to your tool kit. Including three of the most commonly used nut sizes, each nut driver bit can be used on both traditional bit drivers and impact tools.

The addition of a magnetized tip and a 20-degree pivot makes working in tight corners significantly easier, particularly if you’re dealing with small nuts. Finished with DeWalt’s superior hardening process, these nut driver bits provide maximum torque strength with long-lasting durability.

The only downside to this product is the small number of sizes included and the lack of a dedicated bit driver. If you need a nut driver set with more sizing options, take a look at the Tekton Power Nut Driver Bit Set.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Magnetized tips
  • Suitable for use with impact tools

Cons

  • Limited nut sizes
  • No bit driver included

3. Best Premium Pick: Klein Tools 7-Piece Nut Driver Set

Klein Tools 7-Piece Nut Driver Set

Why we like it: This all-rounder set includes premium chrome-plated nut drivers in all the essential sizes.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts

  • Pieces: 7-piece set
  • Shape: 6-point/Hex
  • Sizes (SAE inches): 1/2, 1/4, 7/16, 3/8, 11/32, 5/16, 3/16
  • Magnetized: No

With an extensive range of size options, this premium nut driver set offers both design practicality and material quality. With a chrome-plated 6-inch shaft and socket, each nut driver in this set looks and feels like a premium-grade product. The addition of a longer shaft accommodates for deeper areas, making it easier to unfasten or fasten in hard-to-reach spots. Furthermore, the addition of chrome plating will improve resistance against corrosion, ensuring longevity even with regular use.

Klein’s high-quality manufacturing doesn’t stop at the shaft, with all seven nut drivers in this set featuring sturdy plastic handles with a rubberized cushion grip. Integral flanges also anchor the shaft, preventing core twisting and keeping the shaft firmly embedded in the handle. If you’d like to know more about integral flanges, check out our discussion of the key features of a nut driver set further down in this very guide.

Unfortunately, this set of nut drivers doesn’t have a magnetized socket tip, which might mean more fiddling with smaller, trickier nuts.

Pros

  • Stylish chrome-plated shafts
  • Improved anti-corrosion properties
  • Stabilizing integral flanges

Cons

  • Non-magnetized tips
  • Set can only be used on hex nuts

4. Most Complete Nut Driver Set: DeWalt 71-Piece Nut Driver & Screwdriver Bit Set

DeWalt 71-Piece Nut Driver & Screwdriver Bit Set

Why we like it: Packed to the brim with 20 different nut driver sockets, this DeWalt set offers superb value for money.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts

  • Pieces: 71-piece set, 10 SAE nut driver bits, 10 metric nut driver bits
  • Shape: Hex/6-point
  • Sizes:
  • SAE (inches): 5/32, 3/16, 7/32,1/4, 9/32, 5/16, 11/32, 3/8, 7/12, 1/2
  • Metric (mm): 4, 5, 5.5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
  • Magnetized: No

If you’re looking for a value-laden set that includes all the additional bits and bobs, look no further than DeWalt’s monster 71-piece nut driver bit set with screwdrivers. Like all DeWalt products, this set is both high-quality and high-value, with 20 different nut driver socket options to suit almost any job you come across. This set includes both metric and SAE nut sockets, as well as additional screwdriver bits and a 1/4-inch bit driver with a comfortable vinyl grip.

To top off the package, each nut and screwdriver bit can be stored in its sturdy plastic case when not in use. Not only will this protect your tools from rust and exposure, but the internal tray can also be removed to stack with other DeWalt tool kits in your toolbox.

If a 71-piece set is more than you’ll ever need in your toolbox, the Klein 7-Piece Nut Driver Set still includes all the essentials.

