For experienced DIYers, socket sets are not confusing. If you are one, you can probably skim through the buyer’s guide at the bottom and study the product reviews.
For beginners and those wanting to buy a socket set as a gift, the buyer’s guide will help you understand the terminology related to socket sets and help you decide what you want to be included in the socket set you buy.
Socket sets are essential tools if you are going to do any home or car repairs. Having a set of sockets that can be attached to one ratcheting socket wrench is much more convenient than having a bunch of separate socket wrenches.
So, read the buyer’s guide, then study the ten best socket set reviews and choose the set that best suits your needs.
Stanley STMT71652 Socket Set – Best for Mechanic
This Stanley 123-Piece STMT71652 features Stanley’s Max-Drive design that provides 15 percent more torque, simplifies the turning of rounded corners, and reduces fastener wear with a unique radius corner design.
It includes both SAE and metric-sized sockets. The ratchet has 72 teeth. The handles are ergonomically designed. It has a quick-release button and a thumb-operated reverse switch mechanism.
The set includes:
- a 1/4″ drive ratcheting socket wrench and a 3/8″ drive ratcheting socket wrench.
- 1/4″ drive 6 point standard sockets from 5/32″ to 9/16″ and from 4 to 14 millimeter.
- 1/4″ drive 6 point deep sockets from 5/32″ to 1/2″ and from 4 to 13 millimeters
- 3/8″ drive 6 point standard sockets from 1/4″ to 7/8″ and from 6 to 19 millimeters
- 3/8″ drive 6 point deep sockets from 5/16″ to 9/16″ and from 9 to 13 mm.
- plus accessories include a 1/4″ drive 3″ extension bar, 1/4″ drive spinner handle, 1/4″ drive bit holder, 3/8″ drive 6 point 5/8″ spark plug socket, 3/8″ drive 3″ extension bar, screwdriver bits including ten allen screwdriver bits and hex keys.
- 11.2″ x 15.9″ x 3″ case
- It features Stanley’s Max-Drive design that provides 15 percent more torque, simplifies the turning of rounded corners, and reduces fastener wear with a unique radius corner design.
- It includes both SAE and metric-sized products.
- The ratchet has 72 teeth.
The sockets fit tight in the case.
DEWALT DWMT74738 – Good Portable Socket Set
There are a total of 20 sockets in this set.
And 10 of them are SAE, it starts with the 7/16ths, and goes to a half-inch, 9/16th, 5/8th, 11/16ths, three quarters, 13/16th, 7/8ths, 15/16th, and one inch. So there are your 10 SAE bits, and you got 10 metric bits. It starts with 13 millimeters, and it goes all the way to 24 millimeters.
There is a five-inch by half-inch extension and the half-inch ratchet. It’s a heavy-duty 72 tooth ratchet.
A really important feature of this set is a warranty. All the pieces have a full lifetime warranty, if anything happens to one of these pieces, just take it into a Dewalt factory service center, and they’ll give you another one.
The box itself is called a tough box, it is pretty reliable. If you have another Dewalt set with a tough box, you can connect them, and that makes it very convenient for storage and transport.
- Lockable Stacking Case
Can Be Not Enough Pieces for Some Users
TEKTON 1/2-Inch 58-Piece Set – Best for Home Use
This TEKTON 1/2″ drive 58-piece socket set includes a 1/2″ square drive, 72-tooth ratcheting socket wrench and 1/2″ drive 6 point shallow and deep sockets from 3/8″ to 1″ and from 10 to 24 millimeter plus a universal joint, 3-inch and 10-inch extension bars, an 18-inch breaker bar, and a case.
The set is made with chrome vanadium steel and has and chrome plated finish. The case is 11.4″ x 18.7″ x 2.8″.
- The set is made with chrome vanadium steel and has a chrome plated finish for strength and durability.
- The racheting gear has 72 teeth that allows you to work in tight spaces.
Some complained about the ratchet selector shifting.
GearWrench 80550 57 Piece – Set Under $100
This GearWrench 80550 has both SAE and metric sockets and is made with alloy steel plated with full polish, nickel chrome.
One of the ratcheting socket wrenches in this set is longer for better leverage with a low profile head for tight spaces.
The ratcheting gear has 84 teeth. The second wrench is shorter for tight spaces. The socket sizes are printed in large numbers on both sides of the socket. The interior of the sockets is serrated for a better grip.
The set includes:
- 3/8-Inch Drive 6 Point standard sockets ranging from 1/4″ to 1″ and 6 to 19 millimeters.
