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Missing a piece in your toolkit can be one of the most frustrating feelings when you’re working on a DIY project. To save you time from searching through a cluttered toolbox, a socket set provides a quintessential ratchet wrench while keeping its accessories organized for easy access.

In this review, we recommend our top picks for the five best socket sets useful for all sorts of automotive repairs. Our review team has tested each socket set for the quality of its case, torque of its ratchet and sockets, and functionality of any additional accessories. Discover how to find the best socket set for your next repair.

Keep in mind that you should match your socket set to your car. Typically, US automakers use standard units of measurement, while international automakers use the metric system.

 

In this article:


5 Best Socket Sets

  1. Craftsman Mechanics Tool Set
  2. DeWalt 34-Piece Set
  3. DeWalt 247-Piece Set
  4. Stalwart Ratcheting Screwdriver Set
  5. Sunex Impact Socket Set

#1 Best For Daily Use: Craftsman Mechanics Tool Set

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If you’re looking for a complete socket set that covers all of the bases, the Craftsman Mechanics Tool Set is right for you. It’s a comprehensive 135-piece set that includes three different 72-tooth ratchets in SAE metric and standard sizes.

This set comes with six-point sockets plus a fastener for improved torque. It also includes combination wrenches, Allen wrenches, and a screwdriver with precision drive tips. Each socket has a full chrome polish finish, and the case is blow-molded for enhanced durability.

Key Features

  • 135 pieces
  • Three ratcheting wrenches
  • Six-point sockets
  • Blow-molded case

Our Experience

The high-quality chrome finish on each socket and ratchet wrench stood out to us the most during testing. Not only did each socket fit snugly to the wrenches, but each drill bit fit well in the screwdriver as well.

We were very impressed by how well the Craftsman sockets could fit into tight spaces, especially when using the smallest ratchet wrench. When using the 3/8-inch socket to loosen a bolt, we had no trouble getting started thanks to the extra drip provided by its six-point design.

The Craftsman set’s carrying case has deep ridges to prevent its tools from falling out during transportation. This increases security but at the cost of making each tool slightly difficult to remove.

Overall Rating 4.8 out of 5
Case 4.5 out of 5
Torque 5 out of 5
Accessories 5 out of 5
 

What Customers Are Saying

The Craftsman Mechanics Tool Set currently has over 1,500 reviews on Amazon, most of which gave the product 5 out of 5 stars.

Consumers like that the tools in the Craftsman kit are sturdy and durable. They frequently praise the laser-etched print on each socket and tool as being easy to read.

A frequent complaint is the 3/8-inch ratchet breaking easily. However, we had no issues with it in our testing.


#2 Best Basic: DeWalt 34-Piece Set

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The DeWalt 34-Piece Socket Set eliminates extra bells and whistles to provide the basic components of a ratchet wrench. With one ratchet, three adapters, and 29 sockets, this set exceeds ANSI specifications.

The ratchet wrench has a 72-tooth count and a five-degree arc swing for better torque. Each socket’s hard-stamped marking is easy to read. And thanks to its removable inner tray, the DeWalt set can be stacked in a larger toolbox.

Key Features

  • 34 pieces
  • One chrome-plated ratchet
  • Five-degree swing arc
  • Removable inner tray
  • See-through plastic lid

Our Experience

Our review team found the carrying case of the DeWalt 34-Piece socket set held up well against light use, but the plastic lid was flimsier than expected. We thought the removable inner tray was great, especially for conserving space.

Each socket we tested was able to handle torque well and stood up against the other best socket sets we tested. Due to its size, this kit doesn’t have many accessories other than the bare essentials of a ratchet wrench.

Overall Rating 4.7 out of 5
Case 4.5 out of 5
Torque 5 out of 5
Accessories 4.5 out of 5
 

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon customers overwhelmingly like the DeWalt 34-Piece socket set. It has an average rating of 4.8 stars from over 17,000 reviews, over 97 percent of which are 4 stars or higher.

Customers who like this socket set say it’s because of the DeWalt chrome sockets’ build quality. They also really like the carrying case, especially the removable tray.

A negative review that customers made often was that the ratchet wrench broke easily, even when used for low-torque jobs. They also claim this kit doesn’t have enough sockets compared to competitors.


