Step into the fastener section of any hardware store and you’ll find hundreds, if not thousands of nuts, bolts, screws and nails of various sizes and shapes. Given this variety, it’s unsurprising there are nearly as many wrenches, screwdrivers and other tools for dealing with them. However, if you have ever found yourself wishing there was just a one-tool-fits-all answer for every nut and bolt, you may be in luck. The best universal socket could be the tool of your dreams.
The best universal sockets resemble regular sockets from the side. But a look down the barrel will reveal a cluster of metal pins in a hexagonal shape. These pins are spring-loaded, and when a nut head is pressed into the group, whatever pins don’t get pushed down form a tight grip around the fastener you’re trying to screw or unscrew. Their flexible design means that they can be used for fasteners of all different shapes — you can grip hex, nut, square, eye and hook-shaped fasteners.
Furthermore, when it comes to dealing with stripped screws, your average screwdriver won’t be able to get a grip. Universal sockets can offer a solution since they wrap around the outer edge of the fastener. Many universal sockets can also be attached to a power drill in the same way you would attach any extension. It’s this impressive versatility that makes the best universal sockets a must-have tool in any toolbox.
What to Consider Before Buying a Universal Socket
In general, universal sockets follow a similar design to one another. This means that whichever one you choose, it’s going to be able to fulfill your needs. However, before you commit to your purchase, we suggest asking yourself the following questions to ensure you get the best universal socket or combination set for your individual needs.
Do you have a drill, universal screwdriver or any compatible tool? The majority of universal sockets come as just the socket itself and an accompanying adapter. This means you need a power drill, universal screwdriver or other compatible tools to actually use it. If you don’t, make sure you choose a set that includes a tool or wrench or purchase one separately.
What size nuts are you most often dealing with? While universal sockets generally all deal with the middle ground of nut sizes (usually between 1/4″ to 3/4″), there are some models which offer a variation on this. If you’re dealing with particularly small or large nuts and bolts, definitely check if your choice of universal socket is able to accommodate them.
Do you want it to be colored? Some universal sockets are available in different colors, such as black, red or blue, not just the most commonly found silver. You may like this because it looks cooler. But it’s also worth remembering that in a toolbox full of silver tools, a red or blue one is going to be a lot easier to locate.
Finally, it is also worth noting that even the best universal sockets do have their limitations. Since they don’t offer an exact fit, the best approach is always to twist slowly and carefully. Otherwise, your fastener may wobble and potentially round off your nut. It’s also possible that pins become dislodged and need pushing back into place. So while a universal socket won’t necessarily replace every single drill bit, it is still a great tool to keep in your toolbox.
How We Chose the Best Universal Sockets
To ensure we found the best available universal sockets, each one had to meet certain criteria. Firstly, each option is constructed from high-quality materials which offers durability and ensures the socket can perform the job it advertises. Secondly, each universal socket included on the list has been tried and tested by users and received positive feedback. This means you can be confident in whichever model you end up choosing.
Below you’ll find our top picks for the best universal sockets. We’ve covered a number of bases, including standalone sockets and combo sets which include the socket and a wrench, screwdriver and even a magnetic wristband. Read on to find the right one for you.
1. RAK Universal Socket Grip
A universal socket grip can be a handy, all-in-one answer when you don’t want to carry a whole toolbox around. This RAK Universal Socket Grip is the tool to keep by your side as it’s capable of accommodating a range of fasteners between 1/4″ to 3/4″ in size. The two-piece set also comes with an adapter that lets you attach it to a power drill or multi-head screwdriver. Plus, it comes packaged in an attractive box, making it a great gift idea for the handy person in your life.
2. DIA GRIP Universal Socket Tool Set
BEST WRENCH SET
This three-piece DIA GRIP Universal Socket Tool Set is made up of a universal socket, a power drill adapter and a ratchet wrench. Unlike a standalone socket tool, this wrench-combination set is able to help out from the get-go, whether that’s tightening nuts on a chainsaw or making repairs to a bicycle. In addition, this ready-to-go set comes in a sleek black box, making it a great gift idea for the handy person in your home.