- 3/8-Inch Drive 6 Point deep sockets ranging from 1/4″ to 7/8″ and 6 to 19 millimeters.
- 3-inch and 6-inch extensions, universal joints.
- 11.4″ x 18.7″ x 2.8″ case
- The ratcheting gear has 84 teeth, which creates a smaller return arc when working in tight spaces.
- The interior of the sockets is serrated for a better grip.
- The set has both SAE and metric sockets.
A few people had issues with the ratchets.
Neiko 10288A – Best Socket Set for Car Maintenance
This Neiko Master 32 piece 6 point socket set is made with S2 chrome vanadium steel with a chrome finish for strength, durability, corrosion resistance, and torque power.
It has both SAE and metric machine-precision sockets with chamfered ends to protect the sockets and the fasteners. The sizes are marked on the case and the sockets.
The set includes this sockets:
- 1/4” square drive 6 point ranging from 5/64” to 1/4”
- 3/8” square drive 6 point ranging from 9/32” to 1/2”
- 1/2” square drive 6 point ranging from 9/16″ to 3/4”
- 1/4” square drive 6 point ranging from 2 millimeters to 6 millimeters
- 3/8” square drive 6 point ranging from 7 millimeters to 12 millimeters
- 1/2” square drive 6 point ranging from 14 millimeters to 19 millimeters
- 12.6″ x 6″ x 1.8″ case
- This set is made with S2 chrome vanadium steel with a chrome finish for strength, durability, corrosion resistance, and torque power.
- It has both SAE and metric machine-precision sockets with chamfered ends to protect the sockets and the fasteners.
This set does not include a ratcheting wrench.
Stanley 92-804 – Cheap Socket Set
With MicroTough ratchets and laser etched sockets, this Stanley 30 Piece Socket Set exceeds American National Standards Institute (ANSI) specifications.
The ratcheting socket wrench has a small head to fit into tight spaces, a quick-release button, a thumb-operated reverse switch, and, for a more comfortable grip, it has a bi-material rubber handle. The ratcheting gear has 72 teeth for a smaller return in tight spaces.
The set includes:
- 1/4″ square drive 6 point sockets ranging from 3/16″ to 9/16″ and from 6 to 12 millimeters
- 1/4” square drive 12 point sockets ranging from 3/8″ to 1/2″ and from 6 to 12 millimeters
- 1/4″ Universal Joint 1
- 3″ Extension bar
- 14.1″ x 9.5″ x 1.2″ Case
- This set includes 6 and 12 point 1/4″ square drive sockets in SAE and metric sizes.
- The set exceeds the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) specifications.
- The ratcheting gear has 72 teeth for a smaller return in tight spaces.
Some found the ratcheting socket wrench too small.
Stanley 97-126 11 Piece Impact Socket Set – Good for Power Tools
This Stanley 11 Piece 1/2″ drive 6 point metric deep impact sockets only set is made from chrome vanadium steel with a black powder coat industrial finish. The impact sockets range from 10 to 24 millimeters. The case is 5.9″ x 2.4″ x 1″.
- These are impact sockets for power tools
- The set is made from chrome vanadium steel with a black powder coat industrial finish.
- The impact sockets range from 10 to 24 millimeters
Sizes can be hard to read on sockets.
Sunex 2569 – Best Impact Socket Set
This Sunex 1/2″ square drive 6 point metric impact socket set is made from high-quality Chromium-Molybdenum alloy steel and exceeds ASME specifications.
To avoid rounding corners on fasteners, it has radius corners on the sockets and square drive.
This set includes:
- 1/2″ square drive 6 point standard sockets ranging from 9 to 27 millimeters
- 1/2″ square drive 6 point deep sockets ranging from 9 to 27 millimeters
- 3″, 5″, 10″, and 15″ extensions and a universal joint
- 16.9″ x 22.3″ x 2.8″ case
- This set is made from high-quality Chromium-Molybdenum alloy steel and exceeds ASME specifications
- To avoid rounding the corners on the fasteners, this set has radius corners on the sockets.
- This is a very complete standard and deep metric impact socket set.
The serration inside the deep sockets only covers part of the way up the socket.
GearWrench 80300 – Best 6 Point Socket Set
This GearWrench 1/4″ drive 6 point set has an 84 tooth ratcheting socket wrench for a smaller arc return and an additional 1/4″ drive thumb wheel ratchet. The ratchet is available in flex-head and offset.
