Best Socket Set for Mechanic & Car Maintenance – Reviews & Comparison

 

Sockets offer ease and efficiency in loosening and tightening fasteners. They come in various sizes, types, and finishes and are typically purchased in sets. Most sets are a combination of sockets, ratchets, and wrenches. When buying a socket set, consider the variety of sockets included.

Below is a review of the best socket sets for mechanic and car maintenance people, along with an informational buying guide to help you make your decision.

6 Best Socket Sets for Mechanics and Car Maintenance

1. Best Overall: EpAuto Socket Set With Reversible Ratchet

[lasso fields=”B01LZEMYOD” value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image_align=”center” link_id=”751″ ref=”40-pieces-epauto-1-4-inch-3-8-inch-drive-socket-set-with-72-tooth-reversible-ratchet” id=”7852″]

[lasso fields=”B01LZEMYOD” value=”button” link_id=”752″ ref=”40-pieces-epauto-1-4-inch-3-8-inch-drive-socket-set-with-72-tooth-reversible-ratchet” id=”7852″]

This is a simple 40-piece set that contains some of the most essential sockets a mechanic needs. It is made in Taiwan and priced affordably. The pieces undergo rigorous testing to ensure they meet the industry’s highest standards. It can be used for cars, motorcycles, trucks, and bicycle maintenance.

The set consists of the following:

  • 1/4 and 3/8 inch, SAE and metric sockets
  • 6 and 8 point sockets
  • 1/4-inch drive x 6-inch spinner handle
  • 3/8-inch reversible ratchet
  • Spin disk
  • 3/8-inch (F) x ¼-inch (M) adapter
  • 3/8-inch drive x 3-inch extension bar
  • Storage case

The ratchet has a reverse quick-release mechanism. All the pieces come with a case that has foam inlay in the interior for organization and storage.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Decent quality
  • Contains essential sockets

Cons

  • Some people find it challenging to detach the sockets for ratchet

2. Best Budget: WORKPRO 39-Piece Mechanics Tool Set

[lasso fields=”B07RBV3LZT” value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image_align=”center” link_id=”753″ ref=”workpro-39-piece-drive-socket-wrench-set-1-4-inch-3-8-inch-small-sockets-set-3-8-ratchets-extensions-spinner-handle-adapter-mechanics-tool-set-with-tool-box-for-repairing-metric-a” id=”8070″]

[lasso fields=”B07RBV3LZT” value=”button” link_id=”754″ ref=”workpro-39-piece-drive-socket-wrench-set-1-4-inch-3-8-inch-small-sockets-set-3-8-ratchets-extensions-spinner-handle-adapter-mechanics-tool-set-with-tool-box-for-repairing-metric-a” id=”8070″]

If you are looking for a socket set that is of high quality but still affordable, go for the WORKPRO 39-Piece Mechanics Tool Set. It consists of the following:

  • 1/4, 3/8″ SAE and metric sockets
  • 6-point and 8-point metric sockets and SAE sockets
  • 3/8-inch ratchet handles
  • 1/4-inch (m) x 3/8 inch (f) adapter
  • 1/4-inch drive extension bar – 3-inches long
  • 1/4-inch drive spinner handle
  • Spin disc
  • Molded Case

The pieces are constructed with heat-treated Cr-v steel. They are chrome plated for durability and rust resistance.

The 1/4-inch driver spinner has a PVC handle for enhanced comfort and performance. It is suited for a 1/4″ drive socket. The socket set comes with a molded storage case calibrated for organization. It offers optimal protection to the various parts and easy portability.

Pros

  • Super affordable
  • High quality
  • Meets California 65 proposal for added safety

Cons

  • Limited range of sockets

3. Best Value for Money: Amazon Basics Mechanic Toolkit and Socket Set

[lasso fields=”B074MFY7BM” value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image_align=”center” link_id=”755″ ref=”amazon-basics-mechanic-tool-kit-and-socket-set-with-case-set-of-123″ id=”7858″]

[lasso fields=”B074MFY7BM” value=”button” link_id=”756″ ref=”amazon-basics-mechanic-tool-kit-and-socket-set-with-case-set-of-123″ id=”7858″]