Pros

  • Included bit driver
  • Included carry case
  • Both SAE and metric bits

Cons

  • Non-magnetized tips
  • Set can only be used on hex nuts

5. Best for Power Tools: Tekton Quick-Change Power Nut Driver Bit Set

Tekton Quick-Change Power Nut Driver Bit Set

Why we like it: Reinforced with a CR-V coating, this nut driver bit set is tough enough for almost any high-powered electric tool.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • Pieces: 14-piece set
  • Shape: Hex/6-point
  • Sizes:
  • SAE (inches): 3/16, 1/4, 9/32, 5/16, 11/32, 3/8, 7/16
  • Metric (mm): 5, 5.5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12
  • Magnetized: No

This quick-change set of nut driver bits is the ideal companion for DIYers or mechanics who prefer using power tools. Coated in robust CR-V, each nut driver bit is hardened to withstand the force of high-powered impact tools. Furthermore, each bit has a sandblasted finish, improving the naturally anti-corrosive properties of CR-V and the overall strength and durability of each bit.

Packed with both metric and SAE nut driver bits, there isn’t a nut that you won’t be able to tackle with this kit. While this set doesn’t include a bit driver, each nut driver bit is compatible with the commonly used 1/4-inch hex shank, so you’ll most likely already have a compatible power tool to use.

Each nut driver bit can be stored and secured on a handy work belt storage clip which can keep your bits secure and easily accessible while you work. If you need a nut driver bit set that you can use with your power tools on the go, check out the 12-piece travel set from Neiko.

Pros

  • Compatible with impact tools
  • Ultra-durable sandblasted CR-V coating
  • Included work belt storage clip

Cons

  • Bit driver not included

6. Best Ratcheting: Gearwrench 16-Piece Ratcheting Nut Driver Set

Gearwrench 16-Piece Ratcheting Nut Driver Set

Why we like it: With a 45-tooth ratcheting handle, you’ll never be stuck repositioning your bit driver again.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • Pieces: 16-piece set
  • Shape: Hex/6-point
  • Sizes:
  • SAE (inches): 3/16, 1/4, 5/16, 11/32, 3/8, 7/16, 1/2
  • Metric (mm): 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
  • Magnetized: No

If you have a big job ahead of you, or you’re someone who suffers from hand fatigue during work, a nut driver set with a ratcheting handle can be a lifesaver. This 16-piece set from Gearwrench is the optimal nut driver set for long jobs or difficult to reach nuts.

With a 45-tooth ratcheting handle, this nut driver bit has an 8-degree swing arc and requires no repositioning or readjusting of the nut driver bit. The dual-material, stubby-style handle offers maximum grip without sacrificing comfort. Unfortunately, the shafts in this tool set are only composed of alloy steel. However, the nut driver bit and handle are contoured to be resistant to oil and solvent spills.

Not only can this driver bit multitask in ratcheting and reverse ratcheting modes, but it can also act as a regular bit driver with a non-ratcheting mode and may be compatible with other 1/4-inch nut driver sockets.

Inside this case included set, you’ll find both SAE and metric nut driver bits, with each piece being stamped for easy identification. To make differentiating between each size and style even faster, the SAE nut driver bits are also color-coded.

If you need a nut driver set with added torque power but you’d rather invest in a set with hardy CR-V steel, take a look at the KSEIBI T-Handle Nut Driver Set.

Pros

  • Ratchet driver bit with 8-degree swing arc
  • Color-coded for easy bit identification
  • Included carry case

Cons

  • No CR-V coating

7. Best Magnetic: Klein Tools Heavy Duty Magnetic Nut Driver Set

Klein Tools Heavy Duty Magnetic Nut Driver Set

Why we like it: Never lose a nut again with this set of heavy-duty magnetic nut drivers from Klein.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts

  • Pieces: 6-piece set
  • Shape: Hex/6-point
  • Sizes (SAE inches): 1/4, 5/16, 7/16, 1/2, 9/16
  • Magnetized: Yes

Any experienced DIYer or mechanic knows the frustration of having to thread a tiny nut or dropping your nut into your equipment. With this Klein heavy-duty magnetized nut driver set, you’ll never have to worry about losing a nut again. Equipped with rare earth magnets in every tip, each nut driver bit will securely hold your nut in place during fastening or loosening. Furthermore, a hollow shaft with a through handle means you can thread nuts on a bolt of any length.

