How to organize sockets – Advanced Guide (2021)

I regularly need to use sockets in my office as it serves my purposes of upgrading a computer or building a server. In the last month, when I was shifting my office to a new place, I found my tools in a complete miscellaneous state! In spite of having a toolbox, I found my pieces of stuff were a total mess inside that.

So when I started working there, I faced troubles to locate the particular one that I wanted. I was frustrated with my toolbox chaos state that drove me almost crazy!

That’s the time when I felt the abundance of getting a lesson on organizing a socket. That’s why I started googling on the internet to know the best way to organize sockets. But I got the best guidance from one of my friends who is good with this stuff.

I don’t want anyone to go through the same problem I had. So here I am, presenting the best possible question of how to organize sockets.

Different methods of organizing sockets

How you will keep the tools mainly depends on where you want to keep them. Whether it’s a toolbox or a tool bag or it can be a cabinet or a drawer. Each of these has its advantages and disadvantages regarding some key features. They also vary in the way to install different components within them.

Below is a list of different socket containers available in the market.

  • 1
    Case and pouch organizer
  • 2
    Drawer system
  • 3
    Rail system
  • 4
    Tray container
  • 5
    Magnetic holder

While choosing a set holder, you must keep in mind the following factors.

  • Storage capacity
  • Expense
  • Installation process
  • Time required to install it
  • Number of Components
  • Features and
  • Styles

It’s always wise to select a holder with an ideal storage capacity. A  Check whether the set’s drive is 1/4, 3/8, 1/2, or 3/4 inch so that the sockets can easily fit into the holder.

How to organize sockets

What’s the best way to organize sockets in toolbox? Well, there are several ways I found that serve my purposes best. Below is the brief description of different set holders.

A Case organizer

It’s a ready made pack. This means it needs no installation. It’ll keep your socket set organized and easily accessible. You can carry them anywhere and they don’t require any assembly. Though its storage capacity is limited, it also reduces the space required to store a set. You can clean them easily if you need. They are available in various styles but are a bit expensive.

Rail system

In a rail system, there’s a clip that glides on an adjustable rail. This clip helps the socket drive and slides into it. There are some other types which have holes on each end of the rail. You can attach the sockets using rivets or screws. Or use side clips to remove and transport the rail separately. It has high storage capacity and also easy to clean. But it’s expensive and are available in limited styles.

Drawer Insert

Drawer inserts came in padded foam, plastic and metal form.

Padded foam inserts cut slots of each size. And you can modify them to give space to different applications. Metals and plastic drawers have holes cut into the material that holds the sockets in place. They are of assorted shape. Consider the length width and height of the drawer when you are choosing a drawer system holder.

A magnet holder

A magnetic holder contains a set of holes those are cut into a magnet. These holes hold the sockets in place. There are some other types which are made of a flat magnetized metal sheet.  You can attach it to any metallic body.

Then you can arrange the socket set in order to your preference. But you will also need magnetic tape for lining the inside of a tool drawer or placing on a flat surface.

But as magnet attract metal shavings, therefore, periodic cleaning is necessary. Otherwise, you may face difficulty in fitting the sockets in the place securely. Though it has limited storage space, inexpensive.

Tray Stand

This is the most expensive holders among all these holders. It holds each set effectively. It holds a socket with a rod that runs through the shafts of the socket. It’s portable, easy to organize and clean. Also, no installation is required.

Tips on how to organize sockets

As I described above, choosing the right toolbox is the first thing you need to concern on. Once you choose which one will give you the best service, now it’s time to know how to organize sockets in tool bag.

1. Arrange the sockets according to your need

It will be easy to sort out which one you need most after you’ve worked with your tools several times. Place the tools you need to use frequently at the front of your tool bag and the rest at the back. By arranging sockets in your tool bag like this, working will be easy and less time-consuming.

2. Separating metric tools from the standard

Mixing different tools together can be messy even in a tool bag. Therefore, it’s always wise to separately arrange the standard and metric tools. If you feel the urge, then use more than one bag. Choose different colors for bags to differentiate each of them. For example, you can use a blue bag for metric tools and pink for standard tools.

If you have a drawer system toolbox, then you can keep different tools in different drawers.

3. Coordinating tool foam by coloring it

Instead of labeling the foam trays, you can paint them with different colors. Maintain a sequence of both coloring it and arranging them side-wise. For instance, the tools can start from the smallest to the largest. And the coloring may start from lighter to stronger borders.

To clarify the topic of how to organize sockets in toolbox, we must separately describe each of them.

