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How Do I Choose the Best Hex Socket Set?

Lori Kilchermann
Lori Kilchermann

In order to find the best hex socket set, it is necessary to compare the tools to others at a comparable price point. Search for a hex socket set that is hardened, guaranteed and manufactured from the highest-quality steel available. Typically, the finer-quality tools are manufactured from vanadium steel and should be chosen. This steel is very strong and will resist breaking under great amounts of torque and stress, making these the best tools to buy. Always choose designs with a steel roll pin to anchor the hex wrench into the socket base.

A hex socket set is designed to remove hex head, or Allen head bolts, as they are often called, and fasteners with a ratchet and socket wrench. Choosing a quality set of sockets allows a hex head bolt to be tightened or removed much faster than a similarly-sized bolt using an Allen wrench. Choose a long-handled ratchet and a hex socket set so that a bolt can be broken loose or torqued much easier than it can be by using an Allen wrench alone. The socket also makes it much easier to access a hex head fastener that is located in a very tight space. Some of the best socket sets to purchase include universal joints on the end of the socket to allow the tool to be used to access the fasteners that are not able to be reached straight on.

Allen wrenches, which are used with hex sockets.
Allen wrenches, which are used with hex sockets.

Quality chrome plating along with clearly-marked and easily-recognizable size stampings are traits of a quality hex socket set and commonly make up the best sets to buy. Having a tool that is difficult to read can lead to many lost hours of work time over the lifetime of the tool from simply trying to identify its correct size. Another indication of a preferred tool to purchase is when the tool is magnetized. A magnetized hex socket set will allow you to loosen and remove a fastener without dropping it into an out-of-reach location. You will see that the magnetization also aids in placing fasteners into position without dropping them.

For many tool owners, the warranty is the main deciding factor between brands. Most quality tool manufacturers offer a lifetime replacement policy on any tool that is broken or damaged under normal working conditions, making these the tools you will want to buy. This is a very important fact when purchasing a hex socket set that may be used for many years. It is important to read and understand all of the factors governing the guarantee to ensure that you do nothing to void the warranty unintentionally. Some manufacturers will not warranty any tool that has the owner's name etched onto the tool, so you will want to follow all guidelines to warranty your new tools.

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    • Allen wrenches, which are used with hex sockets.
      Allen wrenches, which are used with hex sockets.