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The 5 Best Allen Wrench Sets (2021 Review)

If your kitchen table or bicycle has hexagonal screws, you’ll need hex keys or Allen wrenches for assembly or maintenance. Our guide to the best Allen wrench sets will help you choose the right wrenches to get the job done.

Best Allen Wrench Sets This Old House Production

Hexagonal screws are used in all sorts of products, including tables, toilet paper holders, and bicycles. To loosen or tighten these screws, you’ll need a special type of wrench called an Allen wrench or hex wrench. These wrenches usually come in a set with several sizes and feature different arm lengths, end types, and storage cases.

To help you determine which set is best for you, we created this guide on the best Allen wrench sets. Keep reading to learn about our recommendations and how each product performed in our in-depth tests.

Best Case: TEKTON 25282 Hex Key Wrench Set

TEKTON 25282 Hex Key Wrench Set

The case for this set keeps your wrenches in place and makes it easy to pull out a particular size. The holes perfectly fit each wrench and you can swing open the case to pull out the wrench you need. Additionally, these wrenches have a black oxide finish that protects against corrosion and color-coded housing for instant identification.

Key Features

  • 13 wrenches in millimeters
  • 13 wrenches in inches
  • Ball-end design
  • Two rubber cases

What Customers Are Saying

Over 3,000 customers have reviewed this Allen wrench set on Amazon. The product has an average rating of 4.8 stars out of 5, with 95% of reviews being 4 or 5 stars. Customers liked how the wrenches in this set had ball ends and how they could reach any screw because they could come in at an angle and the ball-end would fit into the screw. However, some customers said that the wrenches only had a 10-degree entry angle instead of the 25 degrees like TEKTON advertised.

Our Experience

This set’s case kept the wrenches in place and made them easy to access. The holes in the rubber fit the wrenches perfectly, and we liked how the front row of the case swung open because that made it easier to pull out a wrench.

Regarding performance, we tried three wrenches in the set and none of them had issues with loosening or tightening screws. The wrenches were able to loosen an extra tight screw and a screw on the underside of a piece of furniture. The ball-end of the screws was especially useful when loosening the latter screw because we were able to come at the screw at an angle instead of straight on.

Our Score

This set ticked all of the boxes in terms of what you need out of the wrenches and case, so we gave it full points across the board.

Scoring Breakdown

Metric Score
Metric Score
Case ergonomics 5/5
Wrench end type performance 5/5
Wrench arm length and leverage 5/5
Overall score 5/5

Best Ball-End: Bondhus 20199 L-Wrench Double Pack

Bondhus 20199 L-Wrench Double Pack

The wrenches in this set have both straight and ball ends. The ball ends on the longer arms allow you to come at a fastener at an angle, which is useful for hard-to-reach screws like those on the underside of a piece of furniture.

Key Features

  • Nine wrenches in millimeters
  • 13 wrenches in inches
  • Ball-end design
  • Two rubber cases

What Customers Are Saying

This product has an average rating of 4.9 stars on Amazon after over 2,000 customers reviewed it. Of those customers, 97% said it was a 4- or 5-star product. Customers were pleased with the quality of the wrenches. When trying to loosen an extra tight screw, the wrenches didn’t strip the screw or snap, unlike competing products made in China. However, some customers felt like the set skipped a few wrench sizes, making it impossible to loosen all of the screws they came across.

Our Experience

The set’s case did a good job of keeping the wrenches in place, but the rubber around the wrenches was extremely tight, making it difficult to pull them out when we needed to use them.

Similar to the previous set, we tested three wrenches of different sizes from this set. All three were able to loosen and tighten screws on the piece of furniture we ordered. The wrenches in this set had ball ends like the wrenches in the first set, which helped with reaching a screw on the underside of a piece of furniture. The wrenches were also able to loosen a tight screw without a problem.

Our Score

The wrenches in this set performed well, but we deducted a point from the set’s case ergonomics score because of how difficult they were to get out of the case.

Scoring Breakdown

Metric Score
Metric Score
Case ergonomics 4/5
Wrench end type performance 5/5
Wrench arm length and leverage 5/5
Overall score 4.7/5

Best Dual Set: TEKTON 25253 Hex Key Wrench Set

TEKTON 25253 Hex Key Wrench Set

This set comes with 15 short-arm wrenches measured in millimeters and 15 long-arm wrenches measured in inches, giving you enough wrench sizes and arm length options to fit multiple screw types. Additionally, the wrenches come in a hinged storage case that opens flat, making it easier to access the wrenches.

