Best Socket Set Review
The socket set has become a standard feature in garages, workshops and sheds across the world. We have all been there trying to loosen a bolt with a spanner and it just simply won’t budge. It can be frustrating and challenging trying to figure out different angles in order to get as much force on your side to turn that seemingly unmovable bolt. Don’t get us wrong, at Wonkee Donkee we love spanners. They are the bread and butter of any good toolbox, but sometimes loosening or tightening bolts calls for the use of a socket.
As with all hand tools that are sold in sets there is a great deal of choice from the number of units included, quality, price and more. At Wonkee Donkee we have simplified this for you by creating our top 10 socket set review. To accompany this we have also included a complete socket set buying guide to provide you with everything you need to by when choosing the best socket set for you.
Stanley STMT71648 Socket Set
When you are looking to buy hand tools you know that Stanley is a brand that you can trust. The Stanley STMT71648 socket set is no exception to this rule. To manufacture these sockets Stanley has used high-alloy steel which is heat-treated to enhance performance. There is also a lifetime guarantee on Stanley tools. Yes, you read that correctly, a lifetime! So if Stanley are that confident about the quality of their socket sets I think you can rest easy knowing a new one will be coming your way if any tool breaks. The case is also sturdy too with each tool having its specific place which is moulded to click them into place.
In this Stanley STMT71648 review we have focused on the 40-piece socket set although there are many more different size Stanley socket sets available up to 201-pieces. The 40-piece option includes an array of different tools including 15 x ¼ inch sockets, 14 x ⅜ inch pear head ratchet arm, 1 x ⅜ inch extension bar, 1 x ¼ inch socket drive handle, 1 x ⅜ – ¼ inch adaptor, 1 x ¼ inch drive speciality bit holder and 6 x speciality bits. These should cover most of your socket needs but if not, as we previously mentioned, Stanley offers a range of different socket sets in increasing socket numbers.
The thing we love the most about this Stanley STMT71648 socket set is the scalability. Stanley has made it so easy to choose the right sockets for you by producing a range of different sets including a 40-piece, 50-piece, 60-piece, 85-piece, 123-piece, 145-piece and finally a huge 201-piece. The great thing about this is that if you love Stanley tools (which we do at Wonkee Donkee) you don’t have to spend forever looking for the right size socket set for you as the range of choice allows you to do it with the click of a button.
They are all also really affordable socket sets in comparison to others on the market containing similar amounts of tools. Add to this the max-drive design which gives you 15% more torque and the high-alloy steel which is treated with heat for high performance which the sockets are made from. So with the wide choice of different sets available, allowing you to choose which Stanley socket set is best suited for you so is there any real need to look elsewhere?
DeWalt DWMT73804 Drive Socket Set
Another well-known brand for the manufacturing of high-quality hand and power tools is DeWalt and there was no way that the DeWalt DWMT73804 socket set was not making our top 10 socket set review. It is easy to tell that the tools are of quality build and the polished chrome vanadium finish keeps them looking like new even after a lot of use. Included in the 34-piece DeWalt socket set are the following 8 x ⅜ drive standard SAE sockets, 7 x ¼ drive standard SAE sockets, 8 x ⅜ drive standard metric sockets, 7 x drive standard metric sockets, 1 x ⅜ drive quick-release ratchet, 1 x ⅜ drive 3-inch extension, 1 x ⅜ – ¼ drive adaptor and 1 x ⅜ drill drive adaptor.
All of these tools fit in the DeWalt case which is relatively chunky but the reason for this is that it is compatible with the whole DeWalt tool range cases making for easy stacking. This makes this socket set a great option if you already own DeWalt tools or if you are thinking of expanding your collection at a later date. There is also an option for a larger DeWalt socket set of 72-pieces which you might want to consider if you think that the 34-piece set is not enough.
You can never really go wrong with DeWalt hand tools or even power tools for that matter. So it is no surprise that we have a soft spot for any of the tools released by the industry giants. You just know you will get quality when you get their tools and the polished chrome vanadium of these sockets reflect this. The lifetime guarantee is always a massive bonus for us too with complete reassurance that you will not have to spend any money on fixing or replacing tools if anything happens.
