Expert Reviews: 7 Best Socket Sets for the Money on the Market
Only the best socket sets for the money should be considered regardless of the fact you are a professional mechanic, DIY fanatic, or you simply need a useful tool at some moments. A well-made set will be able to replace all other tools you may need to use. It will last for decades, and it will be able to withstand all sorts of stress and pressure and to be used for any purpose you may have on your mind.
However, finding the best set is a bit more complicated than it sounds. There are all sorts of models out there, and not all of them are made in the same way. That’s why you need our help, and you need to stay focused while making the most crucial choice in your garage.
The first thing to consider is the number of pieces inside a set. They range between 50 up to 200, and it is always a better idea to get as many as possible. Simply said, you will be able to use that set for more purposes and small or huge operations. Then we have the corners of the set pieces. Six are standard, and they are solid. Twelve edges are a bit quicker to use, and they may come handy in some cases.
The number of teeth in a ratchet should be included in your quest also. Higher numbers offer you a much smaller radius, and they are desirable when you work in a tight area. A lower number of teeth can help you quickly complete a task, and also, they are more affordable.
The last thing to consider is the sizing or the size of the set. You need SAE or metric or both, depending on where you live and for which purposes you will use your new set. For instance, if you are planning to use the set for European cars, you need metric sizes. If you are planning to use it for American vehicles only, you need SAE sizes. It is truly up to you.
You may also want to check the best socket organizers review for a quality socket organizer to complement your socket set. If you need good digital torque wrench read this article.
Best Socket Sets for the Money Review
DeWalt DWMT75049 192-Piece Mechanics Socket/Tool Set
If you need a quick solution, the DeWalt DWMT75049 192-Piece Mechanics Socket/Tool Set is an excellent choice and the one we highly recommend. It all starts with the numbers. There are 192 pieces in the set. The ratchet has 72 teeth, and the arc of the ratchet is 5 degrees, which allows you to use it in tight areas. Then we have the laser-etched markings, which will stay visible and useful for ages. Then the surface of the pieces is carefully designed to provide plenty of grip at all situations.
The set uses 6 point pieces, and each one is well made. Furthermore, the collection includes three additions to the ratchets, three different ratchets, and Allen wrenches. Even the case is well-made and robust. The attention to detail is at the highest level possible, and we believe it is one of the best socket sets you can have today. It is simply essential for all hobbyists and DIY fanatics who will use it for work on cars, at home, and a garage in general.
The only drawback is the fact this set is probably made by one of the sister companies of Dewalt. As such, some owners have reported duplicates in the collection or some minor issues. Nevertheless, the set itself is sturdy and durable. It can be used for the most demanding situations.
- Massive set
- High level of attention to detail
- Great case
- Ratchets are easy to use
- Some units come with duplicates
- Poor quality control, in some cases
GearWrench 80550 57-Piece 3/8-Inch 6-Point Socket Set
This brand is known in the tool industry, and they have been making great products for ages. This one is one of them. First of all, the set offers 57 pieces, which isn’t much, but all common and needed parts are included and ready to be used. The ratchet has 82 teeth, so it has a minimal radius. You need at least 4.3 inches of radius to unscrew the most annoying bolts. Gear Wrench is probably the best known for the smallest radius in the industry.
All the pieces come with laser engraved markings, and each one is beautifully made. In the package, you get ¼-1 inches standard bits, ¼-7/8 deep pieces, and also 6-19 mm deep sockets. Then we also have the Surface Drive system. It allows you to remove a socket without damaging the bolt quickly. The brand is also famous among professionals, thanks to the comfortable handle and advanced features. Also, Gear Wrench is one of the leaders in the industry and known for offering stunning tools at reasonable prices.
Other than that, the set comes in a plastic case, and it is the main drawback. The case is weak and isn’t able to withstand transport or complicated usages. The hinges may break, and you will need to replace the case. When it comes to the sockets and ratchets, they are some of the strongest in the world, and they can withstand anything literally. Try and see for yourself.
