Reviews

The Best Socket Holders (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021

 It’s always the simple things that make a major difference in your working experience.

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BY Hank O'Hop / LAST UPDATED ON August 24, 2021

It really doesn’t matter what type of project you’re tackling; organization is key to a successful working experience. It can be frustrating to continuously sift through a bag or box to track down the exact tools you need. Having everything neatly sorted cuts down on the amount of time you spend doing so, effectively speeding up the entire project. Furthermore, the likelihood of sockets going missing multiplies if you don’t actively keep them organized.

 

A socket organizer is an essential part of a tool collection because it works to your advantage when keeping track of tools and keeping any project moving along. Luckily, there’s not a whole lot you need to consider when making a selection. But, there are a ton of options on the market. We’re here to help you sort through those listings and find the organizer that will serve you best.

Best Overall
 OEM Tools 22233 6 Piece Socket Tray Organizer Set
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Summary
Summary

Stationary socket organizer that’s perfect for any tool box. The extensive inclusion of socket holders and labelled callouts help to organize any collection.

Pros
Pros
  • Includes six organizers for great storage potential
  • Labeled for easy identification
Cons
Cons
  • Spacing may be too small for some socket collections
Best Overall
 OEM Tools 22233 6 Piece Socket Tray Organizer Set
Best Value
 Ernst Manufacturing 8411 8-Inch Socket Organizer
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Summary
Summary

Affordable socket holder with twist-lock socket clips. The small size is perfect for transporting sockets to remote projects.

Pros
Pros
  • Twist-lock system for secure fit
  • Labeled for easy identification
  • Excellent price point
Cons
Cons
  • Plastic clips are short lived
Best Value
 Ernst Manufacturing 8411 8-Inch Socket Organizer
Honorable Mention
Olsa Tools 6-Piece Socket Organizer Trays
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Summary
Summary

Stationary socket organizer designed to work with all socket sizes. Three rows of labelled socket holders make for maximum storage capacity and easy identification. 

Pros
Pros
  • Includes six three-row organizers for maximum storage potential 
  • Labeled for easy identification
Cons
Cons
  • Structural integrity is questionable 
  • May be too tall for many tool boxes 
Honorable Mention
Olsa Tools 6-Piece Socket Organizer Trays
Socket Holder - Organizer Close Up
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Benefits of Socket Holder

  • Stay organized. The apparent benefit of socket holders is that they help organize your tools. Doing so prevents you from tracking down or replacing tools and can ultimately save you a ton of money. 
  • Easy access. Organization makes it easy to find precisely what you need in a timely manner. This can help increase productivity and positively impact your working experience because you’re not wasting time finding tools instead of working. 
  • Easy loadouts. Portable socket holders are great for setting yourself up to tackle remote jobs. Rather than carrying individual sockets and potentially losing them, you can take the holder along with you. 

Types of Socket Holders

Portable

Most of us probably think of portable holders when this subject comes up. The intent of these holders is to give you the ability to carry your sockets in your tool bag or box without a snag. These are generally smaller than stationary holders, but they do exist in a variety of sizes. They can be equipped to organize a handful of frequently used sizes or an entire collection. It goes without saying that beyond being portable, they do a great job at managing your primary tool box. 

Stationary 

A stationary holder might not be the first thing you go looking for. After all, portable holders offer dual purpose. However, a stationary setup has some significant benefits. In most cases, they are far more aesthetically pleasing. When used in the top compartment of a box or on a workbench, they create a much more organized and purposeful look. Many also have clear readings of which sockets go where to help increase proficiency during projects. 

Top Brands

OEM Tools

With a headquarters in Memphis, Tenn., OEM Tools is a known supplier to weekend warriors and trade professionals. Its presence on Auto Parts chain stores' shelves is probably how most of us have grown to be familiar with the brand. The OEM Tools 22233 6 Piece Socket Tray Organizer Set is one example of its useful and competitively priced offerings. 

