The folks over at Allen, yes as in Allen wrenches/keys, sent over their new 56660G ball-end T-handle hex drivers for us to check out. These drivers feature a ball-hex at the long end, a straight-hex tip at the short end, and a soft T-shaped grip at the bend.
The metric set that we reviewed includes 2mm, 2.5mm, 3mm, 4mm, 5mm, 6mm, 8mm, and 10mm drivers. An S-shaped sheet metal stand keeps the drivers organized and ready for action.
We judged the hex drivers based on three criteria – precision, strength, and user comfort.
To test the tolerance and precision of the drivers, we didn’t whip out the micrometers or anything like that – we simply tested them on a number of common fasteners. The result – a perfect fit each time, with no discernible play or wobble. They even slid right into the gunked-up fasteners on a mountain bike without needing extra encouragement.
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The drivers definitely do feel strong enough for regular light-medium duty use. For real heavy-duty use, we usually skip hex drivers and opt for a breaker bar or ratchet with a hex bit socket.
One thing to be hesitant about is using the smaller sized drivers’ ball ends on stubborn fasteners. The handles on the smaller drivers are just a bit wider than expected, making it easier to accidentally apply too much torque, which can potentially lead to the ball-hex tip breaking off inside the fastener. We mentioned this as an observation, and not a complaint – we actually prefer drivers to be like this. When in doubt, we use the straight-hex tip without incident.
Although we’ve only used these drivers a few times in recent days, we’re quite pleased with how they feel. The handle is mostly composed of a soft-grip material, with the blue accents being a harder plastic.
The through-handle design is definitely a plus – that’s why we have 3 other similarly-styled sets around the shop. T-handle drivers allow for greater leverage and comfort, as well as easier and speedier spinning, so we’re happy these are through-T-handles and not stubbier P/F/L-handle shaped.
Are these the best hex drivers we’ve seen? Maybe not, but we like them quite a bit, and they’re very reasonably priced at less than $30 for the set. They’re precise, reasonably strong, and comfortable to use. We definitely recommend Allen’s T-handle hex drivers, but also urge users new to ball-hex tips to take it easy with the smaller sized drivers.
Our only complaint is that the size markings on the front of the stand are misaligned. We spoke to Allen about this, and they’re aware of and correcting the issue.
Thank you to Allen for providing the sample for this review unconditionally. Review samples are typically returned, donated, or in some cases retained for further testing or comparison purposes.
Country of Origin: China (2-2012)