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Looking to shift to a quicker, easier way of tightening and loosening fasteners? Socket sets come with a wide variety of tools that can help you with all kinds of improvement projects, from home DIY jobs to car repairs. Socket wrenches are an essential tool in maintenance and automotive workshops, picking up the slack where a traditional wrench falls short on speed and ease of use. These wrenches come in different types, finishes, and sizes, all bundled together in a handy set.
Whether you’re looking to pick up a socket set for everyday household tasks and budget DIY projects or you’re exploring a deep-impact socket set for heavy-duty auto work, this article will take you through the buying process. We’ve put together our recommendations for the highest-rated socket sets available today and a buyer’s guide to help you make a great choice.
- 1 Here are the top socket sets of 2022
- 1.1 DEWALT Socket Set: Our pick
- 1.2 EPAuto Socket Set: Another great option
- 1.3 Amazon Basics Socket Set: Also consider
- 1.4 Neiko 02448A Impact Socket Set: Another option
- 1.5 Tekton Socket and Ratchet Set: High quality
- 2 Finding your next socket set: A buyer’s guide
- 2.1 Types of socket sets
- 2.2 Benefits of getting a socket set
- 2.3 What should I look for in a socket set?
- 2.4 Things to remember when shopping for socket sets
- 2.5 People also asked
Here are the top socket sets of 2022
This versatile DEWALT socket set is at the top of our list thanks to its excellent functionality and durability. The socket set packs into a compact carrying case that can easily be transported from one work site to another, and it comes with a removable inner tray that can fit almost any kind of standard height storage unit. This mechanical socket set also has a lockable case to keep your tools safe. Included in this case are a 3/8 drive quick release ratchet, a 3” extension, and a plethora of other sockets and adapters, and both the standard and metric sockets have a 72-tooth ratchet that offers a five-degree arc swing for better maneuverability in small, restricted spaces.
- Interlocking DEWALT side hinges for more storage
- Hard-stamped markings for better visibility
- A stackable case makes for organized storage
This EPAuto 40-piece drive socket set comes with a 72-tooth reversible ratchet that’s been rigorously tested by professional engineers and satisfies the industry’s highest standards. It’s great for working on motorcycles, cars, trucks, and bicycle maintenance, so consider adding it to your toolkit. The socket set’s 3/8” drive ratchet is constructed from a high-grade hardened chrome vanadium steel alloy with a polished finish that’s been tested for durability and strength. This polish combines with the chrome plating to ensure that the tools are completely free from corrosion and rust, making it a must-have for any tool cart. You can easily access difficult, small, or hard-to-reach areas with its spinner handle that’s designed for easy maneuverability without causing you to lose control.
- Organizer case for better accessibility
- Spinner handle for difficult, narrow places
- Polished finish for extra durability
This Amazon Basics 145-piece socket set includes all the tools you’ll need in an easily accessible system. This kit comes with an assortment of common sockets, including both SAE and metric measurements, screwdriver bits, and more, and you’ll be able to enjoy four set configurations or sizes. This socket set also includes two ratchets with specially engineered pear-shaped heads that are easy to maneuver in difficult-to-reach spaces. Sockets of all sizes come packed in a highly durable storage case with an integrated handle for easy transportation and dedicated space for every piece. This designated space for each socket helps ensure that every piece is neatly organized, visible, and easy to reach.
- High-quality chrome vanadium steel body
- Corrosion and rust-free finish
- Quick-release switch included
- Requires a lot of maintenance
This Neiko socket set comes in a heavy-duty blow mold storage container to protect YOUR sockets and keep them organized. Designated spots for each small component will keep them visible and let you find what you need in no time at all. This socket set includes both deep and shallow sockets, as well as extension bars and U-joint adapters to access all small fasteners. All sockets are made from highly durable impact-grade chrome vanadium steel that offers maximum strength and reliability against extreme levels of torque changes, and with this high torque and strength, this socket set makes a great addition to any garage.
- Laser-etched markings for easy identification
- Corrosion-resistant finish
- Two case lever locks for additional security
- Individual replacements are not available for purchase
This 74-piece Tekton socket set boasts impressed, roll-stamped die sockets with clearly visible size numbers that can be seen even on their curved surface. The extra-deep outline lets you easily read socket size from a distance, and they’re treated with a rust-resistant, chrome-plated finish that not only adds to durability but is also super easy to clean. You’ll only need a four-degree working swing arc for the finely geared 90-tooth ratchet this corrosion-resistant socket set comes with, and this set includes additional tools such as a breaker bar, universal joint, and extensions that you won’t find in most other sets. The six-point sockets are made to apply force at the flat sides of fasteners, leaving the corners to prevent any round-off.
