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How to Use an Allen Wrench with a Drill?

A collage of the different uses of Allen wrench with drill.

Are you a mechanical enthusiast? You must have come around Allen wrenches. Get to comprehend some facts about the hex fasteners and how to use an Allen wrench with a drill. Allen wrench is also termed to refer to hex-key wrenches.

Allen wrench is a simple tool that integrates usefulness in experienced hands. Despite being a small L-shaped piece of metal, the Allen wrench is an effective hand tool that can produce an incredible amount of torque. Allen wrenches come in both SAE fractional-inch sizes and metric sizes.

Allen wrenches have a hexagonal cross-section to fit an array of machine screws and set screws with hexagonal-shaped recessed holes. The hex keys are standard in mechanical types of equipment like engines. Hex fasteners allow the engine cover to be mounted flush to the engine case without protruding bolt heads.

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Brief History

Allen wrench hand tool brand is owned by Apex Tool Group. The name of the tool was initially named after Allen Manufacturing Company.

The concept of a hexagonal-shaped screwdriver became popular in the mid-to-late 1800s. Around 1910, William.G. Allen filed the first patent for a hex-driven safety screw.

What Is an Allen Wrench?

The Allen key is a small handheld tool used for driving bolts and screws with a hexagonal socket. They all have the same hexagonal-shaped tip. Allen wrenches are available in different sizes.

Hex key sizes are measured by the distance between the two opposite ends of the flat side (across-flats).

Attempting to use the wrong hex key size may damage the fastener. Turn those lonely Allen keys into an entirely new tool by cutting off the L-shaped branch and creating a straight hex driver.

Types of Allen Wrenches

1. L- Style Allen Wrenches

Klein Tools L-Style Hex Key Caddy Set 12-Piece LLK12

This is the standard hex key commonly found anywhere. The L-shaped hex key can reach into tight spots for firm anchorage. The L-Allen key sets are readily available in diverse sizes ranging from 1.5 mm to 10 mm.

2. P-Handle Styles

Park Tool PH-6 P-Handled Hex Wrench (6mm)

These are oversized L-wrench with a comfortable grip. They are Allen keys commonly seen in most professional workshops. They can spin quickly while allowing enough leverage.

3. Folding Hex Key

Klein Tools 70582 Folding Hex Key Set, Seven-Key, Metric Sizes

They are convenient and compact, similar to a pocketknife. They fold out at 90 degrees from the storage handle, and the housing acts as a handle for increased torque. The folding wrenches are permanently attached and are used mainly by motorbike riders and bicyclists.

They are enclosed in the handle; thus, it is nearly impossible to lose them.

4. T-Handle Styles

EKLIND 51912 3/16 Inch Cushion Grip Hex T-Handle T-Key allen wrench

They are popular with mechanics and technicians that work with hex screws all the time. When using the T-handle hex key, you can easily spin the wrench quickly while allowing enough leverage.

Bike mechanics and motorsport applications are some of the technicians using the T-handle Allen wrenches. A commonly used T-handle hex key is the Beta 951 wrench that allows it to slide into a position to create an L-shaped tool.

5. Ratcheting Drivers

Triplett 10-in-1 Mini Autoloading Ratcheting Screwdriver with Magnetic Bits (TMAL-002)

They are dynamic tools and a popular choice among people working with rotor bolts. The ratcheting drivers are available in varying varieties. The hex drivers provide better speed in comparison to traditional Allen wrenches.

Ratcheting driver tools are used with screwdriver bits and even sockets. The ratcheting hex drivers can be used in an electric drill driver.

6. Key Ring Sets

5/32” Standard Hex Dogging Key with Full Loop, Allen Wrench Door Key for Push Bar Panic Exit Devices, Solid Metal - 10 Packs

They are primary L-shaped Allen keys/Toque keys mounted on a key ring with a spring retaining clip. These types of Allen keys are adjustable in that, to use the long arm, you can twist the key from the retaining clip. Keyring sets can be replaced by pushing and twist the key. Keyring sets are affordable and ideal for car maintenance.

7. Torque Wrench

TEKTON 1/2 Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench (10-150 ft.-lb.) | 24335

The tool is a crucial part of any workshop, especially when working with delicate components.

8. Ball Hex Sets

Eklind 13222 Ball-Hex L-Key allen wrench Combo- Inch / MM (2 sets 22pc), 22-piece set

They are distinctive wrench sets. The hex keys have a ball molded head at tight edges where L-shaped Allen wrenches can’t reach.

