In this post, I go over the features and benefits of what I consider to be the best available general use socket set currently available.
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For general home and auto usage, you want a socket set that fulfills the following attributes:
- High Quality – Not going to break/slip in use, can take a beating.
- Easy to Use – Mainly, not frustrating. For example, a blow-mold case that cracks is annoying and not ‘easy to use.’
- Room for Improvement – What could have been improved upon in the design, layout, if anything?
- Makes Sense – Here I bundle in things like was the design done well? Is the organization well laid out? How is the grip? Is the font easy to read? Are all the commonly used sizes available? Etc…
- Good Price – Most people are willing to spend a fair amount for good quality tools, but can’t be astronomical.
I know people will have comments and feedback on this post (please do, I am happy to receive that)! I also suspect this will be helpful for those who are looking for a good socket set as their main driver.
Alright, let’s get started!
Review of the DeWalt DWMT73804 Socket Set
The overall best pick for sockets set for home and auto use, is the DeWalt 34-piece 3/8″ Socket Set. I personally bought this kit and couldn’t be happier.
I bought this socket set not really knowing what to expect. It gets very good reviews, and based partially on that, I ordered it. I went into the testing of this socket set without any preconceived notions about what it would be like. I wanted to start from scratch in my evaluation.
In the following sections, I’ll detail the reasons that made me come to the conclusion that this is the best overall pick for general-use socket set for home and auto maintenance and repair.
This socket set includes:
- Quick-Release 3/8″ drive Ratchet
- 3″ extension
- 3/8″-1/4″ Adapter
- drill adapter
It also includes both SAE and Metric sockets of the following sizes:
- 5mm, 6mm, 7mm, 8mm, 9mm, 10mm, 11mm
- 5/32″, 3/16″, 7/32″, 1/4″, 9/32″, 5/16″, 3/8″
- 12mm, 13mm, 14mm, 15mm, 16mm, 17mm, 18mm, 19mm
- 7/16″, 1/2″, 9/16″, 5/8″, 11/16″, 3/4″, 13/16″, 7/8″
Here is the content description from the back of the packaging:
The overall dimensions of the DeWalt DWMT73804 Socket Set kit are: 2.1 x 7.7 x 13.4 inches, and it weighs 5 lbs.
As you may know, DeWalt is owned by Stanley Black & Decker and it is marketed as their top premium line of tools.
By the way, have you ever wondered what tool brands are affiliated and which are premium vs budget? Check out this post on toolguyd that gives a nice overview of where all the brands stand in relation to one another.
The build quality on these sockets is outstanding. The ratchet feels heavy and solid. The clicks are smooth and consistent. This socket has the 72-teeth, making it nice and smooth. The stroke of each ‘click’ is 5° (360°/72 teeth), so it can reach into tight spaces and still perform its function.
This socket has the 3/8″ drive which is the most common socket size, for good reason, as it applies to many different scenarios. It also has the easily-flippable direction lever that is both easy to switch and in a good spot.
Easy to Use
This socket set is fun to use, for more than just the typical reasons. I’ll start with the case. The case is plastic and claims to be ‘shatter resistant.’ I haven’t tried dropping it yet, but from my estimation, this case is made from a higher-grade plastic than you see on the cheap, low-end tool sets. This is not one of those blow-mold cases that cracks and twists. This one is very rigid.
The shape of the case is also designed to be ‘stacked’ with other cases from the DeWalt line. I don’t have any of the other sets (yet), but if you have the accessory socket kit or the combination wrench set, for example, those cases would all nest together in a stackable fashion.
The inner tray is removable, in case you want to ditch the case altogether and just keep it in the drawer of your roll-out. The size of the inner tray without the case is about 10.5 x 6 x 1.25 in.
The tray holding the sockets themselves has a different size for each socket, so each socket has a place with a nice tight fit. There were a couple that were tighter than others. I assume these will loosen up with use, but the cover keeps all the sockets in place regardless, so I’m not worried about them coming out and jostling around together and getting mixed up.
Speaking of the tray coming out, there actually is a small amount of space under the tray in case you want to keep a few smaller items down there, I am thinking like an adjustable wrench or small pliers, for example. Again, it is not a ton of room, but there is a gap there.
The metric sockets are lined up on one side, and the SAE sockets are lined up on the other, so you can easily keep them separate. The wrench and extensions/adapters are located in the middle.
The writing on the sockets themselves is very large and clear. In fact, the font is ‘bold’ in the sense that they are written in ‘block’ numbers, if that makes sense. The overall effect is that the numbers look larger and clearer. The only thing better would be if they were color-coded, but this is the next best thing.
The sockets themselves fit onto the wrench nicely and smoothly. The wrench has the release button on the back, which is slightly recessed. I saw a review saying this was too recessed and hard to push. I didn’t find this to be the case. The slightly recessed button does help in that it is not accidentally getting bumped and releasing sockets or interfering in tight places.
Room for Improvement
While I appreciate almost all aspects of this socket set, there are a few things that could have been improved.
The socket sizes go really small (5mm and 5/32″). Those are really small sockets, and rarely used for most cases. That is not necessarily a bad thing, I’d rather have more than less, but it does make the kit slightly larger than it would need to be. Removing some of the smaller sockets would also perhaps make room for other adapters, such as a longer extension (6″) or a spark plug socket.
The case has 4 latches. 4! That is a little overkill in my estimation. I think it would have been totally fine with 2 latches, but it is definitely secure when it is closed, it just takes an extra second or so to open the case.
Overall, none of these minor issues are deal-breakers. This is a really great set.
The design of this socket set is very well done. The handle is larger than most socket wrenches I have used, making it fit in the hand well and giving a good solid grip, but still slender enough to slip a cheater-bar pipe over the end of it, if needed.
The case itself is laid out in an intuitive way. The sockets are easily kept organized with the individual slots for each one, and they are held in tightly.
The font size on the sockets themselves is large and easy to read.
Concerning the sockets themselves, all of the commonly used sizes in this range are included. Any socket 11mm or 3/8″ or smaller uses the 1/4″ drive, which requires the included adapter to be used. Normally I am not a huge fan of the 1/4″ drive, as it is so small, but for these sockets, the size of the nut or bolt you are working with is so small, that it actually makes sense.
These sockets are also all 6-pt which I like because they seem to fit better and reduce the risk of stripping. Another nice thing is that none of the sizes are skipped. Although some of the sizes, like 11mm for example, are rarely used, it is a real bummer when you need it, and your set has every size around it, but not the one you need!
DeWalt also has their “hassle free lifetime warranty” which is good to know. In the off-chance that some component breaks, just take a picture of it, and contact customer support. DeWalt is a well-known brand, and they will take care of you.
Another thing that makes a lot of sense with this unit and is just a great addition is the drill adapter. This allows you to use any of these sockets with a drill. This expands the capability quite a bit, and saves you from spending an extra couple bucks on buying this adapter separately.
The price of this socket set is actually really incredible for what you are getting. Basically a lifetime of use out of this set with a lifetime warranty, you really can’t beat that! The quality of this set is amazing for what you pay. The price does fluctuate a bit, especially around black Friday, and what-not.
At the end of the day, the DeWalt 34-piece 3/8″ Socket Set is a great socket set, and you won’t be disappointed. Lots of reviews of this set (including mine) state that the quality of this set is really much better than expected.
Other sets in this series that fit well with this set:
- Dewalt 15-piece Socket Accessory Kit – Includes spark plug socket, various adapters, and extensions
- Dewalt 71-piece Multi-bit Driver Set – Includes screwdriver bits and nut drivers of many different sizes