Olsa Tools

Located in Nisku, Alberta, Olsa Tools got its start in 2015. The young founder's intention is to develop high-quality tools one can rely on for years to come without spending a small fortune. The brand offers hand tools, tool accessories, and organizers such as the Olsa Tools 6-Piece Socket Organizer Trays

Ernst Manufacturing 

Ernst Manufacturing has been at the forefront of tool organization since 1981. The company works out of Sandy, Ore., and is known for producing quality parts with pricing professionals and home mechanics favors. The Ernst Manufacturing 8411 8-Inch Socket Organizer is our pick for Best Value, but the fact that it's made in the USA makes it even more desirable by many. 

Socket Holder Pricing

  • $5-$10: Socket holders in this price range are portable and only hold a small number of sockets. They are ideal for keeping in boxes or bags that you carry to remote projects. 
  • $10-$50: This price range includes a range of portable and stationary holders. Their quality, size influence price and how many pieces are included in the sale. 
  • $50 and up: Most holders above $50 are stationary and best for use on workbenches. However, premium brands offer portable systems that can list within this price range on account of their size and features.

Key Features

Capacity

The amount of sockets a holder can store determines how much space it will take up and what projects it’s useful for. Obviously, smaller holders are more convenient for storing in a bag that you’ll carry, while larger ones are awesome for use around the shop. With that said, you may end up needing to invest in multiple to meet your needs. If that’s the case, you may want to consider our buying guide to Socket Sets to build a more efficient tool collection.

Security 

By security, we are referring to how the sockets attach to the holder. Some use spring tension, others use detents, and there is a wide presence of twist locks. How these systems work determine how quickly you can attach and remove sockets. Be mindful that if the sockets are easy to remove by hand, they are likely to fall off the holder during transport, creating a headache. 

Base Type

Socket holders may have a magnetic base that secures it inside a tool box or on any metal surface. Whether or not the holder you invest in should have this comes down to personal preference. While it offers better security and helps prevent the sockets from rolling around, it might not be something you necessarily want in something you’re hauling to a project site. If you are in favor of magnetic tool storage systems you ought to check out our buying guide to Magnetic Tool Holders.

Other Considerations

  • Legible Indicators. Not keeping sockets in any type of order on a holder can limit their potential to streamline the working process. If you use one with legible markings that indicate socket sizes' coordination, you are ensuring a smooth selection process. Not all socket holders feature this, but it's worth looking for your primary concern for total organization. 

Best Socket Holders Reviews & Recommendations 2021

Best Overall
OEM Tools 22233 6 Piece Socket Tray Organizer Set

This system is an essential add-on to any primary tool chest and includes a total of six socket holders that work to organize the main compartment of your box. Despite the simple design, there’s quite a bit that makes this system worthy of your consideration. The set is color coded to indicate which holders are useful for Metric and which for SAE sockets. That said, you do have the option to select between three different color schemes. On top of that, each post for sockets includes a legible and elevated printing of the size of each socket. That feature can go a long way when organizing a collection. And because this set comes with a total of six holders, you’ll be able to continue to organize your sockets as your collection grows over time.


The primary drawback to this system is that it’s only useful as a stationary solution. Furthermore, you might experience some fitment issues with specific sockets. There may not be enough room between the posts to allow sockets to be stacked side by side, ultimately rendering this useless for anyone with said sockets.

Best Value
Ernst Manufacturing 8411 8-Inch Socket Organizer

Most folks aren’t looking for a stationary system and don't want to spend a lot of money, and this option addresses both of those concerns. Despite the low price, it’s far from a basic socket holder. As for the basics, this organizer has nine 3/8-inch locking socket holders. What separates this organizer from many is the twist-lock mechanism that works to keep all of your sockets neatly in place. On the base of each of the sliding socket clips there are legible readings of what size each is intended for. This particular system features SAE sizes, but a Metric variant is available. We should also mention that this holder is available for 1/4-inch and 1/2-inch sockets as well. And if red isn’t your favorite color, you have the option to switch to blue or black to suit your preferences.


The only real issue with this socket holder is the plastic construction, and users' reactions are mixed about the material. Some claim it’s too stiff, while others say it is too loose or short lived.

