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Years ago my dad bought me a pretty comprehensive Husky socket set. The sockets remained safely stored in the box for a year or so until we moved into our current house and Dad bought me a tool chest. I had organized the sockets in each drawer by type and size, but over the years the opening and closing of the drawer left the sockets piled up and scattered. As I was repairing my daughter’s car a few weeks ago, I discovered that any remnant of the organized system I once had was gone the way of the steam shovel. I resolved to finally do something about it — I discovered the Tekton socket holder set and for the first time in six years I can actually findĀ a socket in my socket drawer.


After pretending for years that I could find the right socket in my tool chest I was finally proven wrong a couple of weeks ago. I needed a specific 3/8 in. drive, 12 mm long shaft socket to replace the EGR Vacuum Solenoid Valve on my daughter’s 1997 Toyota Camry. No other 12 mm socket would work. After more than half an hour I eventually found it and repaired the car, but that night I ordered three sets of the Tekton socket holder on Amazon for $8.47 each. I ordered three sets because I had no idea of what exactly my requirements were.

Once the socket holders arrived, it took about an hour and a half to organize the drawer. I’m still short three 3/8 in. strips and one 1/4 in. strip, but I feel good about the drawer cleanup. Plus, the next time my daughter’s 14-year-old car needs some attention at least I’ll be able to focus on the job at hand and not waste time searching for tools.

What have you done to organize your sockets? Do you have any helpful suggestions on how to reduce drawer clutter? I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

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22 Responses to Tekton Socket Holder Sets To The Rescue!

  1. John says:

    I have those too, but I don’t like them. It takes a bit of force to get them on and off the pegs, and it makes a sound like fingernails on chalkboard. Additionally, I find that heavy use causes the “pinch” of the posts to weaken, and so don’t hold them as well. I think I’m going to move to magnetic/or the kind that use holes or posts.

  2. Mac says:

    Wow, that first pic is a mess! Good on you for getting it cleaned up.

    My OCD system: Separate tool chests for metric & SAE. Further separated by drive size (1/4″, 3/8″, 1/2″). Have separate cases for the 3/4″ and 1″ drives. Sockets further racked by 6-point, 12-point, sq drive, etc.

  3. cheerIO says:

    I don’t like those clippy socket holders either. A few years ago I switched to the “Easy ID socket holders” found on this page:
    http://www.mcmaster.com/#socket-holders/=dg1wgf
    and I have never looked back. They are very easy to see which one is being used at the moment and have their on markings on the posts which is helpful as many of my miss-matched sockets are hard to read. Also,you can pick up the whole tray and bring it to where you are working.

  4. Joe says:

    Mine have been staying in the blow molded plastic case (with drawers) that they came with. Organizes them well for now, but they aren’t held in there.

  5. Charles Anderson says:

    I use them and like them. I bought them at Harbor Freight and they are weaker springs so I don’t have the problem John does.

    The HF ones are cheap enough that when they get too weak, I can trash them without guilt.

    • mikedt says:

      I prefer the plastic holders to these metal ones.

      Another organizer I picked up at harbor freight looks like a giant safety pin. You thread all your box end wrenches on it to keep them together. They cost approx $1 each.

  6. IronHerder says:

    I’ve kept my sockets organized on this type of rail for 3 decades, give or take. Learned a couple of things.
    John is right about the “pinch” being not quite right quite often. But, with patience and pliers, these are adjustable.
    And as Mac said, you can easily keep metric from SAE, 6 pt. from 12 pt. from square from from crow’s foot, etc.
    CheerIO solved my pet peeve of hard-to-identify sockets nicely. For a long time I tolerated the micro-markings on sockets (did the manufacturers want us to be confused?). My only defense was to be OCD on smallest to largest on the racks and OCD on having the identifying marks on only one side of the rack. But, thanks to some nifty labels from eBay (the eBay store is “Steel Labels”), I can now find the right socket even without bifocals.
    So, I have maybe 15 racks for my home-based tool set, 6 racks in my pickup tool set, a couple racks with the bicycle tools. Although it went against my training, I eventually learned to shorten the racks when needed. And finally (organizationally speaking), most of my metric sockets (and wrenches) are spray-painted blue. When I get caught up, the SAE tools will be painted yellow. I suspect that this will put a dent in the supply of yellow spray paint, but there is no need for panic buying, because the key phrase is “when I get caught up.”
    Reducing drawer clutter is, I think, impossible. Larger drawers hold more tools, so maybe the only solution is smaller drawers, but more of ’em. I can’t resist filling the drawers, just like I can’t resist filling up tool boxes. I know that if I buy anything larger than a medium-sized tool box, pretty soon I can’t lift it.

  7. PutnamEco says:

    Most of my sockets came in metal boxes or trays with a bail, still going strong 30+ years on.

