Best Socket Set in 2021 – A Full and Complete Review of the Top Kits

When you need to tighten and loosen nuts and bolts, you could try a traditional wrench, but socket wrenches and the right socket set make your job a lot easier. This is especially true when working on lawnmowers, cars, and other machinery.

Ratchet sets are called socket sets, and they don’t have a fixed end. Instead, you can interchange the sockets of various sizes to match your fastener.

When you need more power than your muscles can provide, impact sockets are the answer. Impact wrenches are great tools to add a boost of power and torque so that you can turn stubborn nuts and bolts. Such wrenches use sockets to handle the extra force of your tool.

9.5
Best Socket Set in 2021 – A Full and Complete Review of the Top Kits

MulWark Premium Master 34-piece Socket Set Best Budget

If you’re a hobbyist, you probably don’t need a high-end socket set.
9
Best Socket Set in 2021 – A Full and Complete Review of the Top Kits

Neiko 10083A Master Torx Bit Socket and External Torx Socket Set Best Torx Bit

They definitely need a special screwdriver, and the Torx socket set has you covered.
8.5
Best Socket Set in 2021 – A Full and Complete Review of the Top Kits

Stalwart 75-HT4023B Ratchet, Metric Socket, and Bit Set Best Portable

It’s important to have compact and portable socket wrenches to handle unexpected repair jobs.
8
Best Socket Set in 2021 – A Full and Complete Review of the Top Kits

Stanley STMT71652 123-piece Socket Set Best Complete Package

This is a crowd-pleaser that has more than 70 sockets, 20 screwdriver bits, a spinner handle, and a ratchet.
8
Best Socket Set in 2021 – A Full and Complete Review of the Top Kits

Sunex Tools 3580 3/8-inch Drive Master Impact Socket Set Best Professional Grad

Plus, there’s an extension bar or two, as well.
7.5
Best Socket Set in 2021 – A Full and Complete Review of the Top Kits

Sunex Spark Plug Socket Set Best for Spark Plugs

You’re sure to appreciate the Sunex socket set designed for spark plugs.

Unlike traditional wrenches, sockets fit around the full fastener. That way, it doesn’t slip as easily. Plus, you don’t need to reposition or remove the ratchet while working in tight spots as you must with a regular wrench. Therefore, you have less frustration and can work faster.

Normally, sockets are sold in sets with a range of sizes and attachments for specialty needs. Most sets have sockets with SAE and metric sizes, but some might be one or the other.

Whether you have specialty sockets or regular sockets, it’s important to decide which ones are best for your needs. Here are the top socket sets available on the market today:

Top Socket Sets

Sunex Tools 3342 3/8-inch Drive Master Impact Socket Set

Best Overall
There are 42 sockets, and each is crafted with the best materials. With that, you also have deep SAE sockets. Those who require the best quality and performance with affordability in mind are sure to appreciate these sockets.
10Expert Score
Right tools for the job

Professional auto technicians are sure to appreciate these standard SAE sockets and metric versions, too. With options ranging from 10 to 19 mm.

Performance
8.5
Affordability
8
Pros
  • Very durable
  • Heavy-duty case for storage
  • Can be used with an impact wrench
  • Laser-etched for easy identification
Cons
  • Only contains 3/8-inch drive sockets
  • Issues with storage case
Sunex Tools 3342 3-8-inch Drive Master Impact Socket Set

When you want standard metric sockets, this is a great collection from Sunex Tools. There are 42 sockets, and each is crafted with the best materials. With that, you also have deep SAE sockets. Those who require the best quality and performance with affordability in mind are sure to appreciate these sockets.

They’re built for use on impact sockets, but you can use them as a socket wrench, too.

Ultimately, this set is perfect for a DIYer who wants an upgrade. Professional auto technicians are sure to appreciate these standard SAE sockets and metric versions, too. With options ranging from 10 to 19 mm and the SAE sockets going from 5/16 to 3/4-inch, you’re sure to have the right tools for the job.

You also get a 3-inch extender for hard-to-reach areas.

