Updated on January 13, 2022
Have you ever been deep in the middle of a project only to reach for a socket and not be able to find it? Sockets are notorious for rolling around the toolbox, falling off of work benches, and being generally difficult to find. Having an actual system to organize your sockets will make life a whole lot easier.
The best socket organizer is easy to use, let’s you quickly find the right size socket, and works with a variety of socket brands. Since we use sockets so much, them being where you need them is the first step to a well-organized tool chest.
Here are 3 great ways to organize your sockets for an affordable price.
Related: 8 Best Tool Chests For The Money
Our 8 Favorite Socket Organizers
|Product||Style||Capacity||Sizes Marked?||Made In|
|Hansen Global 92000||Post||172||Yes||USA|
|Olsa Tools 1363||Drop-in||143||Yes||Taiwan|
|Westling Machine FS1000||Post||182||Optional||USA|
|Olsa Tools 1151||Drop-in||75||Yes||Taiwan|
|U.S. General 70035||Rail||16||No||China|
|Ernst Manufacturing 8490||Rail||40||No||USA|
|Olsa Tools 1023||Rail||58||No||Taiwan|
Socket Organizer Reviews
#1 – Hansen Global 92000 6-Piece Socket Tray Set
Made in the USA, this six-piece set is made of ABS plastic for both durability and a natural resistance to oil and gas stains. Each post is clearly marked to show the size to help you locate a socket quickly. All together, the set holds 172 sockets.
Furthermore, the base of these posts are beefed up to help hold sockets in place. The storage set includes 6 different trays: 1/4 inch metric, 1/4 inch SAE, 3/8 inch metric, 3/8 inch SAE, 1/2 inch metric, and 1/2 inch SAE.
I’ve personally been using this socket organizer in my Milwaukee tool chest for the past year and would never go back to the “rail” type systems most other brands use (see below).
While bulkier, everything is laid out perfectly and removing and putting away sockets is super easy; my SK and Husky sockets never catch or get stuck like they sometimes would do on the removable socket holders of the competitors.
Probably the best feature is how the socket sizes are clearly marked on every post in order from smallest to largest so you’ll never have to search for the size you need.
While not a big issue, others who have purchased this socket storage set have found it difficult to fill every slot. Many with large collections have commented that there are still empty posts after placing all of their sockets.
But users are almost unanimous in how they appreciate the way each post is labeled on top for quick identification.
The most common complaints by consumers involve Craftsman products. The post bases are too wide for some Craftsman sockets, and may be too tall to fit into the more shallow drawers of some Craftsman toolboxes (and other brands).
You will need a slightly taller drawer (3.75″ to be precise) to hold this set but most major tool chest brands have at least one of these drawers at the correct height for easy reach.
Also, if you need an organizer that “locks” your sockets into place for portability, consider one of the two options below. The Hansen Global set is made to stand up in your socket drawer and stay there.
>> Check current price <<
#2 – Olsa Tools 1363 6-Piece Magnetic Socket Organizer
This popular six-piece set is capable of holding up to 143 sockets in 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2-inch drive sizes in both metric and SAE.
The ferrite magnets are strong enough to ensure the tray not only holds onto your sockets but remains attached to whatever steel surface you choose to stick it to.
Color-coded black for metric and red for SAE, each tray has a rubberized magnetic base to prevent scratching. If you prefer something other than the black/red combo, the Olsa Tools set is available in three other color combos including green and blue.
Additionally, the trays can hold both deep and shallow sockets, although impact sockets will not fit. Rounding out the package is a limited lifetime warranty against manufacturer’s defects.
The magnets on this set have gotten mostly positive reviews, although one user notes that they might not be strong enough to hold chromed sockets if you start shaking them upside down. Under most circumstances, the sockets snap in securely without being difficult to remove. It’s also easy to pop a tray from where it’s secured and take it with you as needed.
As mentioned, the magnets are strong, but a tradeoff of their ease-of-use is that they may not hold coated sockets under heavy jostling. The sizes of some holes may also be too small or large for certain brands, although there isn’t enough data on which brands won’t fit securely.