Premium Pick
Olsa Tools 6-Piece Socket Organizer Trays

There are a few things that make this socket holder worthy of consideration, including its high-vis colors with crisp, clear labels for each size. The set includes a total of six trays with three rows each for 1/4-inch, 3/8-inch, and 1/2-inch sockets. Half of the trays have callouts for SAE sizes and the other for metric. And because each tray has a total of three rows, this setup is useful for extensive tool collections featuring deep well and standard-depth sockets. One should note that if they don’t need three rows, there is a variant available that only features two rows on each tray. Furthermore, this particular set is in the black and red color configuration, but black and green is also an option.


There are two issues that come up with this entry. One, it’s not as sturdy as it should be considering the price. Two, it’s a little too tall for many tool boxes. However, these issues don’t seem to be a hang-up for most users. 

Most Expansive
Olsa Tools Portable Socket Organizer Tray

This is an excellent option for folks who carry a wide range of sockets for extensive or complicated projects. This tray has provisions for holding up to 80 sockets in 1/2-inch, 3/8-inch, and 1/4-inch drive. There are four rows, three of which are dedicated to drive sizes, with a row featuring a mix of 1/2-inch and 3/8-inch drive sizes for miscellaneous sockets. Each locking clip is constructed of high-strength ABS to promote durability and features a ball bearing that creates a tight fit for each socket. The socket clips also slide, making this holder capable of storing a collection of any sockets you are working with. The steel backing of this tray features a handle for portability, but the low-profile size is perfect for use in drawers as an intermittent storage solution.


This is a high-quality organizer, and there’s not a whole lot to complain about. One thing you should know is that it’s rather heavy once it’s loaded up, and it’s a bit big to keep in the average tool bag. If you’re looking for something with high portability, you should look elsewhere. 

Honorable Mention
Ernst Manufacturing 8417 13-Inch Socket Organizer

Ernst makes it to our list again with an affordable solution for folks that need to organize their socket collection. This is a 13-inch socket holder that features 14 3/8-inch socket clips. All socket clips also feature a twist-lock system to help keep sockets firmly in place. As we could expect from the brand, each clip features a label to call-out the socket's size. While this feature may not seem necessary, it does make a huge difference. That said, this particular model features SAE sizes, but metric variants are available, and you have three colors to choose from. There is also the option to select 1/4-inch and 1/2-inch models. On the base of this socket holder, you will also notice the hole for storing this option on a pegboard if you so choose.


As with any plastic system, the downfall is the durability of this system. Even if treated with respect, metal will rapidly wear through the plastic. Furthermore, there are too many discrepancies about the integrity of the locking system to ignore.

Honorable Mention
Neiko 03968A Offset Handle Socket Holder Rail

We’re moving onto the kind of socket holder all of us are a little more familiar with. The traditional design is something we know to be reliable as it’s withstood the test of time. That said, this socket holder features a metal main body and metal springs that keep the sockets locked firmly in place. This is actually a set of three holders for 1/4-inch, 3/8-inch, and 1/2-inch sockets. What’s nice is that each holder also features a label on the angled handle that calls out the drive size of the sockets it is holding. On the opposite end of the handles is a hanging hole for storage on pegboards or hooks, which is perfect for those who want quick access to their socket collection.


Unfortunately, there’s no stop for the sliding socket clips. Though they don’t slide particularly easily, it’s still very likely that they will slide right off the top of the metal body while in storage. Again, it’s not a significant problem, but still worth being aware of.

Honorable Mention
Ares 60005-26-Piece 1/4-Inch SAE Magnetic Socket Organizer

We will say right up front that this is probably the best looking option on the market. And while being pretty isn't always a primary concern of tools, it is essential for storage solutions. That said, looks aren't all this system has to offer. For one, the bottom of the holder features a protective rubber padding that protects finished surfaces. This feature prevents excessive wear on the paint of your tool box or anywhere else you might keep your sockets. The base is also magnetic, making it possible for you to hang this holder on the side of your tool chest. Another nice thing about this holder is that it features two rows: one for deep-well sockets and another for standard sockets. Even though the rows are relatively short, this feature makes it perfect for keeping the sockets you use most immediately available.