If you are looking for a great socket set then a combination of high-quality manufacture and affordability (especially with the lifetime guarantee) then you should really consider either of the DeWalt DWMT73804 socket sets. Admittedly, the box that the sockets sit within is bulkier than it needs to be but we like the idea that it interlocks with over DeWalt cases. The option of a 71-piece set is also ideal if you feel like you need more sizes than the 34-piece offers.
Craftsman 50230 Mechanics Tool Set
As the name suggests this is more than just a socket set and is, in fact, a complete toolset for mechanics. We had a lot of deliberation in the office about whether this should be included in our best socket set list but any tool set with 230 pieces makes us excited. It is relatively expensive in comparison to other socket sets reviewed on this list but it is easy to see why. Each of the 230 tools included is manufactured from extremely durable alloy steel before being coated with a silver finish. We could list all of the tools included within this set but I think you’d be here all day so we have picked out the ones that we really think make this full mechanics toolset worth parting with your money.
Obviously, as this is a socket set review we need to start there, and with 116 sockets which come in both metric and SAE measurements, it is rare that you’ll ever find yourself caught short. To accompany these there is a range of different handle attachments you can use including 6 combination wrenches, 3 quick-release ratchets, 2 extension bars and 1 magnetic handle. The rest of the Craftsman 50230 mechanics tool set includes 50 screwdrivers, 40 allen/hex keys and 12 nut driver bits. All of this comes in a sturdy case and weighs in at 20.3 pounds making it pretty easy to take it wherever you go.
At Wonkee Donkee we love complete toolsets, what could you possibly want more than every tool you need all in one box ready to use anytime. So when we first took a look at the Craftsman 50230 mechanics toolset let’s just say we were a little bit excited. The first thing you notice is the quality of the tools. Craftsman is known for their high-quality so it is no surprise but when you held and go to use them you can feel the strength and sturdiness of the alloy steel. We really like the silver finish too across the whole tool selection which just adds a visual appeal.
When it came to what is included in this toolset then the wide range of 116 sockets is everything you want especially if you are working on different machines or vehicles regularly. The final thing we really liked was the inclusion of 6 combination wrenches and 3 different quick-release ratchets making the job of using the sockets so much easier. If you are a mechanic or need a full toolset for your workshop then it is difficult to overlook the Craftsman 50230 set as a great option. However, if you do not need all of these tools and you are on a smaller budget then there are sets with fewer items in which will be more suitable for you.
Niko 10074A Hex Bit Socket Set
Not all great socket sets need to be big, sometimes a small socket set can do everything you need. The Niko 10074A is a great example of this offering a 13-piece hex socket set for a great price. The set simply includes 12 sockets and 1 drive, that’s it. You can purchase the set in metric and imperial measurements or a 26 piece option provides you with the best of both worlds.
Each socket is manufactured using extremely durable S2 alloy steel and is machine cut for extremely accurate precision. Niko provides these sets in compact and lightweight cases which are robust and easy to store. The metric socket sets include 6 x ¼ inch drive (2mm, 2.5mm, 3mm, 4mm, 5mm and 6mm) 5 x ⅜ inch drives (7mm, 8mm, 9mm, 10mm and 12mm). These will cover most of your basic socket needs especially if you are adding this socket set to a collection of existing tools.
When it comes to socket sets, sometimes simplicity is better. It is great to have large sets complete with every tool under the sun but if you don’t need many different types of socket then is it really worth spending all that money? At Wonkee Donkee we love huge complete sets, I mean who doesn’t? But at the same time, you have got to love a small no-nonsense set that just does exactly what it needs to. That’s why we have a real soft spot for the Niko 10074A set.
It contains either 12 metric or imperial sockets with no ratchets of wrenches and is a great option if you only use a socket set occasionally or as a top-up to your existing tool arsenal. The tools are high-quality too with the S2 alloy steel giving durability and a high torque speed which is really notable when in use. So if you are after a simple metric socket set to add to your tool collection then the Niko 10074A is a great option and for the price, you really can’t go wrong.