Also, note that the sizes are printed on the front, which means they can be covered up if you have the holders placed too close together.
>> Check current price <<
#3 – Westling Machine FS1000 8-Piece Billet Aluminum Socket Organizer
While not cheap, it’s hard to beat USA-made Westling Machine socket organizers when it comes to quality. Each of their socket trays are CNC machined from billet aluminum and anodized for both looks and durability.
The FS1000 set holds up to 182 sockets and unlike most other sets, will also hold thicker impact sockets.
For each set, you’re able to choose 1 of 5 colors (red, blue, black, orange, or green) for both Metric and SAE trays. In addition, size engraving can be added for each post for instant identification of socket sizes.
Westling Machine socket organizers can put up with the abuse of a commercial shop setting but would feel right at home in your own garage (and look great doing so).
They’re not magnetized so if you need portability, other options are likely better. But if your budget allows, Westling socket trays are definitely worth considering.
>> Check current price <<
#4 – Olsa Tools 1151 3-Piece Magnetic Socket Organizer
Made of sturdy polypropylene, this three-piece set can hold up to 75 sockets in 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2-inch drive metric sockets. As with the larger Olsa set above, the trays have strong magnets and a rubberized base to prevent scratches.
The trays will hold both shallow and deep sockets but aren’t compatible with impact sockets. Boasting professional-quality construction, this smaller set is a perfect gift for those who work primarily with metric sockets.
The size markings on this set are large and easy to read. As with other Oslo magnetic organizers, the magnets are strong enough to hold sockets upside down but not too strong for quick and easy socket removal.
There are some reports that the paint used for the markings isn’t sufficiently protected from chemicals, making it possible to smudge or wipe the paint off.
Also, the set is designed to hold deep sockets in the opposite order as the shallow sockets. This allows for the trays to keep a more narrow profile, but may throw some people off who tend to grab sockets without looking.
>> Check current price <<
#5 – U.S. General 70035 1/2-Inch Magnetic Socket Rail
Sold through Harbor Freight, this anodized aluminum rail has ABS socket clips can hold up to (16) 1/2-inch drive sockets securely. A spring-loaded ball detent ensures your sockets won’t fall out while the strong magnetic strip holds the tray securely to metal surfaces.
This popular socket rail can also be purchased in 3/8″ and 1/4″ versions for those who want to get matching storage rails.
While some products sold through Harbor Freight aren’t exactly “buy-it-for-life”, U.S. General products (they make excellent tool chests) are often compared to big name brands, despite carrying a much lower price tag.
The magnets do a good job of holding the tray onto metal surfaces. However, some users have had issues with the plastic clips breaking if the tray is handled too roughly.
>> Check current price <<
#6 – Ernst Manufacturing 8490 Socket Boss 3-Rail Organizer
Measuring 19.75 by 5.3 by 1.35 inches, this socket organization tray made by the Sandy, Oregon company includes three rails. The rails hold a total of 40 sockets; 15 of 1/4 inch, 14 of 3/8 inch, and 11 of 1/2 inch sizes.
The clips feature a twist-lock mechanism to prevent spilling during transport, and the posts are short enough to allow storage of all but deep well sockets in shallow drawers. The tray itself holds the rails firmly and prevents sliding during transportation.
Owners of this socket organizer love how easy it is to position, add, and remove the clips to allow for a wide range of storage options. They also like the fact that three label sheets with easy-to-read labels for almost every size are included, allowing even more versatility.
Users have also commented on the quality of the twist-lock mechanism, which works well for most sockets, although they have noted impact sockets are a little harder to lock into place.
Some owners have noted that larger sockets can obscure or cover the size labels. The number of clips is enough for most consumer-level socket sets, but owners of professional sets have complained that the rails cannot hold all of their sockets.
A few users have also complained that some sockets have too tight of a fit to store easily on these rails. This is especially true of impact sockets, which have a matte texture that makes it more difficult to fit into the slots.
