Best Portable Socket Organizers in 2020 – Expert Reviews
Socket wrenches are some of the most versatile and useful tools any professional contractor or craftsman can have, but without the actual sockets themselves, they’re useless.
Since most of us have a multitude of different sizes and lengths, it’s important to be able to find the socket you need quickly and easily, so you’re not losing time and valuable focus hunting through a bag or box of unsorted sockets.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to invest in the best socket organizer of some kind, to keep your sockets secure and in order while you work on your projects and use your wrench.
As long as you stay committed to maintaining your system, putting your sockets away at the end of each project will be simple and easy.
This article will look at our top ten choices for socket organizers, with the specific features of each outlined below, and buyer’s guide to help you choose the best organizer for your needs.
3-Piece Aluminum Socket Organizer Olsa Tools – Sturdy and easy to customize
This Olsa tools socket organizer comes with the space to accommodate 1/4, 3/8 and 1/2 inch sockets, each in their own organizers. These rails are spring loaded, with ball bearings set in each clip to hold the sockets on.
Each rail can hold sixteen sockets of the corresponding size. The rails can also be mounted on a wall or workbench for easy access and secure organization.
The Olsa units measure seventeen inches long, and one by one inch tall and wide. The units can also be customized with extra socket clips that the company sells separately, making this a good option for people who want their sockets organized just so, or might have an odd number of sockets. The rails are rated highly, with customers enjoying their durability, ease of installation, and personalization possibilities.
The Olsa rails are recommended for anyone who has an expansive tool collection that they want to display or have easy access to. With the rails built to mount onto a wall or other solid surface, these would be perfect to use for a garage or other commercial space, where a central location is necessary for important tools like sockets.
- Durable and Strong
- Easy to mount
- Extra clips mean that you can expand the rails to fit your collection
- No Labeling/Sizing system
Ernst Manufacturing Socket Boss – Three in One Tray
The Ernst Socket Boss comes in either a nineteen or thirteen-inch model, so customers can choose the rail kit that’s best for them according to size.
This is a three-in-one model, so it holds 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2 inch sockets in one tray, with a row dedicated to each size. The socket clips are equipped with twist locks, which keep the sockets sturdy and secure, even in transport.
The Ernst set is excellent for a workbench or toolbox and can hold forty-five sockets securely. It’s given fairly high ratings.
Customers appreciate the fact that the individual rails are removable, that the clips can be adjusted to allow more to fit, and that the twist locks can hold the tools secure and steady, even in transport.
The one main criticism seems to be that the piece to lock the bottom of the clips isn’t included, which means that you have to purchase that piece separately.
The Ernst set is recommended for anyone who needs a compact and versatile storage solution. The fact that the rails can be removed if you only need one size for a certain project, and that you can add extra clips on makes this set even more valuable for people with a variety of different sockets.
- Clips can be added/removed
- Rails can be taken out individually for projects
- Tray sits nicely in toolboxes, but will also hold steady in transport
- Needs an extra peice to be able to remove or lock clips
Ernst Manufacturing 13-Inch Socket Organizer – Small but mighty
The Ernst thirteen inch organizer comes with 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2 inch options, so you can choose whichever rail suits you best.
The color changes with whichever size, which makes color coding and organizing simple and easy. The unit can accommodate up to fourteen sockets and comes with labels as well, so you can quickly identify your sockets.
The Ernst will hold your sockets upright in drawers as well, making for a neat and compact storage solution.
The clips on the Ernst are equipped with twist locks, which makes this the right solution for toolboxes and craftsman on the go. The Ernst has high customer reviews, with the ease of use and simple locking system earning most of the appreciation.
Many users with tool bags appreciate how compact and secure the rails are. The only criticism most users agreed on was the unit could use a few more clips to hold more sockets on one rail. Customers spoke highly of its long-term quality though, with units holding up for a year and a half without any major wear and tear.
The Ernst is recommended for anyone who needs a small and durable way to store their sockets. The Ernst’s minuscule size means that the amount of function from the rail far outweighs its footprint, and it’s a great way to save space on an already cluttered worktop or to make finding your tools easy in a cluttered toolbag.
- Different sizes come already color coded
- Labels included
- Locking bottoms to hold everything together
- Tiny footprint, a lot of use fro not much room
- Not quite long enough
- Most people need a few more clips
30pc 3/8″ Metric Magnetic Socket Holder | ARES 70235 – Simple and Functional
The Ares is built for 3/8s sockets, and it accommodates both shallow and deep sizes. The sizes range from 6mm to 20mm, with the shallow spots running opposite to the deep ones. The bottom of the surface is magnetized, both to help the sockets stay in place, and to allow you to place the organizer on top of another metal surface, like a tool chest or workbench.
The Ares is comprised of heavy-duty plastic, with a rubberized bottom, so nothing will rub or grate together. The size of the shell is fourteen inches long, almost four inches wide, and a little over an inch tall. It’s praised as a great space saver, easily fitting into the top drawer of a toolbox.
It’s rated fairly highly, with customers loving the portability and ease of organization for their most used tools. The few complaints focus on the individual socket sizes, with some brands, like Snap-on being too tight of a fit. Other’s wish there were more sizes offered in this range.