Stanley 92-824 Socket Set
It is no surprise to see Stanley’s name pop back up again when you are talking about the best hand tools available. The second entry into our top 10 best socket sets is the Stanley 92-824 black chrome and laser etched 69 piece socket set. The first thing you notice about this socket set is the black chrome finish which is atypical in comparison to the typical chrome sets available on the market. This isn’t all about aesthetics though with this design providing increased protection from corrosion. To add to this they are laser etched making for a really nice and clean looking finish.
Stanley have again adapted their ‘Max-Drive’ technology to make this socket set easier to use around corners, less likely to wear fastening and most importantly provide more torque. The Stanley 92-824 socket set includes 69 pieces including 30 x ¼ inch sockets, 33 x ⅜ inch sockets, 2 x drive pear head ratchet arms (⅜ inch and ¼ inch), 2 x spark plug socket (⅜ – ⅝ inch and ⅜ – 13/16 inch) and 2 x extension bars (¼ – 3 inch and ⅜ – 6 inch. All of these different tools snuggly fit into a blow moulded case with each part having its unique slot in order to ensure you don’t lose or forget anything.
As we have previously mentioned we do have a soft spot for Stanley tools at Wonkee Donkee and you can easily see why with the Stanley 92-824 socket set. The black chrome finish with the added laser-etched markings makes these tools really stand out. For looks alone, we really want this socket set. Saying that the set is manufactured by Stanley which means you know you’re getting high-quality.
The ‘Max-Drive’ design is also a key feature which allows you to use this socket set in tight places whilst adding around 15% more torque. The case is also well built and designed using a blow mould which provides a great grip on the tools when they’re in their specific space. Again, Stanley offers a lifetime guarantee on the 92-824 socket set which highlights the standard of tools you will be receiving.
Tekton 45-Piece Drive Socket Set
If you are not familiar with hand tool brands than Tekton may be a manufacturer that you have overlooked in the past. If that’s the case then it is definitely time you are introduced to the Tekton range of socket sets. In this best socket set review, we have focused on the 45-piece socket set but there are many others available including a 51-piece, 58-piece and an 84-piece set that all of this information besides the set contents is relevant for. All of these are full comprehensive socket sets which include sockets, extensions, ratchets and also a universal joint.
One unique thing about the design of Tekton socket sets is the ability to operate with a degree of swing as low as 5 degrees. This is beyond useful if you are regularly working in tight or hard to reach spaces. Included within the 45-piece Tekton drive socket set are the following tools: 12 x shallow metric sockets, 12 x deep metric sockets, 8 x shallow imperial sockets, 8 x deep imperial sockets, 2 x extensions, 1 x ⅜ inch drive ratchet and 1 x universal joint. All of these tools are manufactured using chrome vanadium steel which is extremely durable, before the application of a mirror-plated finish. They all sit perfectly in the compact red box which is definitely difficult to lose.
Although not as well-known as many other hand tool brands, Tekton is building a reputation for manufacturing good high-quality products that everyone who is serious about their work should take into consideration. Their socket sets are arguably the most convenient and effective for use especially in tight or hard to reach places with the fact you can operate their ratchet and socket with as little as 5 degrees of swing. If you are regularly working with cars or machinery which includes bolts that are not easy to access this is a real benefit to the Tekton socket sets.
At Wonkee Donkee we also really like the universal joint. Although it is not a common tool to be included in socket sets it can come in really handy for working in tight angles and we found it really easy to use. The range of choice in the different size socket sets also allow you to pick the right socket set for you depending on your needs. For functionality alone, you need to look at the Tekton socket sets, especially if you work in tight areas.
Great Neck Saw PSO40 Drive Socket Set
The most affordable socket set in our top ten review has to be the Great Neck Saw PSO40 drive socket set. The value you get for your money in this 40-piece socket set in simply astonishing. Each tool has a triple chrome-plated finish which helps prevent rusting for an extended period of time.
