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Looking for a quality set of Japanese-made super shallow 1/4" drive (or 6.35mm) sockets? Today I am reviewing the Koken RS2400MZ/12 Z-series or Zeal socket set (found on eBay US or eBay AU), often suggested as an alternative to other high-end brands such as Snap-On - read on for my review!
The sockets arrive in a plastic sleeve:
The sockets range in size from 4mm to 14mm, as you can see on the outside:
Country of origin is also on the same sticker - Made In Japan. Out of the packet, we get a better look at the sockets and rails:
The rails are nice - magnets on either end on the underside and the sockets are held in tightly but not so much that they're hard to remove. The shallow sockets are really quite shallow - here's one of my most-frequently-used 1/4" drive sockets in Kincrome's standard size vs. the Ko-ken shallow:
The Koken sockets are 6-point, and have rounded corners to avoid driving on the corners of the fastener:
There's two different shapes - up to 8mm is one style and from 10mm and above is another:
9mm is notably absent - though to date I have not come across a 9mm fastener (except approximately when trying to fit metric sockets onto imperial fasteners), so that's probably not much of a loss. The sockets are finished quite nicely, with a mixture of a satin-like finish and shiny chrome.
The ribbed shape towards the square drive end does make it easier to pull the sockets off whatever they're attached to:
In use the sockets are very, very good. Tolerances are very tight - the sockets seat firmly and have absolutely minimal slop when attached to a drive tool. When combined with a compact driver like the Nepros NBR290 (my review here) or NBS2L (review here) access into really, really tight spaces is greatly improved over using a standard-size ratchet and socket set.
Shallow socket sets aren't for everybody - but the Zeal range is not limited to just that height, so if you're after this quality in a different height socket check out their semi-deep set (RS2300XZ/9 is what to look for there on eBay US, eBay AU) and deep (RS2300MZ/12 on eBay US, eBay AU). The tight tolerances on the fastener end of the socket also mean that in tight spaces it's a bit easier to keep fasteners held in the socket while approaching the threads, which has resulted in me dropping less fasteners into engine bays/bike frames. Most welcome.
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