How to organize sockets in foam trays?

A lot of people use foam trays for organizing sockets. This is mainly because of the advantages that come with it. The main advantage is that it covers the hard time you had eyeballing the sizes of sockets. This is because foam trays are designed according to the different size. Thus it makes it easier to locate the tools you want easily.

Best way to organize sockets in tool box in socket rails

Socket rails come in both with and without handles. Rails those have handles occupy a lot of space. Therefore, to amend this, choose one that has no handles. These will offer you longer socket rails where you can house more tools. These come in handy especially when you have more stuff than the space available.

How to organize sockets using clips?

Clips hold the socket rails to the tool bag. An additional advantage it offers you is that it allows you to multitask. How? With clips, you are free to carry the tool bag with you one hand, and with the other hand, you can do anything you want.

Again if you need to work away from the place of your toolbox, you don’t need to carry the whole box with you. Simply unclip the rails and take it with you putting the sockets you need in it. And those you don’t need for the task can leave behind in the box. Thus your work becomes less tedious. You can work comfortably without any stuff.

How to use magnetic socket holders

Well, you can avoid such situation by using a magnetic socket holder. But this needs a careful installation of your tool bag. Once your sockets are intact, you can carry it freely. Then you don't have to worry about falling and scattering your sockets.

This is preferable when you’re working on a height from the ground. For example, working in a second-floor building. You don’t want your tools to fall over the pedestrian below and hit their head, do you?

Thus a magnetic holder creates a safe working environment.

Socket storage ideas

You’ve picked either a drawer or a pouch or rails or something else to store your sockets. Now the next question that may come to your mind, how to organize sockets inside the toolbox.

Well, if it’s a drawer then you can lie them flat so that the markings on their body can be seen. But this will consume more space in the drawer.

Again, if you arrange them vertically so that they occupy less space, you’ll not able to see the markings anymore. And also, if your sockets are too lengthy, then you may need a deeper drawer. Separate labels also take up excess space.

Using a foam trails can be a solution to both of these problems. But if you want to stick to drawer system, then a carrier that holds them at 45-degree angle will be helpful. Though they will take a little more space, they will offer you a good readability.

Designing the socket holder

Designing such a socket holder isn’t something very difficult.

First, Take a ½ inch Baltic birch plywood and take a 2’’ wide strip of it. Then cut off the edges at a 45-degree angle with a saw.

Then route a 1’’ wide groove to recess the rail such that the socket can rest on the carrier. This isn’t as simple as I just described. The thickness of the rail varies throughout the length. And it also differs from one rail to another. Therefore, it’s better to opt for a shallow groove.

And finally, to secure the socket on the rail, drill holes to the bottom. To hide the rivets, countersink the holes.

But still, it's not complete. Though the sockets will balance on the carrier at 45-degree angle, there’s another problem. As you put the rail inside the drawer and close and open it, the sockets will tip over.


To combat this problem, you can use earth magnet. These are usually difficult to find. But if you can manage any, then add them to your design. They will prevent the tipping over. In addition to this, they will also prevent them to walk all over the drawer.

You can also bore a few holes for a ½’’ circular magnets, slightly deeper than the magnet thickness. By doing so the magnets won’t scratch up the paints.

Magnets will make your designed holder much more stable.

This is a quick way to make a stable 45-degree socket carrier.

But you will still face some problems, maybe a bit fall over or walk around of sockets. There are some other ways you can fix these problems.

You can use a thicker wood or use a stronger magnet or more or larger magnets. But stronger and larger magnets are harder to find and also more expensive. Rather use a thicker base so that a ¾ inch diameter magnets would be enough.

If you use a board of a ¾ inch thickness, the hypotenuse would be 1 inch. It will provide a little wider base to the sockets to rest on.

You may complain about another problem. The readability of the markings isn’t still satisfactory to that level. Well, it’s not a problem with this system. But it’s with the rails. The etched number on the socket may not line up with the side of the socket. They are positioned such that one can obscure them while they are on socket strip.

For more info, please check this video.

Final Verdict

As I learned from my experience, some simple measures enhance your work efficiency. Such as, keeping your working stuff organized. You can’t imagine how time-saving this could be. When you are facing difficulty in getting your work done, a messy toolbox can add to that problem. So it’s not enough just to have a socket container, but you must know to organize sockets inside it.

Each type of toolbox has their way of arranging tools inside them. Though there isn’t any hard and fast rules for how you will keep them inside, follow the tips I stated above.

I hope if you were looking for the answer how to organize sockets, you just got it.

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John Bryan

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