Hog Ring vs Detent Pin—Which is Superior?

If you’ve ever used an impact wrench before, you’ll probably have come across either a detent pin or hog ring. The two are used to hold impact sockets in place and are a necessity for anyone handling pneumatic impact tools such as impact wrenches.

The sockets feature a cross hole on the handle end that allows you to use a retaining /locking pin or ring. This way, the socket remains firmly attached to the wrench anvil, even when exposed to shock or vibrations. It also helps ensure the socket does not become loose when working, which could also cause accidents.

In this article, we’ll discuss detent pin vs. hog ring in-depth to help you understand the difference between the two what each does. Ideally, both hog rings and detent pins serve the same purpose of holding the socket in place. Perhaps the only difference is in their application and operating mechanism.

Hog Ring vs Detent Pin Overview

Hog RingDetent Pin
Uses a ring retainerUses a pin retainer
Could easily cause accidentsSafer
Easy to removeIt does not come out easily
Requires regular replacementRelatively durable

Hog Ring Explained

A hog ring anvil, also popularly known as a friction ring, is a circular (often C-shaped) metal ring that is used to hold the socket onto the tool anvil. A hog ring is often made of heavy-duty material such as steel to provide great strength. The ring loops around the ends of the tool anvil, which exerts enough to prevent the socket from coming out.

Generally, the ring is often wider than the anvil, but it should provide a snug fit. Removing the ring from the sockets does not require any tools. However, care must be taken when inserting and removing the ring to avoid damaging or deforming the tool’s anvil.


  • Simple to operate, especially when it comes to removing the socket
  • Tool-free removal
  • It is time-saving


  • It shrinks over time, but you can always get a replacement
  • A safety hazard for anyone below the workplace

What is a Detent Pin?

A detent pin, just as the name suggests, uses a retaining pin to hold the socket onto the tool’s anvil. The pin uses a spring-loaded ball that’s attached to a shaft. Once installed, the ball stretches out the shaft into the socket hole, thereby locking it in place. This will in turn immobilize the socket and keep it from falling off.

This locking mechanism generally makes it harder to remove the socket. Often, you may need to get an extra tool to help press in the pin to release the pressure holding the pin, hence allowing its removal. Some pins may also have a button that you can press before pulling the pin out. However, this can be too much work and time-consuming, especially when you need to change the sockets more often.


  • It is the safest option for overhead work
  • More durable when compared to a hog ring
  • It sits really tight


  • It is somewhat hectic to remove once you’re done

Applications of hog ring anvil vs detent pin anvil

Ideally, detent pins are generally used in applications that require you to drive nuts or bolt in an elevated position. In such applications, the detent pin will deter the socket from coming out or falling out accidentally. Typical applications include bridge construction, water tower applications, and other projects that require you to work in an elevated position.

On the other hand, hog rings are ideal for users who need to change nuts or bolts quickly, as when working on a vehicle. For instance, a mechanic working under a vehicle will quickly need to make changeovers and remove the sockets without the need for an extra tool to unfasten the socket from the wrench or driver. The best thing is that such applications are low to the ground, which reduces safety hazards as the socket falls out.

Also Read: Can you Run a Stick Welder on a Generator? -What size Needed to Run Welder?


The detent pin anvil vs hog ring is no easy battle, and there are those who will swear on a detent pin while others would insist that hog rings are the best. Ideally, the two serve the same purpose—the only difference is how they support the sockets. That said, it is always a good idea to take you time to examine your application needs before you determine the most ideal fastener.

One of the biggest advantages that a hog ring has over a detent pin is the ease of installation and removal. It also comes in handy when working on multiple projects and you need to change or remove the socket quickly. On the other hand, a detent pin is your best bet when you don’t plan on removing the socket now and then or when working on the same project the whole day.

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