Whether you are a professional mechanic or a weekend project warrior, a socket wrench is one of the most important items in your toolbox. The most popular type of socket wrench is the ratcheting wrench (sometimes called a “ratchet”), a hand held tool which features a handle with a ratcheting head that is attached to a socket. Sockets are available in a wide variety of sizes and are used to loosen or tighten nuts or bolts. Other attachments are available that make it easy to reach odd angles or tight spaces.
When selecting a socket wrenches, there are several components to consider to ensure maximum versatility and durability. A good set of wrenches should be crafted of steel, preferably one containing a low alloy. Another factor to consider is the projects for which the socket wrenches will be used. While there are sets available that contain both inch-based and metric-based measurements, some only have one or the other. Select a set with both measurement options for maximum versatility. Look for a set that contains sockets with deep socket heads and socket extenders to access hard to reach nuts or bolts. Listed below are the top 10 socket wrench sets for 2017.
10. Ausero 46-Pcs 1/4″ Drive Socket & Bit Set Combination with Reversible Ratchet Wrench Automotive Tool Kit
This 46-piece offering from Ausero is crafted from chrome plated forged vanadium steel. It features a wide selection of hex sockets as well as a hand-held screw type driver and ratchet-mechanism wrench. Both the driver and the ratchet-wrench feature ¼ inch universal joints.
- This set is also a driver set. The molded storage case keeps parts organized, the compact size makes storage easy.
- This set is only available in SAE inch measurements, which can limit some of the projects on which these tools can be used.
9. Powerextra Impact 65 piece Socket Set
The Powerextra Impact set features a quick-release rachet crated from forged chrome vanadium steel for maximum durability and torque. Included with the set are ¼ inch and 3/8 inch drive sockets as well as duel rings for SAE sockets. The set comes with a lifetime warranty against breakage during normal usage.
- This set features both SAE inch based and metric based parts, making it ideal for a variety of projects, regardless of the size. The rings for the metric and inch sockets make measurement identification simple.
- The molded case fails to keep all the parts securely in place, causing some of the pieces to roll around when the case is picked up.
8. The Craftsman 165 Piece Mechanics Tool Set #38165
This 165 socket wrench set from Craftsman has features 92 sockets and three sizes (1/4 inch, 3/8 inch and ½ inch). It features two universal joints and two extension bars as well as a ratchet in each drive size.
- This set offers a good value for the price. In addition to the above mentioned features, it also has twelve combination wrenches in metric and SAE inch sizes, a driver handle, hex keys, and assorted screwdriver and nut driver bits.
- The wrenches can sometimes revert to the opposition direction during use if the direction setting is not firmly set
7. The Craftsman 108 Piece Mechanics Tool Set #009-38108
This offering from Craftsman features two quick release ratchets in sizes ¼ inch and 3/8 inch. Additionally, the kit contains a 3/8 inch driver handle and extension bar. There are fourteen hex keys, ten screwdriver bits, twelve nut driver bits and two open end wrenches.
- This compact set is an ideal size to keep in the trunk of a car for automotive repairs,
- All of the sockets are metric sized which limits the versatility of the set if you have many projects that require SAE inch-sized measurements.
6. The Denali 93 Piece Socket Set
This set from Denali is crafted from corrosion resistant, laser etched chrome vanadium steel and offers great variety for a reasonable price. It features three quick release high-torque ratchets in sizes ¼ inch, 3/8 inch and ½ inch and comes with a ¼ inch drive spinner handle. Also included are two spark plug sockets in 3/8 inch and 5/8 inch. All 93 pieces fit neatly in the molded plastic case.
- There seventeen six-point sockets and seventeen 12-point sockets for the ¾ inch size in both SAE inch and metric measurements, extending the versatility of the set.
- The set does not come with hex keys or open-ended wrenches.
5. The EPAuto 40 Piece Socket Set
The EPAuto 40 Piece Socket set features tools crafted of polished chrome vanadium steel and are corrosion resistant. There is one reversible rachet and one drive handle with three extension bars.\
- There are fifteen SAE inch sockets and 12 metric sockets as well as a 3/8 inch and 1/8 inch adapters. At under $20, you can buy one of these for each vehicle.
- The molded case does not feature a carrying handle and the tools inside can become loose, despite being secured in their proper spaces. Hex keys and open-end wrenches are not included with this set.
4. The Stanley 92-839 Black Chrome and Laser Etched Socket Set
This 99 piece set features the “Max-Drive” design that offers fifteen percent more torque. There is a reversible ratchet and a driver tool with extension bar. This set meets or exceeds the ANSI standards for ratchets and sockets.
- The two piece case features a removable lid that can be used as a tool tray.
- The set contains only SAE inch sockets. Metric sockets will need to be purchased separately.
3. The Tekton 45 Piece Socket Set #13101
The Tekton Socket Set features a universal joint and 6 inch extension. The tools are crafted of polished chrome vanadium steel. This master set has both shallow and deep lengths and feature both SAE inch and metric sockets.
- The ratchet only needs a 5-degree swing arc, and is ideal for working in tight spaces.
- There is no adapter for the ratchet wrench and can only accommodate ¾ inch socket sizes.
2. The Stanley 123 Piece Socket Set #STMT1652
This 123 piece set from Stanley features a ratchet wrench with a quick-release switch and reversible mechanism. The sockets come in both SAE and metric sizes. Additionally, there are eight combination wrenches.
- The “Max Drive” technology increases torque by fifteen percent, reducing slippage on rusted or frozen fasteners.
- The spark plug socket only comes in the 5/8 inch size.
1. The Stanley 69 Piece Socket Set #92-829
Our number one pick combines performance with affordability. This set from Stanly is crafted from black chrome, laser etched vanadium steel and meets or exceeds all ANSI standards for ratchets and sockets. It features the “Max-Drive” technology and offers a limited lifetime warranty on all parts. The sockets are both SAE inch and metric sized for project versatility.
- The sockets screw into the molded case and remain in place, even when held upside down when the case is closed.
- There are only two ratchets, 3/8 inch and ¼ inch. There is no 1/2 inch wrench.