Best Socket Set: Complete Buying Guide & Reviews

There are a number of great reasons that you’re going to want a socket set in your tool collection. That’s because sockets are used for a number of different tasks like loosening nuts and bolts of different sizes and shapes or even working with computers. With so many different types, however, it can be difficult to figure out just what is the best socket set for anyone. 

Best Socket Sets

Stanley 92-824 Socket Set

The Stanley 92–824 Set comes with 69 pieces that are almost exclusively sockets, which means you’re getting just what you need and not a lot else. It does come with two ratchets so you can use them and an extension bar, but other than that you’re getting 66 sockets in the whole set. They’re also designed to meet ANSI standards for durability and quality.

The pieces are each black chrome and laser etched for a sleek style that’s also going to give you the durability that you’re expecting from any tool. It’s also more corrosion resistant because of the chrome style that’s used. The case makes it easy to put all of your tools away and to make sure that everything is ready to go when you need it, even for transport. There’s a max drive design that gives you up to 15% more torque without you having to put in that much extra effort.

Things we like:

  • Black chrome for fewer rust worries
  • 66/69 tools are sockets
  • Case included for easy transport
  • 7-degree arc swing
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Metric and standard measurements

Things we don’t like:

  • The case makes it difficult to remove sockets
  • Fewer large sockets than other sets

Dewalt DWMT81534 Mechanics Tool Set

This Dewalt Mechanics Socket Set actually comes with 205 pieces, which means you’re going to get a whole lot of variety to help you prepare for anything. The ratchet itself allows for a 5-degree arc, which means you can still use it even in tighter spaces without having to worry about it not actually tightening down the way you need it to. There’s also a lifetime warranty on the tools themselves.

You’ll get a sturdy case that holds all of the pieces so when you’re done using it you just put the pieces away and you’ll be ready to put the box up somewhere safe. When you’re using them you’ll feel comfortable with the process because the ratchets are anti-slip coated to protect your hands. The set itself comes with Allen wrenches, traditional wrenches, sockets, ratchets and bits to make sure you can accomplish a range of tasks.

Things we like:

  • Lifetime warranty
  • A wide range of tools
  • Metric measurements
  • 205 total pieces
  • 5-degree ratchet arc
  • Solid, plastic case for carrying

Things we don’t like:

  • The case is not high quality
  • Includes several other tools besides sockets

Crescent CTK170CMP2 Mechanics Tool Set

The Crescent Tool Set comes with a hard-sided case that is easy to open and easy to lock. It comes with 170 different pieces that include a large range of sockets in both standard and metric sizes plus ratchets, wrenches and some general tools so you can get a range of different projects done with just this one set of tools. All of the tools meet ANSI and ASME specifications, which means that they are made to work well and work for a long time.

They also have a full satisfaction guarantee, so you know that if you aren’t happy with them for any reason you’ll always be able to send them back. All the pieces are finished with chrome to give them a sleek look and also make sure they are less prone to rusting. It’s great for beginners who are just getting their first set of tools as well as more advanced users.

Things we like:

  • Tools are high quality and made to last
  • Hard-sided case included to keep everything together
  • 170 different pieces
  • ANSI and ASME certified
  • Full satisfaction guarantee
  • Chrome finish

Things we don’t like:

  • The case is not high quality
  • Sockets can slip out of spots easily

Stanley STMT71652 Socket Set

The Stanley STMT71652 is a 123 piece set that comes with a large number of sockets of different sizes and styles as well as ratchets and a few other tools that you might need. The chrome vanadium body is designed to torque and durability, which means you don’t need to put quite as much effort into it.

There’s a quick release switch and a reversible mechanism to get them working even better and the ratchet handles are designed ergonomically so you can hold them comfortably and for an extended time.

The case itself is durable and designed to keep your tools altogether, so they’re ready when you need them. You’ll get both standard and metric sockets and tools here, which is a benefit because you’re prepared for several different types of projects. It’s also designed to meet ANSI specifications, meaning that it’s made to last for a long time.

Things we like:

  • 123 total pieces
  • Includes specialty sockets
  • Molded carry case
  • Ergonomic ratchet handles
  • Chrome plated tools for anti-corrosion
  • Smooth ratchet action

Things we don’t like:

  • Socket size markings are small
  • Pieces can come loose in case

Tekton Socket Set

If you’re looking for a smaller set the Tekton Socket Set is a great way to go because it’s a 45-piece set. It does have a case to make everything easier to store and comes with very few extra pieces aside from the sockets that you’re looking for so you don’t waste your money on things you don’t need. The ratchet also works with a 5-degree arc so you can work in tighter spaces.

