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What Is An Allen Wrench?

What Is An Allen Wrench? - Proline Range Hoods

Unlike some other tools, Allen wrenches are extremely uncomplicated and provide many different uses.

To work this tool, all you have to do is hold it in your hand while applying pressure to turn another object – generally a screw.

No matter your experience, everyone should have a set of Allen wrenches at their disposal – you never know when you need one!

With all this in mind, this article will be exploring everything you need to know about the humble Allen wrench. Let’s get straight into it.

So, What Is An Allen Wrench?

As previously mentioned, an Allen wrench is primarily used for turning screws or bolts that feature an internal hexagonal cavity.

Typically, they are composed of a hardened steel hexagonal rod that features two blunted ends – fitting into the required sockets perfectly.

When looking at an Allen wrench, you’ll notice that it is bent at one end to form 90 degrees, similar to the letter ‘L’.

This is an intentional design since the long handle is used to rotate the tool – providing a larger torque towards the tip of the smaller handle.

Depending on the size of the cavity, you can find an Allen Wrench to accommodate this. Plus, they are manufactured to withstand extremely tight tolerances.

They are typically used to fasten hex-type screws to metal, plastic, and wood.

Types Of Allen Wrenches

Below, you will find a list of the different types of Allen wrenches, these include:

  • L-style Allen Wrench
  • T-handle Allen Wrench
  • P-handle Allen Wrench
  • Folding Hex
  • Ratcheting Hex
  • Torque Wrench
  • Allen Screwdriver

L-Style Allen Wrench

These are the most common types of Allen wrenches and can be found in most online and local hardware stores.

As its name suggests, these types of wrenches are shaped as an L; this ensures that you can reach into tight screws while providing adequate pressure when needed.

If you’re looking to add some Allen wrenches to your disposal, then these make for some fundamental tools.

While you may find many different options for this type of Allen wrench, the 1.5-10mm L size is ideal for a lot of different purposes.

P-Handle Allen Wrench

This type of wrench is essentially a modified version of the L-style Allen wrench which provides a comfortable grip on the handle for improved mobility which is otherwise found on the T-handle.

You’ll generally find this type of wrench in professional workshops.

T-Handle Allen Wrench

T-handle Allen wrenches are ideal in that they allow you to instantly spin the wrench – providing you with enough results for many different uses.

These are the most popular kind of Allen wrench for bike mechanics and are used in the motorsport industry worldwide.

Ratcheting Hex

Allen wrenches that provide a ratcheting hex design ensure superior movement and can either be used as a T-handle or folding handle design. Plus, they generally include screwdriver bits.

These are generally held onto the handle with a magnetic bit holder, which is utilized to house the entire mechanism.

If you’re using electric drill drivers, then ratcheting hex wrench bits come in handy. Since they are great for those working with rotor bolts.

Folding Hex

Folding Hex Allen wrenches compromise short arm keys which can be easily folded for storage.

Depending on the requirements, these can be made from either metal or plastic.

When folded at 90 degrees, these Allen wrenches are designed to apply maximum torque to a particular screw.

One feature that sets this wrench apart from others is its ability to fold the keys over 180 degrees – allowing you to reach hard-to-access fasteners.

These types of Allen wrenches are growing in popularity among cyclists and motorbike riders.

Allen Screwdriver

Allen screwdrivers are ideal for projects that require less torque and tighter clearance.

As its name suggests, these look exactly like screwdrivers. However, they don’t contain a Torx-shaped design on the tip or a hex.

Screwdrivers that contain a spinner handle generally feature a hexagonal cross-section design that runs the length of the wrench.

These types of screwdriver sets are ideal for those who work with disc brakes, as well as various levers.

Typically, you find Allen screwdrivers ranging between the sizes of 1.5mm to 5mm.

Torque Wrench

Torque wrenches are used to apply additional torque onto a fastener, these include lag screws, bolts, and nuts.

Similar to socket wrenches in the sense that they both contain a special internal mechanism

– ideal for situations where the tightness of bolts and screws is important.

This is an essential tool found in many workshops, especially those that work with sensitive equipment.

However, this type of wrench cannot be used as a replacement for the hex counterparts.


  • More economical and easier to produce.
  • The design of the Allen wrench ensures great pressure; thus, increasing tightening torque.
  • You don’t have to worry about slipping the wrench and causing potential damage to the surrounding area.
  • Allen wrenches help you to avoid accidental separation from the fasteners.
  • Since they are designed with hexagonal fasteners in mind, they stick to a fastener much better than a wrench or screwdriver.
  • Since they contain a strong gripping force it ensures that the fasteners aren’t snagged during removal or installation.


  • Wear and tear are common.
  • If used regularly, you run the risk of damaging or even breaking the tip.

Final Thoughts

If you’re unfamiliar with Allen wrenches, essentially, they are a small, yet mighty tool that can be utilized to accommodate a range of uses.

The most common design is the L-style Allen wrench which features a 90-degree bend for enhanced grip and pressure to your fastenings.

However, there is a range of different Allen wrenches depending on your specifications.

From Torque wrenches and folding hexes to T-handle Allen wrenches and Allen screwdrivers, hopefully, this guide has informed you on everything you need to know about Allen wrenches.

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