Key Features

  • 15 wrenches in millimeters
  • 15 wrenches in inches
  • Straight-end design
  • Hard plastic case

What Customers Are Saying

Over 4,000 Amazon customers have given this set an average rating of 4.7 stars. Ninety-two percent of the reviews left by customers were 4- or 5-star reviews. Positive reviews mentioned that the set had a variety of wrenches and the common sizes, which tend to be the ones in the middle, were durable and didn’t bend or snap under pressure. However, the thin wrenches were said to be delicate and broke easily.

Our Experience

The wrenches came in a hard plastic case that opened flat on a table. We could easily see all of the sizes and pull out the wrench we needed to use. While none of the wrenches fell out of their slots, the smaller pieces arrived out of their slots, signaling that they couldn’t stay in place during transit. Despite the wrenches not being in their slots, they stayed enclosed in the case.

Regarding performance, we tested three wrenches in the middle of the size spectrum and all three loosened and tightened screws without difficulty. While these wrenches didn’t have ball ends like the first two sets in this review, we were still able to loosen a hard-to-reach screw on a piece of furniture. We were also able to easily loosen an extra tight screw.

Our Score

While this set passed all of our tests without any problems, we deducted a point for case ergonomics because some of the wrenches arrived out of their slots. We determined that our test jog wasn’t rigorous enough to loosen the wrenches, but perhaps a more rigorous transportation method, like the set being loose in the backseat of your car, could pull the wrenches out of their slots.

Scoring Breakdown

Metric Score
Metric Score
Case ergonomics 4/5
Wrench end type performance 5/5
Wrench arm length and leverage 5/5
Overall score 4.7/5

Most Affordable: HORUSDY Allen Wrench Set

HORUSDY Allen Wrench Set

This Allen wrench set from HORUSDY is more affordable than the other products in this review, including the almost identical one from TEKTON that has 30 wrench sizes and a hard plastic case. The wrenches are heat-treated and have a black oxide finish, and they also have a conventional drive end, allowing for more leverage during use.

Key Features

  • 15 wrenches in millimeters
  • 15 wrenches in inches
  • Straight-end design
  • Hard plastic case

What Customers Are Saying

Similar to the previous set from TEKTON, this one from HORUSDY has an average rating of 4.7 stars. This rating comes from over 1,700 reviews, 93% of which gave the product 4 or 5 stars. Customers liked how comprehensive the set was, especially considering its affordable price. Many said that this set had the right wrench for all of the screws they came across, including ones that their previous sets couldn’t accommodate. Similar to the complaints made about the small wrenches in the previous set, customers said that the small ones in this set bent easily.

Our Experience

The wrenches came in a durable plastic case, but the case fell short on a lot of fronts. The smaller wrenches arrived out of their slots and they also fell out after we carried the case during a short jog. The tab on the case was also difficult to open, making it hard to reach the wrenches.

All three of the Allen wrenches we tested from this set loosened and tightened screws with ease. We loosened an already tight screw and a hard-to-reach screw without any issues.

Our Score

This set received full points for wrench end type and wrench arm length, but it had the lowest case score out of the sets in this review. The smaller wrenches easily fell out of their slots and we struggled more than once to open the case to reach the screws.

Scoring Breakdown

Metric Score
Metric Score
Case ergonomics 3.5/5
Wrench end type performance 5/5
Wrench arm length and leverage 5/5
Overall score 4.5/5

Best Foldable Set: Texas Best Folding Hex Keys

Texas Best Folding Hex Keys

Made with high-quality materials and a flexible angle for use in different situations, these Texas Best wrenches come in a foldable holder instead of a plastic case or rubber holder. The biggest advantage to this is that you don’t have to worry about misplacing one of the wrenches.

Key Features

  • Eight wrenches in millimeters
  • Nine wrenches in inches
  • Straight-end design
  • Foldable case

What Customers Are Saying

This foldable set has a rating of 4.6 stars from over 1,000 Amazon customers. Overall, customers were pleased with the set, with 89% of customers giving it 4 or 5 stars. Customers liked the holders that the wrenches came in, saying they were compact and lightweight. Additionally, customers liked that the non-slip coating on the wrenches made them easy to grip while adjusting screws. However, several customers complained that the packaging the Allen wrench set came in was difficult to remove.

