The Allen Wrench (also known as a Hex key) is a great tool and useful for a number of items. So, what does it do? Designed to turned hexagonal set screws of various sizes, this specialty tool can help you to fix things like motorcycle engines, some furniture attachments, and bicycle enthusiasts are often known to carry them as well. In this article we will discuss a specific variation known as the T Handle Allen Wrench. We’ll tell you a little bit about its history, how exactly to use one, and review a few of the T Handle Allen wrench sets which we think are the best. If you are ready, let us begin with a little more about the wrench itself.
A little more about the Allen Wrench
While the idea for an alternative screw and tool design might have hailed from as early as 1860 – 1890, due to cost concerns we would not see development until much later (and it should be noted that these were square and triangular designs). In 1909, William G. Allen would file U.S. patent 960.244 which involved his own procedure for cold forming a hexagonal die with screw heads which he would tote as the ‘Allen Safety Set Screw ‘and while we cannot guarantee that he was the first to make one of these, his method and his product were the first to be patented and marketed. The original iteration of the tool was actually an L-shape, with the T shape to come later.
What are the advantages of an Allen Wrench/Hex key design?
The design would become quite popular for a number of reasons. For one, the hexagonal design and exact fitting of the associated tool means less damage potential for the screw itself. Other advantages include:
- The lightness of the tool means it is ideal for home assembly in items such as furniture
- Recessed and headless screws may be used
- It can be reconditioned with an electric grinder if wear and tear becomes excessive
- It can be used for a number of sizes of screws
- It is very cheap to produce
Many prefer the T handle Allen wrench and we’re going to review a few of the best sets so that if you would like to add them to your toolbox you can make an informed decision. Let’s give you our Top 3!
Number 3 – W80275 Metric T Handle Allen Wrench Set
At number 3 is this W80275 Metric T Handle Allen wrench set from Wilmar Corporation. Since 1971 they’ve been providing quality tools in North America and Europe and this set is a great value for the money. It comes with 10 T Handle Allen wrenches, ranging in 2 – 10 millimeter metric sizes. This is a great set for a beginner although it is not recommended for a craftsman, as extended use is going to wear on these over time. That said, they do come with a bonus storage rack that will look nice in the garage and the most popular range of metric sizes. For just under 15 dollars, it’s a purchase that you can be happy with if you just need a nice set for occasional usage.
Number 2 – HORUSDY 16-Piece T Handle Allen wrench set
At number 2 we have the Horusdy 16 piece T Handle Allen wrench set. Composed of chrome vanadium steel, these are a little more durable, and the heat treatment gives them anti-corrosive properties. These come with a nice little carrying case and you get at that popular range of 2 – 10 millimeters so that you will be able to use them for a good range of hex screws. While more durable than the W80275, these are also a good set to have around just for occasional use but at around $25 these are a good deal for novices. The carrying case makes them a good backpack choice for cyclists as well to keep around for emergency use.
Number 1 – Bondus 13390 T Handle wrench set
Our number 1 entry is the Bondus 13390 T Handle Allen wrench set and they have certainly earned that position. They have an ergonomic cushion-grip, for one, that makes for durable and comfortable use. Made in the USA, they also boast to be composed of their ‘Protanium steel’, giving them a 20% higher durability than most other T wrenches on the market. These are definitely durable and should last you a
“ These are definitely durable and should last you a long time”
long time, so if you happen to be a craftsman that is going to get a lot of mileage out of a T handle Allen wrench set then this is the one that you want. Another aspect of their durability is their Proguard finish which will protect them up to 5 times better from rust than most treatments. Oh, and in case you feel that the durability claims might be a little suspect then you should keep this in mind: these come with a lifetime replacement warranty. The range of these is 3/32 to 3/8 and they come with a complimentary stand so that you can organize them easily and in an aesthetically pleasing fashion in your garage until you need them. At around $30 these are the priciest on our list but with a lifetime warranty you will only have to buy them once. Not a bad deal at all, in our opinion.
Today we’ve taken a closer look at the wonders of the T handle Allen wrench. As you can see, they’ve got quite a history and a number of advantages going with their light construction, portability, and general usefulness. If you don’t have a set yet, then you should certainly get a hold of one (especially if you like bikes (Standard or motorized). They’re cheap, effective, and they work as advertised so they should have a happy home in your toolbox. After all, you never know when you might need a T Handle Allen wrench!