Every car mechanic should own a complete socket set for car maintenance and other automotive tasks. The best sets include hundreds of sockets and wrenches that are organized inside of a rugged tool box.
The best socket set is the DEWALT DWMT75049, which is a 192 piece set that is designed for mechanics performing car maintenance.
Unfortunately, there is no single socket that is suitable for all nuts and bolts. This means you will need to own various socket sizes to complete all tasks. To avoid disappointment, we advise that you buy from reputable brands that are known for their high standards and have spare sockets available in case you lose any.
Table of Contents
- The Best Socket Set
- 1. DEWALT DWMT75049 Mechanic Socket Set
- 2. Stanley STMT71652 Automotive Socket Set
- 3. Crescent CTK170CMP2 Car Socket Set
- 4. Craftsman 165 Piece Mechanics Socket Set
- 5. DEWALT DWMT73804 Drive Socket Set
- 6. EPAuto 40 Piece Drive Socket Set For Mechanic
- 7. Williams 50666 Drive Socket Set
- 8. SK 94549 Fractional Socket Set
- 9. GearWrench 3/8 Mechanics Socket Set
- 10. AmazonBasics Mechanic Socket Set
- Socket Set Buying Guide
Socket Set Comparison
|DEWALT DWMT75049||192||72 Tooth|
|Stanley STMT71652||40-201||120 Tooth|
|Crescent CTK170CMP2||30-170||72 Tooth|
|Craftsman 38165||165||40 Tooth|
|DEWALT DWMT73804||34-71||72 Tooth|
|EPAuto 40||40||72 Tooth|
|Williams 50666||12-146||40 Tooth|
|SK 94549 Fractional||49||40 Tooth|
|GearWrench 80550||13-57||84 Tooth|
|AmazonBasics Set||40-201||72 Tooth|
It’s important that the socket set you purchase is built to high standards and can withstand heavy duty usage. The last thing you need is for a socket to become rounded whilst tightening or loosening a bolt. Many cheap sockets tend to sheer under heavy force, which is often needed whilst performing maintenance on a car.
A socket set will usually include everything you need to work on your car to home improvements. Such things you should expect are sockets, ratchets, drive tools, screwdrivers, hex keys and much more depending on your budget.
Below is a list of the best socket sets for the money that are great for mechanics or beginners that want to perform basic car maintenance.
The Best Socket Set
1. DEWALT DWMT75049 Mechanic Socket Set
Dewalt are a reputable brand within the tool industry and the DWMT75049 is their “flagship” socket set. It’s highly popular across the USA and contains absolutely everything required for the majority of car maintenance and other automotive tasks.
Each socket of this set has been deep laser etched with marking of their size, which makes identification much easier.
Other features of the DEWALT DWMT75049 include:
- 192 piece socket set
- Non slip gripping surface
- 5 degree arc swing
- Slim head design for tight areas
- 72 tooth gear system for high torque ratcheting
- Heavy duty molded case
- Limited lifetime warranty
Although the DEWALT DWMT75049 is fairly expensive, it contains absolutely everything you need for basic car maintenance. It’s the best socket for mechanics that need high quality sockets for daily heavy duty use.Check it Out
2. Stanley STMT71652 Automotive Socket Set
The Stanley socket set is one of the most popular on the market and this is due to excellent build quality. The brand offers multiple different sizes that begin from a 40 piece set to a huge 201 piece set for those requiring all available sockets.
To improve the durability of these sockets, they have a chrome vanadium forged body, which provides greater torque and strength.
Other features of the Stanley STMT71652 include:
- 40 to 123 piece socket set
- Compact storage box
- Max Drive design for 15% more torque
- High polish nickel chrome finish
- Exceed ANSI specifications
- Limited lifetime warranty
Considering the high quality of all the pieces included, this socket set offers the best value for the money. For amateur mechanics to the professionals, the tools included will always come in use and they come with the all important lifetime warranty.
3. Crescent CTK170CMP2 Car Socket Set
Crescent CTK170CMP2 is another affordable socket set that contains everything you need for basic car maintenance. It has 170 pieces that meet the new ANSI and ASME specification and the complete set comes with a lifetime warranty.
The brand also offer these sockets in smaller sets that include a 30 or 84 piece, which is ideal for those on a budget.