- Strong design
- Comfortable handle
- Surface Drive technology
- Short radius
- Weak case
- No fast release button
Williams 50666 47-Piece 3/8-Inch 6-Point Socket Set
It may be a small set with only 47 sockets and pieces total, but there are a few advantages here. First of all, the set is made from CrV steel that can withstand heavy-duty usages. The brand patented an all-new design of the sockets that won’t damage the bolts and will make sure to unscrew them more comfortably than ever before.
The set includes eight deep and standard sockets (SAE), 14 metric shallow, and 13 metric deep sockets. All the sockets have 6 points, and they are suitable for most operations. We can see that the set also comes in a well-made and desirable case without any issues or complications. The same applies to the actual tools. The set will last, and it will meet most of your requirements.
We also liked the swivel ratchet extension. It allows you to use the ratchet for tight areas and situations when using a standard ratchet isn’t possible. Luckily for most of us, Williams offered a solution. The list of drawbacks is short. The most common issue is related to shipping and inadequate packaging. There are no other complications known.
- CrV steel
- 6 point design
- Swivel ratchet extension
- Great for use in tight areas
- Shipping issues
- Not extremely durable
SK 94549 49-Piece 3/8-Inch 6-Point Socket Set
There are no a lot of words we can use to explain the SK 94549 49-Piece 3/8-Inch 6-Point Socket Set. The best description we can provide is that the set is made for professionals and the most demanding usages. It can withstand any amount of stress and pressure, and it will make sure the bolt is unscrewed as soon as possible. This is possible thanks to a unique system that grabs a bolt more securely than any other available at the moment.
The ratchet is comfortable, but it has fewer teeth than the competition. As you should know already, this means that the radius is longer; hence you won’t be able to use the ratchet in tight areas. The set is still more preferable for users who don’t care about the price and the long radius.
The last we can reveal is the chrome finish. The sockets and the pieces, in general, look stunning and professional. We can add that they will last for decades, and there won’t be any damages visible. Don’t forget that the laser engraved markings will remain useful and essential as long as needed. The set comes with a limited lifetime warranty, which covers all the elements. This is one of the best brands when it comes to sockets and tools in general!
- Professional-grade set
- Extremely strong and durable
- Chrome finish
- Tight bolt grip
- Large radius
Stanley 92-839 99-Piece Black Chrome Socket/Wrench Set
Stanley 92-839 99-Piece Black Chrome Socket/Wrench Set is probably one of the best value for money units on the list. First of all, the set comes with 99 pieces. It features a ratchet with 7 degrees arc, and all the sockets are 6 points. Then there is a unique system that increases the torque by 15%. As such, you can use the sockets for unscrewing the most troublesome bolts. They won’t get damaged if you use this set.
The set includes all the main SAE and metric sockets you will mostly use. The laser edged markings are decent but not extraordinary. Then we have the black finish. It is up to you which version you prefer, chrome or black, but just keep in mind that this variation is more immune to dirt and debris, and it will stay like new for a more extended time.
The case is decent. It isn’t special, and there are some minor flaws, but you need to know that the price is more than affordable. We would like to recommend this set to light and medium-duty operations and users in general.
- 15% more torque
- Value for money
- Black finish
- 99 pieces in the set
- Poor package protection
Tekton 13101 45-Piece 3/8-Inch 6-Point Socket Set
Tekton 13101 45-Piece 3/8-Inch 6-Point Socket Set offers 5/6 up to ¾ inches both deep and shallow sockets, 5-degree ratchet, and 8-19 mm deep and shallow sockets. The ratchet has 72 teeth, and the extension of 6 inches is included in the package.
The elements are made from CrV steel, which is common in the industry. The chrome finish looks nice and makes the entire set more expensive than it is. Then we have the presence of all the sockets you will need. They even include a 5.5mm unit so you can get a complete picture of how well-organized and appealing the package is.
