Hex key, Allen wrench, that L-shaped tool…whatever it is you call them, we all know what they are. Some of us only have a single hex key from an IKEA furniture piece. And others have an entire set of every single size, length, and variation. Hex keys are one of the most underutilized tools and uses for hex keys are becoming more widespread. They outperform ordinary screw bits with their secure fitting chamfered ends and are almost immune to screw stripping. And they are the best option for fastening secure joints in tight spaces.
So now you’re probably wondering why you don’t use a hex key every day. Well, the answer is you could be. And here are 5 uses for hex keys that will change the way you build, repair, and maintain in the workshop:
- Bicycles. Hex keys are the dominant tool used for bike repairs and size adjustments. This allows bikers to easily repair their bike while out on a ride. The wide range of sizes enable them to be used in several different applications, and their compact form makes it practical to travel with them. Even if you don’t own a bike yourself, chances are you have child or grandchild whose bike you’ll need to maintain. If you’re an avid rider, you’ll want to pick a set of Folding Hex Keys. They are both convenient to carry and impossible to lose.
- Furniture repairs, that is, the unfortunate event that interrupts whatever is on tv. If you’ve purchased furniture within the last 20 years, you’ll likely want to have a set of hex keys lying around. Hex screws are an essential piece of hardware for securing furniture in their place. They allow users to easily assemble furniture without adding unnecessary bulk to the piece. Their compact design makes them discrete in appearance and strong in fastening. Additionally, threaded inserts are commonly driven into place with a hex key. Since furniture pieces can have tight spaces and require long reach, a set of Long Arm Hex Keys should do the job.
- Cars and motorcycles, for the same reason as furniture, rely on hex screws for accessibility in tight spaces. Wherever a nut and bolt are impractical or unnecessary, you can expect to see a hex screw in their place. Even if you aren’t the type of person to perform mechanical maintenance on your car, you’ll need a hex key set. They are necessary for accessing areas under the seat, in and around the center console, and certain places under the dash such as behind the glove compartment. In order to be well equipped for all potential car and motorcycle repairs, we typically recommend T-Handle Hex Wrenches since they are both versatile and powerful.
- Tools are often maintained and repaired with hex keys. However, you don’t need to be a machinist to have a use for these. Drill bits with insertable parts rely on hex screws to secure the bit into place. Likewise, power saws of all varieties require hex keys to be used in order to change blades or make minor adjustments. Since most tools rely on the smallest of hex screws to hold blades and bits in place, a Short Arm Hex Key Set is most practical as they tend to carry smaller sizes.
- Electronics are increasingly becoming one of the primary uses for hex keys. As electronics become more compact in size, hardware is becoming more populated with hex screws. Computers and large television screens are held together with hex screws on the backside. And though it may not be as apparent with smaller devices such as tablets and mobile phones, they have their share of hex screws on the inside. Now we don’t necessarily recommend dissecting the hardware inside your electronics (definitely not what hex keys are used for). However, having precision tools around is good idea. If you’re not sure where to start, consider buying a set of Torx Wrenches. They are a staple item in every electricians tool box.
Other Uses for Hex Keys
Readers! Share any other uses for hex keys in the comments section below. Even if you have unorthodox uses for Allen wrenches, we’d still love to hear about them.
Also published on Medium.
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