This mechanic’s tool kit is sold at a more affordable price and contains all the essential tools a mechanic needs ( from sockets to Allen keys). This Amazon Basics mechanical tool kit has 123 pieces total, including:

  • SAE and Metric sockets
  • Screwdriver bits
  • Allen keys
  • Hex keys
  • Drive handle
  • Extension bar
  • Bit adapter
  • Spark plug socket
  • Reversible ratchets
See also  5 Best Pass Through Socket Sets 2022

These tools are made of high-quality materials and durable construction using chrome-vanadium steel. It makes them long-lasting and offers reliable torque. These tools have a chrome finish for enhanced corrosion resistance.

The ratchets have a reversible design with a pear-head that easily maneuvers in tight areas. They have a quick-release switch and reversible design that provides added control. The set comes with a storage case with an integrated handle and designated storage and organization slots.

Pros

  • Good-quality construction
  • Includes most common sockets
  • Ratchets are easy to operate

Cons

  • Loose extension
  • Some report the case isn’t strong enough to hold all the tools properly

4. Best Complete Set: Powerbuilt 642472 Mechanics Tool Set

[lasso fields=”B07M8SLQP2″ value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image_align=”center” link_id=”757″ ref=”powerbuilt-200-piece-1-4-inch-3-8-inch-and-1-2-inch-drive-mechanics-tool-set-with-sae-and-metric-socket-set-powerbuilt-xt-90-tooth-seal-head-ratchets-including-case-642472″ id=”7990″]

[lasso fields=”B07M8SLQP2″ value=”button” link_id=”758″ ref=”powerbuilt-200-piece-1-4-inch-3-8-inch-and-1-2-inch-drive-mechanics-tool-set-with-sae-and-metric-socket-set-powerbuilt-xt-90-tooth-seal-head-ratchets-including-case-642472″ id=”7990″]

This 200-piece master technician’s kit by Powerbuilt offers a broad collection of tools needed for most automotive and mechanic jobs.

This kit includes the following:

  • ¼”, 3/8″ and 1/2″ shallow and deep sockets
  • Drive 6 pt. and 12 pt. sockets
  • ¼”, 3/8″ and 1/2″ metric and SAE sockets
  • SAE and metric long handle combination wrenches
  • 3/8″ drive spark plug sockets: 5/8″, 13/16″
  • SAE hex key wrenches
  • SAE long arm hex key wrenches
  • Drive wobble end extension bar
  • ¼”, 3/8″ and 1/2″ M and F drive adapters
  • 1/4″ drive spinner handle and bit coupler
  • 1/4″, 3/8″, and 1/2″ drive universal joint
  • 3/8″ drive hex bit sockets: 5/16″, 3/8″, 8mm, 10mm
  • 3/8″ drive torx bit sockets: T-40, T-45, T-47, T-50, T-55
  • Tamper-proof torx: T-10 (2 ea.), T-15 (2 ea.), T-20, T-25, T-27, T-30, T-40
  • Hex: 3/32″, 1/8″, 5/32″, 3/16″, 1/4″, 3mm, 4mm, 4.5mm, 5mm, 5.5mm, 6mm, 7mm
  • Phillips: #0 (2 ea.), #1 (3 ea.), #2 (3 ea.), #3 (2 ea.)
  • Flat: 1/8″, 5/32″, 3/16″ (3 ea.), 1/4″ (3 ea.), 5/16″
  • Square: S-1, S-2, S-3
  • Durable storage case

All the pieces of this kit are strongly built using premium chrome vanadium steel. They have jumbo markings forged on each of the socket’s sidewalls to ensure they last throughout the lifespan of the sockets without fading off. These tools meet and exceed ANSI standards.

Aside from the stylish exterior, they also have an innovative z-drive design that provides a good grip on fasteners. They offer better control on the fasteners preventing slippage, and deliver high torque.

The socket openings are precision chamfered, making them easy to slide over the fasteners. They have a punctured hole at the center, which provides more room for taller bolts and nuts.

The ratchets have a 90-tooth sealed head with a 4-degree swing for easy access in tight spaces. They feature ergonomic full-length handles that provide a more balanced feel. They are molded with finger grooves to provide maximum control and comfort. The finger grooves are also offset to provide adequate knuckle clearance.

