Top 8 Best Spark Plug Sockets
By | Last updated: September 18, 2020
Spark Plug Socket. Image: sima/Shutterstock.com

Continuing the recent trend of DIY tools, we’ve selected spark plug sockets as today’s list of choices. While not all of us set gaps and fiddle with old fashioned points systems, there’s a solid chance most of our readers have had cause to throw a new set of plugs in their beater at some point or another.

Digging through a pile of random tools for the correct spark plug socket can be a trial (rumors say this will actually become a 24 Hours of Lemons penalty soon). If you do spring for one of these things, make sure it lives in a good spot of your toolbox.

Speaking of, many socket sets include one or two of these tools but it never hurts to have an extra on hand. Some of these stand-alones are also more robustly constructed or include special extensions that may not appear in an all-encompassing socket set. Also, don’t forget that not all spark plugs are sized equally, so check your application before hitting the ‘buy’ button.

1. Editor's Choice: Gearwrench 6-Point Magnetic Swivel Spark Plug Socket

This socket is for 5/8-inch plugs and a 3/8-inch ratchet drive. An entry angle is said to guide it home more easily and has serrations the depth of the fastener. Large hard-stamped, not etched, sizing identification marks should be visible even to us old guys with failing eyesight.

A knurled grip on the extension shaft provides workers with a non-slip surface for low torque applications. The interior magnet inside of the socket retains and protects the spark plug for easier installation and is said to not wear out over time like a traditional rubber gasket.

Pros/Basic, effective, affordable
Cons/Some cars will need another extension
Bottom Line/Great to have on hand

2. ARES 5-Piece High Visibility Spark Plug Socket Set

Unsure of your whip’s spark plug sizing or simply work on a variety of different cars? Picking up a five-piece set might be a good idea. This unit has a couple of metric sockets along with three in Freedom units. The sizes are both etched and hammered into the socket walls.

This spark plug socket set includes 5/8-inch, 3/4-inch, 13/16-inch, 14mm, and 18mm sizes plus a handy storage rail. The rubber retaining ring ensures plugs stay on the socket and the tapered 6-point socket ends grip the flat sides of the fastener head, not corners, to prevent round-off.

Pros/Sizes for nearly every engine
Cons/Your moron buddies will borrow them
Bottom Line/Be prepared

3. OTC Spark Plug Remover Kit

Here’s a pro-grade tool whose unique design helps prevent breakage by locking the plug porcelain core to the plug hex. This permits it to turn as one complete unit rather than exerting torque on the plug itself and risking snapping the thing off.

This specific item is designed to help mechanics finding themselves working on Blue Oval products, particularly those equipped with a three-valve 4.6L or 5.4L V8 engine. It’s also compatible with the jumbo 6.8L V10 found in mid-2000’s Ford trucks.

Pros/Engineered in response to plugs breaking off in these particular engines
Cons/Bloody expensive
Bottom Line/We weep for people replacing plugs on these motors

4. ARES 5-Piece Magnetic Swivel Spark Plug Socket Set

Building on the set listed two entries above, this five-piece set has a series of extensions to assist mechanics and DIYers intending to tackle multiple jobs on multiple cars. Note there are fewer socket sizes in this kit – three, not five – but the varying extension lengths are very handy.

Each spark plug socket has 360-degree swivel action for maximum flexibility, while the five sizes give you the extra reach you need for tight spots on a wide variety of applications. The sockets’ interior magnets retain and protect the spark plug for easier installation.

Pros/Plenty of lengths, a trio of sizes, dandy case
Cons/Not everyone likes swivels
Bottom Line/This kit should cover most eventualities

5. Craftsman 5/8" Spark Plug Socket

No extensions, no swivels, no problem. This is just a basic spark plug socket which is all a person needs in some instances. After all, most of us probably have enough extensions kicking around the garage already without adding more by way of an all-inclusive set.

We’ve waxed about the Craftsman brand before but, for those still wary thanks to the disappearance of Sears department stores, be assured the tool brand stands on its own without interference from a meddling bricks-and-mortar overlord.