Included within the Great Neck Saw PSO40 socket set is 13 x ¼ inch 6-point metric sockets, 13 x ¼ 6-point sockets, 3 x ⅜ inch drive 6-point SAE sockets, 3 x ⅜ inch drive 6-point metric sockets, 1 x ⅜ inch drive reversible ratchet, 1 x ¼ inch 6-inch spinner handle and 1 x 3 inch extension bar. All of which fit into a moulded plastic case which is easy to carry.
If you are looking for the best socket set for a beginner or the most affordable socket set then it would be difficult to suggest a better option than the Great Neck Saw PSO40 drive socket set. If you need a socket set for the odd job and you won’t be using it regularly then this is a great option being both easy to use and extremely low cost.
The one thing we will say is that you do get what you pay for, so if you need something high-quality for regular use then we would suggest that paying that bit extra for a socket set like the DeWalt DWMT73804 or the Stanley STMT71648. However, you do get a lot for your money with a 40-piece socket set for that money great if you think you might need a large set for the odd use.
Astro 7412 Drive Flex Socket Set
Another great basic socket set is the Astro 7412 Drive Flex socket set. Containing only 12 pieces if you are just after a socket set to get the job done then this is a great choice. The sockets work effectively and their surface is designed with technology in order to minimise the rounding off of fasteners when in use by gripping them flat. They have also included flexible joints in the sockets allowing you to use them at a variety of different angles in tight spaces.
All of the Astro socket set is completed with the application of a polished finish, which not only looks good but also provides protection and extends the lifetime of the tool. The Astro 7412 Drive Flex socket set comes complete with 12 x ¼ inch drive flex sockets measuring at 5mm, 5.5mm, 6mm, 7mm, 8mm, 9mm, 10mm, 11mm, 12mm, 13mm, 14mm and 15mm. All of these sockets come with the flexible joints built-in in a clever design to reach into awkward spaces.
Astro has designed a great basic socket set which is perfect for any beginner or someone who just wants to add a good but affordable socket set to their tool collection. What we liked about them at Wonkee Donkee was how easy they are to use with the flexible head allowing you to reach even the most difficult of spaces.
The sockets are also so intelligently designed with clever grips which allow you to grab fasteners on the flats with a great deal of torque without rounding off the bolts. They also come in a really well presented padded foam tray which helps protect the tools when they are being transported. If you are looking for your first socket set or a simple socket set that can get into difficult to reach places then the Astro 7512 will be perfect for you!
Crescent CX6PT20 Socket Set
The Crescent CX6PT20 socket set is a bit different to all of the other socket sets in our collection based on how it works using pass-through technology. The great thing about what they have created is that the pass-through technology is that it gets rid of the need to use deep drives as instead, it works over long threaded rods. This allows them to make the ratchet 50% thinner than your average socket, perfect for reaching into awkward spaces. To add to this there is the inclusion of fittings that are compatible with six different types of fasteners.
Admittedly you may not find a use for all of them but the option to fit a range of different fastener depending on the job makes it likely you will not need to add to this socket set collection at a later date. If you buy the Crescent CX6PT20 socket set you will get 18 sockets in metric sizes and 18 sockets in SAE sizes, all of which are compatible with a range of different fastenings as well as a ⅜ inch adaptor for use with a square drive socket or a ratchet. All of this comes in a fixture with individual slots for each piece.
We love toolmakers that break the mould and don’t just do what everyone else is doing in terms of design and technology. Crescent certainly do this with their CX6PT20 socket set with its pass-through ratchet system. The range of different fasteners is also a massive benefit to choosing this socket set as it covers all bases reducing the likelihood of needing to spend more money in the future to expand your collection.
The main drawback for us at Wonkee Donkee when it comes to the Crescent CX6PT20 socket set is the lack of a proper case. This socket set does come with its own holding piece which each part fits on to but we are a bit old fashioned in the fact that we like to keep our tools in a portable case and stored away nicely, instead of being exposed to the elements. Other than that, Crescent has created an affordable socket set with innovative design which is probably the best socket set for working on bolts in tight areas.