Features of the Crescent CTK170CMP2 include:
- 170 piece socket set
- Heavy duty folding storage case
- Suitable for industrial, mechanic and consumer applications
- Metric/inch measurements
- Full satisfaction guarantee
The Crescent CTK170CMP2 socket set has every tool you need for mechanical and consumer applications. The case is compact even though it holds 170 pieces, which is great for storage. If you want the full package including sockets, screwdrivers, spanners and much more, this is one of the best options available.Check it Out
4. Craftsman 165 Piece Mechanics Socket Set
Craftsman is another big brand in the garage equipment and tools industry and this socket set includes 165 pieces. Included are 92 sockets (1/4, 3/8 and 1/2 inch), ratchet in each drive size, two extension bars, two universal joints and more.
Although this complete set is made in China, it’s made to high standards and includes a lifetime warranty for peace of mind.
Other features of the Craftsman 38165 include:
- 165 piece socket set
- Hex wrenches kept in separate container
- Includes everything required for car maintenance
- Metric and inch measurements
- Rugged storage carrying case
- Lifetime warranty
Considering the price per tool, the Craftsman set works out as the cheapest socket set you can buy. For this reason, it’s very popular and is the perfect set for mechanics with no sockets or tools.
5. DEWALT DWMT73804 Drive Socket Set
For those that want to remain with the Dewalt brand but need a smaller set, the DWMT73804 is a great option. The 34 piece socket set comes with a durable 72 tooth ratchet and it’s covered by Dewalt’s highly reputable lifetime warranty.
Unlike other socket sets, this set uses a locking stackable case with a removable tray that allows you to customize your tools.
Other features of the Dewalt DWMT73804 include:
- Available as a 34 or 71 piece set
- Transparent lid for viewing sockets
- Knurled control ring
- Polished chrome vanadium finish
- Hard stamped markings
The DEWALT DWMT73804 is a more expensive set compared to the EPAuto 40 alternative below. However, for the additional investment, you have far higher quality sockets and an intuitive case for storing the components.Check it Out
6. EPAuto 40 Piece Drive Socket Set For Mechanic
For people looking for a cheap socket set that is ideal for keeping inside the car, the EPAuto 1/4″ and 3/8″ 40 piece set is perfect. Unlike cheaper alternatives, the sockets are constructed of hardened treated chrome vanadium steel alloy.
Included in this set are 15 sockets 1/4 inch drive, 13 metric sockets 1/4 inch drive, 3 sockets 3/8 inch drive, 3 metric sockets 3/4 inch drive and more
Other features of the EP Auto 40 include:
- 40 piece socket set
- Both metric and English sizes
- Includes reversible ratchet
- Durable storage box
- Made in Taiwan
Overall, the EP Auto 40 is the best cheap socket set and you will not find any as good as this set on the same budget. It’s perfect for keeping as a spare set inside your car and they won’t disappoint.Check it Out
7. Williams 50666 Drive Socket Set
The Williams 5066 is a popular socket set for mechanics that is available in several configurations. You are able to choose from a variety of drive sizes and it’s available as a small 12 piece set or a much larger 146 piece set.
Each of the sockets use super torque lobular opening, which provides extra turning power without deforming the fastener.
Other features of the Williams 50666 include:
- Constructed of high grade CR-V steel
- Rugged HDPE carrying case
- Metric and SAE sockets
- Swivel attachment and good extensions
- Made in Taiwan
The Williams 5066 is an excellent all-round socket set that combines high quality sockets and value for money. There is also several options to choose from that allows you to choose the sockets that best suit your requirements.Check it Out
8. SK 94549 Fractional Socket Set
It’s a 49 piece socket set that has been finished in a high polish SuperKrome, which makes them completely weatherproof.
Other features of the SK 94549 include:
- Molded plastic carrying case
- Patented SureGrip hex design
- Engraved size markings
- Includes all the main sockets and tools
- Made in the USA
Overall, it’s a premium socket set that is American made and designed to withstand the toughest of conditions. It does come with a premium price tag but the superior build quality makes it worth paying the extra.Check it Out
9. GearWrench 3/8 Mechanics Socket Set
The GearWrench brand produce a range of automotive tools such as this socket set, which is available in multiple configurations. The 80550 set in particular offers the best value for money and is the brands most popular set.
Included within the socket set is a patented and low profile ratchet head that is designed to be highly usable even in small spaces.
