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3937 posts

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# 251486 27-Jun-2019 15:05
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I have been wanting to buy a socket set to have on hand for when I need it; I'm not much of a handyman, but having a decent-quality set is still really useful. Having now done a bit of research about the options I'm somewhat overwhelmed - proof that a little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing! I never knew there were so many variables and therefore the number of possible combinations, and how hard it would be to find the ideal mix?! I want to get something of decent-enough quality that it'll last, but ideally below or around $100 (SCA has 30% off at the moment, which is what got me started).

 

Based on what I've read I was thinking of getting a set that:

 

* comes with a 3/8th inch drive size (even if additional to a 1/4 inch), simply to provide a bit more strength/torque if needed

 

* has six points rather than 12

 

* has deep sockets, or ideally a mixture of the two (I assume it's also a risk having only deep if there's simply not the space to fit the height of them?)

 

* is focused on a full range of metric sockets (but it seems like in NZ they tend to always come with a range of metric and imperial?)

 

Are these fair things to be looking for, or are some of them simply not a big issue given the likely infrequent use?

 

And, can anyone recommend any particular set or provide guidance on what I should be looking for from a set that will do most things ok?

 

Thanks for any advice.


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1464 posts

Uber Geek


  # 2265781 27-Jun-2019 15:27
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Might not be exactly what you are after but I got this a while back :

 

 

 

https://www.mitre10.co.nz/shop/bahco-24-piece-socket-set-1/2in-orange-black-and-silver/p/264133

 

 

 

Survived 3 years so far, feels satisfyingly heavy :)


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  # 2265799 27-Jun-2019 16:01
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Cheap socket ratchets have a very coarse "click". That means that you need to move the handle a (relatively) long way to get a click, so in a tight corner you may not be able to use it. And they just don't feel nice.

 

I don't see any reason for excluding 12-point sockets. Nor for including them, come to think of it, unless you're going to use them on square nuts.

 

Cheap sockets are made to a sloppy standard, and from (relatively) weak metal.

 

Think about what extensions you need, and adapters between different drive sizes.

 

For heavy duty stuff, you really want 1/2" drive.

 

In NZ, most of what you'll use is metric, unless you're into old British/American cars or motorbikes, planes, old NZ-made stuff.

 

 


 
 
 
 




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  # 2265804 27-Jun-2019 16:26
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Thanks for your replies.

 

How much should I care about getting a set with deep sockets? Or do I just buy a set of these (or individual sockets) separately?

 

What's the definition of 'cheap' in relation to a socket set? If I was paying around $100 for a relatively comprehensive set would that still be likely to be poor quality? I'm thinking of sets like these, all of which are around $100, and seem fairly comprehensive:

 

https://www.supercheapauto.co.nz/p/stanley-stanley-socket-set---1-2-inch-drive-metric-imperial-40-piece/209927.html?cgid=SCN0105040202

 

https://www.supercheapauto.co.nz/p/toolpro-toolpro-socket-set---1-2-inch-drive-metric-imperial-60-piece/551686.html?cgid=SCN0105040202

 

https://www.supercheapauto.co.nz/p/toolpro-toolpro-socket-set---1-2-inch-drive-metric-imperial-40-piece/551685.html?cgid=SCN0105040202

 

Thanks!


8462 posts

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  # 2265809 27-Jun-2019 16:37
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The Toolpro brand sockets at Supercheap seem to be okay - about as cheap as you'd want to go IMO.

 

Such as this: https://www.supercheapauto.co.nz/p/toolpro-toolpro-socket-set---3-8-inch-drive-metric-imperial-30-piece/551684.html#q=socket+set&prefn1=adArticleType&prefn2=srgBrand&prefv1=Socket+Set&prefv2=ToolPRO

 

Chuck in a set of Toolpro deep sockets like these, and you should be good to go:

 

https://www.supercheapauto.co.nz/p/toolpro-toolpro-socket-rail-set---3-8-inch-drive-metric-deep-8-piece/221219.html#q=socket+set&prefn1=adArticleType&prefn2=srgBrand&prefv1=Socket+Set&prefv2=ToolPRO&sz=8&start=12

 

I've still got a 3/8 Koken set I bought 45 years ago, used heavily (but not for trade) that kind of quality is probably overkill for handyman stuff.

 

I've got some Toolpro 1/2 and 3/8 drive deep sockets, 1/2 inch impact sockets, they all seem fine - never had one break - and I abuse tools at times.


772 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 2265829 27-Jun-2019 17:43
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Cheap sockets are made to a sloppy standard, and from (relatively) weak metal.

 

 

This.

 

They break.

 

 

 

Not worth it, buy a decent quality one


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Ultimate Geek

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  # 2265836 27-Jun-2019 18:06
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Plus 1 for the Koken 3/8 drive. Mine is also around 45 years old, and used in trade for a decade or so. Really recommend 12 point sockets as they fit onto damaged nuts/bolts easier. Cheap sets do tend to be 6 point though. Same with the deep sockets but maybe 6 pt not so important.

