When it comes to ‘dismembering’ any sort of machine that has multiple parts in it, chances are – there are going to be some nuts ‘n’ bolts you will need to tackle first.
Now, while the principle of unfastening a bolt or a screw is simple enough, what can become quite complex in such a task is that these bolts ‘n’ nuts will likely be of different sizes, so to speak.
Often, even within a single machine, there will be several different fastening parts that will be different in size. This means that you would need a separate wrench for each one, so you can do the job you’ve set out to do.
By far the best way of doing this would be to utilize a socket wrench and then use a socket set that comes with it to easily switch between different socket sizes.
This can save you a lot of time and money because having to buy a separate wrench for each screw size would not only cost a fortune but carrying all of them would be a pain in the neck since wrenches are not that light. (They sort of are, but not if you have to carry forty of them all at once.)
In this article, we’re going to talk about socket sets and what makes these tools so useful for tightening or unfastening any sort of screw or bolt you come across. To be more precise, we’ll talk about American-made socket sets, which are specific in the metric system according to which they are made and in the quality of their build.
To help you understand what makes American-made sockets so popular, we will list some of the most prominent US brands manufacturing these today.
Also, we have set up a section where we will talk about how to choose the type of socket set you need, so you can have an easier time picking up the one that suits your needs the best. Last but not least, we have prepared a section where we will answer some of the most frequently asked questions regarding US-made socket wrenches and sets.
Here’s the deal.
Top Picks : USA-Made Socket Set
Why Choose a US Brand?
When tools and tool accessories are in question, manufacturers throughout the world approach making these in two ways that have to do with the measuring system in use in different countries.
We are talking, of course, about: 1) metric system (kilograms, meters, and so on – used in Europe and other parts of the world), and 2) Imperial system (used in the US, Liberia, and Myanmar).
While most tools can be useful for users of both systems, there are slight differences when it comes to the sizes these tools are made to fit – especially when nuts and bolts are in question.
So, if you come from a country that uses the Imperial system, you may want to go for US-made tools, as you won’t have to translate and calculate the measurements when using the tools.
Also, USA-made products belonging to the tool department, so to speak, are well-known for their quality and longevity, so there’s another reason why you may want to go for a US-product over some others.
7 Best USA-Made Socket Brands
In the world of ratcheting wrenches, the company GearWrench holds a special place. Ever since these folks came up with their first ratcheting wrench back in 1996, this company took off and so far, it’s been making high-quality tools and tool accessories for automotive and heavy industries.
Tools made by this company are built to be strong, easy-to-use, and versatile enough so that whoever uses them doesn’t need another tool other than the GearWrench gear they’ve got already.
One of the ways the folks at GearWrench aim to display their confidence when it comes to the tools they’re making is by issuing lifetime warranties for their products.
What this means is that if you buy one of their tools, you will have a lifetime of support and care from the folks who made the gear you bought, so even if something does go wrong with it, you can always take it up with the customer service at GearWrench.
Offering a wide range of industrial-strength tools that can be used by both individual users for their personal needs and professionals in their line of work, Proto is a US company that prides itself on the quality of their product and the advanced safety features of their gear.
Since Proto makes gear for workers that work in some of the toughest and least hospitable environments on Earth, the folks at this company go out of their way to ensure that the equipment they’re selling to their customers is of high-quality and that it is tough enough to survive and still be in a perfect functioning order even after years of day-to-day use.
Other than their dedication to producing high-quality goods, the folks at Proto also pride themselves in going out of their way to ensure that what they make is perfectly safe to use.
To make sure that the workers who use their tools are always safe at work, Proto makes sure to always provide instructions for the proper use of their tools. The goal of this is to both make the tools last longer and ensure that the worker who uses them is safe while working.
3) SK Professional Tools
Sporting a tough, no-nonsense, but also the somewhat humorous motto of ‘Blood, Sweat, and gears’, SK Professional tools is an American blue-collar business that offers high-quality hardware to their customers, as well as generous warranties.
One of the most important values of this company, as they claim themselves, is that the steel they use to make their products is all 100% American-made, so there are no parts necessary for the production process that are imported from any foreign country.
What this means is that every one of their products (including socket sets) is made entirely in the US from start to finish, and using only American materials. This can be an additional motivational force for you to buy this product if you’re from the US yourself and you fancy helping out your economy in your way, so to speak.
Whatever your reasons for purchasing an SK Professional Tools product, however, you can rest assured that this thing you buy will be covered by their rather generous lifetime warranty, so even if something goes wrong with one of their tools, you can rest assured that their customer support will take care of it for you.
4) Crescent Tools
Representing one of the largest and most successful hands tool-making companies, the Crescent tool is a business dedicated to innovation and high-quality.
Boasting a rich heritage and history that started back in 1907, when a Swedish inventor arrived in the US, this company has become a well-known name in the heavy industry, automotive industry, as well as any related industry where reliable hand tools are used.
When it comes to the products that this USA-made brand makes, you can count on such commonly-used hand tools as wrenches, pliers, screwdrivers, as well as a vast array of different toolsets – including socket sets for their wrenches.
Other than hand tools and hand tool accessories, the folks at Crescent tools have also expanded their production capabilities, so to speak, to make various forms of storage units including truck storage, onsite storage, and other forms of keeping your tools in one place. These storages are aimed at professionals who need to have their tools with them at all times while on the go.