EPAuto Torx Bit Socket Set
To finish off or review of the top 10 best socket sets we have the EPAuto Torx Bit socket set which is one of the smallest and cheapest socket sets available on the market. This is another socket set which comes simply with just sockets and is not accompanied with any wrenches or ratchets. The most common use for this socket set is vehicle work and it is compatible with all sizes from small motorbikes and mopeds to land rovers.
They are made of chrome vanadium alloy steel which is coated in a mirrored chrome for a stylish finish. The EPAuto Torx Bit socket set includes 7 x ¼ inch drive torx star bits, 5 x ⅜ inch drive torx star bits and 1 x ½ inch drive star torx bit. These are all held in a small plastic case that is easy to carry alone or even small enough to fit in a larger toolbox.
EPAuto takes the final slot of our best socket set review from Wonkee Donkee and that’s because we really like this simple little socket set. It’s small, easy to use, affordable and durable. What more could you want? The chrome vanadium alloy steel is durable and the mirror plating not only makes the set look great but also provides protection against corrosion.
If you are looking for a socket set to add to your toolset or a set of extra socket sets to accompany others you already have EPAuto offer a great option for an extremely affordable price.
Socket Set Buying Guide
As you will already know socket sets come in a range of different sizes and styles from basic sets which only include the most common sockets for generic tasks to complete socket sets which cover all of your socket tool needs. It can be difficult to figure out what is the best socket set for you so at Wonkee Donkee we have put this buying guide together to help you make the right decision. This socket set buying guide covers all the things you need to consider before choosing your socket set as well as explaining what all of the common terminologies you come across mean!
Number of Sockets
The first thing you need to consider is seemingly obvious but it is also probably the most important. The easiest way to approach this is probably to flip the question on its head and instead of asking yourself ‘how many sockets do you need?’, ask yourself ‘what do I need sockets for?’ By finding out all of the different reasons that you might need a socket then you can more accurately predict how many and what different types of socket you will need. For example, if you can only think of a couple of reasons why you might need a socket and the right socket for the job is a common model then a basic socket set will be sufficient for you.
However, if you are a professional mechanic who needs a different size and style sockets on a daily basis when working on vehicles then a complete socket set will be a must for you. Don’t worry if you don’t know how or what sockets you may need as you can always buy sockets individually if you realise that you’re missing a specific socket that you need. They do tend to be a little more expensive than when bought as part of a set but if you are only missing one or two sockets then it can be a lot cheaper than buying a full socket set.
Metric or Imperial Measurements
When it comes to what size socket sets to choose then there are two things that you need to consider. The first of the size-related choices you need to make is whether you want metric or imperial scale socket sets. This is a massively important decision as the sizes are different and specific to the individual types of measurement. It is true that some sizes are similar and some people have been known to use metric sockets when an imperial socket is needed. However, we would advise against this to prevent damage to bolts. What size bolts that you are working with will need to be taken into consideration when you are choosing which measurement will be best for you.
If you are a mechanic working on a range of different vehicles then it is likely that both imperial and metric sockets will be needed as cars bolts are sized to the standards of the measurements used by the countries themselves. An example of this would be Ford vehicles typically produced in America needed imperial sockets and Honda’s from Japan needing metric sockets. On the other hand, if you will only need sockets on the odd occasion it is probably best to purchase a socket set in the standard metric of the country you live in. This is because these are likely to be the measurements of the bolts you will be typically working with.
The size of the drive of your socket set is the second consideration based around sizes that you need to make. The sockets drive size is relatable to the amount of torque you need in order to use a socket. Fortunately, the drive size is irrelevant to whether you have metric or imperial socket sets. There are three different common sizes of socket drives and these are ¼’’, ⅜’’ and ½’.