>> Check current price <<
#7 – Olsa Tools 1023 3-Rail Socket Organizer
This set includes 1/4 inch, 3/8 inch, and 1/2 inch drive socket organizer rails. Each of these heavy duty rails can hold 16 sockets and can be placed in a toolbox or mounted on your workshop wall.
The spring-loaded ball bearings hold each socket firmly in place to protect against spills and are ideal for storing impact sockets as well as regular sockets. It seems to do a little better job than the Ernst organizer below at easily removing and putting back sockets.
Owners of this set love the ability to slide the rail clips on and off, allowing them to mix and match sizes on a single rail. They have also raved about the sturdiness of the rails and how well the clips hold sockets in place.
Another point frequently remarked on is the ability to spread out the clips slightly to make it easier to access individual sockets and make the rail appear less cluttered.
The single biggest complaint with these is the length of each rail, which make them difficult to fit into some toolbox drawers. The thinness of the rails also means they are prone to sliding if there is nothing else in the drawer.
Some users have also commented that the rails cannot be purchased separately, making it more expensive if you need just one rail.
>> Check current price <<
#8 – Tooluxe 03966L Socket Holder Tray
When you tend to jostle your tools around a lot, you need something that will hold sockets in place better than most of the trays out there. Tooluxe provides a tough, powder-coated metal tray with nickel-plated steel clips designed to hold sockets tightly without making it a struggle to remove a piece as needed.
It comes with a rail handle for mounting but will also fit in tool boxes thanks to its compact 17 ½ x 6 inch size. The tray includes four rails which are designed to hold (20) ¼-inch sockets, (30) ⅜-inch sockets, and (30) ½-inch sockets.
This set is quite attractive and fits nicely into tool box trays. The clips are a durable spring steel and holds up to normal use with no problems, which makes it confusing that some users claim they break easily.
It has been suggested that these individuals are trying to force the wrong sockets on the clips. The clips are designed to slide along their rail, although some users have found this movement to be a little stiff.
>> Check current price <<
Choosing the Best Socket Organizer
Socket organizers are one of those things you never think you need but realize you can’t live without once you have one. But there are so many different kinds of organizer out there, how do you find the one that’s right for you?
Let’s take a look at the options and what features to aim for.
Types of Socket Organizers
This is a popular option consisting of a tray with one or more metal rails. The rails contain clips made of metal or plastic, which can be slid back and forth along the rail to make fitting your sockets easier. As with the US General 70035, the ends of the rails are usually designed so you can add or remove clips to further customize the organizer.
Usually made of plastic, socket trays have vertical prongs over which the sockets can fit. While the plastic variety may not be as durable as metal, they prove useful for storing your sockets in tool boxes or on shelves.
While not very portable (sockets will fall out if upside down), they allow almost any brand of sockets to fit, no matter how thick the walls are.
Instead up using upright posts, these socket organizer trays use sized cutouts for holding sockets so you either drop them in or push them in (depending how tight the fit).
Most often, magnets at the bottom hold each socket firmly in place making these very portable. The downside is that some brands of socket walls may be too thick to fit in the openings. Osla Tools organizers are the best example of drop-in tray socket organizers.
One of the most popular types of holder out there, magnetic organizers contain strong magnets, allowing them to stick to metal surfaces and also hold sockets securely. It’s common for this type of organizer to contain separate rails for multiple drive sizes.
Drawer inserts are modular trays designed to fit into the drawers of tool chests. In some cases, the tray contains depressions into which the sockets fit. In other cases, the tray has small pegs onto which the sockets fit.
This type of organizer is especially popular in auto repair shops and service centers.
A relatively rare alternative to drawer inserts is the foam organizer. These are foam trays with an additional foam layer containing cutouts to hold your sockets, drives, and similar accessories. Think of them as thick tool chest drawer liners with custom cutouts.