9. Allen Screwdriver

EKLIND 92500 PSD Ball-Hex (allen) Precision Screwdriver - 8pc set SAE Inch Sizes .050-5/32

They are readily available in the market in sizes 1.5 to 5mm. The Allen screwdriver is best suited for adjusting lever and disc brakes. They are very handy in working situations entailing low torque and tight clearance.

Putting parts together or disassembling something can be a breeze, especially without the right tools. Integrating the Allen wrench in various ways can help to get around the process with a little bit of ingenuity.

How to Use an Allen Wrench With a Drill

This is an electric drill with hex keys and wrenches on a table.

Converting an Allen Wrench Into a Drill

Using a hex key by hand can be difficult and slow going. When putting together boxed furniture, you can convert an Allen wrench into a drill bit. You require an Allen wrench, a pair of pliers, and bolt cutters. Steps involved include;

  • Grip the Allen wrench: Grip the L-bottom part firmly with a pair of pliers.
  • Cut: Remove the bottom of the L-bottom. Using your bolt cutter, cut the wrench at the bottom of the Long side L-shape. Make an even cut, creating a flat and even surface to insert into the chunk of the power drill.
  • Test the drill bit: Insert the well-cut Allen wrench drill bit into the nose of the drill. Lock the hex key into place. Turn on the drill to test on efficiency and whether it stays intact while in use.

Introduce a Little Power With a Drill

  • Begin by securing the Allen wrench in a vise.
  • Cut off the shorter end of the wrench with a grinder or a hacksaw.
  • Chuck the straight Allen wrench piece in a drill
  • Set the torque on the lowest setting to allow it to slip instead of damaging the fastener.

Uses for Allen Key

1. Bicycle Repair

A man tightens the handle bar screw with an Allen key.

Frequent bike riders can easily carry and use a set of folding hex keys. Allen wrenches are the dominant tools used for bike repair. Availability of a wide range of hex key sizes allows them to be used in different applications and size adjustments.

2. Furniture Repair

A carpenter tightens the screw with an Allen key during furniture assembly.

Allen wrenches play a crucial role in placing and securing furniture appropriately and firmly. You can easily assemble or disassemble furniture with agility and without adding unnecessary bulk pieces.

They are imperative in fastening strongly. Compact designs such as a set of long arm hex keys can be used to reach long, tight spaces.

3. Tools Maintenance

This is a close look at a man fixing the screw of a buzz saw with an allen key.

Various sets of Allen keys aid in maintaining and repairing heavy tools and machinery such as power saws and drill bits. The hex keys help in changing blades and minor adjustments. Examples of Allen keys used include short-arm Allen keys.

4. Car and Motorcycle Maintenance

A mechanic tightens the bolt of a motorcycle with an Allen key.

Allen wrenches such as T-handle hex keys are highly popular for repairing and maintaining cars and motorcycles. 

The Allen keys are suited for proper maintenance, especially while accessing the compartments like under the seat, under the dash, and behind the glove compartment.

5. Electronics Repair

This is a close look at an electronic apparatus being repaired by a technician with an Allen key.

Compact-sized electronics use Allen keys for repair and maintenance. Electronics such as television screens and computers integrate these screws for anchorage. Electricians incorporate torque wrenches into their toolbox.

Benefits of Hex Key Head Over Philip’s Head

  • The Hex key tool features six pressure points, while Phillip’s bolt head contains four. Thus, more pressure points have an easier time gripping the screw. It is easier to drive in or out of the boat.
  • The Allen wrench reduces fatigue while you work more efficiently.
  • The Hex key reduces the risk of stripping screw. Unlike Phillip’s head, the hex’s design takes longer to be stripped; thus, most engineers choose hex hardware.

Where to Buy the Allen Keys?

This is a close look at various types and sizes of Allen keys on a dark surface.

Upon deciding which tool to use for a particular purpose, you can get a wide range of the best keys from websites like and Amazon.

Allen Wrench FAQs

Can I put an Allen wrench in a drill?

Yes. You can cut off the branch of the L-shaped hex key. Create a straight wrench that can fit into the chuck of a power drill.

Is a hex a bit the same as an Allen wrench?

They all have the same hexagonal-shaped tip. They are used for driving screws with a hexagonal socket.

What size Allen wrench does IKEA use?

Common Allen wrench bits used by most with Ikea furniture are the small 3 mm hex bit. 5 mm is also used.

What can I use instead of an Allen wrench?

You can use a set of flat-tipped tweezers or the flat edge on a pair of fingernail clippers.

That’s a wrap-up for today’s topic how to use Allen wrench with a drill. Give us feedback if the post was helpful, and comment on which other mechanical tricks you would like us to scrutinize.