Using them is remarkably simple - you just insert one end of the driver into the recessed hexagonal fastener head, and apply torque at the other end to turn it. Typically, you’d use the shorter of the hex key’s two shanks as the handle, giving the tool a longer reach and increased manoeuvrability in smaller spaces. However, the longer shank can also be used as the ‘handle’ when more torque is required, provided the work area allows enough room to turn a longer-handled tool in.
However, while the basic applications and qualities of Allen key sets don’t vary that much from brand to brand and product to product, there is a bit of potential variety in exactly how to use a hex key properly, depending on which type and format of tool you decide to buy.
In the following section, we’ll look more closely at some of the best value options among the numerous styles of hex wrenches you’ll commonly find on sale, and discuss some of the potential pros and cons of each type.