Established in 1927, Wright is a factory that’s managed to make a name for itself as one of the most prominent hand tool manufacturers in the world. What makes the tools coming from this company so tough and durable is the fact that the folks at Wright make sure to use the latest technology and only high-quality materials in making their tools.
Other than the fact that Wright established itself as a respected company soon after its inception, they didn’t just settle with their newly-found reputation and popularity, as they claim themselves. Instead, they have made a long-lasting dedication to innovation and development of new technologies, which is a theme that’s easily visible in any of their products currently on offer on the global market.
When it comes to the way the folks at Wright make their tools, the first step is choosing the high-quality material (wright alloy steel, for example) they will use for the product in question. Then, they use advanced manufacturing and processing techniques to make the end product tougher and more durable.
If you’re on the lookout for a brand that concentrates on delivering high-quality tools and then being prepared to warrant for the effectiveness of these tools for years to come, then checking out the Bondhus website and online store may well be what you need to do.
As far as the tools these folks make are concerned, you can find anything from screwdrivers to nut drivers, as well as a host of other bits and blades you might need for some of the other tools you already have or are planning on buying.
As we mentioned in the first paragraph, Bondhus is one of the hand tool-making companies that prides itself in their excellent lifetime warranties. All Bondhus tools are covered by a fairly generous lifetime warranty, so if any of them malfunctions at any time, you can simply return it and ask for a replacement one.
Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Tekton is a family-owned business dedicated to making high-quality hand tools you will be able to use in a wide variety of work settings and for many different purposes.
To be precise, the folks at Tekton concentrate on designing and manufacturing a special breed of tools that would fall into the category of hand tools and accessories. These would include wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers, ratches, impact sockets, as well as hand drive sockets. So, when it comes to simpler assembly tasks or some simple mechanical work – Tekton can be the perfect company to get your tools from.
Although Tekton tools are not entirely made in the US, about 20% of the entire production process is US-based, with all the designing work completed in the United States.
In case you’re interested to learn more about the sort of products Tekton sells, they have an elaborately constructed website you can check out. There you can find all the tools they’re selling displayed in their full glory, so to speak.
How We Chose
The history of a company will tell you a lot about its present dealings.
Some companies concentrate only on producing hand tools, while others produce hand tools and many other types of tools as a part of their production process, so to speak.
We made sure that all the brands you see above are hand tool specialists, so if you venture to buy a socket wrench from either of them, you can rest assured it will be a good model.
There are many hand tool manufacturers in the world, but those looking for American-made goods can find them with some of the seven brands we displayed above. (Of course, this list does not cover all US-based brands that exist, but those seven would be the most prominent ones on the market.)
That said, not all brands on this list are entirely US-based, as some are only partially so. Sometimes brands will design their products in the USA and then outsource the production to some other country.
On the list above, however, the majority of the manufacturers make their tools exclusively in the USA.
Hand tool manufacturers and their customers have a special sort of relationship that you often don’t see in the world of commerce.
The thing is since the makers of these tools often use them regularly, they know exactly what their customers are after.
Not only that, but many of the brands we talked about above are fully prepared to back each of their products with a lifetime warranty. So, if you want to have lifetime coverage and customer support for your tools, getting a model from a brand that offers a lifetime warranty can be a great option for you.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1) Are Matco Tools Made in the USA?
Some of them are, but this can’t be said for all of their tool, especially the most recent series.
Typically, a USA-made product coming from Matco will have a ‘USA’ sign on it. All the models that have not been made in the US, on the other hand, won’t have such a sign.
2) What are the socket sizes in order?
Here’s a common way of representing the different sizes of socket sets. For each drive size, there is a range of extension accessories:
- 1/4” Drive – From 5/32” to 9/16”
- 3/8” Drive – From 1/4” to 1”
- 1/2” Drive – From 3/8” to 1-1/2”
- 3/4” Drive – From 7/8” to 2-1/4”
- 1” Drive – From 1-5/8” to 3-1/8”
There are also other ways to display different sizes in order, but this one would be the most common.
3) Are 3/8” and 10mm the same?
They are quite close, but not the same.
A 3/8″ wrench would measure in about 9.53 mm, so it’s somewhere in between a 9mm wrench and a 10 mm one.
4) How do I know my socket size?
If you don’t know what socket size you will need to screw in a nut, for example, you may need to use a caliper.
Make sure to set it to inches and then measure the nut in question to get a reading. Once you got the reading, find the socket that fits the value you’ve received from the reading.
5) What size socket fits the oil drain plug?
There are a couple of common oil drain plug sizes currently in use by automotive manufacturers, but most of them are about 9 mm.
Translated into inches, this would be the 3/8-inch socket.
6) Should I buy 6-point or 12-point sockets?
The most commonly used sockets are 6-point sockets and for a good reason.
The thing is, with 6-point sockets, you get a large surface that is touching the screws and other parts of the nut you’re trying to remove or screw in. With 12-point models, this surface is smaller, which can lead to damaging the socket if you exert too much force over it.
That said, if the bolt in question only fits a 12-point socket, you have to use a 12-point socket wrench, but if the bolt has six sides, you can use either a 6-point wrench or the 12-point one. (So, 12-point socket wrenches do tend to be a bit more reliable.)
All in all, USA-made socket wrenches are held in high regard by markets across the world thanks to all the well-known brands making these hand tools and the accessories for them. We hope you found this article helpful and we wish you the best of luck with your purchase.