The 6-point sockets work with the flat side of fasteners and have a high-torque capability, so they don’t round off and they do continue to work for an extended time. They’re made of chrome vanadium steel and have a chrome-plated finish for durability and anti-corrosion. You’ll find shallow and deep sockets in this set as well as a universal joint and an extension that gives you even more versatility. Also, the metric and standard design is great for a variety of uses.

Things we like:

  • Metric and standard included
  • Very few extra tools
  • Lightweight and small
  • Includes even less common sizes
  • High-quality pieces
  • High tooth design

Things we don’t like:

  • The case doesn’t hold sockets well
  • Ratchet selector switch is weak

Features to Consider

If you’re looking for a socket set for any kind of project you want to look at what’s out there. You want to make sure that you have all of the right options and that the set you buy is going to be complete enough for the tasks you need. There are actually hundreds of different sizes and styles of sockets to choose from, which means most of us won’t need a ‘complete’ set, but you want a set that provides at least what you need and a little more, right?

Number of Sockets

Look at the variety of sockets that you’re actually going to need. Do you need only a few different sizes of sockets or are you going to need a large range of them? If you only need a few then you probably don’t want to spend a lot of money getting a really large socket set that you’re only ever going to use a small portion of.

On the other hand, if you’re going to need several different sizes you don’t want to buy a super small set because you’ll end up needing to purchase even more every time you go to use it and don’t have the right size.


There are two different aspects to size that you need to consider. The first is whether you want a set of metric sockets or imperial ones. The sizes are going to be entirely different based on these different formats and you definitely want to make sure that you have the right ones.

For some people, it’s important to have both because of the variety of things they work with. For others, only one or the other may be just fine. Make sure you look at what you’re going to be working with to find out which form you need. The second aspect of size is the drive size. The drive size affects the type of objects and projects that you can use your sockets on as well.

The larger the drive the bigger around your socket is going to be, which may not work for smaller areas or projects. You want to again look at the type of jobs you’re going to be doing and then decide on a drive size that is going to work with that type of project and the amount of space available.

Impact vs. Manual Sockets

Are you going to be using impact wrenches or manual wrenches for the job you need to do? If you’re going to use impact wrenches then you absolutely need to have impact sockets.

You can’t use an impact wrench with a manual socket because you could actually cause some damage to your tools and to whatever you’re using it on. You may want to have a small set of both impact and manual sockets but if you’re only really going to use one or the other it’s a good way to save some money and stick with one.

Deep Sockets

There may be times that you need deep sockets to get the job done. Not all sets come with these types of sockets and the ones that do will generally only come with a few. You may want to at least have some on hand in case you need them but not everyone really does. If you know you won’t need them it may be an area that you can save a little and get more of the sockets that you’re actually going to use rather than getting a few of these just to round out your tool collection.

Specialty Sockets

Some people need different types of sockets for the different jobs that they do. These sockets will generally cost more and the sets that you’re looking for will be a little more difficult to find. They also will likely come in a set entirely by themselves, without any of the general types of sockets.

So if you need adjustable multi-sockets, pass through sockets, insulated sockets, oil filter sockets, universal sockets, bolt grip sockets or spark plug sockets, make sure that you’re looking for the right set. Don’t use the wrong kind in the wrong application.

Wrap Up

When it comes down to it you want a set of sockets that is going to give you what you’re really looking for but isn’t going to stock you up on other things. You’re looking for sockets and that means you don’t want to spend a lot of money to get something else in the set. The Stanley 92–824 Set is our favorite because of this.

It comes with a couple ratchets and an extender but the rest of the set is all sockets. There’s also a good number of sockets and you get a little bit of both metric and standard measurements. If you’re looking for something smaller you can opt for the Tekton Socket Set, which also comes with a good ratio of sockets to everything else.

You’re only going to get a couple extenders and ratchets with this system as well and you’re getting a smaller case. If you want something really large you can opt for the Dewalt set, which has over 200 pieces, but you’re going to get some other tools as well. If you’re interested in the Stanley we think is the best you can look above for links to that and any of our other contenders.

About Gus Donaldson

I built houses for over 30 years and recently retired. I've made lots of mistakes and hopefully teach you not to make the same ones. I still love to build and have a garage workshop that I use for hobby projects like the walnut bookshelf I made for my wife. I like to write and let people know that working with your hands and tools does not need to be intimidating.

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