Are you searching for the best socket set and not having much success? Every car owner, DIY buff or not, should have a good set of sockets, as they’re useful for making adjustments and fixing various problems.
But which socket set should you buy? There just seems to be so many options available.
This is where this guide may be able to help. I have years of experience working with sockets, and I chose only the best ones for this guide.
I have also prepared a detailed guide to help first time buyers. So without further ado, let’s get down to the top picks.
Table of Contents
- 1 Top 3 Selections
- 2 Top 6 Socket Set: Comparison
- 3 Why Do You Need a Socket Set?
- 4 How to Choose the Best Socket Set
- 5 Best Picks of Socket Set
- 5.1 1. SK 94547 47 Piece 38-Inch Drive 6 Point Standard and Deep Socket Set with 20 Piece 14-Inch to 78-Inch and 24 Piece 6-Millimeter to 19-Millimeter Assortments Review
- 5.2 2. Craftsman 220 pc Mechanics Tool Set with Case 36220 (Newest Version) Review
- 5.3 3. BOSTITCH BTMT72287 Pass Through Socket Set, 65-Piece Review
- 5.4 4. TEKTON 4888 38-Inch and 12-Inch Drive Impact Socket Set Review
- 5.5 5. Stanley 92-839 Black Chrome and Laser Etched Socket Set, 99-Piece Review
- 5.6 6. GearWrench 80550 57 Piece 3-8-Inch Drive 6 Point Socket Set Review
- 6 Top Socket Set Brands
- 7 How Socket Sets Made of
- 8 Frequently Asked Questions
- 9 Final Verdict
Top 3 Selections
Top 6 Socket Set: Comparison
Before we go to the socket set reviews I have prepared here a comparison chart so you can see the highlights of each one. As you can see I chose the SK 94547, the Craftsman and the Tekton 4888. For more details however you should check out the reviews.
|SK 94547 47 Piece||47||9.6 x 13.5 x 2.2 inches||8.5 lbs.||Check Price|
|Craftsman 220||220||19 x 14 x 5 inches||20 lbs.||Check Price|
|Tekton 4888||38||11 x 14.8 x 3.2 inches||13.2 pounds||Check Price|
|BOSTITCH BTMT72287||65||3.3 x 14.2 x 11.2 inches||11 lbs.||Check Price|
|Stanley Black Chrome Socket Set||99||24.2 x 3 x 15.2 inches||12 pounds||Check Price|
|GearWrench 80550||57||18.7 x 11.4 x 2.8 inches||12.1 pounds||Check Price|
Why Do You Need a Socket Set?
Sockets let you loosen or tighten nuts and bolts. With the best ratchet set, torque or other turning tool, you can fix or adjust car engines, take out car wheels and other components.
A good screwdriver set is essential for the DIY enthusiast, but so are sockets. Sooner or later you will need to loosen or tighten something on your car, and you’ll need sockets to do it.
If you spend a lot of time working on your car, quality sockets are necessary. With several sockets in hand you’ll be able to do a lot of mechanic work at home.
How to Choose the Best Socket Set
Picking the best socket set brand, or one you trust, is just one factor. Here are other factors to keep in mind.
Number of Pieces:
Small sets have just 13 or 20 pieces, while large ones have 200 or more than 500 pieces. However, not all these pieces are sockets as the “pieces” may include spanners, turning tools, screwdriver bits and other accessories.
The more pieces included:
The more versatile the set. The 500 piece sets however, come in trolleys and aren’t portable.Large piece sets are more suitable for shops, but for car owners, small to medium size sets will do.
Look for sets that expands your tool collection, but focus also the sockets’ size and if they fit your needs.
Imperial or metric:
If you mostly work with metric fasteners, it’s all right to stick with metric sockets. The same rule applies if you are comfortable with imperial sockets.
However if you’re going to spend any considerable time working with both sizes, it’s best to get sockets with imperial and metric sizes.
The drive size will be determined by the work you do. The best socket wrench set has a 3/8” drive ratchet as it is flexible enough to be used in different applications.
Different tasks require different drive sizes, so pick the sets that are suitable for the work you intend to do.
One of the benefits of using the 3/8” drive size is compatibility with ½ and ¼ sockets. You just need an adaptor and you can use the socket for various applications.
If you’re purchasing a big set, there’s a good chance the sockets and ratchets come in several sizes.
Impact and standard sockets:
Sets that have standard and impact sockets are still uncommon, and the impact sockets will less in number.
Impact sockets cost more, so ask yourself if it is worth buying. If you’re going to do only manual work then there’s no need for impact sockets.
Keep in mind though that manual sockets cannot be used with impact wrenches. If you need to use impact sockets or wrenches on occasion, buy the impact socket and wrenches you need rather than get the entire set.
It’s always a good idea to have a few deep sockets in your collection. Even if you often work with standard sockets, you’ll never know when a deep socket might come in handy.
Robertson, spline, and torx bits are hardly used by most people, but they might come in handy for DIY enthusiasts. Look for a set that includes these bits if you use them
Make sure your set includes Allen key, hex, slot, pozidriv, and Philips screwdriver and socket bits. These are widely used and will come in handy for all kinds of operations and garage work.