You may have issues with sockets staying in place when this holder is turned on its side if they don't fit snugly into the holes. That's because the holes are slightly oversized to accommodate most socket sizes. Those that fit loosely are liable to fall out of place.

Honorable Mention
Horusdy 80-Piece Heavy Duty Socket Organizer

Unless you’re an expert or have the time to do research ahead of time, there’s no way to anticipate what socket’s you’ll need ahead of time. Especially if you’re taking on a long or complicated project, therefore, you might need to take your entire collection along. If you see yourself doing that frequently, the 80 socket clips on this holder will serve you well. This isn’t the first of the likes on our list, but it is a more affordable option than many others. Because it has provisions for all three standard drive sizes, this system will serve home mechanics and professionals well. That said, the socket clips are plastic, but the metal backing works to provide an acceptable lifetime considering the price.


If you’re biased to labels for socket sizes, this isn’t the system for you. It’s hard to call this a flaw of the design because that’s usually an add on, but when you’re dealing with 80 sockets, it can be a significant pain trying to identify which is which on the fly.

Honorable Mention
Lisle 40120 1/4-Inch Magnetic Socket Holder

If you like magnets, you’re going to love this socket holder. This setup works to hang on the side of your tool box, granting you instant access to the sockets you use most frequently. What really aids in the ease of access is that it uses open-faced slots and magnets to hold the sockets. All you have to do is pull them free without working against twist-locks or spring tension. This particular model is meant to keep 1/4-inch sockets, but variations to hold 1/2-inch and 3/8-inch sockets are also available.  Another feature we should highlight is the built-in carrying handle. That handle allows you to quickly relocate this socket holder with ease, making it perfect for remote projects as well as those you perform within your shop.


You might face the magnets being too weak for transportation of this holder once loaded up. If you’re not careful, the sockets are likely to fall out of place. This is a flaw on account of the primary function, but you need to be aware of it.

Honorable Mention
Horusdy 3-Piece Double Sided Socket Organizer

And we’re wrapping up our list by highlighting a socket holder unlike any of the others on our list. What makes this option unique is that it features a double-ended rail system. That said, you can use one end to store deep-well sockets and the other for standard-depth sockets. Or you can use the rail to store an extensive range of either. With that in mind, this is a pack of three, and you will receive a rail with 1/2-inch, 3/8-inch, and 1/4-inch socket clips. It doesn’t feature any labeling to indicate the drive size of each rail, but the vibrant colors make for color-coding in its place. As for retention, the socket clips rely on a spring-loaded ball bearing that creates a positive lock with the detents in your sockets.


Unfortunately, the plastic clips are prone to breaking. They do have a decent lifespan, but they are still the weak point of the entire system. Many reviews state it’s possible to switch to metal ones, but it is still a drawback to be aware of.

Tips

  • Socket holders aren’t all that complicated, but not all are the same. All features come down to personal preference and which you believe will have the best impact on your experience.
  • As great as socket holders are, you still need to make sure you use them correctly. Being mindful of staying organized as you work helps you to get the most out of these systems.
  • If you’re tempted to grow your tool collection during this shopping trip, we’re glad to help with our guide to Mechanics tool Sets. But it’s best to be mindful of your budget and only invest in what’s actually useful to you at this point in time. 

FAQs

Q: What is the best way to organize sockets?

Organizing sockets goes beyond the size of fasteners they will work with. Keeping similar sockets together is essential as well. Socket depth, point count, and all features should come into consideration when organizing.

Q: How do you store impact sockets?

You should organize impact sockets the same as you would chrome sockets. Organizing them separately is critical, though, as either type serves you best in specific circumstances. 

Q: How do you organize a tool bag socket?

Socket holders with a twist lock system are likely the best for tool bags. This feature prevents sockets from falling free as the entire holder moves around during transportation. 

Final Thoughts

The OEM Tools 22233 6 Piece Socket Tray Organizer Set is our top pick, but we understand that it is only useful as a stationary solution. We also know that the low price and high quality of the Ernst Manufacturing 8411 8-Inch Socket Organizer is something many will find attractive. But ultimately, what’s going to work for you comes down to a whole bunch of factors your situation presents.