Have you ever been deep in the middle of a project only to reach for a socket and not be able to find it? Sockets are notorious for rolling around the toolbox, falling off of work benches, and being generally difficult to find. Having an actual system to organize your sockets will make life a whole lot easier.
The best socket organizer is easy to use, let’s you quickly find the right size socket, and works with a variety of socket brands. Since we use sockets so much, them being where you need them is the first step to a well-organized tool chest. Here are 3 great ways to organize your sockets for an affordable price.
TOP PICK:This six-piece set is made of ABS plastic for both durability and a natural resistance to oil and gas stains. Each post is clearly marked to show the size to help you locate a socket quickly.
Furthermore, the base of these posts are beefed up to help hold sockets in place. The storage set includes 6 different trays: 1/4 inch metric, 1/4 inch SAE, 3/8 inch metric, 3/8 inch SAE, 1/2 inch metric, and 1/2 inch SAE.
I’ve personally been using this socket organizer in my Milwaukee tool chest for the past year and would never go back to the “rail” type systems most other brands use (see below).
While bulkier, everything is laid out perfectly and removing and putting away sockets is super easy; my SK and Husky sockets never catch or get stuck like they sometimes would do on the removable socket holders of the competitors.
Probably the best feature is how the socket sizes are clearly marked on every post in order from smallest to largest so you’ll never have to search for the size you need.
While not a big issue, others who have purchased this socket storage set have found it difficult to fill every slot. Many with large collections have commented that there are still empty posts after placing all of their sockets.
But users are almost unanimous in how they appreciate the way each post is labeled on top for quick identification.
The most common complaints by consumers involve Craftsman products. The post bases are too wide for some Craftsman sockets, and may be too tall to fit into the more shallow drawers of some Craftsman toolboxes (and other brands).
You will need a slightly taller drawer (3.75″ to be precise) to hold this set but most major tool chest brands have at least one of these drawers at the correct height for easy reach.
Also, if you need an organizer that “locks” your sockets into place for portability, consider one of the two options below. The Hansen Global set is made to stand up in your socket drawer and stay there.
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RUNNERS-UP:This set includes 1/4 inch, 3/8 inch, and 1/2 inch drive socket organizer rails. Each of these heavy duty rails can hold 16 sockets and can be placed in a toolbox or mounted on your workshop wall.
The spring-loaded ball bearings hold each socket firmly in place to protect against spills and are ideal for storing impact sockets as well as regular sockets. It seems to do a little better job than the Ernst organizer below at easily removing and putting back sockets.
Owners of this set love the ability to slide the rail clips on and off, allowing them to mix and match sizes on a single rail. They have also raved about the sturdiness of the rails and how well the clips hold sockets in place.
Another point frequently remarked on is the ability to spread out the clips slightly to make it easier to access individual sockets and make the rail appear less cluttered.
The single biggest complaint with thet is the length of each rail, which make them difficult to fit into some toolbox drawers. The thinness of the rails also means they are prone to sliding if there is nothing else in the drawer.
Some users have also commented that the rails cannot be purchased separately, making it more expensive if you need just one rail.
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Measuring 19.75 by 5.3 by 1.35 inches, this socket organization tray made by the Sandy, Oregon company includes three rails. The rails hold a total of 40 sockets; 15 of 1/4 inch, 14 of 3/8 inch, and 11 of 1/2 inch sizes.
The clips feature a twist-lock mechanism to prevent spilling during transport, and the posts are short enough to allow storage of all but deep well sockets in shallow drawers. The tray itself holds the rails firmly and prevents sliding during transportation.
Owners of this socket organizer love how easy it is to position, add, and remove the clips to allow for a wide range of storage options. They also like the fact that three label sheets with easy-to-read labels for almost every size are included, allowing even more versatility.
Users have also commented on the quality of the twist-lock mechanism, which works well for most sockets, although they have noted impact sockets are a little harder to lock into place.
Some owners have noted that larger sockets can obscure or cover the size labels. The number of clips is enough for most consumer-level socket sets, but owners of professional sets have complained that the rails cannot hold all of their sockets.
A few users have also complained that some sockets have too tight of a fit to store easily on these rails. This is especially true of impact sockets, which have a matte texture that makes it more difficult to fit into the slots.
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- Socket Sizes in Order From Smallest to Largest
- How to Organize a Tool Chest Like a Pro
- Spark Plug Socket Sizes and Their Uses (w/ Chart)