Allen® Wrench Sets
Designed for use, stored to be found
Text and photos by Tom Hintz
Posted – 6-4-2012
First, the tools in this review were made by ALLEN® the manufacturers of the original ALLEN® hex key wrenches. Too many of us call any hex wrench by the Allen® Wrench name. That’s wrong, now you know better so knock it off!
The 31-piece set shown here includes popular sizes in SAE, Metric and Torx® designs. These wrenches are manufactured to tight tolerances to insure a good fit. Then they are heat treated to maintain their effectiveness by not rounding off. All three styles come in their own holder that is labeled with the sizes that fit that opening so it is easier to pull the one you need the first time. The long leg of each wrench is also clearly labeled to make your search a little faster yet.
This outfit comes with Metric Allen® Wrenches in 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10mm. Included SAE sizes are 0.050", 1/16", 5/64", 3/32", 7/64", 1/8", 9/64", 5/32", 3/16", 7/32", 1/4", 5/16" and 3/8". The selection of Torx® sizes includes T-10, T-15, T-20, T-25, T-27, T-30, T-40, T-45, and T-50.
Each measurement type comes in their own hinged carrier that has form fitting holes for each Allen® Wrench with its size printed clearly so you know which wrench is what size. These compact carriers not only keep your Allen® Wrenches organized, they keep your toolbox less confusing as well. You no longer have a pile of hex wrenches that always seems able to hide the one you need.
The SAE and Metric Allen® Wrenches shown here have a Ball Plus™ end as well as a standard straight (short leg) end. The ball end enables using the wrench at an angle to avoid nearby obstructions. The ball end is fitted with a strong rare earth magnet that holds the fastener very well for when setting it by hand is a problem. The Torx® wrenches also have the magnet in the long leg end.
In the Shop
Hex wrenches are not complicated to use but the overall experience can be a bunch better when you can locate the one you need without poking through a drawer full of them. The Allen® Wrenches housed in their clearly labeled holders let you get the right one quickly which is nice. However, they also let you see which one you have yet to return to the holder so they are less likely to get lost. And if one does get lost, it is clearly your fault.
The ball ends are nice to have regardless of having obstructions to deal with or not. The magnets within the ball ends are a very nice idea and certainly make using these tools easier particularly in tight areas. This is a very good idea that once you use it a few times you will wonder just why all hex wrenches are not made this way. The magnets make perfect sense and require little to no talent on the users part.
This is the first time I have used Torx® wrenches shaped like this but that also appears to be a good idea. The short leg gives you a large handle for power while the long leg lets you spin in free turning fasteners quickly. The Torx® wrenches have also been given the magnet in the long ends.
Finally, the fold open holders are nicer than I first anticipated. I have a few one-piece hex wrench holders that force you to constantly arrange the short legs in certain ways to get one other wrench out. The flip open holders that come with the Allen® Wrenches eliminate that step and give you a better view of the markings to make picking the correct one easier.
The Allen® Wrenches are well made and nicely designed to make using them easier. The included holders are thoughtfully designed and help you keep these tools organized. With a street price of just $53.03 (5-31-2012) for the 31-piece set this kind of quality is not as expensive as I thought it might be. Between the ball ends, the Torx® set and the nifty holders this Allen® Wrenches set is a very good, long-lasting value.