Every 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.
Unfortunately, there is no single socket that’s 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 build quality and have spare sockets available in case you lose any.
If you require a quick answer, the best socket set is the DEWALT DWMT75049, which is a 192 piece set that’s designed for mechanics performing car maintenance. However, if you are on a tight budget but still require high quality sockets, the Stanley STMT71652 set is the best alternative.
To rate the huge variety of socket sets on the market, we based our recommendations upon research, experience and a number of factors. The factors we considered included the range of sockets and tools included, quality of the construction, box, socket finish, markings, warranty and value for money.
Table of Contents
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 buy 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 comes with everything you need to work on cars and home improvements. Expected components can include sockets, ratchets, drive tools, screwdrivers, hex keys and much more depending on your budget.
Below is a list of the best socket sets for mechanics or beginners that want to perform 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 very popular across the US and contains absolutely everything required for the majority of car maintenance and other automotive tasks. A great features of this particular set is that each socket has been deep laser etched with a 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 set 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 its excellent build quality on a budget. 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 benefitted from 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 professionals, the tools included will always come in use and they also come with the all important lifetime warranty.
3. Crescent CTK170CMP2 Car Socket Set
The Crescent CTK170CMP2 is another affordable socket set that contains everything you need for basic car maintenance. It has 170 pieces that all meet the new ANSI and ASME specification and the complete set also 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.
Other 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
Overall, the Crescent CTK170CMP2 socket set has every tool you need whilst remaining on a tight budget. If you want the full package including sockets, screwdrivers, spanners and more, it’s one of the best budget sets on the market.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 only need a small set, the DWMT73804 is a great option. The 34 piece socket set also comes with a durable 72 tooth ratchet, which is covered by Dewalt’s highly reputable lifetime warranty. Unlike other socket sets, this set also 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
Although expensive, the DEWALT DWMT73804 offers higher quality sockets than many of the alternative socket sets and also an intuitive case for storing the components within the complete set.Check it Out
6. EPAuto 40 Piece Drive Socket Set For Mechanic
For those looking for a cheap socket set that’s 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 much 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 won’t find any as good as this set at the same price. 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’s 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 a 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
Overall, 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 sockets that best suit your requirements.Check it Out
8. SK 94549 Fractional Socket Set
The SK 94549 socket set is designed for heavy duty usage within the harshest of environments. Unlike other sets, these are made in the USA and have been built to the highest of standards. 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, the SK 94549 is a premium socket set that’s 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 brand’s most popular set. Included with the set is a patented and low profile ratchet head that’s 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
Although the GearWrench socket set comes with a higher price than some of the alternative, it does have the benefit of coming with a lifetime warranty for complete peace of mind. The included ratchet is also far superior than many of the other sets that only include a very basic alternative.Check it Out
10. AmazonBasics Mechanic Socket Set
The AmazonBasics socket set 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 also use a chrome vanadium steel forged body that maximizes it’s torque 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
Overall, the AmazonBasics socket set ticks every box by including the most popular sockets and tools 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
How We Rated The Socket Sets
Whether you have looked around locally or online, there are hundreds of socket sets to choose from. In order to rate the recommendations within this article, we based them upon research of the latest available, our own experience of using various sets whilst working on cars and multiple factors. The factors that we considered included the range of sockets and tools included, quality of the construction, box, socket finish, markings, warranty and value for money.
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.
When searching through the available sets, you have the choice of some 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 don’t 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|
It’s important to note that sockets can come in different lengths that include shallow, semi-deep and deep. To the average 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 which 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 these are just the most popular sizes. It’s 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’s 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’s important that you only use them for light work applications.
Deep vs Shallow Sockets
Not every nut and bolt are the same and you may 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.