Features:

  • Deep Sockets Included – Yes
  • Impact Sockets – Yes
  • Material – Chrome Vanadium Steel
  • Set Size – 42 Pieces
  • Drive Size – 3/8-inch

MulWark Premium Master 34-piece Socket Set

Best Budget
This set includes 17 metric and SAE hex sockets in the most common sizes. However, it doesn’t include the ratchet and doesn’t have adapters, extenders, and other accessories that high-priced socket sets offer. Still, you get a nice, sturdy plastic case.
9.5Expert Score
SUPERIOR VERSATILITY

You’re sure to appreciate the complete socket set from MulWark because it has the basic sockets you need for car, bicycle, motorcycle, and machinery repairs.

EASY TO CARRY
10
Quick organization
9
Pros
  • Reasonable price
  • Durable
  • Common sizes available
Cons
  • No socket wrench or accessories
MulWark Premium Master 34-piece Socket Set

If you’re a hobbyist, you probably don’t need a high-end socket set. Usually, a budget-friendly option meets most or all of your needs. You’re sure to appreciate the complete socket set from MulWark because it has the basic sockets you need for car, bicycle, motorcycle, and machinery repairs.

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This set includes 17 metric and SAE hex sockets in the most common sizes. However, it doesn’t include the ratchet and doesn’t have adapters, extenders, and other accessories that high-priced socket sets offer. Still, you get a nice, sturdy plastic case.

Ultimately, this is an affordable set and great for any home toolbox. It has plenty of durability and variety to handle household jobs. Plus, it’s compact and competitively priced to add to any handyperson’s collection.

Features:

  • Deep Sockets Included – No
  • Impact Sockets – No
  • Material – S2 Steel
  • Set Size – 34 Pieces
  • Drive Size – 1/4-, 3/8-, and 1/2-inch

Neiko 10083A Master Torx Bit Socket and External Torx Socket Set

Best Torx Bit
For mechanics who want to access a comprehensive selection of Torx sockets without taking workplace tools home, the Neiko Socket Set offers near-professional-grade quality. Though it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles, you’re sure to get everything you need.
9.5Expert Score
Awesome

You need specific sockets for various fasteners, and Torx screws have a six-point star pattern.

SUPERIOR QUALITY
10
TORQUE POWER
10
Pros
  • Durable construction
  • Sturdy plastic case
  • Includes bits and sockets
  • Comprehensive Torx set
Cons
  • No socket wrench included
  • Only for specialty needs

You need specific sockets for various fasteners, and Torx screws have a six-point star pattern. They definitely need a special screwdriver, and the Torx socket set has you covered.

Neiko 10083A Master Torx Bit Socket and External Torx Socket Set

For mechanics who want to access a comprehensive selection of Torx sockets without taking workplace tools home, the Neiko Socket Set offers near-professional-grade quality. Though it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles, you’re sure to get everything you need.

With this socket set, you get 17 Torx star bit sockets, 17 tamper-proof sockets, and 12 Torx Plus sockets. Whether you handle bicycle repairs or are a computer technician, you’re sure to run into such a screw at some point.

Though this collection shouldn’t replace a traditional set of sockets, it’s important to add to your toolbox. Otherwise, you may not be able to remove such pesky fasteners!

Features:

  • Deep Sockets Included – No
  • Impact Sockets – No
  • Material – Chrome Vanadium
  • Set Size – 60 Pieces
  • Drive Size – 1/4-, 3/8-, 1/2-inch

Stalwart 75-HT4023B Ratchet, Metric Socket, and Bit Set

Best Portable
This is a budget-friendly socket wrench set that has much value in a small case. You get the ratchet wrench and eight metric sockets with 12 screwdriver bits of different sizes. That means you have the right gear for minor automotive and household repairs.
9Expert Score
TOOL FOR EVERY JOB

However, it doesn’t have as many pieces as some of the others. Still, the small size is great for a kitchen drawer or glove compartment.

DURABLE
9.5
CONVENIENT STORAGE
8
Pros
  • Perfect for an emergency or car kit
  • Reasonable price
  • Includes sockets and screwdriver bits
Cons
  • Not many sockets included

It’s important to have compact and portable socket wrenches to handle unexpected repair jobs. With the Stalwart brand, you get metric sockets that fit your everyday requirements perfectly.

