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Socket Sets Buying Guide

Posted by Sam | Toolstop on 1st Jan 2021

There's a lot to choose from when picking a socket set. Find the best one for you in Toolstop's easy-to-follow guide.

Socket Sets Buying Guide

How to Choose a Socket Set

There are lots of options out there when it comes to picking the best socket set for you. Whether you use them in your day-to-day working life or need to add one to your home tool kit, there’s plenty to take into consideration – quality of socket set, number of pieces (those at Toolstop range from small 13 piece sets up to 138 pieces), your required socket sizes, drive size, screwdriver bits and adaptability – the list is endless.

Before we go into helping you pick the best socket set for your requirement, let’s have a quick look at socket sets in general, why they exist and what you can expect to find in the case when you buy one.

What is a socket set and what is a socket set used for?

A socket set is as handy an addition to your tool repertoire as anything! They come loaded with a huge range of bits and pieces that can be used towards a number of applications, with fastening and loosening a diverse range of nuts and bolts being their primary function. Larger sets come equipped with enough pieces to tackle any nut you come across and this versatility is why no tool kit is complete without a trusty socket set.

A Wide Range of Sockets

Socket sets feature a huge range of socket sizes catered to working with lots of different nut sizes. The sockets that come with Toolstop’s socket sets are all multi-sided and this ensures grip as you aim to tighten or loosen a nut, with far less chance of ‘rounding’ – the disastrous circumstance where sockets lose their shape and no longer grip. Sockets, and the handles that come with them, tend to be made from premium grade metals that are guaranteed to last a lifetime under high tension and torque.

Socket Set Rachet Handles/Bars

You can buy socket sets with or without a handle, depending what you already have at your disposal. Socket set bars vary in drive size and allow you to generate leverage as you tighten or loosen nuts. More often than not, these feature ratchet functionality that allows you to crank and rewind again and again until the job’s done – especially handy when you’re working in tight spaces, like under the bonnet or chassis of your car.

Drive Size

It’s important to consider drive size when choosing your socket set. The socket sets at Toolstop tend to come in 1/2”, 3/8” and 1/4" drive sizes, and in larger sets you’ll find drive adaptors that allow you to pair your drive handle with a much wider range of sockets. 3/8” drive socket sets are fairly common, allowing you to adapt to 1/4" and 1/2” sockets to cater for the widest possible range of uses. It’s worth remembering that because 1/4" sockets are slightly narrower, they offer a deeper reach than their fatter cousins, which can be handy when working with recessed nuts.


Socket sets usually come with a range of extra pieces and handles, like screwdriver bits and sets and adaptor handles for the main bar allowing you to complete more jobs and get to those hard to reach nuts. Coated sockets are an excellent purchase if you’re working on your car – these are usually finished with nylon to prevent any damage to your alloys when working on your wheels.

Socket Set Storage

All of our sock sets come in sturdy cases, that fit neatly in the storage cupboard at home or in the van, so you can pull them out and get to work whenever you need them.

What's the Best Socket Set

Picking the Best Socket Set

Ok, now that’s out of the way, let’s look at choosing the best socket set for you.

What Socket Set Brand to Buy?

Toolstop stocks a huge range of socket sets to cater to all sorts of budgets and requirements from some of the biggest brands like Bahco, Bosch, Makita, Sealey and Stanley. View them all here.

What size of socket set should I buy?

Think about all the key features we’ve discussed above. Are you buying on the off chance you might need a socket set around the house? If the answer to that question is yes, a small socket set will suffice since smaller sets tend to feature the most common socket sizes required. The bigger the socket set, the heavier and harder it is to move and store, so it’s worth taking that into consideration too when picking what socket set is best for you.

Here’s our top picks from the Toolstop range based on size...

Compact Socket Sets

The perfect addition to any home tool kit or a great Christmas present, a small socket set can come in really handy around the home. Toolstop recommends these small sized socket sets:

Medium Socket Sets

Our medium sized socket sets offer some extra bits and therefore more versatility for any job. You can expect to see upwards of 30 to 40 pieces in these sets, and some come with additional bits and pieces too. Here are our top picks:

Large Socket Sets

Our extra-large socket sets tick every box. You’ll get upwards of 90 pieces in these sets, with socket sizes spanning just about anything you can imagine, with levels of adaptability to tackle any job. Here are some we think you’ll like:

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