If you’re working with Allen-head fasteners, then use the right tools to avoid damaging your fasteners or straining your hands. (Image/OnAllCylinders – Paul Sakalas)

Whether it’s for a holiday or birthday, this Tools Under 30 Dollars Gift Guide Series shows you important, yet somewhat uncommon, tools that any gearhead would want.

Today, let’s talk about Hex and Allen Drive Bit Sets.


Much like their Torx fastener counterparts, Allen heads are a fastener type that can be driven with more torque than, say, a Phillips head fastener.

If you’ve ever assembled knockdown-style furniture, then you’re probably already familiar with these fasteners and their corresponding Allen wrenches, as they’re often included for free with your furniture’s hardware kit. (In fact, we’re guessing that you may have accumulated a shoebox full of these little wrenches.)

Yet these fasteners are becoming increasingly common in automotive applications too.

While they’re often handy around the house, you probably don’t want to use these freebie wrenches on your vehicle. (Image/OnAllCylinders – Paul Sakalas)

But while freebie Allen wrenches may be good for a hastily-assembled bookcase, when it comes to vehicles, you’re going to want something a bit more stout.

That’s where hex drive bits come in. Hex drive bits secure to the end of your socket wrench to give you proper turning power.

A lot of manufacturers are using Allen head fasteners in critical places nowadays, so having the right tool (and size!) to remove them properly is vital to avoid rounding-out the fastener’s receptacle. (Image/OnAllCylinders – Paul Sakalas)

Way better than those throwaway Allen wrenches that can quickly wear down and potentially wallow-out your fastener, quality drive bits are made from better materials and will handle far more torque. Perhaps more importantly, by skipping those cheapo wrenches, you’ll avoid a ton of hand strain and fatigue.

Hex drive bits are available in 1/4-, 3/8-, and 1/2-inch drives, and they come in both metric and SAE sizes.


A lot of gearheads make-do with the random assortment of freebie Allen wrenches they’ve accumulated, so a nice, sturdy set of hex drive bits can be a great gift to give and receive. Better yet, you can still find a quality set for under 30 bucks.

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