No matter the project, if it involves nuts and bolts, you need a socket set. Sure, wrenches can be handy, but really, how much energy and time do you feel like wasting? These socket sets range from bare-bones entry-level to professional grade, so no matter your skill level and budget, one of these kits will do the trick.
Tekton is a lesser-known brand based out of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and has been gaining a fair amount of attention lately by offering respectable-quality tools at an entry-level price. When it comes to sockets and ratchets, you're always best to start with a good 3/8-inch drive set, and this comprehensive offering fits the bill for a very reasonable price.
Swivel sockets are an absolute lifesaver in situations where you can't get a socket and ratchet in place in a straight line. With a healthy mix of sizes in both standard and metric, this set ensures that you'll have an easier time on your next DIY project.
Need all the sockets? No problem. This massive set from Craftsman includes every socket the brand makes in 1/4-inch, 3/8-inch and 1/2-inch drives, so if there's a bolt on your car that this set doesn't fit, then it's not a conventional bolt.
Once you've stocked up on basic sockets, a set like this should be next on your shopping list. A combination of Torx, Allen, and screwdriver bit sockets is a great addition to any tool kit, especially if you occasionally work on Japanese or European vehicles from time to time.
This is another solid entry-level set that covers both standard and metric sizes, though it's a little more pricey due to the inclusion of both 1/4-inch and 3/8-inch drive ratchets. In terms of quality, Westward is definitely a step up from most of our budget-friendly offerings.
This is about as basic an option as you'll find out there if you're looking for something truly bare-bones. Don't plan on breaking loose any rusted old bolts with these guys, but if your tasks are minor and you're looking for a real bargain, this is as low as it gets.
On the complete other end of the spectrum, we have Snap-On's great low-profile ratchet and socket set. Anyone who's worked professionally in automotive knows that Snap-On is one of two go-to brands when it comes to the best tools in the biz, though you get what you pay for. A low-profile set like this is ideal for situations where access in an engine bay or under your car is extremely limited.
If you're using air tools on your DIY projects, impact sockets are a must. Regular chrome sockets are not designed for the kinds of stresses involved in using impact tools, so a set like this is a must-have. This is a good, affordable option once again, but be warned — it does skip certain sizes.
If you've already got a toolbox, there's no need for a fully enclosed kit. Instead, opt for this simple set of sockets that covers all the basic 1/4-inch drive sockets you'll need on a regular basis.
When you're faced with a variety of repair tasks that involve components both big and small, having tiny 1/4-inch drive sockets and big hefty 1/2-inch drive ones all in a single kit. As with anything you'll find from Harbor Freight's website, this kit is a real bargain.