Allen keys, also known as Allen or Hex keys, are small handheld tools for turning bolts and screws with hexagonal sockets. Although people assume that Allen keys are newly invented, they have been around since the mid-to-late 1800s. The concept of a hexagonal-shaped screwdriver became popular around that time, and now they are available in various sizes to suit a wide range of uses. Before we learn more about the multiple benefits of Hex keys or Allen Keys, let us look at the different types of Allen keys.
Different Types of Allen Keys
As mentioned above, a wide range of Allen keys are available in the market. They can be classified as under:
It is the most common and standard Allen key you’ll find in the market. Due to its unique L shape, you can reach tight spots without losing control. If you wish to get only one set of Allen keys, it is wise to choose L-style Allen keys. While there are several options, a 1.5-10mm option is a good bargain.
It is a standard model widely used in motorsport applications. Thanks to the T-handle, it is easy to spin the wrench quickly while allowing enough leverage. Beta 951 wrenches make it slide into a position to produce an L-shaped tool. The ease of use and manoeuvrability make it a popular choice among bike mechanics.
P-Handle type of Allen keys is widely used in professional workshops. These oversized L-wrenches with a comfortable grip offer the same advantages as a T-handle.
Folding Allen Key
It is a favourite of cyclists and bikers. Unlike other Allen keys, losing a folding Hex wrench is almost impossible because it is fitted in the handle and folds out at 90 degrees from the handle to give the maximum torque.
These dynamic tools are used with screwdriver bits and sockets and are available in wide varieties. You can use its bits in an electric drill driver, which makes it a popular choice for people working with rotor bolts.
Ball Hex Sets
These are distinctive from other Hex sets as they come with ball moulded heads at tight edges where the L-shaped wrenches can’t reach.
Key Ring Sets
These are basic L-shaped Allen keys mounted on a key ring with a spring retainer clip. For use, twist and pull the key from the retaining clip and you can push and twist it back into its place after use.
Uses For Allen Keys
Here are some common uses for Allen keys. You can use them to build, repair, and maintain your vehicles and other items.
Bicycle repair: Allen keys are widely used for bike repairs and size adjustments because of their wide range of sizes and compactness. A set of folding Allen keys is a must for a frequent rider.
Furniture repairs: Allen keys are highly useful in securing furniture in its place as it allows assembling the furniture without resorting to any bulk tools. Their compact design makes them ideal for building/repairing furniture pieces requiring long reach due to tight spaces. A set of long-arm Hex keys is the best bet.
Cars and motorcycles: An Allen key set is essential for properly maintaining your vehicle, and it can reach the areas under the seat or the dash (behind the glove compartment). A T-handle Hex wrench is highly recommended for car and motorcycle repair.
Tools: Allen keys help maintain and repair heavy tools and machinery as you can securely place the drill bits in their space. Power saws need Allen keys to change the blades or for minor adjustments. A set of short-arm Allen keys is best suited for these tasks.
Electronics repair: Allen wrenches are handy for electronics repair. As electronics become increasingly compact, Allen keys are ideal for use because of their size.
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