Usually, shallow drives will fit vertically into round holes while deep sockets lay horizontally to allow the organizer to fit into more shallow drawers. Due to their design, it’s not unusual for a foam organizer to fit specific brands or products, making them a little less popular among people who tend to mix and match their sockets.
Tool pouches may not be as common as they once were, but they still have plenty of advantages for contractors and people who like to keep tools in their vehicles for emergencies.
The heavy leather or fabric pouch contains individual pockets sized to hold each socket securely, as well as other tools. They’re usually fastened by cord or straps, making them extremely compact.
Another important consideration is the type of socket you’ll need to store. The most common drive sizes are 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2 inches. Many clips, pegs, or holes will have to be different sizes or shapes to fit these different socket types.
Another consideration is the sheer number of sockets the organizer can hold. Sometimes it’s better to get one with a smaller capacity if you only use a handful of sockets, but a higher capacity organizer is likely to hold full sets of sockets in multiple sizes. These often have separate rails or trays for each drive size.
The third aspect of capacity is whether the organizer is labeled for metric, SAE, or both. In most cases, you’ll want to be able to store both, but there are also times when you’ll only need metric or SAE, making it more efficient to buy an organizer that only holds one or the other.
Socket Size Identification
One of the most important features of a socket organizer is its ability to actually organize the sockets. This means each space should be clearly marked to show what size (and system) of socket belongs there.
Rail type organizers generally do not have size markings but they also allow you to store multiple instances of the same size socket if you wish.
There are three aspects of securing your sockets that should be considered: how well they go in, how well they stay in, and how easily they’re removed when you need one. Organizers often involve a compromise between these aspects.
For example, Oslo trays have a powerful magnet that’s strong enough to suspend the organizer from the top of a metal cabinet. However, to make it easier to remove the sockets, the magnet can’t be too strong. As a result, the rails will hold the sockets securely enough for regular use but can’t hold them upside down if you’re shaking the rail roughly.
In the case of foam and drawer inserts, they’re designed to hold your sockets securely in a container which remains stationary or is wheeled about and might not hold onto the sockets if you tilt the organizer too far. Tray organizers solve this problem (but won’t hold the sockets if turned over more than 90 degrees), but sacrifice durability for this security.
When choosing your organizer, consider the situations in which you’ll be using it, as well as the spaces it will fit into. A stable location such as a tool chest or shelf will need less security than a tool box or similarly mobile container.
Finally, think about where the organizer will need to fit. While the Hansen Global organizer is our favorite, its taller profile may not allow it to fit inside standard height tool chest drawers. Rails are typically low profile but some may be too long to fit in a drawer.
Pouches are compact enough to affix to tool belts or keep in a vehicle. Foam and drawer inserts work well in the generally shallow drawers of a tool chest but are too wide for toolboxes.
Make sure you consider the exact location you plan to keep your sockets and check the product dimensions to confirm that space will actually work.
6 thoughts on “8 Best Socket Organizers to Stop Losing That 10mm Socket”
Agreed. Never did like the “rail” type organizers. Probably great for on the go since the sockets are locked in pretty tight. For sitting in the top drawer of my HF chest, I wouldn’t trade the Hansen Global set for anything.
Though not the cheapest, my favorite socket organizers are from Westling Machine. Have them in my 44″ Harbor Freight top and bottom boxes as well as in my tool cart.
Westlings (machined aluminum) are definitely nice but $$$. Here’s a link if anyone’s interested: http://westlingmachine.com/ToolHolders.html
Which would be the best system for impact sockets?
I have the Ernst socket boss sets for my regular metric & SAE sockets.
But due to the size and thickness of the impact sockets I’m looking for the best option.
I just tried with my Hansen Global set (which I use for regular sockets) and all my impact sockets work (there’s plenty of room around). The 1/2″ impacts fit perfectly but a couple of the larger 3/8″ impacts are a bit tight on the middle peg if you fill the entire tray up (the last ones aren’t quite aligned). Slightly thinning the peg with a dremel would fix that though.
You should look at the VIM magnetic socket holders