Each bit driver in this 6-piece set is color-coded for easy size identification and is equipped with wrench assist to add torque power under stress. Finished with a solid PVC handle and a cushion grip, these tools are both durable and comfortable to use.

Given the high-quality finish of this set and the additional magnetized tips, this product is more expensive than a traditional nut driver set. However, it’s worth remembering that these small but significant features can make all the difference when you’re using your nut driver set in a professional capacity.

If you’re not willing to spend big on your nut driver set, the DeWalt 3-Piece Nut Driver Set is a fantastic budget alternative.

Pros

  • Magnetized tips
  • Color-coded for easy bit identification
  • Wrench assist

Cons

  • Higher price point

8. Best Compact/Travel Nut Driver Set: Neiko Magnetic 12-Piece Nut Driver Master Kit

Neiko Magnetic 12-Piece Nut Driver Master Kit

Why we like it: Every nut driver bit you’ll ever need is included in this tidy, ready-to-go master kit.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts

  • Pieces: 12-piece set
  • Shape: Hex/6-point
  • Sizes:
  • SAE (inches): 1/4, 5/16, 3/8, 7/16, 1/2
  • Metric (mm): 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14
  • Magnetized: Yes

If you’re a mechanic on the go or you simply want to be prepared for the worst-case scenario, this compact 12-piece nut driver bit set is ideal for travel. Including both metric and SAE nut driver bits, each bit can be securely locked into place in a plastic carry case and stored in your toolbox or the back of your truck. Additionally, each driver bit is constructed with hardy CR-V steel and coated with black phosphate for maximum hardness, durability, and corrosion resistance.

While this set doesn’t include a bit driver, the 1/4-inch hex socket is compatible with most regular bit drivers and can also be used with power tools. Each nut driver socket is engraved for quick size identification and is finished with a magnetized tip for ease of use.

If you need a more extensive range of nut driver bits and don’t have to worry about transport, check out the DeWalt 71-piece nut driver set.

Pros

  • Included carry case
  • Durable CR-V coating
  • Compatible with power tools
  • Engraved for easy bit identification

Cons

  • Bit driver not included

9. Best Flex Shafts: ABN Flexible Socket Extension Nut Driver Cables

ABN Flexible Socket Extension Nut Driver Cables

Why we like it: With four different flex shafts, this is the perfect set of nut drivers for tackling those hard-to-reach fasteners.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts

  • Pieces: 4-piece set
  • Shape: Hex/6-point
  • Sizes (inches): 2 x 3/8, 2 x 1/4
  • Magnetized: No

If you’re consistently struggling to reach nuts while you’re working, a flexible shaft nut driver set is a great solution. Built with a flexible wound spring-steel shaft, each nut driver bit can be manipulated to suit the exact angle you require and can even be bent to an angle of 90-degrees.

Each flex shaft and nut driver bit are drop forged with CR-V steel to provide maximum strength and durability, while a chrome finish aids in preventing rust and corrosion. Unfortunately, this set doesn’t come with its own bit driver and will require a square bit driver that is compatible with flex shafts.

If you need a nut driver set with an included bit driver, consider the Klein 7-in-1 Nut Driver Tool.

Pros

  • Flexible shaft
  • Stylish chrome finish
  • Durable CR-V coating

Cons

  • Non-magnetized tips
  • Specialized bit driver not included

10. Best T-Shaped Nut Driver Set: KSEIBI 7-Piece T-Handle Nut Driver Set

KSEIBI 7-Piece T-Handle Nut Driver Set

Why we like it: Whether you need added torque or you’re dealing with a particularly tough nut, this t-handle nut driver set can tackle the task with ease.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts

  • Pieces: 7-piece set
  • Shape: Hex/6-point
  • Sizes (mm): 8, 10, 12, 13, 14, 17, 19
  • Magnetized: No

When you’re dealing with old, rusted, or extra tight nuts, a t-handle can add extra strength and torque, loosening even the tightest of fasteners. This 7-piece KSEIBI t-handle nut driver set is a nifty set of nut drivers to keep for those instances where you need some extra help.

