Eklind is a highly-regarded manufacturer of hex tools. They make Allen keys, T-handle drivers, folding tools, and other sorts of hex drivers.
I am sure I have used Eklind tools before, as brands like this often manufacture tools for other brands. Some of my equipment purchases have included Eklind tools in their maintenance packages.
But until today, I have never purchased any Eklind-branded tools. Whenever it came time to make a new purchase, other brands always won me over, such as Bondhus or PB Swiss.
It recently became very clear that my parents and other family need good quality hex keys. Let’s just say that a recent visit involved loose dining room table legs, a folding hex key tool, and a bag full of miscellaneously sourced Allen keys.
As an aside, I really need to make another shoebox-sized portable tool kit to travel with.
Bondhus is my go-to for USA-made hex keys, but their current pricing seems a bit high. (The same is true across the tool industry right now.) Their 22pc set is now more than $31 at Amazon and other retailers, which I feel is a bit too much for basic hex keys.
When searching other retailers for better pricing, I came across the Eklind 13222 set – a 22pc set of inch and metric hex keys for less than $21. Sold!
These Eklind L-keys have straight hex short ends, and ball hex long ends, similar to Bondhus and many other brands’ hex key sets.
I promptly ordered a set for my parents, and another for my brother-in-law.
With what I have heard about Eklind over the years, these hex keys should work well and last a very long time. Just to be sure, I ordered one for myself as well.
If you’re looking for a new set of basic but trustworthy ball-end USA-made hex keys, these might be fitting for you too.
This year is Eklind’s 100th Anniversary, in Chicagoland.
I prefer Wera since theirs have the special hex plus heads that help bite into stripped screws.
But these look nice.
Wera is good but I don’t like the round shafts on the L keys.
I’ve worn out, lost, and broken, many of these over the years; they are good quality but they aren’t anything super special either. I put them roughly on par with Bondhus, though perhaps not quite as hard. For general use I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to buy them, they’re good quality at a reasonable price. And unlike a lot of the import crap they actually fit the screw sockets properly. Whenever we needed more allen keys for my machining business we’d order either these or Bondhus, whichever was cheaper at the time of purchase. Back then Enco and MSC were competing companies who mailed out a barrage of flyers, at any given moment it was certain that at least one of them had either Bondhus or Eklind on sale.
As you say – hex keys or drivers that come with other manufacturers jigs or tools may sometimes be sourced from Elkind. My TSO track saw rail connectors came with an Elkind 92630 3mm ball-end hex screwdriver.
Thanks Fred. Always informative.
I picked up the Craftsman sets with the goofy plastic handle that snaps on and they’re surprisingly good at $15 (when I bought them) and I wasn’t expecting much. Even came with a 7mm. Generally I’ve always bought Bondhus or Eklind.
I’m a retired toolmaker and used Allen wrenches exclusively on the dies I built. I have Eklind wrenches that have lasted me 30 plus years. As they wear you grind a little bit off to maintain them. To me they were very well made.
I’ve got a couple sets of the T-handles, I really like the size and shape. I prefer them to my Bondhus T-handles ergonomically, though I’m not convinced they are quite as strong.
I have a set of Park Tools T-Handle metric hex drivers, a set from Powerbuilt in SAE sizes and some T-handle Torx drivers from Bondhus. I paid under $60 for the Powerbuilt set last year – and find them to be just as nice as the Park set for which I paid double that.
FWIW, check out project farm’s video on hex keys. The craftsman set did surprisingly well, the eklind, not so much. For USA made, I’ll stick with bondhus. They’ve never failed me.
I think most of Project Farm’s videos are solid and you can learn a lot from them, but this particular one is so flawed that it’s absolutely useless to draw conclusions from it, in my opinion. There are numerous problems, I explained them all back in a discussion in the toolguyd forum a while back. I’ll link it below to avoid cluttering up the thread. But the biggest issue by far, which is alone enough to make the entire test worthless is the fact that the heads of the fasteners were failing during the torque test, not the wrenches.
Just to be clear, I’m not out to rail on Project Farm here. Since I wrote that review I’ve watched many of his videos and they are generally pretty good. But the allen wrench torque test is a real stinker. I’d recommend his videos in general, but stay away from this one!
Not to mention the fastener heads will have variability in their hex openings. He should have just measured the hex keys themselves. Overall I think he does great videos, but every once in a while there’s a major miss like the hex hey video.
I also like Project Farm videos and he usually nails the tests. But I noticed the same issues you mentioned.
I’ve been buying Eklind for years and find they are great. If you strip one on a seized bolt, just grind it off and touch up the burr with 220 grit
Menard’s carries these too. Sometimes they have really good prices. Currently 11% rebate(I know not everyone likes the rebate).
I almost bought some t handle versions at Menards this past week. My wiha ball end hex drivers have not held up well at all over the past few years.
