Not all hex and ball hex drivers are made alike. Different brands might make similar-looking drivers, but they all have small nuances that mean the difference between good, great, and superb products.
A few weeks ago I was flipping through an Allied Electronics catalog when I saw listings for Klein’s T-handle hex drivers. I was quite surprised, and pleased, with this discovery, as I had been hunting from some great quality T-handle hex drivers for a while.
There are T-shaped T-handle drivers, and L-shaped T-handle drivers. These are of the second type. The short end is a straight hex tip, for higher torque applications, and the long end has either a straight or ball-shaped hex tip. I typically prefer – and generally recommend – the ones with ball hex tips.
Bondhus makes some nice T-handle drivers for Park Tools. Beta makes some great ones as well. Facom too. But thus far I’ve only found these brands’ styles in metric sizes.
Like Tools? Tool Deals? So do we. Sign up for our Newsletter!
I NEEDED to try these, and Klein kindly sent over a set for review. They arrived yesterday afternoon, and I spent part of this morning putting them to the test.
What I found was that I REALLY like these drivers. I don’t think I’ve tried any of Klein’s Journeyman tools before, but if they’re all like these drivers, I’m going to have to take a much closer look at the product line.
I cannot tell you how the drivers will hold up over time, but there are a few things I wanted to point out.
Driver size markings are large and clear to read.
The ball-hex and straight-hex tips are very well machined. They feel quite strong, and I managed to lightly strip a stainless steel button head screw. Softer/lesser ball hex tips might have sheared-off instead.
The cushion-grip driver handles are exceptionally comfortable. Hard-plastic handles are easier to clean, but these are a lot easier on the hands.
You can buy the drivers individually, but when you buy a set you get a sturdy wall-mountable S-shaped steel stand, which also has size markings across the front.
These drivers are also very reasonably priced. The 10-piece inch driver set shown above is ~$56 via Amazon, which comes out to about $5.60 per driver.
Right now, I am still in the wow I love these tools stage of the review process, but I don’t think my stance will change with more use.
As mentioned above, there are good, great, and superb hex drivers. Or at least that’s how I rank the drivers I use. There are lesser drivers, but I tend to stay far away from them. On such a ranking, these drivers are superb. There might be room for improvement, but I can’t see it yet.
On the box it says Assembled in USA of US and Slovenian Components, and the drivers’ handles say Slovenia.
Overall, I can definitely recommend Klein’s Journeyman ball-end hex drivers. They’re well-made, comfortable to use, and reasonably affordable. I’m sure their straight hex drivers are good too, but I strongly prefer the ball-end style.
Thank you to Klein for providing the review sample unconditionally. Review samples are typically given away, donated, or retained for benchmark and comparison purposes.