The longer the warranty the better. Some of these sets offer a lifetime warranty, while others last only for a few years.
If you are going to buy one of these, it is important that you consider your needs and if the sockets fit. Do you really need that many sockets?
Long term needs:
Do you have any plans of using other sockets or ratchets in the future? If so, now might be a good time to invest in a good set with lots of sockets and accessories.
In the end only you can determine what the ideal socket set is. But keeping these factors in mind will help you make the right choice.
Best Picks of Socket Set
Now let’s take a closer look at my top picks.
1. SK 94547 47 Piece 38-Inch Drive 6 Point Standard and Deep Socket Set with 20 Piece 14-Inch to 78-Inch and 24 Piece 6-Millimeter to 19-Millimeter Assortments Review
This 3/8-inch drive 6-point metric / fractional set is built for long term use in harsh environments, and its SuperKrome finish makes it resistant to corrosion. The sockets are also strong enough to withstand regular use.
The 94547 uses the SureGrip hex design so it’s more comfortable to use. A close look reveals the socket has knurled grips to improve handling for complex operations.
The sockets sport a high finish so you’re able to use it in different situations. Since the sockets are corrosion resistant there’s no need to worry about intensive use.
With its SureGrip hex, the sockets drive on the fastener’s side, instead of the corner. This leads to smoother operation and prevents breakage.
A molded case is included so you don’t lose of the pieces, and it holds each one in place. This case is one of the most durable I have come across in a while.
The SK 94547 is a high quality set with all the essential sockets. It may not have as many pieces as the best impact socket set, but there is more than enough sockets here to satisfy the needs of DIY enthusiasts.
2. Craftsman 220 pc Mechanics Tool Set with Case 36220 (Newest Version) Review
This Craftsman set comes with 116 sockets and quick release ratchets in ½, 3/8 and ¼ drives. The sockets are in universal and metric joints for greater flexibility.
The case includes a couple of extension bars and 6 combination wrenches in both metric and standard form. The set also includes a magnetic handle with a dozen nut drivers and several mechanic and screwdriver bits so you can work easily.
There are 128 sockets which come in ½, 3/8 and ¼ in. drive sizes so you can do detailed car work. There are also 6 wrenches, 3 ratchets with quick release and 40 hex keys.
The sockets come in standard and deep well sizes, allowing you to do complex work. Its carry case is durable and has sufficient space for all the bits and pieces.
The Tekton vs Craftsman debate will go on for a while, but there is no question the 220 piece set is one of the best Craftsman has. With so many sockets there’s a good chance whatever size you want is here.
3. BOSTITCH BTMT72287 Pass Through Socket Set, 65-Piece Review
The system also has a low arc swing, and its pass through design means you can access fasteners that ordinary sockets cannot get into. The sockets’ size markings have been stamped so it’s easier to identify them.
The ratchet is as well-designed as the sockets, with the rubber handle making it comfortable to hold.
All the pieces have a high quality finish and made from chrome vanadium steel, giving it strength and durability. The set also comes with a blow mold case to hold all the pieces together and provide protection.
This is a 65 piece set which includes all the most widely used sockets and wrenches. The most common sizes like half inch, 3/8 and others are here, and there are also metric drive sizes.
If you’re searching for the best socket set for the money, the Bostitch is one that you should look into. It comes with a wide array of bits and pieces that you can use for car maintenance and work.
4. TEKTON 4888 38-Inch and 12-Inch Drive Impact Socket Set Review
These sockets are designed for use with impact wenches for faster loosening of fasteners. The design also makes it easy to use even in tight situations.
You can also use these on rusty exhaust and suspension bolts, allowing you to take out lug nuts with little difficulty. These are also what you would use for crank bolt loosening.
The Tekton offers superior performance as it moves torque into the fastener from the wrench. It is this feature that allows the Tekton to loosen even the most stubborn bolts.
Each socket is made of durable chrome vanadium steel so it doesn’t corrode. Because these are impact sockets, they have more power than regular sockets, extending their lifespan and durability.
The sockets’ design also allows it to hold nuts and bolts’ flat, broad sides rather than the corners. This leads to smoother operation.
As this Tekton socket set review has shown, the 4888 is a high quality product. It comes with the essential pieces for car maintenance and working with fasteners.
5. Stanley 92-839 Black Chrome and Laser Etched Socket Set, 99-Piece Review
The sockets and ratchets have been constructed so they pass the ANSI standards, giving you assurance of their quality. These sockets also sport the Max-Drive design so it generates more torque than the typical socket.
As anyone who’s used any sockets and wrenches will tell you, rusty bolts and tighten fasteners need a lot of torque to open. This is where a high torque socket ratchet set becomes important as they provide the muscle.
All the sockets have been stamped so it’s easier to identify them. The serration on the sockets has the same depth as the fasteners so it’s easier to use.
The quality is evident not just in the sockets but the other pieces as well. Its ratchet has low profile, and it is also larger for more convenient use.