The double storage case is sturdy and has adequate slots for organizing and storing all the tools. The wrench holders are removable and can be placed separately and kept nearby as you work.

Pros

  • Contains all the essentials you need as a mechanic
  • Premium quality materials and construction
  • Stylish designs
  • Ergonomic handles
  • Exceed ANSI standards

Cons

  • On the higher end of the price spectrum
  • Sealed head ratchet may be difficult for some to use

5. Best Professional Grade: STANLEY Drive Socket Set, 85-Piece

[lasso fields=”B009EMKLD6″ value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image_align=”center” link_id=”759″ ref=”stanley-drive-socket-set-85-piece-stmt71651″ id=”8021″]

[lasso fields=”B009EMKLD6″ value=”button” link_id=”760″ ref=”stanley-drive-socket-set-85-piece-stmt71651″ id=”8021″]

This tool set offers a large collection of sockets and drive tools, including:

  • 1/4″, 3/8″ pear head ratchet
  • 3/8″ drive extension bar – 3″
  • 1/4″, 3/8″ deep sockets – 6 pt
  • 1/4″, 3/8″ drive sockets – 6 pt
  • 3″, 6″ drive extensions
  • 1/4″ spinner handle
  • 1/4″ drive specialty bits
  • 3/8″ spark plug socket
  • 1/4″ bit holder
  • Blow-molded carry case
See also  5 Best Pass Through Socket Sets 2022

These professional-grade sockets meet or exceed ANSI specifications. They are made of Chrome Vanadium for enhanced strength, torque, and durability. They have full chrome polish for enhanced corrosion resistance.

The ratchets in this set are designed with ergonomic handles for comfort and ease of use. They have a reverse, thumb-operated mechanism. The extensions also have a quick-release mechanism.

The pieces are packaged in a tough and durable carry case for easy portability and storage.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Wide collection of mechanical tools
  • Easy to use
  • Portable

Cons

  • Some people dislike the case design

6. Best Spark Plugs Sockets: ARES 11016-5-Piece Magnetic Spark Plug Socket Set

[lasso fields=”B07ZPJF9QT” value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image_align=”center” link_id=”761″ ref=”ares-11016-5-piece-magnetic-spark-plug-socket-set-includes-14mm-and-16mm-thin-wall-sockets-and-9-16-inch-5-8-inch-and-13-16-inch-sockets-convenient-reusable-storage-rail-included” id=”7861″]

[lasso fields=”B07ZPJF9QT” value=”button” link_id=”762″ ref=”ares-11016-5-piece-magnetic-spark-plug-socket-set-includes-14mm-and-16mm-thin-wall-sockets-and-9-16-inch-5-8-inch-and-13-16-inch-sockets-convenient-reusable-storage-rail-included” id=”7861″]

This 5-set spark plug socket set consists of:

  • 14mm and 16mm thin wall sockets
  • 9/16-inch, 5/8-inch, and 13/16-inch sockets

They are made of Chrome Vanadium Steel and heat-treated for durability. They have a mirror polish chrome finish for easy cleaning. The finish also gives the plugs a more professional look. Their sizes are visibly marked for easy identification of the plugs.

The sockets are fitted with magnets that hold the spark plugs securely when installing them. They also have knurled bands for optimal grip. They come with a reusable aluminum socket rail with spring-loaded ball-bearing clips.

Pros

  • Meet ANSI/ASME standards
  • Backed by a limited lifetime warranty
  • Can be used in a variety of applications
  • Won’t wear out like traditional rubber gaskets

Cons

  • May not be compatible with certain types of spark plugs

Buying Guide for the Best Socket Sets for Mechanic

fully stocked ratchet box with various bits and nuts
Image Credit: Shutterstock

This section will cover the various types of sockets and factors to consider when buying one.

Types of Socket Sets

You must understand the various types of sockets to determine which ones your need. Below is an overview of the various types of sockets.

Impact Sockets

Impact sockets can only be used with impact guns or impact-rated drivers. They also vary from regular sockets in their engineering. Usually, they are constructed with chrome-molybdenum steel to ensure they do not shatter under the force of the impact gun. As such, they are thicker and sturdier than regular sockets. They are also more expensive.

