OK so i did a post on X-mas about Harbor freight’s crappy 3/8″ drive swivel sockets because they made a small improvement to them (original post click here) by making the swivel pin retaining spring thicker and a little more durable. Well the short answer is NO. They are still crappy, But they are much better.
I though for that the problem was solved up until Tuesday (1/12/16) when i attempted to remove a motor mount bolt and the bolt was rusted into the mounts metal center core. The bolt would only move a little but the rubber around the bolt made it act as a sort of spring causing the bolt to bounce back with each blow from my impact guns impacting mechanism and this wreaked havoc on the retaining spring of the swivel socket causing the swivel pin to dislodge and almost come apart. I was able to easily put the pin back in place, push the retaining spring back in place and keep on keeping on. The spring did not loose its tension which is a good thing. But i can’t endorse these sockets fully after that incident.
My verdict on these sockets: Even with the improved swivel pin retaining spring they are still inferior to swivel sockets that use a metal collar to keep the swivel pin in place (that’s just about EVERYBODY) and definitely inferior to pinless swivel sockets. You can get by with these sockets and they do work quite well just don’t expect them to last long or if you want them to last long don’t use them on anything where the bushings center bolt could be stuck in place. I have used them on Many other jobs and they had no issues. So yes they are sort of a good buy at only 25 dollars, But they are not good for everything. Save the coin and buy a sunex set for a good budget swivel set.
NEW info on all Harbor Freight impact swivels: The Harbor Freight impact swivels be it in half inch drive or quarter inch drive, do suffer from impact transfer problems. Meaning the power loss when using the Harbor Freight impact swivel sockets will be far greater than the power loss you will experience when using a higher quality impact swivel socket. This problem is usually overcome by using a more powerful impact gun. However you may only have a 200 ft lb cordless impact wrench handy at the time. Just something to consider when choosing impact swivel sockets. Now on the other hand the Harbor Freight impact sockets are smaller than other impact swivel sockets that offer greater power transfer. So the Harbor Freight impact swivel sockets may just fit into places that a bigger swivel that transfers more power will not fit.
Conclusion: It may just be worth it to buy the Harbor Freight impact swivels anyway because they are so inexpensive and are quite small when compared to the Snap-on impact swivels which transfer power more efficiently.