Impact Wrench: Hog Ring vs Detent Pin

Depending on the design of an impact wrench, you will find that one either has a hog ring or a detent pin.

These two are crucial for holding the socket to the driver. However, you would want to know what is the difference between the two before picking a power tool.

There are those who might swear on their workmanship on hog rings while others would say detent pins are the best.

Here is also a video with more differences between a hog ring and a detent pin anvil.

If you have not used any before, you might be confused since you would not understand what to do.

A hog ring is designed to work like a snap ring fitted around the square socket drive groove. The work of the hog ring is to hold the adapter or the socket onto the driver.

The detent pin features a spring-loaded ball bearing in the square groove to hold the socket onto the driver. As you can see, both do the same function only through different mechanisms.

This guide helps you understand what is the difference between the two and why you may consider getting one for yourself.

How Does an Impact Wrench Retain the Socket?

An impact wrench is a vital tool for different job sites or workshop applications. It contains an anvil as one of its parts.

It is the anvil that helps you add more accessories to the impact wrench and use it for a specific purpose.

You can describe the anvil of an impact wrench as its head. This is where you add the wrench socket plus any other crucial add-ons.

That is how you can opt to use a hog ring anvil or a detent pin anvil to hold the addons onto the impact wrench.

An anvil is considered to be the strongest part of the impact wrench. This is because it has to take up all the force the motor drives through it and also deal with the resistance and friction of the screws or bolts.

It is why the choice of an anvil is important to make sure that it does not release the sockets while working on something. This could easily lead to possible accidents, which is not what you want.

Hog Ring Anvil Overview

The hog ring anvil has a C-shaped metal pin vital for holding the socket once it is in place. This metal pin is made to be wider than the inside of a socket.

This means that whenever the socket is pushed over the metal pin, it can shrink, but it will still want to expand to its original form.

The force that wants to push the ring back to its shape is what helps to keep the socket in place.

That is how you can work with huge forces but still, the hog ring will hold the socket without releasing it.

One of the biggest reasons people go for a hog ring anvil is because it makes the job of putting and removing sockets easier.

So, in case you may need to change sockets because you are working on different projects, it should definitely save you a lot of time.

As much as it can do its job well, it can also shrink with time. When it shrinks beyond a certain point, the ring would no longer hold the sockets well.

You would then have to switch the hog ring anvil.

Do not worry so much as it will not wear overnight. It will take several years of hard work to wear such an anvil type.

Detent Pin Anvil Overview

In a detent anvil, it contains a pin coming out from the side of the anvil. This pin is controlled by an internal spring to keep it in place.

When you slide the socket over the pin, it will push against it so that there is enough friction to hold the socket.

Well, the friction is not as much as compared to using a hog ring.

Alternatively, you could also match the pin location with the socket’s round hole. When they match up, the socket becomes immobilized thus not easily coming off the anvil.

This design generally makes you work harder to remove the socket from the anvil.

Sometimes you might need an additional tool such as a small nail to push the pin back in so that the socket can come off.

You can see that it will be too much work switching your sockets more often.

It is not all gloomy when using a detent pin anvil. This is because it tends to have better durability as compared to a hog ring anvil. Not many people find themselves in need of replacing its parts.

What is the Difference Between Hog Ring and Detent Pin

The biggest difference is how the two anvils hold the sockets. For a detent pin, there is a retaining pin that needs to be pressed in first before you can release the socket from the anvil.

As for a hog ring, it has a ring that exerts enough pressure to keep the socket from falling off. The best part is that it does not need tools to remove the socket once you are done.

Another difference is in the applications. Let us say you are driving the same sized bolts and nuts the whole day, then a detent pin anvil will do a great job.

Examples include water tower assembly, bridge assembly, and many other construction types. Having a detent pin keeps the socket from easily falling off.

The hog ring on the other hand is for those who might need to change their sockets more often. A good example is a mechanic.

Since a mechanic has to deal with different bolts and nut sizes, it makes sense to have a tool that is easy to switch the sockets.