Our Experience

This set is foldable, which meant it lost half a point because we couldn’t separate one wrench from the rest. It lost an additional half a point because some of the wrenches were loose around the holder. Instead of being able to keep a wrench in one position, a few of the wrenches would dangle and were always out. This didn’t affect our ability to use the set, but it was cumbersome.

Regarding performance, we were able to effectively use three wrenches of different sizes from this set. We expected the set to lose points for wrench arm length and leverage because we thought the holder would get in the way and affect the wrenches’ ability to loosen a hard-to-reach screw. While this was partially the case, it wasn’t nearly as difficult as we expected, so we only deducted half a point.

The set was also able to loosen a tight screw without any problems. It probably handled the screw the best out of all the sets in this review because the thick holder gave us more to hold onto.

Our Score

This set received full points for the wrench end type metric, but it lost points for the case and wrench arm length because of its bulky holder.

Scoring Breakdown

Metric Score
Metric Score
Case ergonomics 4/5
Wrench end type performance 5/5
Wrench arm length and leverage 4.5/5
Overall score 4.5/5

Buying Guide

Before buying an Allen wrench set, consider the following factors.

Type of Handle

Here are some of the most common types of hex key handles:

L-Shaped

This is the most common type of hex key handle. The hex key is bent at a 90-degree angle and has a short arm and a long arm. Depending on how tight the space is, you can use either arm to screw or unscrew bolts.

T-Handle

A T-handle hex key has a crossbar over the top of the wrench, giving you more space to grip onto during use. However, it may not work in all situations, especially if you’re trying to reach a tight space.

P-Handle

A P-handle hex key looks similar to a T-handle model because it has a crossbar over the top. However, the grip is thicker and gives the user more space to hold onto.

Three-Way

A three-way hex key looks like a spoke with three different-sized keys sticking out of it. It’s more versatile because it has several sizes, but it’s not the best for tight spaces.

Ratchet

This type of handle is similar to a standard socket set that has a ratcheting handle and different-sized sockets. However, the ratchet has hex keys that you attach to the handle and use instead of sockets. This type of set gives you ultimate control over the hex key, but the handle takes up a lot of space, limiting where you can use it.

Screwdriver

Screwdriver hex keys have a handle that looks similar to the handle you would find on a Phillips head or flathead screwdriver.

Foldable

Sets with foldable handles are similar to pocket knives in that the tools fold in and out when you want to use them. In general, you won’t lose the hex keys because they’re attached to the base, but the base limits how much leverage you have when loosening or tightening a screw.

Number

Ensure that your Allen wrench set has a variety of wrench sizes for different tasks by purchasing a kit that has at least 10 different wrench sizes. All hex key sets should have size labels in either inches, millimeters, or both so that you know which wrench to pull out and use.

Material

An Allen wrench set made of heavy-duty steel or alloy like chrome vanadium steel will be durable enough to last for years of use. If you pick a different low-grade material, the keys might bend or the edges might wear into a circle over time.

Surface Finish

Since hex keys are made of metal, they’re susceptible to rust and corrosion without a layer of protective coating. To prevent rust and corrosion from shortening your set’s life, look for a set that has a black oxide coating on the wrenches.

Review Standards

Before ordering and testing the Allen wrench sets, we researched a variety of options on Amazon. We looked at Amazon-specific factors like Prime shipping eligibility, average customer ratings, the number of customer reviews, and Amazon superlatives.

After narrowing down our options to 20 sets, we took a closer look at each one and considered factors like how many wrenches were in the set, what kind of case they came in, and what kind of end the wrenches had. From there, we chose five sets, ordered them, and tested them based on the three metrics below.

Testing Metrics

To compare each Allen wrench set, we tested the products on case ergonomics, wrench end type performance, and wrench arm length and leverage.

Case Ergonomics

Allen wrenches are usually stored in one of four ways—in hard plastic cases, in rubber holders, in pouches, or foldable sets. Hard plastic cases and rubber holders are typically more durable and easier to transport. Pouches can occasionally be too big for the wrenches and leave them vulnerable to falling out and foldable sets are bulky and prevent you from pulling one wrench out at a time.

