Sockets can be the bane of a home workshop, we highly recommend the DEWALT DWMT75049. Finding the best socket sets is often a seemingly huge task, and many of us have resorted over the years to purchasing insanely expensive sets from well-known brands just to avoid having to think about it.
Things don’t have to be that way, however, you can actually add a good, workable set to your toolbox for a surprisingly low price.
If you want the absolute best, most versatile set on the market then these are a sure winner, suitable for both the home and in a mechanic’s shop.
Top 5 Socket Sets
|Name||Number of Pieces||Accessories|
|DEWALT DWMT75049 Set||192||3 Ratchets
2 Allen Wrench Sets
|GearWrench 80551 Set||57||2 Ratchets
|EPAuto 1/4” & 3/8”||69||2 Ratchets
|Grey Pneumatic (1281)||81||1 Extension||Check Price|
|Stanley 97 Deep Sockets Set||11||None||Check Price|
1. Best Overall
DEWALT DWMT75049 Set
If you’re looking for a set that might just leave you not having to ever buy another socket, then this DeWalt socket set is exactly what you’re looking for. It comes with a simply bewildering 192 parts.
With a total of five extensions and three ratchets in ¼”, 3/8” and ½” as well as assorted specialized pieces and bit sockets to fit in drills and drivers you’re in good hands. Add in the DeWalt name and you have a professional quality kit which has everything you’ll ever need.
The sockets are all 6 point, which makes them great for those who know what they’re doing although they’re a bit problematic for those who aren’t used to them.
It even has a great carrying case, although a lot of people will find the whole affair to be a bit much to lug for long distances.
Pros and Cons
- 192 pieces
- Multiple accessories for all uses
- High build-quality
- Three ratchet sizes
- Superior hard case
2. Best Affordable Socket Set
GearWrench 80551 Set
This 57 piece, two ratchet set lacks some of the big name recognition you’ll find with some sets, but it comes in as a great place to get started for those who are just looking to break into some bolts.
The size ranges are pretty impressive for the price, coming in pretty much any size you’ll commonly need for both standard and metric measurements.
These sockets are also 12 point making them easy to get on and off of the intended bolt but lacking some of the strength you’ll find with a standard hexagonal set. It’s not philosophically ideal, but it is beginner friendly.
While there are two ratchets, and two extensions, included in this set both of them are 3/8” drive, which will keep you from using them with truly large sockets if you opt to purchase some later. The ratchets also lack a quick-release, which leaves you having to manually push and pull the sockets to fit them.
If you’re looking for an affordable socket set which can handle most tasks this is a great kit to work with.
Pros and Cons
- 57 pieces
- 2 extensions
- 12 point sockets
- 2 ratchets
- Reasonable price
- Carrying case is a bit loose
- Ratchets don’t have a quick release
3. Best Budget Set
EPAuto 1/4” & 3/8” Drive Set
As a budget kit for getting auto repair done, this socket set from EPAuto is a clear winner. It’s a 69 piece set with two ratchets, one in ¼” drive and one in 3/8” drive. It’s a versatile kit that’ll allow you to get auto repairs done in your own driveway with the proper technical knowhow.
These definitely aren’t suitable for power tools, since they’re constructed with a chrome-vanadium alloy. It does make them extremely corrosion resistant, however, if you’re the type who has a tendency to drop their tools and forget them for a while.
It contains both standard and deep sockets as well, in a wide variety of sizes in both metric and SAE. It even includes a pair of spark plug sockets for getting those suckers out when you’re tuning up your car.
Of course, considering the price of the set you know that some corners are bound to be cut. Fortunately, in this instance it’s the case which isn’t a true snap in but instead leaves the sockets sitting in the molded plastic and relies on the pressure of the case to hold them.
This is the set to spring for if you’re looking for something to allow you to work on your car at home, it’s got everything you’ll need even if it isn’t quite up to a professional’s shop standards.
Pros and Cons
- Super cheap
- Complete set for auto repair
- Chrome coating
- Quick release ratchet
- Both deep and shallow sockets
- Case is subpar
- Not suitable for impact tools
4. Best Heavy Duty Socket Set
Grey Pneumatic (1281) Set
If you’re looking to step things up from hand tools, then these specially designed sockets are perfect. It’s a 81 piece socket set which is designed specifically for pneumatic tool usage.
Standard sockets don’t hold up well in the face of the extreme torque produced by air-tools, which is why these sets are specifically designed not to break under extreme pressure.
This is a 3/8” drive set with sizes ranging from 5/16” to 1” on the standard side and 7mm to 22mm on the metric end of things. You’ll be able to handle pretty much any bolt with these, but they definitely don’t come with a ratchet or any extensions.
These are heavy duty sockets made for a shop setting and won’t be of much use to people who don’t have specialized automotive tools around the house, but if you’re getting into some serious mechanics they’re an invaluable asset.
