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The Best Socket Set For Car Maintenance 2019

Every car mechanic or beginner that would like to get into car maintenance will require a socket set. There is a range of socket sets from small or large that can come in a handy tool box or can be organized in multiple draws inside a tool chest.

The best socket set is the DEWALT DWMT75049, which is a 192 piece set that is designed for mechanics and has every socket you would require for car maintenance.

If you think you can get a way with a few random sized sockets, a ratchet and a hammer for car maintenance, think again. With modern cars, the size of the nuts and bolts vary and its not like the golden years where the majority of bolts were 10mm.

Best Socket Set For Mechanic

Socket SetCase SizePieces
DEWALT DWMT75049Large192
Stanley STMT71652Medium123
Crescent CTK170CMP2Large170
Craftsman 38165Large165
DEWALT DWMT73804Small34
EPAuto 40Small40

It is important that the socket set you purchase is built to a high standard and durable for heavy duty usage. The last thing you need is for a socket to become rounded whilst loosening a tight bolt. It is known for cheap sockets 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.

DEWALT DWMT75049 Mechanics Tools Set


Dewalt are a reputable brand in the machinery and tool industry and this is their “flagship” socket set. It is highly popular worldwide and contains absolutely everything required for the majority of car maintenance and other applications.

Features of the DEWALT DWMT75049 Mechanics Tools Set include:

  • 192 piece socket set
  • Non slip gripping surface
  • Deep laser etched markings
  • 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 is the best socket for mechanics that need reliable sockets for daily heavy duty use.

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Stanley STMT71652 123-Piece Socket Set

The Stanley socket set is one of the most popular on the market and this is due to excellent build quality of the 123 different pieces at an affordable price. It is perfect for an amateur mechanic on a budget but requires all the sockets.

In terms of the features of the Stanley STMT71652, they include:

  • 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, the sheer value for money is truly incredible. For amateur mechanics to the professionals, the tools included will always come in use and they come with the all important lifetime warranty. It is by far the best socket set for the money and its clear to see why it is so popular.

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Crescent CTK170CMP2 Mechanics Tool Set

Crescent CTK170CMP2 is another affordable socket set that contains everything you need for basic car maintenance. It has 170 pieces that meet are the ANSI and ASME specification that have the all important lifetime warranty.

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 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 will be the best buy.

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Craftsman 165 Piece Mechanics Tool Set

Craftsman is another big brand in the garage equipment and tools industry and this socket set include a grand total of 165 pieces. Included are 92 sockets (1/4, 3/8 and 1/2 inch), ratchet in each drive size, two extension bars, two universal joint and more.

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

This is perfect for a mechanic with currently zero tools to their name. The tools are made in China and not US made which may put people off, but personally they are great quality anyway.

Considering the price per tool, the Craftsman 165 pc Mechanics Tool Set works out as the cheapest socket set you can buy. Of course, this not be the main reason you would buy this socket set. However, it is safe to say, the Craftsman is the best large socket set for the money.

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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, which are covered by Dewalt’s excellent lifetime warranty.

Other features of the Dewalt DWMT73804 socket set include:

  • 34 piece socket set
  • Locking stackable case
  • Polished chrome vanadium finish
  • Hard stamped markings

The socket set case is very clever and well designed. Its a locking stackable case with a removable tray to customize your tools. The cover is also transparent that allows you to quickly glance to ensure that you have all the correct tools present.

The DEWALT DWMT73804 Drive Socket Set is more expensive than the EPAuto 40 alternative but it feels much better in terms of quality. The case in particular is modern and is miles ahead of the cheap molded copies. It is by far the best small socket set you can buy.

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EPAuto 40 Piece Drive Socket Set

For people looking for a cheap socket set that is ideal for keeping inside the car, EPAuto have their own 1/4″ and 3/8″ 40 piece set. The sockets themselves are hardened treated Chrome vanadium steel alloy.

Other features of the EP Auto 40 include:

  • 40 piece socket set
  • Both metric and English sizes
  • Includes reversible ratchet
  • Durable storage box

Included in this cheap socket set are 15 SAE sockets 1/4 inch drive, 13 metric sockets 1/4 inch drive, 3 SAE sockets 3/8 inch drive, 3 metric sockets 3/4 inch drive and much more. Overall, the EP Auto 40 is the best cheap socket set and you will not find any as good as this set whilst on the same budget.

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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 will not 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 a detailed buying guide that discussed socket sets in detail.

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 DiameterSock Size (Dual Inch)Socket Size (Metric)
1/8 inch5/8 inch8 mm
3/16 inch3/8 inch10 mm
1/4 inch7/16 inch11 mm
5/16 inch1/2 inch13 mm
3/8 inch9/16 inch14 mm
7/16 inch5/8 inch16 mm
1/2 inch3/4 inch19mm
9/16 inch13/16 inch21 mm
5/8 inch15/16 inch24 mm
3/4 inch1-1/8 inches29 mm
7/8 inch1-5/16 inches34 mm
1 inch1-1/2 inches38 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 Set For Mechanic

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.

Socket Set For Car Maintenance

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.

Conclusion

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.

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