Stalwart 75-HT4023B Ratchet, Metric Socket, and Bit Set1

This is a budget-friendly socket wrench set that has much value in a small case. You get the ratchet wrench and eight metric sockets with 12 screwdriver bits of different sizes. That means you have the right gear for minor automotive and household repairs.

These 6-point sockets are great for jobs where you can’t use bigger tools. However, it doesn’t have as many pieces as some of the others. Still, the small size is great for a kitchen drawer or glove compartment.

Features:

  • Deep Sockets Included – No
  • Impact Sockets – No
  • Material – Not Listed
  • Set Size – 26 Pieces
  • Drive Size – 1/4-inch

Stanley STMT71652 123-piece Socket Set

Best Complete Package
With that, this socket set is great for beginners who are starting out and semi-professionals who want a backup of their most important tools. Since the pieces are made of chrome vanadium steel, you know it’s durable and ready to tackle any automotive and household project you have!
8.5Expert Score
Quick release allows user to remove extensions

For those who want all the sockets, you need the right socket set that combines quality and variety with an affordable price range.

Mobility
10
Easy Storag
10
Pros
  • Durable construction
  • Comprehensive set
Cons
  • Small size markings
  • Case issues
Stanley STMT71652 123-piece Socket Set 1

For those who want all the sockets, you need the right socket set that combines quality and variety with an affordable price range. The Stanley 123-piece socket wrench set has you covered. This is a crowd-pleaser that has more than 70 sockets, 20 screwdriver bits, a spinner handle, and a ratchet.

With that, this socket set is great for beginners who are starting out and semi-professionals who want a backup of their most important tools. Since the pieces are made of chrome vanadium steel, you know it’s durable and ready to tackle any automotive and household project you have!

Features:

  • Deep Sockets Included – Yes
  • Impact Sockets – No
  • Material – Chrome Vanadium Steel
  • Set Size – 123 Pieces
  • Drive Size – 1/4- and 3/8-inch

Sunex Tools 3580 3/8-inch Drive Master Impact Socket Set

Best Professional Grad
It’s crafted with chromium-molybdenum alloy steel, which means this socket set is truly durable. They can last for years, and the deep sockets work well for a 22-degree-pivot universal joint and large lug nuts. Therefore, you can reach any fasteners quickly.
8Expert Score
RADIUS CORNER DESIGN

The Sunex socket set is a huge kit that has 80 pieces, such as external star sockets, universal, deep, and metric ones.

HEAVY DUTY
9
STORAGE CASE
8.5
Pros
  • Can be used with your impact wrench
  • Durable
  • Comprehensive set
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Cons
  • No socket wrench
  • Expensive
Sunex Tools 3580 38-inch Drive Master Impact Socket Set

You’ve heard that you get quality based on what you spend, and that’s the case here. The Sunex socket set is a huge kit that has 80 pieces, such as external star sockets, universal, deep, and metric ones. Plus, there’s an extension bar or two, as well.

It’s crafted with chromium-molybdenum alloy steel, which means this socket set is truly durable. They can last for years, and the deep sockets work well for a 22-degree-pivot universal joint and large lug nuts. Therefore, you can reach any fasteners quickly.

The multifaceted selection includes common sizes. Though it has a higher price tag, the sockets are sure to replace your current go-to tools.

Features:

  • Deep Sockets Included – Yes
  • Impact Sockets – Yes
  • Material – Chromoly Steel
  • Set Size – 80 Pieces
  • Drive Size – 3/8-inch

Sunex Spark Plug Socket Set

Best for Spark Plugs
If you find yourself spending a lot of time working on gas-powered engines, either professionally or as a hobby, then you know that spark plug sockets are crucial. They can get inside your lawnmower, motorcycle, car, trimmer, chainsaw, and truck.
7.5Expert Score
Awesome

Plus, this set features a heavy-duty box to store everything in when you aren’t using it.

Criteria name
10
Criteria name
10
Pros
  • Sturdy case
  • Reaches deep spark plugs
  • Durable and strong
  • Useful for auto enthusiasts
Cons
  • No socket wrench or adapters
  • Specialty – only for spark plug installation/removal
Sunex Spark Plug Socket Set

If you find yourself spending a lot of time working on gas-powered engines, either professionally or as a hobby, then you know that spark plug sockets are crucial. They can get inside your lawnmower, motorcycle, car, trimmer, chainsaw, and truck.