The Ares is an easy recommendation for anyone who just needs a nice holder for their sockets. The plastic is durable and well molded, and the magnetized base means that your sockets stay secure and in place through everyday movement and shuffling, or can nest easily in a toolbox shelf.
- Magnetized base
- Both deep and shallow bases
- Rubberized bottom to protect both sockets and surfaces
- Not available in every size
- Some brands are tighter fits than others/may not fit easily
MLTOOLS Twist Lock Socket Rail with Tray (Holds 90 Sockets) – Colorful and Versatile
This set is the first of this list to come in a color other than black. This will be useful for at-a-glance identification of sets, immediately being able to know which holder you might need. The MLTOOLs holds forty-five sockets each, fifteen of 1/4, 1/2 and 3/8 inch sockets.
The holder comes with an accompanying tray so that you can set this down on flat surfaces or keep it in a toolbox.
The MLTools set is capable of holding up to ninety sockets in two separate organizer trays. This holder would be perfect for keeping shallow sockets on one side, and deep on the other, or even to separate by brand.
It’s twenty inches long, five inches wide, and a little over an inch tall. The unit is generally well reviewed and is lauded for its ability to stay together through movement, with a locking feature to make sure that nothing will shift around. The unit also comes with a labeling system, to make keeping your sockets straight easy and convenient.
For busy craftsman on the go or people who are looking for a convenient toolbox size storage system, the MLtools set is a great recommendation. The locking feature means that nothing will shift around, and the handy labeling system will make finding the right socket easy.
- Holds up to ninety sockets
- Blue and Red bases make for easy color coding
- Labeling system makes it easy to tell whats what
- Two seperate bases means more to keep track of
- No way to add extra slots
- Some deep sockets might not fit
Hansen Global 92000 SAE & Metric Socket Storage Trays – Color coded display trays
This set of Hansen socket storage trays are red and grey for easy color coding. Each one is clearly labeled for the size and type of socket it will accommodate.
The sockets slide on over the larger portion of the prong to hold them securely. The sets are made of ABS molded plastic, for a durable, stain-free finish.
The Hansen socket trays are multi-sized, with the large being eighteen inches long, the medium thirteen inches, and the small nine inches.
These trays are meant to be standing displays for your sockets and not to fit in a toolbox or other storage container. Some people express frustration with the fact that some of the posts had to be filed down or adjusted to fit more brands of sockets. There have also been cases of the top spokes breaking off or being too fragile.
The Hansen socket trays are not recommended, purely because of the wealth of better products available on this list. The lack of secure holds for the sockets, as well as the lack of durability, means that we think you should look elsewhere on the list for something that will suit your needs better.
- Color coded and labeled for easy identification
- No easy securement for sockets
- Fragile spokes
- Can’t fit in tool box, won’t hold secure during movement
3-Piece Aluminum Socket Organizer | ARES 70204 – A Quality customizeable storage system
These ARES socket rails come in a variety of different sizes and color options, meaning that there’s something for everyone here.
The rails themselves are seventeen inches long, and they hold sixteen sockets. There’s one for 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2 inch sockets respectively. One of the most significant features of this system is that you can switch out the clips that hold the sockets on and move them from rail to rail.
This is great if you have just a few sockets that you need for a specific project, or that you use most often.
The ARES model is highly reviewed, with customers loving the interchangeable clips, as well as the fact that the clips are sold separately. The few criticisms have to do with the rails being longer than expected and struggling to fit into some toolboxes, as well as the end caps slipping and falling off.
This means that your clips may not stay on as well as you’d like, though most customers seem to have solved this problem with zip ties or other DIY solutions.
The durable machined aluminum rails allow the clips to glide smoothly, making organization hassle-free. You can get rails 9.84 inches long for 1/2 inch and 3/8 inch sizes, and 6 inches long for 1/4 and 3/8 inch sizes. Each sold separately.
The ARES model is definitely recommended for people who have a lot of tools, like to mix and match their sockets, and need something easy and sturdy to store them on.The three separate rails can also appeal to people who want to separate their sockets by size or some other criteria, and the replaceable clips mean that one bad mishap won’t ruin a whole rail.
- Interchangeable clips to customize your rails
- Three seperate rails
- Durable plastic and strong clips mean no slippage
- End caps can sometimes slip off
- Rails can be a little too long to lie straight in some boxes
Neiko 03965A Socket Set Tray Organizer Case with Double Rows – Eye-catching and well laid out
These Neiko rails come with three separate trays for 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2 inch sockets.
They are bright red plastic that’s eye-catching and come clearly labeled for user ease. The Neikos boasts sturdy construction, and individually labeled clips for each socket, so you’ll always know where to put what.
Though these are simple plastic posts, they have a locking mechanism at the bottom to ensure that nothing will slide off once you have it where you want it.
The red trays fit well in most toolboxes, and the bright color makes it easy to find, even under a pile of other things. The Neiko is almost twenty inches long, four and seven/ tenths inches high, and three inches wide at it’s largest, which is the 1/2 inch socket rail. The 1/4 and 3/8 will be more to scale with the individual sockets.