Pros and Cons
- Wide range of sizes
- Tough enough to stand up to air-tools
- 3/8” drive
- 6 point sockets
- Double labeled
- Not suitable for hand tools
5. Best Deep Impact-Ready Set
Stanley 97 Deep Sockets Set
Sometimes we already have a set lying around and just need to add some more capabilities to what we’re doing. This set will add deep socket capabilities ranging from 10mm to 24mm.
It’s a tough set, but you definitely won’t be able to just pick it up and get to work. Combined with a good, ½” ratchet however, you’ll definitely be able to increase the capabilities of your at home work site for a bargain price.
Even better, these are impact sockets so they’re suitable to use with pneumatic tools. It’s a good set to add if you’ve been using something a bit cheaper and just need the capabilities.
It also comes with a great little carrying case to keep things organized.
If you’re looking to add some deep impact-ready sockets to your garage, this is a great set to go with.
Pros and Cons
- Wide range of sockets
- ½” drive
- Impact tool ready
- Easy to use organizer
- Super durable
- Sizes aren’t fully sequential
What is a Socket Set?
A socket set allows you to work with bolts. Combined with a ratchet or an impact gun they can allow you to make quick work of a lot of tasks. They can even be used to drive specialized screws for some applications, although by their very nature you may want to use a regular screw if you’re trying to get a flush finish.
A good set will include both metric and SI sockets and come with a good ratchet handle, making the box your one-stop solution to handling bolts for a wide variety of tasks.
What is the Advantage of a Socket Set?
Sockets sets are a lot simpler to use than end wrenches, and despite having moving parts they’re simple enough that a well maintained ratchet handle will hold up for as long as any but the toughest of end wrenches.
Sockets allow you to get into smaller areas as well, which is vital for tasks which have you working in a tight area.
Different sets are designed for different uses, which we’ll get into in a moment, it’s really not quite as simple as just snagging a set which has the sizes you need. There are some other things to take into account.
What Types of Socket Set are Available
There are really only a few types of socket sates available until you get into the various types of metal which are available.
Standard sets are measured in inches, depending on where you are in the world this can be a boon or a hindrance. If you’re based in the US, this is usually preferable for most tasks, but a mixed set is better for most people.
Metric sets are sized in metric measurements. Outside of the US these sizes of bolt are more common, but even modern American cars will often require a few sizes in these measurements.
Universal sets have some of both. Due to the number of pieces, they’re generally more expensive but they’re what you should really go with.
In addition, there’s a couple of different types which you may want to keep an eye out for.
Deep sockets are essential for car repairs. They allow you to get an extra bit of distance to get down to the bolt and you can access areas even a standard socket and ratchet wouldn’t be able to reach without any trouble.
Insulated sockets are vital for working around electricity. They’ll prevent electricity from arcing to you, and they’re pretty much required if you’re going to be working around any significant voltage.
What to Look for in a Socket Set
There are a few things to keep in mind when you’re selecting a set, but it’s not ridiculously complicated.
Keep in mind that a cheap set might be the best option if you’re not planning on heavy use. In this case you may want to find a set that has a wide variety of different sizes in order to accommodate a variety of different jobs.
If you’re planning on heavy use, however, keep all of the following in mind.
Most ratchets sold in the US can accommodate a wide variety of different sized sockets, they’ve been standardized to fit both metric and standard sockets. Depending on what you’re planning on doing, smaller sets can save you a bundle while larger sets will allow you the widest variety of jobs.
As a general rule, once you get to ¾” and above, you’ll be using a different ratchet from the standard one.
For auto-repair a mixed set is usually desirable, as it will allow you to work on a wide variety of different vehicles.
Get some calipers and measure some of the bolts involved if you just need them for a specific task, otherwise you’ll be best served by getting the largest set you can afford.
Things get a bit complicated here, but we’ll make it quick and simple for you.
Chrome-based alloys are both more expensive and more brittle than standard tool steel sockets. The brittleness actually works to your advantage, being representative of the hardness of the metal. That is, if you’re using hand tools.
Chrome alloyed sets aren’t suitable for impact guns and they have a tendency to break when exposed to the sheer amount of torque modern power tools are capable of producing. With hand tools, however, they provide a long lasting and durable option.
Sets designed for impact wrenches and other power tools have a different construction and are generally labeled as such. Make sure you invest in them if you’re planning on using an electric or pneumatic tool to drive your sockets.
12 or 6 Point
There are a couple of different point types available with socket wrenches.
6 point sets are harder to get on the bolt but allow you to apply more torque when driving. They’re shaped like a hexagon. You’ll need to position the socket properly to get on the bolt, but they provide a more solid fit.
12 point sets are easier to get on, but lack some of the power of a 6 point set. These are recommended for tasks where you don’t have to be certain that something will hold up. It’s mostly just a matter of convenience.
A good set will have at least a few extensions and possibly a driver. The accessories are mostly a matter of personal taste, but extensions are super handy for getting into tough to reach spots.
Specialized sockets are sometimes included with a set, but be sure that they actually perform the function required and aren’t just gimmicks to raise the perceived value of the set.