Wrench End Type Performance

The end of an Allen wrench will either be rounded or straight. A straight-end wrench looks like the head of the screw with a hexagonal shape and straight edges, while a ball-end wrench has a hexagonal shape in the middle of a ball.

Ball-end wrenches are ideal because their hexagonal center allows them to enter the screwhead and their ball shape allows them to come at the screw at an angle, allowing you to loosen or tighten hard-to-reach screws.

Wrench Arm Length and Leverage

The length of the wrench’s arms vary from wrench to wrench and set to set. When looking at one set, each wrench will have a different arm length. The larger the wrench head, the longer the arm, but the proportions between the head size and the arm length are the same throughout a single set.

Occasionally, you’ll see a double-pack that has a mixture of wrenches with short arms and wrenches with long arms. In this case, all of the short arms will have the same head-size-to-arm-length ratio, and all of the long arms will have the same head-size-to-arm-length ratio. However, a different set may have a different head-size-to-arm-length ratio. For example, a 1/16-inch wrench in one set may have a shorter arm than a 1/16-inch wrench in another set.

Having Allen wrenches with longer arms allows you to reach screws that are farther away and difficult to remove. A longer arm also gives you more leverage, allowing you to apply the necessary force to loosen a screw.

Testing Process

We performed a variety of tests that allowed us to score each product on the metrics mentioned above.

Case Ergonomics

We first looked at the type of case each set came in. We awarded more points to hard plastic cases and rubber holders since these are more durable than other materials. Next, our team determined how well the case type kept the wrenches in place by going on a 0.5-mile run around the office building with the wrench set. After the jog, we inspected each case to see if any of the wrenches came loose.

Finally, we looked at how easily each case opened, closed, and locked and how easy it was to access the wrenches.

Wrench End Type Performance

We tested three Allen wrenches from each set on three screws of different sizes. We determined if the wrenches stayed in place while loosening and tightening the screws or if they slipped out.

Wrench Arm Length and Leverage

We ran two tests for this metric. For the first test, we wanted to see if the arm was long enough to reach a screw that was farther away on the underside of a piece of furniture. For the second test, we tested the wrench’s leverage by tightening an already fastened screw and analyzing how well the wrench could loosen it.

Scoring

Each metric was worth 5 points, with the final score being an average of the metric scores.

Case Ergonomics

We awarded 1 point to an Allen wrench set based on the type of case the wrenches came in. We awarded full points to a set if the wrenches came in a hard plastic case or rubber holder, and we deducted half a point for foldable sets or pouches.

Two points were awarded based on how well the case kept the wrenches in place while a team member ran around the building. If the case prevented the wrenches from falling out, it received 2 points. If the case opened or a wrench fell out during the test, we deducted 1 point.

The remaining 2 points were awarded based on how easy it was to pull the wrenches in and out of the case. If we didn’t have trouble pulling them in and out, the set received 2 points. If we did have trouble accessing the wrenches, we deducted half a point or 1 point.

Wrench End Type Performance

We rated each of the three wrenches’ ability at loosening and tightening the screws on a scale of 1–5. We then averaged those three scores together to get an overall score for this metric.

Wrench Arm Length and Leverage

For the first test, we awarded 2.5 points to a set if the wrench arm was long enough to reach a farther-away screw. If we had trouble reaching the screw, we deducted half a point or 1 point. For the second test, we awarded 2.5 points to a set if its wrench could easily loosen an already tightened screw. We deducted 1 point if we had trouble loosening the screw.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are hex keys and Allen wrenches the same tool?

Yes. William G. Allen patented the hexagon-shaped tool in the early 1900s, which is why the product is either referred to by its creator or by its shape.

What do I need an Allen wrench set for?

Here are some items that may have a hexagonal screw and require an Allen wrench during installation or maintenance:

  • Furniture, like tables or bar stools
  • Tools, like power saws
  • Bicycles
  • Motorcycles
  • Plumbing fixtures
  • Cars
  • Skateboards

What is cam out?

Cam out happens when the wrench slips out of the head of the screw it’s trying to tighten or loosen. If this continues to happen, the screw will become stripped and will no longer be usable. To avoid cam out, use the right-size wrench for the job and keep the wrench perpendicular to the screw.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.