Manufactured using CR-V steel, each t-handle nut driver is durable and can handle the wear and tear that comes with mechanical work. Furthermore, each nut driver is finished with nickel, creating a tough barrier against corrosion from both mechanical fluids and moisture. Unfortunately, these nut drivers don’t have magnetized tips, which could make dealing with little fastenings more time-consuming.

If you prefer a ratchet handle to a t-shaped handle, the 16-piece ratcheting nut driver set from Gearwrench is a great alternative.

Pros

  • T-handle improves torque
  • Ultra-durable CR-V and nickel finish

Cons

  • Non-magnetized tips

Guide to Buying the Best Nut Driver Set

Nut drivers and screw fasteners

Selecting a nut driver set can be a tricky process, especially when you’re faced with so many different options. To help you pick the best possible kit, we’ve put together this handy guide to nut driver terminology, nut driver key features, and some of the most frequently asked questions about nut drivers.

A Brief Guide to Nut Driver Set Terminology

Understanding nut driver jargon and terminology is one of the best ways to streamline the process of shopping for and selecting your nut driver set. To give you a brief introduction to nut driver terminology, we’ve broken down the most commonly used nut driver terms below:

  • Imperial: In the context of tools like nut drivers, the imperial system refers to a unit of measurement that is used to describe the size or strength of a nut. Nuts measured using the imperial system are measured in inches and are graded by tensile strength.
  • Metric: Like the imperial system, the metric system refers to the type of measurement used for a nut. Nuts using the metric system will usually be measured in millimeters.
  • Nut: The nut is a small piece of metal, usually square or hexagonal in shape, that is threaded around a bolt to secure it in place.
  • Bit Driver: The bit driver usually refers to the handle or the body of a nut driver tool. The bit driver includes the shaft and, if the socket isn’t interchangeable, the nut driver socket.
  • Socket: The socket is the hollow part of a nut driver that is attached to the shaft. The socket then fits around a nut to loosen or tighten a fastener.
  • Shaft/Shank: The shaft refers to the long metal rod that connects the socket to the bit driver handle. The shaft is usually hollowed to accommodate a socket bit.
  • Flange: An external rim that provides a bearing surface. A flange helps to minimize wear on the rim of the nut.
  • Boss: The name for the protruding part of a nut. A boss is commonly found on barrel nuts.

Handle/Shaft Style and Durability


The last thing you want when using a nut driver is a slippery or uncomfortable grip. A top-quality nut driver needs to have a handle made from comfortable yet durable materials in order to guarantee longevity and ease of use. An ergonomically designed nut driver handle will not only ensure you don’t hurt yourself while using the tool, but it will also ensure your hands don’t become sore or blistered after intense periods of use.

While most nut driver handles are made from a plastic core, they’ll usually also include a rubberized grip to provide comfort for the user and a better grip on the tool. When shopping for a nut driver set, look for a handle that has integral flanges — this will provide extra strength in the handle, allowing for higher torque pressure and can ensure the steel shaft doesn’t spin around in the handle.

When it comes to nut drivers, there is a surprisingly large range of different handle styles and configurations. Each handle style has a different purpose, so it can be useful to have a number of different nut driver handles on hand to accommodate for various DIY or work needs. To give you a better idea of the differences between some of these handle styles, we’ve listed 5 of the most common handle designs on the market.

Spinner Handle

The spinner handle is the most common nut driver handle used today. Consisting of a shaft and handle with a 1/4-inch drive fitting, a spinner handle allows the user to change the socket size depending on their needs. This is a great option for people who have limited storage space in their garage or who only need a nut driver for occasional odd jobs.

If you’re on the hunt for a top-quality spinner handle nut driver set, it’s hard to look past our number one pick for 2021, the Klein 7-in-1 Nut Driver Tool.

T-Shaped Handle

A t-shaped nut driver consists of a shaft attached to a t-shaped bar. This allows for better grip and torque power. If you’re looking for a high-quality T-shaped handle nut driver set, check out the KSEIBI 7-Piece T Handle Nut Driver Set.