  8. george says:

    although i used those clips style rails for over 30 years and still do i switched to this style over 12 years ago for the stuff i used daily.

    http://www.nextag.com/MTS724-1-4-in-556441801/prices-html

  9. Coach James says:

    I use these in standard and metric and have no complaints.

    http://www.harborfreight.com/3-piece-metric-socket-trayorganizer-68102.html

  10. Wheels17 says:

    35 years ago,as a kid with his first toolbox, I cut up a 1/2″ dowel into short pegs, nailed and glued them to a 1/4″ plywood strip. They’re still going strong…

  11. Jerry says:

    Coach James and I share the HF method. Works better for me than any previous methods – and there were many – but as with all “solutions” I can never find just the right size to fit just perfectly in my chest or cabinet drawers.

  12. Old Tool Guy says:

    I really like the Hansen Socket Trays.

    I have a pretty extensive socket drawer, with 1/4, 3/8, 1/2, and 3/4 chrome and impact sockets, in both standard and metric in one of these.

    http://hansenglobalinc.com/our-products/socket-trays/

    I also have torx and hex sockets in a Hansen organizer that looks like this:
    http://hansenglobalinc.com/our-products/hex-torx-tray/

    1/4, 3/8 and 1/2 wobbly sockets in both chrome and impact go on a tray from Global:

    http://www.globalindustrial.com/g/storage/bulk-rack/display-wall/socket-caddies

    I am overly anal about putting tools away between jobs, and fortunately my box is big enough to lay all these out side by side in one big, full width drawer, along with extensions, u joints, speed wrenches, etc.

  13. Cameron Watt says:

    I throw all my sockets together but I’ve painted my most commonly used sockets so they’re easy to find….there’s a some dowel leaning against the workbench waiting to be made into socket holders a la Wheels17

  14. Brau says:

    I have a few, but only for socket sets I use infrequently. I don’t like having to pry them off, nor having to put them back after the thingy has slid off-center. For the every day sockets I prefer cases or holders that make selection easy and don’t fight me.

  15. Mac says:

    Hey, thanks guys! I figured I was the worst in terms of OCDing my stuff. I thought it was a no brainer to go smallest-to-biggest, but most of my friends say I’m way out there by putting the size markings all on one side of the rack.

    Toolherder – I’m with you on the labeling of sockets too. I really like the Craftman laser etching on their new sockets. Too bad I’m too old/cheap to replace the 2 gagillion sockets I have.

    Will probably give the stickers a try – always thought they’d wear/peel off too soon. Since a bunch of you endorse them, worth a shot.

  16. IronHerder says:

    @Mac, I went through the comments, and I may be the only one who endorsed the stick-on labels. They are useful, but not perfect: tiny sockets have too much curve, the supplied sets had too many of some sizes and not enough of others, the sockets need to be clean first (“Cleanliness is next to Impossible”). But they’re cheaper than replacing the old ones with laser etching.

    But Mac may have won the OCD war: I don’t separate 6 pt. from 12 pt. I think that the idea has merit, but if I keep my 6 & 12 pts. next to each other, I only need half the number of labels. So, in my case, cheap trumps OCD.

  17. Scott Rupert says:

    Thanks for the comments everyone! I have a few clarifications.

    1) @Joe & @Brau: I do have some smaller socket sets in plastic cases that I use for mobile or non-shop/garage jobs. So that Husky set isn’t the only one I own.

    2) @cheerIO, @Coach James, & @Old Tool Guy: I like the tray idea and I might eventually switch over to them now that I know what my requirements are. But I was trying to stay as cheap as possible for now so that swung me in the direction of these metal spring Tektons

    3) @Wheels17: I had actually planned to do exactly what you did with wooden dowels. I even purchased the dowels but never had the time to get it done. I even you for your youthful and home-grown solution.

    Thanks again for sharing the knowledge guys! I’ll watch out for “spring fatigue” for sure!

  18. Gill Bates says:

    Sears has updated those old style metal clips with a new plastic version that works great. All of my sockets are on the plastic strips now.

    Of course you separate the 6 pt sockets from the 12 pt sockets. What’s wrong with you?

  19. Toolfreak says:

    I had several of those ‘socket organizers’ years ago, and found them quite useless. They were apparently for toting sockets to the workspace, but it was easier to just keep them loose, or use a magnetic tray/mat. About the only good use I’ve seen for them is mounted to a flat surface such as the very top of a rollaway toolbox so you can just reach in and pop off a socket or put it back.

    I have my sockets organized by size, with the Metric on one side, SAE on the other, and the 6 and 13 points in different rows. The odd torx/screwdriver/misc bits go with the 1/4 drive stuff since it’s the smallest set. I use the shortest drawers with drawer liners, and so the regular sockets fit fine on the flat end, and deep sockets are on their side. The only thing this arrangement doesn’t survive is hits and earthquakes. I still have the earlier engraved markings kind, but I can pretty much pick out the size I need in one try.

  20. TB says:

    I use Ernst Socket Organizers. They seem to be the best in my opinion. They come with labels too.

  21. MM says:

    Thank you all for your comments. I am now official completely and utterly confused. lol. I’ll have to do some homework. Do you guys that use the plastic products have trouble with them breaking or snapping off?

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