Step into the fastener section of any hardware store and you’ll notice that there are dozens, if not hundreds of different sizes and shapes of nuts, bolts, screws and nails. And if you’ve ever wished there was a one-size-fits-all tool for screwing and unscrewing nuts and bolts, you’re in luck — universal sockets are the versatile tool of your dreams.
Universal sockets resemble regular sockets from the side. But if you look down the barrel, you’ll notice a cluster of metal pins in a hexagonal shape. These pins are spring-loaded, and they grip whatever 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 and hook-shaped fasteners.
When it comes to stripped screws, a screwdriver won’t be able to get a grip. A universal socket can potentially be the solution, since they wrap around the fastener. Universal sockets are designed to attach to a power drill, the same way you would attach any extension, but you can also use one manually.
It’s worth noting that these tools do have limitations. Since they don’t offer a precise fit, you’ll need to drill slowly and carefully, otherwise, your fastener may wobble. And the pins can sometimes become dislodged, needing to be pushed back into place. So while a universal socket obviously won’t replace your regular drill bits, it can still be a great tool to have for any stripped screws or fasteners that you don’t have the right bit for. These are the universal sockets to get.
1. KUSONKEY Universal Socket Tool
This universal socket from Kusonkey comes with the adapter needed to attach to a power drill. The versatile tool has a wide range for accommodating fasteners of different sizes. It can fit between around screws, nuts and bolts between 1/4″ to 3/4″ (7mm to 19mm). The socket is made from steel chrome vanadium steel, and there are 54 individual pins for gripping the fastener.
Pros: Includes adapter for drill, made from sturdy chrome vanadium steel. 54 individual pins for a better grip.
Cons: Pins sometimes get stuck after use.
KUSONKEY Universal Socket Tool
2. RAK Universal Socket Grip
A universal socket grips can be a good thing to take on the go when you can otherwise bring your entire tool box, and this option from RAK recognizes that by including two in a pack. You can keep one at your workbench and pack one for any surprises you may encounter. The drill adapters are also included. The socket can accommodate 1/4″ to 3/4″ fasteners.
Pros: Two-pack. Drill adapter included. Accommodates 1/4″ to 3/4″ fasteners.
Cons: Can potentially strip bolts.
RAK Universal Socket Grip
3. Linkstyle Universal Socket Grip Adapter
Like the other options on this list, this socket adapter from Linkstyle accommodates 1/4″ to 3/4″ fasteners of varying shapes. It also comes in several different colors — you can choose between silver, blue and red. This set is listed as a four-piece set; it includes two universal sockets and two drill adapters. The universal socket has 54 spring-loaded pins, giving a custom fit around fasteners of varying shapes.
Pros: Two universal sockets are included. Available in various colors.
Cons: Limited depth for longer screws.
Linkstyle Universal Socket Grip Adapter
4. Moongo Tool Universal Socket
This universal socket comes in a range of colors, including blue, red, black and silver. It comes with an adapter to attach to a drill, and the socket is made from sturdy chrome vanadium steel. Like the other options on this list, it’s designed to fit 1/4″ to 3/4″ fasteners of different shapes, including wing nuts, hexes, square nuts and eye bolts.
Pros: Available in multiple colors, includes an adapter for drill.
Cons: Some options are less expensive.