Today we’re going to test out the Milwaukee 56pc 3/8 drive ratchet/socket set. I’ve tried a lot of different socket sets throughout my career. Most of them are pretty similar in their function. Some of them are shaped a little bit differently or they’re either more or less a pain in the ass to work with.
Just taking this out of the box I noticed the size was very peculiar. To me it’s just a lot larger than I would like it to be. Most of the socket sets I try to buy are shaped a certain way. I like sets that are shorter 8-9in x 5-6in but are thicker/taller in size for storage. Milwaukee designed this to be an ultra thin set up for the case but to me it makes it cumbersomely large. What I like about the smaller sets it’s they’re easier to fit into a tool bag, toolbox, or compartments in your truck. I can’t even really think of where I’d store something shaped like this in my truck so that’s kind of a pain in the ass. Not only that but it will more than likely get buried under something.
I like that it comes with two extensions and a knuckle attachment, and the actual tray that holds the socket set in the case comes out so you can put it on a tabletop. Not really necessary for electricians but that may be a cool feature for someone in automotive. Again, as an electrician we’re just looking for something compact, that’s easy to store and travel with, something you can just set on a table and pull your sockets out. We don’t need extra trays and stuff like that.
Upon opening the set I first notice that each socket has a square base to it which is really cool looking, and when you use then, because they are square, they feel a lot better in your hand. I like that the set has 6mm all the way to 19mm on it’s sizes and that it goes from 1/4in to 1in on the SAE sizes. Not a lot of socket sets come with a 1in. Most stop at 7/8 or 3/4 so I like that this is a full versatile set.
I actually got to use this set on a strut rack I built recently. I found that the weird square shape of the sockets is actually very useful. It feels better in your hand, it lets you grip the tool better, especially when you’re free spinning the socket with your fingers. The ratchet itself has 90 positions on it. What I really like about that is when I’m in really tight spaces I can still get motion on the socket. A lot of other sockets don’t do that. Typically you’ll get in to a confined space you’re pretty much SOL for being able to use the tool.
The set is a 3/8 drive set which for electricians is really all you need. The majority of the time you’re doing anything whether you’re putting these sockets on a drill, or just using them in your hand, out in the field I find the 3/8 set is what’s used by most electricians. Every once in a while, you’re going to want to use a 1/4in drive because the whole entire tool is much smaller so if you’re in really confined spaces, you’re working with something that doesn’t need a whole lot of torque to it, you may still use a ¼in drive. But it’s really just for that rare occasion that you’ll need that size. Same goes for 1/2in drive set. You don’t really use a ½ drive set because it’s a lot bigger than what you need. Most of the time you’ll put the socket on an impact driver to get that much torque out of it or you’re going to be using a torque wrench that also has a ½in drive on it. So I find that 1/2in drives very seldom get used. There are some people that keep socketed allen sets that they need to have a 1/2in drive for but it’s pretty rare to use.
Info from HomeDepot.com –
Designed from the ground up, this 56-piece 3/8 in. drive ratchet and socket set offers better access in tight spaces and maximum tool strength. The 90-tooth ratchet tool offers 4 degrees of arc swing and a slim profile design, so you can work in tighter spaces. The innovative, wrench-compatible socket design has four parallel flats to help prevent rolling. Optimized socket geometry additionally helps reduce bolt rounding and stripping. Find each socket size stamped into the flats for easy-to-read visibility. This kit includes a removable inner tray and is designed to be stored long-term in a steel storage chest. It also comes with a durable carrying case for ultimate portability. The set’s accessories make sure the user can get every job done, both in the garage and on the job-site. The ratchet and socket set is backed by a Mechanics Hand Tools Lifetime Guarantee.
4 degrees of arc swing
Slim profile ratchet
Flush directional lever
Socket flats deter rolling
Wrench-ready socket design
Stamped socket sizes
Removable inner storage tray
Portable carrying case
Includes: standard sockets: 1/4 in., 5/16 in., 3/8 in., 7/16 in., 1/2 in., 9/16 in., 5/8 in., 11/16 in., 3/4 in., 13/16 in., 7/8 in., 15/16 in., 1 in., 6 mm, 7 mm, 8 mm, 9 mm, 10 mm, 11 mm, 12 mm, 13 mm, 14 mm, 15 mm, 16 mm, 17 mm, 18 mm, 19 mm deep well sockets: 1/4 in., 5/16 in., 3/8 in., 7/16 in., 1/2 in., 9/16 in., 5/8 in., 11/16 in., 3/4 in., 13/16 in., 7/8 in., 6 mm, 7 mm, 8 mm, 9 mm, 10 mm, 11 mm, 12 mm, 13 mm, 14 mm, 15 mm, 16 mm, 17 mm, 18 mm, 19 mm accessories: 3 in. extension, 6 in. extension, universal swivel 90-tooth ratchet
All in all I think this set is very good, very quality. I will probably keep this set on me just because I think the feel of the actual socket and the ratchet itself. I do wish the case that all of these come in was a little better designed. More compact and smaller would be good and I don’t need a removable tray. I do really like the tools themselves so I’m going to give this a 4/5 stars.