The ratcheting socket wrench has a low profile head for tight spaces and a longer ergonomically designed handle for more torque. The handle is available in chrome, cushion grip, and stubby.
It is made of alloy steel for strength that exceeds ANSI specifications and has an easy-to-clean nickel chrome finish to prevent corrosion. With deep serration, the sockets will have a good grip on fasteners. The markings on the sockets are large and easily readable.
This set includes:
- 1/4″ drive 6 point standard and deep sockets ranging from 3/16″ to 9/16″ and a 5 millimeter socket in standard and deep.
- 2-inch and 6-inch extensions and a universal joints.
- 13″ x 7.5″ x 2.4″ case
- This product has an 84 tooth ratcheting socket wrench for a smaller arc return and an additional 1/4″ drive thumb wheel ratchet.
- It is made of alloy steel for strength that exceeds ANSI specifications and has an easy-to-clean nickel chrome finish to prevent corrosion.
- The ratcheting socket wrench has a low profile head for tight spaces, and a longer ergonomically designed handle for more torque.
The sockets do not hold well in the case.
Neiko 10075A Set – Hex Sockets for Your Car
This Neiko 6 point socket set is made from S2 chrome vanadium steel for durability and torque with a chrome finish to prevent corrosion.
The sockets are precisely machined and chamfered to grasp fasteners securely without damaging fasteners or sockets.
This set includes:
- 1/4” square drive 6 point sockets ranging from 5/64” to 1/4”.
- 3/8” square drive 6 point sockets ranging from 9/32” two 1/2”.
- 1/2” square drive 6 point 9/16″ socket
- 7.2″ x 1.2″ x 3.9″ case
- The set is made from S2 chrome vanadium steel for durability and torque with a chrome finish to prevent corrosion.
- The sockets are precisely machined and chamfered to grasp fasteners securely without damaging fasteners or sockets.
May not be good for really heavy duty work.
Sunex 3342 – Best medium 3/8″ drive 6 point impact sockets set
The Sunex 3/8″ square drive master impact set is made from Chromium-Molybdenum Alloy Steel for strength and durability.
The sockets have radius corners to provide more torque and protect fasteners from being damaged. The sizes are marked on the sockets.
This set includes:
- 3/8″ square drive 6 point standard impact sockets ranging from 5/16″ to 3/4″ and from 10 to 19 millimeters
- 3/8″ square drive 6 point deep impact sockets ranging from 5/16″ to 3/4″ and from 10 to 29 millimeters
- 3″ extension and 3/8″ u-joint
- 9.6″ x 13.6″ x 2″ case
- This set is made from Chromium-Molybdenum Alloy Steel for strength and durability.
- The sockets have radius corners to provide more torque and protect fasteners from being damaged.
- This set includes both SAE and metric impact sockets.
Best Socket Set for the Money – Buyer’s Guide
When it comes to nuts and bolts, a socket set is a must-have. Offering maneuverability and saving you time and energy. Wondering which type is right for your next job? Don’t worry, you got this.
It pays to know the basic types available and the differences between them. Socket sets are available in imperial or metric. With most sets offering both. Multi-piece sets will often include ratchets, regular and deep sockets, adapters, extensions, and u-joints.
Chrome-plated, non-impact sockets are the most common type available. These sockets are best used for an auto repair, household jobs, and outdoor projects involving non-powered hand driven tools. For heavier duty jobs requiring air or power tools, impact sockets are built to withstand higher torque thanks to their malleable steel composition.
If you’re looking for DIY versatility, a universal socket set has you covered. This jack of all trades can handle six different fastener types. 6-point, square, 12-point, E-Torx, spine, and rounded in one handy package.
These sets are perfect for smaller jobs or tasks requiring multiple fastener types. Different drive sizes have different strengths. Make sure you align the drive size with the job at hand and avoid using non-impact sockets with an impact wrench. The increased torque could shatter the socket.
Socket sets are available in different sizes to suit your needs. A smaller set works for simple, everyday tasks, while a larger set can offer additional deep sockets in multiple drive sizes.
By choosing the right socket set, you’ll be ready to tackle any project that comes your way. Don’t worry, you got this.
How Are Socket Sets Sized?
Socket wrench sets are available in either metric measurements, inches, or a combination of both. Sets using inches are referred to as SAE sets (Society of American Engineers). In the United States, most ratcheting socket wrenches are made to fit both metric and SAE sets.
