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What is the Difference Between an Allen Wrench and a Hex Key

Dec. 22, 2022

We have all used this tool at some point in our lives. Some people call it a hex key and others call it an Allen wrench. This tool is affordable and popular with users all over the world, including professional mechanics and people who need these tools for use at home. In this article, we will discuss what is the difference between an Allen wrench and a hex key.

hex key

What is the difference between an Allen wrench and a hex key? 

The terms "hex key" and "Allen wrench" refer to the same tool: an L-shaped hexagonal device used to install and drive bolts and screws with a hexagonal socket in the head.

The name "Allen" comes from its creator. Sometime in the early 20th century, William G. Allen of the Allen Manufacturing Company patented the tool design. It was made to fit screws with hexagonal heads, and the distinctive hexagonal end is what gave it its name. Hence the name "Hex Key".

Thus, "Allen Wrench" is a brand name, and "Hex Key" is a generic term. Although there are many companies that produce them nowadays, many people still refer to them as Allen wrenches.

Types of hex keyWhat is the Difference Between an Allen Wrench and a Hex Key

L-shaped Allen wrenches.

T-shaped handle.


Folding hex key.

Ratchet driver.

Torque wrench.

Allen screwdriver.

Ball hex set.

Key ring set.

Uses of hex key

Bicycle repair

These are the main tools used for bicycle repair and sizing. The wide range of sizes allows them to be used for different applications and their compact size makes them easy to carry. If you ride your bike a lot, you can pick up a set of folding hex keys.

Furniture Repair

Hex screws are an important piece of hardware for securing furniture in its place. It allows assembling furniture without adding any unnecessary loose parts. Their compact design makes them discrete in appearance and strong in fastening. Since furniture may have tight spaces that require long distances, you can use a set of long-arm hex keys.

Auto and motorcycle repair

You need a set of hex keys to perform proper maintenance on your car. Hex keys help to access the area under the seat, as well as under the dash, such as behind the glove box. t-handle hex keys are recommended for car and motorcycle repairs.


Among other uses, hex keys are helpful in maintaining and repairing heavy tools and machinery. Drill bits rely on it to hold the drill in place. Likewise, all types of chainsaws require hex keys to change blades or make minor adjustments. Short-arm hex keys are mostly used to perform these tasks.


Hex keys are becoming very popular among people who deal with repairing and maintaining electronics. As electronics become smaller and smaller, hex keys are used to support their size. Computers and large TV screens are held together from the back with these screws. You can buy torque wrenches for this purpose. They are a staple item in every electrician's toolbox.


Now you know that there is no difference between an Allen wrench and a hex key. You can find hex keys of all sizes on Probuilt. Choose the hex key wrench that best suits your needs among the tools we manufacture in sets of wholesale hex keys.