The Stanley set doesn’t just come with a lot of pieces, but each one is durable and designed to last. Meeting ANSI standards and designed to generate a lot of torque, the Stanley sockets are very reliable.
6. GearWrench 80550 57 Piece 3-8-Inch Drive 6 Point Socket Set Review
There are lots of bands to choose from, and one of the most popular is the April Tool Group thanks to products like the GearWrench. This is a 57 piece set that comes with the most widely used socket sizes so you don’t have to buy another set.
The ratchet’s reversing lever is flush mounted so there is better access. Another ratchet has a wide full-polish teardrop design, making it more versatile than others.
If you look at the sockets you will see each one has the numbers and sized stamped. Knurled (metric) and double lines (SAE) are also easier to identify due to the way it’s been designed.
The package comes with a wide range of sockets including deep and standard sockets, universal joints and extensions. With all these features it is easy to see why they are highly regarded by DIY buffs.
Most people go online to check for the latest Tekton socket set review, but the GearWrench is a good alternative thanks to its comprehensive approach and design. For a lot of people, this set will more than meet their needs.
Top Socket Set Brands
There are lots of socket brands, but these are the best. If you do a search for the top sockets on the web, these are the names you will come across.
If you read an SK socket set review you’re going to see it gets mostly positive reviews, as SK Hand Tools is one of the top brands in the industry. The company manufactures a wide range of tools including sockets, ratchets and other hand tools.
Craftsman has been in the industry for a long time, and they have earned a solid reputation for quality. Their sockets in particular are known for durability, quality and versatility.
this company has earned a well-deserved reputation for quality as well. Their sockets come in different types and sizes to simplify car repair and maintenance.
The name Tekton is what people look for when they buy sockets, and with good reason. While there are a lot of manufacturers out there, Tekton has managed to remain on top by consistent.
Stanley is another brand which has become synonymous with hand tools. Their sockets come in various sizes and are known for providing lots of torque and good performance.
Apex Tool Group:
The Apex Tool Group is one of the largest tool manufacturers on the planet. They are recognized for high quality hand tools, with their sockets highly esteemed by DIY enthusiasts around the world.
Westward sockets come in different styles, sizes and shapes, suitable for beginners and advanced users. The brand is also known for their durable hand tools and utilities.
This brand manufactures different types of sockets to suit the needs of different people. They have entry level sets as well as comprehensive sets for those who need a bit of everything.
Neiko is one of the leading brands for hand tools around the world. They are also known for their high end impact sockets.
How Socket Sets Made of
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a socket set?
A set contains several sockets of varying sizes. It may also have bits and other accessories to go along with the sockets.
Where are Tekton tools made?
Tekton products, including their sockets, are made in the US.
What is the best tools brand for mechanics?
Tekton, SK Hand Tools, Stanley, Craftsman and Neiko are among the best brands for mechanics and the DIY buff. For more info, check out the best socket brand section in this guide.
What is the difference between regular and impact sockets?
Impact sockets are designed for use with impact wrenches to generate higher torque.
How many sizes are included in a set?
The more pieces included in the set, the more varied the sizes probably are. This information will be in the product description.
Are most sockets made in China?
Many are, but some are still manufactured in the US.
Will this socket size work with my car?
Most sets include the most commonly used sizes, so compatibility won’t be an issue. Most also have accessories that expand the capabilities of the sockets.
Set X has more pieces than set Y, but set Y is more expensive. Why is that?
Most probably because the set has more deep sockets or impact sockets. The type of sockets included has a bigger effect on the cost than the number of pieces.
What is the standard socket size?
The standard sizes are ¼’, 3/8” and ½”. This is available in most socket sets along with other sizes.
What is the smallest socket size?
Some sockets are just 1/8”, but these are rare and used only for small machines. Some sets may be bundled with unique socket sizes, but most packages come with the most coon sizes.
What is the average warranty length for these products?
There is no average duration as it varies from product to product. However you can expect those from quality brands to last several years or have a lifetime warranty.
How many pieces should I buy?
It depends on your current needs. Most car owners and DIY enthusiasts will be happy with a 30 or 50 piece set, but there are 99 or 200 piece sets for home use available as well.
I am trying to loosen up a rusty fastener and it won’t budge. What is wrong?
A: You need a socket wrench with a higher torque. Rusty fasteners or those that have been screwed too tightly need more power.
It is my hope that this guide has given you an idea of what sockets to buy. If you own a car or just like to tinker around, having a good range of sockets is necessary to do work and maintenance.
There is no lacking of sockets online, and that is part of the problem. Some people end up buying whatever sockets they see, not realizing the quality, pieces and socket type makes a difference.
So if you’ve got a car and like to do the maintenance, do yourself a favor and get the best socket set today.
The Best Socket Set Reviews – 2017 Top Picks and Buyer’s Guide
- SK 94547 47 Piece
- Craftsman 220
- Tekton 4888
- BOSTITCH BTMT72287
- Stanley Black Chrome Socket Set
- GearWrench 80550