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Insert Bit Adapter

Why clutter your drawers with specialized square drive bits for your ratchet, when you probably already have a complete set of 1/4″ hex insert bits? This socket adapter from Vermont American allows you to use those 1/4″ hex insert bits with your 1/4″ square drive ratchet.

You can find the 1/4″ insert bit adapter for as low as $4, but Amazon lists it for $7.

Note: We know the adapter in the picture says 3/8 – 5/16, but this is the picture on Vermont American’s site — obviously an oversight on their part.

Insert Adapter [Vermont American]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon(B000YY6ACO) [What’s This?] [What’s This?]

 

11 Responses to Turn Your Ratchet Into A Bit Driver

  1. I says:

    I am a huge fan of square drive to 1/4″ hex adapters. I had trouble finding one locally so I ended up purchasing a Gearwrench bit box from Amazon. It’s slightly more than $8, but included the bit adapter and a slew of extra bits.

    gearwrench bit box

    I believe that Sears sells the bit adapter by itself for $4, but I’d rather not pay more for shipping than the bit is worth.

    For what it’s worth, 3/8″ drive adapters seem to be available at industrial supply shops. As the VA photo above shows, there are also 5/16″ bit adapters made for 3/8″ square drive ratchets, not bad if you use a lot of larger hex and torx bits.

  2. ILoveTools says:

    I am a huge fan of square drive to 1/4″ hex adapters. I had trouble finding one locally so I ended up purchasing a Gearwrench bit box from Amazon. It’s slightly more than $8, but included the bit adapter and a slew of extra bits.

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000HBC8IE/

    I believe that Sears sells the bit adapter by itself for $4, but I’d rather not pay more for shipping than the bit is worth.

    For what it’s worth, 3/8″ drive adapters seem to be available at industrial supply shops. As the VA photo above shows, there are also 5/16″ bit adapters made for 3/8″ square drive ratchets, not bad if you use a lot of larger hex and torx bits.

  3. Joe says:

    Maybe I’m a cheapskate, but I’ve always just chucked a driver bit into a regular 1/4″ socket when space is tight. Does the VA adapter add anything to make it worth the $4?

  4. Joe,
    Using a 1/4″ socket is an excellent idea! You could even use a 1/4″ nut driver as a bit driver in a pinch too.

    I can’t speak for the VA model, but generally insert bit holders have some way to hold onto the bit: a magnet, some type of friction fit, or some other type of locking mechanism. The only problem I see with using a socket, is the insert bit would have a tendency to fall out unless you used tape or something.

  5. fred says:

    Aside from the good comments from Benjamin Johnson – you may find that not all bits and sockets are created equal when chucked in an impact driver.
    Some are specifically forged and are beefy enough to take the extra torque and impact stress – others are not. On a commercial jobsite – contractors can be cited should an accident occur from a fracture of an inappropriately used tool. If you compare black-oxide impact sockets to hand sockets the difference is obvious. It’s not as easy to discern when you look at bits. We try to buy know brands of bits and bit holders like Wiha and Apex that we have had good experience with.

  6. Donny B says:

    I have used a socket for years. I use a small dab of “dap” blue in the bottom of the socket and have never had a problem…. Get a $2 socket kit from harbour freight.

    I am with Sean……….
    I pay for nothing

  7. Zathrus says:

    fred — actually, the black-oxide sockets aren’t forged to take “extra torque and impact stress” — they’re forged so they’re not as strong, but also much less brittle. So if they fail when under excess torque (like from an impact driver, as you mention) they deform instead of shattering.

    I don’t know that there is any difference in the manufacture of bits though.

  8. PutnamEco says:

    Re:
    Zathrus Says:
    So if they fail when under excess torque (like from an impact driver, as you mention) they deform instead of shattering.
    ————–
    Even deformations can result in flying metal. Picture the bit or bit holder flying, after being flung off the impact driver.

    It’s those things that you don’t expect to get hurt with, that ususally end up hurting you in the end.

  9. ambush says:

    Impact sockets also have much thicker walls to withstand the torque.

    All my socket sets came with a 1/4 inch adapter so I’ve never bought one seperately.

  10. fred says:

    Re:
    Zathrus Says:

    I’m no metalurgist – but I’ve seen bits that shatter and hex-to-square drive adapters where the shaft has twisted and shered off under load.
    We did a lot of commercial lavatories where so-called security screws (twin point) were used. we had a devil of a time to find bits that did not shatter after just a few uses. Apex came through for us.

  11. David Bryan says:

    Most sparkies carry a good sized slotted screwdriver for an all around beater to use for all the things they tell you not to use it for. Stick one of these on the end– the blade should fit in diagonally in the 1/4″ square– and you’ve got an instant multi-bit screwdriver. Tape it on if you want. For the little bit it’ll cost you it can save you a lot of irritation.

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