Allen keys, Hex keys, or Allen wrenches are essential tools every garage, workshop, or household should have. It is one of the most valuable tools to help fasten and unfasten all kinds of screws and bolts. Commonly sold in sets of five, six, or seven, the Allen keys are also available as singles. It is readily available everywhere – high street shops, supermarkets, and online sites such as Amazon, E-bay, or Etsy. However, the most troubling question you might face is how to choose the correct Allen key.
Here are some tips on choosing the correct Allen key for a specific job, considering the quality and price. Let’s dive into it:
Determine whether you need a regular or extended version of the hex key
The first step towards choosing the right Allen key is determining whether you need a regular or an extended version of the tool. A standard Allen key comes with an average-length arm or stem, whereas the long one has a lengthier arm or stem. The most common type is the regular Allen key, with the stem shorter than the longer counterpart. For instance, a 3mm hex key 911-B from ARNDT comes with a long stem of approximately 63mm, whereas its regular variant has a stem size of about 20mm.
While choosing the Allen keys, remember that the more extended variant is suitable for situations with little room to reach by a standard key. As the stem length is approximately double the length of a standard hex key, it helps to go deeper.
Type of steel
Allen keys are made of different types of steel and will be malleable and ductile if made of mild steel. Even though mild steel has relatively low tensile strength, it is cheap and easy to form. You don’t need a hard Hex key if your jobs are occasional – like fastening and unfastening bolts. Special steel comes with various carbon and alloy steels, which are well suited for tools because of their distinctive hardness, abrasion and deformation resistance, and ability to function well at high temperatures. Heavy-duty steel offers a good balance between quality and price, which makes it an excellent choice for hex keys.
You could also go for Chromium-Vanadium Steel (CrV), containing a group of steel alloys such as carbon, chromium, Vanadium, manganese, phosphorus, sulphur, and silicon. Chromium and Vanadium render rigidity to steel, and hence this steel is considered top of the range. Several top brands manufacture hex keys with Chromium-Vanadium Steel, usually preferred by professionals and workshops.
Price and durability
Another feature to consider while choosing the Allen key is its price and durability. Of course, the Chromium-Vanadium Steel Allen keys are pricey, but they are durable and more resistant to wear and tear. You might spend more in the long run if you go for a cheap key made of mild steel. Furthermore, its lifetime is much less than special steel or CrV steel.
To sum up, although any Hex key will do the job, choosing a key that serves your purpose and budget is better. If you are still undecided and need help choosing, check out the wide range of options available. What’s more, we offer attractive pricing for bulk orders.