#3 Most Accessories: DeWalt 247-Piece Set

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On the opposite end of the spectrum, DeWalt also makes a 247-Piece socket set that’s almost overflowing with tools. Not only does it offer a multitude of combination gear wrenches, but its three 72-tooth ratchet wrenches can be fitted with various sets of sockets that come included with this kit.

The included accessories are useful, too. There are many extension bars for reaching into tight spaces, as well as spark plug sockets and hex keys. These items normally must be bought separately, but the DeWalt kit includes them.

Key Features

  • 247 pieces
  • Three 72-tooth ratchets
  • Includes various accessories
  • Durable plastic case

Our Experience

Each of the tools in this socket set felt professional-grade when we tested them, especially the screwdriver thanks to its vinyl handle. The torque on each of the three ratchet wrenches was remarkably smooth. It’s worth noting that there were many reach fasteners for the smaller drivers.

We really liked the sturdiness of this set’s carrying case and found it to be the most durable case we tested. Due to its large size, it’s difficult to transport and is best suited for staying in one garage.

Overall Rating 4.5 out of 5
Case 4 out of 5
Torque 4.5 out of 5
Accessories 5 out of 5
 

What Customers Are Saying

Similar to its 34-piece cousin, the DeWalt 247-Piece socket set is well-received by customers with an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Out of around 10,000 reviews, over 95 percent left a rating of 4 stars or higher.

Among positive reviews, one compliment that comes up often regards the build quality of the DeWalt’s chrome-plated tools. Consumers frequently discuss their longevity and drop resilience.

The most frequent complaint among customers is that this socket set is very heavy, making it difficult for elderly people or people with back issues to transport.


#4 Most Portable: Stalwart Ratcheting Screwdriver Set

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If a case full of sockets and wrenches strikes you as overwhelming, the Stalwart Ratcheting Screwdriver Set is the change of pace you’re looking for. It comes with a ratcheting screwdriver and drivers suited for small jobs, as well as a precision screwdriver for detailed work.

The carry case of this set is made from scratch-resistant hard plastic, making it one of the best socket sets available. Each of the drivers and screwdriver bits are plated with chrome vanadium steel for a corrosion-resistant finish.

Key Features

  • 41 pieces
  • Handheld-size hard plastic case
  • Ratcheting screwdriver
  • Precision screwdriver

Our Experience

Our review team appreciated the quick-release opening system of the Stalwart set’s storage case, so it could be opened with one hand. Because of its size, the Stalwart set has a limited variety of sockets, so don’t expect to find a tool for every job with it.

The torque of the ratchet screwdriver was lower than expected. Our review team found it to be the weakest of the hand tools we tested. Despite this, the precision screwdriver worked very well and was easy to use.

Because of this set’s small size, it doesn’t come with many accessories. We found it useful for people who may need to do more repairs around the house, such as replacing wall socket covers.

Overall Rating 4.2 out of 5
Case 4.5 out of 5
Torque 4 out of 5
Accessories 4 out of 5
 

What Customers Are Saying

On Amazon, the Stalwart Ratcheting Screwdriver Set has an average rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars. This is from over 300 reviews, close to 70 percent of which are 5-star ratings.

One positive comment that gets mentioned is how well the Stalwart set works for field repairs, particularly when vehicles need minor fixes. They also appreciate this set’s compact size, meaning it could be a great option to keep in the car. A few negative comments say the screwdriver feels flimsy.


#5 Best Impact: Sunex Impact Socket Set

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Made from harder materials than most standard sockets and more durable, the Sunex Impact Socket Set is designed for jobs that require high torque. These sockets have a rounded six-point design, unlike other SAE sockets, which gives them better performance capabilities.

This set includes a universal joint that can be applied to most hand tools. Each socket is made of Cr-Mo steel and has a laser-imprinted label.

Key Features

  • 51 pieces
  • Cr-Mo steel sockets
  • Universal joint
  • Laser-imprinted labels

Our Experience

The size marking was clearly indicated on each socket thanks to the combination of its large font imprint and gray-on-black text design. Our review team was fond of the universal joint because of how easily it turned.

This socket set’s case was decent, but the tool pockets were shallow and did not grip the tools well. This resulted in sockets spilling around inside of the case during transport.

Unfortunately, this socket set doesn’t come with a ratchet wrench. Consumers will need to have one already in order to use this set to its full potential. It’s recommended to use this with an impact wrench for the best results.