3. KUSONKEY Universal Socket Tool
This KUSONKEY Universal Socket Tool is supplied with the adapter required to attach it to a power drill or interchangeable screwdriver. The versatile tool is made up of 54 Chromoly steel spring pins which allow the socket head to accommodate a range of different fastener sizes. Compatible screws, nuts and bolts measure between 1/4″ to 3/4″. In addition, the socket is compact in size and made from steel chrome vanadium steel, making it a durable and easily stored toolbox addition.
4. EFFECTEER Universal Socket
Instead of multiple steel rods which move up and down to accommodate varying head sizes, this EFFECTEER Universal Socket uses an upgraded design that manually tightens around the outer edge instead. This alternative method of attachment reduces the chance of stripping the head as you loosen or tighten it. Additionally, an internal spring allows the nut head to sit deeper in the socket to further improve overall grip. The socket is designed for nuts between 3/8″ to 3/4″ and weighs only 10 ounces, making it a lightweight and handy alternative to carrying around every spanner in your toolbox.
5. HORUSDY Wristband & Socket Grip Set
BEST GIFT IDEA
Why give someone one surprisingly useful gift when you can give them two? In this HORUSDY Wristband & Socket Grip Set, you’ll find a universal socket and a magnetic wristband. Together these handy tools can make around-the-house jobs a lot easier, which is why this combination set makes such a great gift idea for the handy person in your home. The included socket is made from alloy chrome vanadium steel, fits 1/4″ to 3/4″ fasteners and comes with a handy adapter for connecting it to a screwdriver or power drill. The wristband is made from 1680D ballistic polyester and includes several built-in magnets for storing various metal bits and bobs. It also features two small pockets for storing non-metallic items.
6. Moongo Tool Universal Socket
This Moongo Tool Universal Socket is available in four colors, including blue, red and silver. The socket is supplied with an adapter that allows you to attach it to a drill or multi-head screwdriver. The tool head is made from chrome vanadium steel to ensure it lasts a long time and is capable of enduring everyday use. Furthermore, like the majority of available options, this socket is designed to fit 1/4″ to 3/4″ fasteners of different shapes, ranging from wing nuts and hexes to square nuts and eye hooks.
7. Linkstyle Universal Socket
BEST COLOR RANGE
If you like the idea of having a red, blue or black-colored tool, this Linkstyle Universal Socket could be the choice for you. Not only does having a differently colored socket look stylish, but it also makes locating the piece a lot easier. Each of the two socket heads included in the set is able to accommodate fasteners between 1/4″ to 3/4″ in size. These sockets are also accompanied by drill adapters, making up the “four-piece” set.
8. EVERSEE Universal Socket Screwdriver Bit Set
If you want to be able to deal with multiple different types and sizes of nuts and screws, this EVERSEE Universal Socket Screwdriver Bit Set is definitely worth your consideration. Inside the 20-piece set, you’ll find a universal socket for dealing with nuts between 7mm and 19mm, alongside 15 screwdriver heads. Each of these interchangeable pieces, which are made from durable vanadium steel, fit into the supplied hand tool or can be used with other tools via the included adapter. In addition, the set is housed in a handy box which makes storing and transporting the pieces simple.
9. Athlife Universal Socket Wrench Tool Kit
In addition to two universal sockets, two adapters, a ratchet wrench and a portable carrying bag, this Athlife Universal Socket Wrench Tool Kit comes with an extension adapter. An extension can be surprisingly useful when it comes to reaching nuts and bolts in hard-to-reach areas. Each socket included in the set is made for heads between 7mm and 19mm. Furthermore, the compact bag has enough space for housing all of the pieces in the kit, making it a lightweight alternative to carrying around a full set of wrenches.