Ratcheting Handle

A nut driver with a ratcheting handle allows for continuous motion when fastening or loosening a nut. This is more convenient if you need to do a lot of fastening or loosening as it means you don’t have to continuously remove and refit the tool during use.

If you think a set of ratcheting handle nut drivers is what you need, we recommend the Gearwrench 16-Piece Ratcheting Nut Driver Set.

Handle With Recessed Magnets

In order to make handling small fasteners easier, some nut drivers have recessed magnets positioned in the socket of the shaft. This makes it significantly easier to hold a nut in place while fastening.

Today, the best-magnetized nut driver set on the market is probably between the Klein Tools Heavy Duty Magnetic Nut Driver Set and the Neiko Magnetic 12-Piece Nut Driver Master Kit.

Flex Shafts

A flexible shaft made from a bendable material instead of rigidly cast steel — thanks to their malleable design, flex shaft handles are a great choice when working with hard to reach fasteners.

If you’re in the market for a set of flex shaft nut drivers, you can’t go wrong with ABN’s Flexible Socket Extension Nut Driver Cables.

Steel Quality

Like any product, you want a tool that is manufactured using the best quality materials. This means your nut driver set should be made using high-quality metals that can withstand heavy and repeated use. When it comes to steel quality, the material you want to look out for is chrome vanadium steel.

Also known as CR-V, chrome vanadium is an alloy composed of chromium (CR) and vanadium (V). Steel coated in CR-V is much tougher than regular steel and also has superior resistance to corrosion. Overall, CR-V steel nut drivers are much more robust and can take a lot more abuse than untreated drivers.

When looking for a nut driver set, keep an eye out for nut drivers that have the code “CR-V” embossed on the nut socket. This indicates that the nut driver socket has been treated with a CR-V coating.

Types of Nuts

Today, the most common nut type is the standard 6-point nut. However, in order to meet both household needs and the demands of an industrial building, many other nut types are in circulation. When using your nut driver set, you may also encounter the following nut types:

  • Wing Nut: A wing nut has a butterfly shape, with two large ‘wings’ on either side of the threaded center. Wing nuts are ideal for use without tools and can be easily tightened or loosened by hand.
  • Machine Nut: Hexagonal shape with internal threads. They are generally used with machine screws under 1/4-inch in diameter.
  • Finish Nut: Hexagonal shape with internal threading that is usually used in securing bolts. On industrial job sites, you might encounter thicker and heavier finish nuts. These may require the use of a larger wrench for fastening or unfastening.
  • Jam Nut: These nuts are used to secure a larger nut and prevent it from loosening. Jam nuts are half the size of a regular finish nut, making them great for use in small or tight spaces where a regular nut might not fit.
  • Square Nuts: Rather than having a hexagonal shape, a square nut has four corners with beveled edges on one side. Square nuts are generally used with square-headed bolts along with a flat washer.
  • Barrel Nut: A barrel nut has a long, barrel-shaped flange that receives a threaded machine screw. Also known as a sex-bolt, each component will sit flush on either side of the item being screwed.
  • Cross Dowel: A cross dowel nut is a two-piece joining system and is useful for joining perpendicular pieces of timber. A cross dowel is a cylindrical shape with a threaded hole in the center where a bolt would fit.
  • Acorn Nut: An acorn or crown nut has a domed end with internal threading on the reverse side. There are two types of acorn nuts, a standard or high acorn nut. A high acorn nut is slightly longer and wider than a standard or regular acorn nut.

While you’ll most likely only encounter hex nuts on a daily basis, having a nut driver set that can accommodate more unusual types of nuts can be a lifesaver. Check out this video to you want to learn more about different types of fastener nuts.

Nut Sizing

It’s not only important to understand the different kinds of nuts that you may encounter, but you also need to understand different nut sizing and units of measurement. Different nut sizes mean, of course, that you’ll require multiple different nut drivers or nut driver bits to accommodate for any one job.

It is also important to note that your nut driver set sizes will need to correspond with the sizing used on your nuts (i.e., if you’re using nuts measured in metric or millimeters, you’ll need a metric nut driver set).

