If you have recently assembled a piece of furniture, you probably had to dig in your toolbox for a hex wrench. Hex wrenches get called many names — hex keys, hex-key wrenches, Allen keys and Allen wrenches — and are widely used to work with products requiring assembly. Tasks include assembling wooden and metal furniture, adjusting the height of bicycle seats, even tightening screws in car engines might need the help of a hex wrench. You can use them to drive, fasten, or loosen screws that have hexagonal socket heads or screws with a six-sided head.
Hex Wrench vs. Allen Wrench: What’s the Difference?
You may have heard people refer to hex wrenches as Allen keys or Allen wrenches and wonder if there’s any difference between them. Well, no. There isn’t. A hex wrench and an Allen wrench are essentially the same tools, except that the latter got its name from Allen Manufacturing Company since founder W.G. Allen patented the design in 1909 for the screw requiring the original hex wrench shape.
Selecting the Best Hex Wrench for the Task
The vast majority of hex wrenches are available as wrench sets. These are practical and handy since they come with a wide variety of the most used wrench sizes.
There are three standard shape options for a hex wrench set: L-Shape, T-Shape, or folding — more on what these choices mean below. Another characteristic to note is how they are measured. These sets come in the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) standard sizes — fractions of an inch — or imperial sizes, another name for metric, which uses millimeters. Typical kits include SAE or metric sizes, so if you need to use a specific screw size wrench, pay attention to that. Some kits offer both, which may be the best bet if you work across different types of projects.
- L-Shape: This type of hex wrench is most common, and the one with which most are of us are familiar.
- T-Shape: The T-shape hex wrench works best in hard-to-reach areas that require more torque. The top of the tool acts as the handle, while the extension is the hex wrench. The handles of some T-shaped hex wrench designs also include an Allen wrench or hex wrench.
- Folding Kit: We consider these hex wrench kits the most versatile. You can use them in either an L- or T-shape, depending on your specific needs at the time.
Now let’s jump into the best hex wrench kits to get your furniture assembled or other projects in order in no time.
Texas Best Folding Hex Keys
BEST ALLEN KEY OVERALL
This two hex wrench pack offers both SAE and metric sizes and is undoubtedly our best overall pick. The SAE set includes wrenches in nine sizes, and the metric key comes with eight. Each folding hex wrench set is affordable, compact and made from alloy steel. What’s more, Texas Best offers a 100% satisfaction policy, or you get your money back.
REXBETI Hex Key Set
This highly rated L-shape Allen key set is durable, resistant, and versatile. This set is different because it comes with a free T-handle that can be attached to your hex wrench for additional power. This combo comes with 26 hex keys, 13 in SAE sizes and 13 in millimeters, and they are colored and labeled accordingly for easy grab-and-go tooling.
HUSKY SAE/Metric Long Arm Hex Key Set
A favorite among homeowners and professionals, this highly-rated L-shape hex wrench set is a must. It comes with 26 different keys, 13 SAE keys from ⅛ of an inch to ⅜, and 13 metric ones from 1.5 millimeters to 1 millimeter. Every wrench displays its measurement, and thanks to its long arms, they’re easier to maneuver and use. In addition, they come with a heavy-duty case to keep them all organized.
HUSKY T-Handle SAE & MM Hex Key Set
And for all hard-to-reach screws that need a long arm, the best option to have on hand is a T-shape hex wrench. This Husky 14-piece set includes both SAE and millimeter measurements, and you can use it as T-shape and L-shape. Each key is comfortable to use, the wrench size is clearly marked at the T-handle, and the best part, the set comes with a lifetime warranty.
DEWALT Hex Key Wrench Set
MOST VERSATILE SET
Featuring a heavy-duty ratcheting T-handle and able to provide up to 500 inch-lbs of torque, you’ll be set for all kinds of heavy-duty work. This kit comes with 36 keys, including hex wrenches of different sizes and Philips and flatheads bits. And if you are concerned about changing bits in between, there is nothing to worry about––changing the bits is a breeze. There is no doubt why people love this set.
TEKTON 30-Piece Hex Wrench Set
This Tekton hex wrench set is all you will need for hex fastening, from the most miniature screws to bigger sizes. These keys are made out of black oxide for the greatest durability, the set is a perfect size, and the wrenches are evenly split, 15 keys in SAE and 15 in mm.
KLEIN TOOLS Hex Key Set
BEST SAE FOLDING KIT
This is one of the best-rated folding hex sets on the market, having racked up more than 3,000 five-star reviews on Amazon. So what makes this Klein Hex Key Set so special? It has the 11 most used hex keys, including a ½ inch key, the keys are made of alloy steel, and each key opens up to 270 degrees. Furthermore, it is so compact that it easily fits in any toolbox or tool pouch.
TEKTON Ball End Hex Wrench Set
BEST METRIC SET
Offering 13 different hex keys and featuring a ball end finish on each wrench, this kit is perfect for working with the most difficult-to-reach screws. Each key is just the right size and made out of black oxide, and the kit includes a folding case for easy storage. This set makes a great companion to our number seven product.
OWL TOOLS Hex Head Wrench Drill Bit Set
BEST HEX DRILL BIT SET
Now, if you prefer to have a hex drill bit set over a folding hex set or a T- or L-shape set, or you are like me and want to collect them all, this is what you need. Offering 24 bits in both SAE and metric sizes, these precisely cut bits will make your life easier the next time you put together a piece of furniture. You’ll love this hex wrench bit set.
LEXIVON Master Wrench Key Set
BEST BALL END HEX SET
Whether you are a mechanic, a carpenter, or a DIYer, having a wrench set with a ball end is necessary. This set contains 35 Allen keys with a ball end, giving you a 25-degree angle upon entry compared to a regular hex wrench. In addition, you get all the most commonly used sizes in both SAE and metric and nine start shape tips.