The case is above average, and it will last for years. There are a few drawbacks. The first one is the markings on the sockets. They are too small for older users to see, and they are not very durable. On the other hand, this isn’t the problem for most users, and the set is decent in the lack of a better word. It has it all, and it will meet all the requirements you may have.
- All sizes available
- Decent packaging
- Chrome finish
- CrV steel
- Poor customer support
- Markings on the sockets
EPAuto ST-004-1 69-Piece 6-Point Socket Set
The set offers 3/8 and ¼ sockets, extensions, ratchets, and 69 pieces in total. All the units are made from CrV steel, they are paired with an exceptional finish, and they are made to last. The case is excellent, as well. Keep in mind that this is one of the most affordable sets available today, so don’t expect too much from it. Still, you get a lot for your money, and you will be more than just pleased to use the set regularly.
Overall the set is suitable for most users who will use it for occasional projects but also for all of you who are looking for the best value for money and an affordable unit. We also know that most users are pleasantly surprised when the set arrives, and they are happy to start using it for the first time.
As you would expect, there are a few drawbacks here as well. The first one is the duplicates. They are present, slightly more than other sets have to offer. Then we have a coating of the chrome on the sockets that makes it difficult to pair with the ratchet. You may need to invest some time into sanding the layers into solving the issue.
- Affordable set
- All major sockets included
- CrV steel construction
- Great and durable finish
- Difficult fit
- Spares are challenging to find
If you are still looking for the best socket set, you will need to know precisely which factors deserve your attention. This brings us to the next section. Below you can see the main factors, features, and characteristics in general that make a socket set stand out from the crowd. All of this will assist you in making the right choice.
The first thing to consider is the number of sockets included in the set. As you can see, the numbers vary significantly, and there are a lo9t of possibilities. Typically they range between 49 and 197. In this case scenario, more is merrier, so you will need to choose a set that can be used for all the operations you have in mind, meaning you need a specific number of sockets included. For most of us, 197 elements are the best possible choice. Sixty or more are above average, and anything below is ordinary.
6 or 12 point sockets
It is up to you. There are pros and cons to each version. 6-point units are more durable due to the fact they have thicker walls, and they can withstand more advanced usages. 12-point models are more suitable for tight spaces and areas where you can access a bolt in one position only. Also, a 12-point version can be used for square nuts, but you will need a socket that can fit perfectly to that very not.
It is another essential feature to consider. All sets must be made from steel, and they must be able to withstand as much as possible stress and impacts. In most cases, you will end up with CrV steel, which is commonly used for this purpose, and it is sufficient for countless operations. One rule is that more substantial sets are more reliable, and they can usually last longer and withstand heavy-duty purposes.
There are two main types of sockets. The first one is the impact, and the second type is regular sockets. They are not the same. Believe it or not, impact sockets are softer to be able to absorb impacts. Regular sockets are much harder simply because they are not designed to withstand impacts. They can easily crack under impact.
In the lack of a more appropriate word, you do need a set that can be easily used in most situations. For that, you will need plenty of extensions and additions in the set, besides the sockets. For instance, the extendable arm is more than just appealing.
Some of you will want to know can they use impact sockets on a standard ratchet and vice versa. The answer is obviously yes. You can find a compatible impact socket and use it with a compatible ratchet. It should fit nicely, and it cannot be damaged in any way. On the other side, you cannot use standard sockets on an impact wrench. They are too hard, and they can crack under the impact!
Construction refers to how sockets are made. They are made from a steel rod that is cut into desired lengths, then shaped to fit a specific bolt size and to a ratchet. The last step is to engrave the sockets and make sure they meet the precise measurements. All sets available today are made in this way. A more important part is to make sure the errors are minimal, and there are no significant issues when it comes to using the sockets.