Imperial

Imperial grading in the United States is used in both the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) system and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). Generally, SAE units are more commonly used, with the unit of measurement being inches. Nut driver sizes usually sit in the 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch range.

When it comes to understanding the strength of your nut, you can look at the etchings on the nuts head. Different combinations of dots and lines indicate the different grades. As expected, the higher the grade of a nut, the higher its tensile strength.

Below is a breakdown of the different nut grades:

Grade 2: No visible markings besides the manufacturer’s mark. This nut has a minimum tensile strength of 74,000 pounds of force per square inch (psi) for nuts with a diameter between 1/4-inches and 3/4-inches. Above 3/4-inches to 1-1/2-inches, the minimum tensile strength sits at 60,00 psi.

Grade 5: Three radial markings on the nut head (a grade 2 nut plus three markings creates a grade 5 nut). These markings will either be three evenly spaced dashes, a dash and dot at an angle of 120 degrees, or two dashes at an angle of 120 degrees. You may also find the manufacturer’s mark on the nut head as well. The minimum tensile strength of a Grade 5 nut is between 105,000 and 120,000 psi.

Grade 8: A grade 8 nut will have 6 radial markings (a grade 2 nut plus 6 radial markings creates a grade 8 nut). This will either be six evenly spaced dashes, a dash and dot at a 60-degree angle, or two dashes at a 60-degree angle. A grade 8 nut will have a minimum tensile strength of 150,000 psi.

Metric

Nuts measured in metric units are generally less complicated as the nut will usually display an inscription such as M5, M6, M8, M10, M12, M16, M20, M24, M30. The letter in this inscription refers to metric, while the number corresponds to the diameter of the nut in millimeters (mm). This inscription makes it easy to identify which size of nut driver you’ll need, as most metric nut driver sizes will correspond with the same nut size.

The tensile strength of a nut measured in metric units is displayed as a numerical number on the head alongside the manufacturer ID code. Unlike imperial measurements, the tensile strength of metric nuts and bolts is measured by the proof load that the fastening can hold per square mm before breaking. For example, a 10.9 bolt can hold up to 100kg per square mm. The 0.9 indicates that, at 90% of this load, the bolt will begin to bend or fail.

Best Nut Driver Sets 2021: Top 5 Frequently Asked Questions

What Is a Drill Nut Driver?

Also known as an impact driver, a drill nut driver is similar to a regular nut driver, but it is powered by an electric drill instead of by hand. Using a handheld drill, you can attach a nut driver bit in order to fasten nuts with ease and efficiency.

What Is an Impact Nut Driver?

An impact driver is more lightweight than a drill driver but performs a similar function with higher torque. If you’re using an impact driver, you’ll need specialty impact-rated impact sockets for tightening or loosening nuts.

Are 6-Point or 12-Point Nut Driver Sockets Better?

The type of nut driver socket you use will ultimately depend on the task you wish to complete. Generally, 6-point nut driver sockets will be the most useful as 6-point nuts tend to be the most commonly encountered type of fasteners. However, there’s still a good chance that a 12-point nut driver socket will come in handy for the occasional work or DIY job.

What Are Nut Drivers Used For?

Nut drivers are a handy tool that can be used for tightening or loosening nuts and bolts. Similar in appearance to a screwdriver, a nut driver has a socket end attached to a shaft and a cylindrical handle.

What Is the Imperial Nut Grading System?

You may require a different nut driver based on the grade of the nuts being used. You can determine the grade of your nut by observing the markings or etchings on the nut head. The three most common nut grades are Grade 2, Grade 5, and Grade 8.

Key Takeaways

Regardless of whether you’re a professional mechanic or an avid DIYer, a top-quality nut driver set is a long-term investment in your tool kit and workshop. If you only require a nut driver set for everyday jobs or a special project, a basic nut driver set should be sufficient. However, if your occupation requires a nut driver set for consistent everyday use, you may be better served by a premium-grade nut driver set with a comprehensive set of nut driver bit sizes and add-on accessories suitable for professional work.