Pros/No extra parts
Cons/Useless for jobs with 3/4-inch plugs
Bottom Line/Nothing's wasted here

6. Lexivon Swivel Magnetic Spark Plug Socket

This is a 5/8-inch spark plug socket sitting on the end of an extension making for ten inches of total stretch. A smooth 360-degree ball swivel means one should be able to reach into wretchedly tight engine bays like that of a 1995 Aerostar.

A fully polished and chrome plated mirror finish is said to resist corrosion and is easy to clean (you do wipe your sockets off before firing them back in the toolbox, right?). A knurled shaft prevents slipping, though it doesn’t run the length, and its size is laser etched into the socket.

Pros/Useful knurling and swiveling
Cons/Way too much temptation to double entendre while writing that description
Bottom Line/Good choice for a specific application

7. Sunex 3/8-Inch Drive Spark Plug Socket Set

On occasion, an off-brand delivers a good surprise. Sunex is hardly a household name in the vein of Snap-On or Matco, but this item has earned a 4.8 out of 5-star rating from over 100 customers, with an impressive 96 percent giving these things 4 or 5 stars.

This seven-piece set includes a trio of impressively tall sockets, all of which are common spark plug measures. They are for use with 3/8-inch ratchets and include a blow-molded case that you’ll likely bin immediately after opening the Amazon box.

 

Pros/Excellent depth on three of the sockets
Cons/Blow-molded case are generally trash
Bottom Line/Store them neatly in your toolbox

8. OEM Tools 14 mm Thin Wall Spark Plug Socket

Twelve point sockets are usually looked upon with great suspicion but real-world customers of this item give it good reviews, praising its usefulness. A foot-long extension will help you reach pesky spark plugs and also confirm that Subway is giving you a correctly measured sub.

With the extension attached right to the socket, there’s no worry about needing to fish a socket out of the well because it decided to divorce itself from the extension. Thin walls help ease access but, as with most things in life, go easy if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Pros/Reaches waaaayyy back there
Cons/Some reports of socket breakage
Bottom Line/Use carefully

From time to time, TTAC will highlight automotive products we think may be of interest to our community. Plus, posts like this help to keep the lights on around here. Learn more about how this works.

(Editor’s note: This post is meant to both help you be an informed shopper for automotive products but also to pay for our ‘90s sedan shopping habits operating expenses. Some of you don’t find these posts fun, but they help pay for Junkyard Finds, Rare Rides, Rental Reviews, and whatever else. Thanks for reading.)

[Main Photo Credit: sima/Shutterstock.com. Product images provided by the manufacturer.]

5 Comments on “The Gappening – Best Spark Plug Sockets...”


  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    I have #1 and it is very helpful on the Liberty where the plugs are a good ways down in the head (do an image search on “2010 Liberty coil” to see what I mean).

    Also good for gently starting the spark plug in the hole way down there without cross-threading it. [Some old-timers use a length of hose with an inside diameter which fits the terminal of the spark plug, under the theory that the terminal will ‘slip’ inside the hose before transferring enough torque to cross-thread the plug – but most hoses have a ‘curl’ to them, so watch the angle.]

  • avatar
    notapreppie

    Stop using “best” in these advertisements.

    These aren’t actual reviews and you haven’t actually tried them.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    I have not seen #2 yet. Looks interesting but it doesn’t really address the total problem. What happens is the metal shell gets stuck in the head. Yeah the porcelain usually breaks too and is left in the way or extracting the shell. So yeah this might help but you may still need to purchase the extractor kit to get that stuck shell removed. Of course the idea is to not break the plug in the first place and it really isn’t that hard to do. Follow the current Ford procedure and they will come out in one piece. They do hint at that in the video for the tool but tell you to use penetrating oil which is wrong. You want to use carb cleaner as that will dissolve the carbon that causes the problem.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      Rocket Surgery level (11 pages):
      https://www.aa1car.com/library/ford_tsb_08-7-6.pdf

      [Page 2, Figure 1 – the anti-seize isn’t applied to the threads]

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Not really, if you do the first part right you don’t have anything to extract. The key is to stop if it takes too much torque to turn the plug, turn it back in an 1/8 of a turn and reapply the carb cleaner, wait another 15 min and try again.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.