You’re sure to appreciate the Sunex socket set designed for spark plugs.

It includes seven sockets, and they’re all made of chrome vanadium alloy steel for more strength. With so many options, you can grab hold of any spark plug and turn it. Plus, this set features a heavy-duty box to store everything in when you aren’t using it.

Features:

  • Deep Sockets Included – Yes
  • Impact Sockets – No
  • Material – CR-V Alloy Steel
  • Set Size – Seven Pieces
  • Drive Size – 3/8-inch

Buyer’s Guide

When it comes to finding the right socket wrench, there are many options available. Choosing a set is the best choice because it lets you have many tools whenever you need them. Here’s what you should know before buying a socket set:

Types of Sockets

It’s important to know what socket wrench you need for the project. You can buy many socket sets that don’t have all of your needs. With that, you end up missing a piece.

Common types include Torx bit, metric, SAE, pass-through, spark plug, impact, and driver.

SAE

SAE sockets are often used to work on American-made vehicles. The SAE socket sizes use the imperial measurement system (inches and fractions). Standard SAE sockets are a description of the sizing system and can include pass-through, impact, spark plug, and regular sockets. Sometimes, the SAE measurements are found with metric measurements when they coincide.

Metric

Metric sockets are actually the same as their SAE counterparts because they aren’t a type but more like the measurement system. Typically, they use millimeters and work well for imported cars. With that, metric sockets include the same types as the SAE ones.

Torx Bit

External Torx sockets are used for six-pointed Torx-style fasteners, and the Torx bits are designed for use with Torx screws, which also have a six-point design.

These bits connect to regular ratchets and offer more torque to loosen and tighten Torx screws. However, these socket sets aren’t that useful if you don’t normally work with Torx screws.

Impact

The first thing you notice about the impact socket is the color. Such sockets use an industrial finish to make them black instead of the polished chrome vanadium finish that you see on other brands.

Impact sockets are used with impact drivers that put more power and torque into the bit than a human can produce. Because of that stress, impact bits often have thicker walls with a non-corrosive finish to handle the vibrations.

Driver Bit

Driver bits are similar to Torx bits because they aren’t true sockets. Instead, they correspond to a screw head size and type, such as Robertson, Phillips, flat, or slotted. Such bits fasten to a regular ratchet to offer more torque when loosening and tightening screws but only work for the specific screw they are designed for.

Pass-through

Pass-through socket sets are great for removing and fastening bolts and studs with long shafts. There’s a hole in the middle of each socket, which allows the shaft to go through the ratchet and socket.

Such a feature makes it easier to thread the shaft through the socket so that you can reach the nut. When you’re tightening with a pass-through socket, it’s easy to continue tightening the bolt once the shaft goes through the ratchet and socket. This means you can tighten it completely without requiring a wrench.

However, you must have a pass-through ratchet to use it, so make sure that your set has both.

Spark Plug Sockets

Spark plug socket sets can fit and remove spark plugs. They are longer than traditional sockets because the spark plugs are often located in hard-to-reach places on the engine.

Such sockets might have a rubber insert so that the spark plug doesn’t get damaged during installation or removal. For an automotive professional, they are crucial. However, if you like doing your own vehicle maintenance, you may also benefit from them.

Things to Consider When Purchasing a Socket Set

Before choosing between the many socket sets available, you should understand what factors to consider:

Drive Size

The drive size of your socket refers to the top opening that attaches to your ratchet. There are three sizes available:

  • Sockets with a 1/2-inch drive are ideal for high-torque applications, such as wheel replacements, and when using a breaker bar. This size isn’t the best for all-purpose needs because there’s a lower socket selection. However, they can be used with all ratchet sizes if you’ve got an adapter or extension bar.
  • Sockets with a 3/8-inch drive are the most common options. They’re used in many projects and industries, such as assembling gazebos and working on bicycles. Because they’re so common, they’re often high-quality at an affordable price.
  • Sockets with a 1/4-inch drive are suitable when working in tight spaces or with recessed nuts. While 1/2-inch sockets give you more power, these are focused on accessibility. However, if you use this size regularly, it makes it harder to complete tasks because there’s less torque and power.
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Shallow versus Deep Sockets

Standard socket sets can have shallow and deep versions within the same size. That way, you can work on any configuration of nuts and bolts. Both options are often included in an all-purpose kit.

