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What Is An Allen Wrench And What Else Do You Need To Know About It

Every day, we are bombarded with hundreds of tasks that we need to accomplish before the sun goes down. Be it paper works in the office or chores at home; there is no denying that we can’t run away from all the duties we have. Not to mention, the accidental and occasional breakdowns of some appliances we need to use to get these duties done. If you have never handled any repairs before, then you might be wondering what is an Allen wrench and how are you going to fix stuff with it. Well, you have come to the right page!

We understand that the added chore of bringing these broken items to the mechanic would cause extra stress and inconvenience that most of us do not want to deal with. So, get your toolbox and grab your Allen wrench for you are about to find out what repairs you will get done at home.

What Is An Allen Wrench?


The hex key, which is the more appropriate term, is most commonly known as “Allen wrench” and was coined after the Allen Manufacturing Company. This company manufactured a wide variety of tools, but they are most recognized for their wrenches. Its founder, W. G. Allen, was the first to patent the safety set screw and was released in 1909.

Although earlier designs date back up to the 1860s, it is not until 1910 that the first set of wrenches was mass produced. W. G. Allen’s set of wrenches has been widely used ever since and is still being used up to this day.

The company is now owned by the Apex Tool Group and currently manufactures Allen-branded products in Texas and China.


The Allen wrench is used for tightening and loosening bolts and screws with hexagonal sockets, hence the original name of the tool, “hex key.” It comes in different shapes and sizes to suit your needs and convenience.

  • L-Key Allen Wrench

The L-Key Allen wrench, as the name suggests forms the letter “L” with the extended arm for the bolt and the short arm for the handle.

  • T-Key Allen Wrench

The T-Key Allen wrench, which of course, forms the letter “T” with the top as the handle and the extended arm for the bolt.

  • Folding Allen Wrench

The Folding Allen wrench is like a Swiss Army Knife, but instead of blades and nail files, it has Allen wrenches of different sizes. The dimensions of the tool differ from 0.7 mm to 10 mm and are widely used depending on the size of the bolt needed to be tightened or loosened.

How To Use an Allen Wrench?

For tightening and loosening bolts, you have to:

Step 1: Make sure that the wrench you are using is the appropriate size. You can quickly identify the size of the bolt by measuring if your wrench fits. If it does not fit, then grab another wrench which is slightly smaller or bigger than the one you are currently using.

Step 2: Insert the hexagonal tip of the wrench into the bolt.

Step 3: Turn it clockwise if you wish to tighten the bolt or counter-clockwise to loosen it.

How to Properly Store Allen Wrenches?

Whatever type of Allen wrench you have—or whatever tool you have for that matter—there is always the wear-and-tear scenario. Additionally, these wrenches, being simple, light, and convenient, also pose a risk of getting lost. If you do not pay attention to proper storage, then your Allen wrench will cause you minor problems that may eventually have a lot worse effects than you thought.

You may have noticed that they usually come in sets, but if you pay close attention to details, then you might notice that more often than not, they aren’t marked with their size, so you might spend a certain amount of time looking for the right one.

Ring Storage

Sure, having a toolbox is good, but the smaller wrenches can get mixed up with all sorts of tools, bolts, and screws. Looking for the right sized wrench may seem like looking for a needle in a haystack.

One way to solve this dilemma is to keep the wrenches together in a ring—easily accessible despite being stored in a toolbox. Binding these wrenches with a ring makes it easier for you to switch to the next smaller or bigger size wrench.

The only possible downside of this is that since the all the wrenches are attached to the ring, you have to carry their weight altogether while just using one to loosen or tighten a bolt. Yes, you can remove the wrench from the ring every time you use it, but the hassle lies in figuring out its proper place in the ring when returning it so as not to jumble the appropriate arrangement of its sizes.

Sponge Storage

Some wrench-users who are not fans of the ring storage opt to use sponges instead. The wrenches are arranged according to sizes and are placed flat on a sheet of thin or thick sponge, depending on the user’s preference.

Some are pinned to this sponge and labeled with its corresponding size; others are inserted into this sponge where crevices are made specifically for each wrench. These are just two of the many ways to properly store your Allen wrenches. We understand that we all have our ways of doing it depending on which would be convenient for us.


Yes, our lives were made easier by the appliances, gadgets, and devices we have at home. But we can’t avoid the fact that these items malfunction every once in a while. It is then imperative that we have a good set of reliable Allen wrenches ready.

And by reliable, we meant properly stored and conveniently arranged that they are accessible enough not to cause us more stress during repairs. We hope that the discussion above not just helped you answer the question, “What is an Allen Wrench?” but also gave you ideas on how to properly store a set for your convenience.



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