 

Unless you are anticipating dealing with large sizes, I would definitely recommend a 3/8 drive. It is much more versatile and gets in tighter spaces.

 

Too cheap and it will fail.


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  # 2265906 27-Jun-2019 18:47
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Don't worry about getting 6-point unless you're buying impact sockets - and that's generally a bit above handyman. I also wouldn't be too phased about getting deep reach sockets, based on your statement around infrequent use.

If you put too much torque on 1/4" drive gear, particularly the ratchet, you'll strip the teeth inside the ratchet - also relevant to 3/8" ratchets too, but less prevalent. Don't use your ratchet to "break" a nut or bolt - always use the bar.

You will find a lot of cheap sets make up for crap steel by increasing the wall thickness - and then you'll find you can't get them into places due to being too large in diameter externally.

$100 for a set is certainly down the cheaper end. I'm not suggesting you need Koken/SnapOn/StahlWille for infrequent use, but no one regrets buying quality. Find something with a lifetime warranty so if you do break it, it'll be replaced without issue. Many of the nut-stranglers at work use JBS with no complaints at all.

3/8 will suit you down to the ground initially. Save a little more and buy something of higher quality than you've initially been looking at.


 
 
 
 


827 posts

Ultimate Geek

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  # 2265910 27-Jun-2019 19:01
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You also need to consider open ended spanners and ring spanners.

 

Sockets are not always useful.

 

 





Gordy


2893 posts

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  # 2265922 27-Jun-2019 19:38
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Apart from plug sockets I think I've only got about 3 deep sockets bought as needed. A lot of sockets in a set will also never get used. My set is a bit like Frankenstein's monster, original bits and replacements of the most often used with better quality as I find them. SH dealers that do estate clearances will often have a bin of orphaned sockets @ $1ea where you can fill in gaps.



3937 posts

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  # 2265928 27-Jun-2019 19:59
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Thanks for all the really helpful and detailed responses.

 

I get that it would be preferable to spend more money, but given my infrequent usage it's really not worth it; I also like the idea of being able to pick up additional or replacement pieces, including deep sockets, over time.

 

Given the comment re a 3/8 set being a bit more flexible in smaller spaces, I'm assuming it may be best to stay away from the 1/2 sets linked to in my earlier post?

 

If so, how would this set be, given it has a range of 1/4, 3/8 and 1/2 sockets?

 

https://www.supercheapauto.co.nz/p/toolpro-toolpro-socket-set---1-4-inch-3-8-inch-and-1-2-inch-drive-metric-imperial-59-piece/551690.html

 

 


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Ultimate Geek

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  # 2265935 27-Jun-2019 20:16
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It comes down to what you think you're going to work on. 1/2" gear is getting into more heavy duty stuff, but that kit doesn't have a breaker bar. You'll wreck your ratchet in no time trying to undo an M16 bolt without the bar. It also only has one extension for 3/8" and 1/4", and none for 1/2".

I would recommend you find a dedicated 3/8" only kit, don't worry about 1/2" until you find you really need it. If you can find a 3/8" and 1/4" combo kit, that would be a better start.



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  # 2265954 27-Jun-2019 20:56
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Thanks for that feedback.

There’s a 3/8 Bahco set at Bunnings, but that’s around $140 https://www.bunnings.co.nz/bahco-3-8-38-piece-socket-set_p00080862

The set that Fred99 linked to earlier is also a 3/8 one but much more affordable - I reckon that should do the trick, given my needs are modest https://www.supercheapauto.co.nz/p/toolpro-toolpro-socket-set---3-8-inch-drive-metric-imperial-30-piece/551684.html#q=socket+set&prefn1=adArticleType&prefn2=srgBrand&prefv1=Socket+Set&prefv2=ToolPRO

129 posts

Master Geek


  # 2265959 27-Jun-2019 21:30
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+1 for Bahco sockets. Had the 106 piece 1/2" set for commercial maintenance work for 9 years, never broken anything. Often see the fitters with a set as they are so versatile and good value for money. Waaay over the top for work around the home, but hey, its OK to have nice things. :-)

 

Fuller Pro have a lifetime warranty, so worth a consideration, I see Mitre10 have a 33 piece 3/8" drive for $96. Fine for around the home, but not if you start taking your car apart.


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  # 2265976 27-Jun-2019 22:19
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I've had this Stanley set for ~5 years now, has had a fair bit of use on my cars and my house reno, and so far nothing has broken. It's quite heavy to lug around though, but I'm so glad I bought it.

 

https://www.mitre10.co.nz/shop/stanley-socket-spanner-set-68-piece/p/119815

 



I have a smaller Bahco set which I keep in the boot of my car, similar to this :

 

https://www.mitre10.co.nz/shop/bahco-socket-and-mechanical-set-34-piece/p/264184

 

 

 

 

 

 


195 posts

Master Geek


  # 2266003 27-Jun-2019 22:41
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Koken, that is all.

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