Ratchet radius is defined by the number of teeth there are inside the unit. More teeth make the radius shorter and more suitable for tight areas. Fewer teeth are the opposite. You get the ratchet that cannot be used in close spaces but is usually more affordable and more comfortable to use. It is up to you. If you need a tool to use it in small and narrow places, you will need a ratchet with as many teeth as possible. On the other hand, if you use it in large areas, then you do not have to pay attention to the ratchet radius and number of teeth.
Shallow and deep sockets
As you were able to see, most sets include shallow and deep sockets. There is a perfectly reasonable explanation behind this. Shallow sockets can be used on ordinary bolts and nuts. But, if a bolt is much longer than usual or it has threaded rod inside, you need a deep socket. This is the situation when you want to unscrew a sparkplug. You need a deep socket to catch the area with the bolt-alike shape. You need both versions, and you need a set that includes them.
Drive size ratchet
It refers to the size or the opening on the top of a socket that will be linked to a ratchet. There are a few differences. The most common and the most available today are 3/8 inch units. They can be easily found, and they can be used for most applications. But, there are also ½ and ¼ inch versions. You can use them all with a single ratchet, but you will need adaptors. They are widely available as well, and they come cheap. Keep in mind that the adaptor will usually be the weakest link in the chain, and if it is poorly made, it can crack at any given moment.
You need a case that can hold all the sockets and other components in place while transport, while moving around a garage or a workshop and while working. A case is the only thing that can hold all of those items together so that you will need a strong and durable one. Make sure to pay close attention to the slots for the sockets. They have to be strong, reliable, and provide a tight fit.
It is the smallest feature that has a considerable effect. The quick-release button is located on a ratchet, and it can be used to unlock the socket and easily remove it from the ratchet itself. If you don’t press the button, you are unable to remove it, as simple as that. Although this is a standard feature, not all sets come with it, keep that in mind. We liked it a lot.
How will your set look? You can opt for a chrome finish, which is the most common and generally the most popular option. You can also opt for a black finish that is appealing and more resilient to the dirt and grime. It is up to you, and finishes don’t have the central role in strength or durability.
The SAE or metric sizes on the sockets are engraved using a laser. They can withstand a lot of stress, and they can stay operational for years. They are also the most common and the most appealing option. Honestly, you will hardly find another variation. Just make sure that all the writings and the sizes are engraved in depth so they can withstand a lot of usages, and they won’t fade.
Is there a difference between 6 and 12 point sockets?
Yes. 6 have six corners while 12 have 12 sides or points. 6 point sockets are more robust and more durable. Twelve side units can be used in tight spaces and for smaller applications.
Can you use impact sockets on a standard ratchet and vice versa?
You can use impact sockets on standard ratchets, but you cannot use standard sockets on impact wrenches. They will crack.
Which drive size do I need?
There are three main types. 3/8 is very reliable, standard, and very durable. If you need a drive size for more advanced projects, you will need ½ size. ¼ is used for smaller bolts and nuts, and they are common in the world of hobbyists.
Which brands are the best in terms of quality?
The best brands include Williams, Dewalt, and Gear Wrench. Those brands are well-known for the quality, strength, and attention to detail
Is there a difference between chrome molybdenum and chrome vanadium?
Yes, there are. Chrome-molybdenum is generally stronger and used for more professional tools. It can withstand higher levels of stress and pressure. On the other hand, chrome vanadium is more affordable and more flexible.
Which set is the best?
The best set is the one that has all the sockets you will need, can be used in spaces where you work, and comes with a durable and robust case. There are plenty of units out there that can meet all of these requirements, and 7 of them are actually on the list above.
Check out also our reviews about the best adjustable wrenches. Or maybe you would be more interested see about best ratcheting wrench set review.
You were able to see the best socket sets for the money and the ones that deserve the most attention, and the ones that can be used for all sorts of applications, purposes and they will endure. It was a difficult and almost impossible task, but we managed to provide you with all the details, specifics, and so much more so you can find a set that is just right. Take a closer look at the details, specifics, and so much more, and you are good to go.
Last update on 2023-03-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API