The hexagon wrench (or hex wrench) is a must have tool for every homeowner’s, or vehicle owner’s toolbox. The wrench gets its name from the shape of the shaft used to loosen or tighten screws . You can see the hexagon shape to the right. It matches the head of the screw, ideally pretty snugly. If there is much “play” when operating the hexagon wrench, the wrench is most likely too small for the screw and will strip out the fitting it’s in. You can see a picture of a hexagon screw at the left.
There are two standards for hexagon wrenches, SAE (also known as standard) and Metric. Both refer to the measurement system used to measure the width of the shaft of the wrench.
In addition to two standard measurements, there are several different types of hex wrenches made and used. First is the “regular” wrench set, like the one pictured at the below right. A set of standard or metric wrenches are inserted into a plastic holder that carries them snugly until they are forcefully removed.
Another style of hexagon wrench is folded like a pocket knife. Wrenches fold in and out from the end but the whole set can be carried in a pocket without fear of losing an individual wrench. This style is popular with small appliance repairmen who like to keep tools in their pockets rather than a toolbox.
These various styles of hexagon wrenches can be purchased inexpensively online. Since they’re light, they also ship cheaply. Unless you use them daily, an inexpensive set will last you for years.