The square nub on the ratchet is usually 1/2″, and the set would be called a 1/2″ square drive set. Large ratchets can have 3/4″ nubs, and smaller ratchets can have a 1/4″ nub. A 1/4″ adapter is available with most 1/2″ drive socket sets. When the sockets are created to fit over the standard hexagonal fastener heads, they are referred to as 6 point socket sets.
A 6 point socket set is probably the one you will use the most. However, you might also want a 12 point socket set.
A 6 point socket will have thicker walls than a 12 point socket, will not slip off the fastener, and applies the pressure to the flat side of the fastener, which prevents rounding the corners on the fastener, but using a 12 point socket can make it faster to connect to a fastener in a tight space.
What Is Included in Socket Sets?
Socket sets include the sockets and the ratcheting socket wrench. In addition, some sets include the adapter mentioned above and extenders for hard-to-reach areas. Extenders range from 1/2″ to 20″ and can sometimes be connected to add more length.
The depth of most sockets is shallow, and that is usually fine. However, sometimes a fastener is tightened a little farther up the bolt. This is when you need a deeper socket. So you might consider getting a product with both shallow and deep sockets or adding a few deep sockets to your set.
Another useful piece in a mechanics tool set is the spark plug socket. It is a long cylindrical socket that fits over a spark plug and has rubber inside to fit over the top of the spark plug. You will most likely need a 5/8″ or 13/16″ but check your car manual.
If you are going to use the sockets with a power tool, then you need impact sockets. They are made to withstand the higher torque of a power tool.Depending on how often you use sockets with power towels, you might want to buy impact sockets as you need them rather than buying a whole set. Impact sockets are always black. Nonimpact sockets are chrome. Do not use regular ones in power tools.
What Is the Importance of the Tooth Count of the Gear in the Ratcheting Mechanism?
Ratcheting socket wrenches with high tooth counts have more and smaller teeth that permit a shorter ratchet return in tight spaces. The tooth count can range from 36 to 72 teeth requiring a 10-degree to 5-degree turning motion, respectively.
Smaller teeth are not weaker than larger teeth. Standards set by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) require a minimum standard torque, no matter how many teeth a ratcheting socket wrench has.
Additional Features to Consider
The quick-release feature locks the socket in place and releases it with the push of a button.
Reverse Mechanism: lever vs dial
In tight spaces, it is easier to use a lever than a dial to change the ratchet from loosening to tightening.
Easy to Read Markings
Most of the time, you will probably not know exactly what socket you need. So, the markings may not be important when you are selecting a socket. However, when you are ready to put the sockets away, it is much easier if the markings are easy to read.
If the ratcheting socket wrench has a smooth finish and rounded edges, then it can easily be wiped off and put away when you are done. Textured wrenches with sharp edges trap grease and dirt in spots and are harder to clean.
Most cases are plastic, but you can buy metal cases. The big difference in plastic cases is the hinges and latches. Some cases have flexible plastic hinges and snap latches. The better cases have draw-bolt latches and hinges with pins.
Another difference in cases is the space provided. Some fit the sockets together very tightly, making it hard to get out sockets. Others provide a little more room.
Things to Remember About Socket Sets
Be sure to use the right size socket to get the proper leverage, and do not force a fastener because it might break. Use a lubricant on fasteners that will not budge, and then try to loosen them again after a little while.
What Alloy Was Used to Make the Socket Set?
Many socket sets use chrome vanadium steel, which is strong and durable.
To recap, socket sets are categorized by the size of the square nub where the sockets attach to the ratcheting socket wrench. Most sets used for home or car repairs are 1/4″, 3/8″, or 1/2″ square drive sets. Mechanics tool sets are further categorized by the number of sides on the inside of the socket.
The most useful is the six-sided or 6 point, followed by 12 point. Another important measurement is the size of the opening that allows the socket to fit over the fastener. This measurement can be in either inch (SAE) or metric.
This sets can just include the sockets, but usually, they also include at least one ratcheting socket wrench. Also, they can have drive adapters so that the ratcheting socket wrench can be used with different drive sockets.
Sets can also include extenders that help reach hard to reach fasteners and universal joints. Sockets can be standard or deeper for nuts that are farther down on bolts. There are also impact sockets to use with power equipment.
Besides, ratcheting socket wrenches with high tooth counts allow work in tighter spaces. Quick-release buttons make changing sockets faster, and easy to read markings on the sockets makes it easier to sort sockets.
The reviews provide an assortment of best socket sets from small to large sets that include a large variety of parts. So, browse the products and decide which set is what you need.