Best Impact Wrenches with a Hog Ring or Detent Pin

Now that you know the difference between the two, it is best we looked at some of the common products having the two mechanisms. Below are the two examples.

Best Impact Wrench with Hog Ring:

DeWalt DCF899HB 20V Max XR Impact Wrench with Hog Ring Anvil

Being one of the top impact wrenches in the market, the DCF899HB stands out for its brushless motor.

The motor design is aimed at making it work better without overheating and requires less to no maintenance to keep the wrench working better.

Also, the motor is energy efficient, meaning you will not keep on recharging it all the time to work on a project.

We also have to look at the amount of torque you get with the unit. The maximum torque is 700 feet/pound. The breakaway torque is 1,200 feet/pound.

With such amazing figures, it should be easy to see why it would be ideal to own this type of impact wrench.

As for the speed settings, you will get up to 3 modes to choose from when using the wrench. The modes include 400, 1200, and 1900 RPM.

If you accidentally drop it, the unit is tough so it might not break in comparison to other units. With a 6ft drop, you can simply pick it up and continue working.

Best Impact Wrench with Detent Pin:

DeWalt DCF889M2 20V Max Impact Wrench Kit Detent Pin Anvil

DEWALT 20V MAX Impact Wrench Kit, High Torque, Detent Pin Anvil, 1/2-Inch (DCF889M2)

The Detent pin is a different mechanism that you get with the other DeWalt model mentioned above. As a result, you might experience some differences in performance.

Looking at its lithium-ion battery, it is able to deliver enough energy for you to work on various projects.

The fast charger that comes with the unit allows for quickly recharging the battery to get back to work.

As for the torque, you can expect a maximum of 400 ft-lbs. With such torque, it should be enough to get you the best performance you might need to handle various applications.

To boost the torque, we find the unit using the best batteries. Since the battery has a fuel gauge, you would know how much power is remaining while working on different projects.

The presence of a variable speed trigger makes the unit ideal for many uses. You simply have to choose the speed depending on applications.

The electric brake is also a nice feature that helps with improving the overall control of the impact wrench.

We cannot forget to mention the LED lights that come with the unit. Such lights can be great for those who might end up working in poorly lit areas.

The durable magnesium gear case and the metal transmission all ensure there is extended durability with this unit.

You should find it versatile for working with different materials without much of a problem.

Impact Wrench Buyers Guide – Everything You Need To Know

The Type of Motor

The motor technology in impact wrenches has improved over the years. As such, it is important to know the type of motor that your impact wrench is using. We would recommend that you go for a brushless motor.

This type of motor is ideal for those who might want a unit that delivers better power output, saves on battery use, and does not need a lot of maintenance to keep the impact wrench working.

Its Torque

The amount of torque varies a lot from one model to another. Some might have a high torque output while others will be average. Each manufacturer proudly displays the torque values.

It is from these values that you can know which model will be ideal for which applications.

For someone that works on tough applications, then having a unit with high torque is important.

Someone who only works on DIY applications at home, then a model with average torque should be enough.

High RPM

The speed determines how fast you can accomplish some tasks. The more rotations you get per minute, the easier it will be for you to complete the task.

You should never skimp on the amount of speed you get with an impact wrench.

Depending on the unit, most would go over 2500 RPM. This is a good speed to allow for quick fastening and loosening of bolts and screws.

Consider opting for an impact wrench containing multiple speed settings.

Such settings allow you to choose the right speed to handle the different tasks. Some tasks might need you to drive the impact wrench at slower speeds and vice versa.

It is good to know that you can get such versatility.

High Impacts Per Minute

It is common for people to confuse between impacts per minute and revolutions per minute. (Impacts Per Minute or BPM–Blows Per Minute–read more here)

The IPM is a crucial measurement of the performance of your impact wrench. The higher this value the better.

Having a high rating of the impacts per minute means that the impact wrench can accommodate a wide range of projects. You can’t afford to skimp on the IPM rating for your new impact wrench.