- Stepped shoulders provide a large reach
- Six-point socket opening ensures maximum contact
- Beveled inner rims for better compatibility
- Easily scratch with rough use
Finding your next socket set: A buyer’s guide
Socket sets include interchangeable sockets with different sizes to match different nuts and bolts, and this is why a socket wrench proves to be more efficient than a regular one. There’s a lot of debate online about what constitutes “the perfect socket set,” and to help you avoid falling down that rabbit hole and ending up even more confused than when you started we’ve researched dozens of great socket sets available. Here’s a complete buying guide that’ll help you pick a high-quality socket set for your garage.
Types of socket sets
There are five main kinds of socket sets. Let’s explore them here:
These sockets are just like ordinary ones, but they also come with added compatibility with power tools. These sockets are highly durable, resilient, and have the strength to handle forces from pneumatic air wrenches and electric tools.
Non-impact sockets are the plain old kind of sockets that will work with brute human force. They take a longer time to get the job done, as ratchets that come with these socket sets have varying functionalities.
This is the most common type of socket, and it’s called a hex socket because it clips onto fasteners that have a standard six-point shape. This six-point shape can take a heck of a beating and is pretty rugged and reliable. You’ll find some hex socket sets with tweaked internal socket faces that are designed to take on added torque without damaging the fastener or causing slippage.
These sockets are used with SAE fasteners and have specific dimensions. They’re less versatile due to this inflexibility, so it’s better to invest in sockets that will utilize both SAE and metric units.
Bi-hex sockets come with a 12-point internal structure that helps them fit better to fasteners and offers more flexibility. You can fit them into both hexagonal and square-head fasteners, but they’re not great for rugged use as the added contact patch can easily round off the fastener’s edges.
Benefits of getting a socket set
Wondering why you should invest in a high-quality socket set? Keep reading to find out!
Accessing hard-to-reach areas
Socket sets come with added accessories that can help you work in narrow spaces with better maneuverability. These accessories include swivel joints, extenders, and flexible spring attachments that can bend and reach small, hidden areas.
High-quality, premium socket sets can become part of your permanent tool collection. They’re highly durable, even after exposure to continuous force and varying levels of torque, and are built to serve you for decades to come.
Socket sets offer a wide variety of tools that can cater to all your mechanical needs. These sets are like an all-in-one solution for garage and DIY problems, and it’s even better if you can get a bi-hex socket, as this can be used with square-head and hexagonal fasteners.
What should I look for in a socket set?
Wondering what sets a great socket set apart from a not-so-great set? Read on to find out.
Shape and size
There are four main socket sizes– 3/8”, ¼”, ½”, and 1”. Smaller ones aren’t built with much density or sturdiness and don’t require much torque, while bigger socket sizes are made for high torque and work with longer ratchets to facilitate this.
Number of sockets
Sockets come in many sizes, and cars are made from a vast variety of these sockets. Invest in a socket set that offers a large number of socket options and additional accessories as well.
Surface finish and durability
Sockets are made to last a long time, and some even offer a lifetime guarantee. There are some soft spots on sockets that can wear out with time, though, and you might need a replacement for something like the springs on a ratchet quick-release. Most socket sets also have a chrome or black oxide finish that protects them from corrosion.
Things to remember when shopping for socket sets
- Try to invest in a socket set from the same brand that made all, or at least most of, the tools you already own
- Always buy a bigger set, as an extensive socket set never goes to waste. You never know when an oddball fastener will show up to ruin your day, so it’s better to be prepared with sockets of all sizes and shapes
- Take your time researching and specifically focus on warranties. Go with a warranty that you’re satisfied with
- If you can, go for a premium set, as premium sets generally last longer
People also asked
Q: What should you get, six-point sockets or 12-point sockets?
A: For most lightweight repairs and jobs you’ll be fine with 12-point sockets, but if you’re going for heavy wrenching then six-point sockets will perform better, as these have a lower chance of slipping due to thicker walls.
Q: What kind of sockets are most commonly used?
A: The most common type of socket is the hex socket, and this socket comes in two main kinds– the bi-hex/12-point socket and hex/six-point socket.
Q: Why do some socket sets skip a few sizes?
A: A common reason is that the missing sockets aren’t sizes that are frequently used. It’s also believed to possibly be a marketing strategy from the manufacturer to make people buy the missing sockets from them separately.
Q: Do you really need impact sockets?
A: If you’ll be dealing with large nuts and bolts, then yes, you will need them. Chrome sockets are unable to handle impact work and might shatter or crack under stress.