The Neiko is generally highly reviewed. People enjoy the bright colors, and how organized the rails are. Main criticisms seem to be that the rails can’t be laid on their sides and still keep a grip on the sockets and that the clips do not always match the sockets perfectly.
The Neiko is recommended for anyone who plans on getting a socket rail that they don’t need to move around or shift much. Stored vertically in a toolbox or shelf, with very little movement, the tumbling around, this is a great way to keep your sockets organized and clutter-free. If, however, you plan to toss this into a toolbox on the go, you might want to think twice.
- Three seperate rails for 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2 inch
- Tightening mechanism at the bottom to hold sockets on
- Red color is easy to spot, recognize
- Can’t be laid sideways
- Thicker pegs don’t always fit all sockets
Mechanics Time Saver MTSLASTRAY 5 Row Lock-A-Socket Tray – Heavy duty with serious storage capacity
The Time Saver MTSLASTRAY is a five-row tray that can hold up to seventy-six sockets. There are slots available for 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2 sockets, and the rubber feet on the bottom grip surfaces for secure placement, meaning that you won’t have to worry about the unit shifting or moving around when you’re in the middle of a project.
The exterior is powder coated steel, with two handles as well, for ease of carrying.
The Timesaver has the capability to hold five sets of sockets at once. The storage capacity and durable build have endeared it to customers, with the main positives being that the unit can be up to full capacity with sockets, without bending or warping. The locks on the bottom of the posts work well but are not compatible with impact wrenches, something to think about if they comprise a large amount of your collection.
The Time Saver is recommended for someone with a lot of socket wrenches and a fairly open workspace. While the seventy-six post unit takes up some serious space, it also holds all the pieces securely enough to be slipped inside a toolbox and used for transport.
- Holds up to seventy-six sockets
- Secure and sturdy for transport
- Powder coated exterior for long term quality.
- Not intended for impact wrenches
- Unit can be bulky, and might take a lot of counter or toolchest space
Lisle 40120 1/4″ Magnetic Socket Holder – Unique and minimalist design.
The Lisle socket holder is meant for 1/4 dockets, both short and deep.
It has twenty-six slots, and they are open on one half, which means that you’ll be able to read your sockets labels clearly. This is a unique feature, and the magnetized base means that the sockets are both visible and secure. The tray can also be stuck to any metal surface, meaning a secure hold without a permanent commitment.
The Lisle is made from ABS plastic, which is strong and holds up well to wear and tear. Unfortunately, the magnets don’t seem to be strong enough to hold the sockets in during any sort of transport or movement. The magnets will hold the sockets in lying still, but can’t seem to hold up to any sort of hustle and bustle, making the Lisle only good as a display case.
The Lisle is not recommended, because it can’t hold the sockets in during transport, meaning that it’s not functional in the role it’s intended for. The weak magnets mean that sockets simply fall out and move around in transport, rendering the Lisle useless.
- Minimalist and Sleek design
- Open facings allow you to see socket labels
- Magnets aren’t strong enough
- Sockets move around during transport.
Best Socket Holder & Organizer – Buyer’s Guide
Did you put a lot of effort into organizing your sockets, only for it to fail when you need it the most? Are you constantly digging through your socket drawer looking for the right socket, but you can never find it? How frustrating? Have you been so fed up looking for a socket that you just give up and go buy another set? Don’t be that person.
Organize your sockets quickly and efficiently. If you have tools, I’m sure that you have socket sets. One of the problematic things about sockets is keeping them organized in a uniform fashion. As you buy new sockets, hex bits, torques bits, then it begins… You start throwing them in your toolbox, and they’re not very organized.
Below you’ll find a guide that will outline a few specific qualities to look for in best socket organizers, as well as specific members of our top ten list that meet the criteria.
Storage size vs. Footprint
If you have a large tool collection and need the space to accommodate that, you’re better off with the ARES 70204, the Timesaver MTSLASTRAY, or the MLTOOLS, all which hold forty-eight or more sockets. For a smaller collection, we recommend the Ernst or the ARES 70235, for a tiny and compact storage solution.
Color coding or no?
Many tool owners prefer to have a different color for each of their socket sizes. If that’s the case, the Ernst and MLTools both have options to color coordinate your sockets, which the Ares and Timesaver come in a basic red or black.
All of our recommended organizers lock on, for ease of portability and security.
The socket organizer market has come a long way in the past few years, with locking mechanisms becoming the norm. Magnetic securing systems are now becoming more and more prominent, with the ease and simplicity of magnets, meaning that you’ll never have to struggle with your tools again.
Color coding is also something that’s becoming more popular, with many major brands now having options to buy three or four different colored rails for 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2 sockets.
This makes identifying which tool you need easier than ever and saves you from having to pull multiple sockets off of their pegs to determine which one you need. Manufacturers seem to be including labels in more and more of their kits, recognizing their customer’s needs to customize.
Hopefully, the idea of interchangeable clips and rails that you can switch out will become more popular in the future, so that your socket rail can truly fit all of your needs.