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I think it’s safe to say that most Mechanics find clearance to be at a premium when working on a vehicle. Picking the right tool for the job is the easy part. Getting that tool to fit into the space that you are working, now that is another matter! Fitting into that tight spot just got a little easier with Astro Pneumatics Nano Sockets. While this review focuses their (14) piece 3/8” drive metric set (78314). Astro Pneumatic offers sets in both metric and SAE sizes, as well as 3/8” and ½” drive.

               The first thing that caught my attention after opening the box was the nice blue anodized aluminum socket rail organizer holding the sockets. Expecting a piece of plastic, I was very impressed with the quality of the rail and will not be discarding it like I usually do.
Measuring in at less than an inch long (.88”) these sockets are shorter than any other socket I have, impact or otherwise. The company advertises them at 35% shorter than shallow and 15% shorter than stubby impact sockets.

               The end of each socket can also be turned with a 17mm wrench to further increase available clearance if there is still not enough room to attach the square drive of a ratchet. The socket sizes of this set range from 6mm up to the usual 19mm and do not skip any sizes in between.

               All sockets in the Nano-Impact series of sets are of the 6-point variety. Forged of a chromium-molybdenum alloy (CR-MO), this is the type of material you should be looking for in a socket rated for impact duty. Sockets made with this material can take much more abuse and tend to deform rather than shatter like cheaper chromium-vanadium (CR-V) sockets.
               Taking advantage of the smaller size of these sockets, you end up with about 2.5” of length from the socket end to the directional lever when using these with and air-ratchet. That distance can be taken down even further to around 1.5” with the use of a slim hand driven ratchet. If you still need room at this point, you can utilize a ratcheting 17mm wrench to further take the necessary clearance down to less than an inch, which should allow you to work in some very tight locations.

Below are pictures of clearances utilizing the Nano-Sockets.

               Even if you don’t find yourself reaching for impact sockets on a regular basis, the quality construction coupled with the low cost of these socket sets makes for cheap insurance that your next project won’t come to a halt because you don’t have enough room to work.  The 3/8” drive sets should suffice for most home projects with the SAE set ending at ¾” while the ½” drive series has (4) additional larger sizes, ending with 1” for the SAE set and 24mm for the metric set.

Rating - 5/5