Best Socket Organizers 2020 – Top Picks & Reviews
Digging through a drawer looking for the right socket size should be a thing of the past, but the fact of the matter is that too many people are content to use socket organizers that don’t work well or forgo them altogether. There’s never been a better time to invest in a socket organizing system, due to the ease they’ll bring you and the number of affordable options on the market today.
If you’re shopping online, you might not be sure you’re getting a good deal, and that’s not an uncommon problem to have. We want shoppers to be well-informed before they buy, which is why we’ve created this list of reviews of the best socket holders. By using this list and the included, educational buyer’s guide, you should be able to find the right organizer for your socket collection and enjoy many years of never having to search for the socket you need.
A Quick Comparison of our Favorites:
|Best Overall||MLTOOLS Socket Holder Set||
|Hansen Global 6-Piece Set||
|Best Value||Olsa Tools 3-Piece Set||
|TEKTON 3-Piece Set||
|Craftsman Socket Organizer Set||
The 5 Best Socket Organizers – Reviewed in 2020:
1. MLTOOLS Socket Holder Set – Best Overall
The MLTOOLS Socket Rail T8252 Set is our top pick for organizing your sockets. In this set, you get a blue socket rail holder and a red socket rail holder. While both are compatible with both SAE and metric tools, the manufacturer recommends that you use the red one for SAE and the blue for metric. Between the two trays, you can store 90 sockets, which is a large capacity. And, since the sockets secure to the tray with a quarter-inch turn, it’s easy to keep them in place.
The locking system makes this set good for taking sockets on the go, or for keeping your shop more orderly at home. The 18” rails fit comfortably in most drawers, while also being compact enough to fit into most toolboxes. The only complaint that we have about this model is that the 1/4-inch sockets can be a bit loose. If they had a snugger fit, we’d be more confident that they’d stay in place during travel. Overall, this is a good choice for anyone who is looking for a system with a very large capacity and wants to store 1/4-inch, 3/8-inch, and 1/2-inch sockets.
2. Hansen Global Socket Organizer 6-Piece Set
The Hansen Global 92000 is a great organizer for people who want a stationary set to keep in their shop. Each holder comes with a short holder and a long holder for each socket size, which will make it great for those of you who want to store a deep socket and a regular socket of the same size. The holders are labeled with the appropriate socket size at the top, so it’s easy to find the size you’re looking for.
The holders themselves are lightweight, which means they won’t put much stress on your drawers or toolbox. You get six holders in this set, three for metric and three for SAE, which means you get the ability to store and organize sockets of either variety. What ultimately keeps this great set out of first is that it doesn’t feature any way to keep sockets locked in place. That means it’s not the best set you could get for taking sockets on the go. However, it is a bit cheaper than the top model on our list, so if you’re looking for a great socket organizer for use in your shop, then this set could be the one for you.
3. Olsa Tools 3-Piece Socket Organizer – Best Value
The Olsa Tools 3-Piece Socket Holder is a great choice for anyone who wants to get a great organizational system but doesn’t want to pay through the nose to get good quality. This set is well-made, featuring an aluminum rail that’s more than up to the task when it comes to supporting your sockets. Each set includes three rails that hold 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2-inch sockets, respectively. It also comes with mounting holes on either end, which make this set a great choice if you want to mount your socket holder to a wall or workbench.
This set is also good for travelling as each mounting post features a ball bearing that holds the socket in place. That also means you won’t have to worry about them falling off the wall if you mount the holder. You also have a choice of black, blue, or red rails, which gives you the option to buy a set for metric and a different-colored set for SAE. The rubber stoppers on the end can fall off, which is a pain to deal with. However, if you’re looking for a good deal, and the option to mount, this set is the one for you.
4. TEKTON 3-Piece Socket Organization Set
The TEKTON 91805 3-Piece has some things going to for it, but given some of its problems, it can’t come any higher than fourth on our list. It comes with three rails, one each for 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2-inch sockets, and each rail includes a single keyhole slot, which means you can mount this rail vertically on a wall. It uses twist-to-lock mounts, which means that you should be able to keep your sockets in place by putting them on the holders and twisting. In practice, this isn’t always a secure system. It’s not always clear if you’ve successfully gotten the sockets to lock in place, which can be a problem if you’re traveling with the set.
And, if the sockets or your hands are greasy, it can be hard to get them to turn. That’s good because it suggests a tighter fit and a more secure hold, but it also means that you’re going to struggle with it sometimes, which lowers the value. You also can’t adjust he number of holders per rail, which is too bad. Overall, the difficulty in keeping sockets in place, and the lack of customization options cause this set to fall on our list.
5. Craftsman Socket Organizer Set
The Craftsman Socket Organizer Set 9-65172 takes a different approach to socket organization than most entries on our list. It has the largest capacity and is able to hold up to 195 sockets, in both standard and metric sizes, across six individual sizes. Instead of holding them in place with a post through the hole in the socket, you instead slide the sockets into holes based on their diameter. Using the included expansion risers, you can hold deep well sockets with this set.
However, it’s important to note that this set doesn’t lock your sockets in place, instead, there’s a good chance that they get knocked loose during travel. Despite being advertised for Craftsman toolboxes, it doesn’t fit in many toolboxes, Craftsman-brand or not. The holes also aren’t always sized correctly, so some sizes don’t fit or rattle around in a hole that is too large. That makes these organizers bad at their job, and that means they don’t have great overall value. While this set isn’t too expensive, it’s not the cheapest on our list either, so if you’re looking to get good value, you’ll need to buy a different set.