To get an idea of just how impressive this level of RPM is, check out this amazing video of a 1 Engine at 20000 RPM!

Type of Drive

The type of drive can be a critical factor to consider when buying an impact wrench. The common types include ¼, 3/8, and 1/2 – inch drives. The bigger the drive, the higher the torque you will get out of the unit.

So, depending on the type of work you do, get the model with the right drive. Heavy-duty applications need the user to have a ½-inch drive.

Weight and Size

The weight and size often determine the comfort of using the impact wrench over extended periods. In most cases, impact wrenches are designed to be lightweight.

This makes it easy for you to work on various projects for longer without straining your wrist and arm. As much as you would want a lightweight and compact model, make sure that it is also functional.

Any Safety Features

When dealing with power tools, it is important that you keep in mind safety too. Look at what are some of the safety features that the manufacturer offers for you to consider before making up your mind.

Newer impact wrenches will have more safety features such as prevention of overloading, better cooling, no over-discharging, and much more. Any manufacturer would proudly list their safety features to attract more buyers.

Battery Performance

The overall battery performance is important to see how long it would last before you have to recharge it again.

The battery performance varies from one brand to another.

Most will however be lithium-ion batteries. Such batteries are good for delivering steady power and can hold more charge.

More manufacturers are now selling their batteries with fast charging capabilities. This allows you to recharge the battery faster and continue with work.

Reading several reviews about the model’s battery performance can help you learn more about what to expect.

LED Lights

It seems like new impact wrenches will have this feature. LED lights are important to illuminate your working area so that you can see better.

For those working in poorly lit areas, having the extra light ensures you do not make mistakes.

The LED lights might not be available on all models, but it is a nice feature to have on a new impact wrench.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use Regular Sockets with an Impact Wrench?

It is possible you may have thought about this before. The short answer to this question is NO. Let me explain below.

The biggest difference between the impact wrench sockets and the regular sockets are the material hardness and overall thickness.

As much as both types might be made of steel material, the impact sockets would be heat-treated as a way of making them more ductile.

The ductility is vital to reduce wear and tear since you would be using it on tough applications. So, your impact sockets would not easily fail.

As part of compensating for having a lower hardness, the impact socket outer diameter is designed to be larger thus increasing its wall thickness.

Increased wall thickness is vital to reduce the stresses that the socket might face when driven by an impact wrench.

When you use a regular socket under the same conditions, you might end up with a cracked socket easily. This is because such sockets are brittle.

The momentary shock that the impact wrench drives through the socket is what causes most of the damage and not the torque.

As you can see, it is best to use the right tools for the job. Consider taking your time to find the correct impact sockets to help you accomplish your tasks even better.

How Do You Get a Stuck Socket Out of an Impact Wrench?

When you have been using the socket for a long on projects, sometimes it can get stuck. It could be heated or there was too much impact in one direction.

You are likely to find many methods online on how to get a stuck socket of an impact wrench. However, I think I found the best one yet.

Check out the following methods for quick tips on how to do it right and safely.

  • Impact Wrench Stuck on Socket

If it’s stuck on an extension or something thin, set the socket on top of a vise, open end up, with the extension dangling between the jaws but NOT clamped in them tightly, and drive it out with a tap from a punch or a 3/8″ extension.

  • Impact Wrench Stuck on the Bolt
  1. Place the wrench into a vice and tighten it so the threaded portion of the bolt faces down.
  2. Place a smaller bolt or screwdriver on the head of the bolt. Strike the smaller bolt or screwdriver with a mallet or hammer until the bolt breaks free from the wrench.

Conclusion

Both hog rings and detent pins do the same job, however, most would prefer hog rings in cases where they need a tighter fit. Also, depending on how often you replace the sockets, either can be ideal.

Take your time to also look at what the power tool has to offer, whether it uses a hog ring or detent pin. Do not let one part of the impact wrench determine which model you choose.