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Twelve sided sockets have the advantage of being able to be fitted onto a fastener at twice as many angles. This advantage is somewhat negated when the sockets are used with a ratchet wrench, as the wrench can be adjusted to many different angles itself, but is relevant when being used with a breaker bar, T-handle or similar tool which lacks a ratcheting mechanism.
Six sided sockets have thicker walls than their twelve sided counterparts and grasp the fastener more in the center of it's flat faces, rather than in the corners - meaning that the six sided sockets are more appropriate when used in high-torque applications.
A high quality (often more expensive, not always) 12-sided socket is likely to be functionally equal to a 6-sided socket for most applications. In terms of high-torque fasteners such as head bolts, suspension components, flywheel bolts and the like six sided sockets are often a good investment as rounding these off can be expensive and time consuming to remove and replace.
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