Taiwan Leading Hand-Tool Maker

How to Design Tool Kits and Socket Sets?

  • 2015-07-29

Thousands of tool sets are available in hardware shops and via Amazon, and their scale and pricing range widely. You can pay ten dollars for a 32-piece set or spend thousands on a 556-piece set.

How can we design a tool set that will become a market favorite? Who is the target customer? What is the customer's industry or field of interest? What are their requirements? Before embarking upon the design process, Tien-I’s R&D team members reflect upon the above questions, as well as the considerations set out below.

Socket drive hole size (square) related to usage

Drive hole sizes are selected according to the intended usage. Bigger drive holes have higher torque and are suitable for heavy duty application in open spaces. Smaller drive hole sizes are associated with lower torque and are mainly used for home improvement tasks and working on delicate or sensitive equipment.

The drive hole size determines the purpose of the set. The chart below shows the appropriate usage for each size range. (For a detailed explanation, please refer to our blog post on socket sizes. "Socket Size Basic Knowledge" ) 

For example, a tool set containing all sizes from 1/4” to 1/2” addresses more functions, but it also bears a heftier price tag and is less convenient to transport. Also, the customer may feel that it contains too many sizes that they already have in their possession.


Socket drive size

What is the ideal number of sockets to include in a set? Should they be standard or deep sockets? Should one follow the SAE (inch) or metric (mm) system?

A tool set is labeled with the number of components it contains. For example, you can find a 159-piece tool kit or a 32-piece socket set. While a 32-piece socket set is sufficient for carrying out DIY home improvement tasks, this will not cover all your needs if you’re carrying out auto repair.

Conventional wisdom holds that the greater the number of components, the better. But in this case, the above is not necessarily true. The number of components may include small pieces of less value, such as bits. You should count the socket wrenches rather than all components. While including more sockets provides a more comprehensive range of products for the end user, this also renders the set more expensive, and less convenient to carry. Balance is key.

Deep sockets are necessary for repairs of some special equipment and machines. They are a must-have for pro users and professional mechanics alike. When tool kits contain both deep and regular sockets, usually the deep ones prove popular, as deep hole nuts and bolts are fairly widely used.

Metric (MM) and SAE (INCH) are the two main systems in the tool market. Usually European and Asia go for Metric (MM). England, US. and Australia use both SAE (INCH) and Metric (MM). But it still depends on the specific target market. For example, professional auto shop may have SAE and Metric at the same time since they need to fix German car as well as US. Car. It is perfect to cover two systems, but back to the main question, how many socket/wrenches is best number?

How to Convert Between SAE and Imperial Socket Sizes? 

Double Color Blow Mold Care Socket Sets - Tool Kit

40PC 1/2"DR. TOOL KIT (MM)

133PC 1/4" & 1/2"DR. TOOL KIT (MM)

Key features of the ratchet wrench 

The ratchet wrench is the heart of any socket and tool set. A quality ratchet is key to user satisfaction, as it is fundamental to the socket set. When the ratchet meets ANSI or DIN specifications, the common user shouldn’t experience any problem with torque.

A key feature is the number of teeth. The greater the number of teeth a ratchet has, the smaller the angle required to move it. For example, 72 teeth = 5 degrees; 36 teeth = 10 degrees.
For a detailed explanation, please refer to our blog post on ratchet handle design

Additionally, three critical features of a ratchet include: (1) quick release structure; (2) trigger design; and (3) handle.

Ratchet Handle Design Point

Bits, screwdriver or bit socket?

Is the tool set intended for light or heavy usage? Where does the target customer use the tool and for which purpose? A screwdriver is commonly used for many DIY home improvement tasks and even for some professional tasks. The bits are suitable for occasional usage or can be combined with another accessory. If torque requirement is high, bit socket is a good choice.

Normally the tool set is designed to include the bits instead of screwdriver due to cost and utility. The screwdriver would be worthless if its tip wear out, but the bit can be replaceable. The bit socket is often used in repairing machine equipment or automobile with various length.

Philips, Pozi, slot/flat, hex/Allen key are the styles most commonly found in every workspace.


Tool case or blow molded case?

Tool kits or socket sets come in two types of cases: metal or plastic. Each market has its own preference.

Here are the general key points to consider:

•The tools or components are firmly gripped in the case, so that they resist strong impact but can still be easily taken out.

•The durability of plastic or alloy metal lock. An alloy metal clip lock is stronger and more durable than a plastic one.

•The connection between the upper and lower parts of the case varies according to whether they are made of plastic or metal. Metal makes the whole set appear sharper and more professional, and it is more durable than plastic.

•The color and design of the tool case. This is a big topic with many factors to consider. In the interest of brevity, we will show you the best example:

Tien-I's double color anti-impact design is the definition. 

Tien-I is Taiwan’s trusted manufacturer of tool kits and socket sets. 

Welcome to contact with Tien-I Team if you have interests with tool set or socket set design.