These different socket sizes are not specific to certain tasks, as it is obviously dependent on what bolts are included. Saying this, at Wonkee Donkee to provide you with an idea of the type of jobs each socket drive does we have come up with a couple of examples. ¼’’ socket drives are ideal for very precise work using smaller sockets such as if you were dismantling a bench. ⅜’’ sockets are most commonly used on cars or machinery as there is the opportunity to still produce a reasonable amount of force whilst still working within small spaces. Finally, ⅜’’ socket drives are most suitable to trucks and big pieces of machinery. It is possible to purchase drive sockets that are ¾’’ and 1’’ although these are used only on the largest of trucks and industrial machinery.
Impact Sockets or Manual Sockets
Choosing between impact sockets or manual sockets will depend on what wrenches you will be using. If you intend to use impact wrenches then you must have impact sockets to accompany them. In no circumstances should you use manual sockets with an impact wrench as you will likely cause damage to your tools as well as the bolts you are working with. Our suggestion at Wonkee Donkee is to have a small set of both impact and manual sockets to cover all bases. However, we do understand this can be a little expensive so if you only really use a manual or an impact wrench then you should get whichever sockets match.
Additional Sockets - Deep Sockets
Obviously when you are considering which is the best socket set for you, one of the main things you will have to look at are what sockets are included within the different sets and whether they cover all of your needs. One example of a type of socket that may come in useful but are not always included in socket sets is deep sockets. One example where you may need a deep socket is when you are turning blots that extend upwards (this is pretty standard with many bolted joints). You will find that exhaust clamp bolts on vehicles require deep sockets in order to be loosened easily.
Additional Sockets - Speciality Sockets
On top of deep sockets, there is a range of different speciality sockets available (see what are the different types of socket? for more information). Each of these has its own specific purpose and is the best tool for that job. The growth in the various types of speciality sockets has led to there now being speciality socket sets available. If you are a professional who regularly finds themselves using these speciality sockets then our recommendation is to buy either a complete set of all sockets (if you can find one) or a general socket set and a speciality socket set that fulfils your requirements.
It is likely that speciality socket sets will cost slightly more than a general socket set, however, if you need them regularly they are more than worth the money. Alternatively, if you find yourself just needing one speciality socket then it might be best to purchase that individually to keep your costs down. Examples of speciality sockets include insulated sockets, pass-through sockets, bolt grip sockets, oil filter sockets, adjustable multi-sockets, spark plug sockets, universal sockets and many more.
Socket Sets - Frequently Asked Questions
There are many good things about buying socket sets, mainly the convenience of having a large number of different sized tools for a reasonable price. The task in picking which is the best socket set for you is to identify what tasks you will need a socket for and which sockets you will need to effectively carry out those tasks. In an ideal world where budget is not a consideration, you would purchase a complete socket set to cover all bases. Unfortunately, this is not always the case so you need to consider which is the best socket set for you which includes all the sockets you need for the right price.
It may be cheaper to buy a smaller more generic socket set and then purchase speciality sockets that you might need on top. At Wonkee Donkee, our goal is to provide you with all the information that you need to make the decision as to which is the best socket set suitable to your needs. Our advice is to carefully consider the value for money you will receive from the various options you are considering and that more sockets do not necessarily mean it is a better socket set.
What does a standard socket set include?
Sockets typically come in socket sets as there is a range of different sizes and specialist tools available each compatible with different nuts and bolts. The makeup of a socket is simple, the socket’ is a cylindrical cap-like mechanism that fits over a nut or bolt. This socket is then attached to a socket wrench, ratchet or various other handles which create torque. Once this is all set us simply tighten or loosen the bolts by turning the handle in the correct direction. As with all screws, nuts and bolts turning the mechanism right will tighten whilst turning left will loosen.
What do you need a socket set for?
Most commonly, you will find sockets used in garages by mechanics. This is due to the range of different nuts and bolts that need loosening to remove a part or tightening to secure a part in place. They can also be used for other regular tasks outside of the automobile industry where any nuts or bolts are involved. Simply select the correct size socket and away you go. As we previously mentioned, socket sets come in a range of different styles and sizes which means that to make them more affordable they are normally sold in socket sets. You can still purchase individual sockets if needs be, but unless you are only working with one size not or bolt (which is unlikely) it will be cheaper to buy even the most basic of sets.