Magnetic sockets are some of the best things since sliced bread. They save you so much time it is unbelievable.
Have you ever gone looking for that missing socket and spent an hour looking for it? Or thought you may have accidentally dropped it down the intake and now you are trying to look into the cylinder with a borescope to find it?
If either of these scenarios hasn’t happened to you then you have either been always using magnetic sockets or not wrenching on cars long enough. Trust me, dropping nuts and bolts happens a lot. So much so, that spending a little bit of extra money on getting magnetic sockets (yes, they are more expensive) will save you a ton of headache in the end.
Now, you don’t need a magnetic socket for everything. Lug nuts, for example, aren’t something you typically need to worry about losing off the end of your socket. In fact, you want them to drop out of the socket quickly so you can move onto the next bolt.
But that 10mm bolt that is deep in the engine bay that you can’t fit your little fingers on to remove? You definitely want a magnetic socket in that position.
There are some tricks to make a socket hold onto a bolt which can help in a pinch– you can read all about them in my article “No Magnetic Socket– No Worries.” Or just slather some grease over the top of the socket and slap the bolt in there (you can also use paper, a leaf, or anything that can wedge between the socket and the fastener). But, look, relying on these tricks gets old and wastes time.
Here are the top magnetic socket sets in 2019 that I highly recommend. Use them for any bolt or nut that is hard to reach and you risk dropping it/never finding it. The absolute essential magnetic sockets to have are for spark plugs (stop using the rubber junk) and for 10mm sockets. They also make an awesome magnetizer that is super cheap, that can magnetize your screwdrivers and certain small sockets quickly. If you are on a budget then I would get 10mm magnetic sockets in swivel and straight, and a set of 1/4″ swivel magnetic sockets on top of that.
Best 1/4″ Magnetic Socket Sets in 2019:
1/4″ drive sockets are the most versatile sockets on the market in 2019. Professional mechanics will all have 1/4″ drive sockets for those tight spaces that 3/8″ won’t fit, and a 1/2″ socket won’t even come close.
1/4″ drive may, in fact, be the most used and most loved sockets by mechanics. When buying 1/4″ sockets you need to think about what you are using them for, and how to get the most bang for your buck.
For the purposes of this list, I looked at the best prices and the most versatile and useful sockets you can buy. I am a huge proponent of using magnetic sockets and all of these sets feature magnetic sockets. Trust me, once you get used to using magnetic sockets you will never go back to regular sockets.
- 1/4″ Impact Rated Magnetic Socket Set
- 5mm, 5.5mm, 6mm, 7mm, 8mm, 9mm, 10mm, 11mm, 12mm, 13mm, 14mm, 15mm
- 3/16”, 7/32”, 1/4”, 9/32”, 5/16”, 11/32”, 3/8”, 7/16”, 1/2”
- 2’’ extension
- 1/4’’ x 1/4’’ universal joint
- Shallow Sockets
- 1/4 Inch Drive Deep Magnetic Impact Socket Set,
- 4mm – 15mm
- Deep Sockets w/ blow-molded nice case
- Highly-reviewed & Professional Grade
- 1/4″ Swivel Deep Magnetic Impact Socket Set
- 5mm to 15mm
- Swivel Magnetic Impacts are the most useful socket / however also the priciest!
- Lifetime warranty
Best 3/8″ Magnetic Socket Sets in 2019:
There really aren’t that many options for 3/8″ drive magnetic socket sets on the market in 2019. I think that is because people are typically buying more 1/4″ drive magnetic sockets. That is because of the 1/4″ drive sockets being used more for those hard-to-reach fasteners that if you drop can be much more of a headache.
However, there is this Grey Pneumatic Magnetic Impact socket set that is pretty awesome and comes with a lifetime warranty. Otherwise, I would stick to a couple of sockets you can actually buy individually for removing spark plugs and for the most common sizes. I will post links below to my favorite 3/8″ drive sockets (magnetic).
- 3/8″ drive
- Magnetic Sockets
- Deep Well
- Lifetime Warranty
- Tons of brands to choose from
- Click the link above to see my favorites on Amazon for the best prices
- Make sure you own a magnetic swivel 5/8″ spark plug socket if you are doing any Ford spark plugs!
- 10mm 3/8″ Magnetic Impact Socket
- 3/8″ Drive x 12mm
- Magnetic Deep Socket
14mm 12-point Magnetic Spark Plug Socket (Mini Cooper/BMW/Ford Fusion)
Top 1/2″ Magnetic Socket Sets:
Ok, so these don’t really exist. You can buy individual 1/2″ sockets that are magnetic, but there aren’t that many full sets that are all magnetic and 1/2″ drive.
But here is a huge PRO TIP, they make these things called magnetic extensions. Now, what they are, is basically a magnet at the end of an extension that protrudes down into the socket a little bit. This allows you to make any socket you are using magnetic simply by using one of these magnetic socket extensions. THEY ARE GENIUS.
It is perfect for the DIYer that wants magnetic sockets but doesn’t want to spend a ton of money on buying all the different magnetic socket sets. Instead, you can use all of your old sockets but use these extensions and enjoy them being magnetic. This is the most economical and budget way to get the value of magnetic sockets without spending a ton of money.
I did some searching and found an awesome price on the magnetic extension set on Amazon here. You have a bunch of different ones to choose from, and I recommend just buying the biggest set you can afford.
Magnetic sockets are the future in 2019. You will see more and more people using them daily when working on cars. If you aren’t going to be using magnetic sockets then I suggest at least buying a magnetic picker upper tool and an inspection mirror. You are going to be spending a lot of time looking for lost nuts and bolts, so might as well have the tools to help you!
If you feel like you are a little lost about what socket is good for what then you should be doing some more reading. Here is what I recommend you spend a minute or two reading:
- Impact Sockets Vs. Chrome Sockets
- CR-MO Vs. CR-V
- Mechanic Life Hacks (No Magnetic Socket– No Worries!)
- Removing Rounded Fasteners in Tight Spaces