Allen Wrenches Vs Torx Wrenches - What Is The Difference

Allen Wrenches Vs. Torx Wrenches – What Is The Difference?

A lot of homeowners don’t know what Torx keys or Allen wrenches look like, but there’s a good chance that you have one or both of these lying inside your toolbox.

Allen wrenches are very common, and are often called a hex key or torx key to tighten a torx screw, or tighten a hex screw head. 

These tools are usually sold alongside Allen wrench sets. These may all be kept in a ring to store them in one place.

Torx drill bits, Torx screwdrivers, and Torx socket wrenches also tend to be on sale in sets as part of a large range of sizes. 

If you’ve ever bought and assembled furniture before, you will have used these wrenches to do so, though you might not know what each one is called. 

A few retailers supply the necessary screws and bolts to finish assembly along with the furniture, like Ikea.

The right-sized Torx wrench or Allen wrench would be supplied with the components so the buyer can finish the job. 

We’ll cover more about what Allen wrenches and Torx wrenches are in this article, including what they do and the difference between each tool. 

What Are Allen Wrenches?

Allen wrenches look like L-shaped instruments and have a hexagonal-shaped component, making them different from classic Phillips screwdrivers.

Allen Manufacturing made these wrenches in Connecticut and then named these tools after the enterprise itself. 

Allen wrenches are also known by other names, like hexagon key, hexagonal socket, and Allen key. These names may be different, but they all refer to the same type of tool. 

Allen wrenches tend to be used for vehicle engines, musical instruments, and small-scale industrial projects. They can also be used to fix toys and assemble furniture.

If you ever notice the label ‘some assembly required’ on a product, Allen wrenches will help you finish the job. 

Allen wrenches can be used for many household tasks and they are a good instrument to have within a toolbox. They are available in a range of sizes.

The most common wrench sizes for motorcycle and vehicle work are 3/16, ¼, and 5/32 inches.

It’s also a good idea to keep other Allen wrench sizes nearby when you’re working on a car, including the 3/32, 9/64, 7/6, and the ⅛ inch. 

After Phillips screwdrivers and flatheads, Allen wrenches are the next most common tool used for a variety of tasks. These are normally bought as part of a set that includes several screw measurements.

What Are Torx Keys? 

If you look at a group of drill bits on sale, they often come with Torx, Phillips, flathead, and Allen tips. Torx bits can be identified due to their interesting appearance.

They are star-shaped with six edges, which is why some refer to them as star screwdrivers.

The Torx key is also referred to by many names, including the Torx bit and the Torx wrench. All of these names are to adapt to the greater use of different kinds of enterprises. Lots of manufacturers produce fasteners and screw heads with a Torx format. 

Similar to the Allen wrench, the Torx bit is often used on motorcycles and other vehicles. 

Torx wrenches were first made in 1967 by Camcar Textron, but now there are many different kinds of Torx keys available to purchase today.

One example is the Torx Plus, a wrench that was made in 1990. This update had squared-off components that improved the wear and the torque. 

Torx screws tend to be found on bikes, computer disks, automobiles, motorcycles, and other electronic devices. They used to be thought of as tamper-proof, which is why they were often used on computers.

Torx wrenches and screws weren’t popular, which is why computer manufacturers believed that most individuals wouldn’t own Torx wrenches, so their products couldn’t be manipulated. 

Torx wrenches then increased in popularity in the modern age, particularly in the construction trade. 

This greater use has meant that a larger range of sizes was produced. Drill sets often contain star bits and Torx bits as more and more people are using Torx fasteners and screws. 

Where To Buy Allen Wrenches And Torx Wrenches

As Allen wrenches and Torx wrenches have become more popular, they are often readily available to purchase at places that have tools on sale. 

Some examples include Ace Hardware, Home Depot, and Amazon. You can even find these wrenches available at some Walmart stores. 

For the most part, any specialty tool shop should sell Torx and Allen wrenches. They are usually displayed near the automotive, bike, or tool area of the shop. 

If you’re looking for a specific Allen wrench or Torx key for automotive tasks, you might need to order the model or go to a particular automotive store. 

It might be difficult to find some Torx key models, but as they have become a lot more popular over the years, more stockists are supplying their stores with them. 

The Bottom Line

Torx keys and Allen wrenches are common sights in toolboxes, though most people don’t know what they are called. 

Allen wrenches look like L-shaped tools and have hexagonal-shaped ends, which is why some call them hex keys. Torx keys are different, as they are star-shaped with six sides. 

Allen wrenches are often used for a variety of tasks, including ones around the home. Torx keys are usually used for automotive tasks and computer products. 

You can buy both types of wrenches online, at hardware stores, and specialty tool stores. However, if you do need a particular type of Torx or Allen wrench, you may need to order them specially.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Torx Wrenches And Allen Wrenches The Same Thing?

Torx wrenches and Allen wrenches are not the same things, as they do different things.

Allen wrenches are identifiable from their hexagonal cross-section, which is why some call these tools hex keys.

Torx wrenches are star-shaped, meaning they won’t work on Allen screws and Allen wrenches won’t work on Torx screws.

Which Is Better, An Allen Wrench Or A Torx key?

Neither wrench is better or worse as they both carry out the same task.

Torx screws weren’t used a lot when they were first made, which is why computer manufacturers used them for their products, believing they were tamper-proof.

This isn’t the case now, as both Allen and Torx wrenches are common sights in toolboxes.

Where Can You Buy Allen Wrenches And Torx Wrenches?

As both Allen and Torx wrenches have become more and more popular, the majority of tool stores will sell them to consumers today.

Hardware stores like Ace Hardware and Home Depot are good places to look, as well as online on Amazon.

However, if you need a particular Allen wrench or Torx key for vehicle work, you might need to special order the tool, or go to a niche automotive specialist store.

What Is The Difference Between Torx And Torx Plus?

Torx Plus is an updated Torx design that was introduced in 1990. A Torx wrench has a 6-pointed star, but the Torx Plus has a squared-off lobe that provides better contact between the screwhead and the driver.

This results in more torque, even at high driving speeds. 

The Torx Plus can handle standard Torx bits, but this isn’t recommended due to the space between the star flares.

The Torx Plus and standard Torx, however, aren’t compatible at all, as the star flares will not fit.


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