SAE Socket

Also known as imperial or standard sockets, Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) sockets are labeled by the standard measurement system in inches. They are manufactured for work on American-made vehicles. The most commonly used SAE socket sizes are 3/8, 5/8, and 11/16-inch.

Metric Socket

A metric socket is an imperial-sized driver. The drive dimensions follow US sizes. Metric sizes are measured in millimeters.

Torx Bit Sockets

Unlike regular sockets that use the metric or standard measuring system, Torx bit sockets use a unique star system for labeling. Although most cars use regular sockets, a few use Torx bits, in which case you need to invest in these unique sockets.

Driver Bits

Like Torx bits, these are not true sockets. They work with specific screws sizes and types such as Phillips, Robertson, flat, or slotted. They can be used with regular ratchets for additional torque when fastening or loosening screws.

Pass-Through Sockets

A pass-through socket is specially designed for use with hard-to-reach bolts. They have a unique construction that allows the stud to pass through the sockets. They require a special ratchet that fits the entire circuit and allows the starch to pass through. On the downside, they are bigger than regular sockets and take up a lot of space.

See also  5 Best Pass Through Socket Sets 2022

Spark Plug Sockets

Spark plug sockets are another specialty type of socket. They are mainly used for fitting or removing spark plugs. Some have a rubber insert protecting the spark plug from damage during removal and installation. They are essential for automotive professionals and DIY mechanics.

Factors to Consider When Buying Socket Sets for Mechanic

To determine the right socket set to buy, you have to put into consideration the following factors:

Drive Size

When choosing your socket set, drive size is a key functionality factor to consider. It is the top part of the socket where the ratchets attach. Most automotive sockets come in three main drive sizes:

  • ½-inch – suitable for high torque applications such as wheel replacement using a breaker bar. They are not suitable for all-purpose jobs, as they are not compatible with most ratchets unless you have an adapter.
  • â…œ-inch – these are the most common and readily available. They are suitable for a wide range of DIY projects and industrial use. They tend to be of a higher quality but are also more affordable.
  • ¼-inch – these are best for tight spaces or with recessed nuts. However, they have less power and torque compared to the other two types.

Deep vs Shallow Sockets

Most socket sets come with both deep and shallow sockets to allow you to work with most bolts and nuts. Deep sockets are designed for reaching nuts and bolts that sit more than one inch down a shaft.

On the other hand, shallow sockets work with nuts and sockets that sit less than an inch in the socket shaft. They are mostly used for non-automotive tasks.

Shape of the Socket

Regarding shape, sockets are categorized by the number of points, usually six-point or 12-point. Six-point sockets are sturdier as they have thicker walls. They are best suited for heavy-duty applications.

Conversely, 12-point sockets are suitable for low-torque applications and in difficult areas to access.

Finish

The type of socket finish determines its durability. There are two most common types of finishes: chrome plating or black oxide.

  • Chrome-plating is common for regular sockets. It provides a smooth and easy-to-clean surface. It also prevents moisture damage and rust buildup. Sockets with this type of finishing are more affordable.
  • Black oxide finish is mostly used on impact sockets. It is as effective as chrome plating in weatherproofing and enhances rust resistance. It withstands high force better, preventing flaking or chipping when the sockets are used with impact guns.

Additional Tools

Aside from sockets, most sets come with complementary tools such as extension bars, breaker bars, and swivel joints.

  • Breaker bars are long bars that provide additional torque when loosening incredibly tight fasteners.
  • Swivel joints are attached between a socket and ratchet to enable you to access fasteners in tight corners.
  • Extension bars also help you to access fasteners in tight corners.

Portability

When buying a socket set, you want to ensure that it comes with a sturdy and portable case. It should have a high-quality interior with slots for storing the sockets. It should also have a handle to make carrying it from one place to another easier.

Conclusion

The best socket sets have a collection of various sockets, a ratchet, and other complementary tools such as an extended bar and extensions. For a more comprehensive set, go for one that also has screw bits, Allen keys, and wrenches. Always check the socket set’s reviews before buying to ensure it is highly rated and is suitable for your various applications.

Today's Deals