Other features of the Gear Wrench 80550 include:
- Serration depth sockets
- 84 tooth gear head ratchet
- Large stamped markings for easy identification
- Smaller and larger sets available
- Nickel chrome plated alloy steel construction
- Includes a lifetime warranty
The GearWrench socket set comes with a slightly higher price than some of the sets but it does come with a lifetime warranty. The included ratchet is also far superior than many other sets that include a very basic alternative.Check it Out
10. AmazonBasics Mechanic Socket Set
The AmazonBasics is another affordable and popular option for many mechanics. It’s available in 40, 85, 123, 145 and 201 piece sets that includes everything a mechanic will require for basic car maintenance.
Each of the sockets use a chrome vanadium steel forged body that maximize it’s torque, strength and durability.
Other features of the AmazonBasics Mechanic Socket Set include:
- Most popular sockets, wrenches and hex keys
- Fully polished-chrome finish
- Metric and SAE sizes
- Heavy duty carrying case with handle
- Includes a 1 year warranty
The AmazonBasics socket set ticks every box by including the most popular sockets and tool at an affordable price. The carrying case is also far easier to carry around with an ergonomic handle, which many of the alternatives don’t include.Check it Out
Socket Set Buying Guide
If you are a mechanic or enjoy working on your own cars, then a socket set is essential. Without a range of sockets, you won’t be able to remove all the different types of nuts and bolts on your car. You have the choice of getting a whole range of different sockets with some sets containing over 500 sockets in total.
To help you make an informed buying decision, we have produced the below guide regarding socket sets.
Socket Size Comparison
A big mistake that many beginners will do is only purchase a few socket sizes to save a bit of money. However, you can guarantee that when you are half way through working on the car, you will need a socket size that you do not have.
Mechanics from the US will use a different dimension system (dual inch) over foreign cars that use metric sizing. Knowing the exact measurements of each will give you an insider to the correct socket set to buy. Below is a socket set comparison chart for each dimension.
|Bolt Diameter||Sock Size (Dual Inch)||Socket Size (Metric)|
|1/8 inch||5/8 inch||8 mm|
|3/16 inch||3/8 inch||10 mm|
|1/4 inch||7/16 inch||11 mm|
|5/16 inch||1/2 inch||13 mm|
|3/8 inch||9/16 inch||14 mm|
|7/16 inch||5/8 inch||16 mm|
|1/2 inch||3/4 inch||19mm|
|9/16 inch||13/16 inch||21 mm|
|5/8 inch||15/16 inch||24 mm|
|3/4 inch||1-1/8 inches||29 mm|
|7/8 inch||1-5/16 inches||34 mm|
|1 inch||1-1/2 inches||38 mm|
Its important to note that sockets can come in different lengths that include shallow, semi-deep and deep. To the average household user or mechanic, you will only need shallow and semi deep sockets.
However, if you are working on cars frequently, investing in the best socket set with deep sockets will give you the edge when working on hard to reach bolts or nuts.
Socket Drive Size vs Socket Size
Many people confuse the drive size to the size of the socket itself. The socket drive size is the rear of the socket that attaches to the wrench and there are only a few, that include:
- 1/4 inch
- 1/2 inch
- 3/4 inch
- 1 inch
- 1-1/2 inch
- 2-1/2 inch
Socket sizes come in a whole range of sizes as shown in the table above but they are just the most popular sizes. It is worth mentioning that if you plan on using a cordless impact wrench that use the same drive size, you may want to check the max torque that they can handle. This is because an impact wrench may increase the chances of cracking the socket.
6 vs 12 Points
The part of the socket that is put onto the nut or bolt head is known as the point. The shape is either a 6 pointed hexagon or a 12 pointed star shape where both have their own benefits and drawbacks. To begin with, the 6 pointed socket is the stronger of the two because the inner walls sit flush on the hardware and include thicker walls.
12 point sockets provide convenience as they can be placed on the nut or bolt in any of the 12 positions. For hard to reach nuts and bolts, this can be really useful but it is important that you only use them for light work applications.
Deep vs Shallow Sockets
Not every nut and bolt are the same and you make need either a shallow or deep socket to accomplish a certain job. For example, you may have a nut that sits more than an inch below the top of the bolt that it is attached too. If you were to use a standard socket, it may struggle to touch the bolt as it may hit the end of the socket.
Therefore, having some deep sockets to hand will ensure you are able to reach awkward sockets such as seated spark plugs and much more.
Whether you need a complete set of sockets or an extra set for smaller jobs, all of our recommendations cover both requirements. Investing into a quality socket set for car maintenance that comes with a warranty is highly recommended. There is nothing worse than cracking a socket and not being able to get it replaced.