Factors to Consider When Buying
We hope that our reviews have already given you some useful information about socket organizers. If you’ve never shopped for socket organizers before, be sure to check out this buyer’s guide, where we explain different features that you should understand before you make your decision. Or, if you’ve bought before but want to get up to speed with what’s new in socket holders, you’ll also get good use out of this buyer’s guide.
Capacity is possibly the most important feature when it comes to socket organizers. If you’re anything like us, you’ve accumulated a huge collection of sockets over the years, as it often seems more economical to buy a new set when getting a new socket wrench, instead of investing in the wrench alone. That means you probably have a large, mismatched set of sockets, and that you’re going to need a system that can either store all the sockets that you have, or that can at least give you ready access to the sizes that you’ll need the most.
That means that getting a socket holding set with a high capacity is frequently a good idea. If you don’t yet own a lot of sockets, you may not see the value in this, but keep in mind that you can always expand your set and having the extra capacity will give you the room to grow. Something to keep in mind while you shop is that different sets include varying numbers of holders for the different socket sizes. So, if you own a ton of 1/2-inch sockets, but no 3/8 or 1/4-inch sockets, you may want to invest in the individual holders instead of the sets that include all three.
If you’re going to be traveling with your sockets, you should invest in a model that keeps the sockets secure while you move. That keeps them from getting lost in your bag, or from falling out and getting left behind. There are a few different systems designed to keep sockets in place.
The first is the twist lock, where you lower the socket onto a post and twist it to lock it in place. In theory, it will remain on the post until you untwist it. Not all twist locks are made the same, so some brands work far better than others. Make sure you read reviews and look for complaints about twist locks not working well before you buy.
The other variety uses ball bearings like the ones on socket wrench heads to keep the sockets in place. They don’t have the same theoretical maximum holding power that twist lock organizers do, but they are more consistent quality-wise, which means they are typically the safer buy.
You’ll also want to get a model that has some sort of locking system if you plan to mount the organizer on a wall or the side of a workbench. Otherwise, your sockets will fall and have a good chance of rolling under something and getting lost.
Most socket organizers include at least some plastic in their design. However, you can find models that limit plastic in their design and use aluminum parts as the main structural pieces. Since socket organizers aren’t expected to take a beating, you may be safe with getting an all-plastic model. If you’re going to mount it and set it in a drawer and then forget it, then you won’t need the high-end durability and strength that an aluminum-framed model provides.
However, if you are planning to travel with your sockets, then you’re going to want to invest in a very durable model. You still might be able to buy an all-plastic organizer and not have it break, but you’re probably taking a risk. Aluminum-framed socket organizers do a good job of holding together, even if you’re not gentle and leave them inside a bag with other tools to fend for themselves.
The ability to mount your socket organizer can come in handy if you have limited space to work with or want to have easy access to your sockets. There’s some variation in design between different socket organizers so some models are more easily mounted than others, and some you won’t be able to mount at all.
You should pay attention to the number of mounting holes per holder. If there’s just one, you’ll only be able to mount the socket-holder vertically, which means it might not be easy to read which sockets are wear. If there are two mounting holes, you’ll be able to mount it horizontally, which allows you to make better use of any preprinted labels that tell you which sockets are in each position.
You’ll also want to note which kind of holes are used. Keyhole slots are average at best when it comes to ease of mounting and the overall security of the mount, so you’ll want to avoid socket organizers that use those if you’re looking for a good fit.
Which is right for you?
If you’re not yet sure which socket holder is right for you, don’t worry. There’s a lot to consider, but if you break the process down into small steps, you can make it an easy process, and get great value for your money. First, figure out how many sockets you own and how many you plan to own shortly.
Then, determine how much you plan to travel with your sockets. With those two factors in mind, you can create a shortlist of contenders based on the durability, holder security, and capacity that you will need. Once you have your shortlist, the cheapest option on it has all of the features you need, but also comes at the best price, making it the best value choice.
The MLTOOLS Socket Rail T8252 Set is the top socket organizer on our list, due to its great capacity, excellent twist-lock system, and its support for SAE and metric sockets. The Hansen Global 92000 makes it easy to find the size you’re looking for, can support deep sockets, but doesn’t lock sockets in place, which drops it out of first place. The Olsa Tools 3-Piece Socket Holder comes with great color choices, is good for mounting, and holds sockets securely in place. Since it also comes with a low price, it earns the title of “best value” on our list. The TEKTON 91805 3-Piece is decent for mounting and features twist-to-lock sockets which don’t always work well, which drops this organizer to fourth on our list. The Craftsman Socket Organizer Set 9-65172 has a massive capacity, but doesn’t fit in many toolboxes, nor does it hold the sockets well, which means it can rise no higher than last on our list.
We hope that our reviews and our buyer’s guide have helped you figure out which socket holders are the best choice for you. You should now be able to confidently buy a set that meets all your needs.
Posts that you may also find interesting:
- How to choose a wrench organizer that will fit your workshop needs
- 8 Effective Tips for Keeping your Workshop Organized
- A Quick Comparison of our Favorites:
- The 5 Best Socket Organizers – Reviewed in 2020:
- Factors to Consider When Buying