  • Shallow sockets are used for nuts that sit lower than 1 inch from the end of your shaft. They’re primarily required for non-automotive purposes. Such sockets are attached to regular ratchets, making it quick to deal with shallow nuts because you don’t have to line up with a deep socket.
  • Deep sockets work to reach nuts that sit down farther on the bolt shaft. They are a step away from the pass-through sockets, which means you can use a regular ratchet to get to the deeply-driven nuts. However, if the deep socket hits the shaft’s end before the nut, you need a pass-through version.

Shape

The shape of your socket falls into two categories – twelve-point sockets and six-point sockets.

  • Six-point sockets are often sturdier than the other versions because of the thicker walls. Plus, these sockets work best for high-torque applications, though they are also the most common of the two styles. With that, six-point sockets apply the force to the flat side of your fastener. Therefore, they’re less likely to slip from the rounded edges.
  • Twelve-point sockets don’t apply the same force to the fastener as a six-point socket can. Therefore, they’re most suitable for your low-torque purposes. Still, they are great for gripping nuts in any position, so they’re perfect for hard-to-access areas when you can only get your socket onto the nut from one position. Though possible, it’s harder to do that with the six-point version.

Surface Finish

The surface finish of your socket set also falls into two categories: black oxide and chrome plating.

  • Chrome plating is mainly used in socket sets to offer a smoother, easy-to-clean surface that doesn’t hold grime and dirt. Plus, the chrome plating protects your socket from exposure to the elements and moisture to prevent rust from building up. Socket sets with a chrome plating are often more affordable than their black oxide counterparts.
  • Black oxide is often used for impact sockets. Though chrome plating equals black oxide for weather-proofing needs, it can’t withstand the same type of force. Flaking is likely to occur, which exposes the metal to rust. However, black oxide is a stronger material that’s capable of protecting impact sockets because it doesn’t flake or chip when high forces are used. Still, the caveat here is that they cost more.

Additional Tools

Socket sets may also include various tools to use with ratchets and can help you adapt to any task. Popular options include:

  • Extension bars are attached between your socket and ratchet to reach those fasteners located in tight spaces. You otherwise couldn’t get to them or swing your ratchet handle.
  • Swivel joints can help you deviate from the center of the ratchet to deal with bolts in awkward angles or tight spaces. When you attach it between the socket and ratchet, you can change your drive angle to meet your needs.
  • Breaker bars are non-ratcheting and long bars used with sockets and can break seized and very tight fasteners. You generate more torque but apply the same force.

Portability

Portability for a socket set could be an important factor if you want to use it at different work sites or around the house. It’s best to go with a set that features a sturdy carrying case and an easy-grip handle.

With that, the case needs to have a quality interior so that the sockets don’t get dislodged from the case while you’re transporting them. Interior casings should grip the sockets and have enough given so that you can grab them effortlessly.

Conclusion

Whether you’re a professional or amateur, you are sure to appreciate the Sunex Tools Socket Set to get out all those pesky nuts and bolts.

Ultimately, this is the best socket set because it has everything that you need for big or small auto repairs. However, it’s not the least expensive option. Therefore, if you’re on a tight budget and need sockets now, the MulWark set might be a better choice. Its slightly lower-quality appeal doesn’t take away the versatility and dependability.

Itamar Ben Dor

My father is a practical engineer, and as a hobby he was also involved in construction, renovations, carpentry and woodwork at home; So there was always tools, saws, drills and more at home. Already I was a little kid Dad and I would renovate the house. Once we built a shed for garden tools, once we did flooring for the garden, once we renovated the bathroom and that’s the way it is. Long before there was an internet, directories and plans. We would build things, kitchen cabinets, install electrical appliances, do flooring, pour concrete and more ... I in this blog want to pass on to you the experience I have gained over the last 20 plus-minus years since I was a child to this day and give you information about the best tools, project plans, guides and more.

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