Overall Rating 4.2 out of 5
Case 4 out of 5
Torque 4.5 out of 5
Accessories 4 out of 5
 

What Customers Are Saying

Customers on Amazon like the Sunex socket set. It has an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars from over 4,400 reviews. Over 80 percent of reviews are 5 stars, while there are no reviews that are 2 stars or lower.

Many reviews discuss Sunex’s high-quality customer service for repairing scratched or missing sockets. It’s especially popular among reviewers who are mechanics and need impact sockets for everyday use. The most common complaint is against the case, which some find too fragile.


Buyers Guide: Best Socket Sets

From socket shape to the number of sockets in a kit, here are a few factors to consider before purchasing your next socket set.

Socket Wrench Case

Designed to keep your socket wrench set organized and protect it from wear and tear, the case’s functionality is very important. Not only should a socket set’s case be able to handle light drops and scratches, but also prevent socket wrench pieces and other tools from cluttering.

Accessories

The typical socket set consists of anywhere between 30 and 200 pieces. These pieces can include tooth ratchets, sockets, screwdrivers, combination wrenches, and Allen wrenches.

Socket Size And Shape

There are two main types of sockets: six-point and twelve-point. Six-point sockets are better for repairs that require heavier torque, while twelve-points are better for fine-tuning. Most sockets are made for hand use, but impact sockets are generally twice as thick and are made for use with heavy-duty tools.

The typical socket set comes with a wide array of sockets to work on any job. Most will fit on a 1/4-inch, 1/2-inch, or 3/4-inch ratchet depending on their size. Shallow sockets fit where there is little clearance above the head of the fastener, while deep sockets can reach a nut on a longer, threaded bolt.

Included in many socket sets are driver sockets, which can be used to tighten or loosen fasteners such as flathead screws. Most sets are also equipped with drive adapters and hex-shank adapters that allow drives of all sizes to be used with a tooth wrench or screwdriver.

Most metric sockets are designed for use with hand tools only. Impact sockets, however, can be used with both hand and power tools.


Our Review Standards

The socket sets in this article went through two rounds of reviews. We started by searching Amazon for top products, looking at factors like Prime shipping eligibility, customer ratings, Amazon superlatives, and prices.

Our testing team ordered the five socket sets that best met these standards. A team member tested each product on a car, taking note of the size of each socket set, the torque of each wrench, and extra accessories that each set included. Each socket set was given a rating out of 5 stars based on this criteria.

Case

The size of the socket set’s case should be appropriate for easy portability, and its body should be able to handle light bumps. It should also be able to keep tools organized. Socket sets that had durable cases scored better in this category.

Torque

A socket set should have a ratchet that appropriately distributes torque and sockets that don’t slip or corrode easily. Socket sets that had each of these features earned more points.

Accessories

Socket sets should come with a variety of tools, including standard 1/4-inch, 3/8-inch, 5/8-inch, and 11/16-inch sockets. They should also include a ratchet or other tool to use the sockets with. Socket sets that had a wider range of sockets and other tools earned more points.

Best Socket Sets Testing Process

Each socket set was tested on a 2014 Honda Civic. We attached a 3/8-inch socket to the head of each kit’s wrench and measured how many passes it took to screw and unscrew appropriate bolts. The contents of each kit were counted, including all extra accessories that were not related to the ratchet. The material of each set’s case was lightly tested for durability.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most common socket set?

Almost all socket sets include 1/4-inch and 3/8-inch sockets, as these are two of the most commonly-used bolts in automotive repairs. A 1/4-inch drive will fit into tighter spaces, but a 3/8-inch socket has more torque.

Which is better, a six-point or twelve-point socket?

Six-point sockets are better for jobs that require higher torque and are much less likely to slip off of a stubborn fastener. This is because it’s designed to round over the corners of bolts at a sharper angle than 12-point sockets, greatly improving their grip. On the other hand, 12-point sockets are best suited for lightweight repairs.

Can I use impact sockets with a hand-operated ratchet?

Impact sockets will work with hand-operated ratchets as long as they have the right adapter, just like any other socket. Their thicker bodies are great for tackling jobs that require high torque.

What should I do if the chrome on one of my sockets is stripped?

Stripped sockets can be very sharp and cause bodily damage if not handled properly. If the chrome on one of your sockets is stripped, contact the manufacturer or consider replacing the individual piece. Many manufacturers will replace a stripped piece for little-to-no charge.

*Data accurate at time of publication.