I’ve been a locksmith for just under 10 years now. While i love my Wihas/Weras. I use Eklinds at work for 2 reasons:
1: I trust them to get the job done
2: if they walk/grow legs: I am not out as much money. (Has happened TWICE)
My current set is about 6-7 years old at this point, and I have only had to replace my 3/32 wrench recently. (Stuck a Wiha in there)
Their flip out Hex Keys are wonders too for 90% of the stuff I work on. From Dogging Keys to set screws (Save for Lori Deadbolts and Herculite doors)
Fan of these as well. Back in the day I only remember Eklind having the plastic carry case/organizer contraption which I like a lot. Well them and craftsman who they OEM’ed for. Wonder if it was patented? Must have expired if it was as I see this all over now.
Ball ends are great for tight spots. A good quality Allen key is a must when you are trying to remove a rusted set screw. I find I only get one shot at it before I snap a cheap Allen key or strip out the head of the screw. I’ve pretty much junked any cheap Allen keys as I’m sick of drilling out set screws. Also I find if a healthy dose of Kroil, heat and a good Allen key can’t remove it, just skip ahead to a left handed drill bit and maybe the sparkle wrench (oxy torch).
Off topic but how do you guys store your T-handle Allen’s? I have a set of bondhaus T-handles that came with a vertical stand but it’s not conducive to toolbox storage.
For my Eklinds, Just in a pocket in my tool backpack. They are marked and easy to grab at.
For my Vaco set: in their vertical stand on my workbench
I used to have tool boxes. But after I got my first Veto… I wont go back. (3 Vetos and counting now, sorted by trade)
Poorly. I have one set with a stand I don’t use, and the other I still keep in its clear plastic pouch. Figuring out a better solution has been on my to-do list as well. A pile of T-handles in a tool box doesn’t look nice, but it works. I try to stagger the handles, but there’s always some overlap to avoid too much wasted space.
The wall mount rack that came with the Park set took up too much linear space. The Powerbuilt set came with a stand that could be wall mounted – better but still, takes up more room than needed. The Bonhus set of T-Handle Torx came with a wedge-shaped plastic stand that I don’t like. What I ended up with is storing them one behind another on the pegboard behind a bench in the garage where I work on bikes. Takes up less room – but not so easy to grab the right tool and prevent others from falling off behind the bench – so I don’t really like that solution either.
Store them in a short piece of rubber hose, 3/4 or 1″ depending on how many you have
I have the same set, had it for years. Been very satisfied with them. They are a good example of a USA made product that is a good value. Not the best at any price, but way better quality than no name brands and at a fair price. Menards had the Elkind folding set on sale a while back and it cost me right at $5 after rebate. Can’t hardly find the no name ones in convenience store end caps for less.
I’ve always thought Eklind was great…usually cheaper than Bondhus and I can’t tell any difference in their durability or sizing (to be fair I have never used more than the standard general wrenches from Bondhus). I’ve always wondered, based on marks and the caddies, if Eklind made the ones that were sold under the Allen name back in the early 90s. When I was purchasing tools Eklind was one of the nicer companies to deal with and as of a few years ago that seems to be holding true, should you ever need to call them up.
Love my eklinds. Have them as pictured and the folding sets which often get thrown in a work bag when I’m unsure what I’m going to encounter.
For the last year I’ve had a set I cut off with a grinder and use chucked in my m12 drill to control the torque. Comes in super handy when dealing with repetition of assembling things when you have small kids. (Cribs, flat pack bookshelves/furniture, etc) I would’ve preferred to purchase a set but i couldn’t find anything at the time that had long shanks in a set. Anyone else have that necessary use? Or just me? Would still be interested in purchasing a set made for drill or even insert bit set for a driver.
When I managed a lab years ago I liked those fold-up sets, with the reason being that they were less likely to walk off compared to using individual keys. For whatever reason if I set up the equipment with sets of keys the relevant sizes would quickly disappear from the rest of the set but if I used those fold-ups instead they would stay put, at least until someone walked off with the entire thing.
I have cut the angled part off hex keys in order to stick them in a drill before, that came in handy before I got 1/4 hex bits for my impact driver and square drive bits for use with ratchets, impacts, etc, but now that I have those tools I rarely do it anymore. But I completely agree, if you’re driving lots of hex head screws there’s no reason not to use a power tool, IMHO. I only use the L-shaped wrenches for places were power tools won’t fit, or when precision is required and a power tool would be inappropriate.
Bought the set of these ages ago, back when _Popular Mechanics_ was licensed as a tool brand at Wal-Mart — still have them as a fall-back for when I don’t have a particular size, and bought complete sets as Christmas gifts for my kids last year.
Thanks for the recommendation! I ordered a set and it was delivered today.
Stuart, we need to talk more about that portable travel tool kit. I think most refer to this as “service tool kit” and would have a lot of ideas on what works for them. It deserves it own post. Please do one. Let’s discuss what we found work for us.
Thanks, I’ll consider it!
I wasn’t talking about a service or road tool kit here, but a sort of DIY/household repair kit.
I have found that a service tool kit isn’t as useful as it might have been. For all of the car troubles I’ve had in 20 years, there was nothing a road tool kit could have helped.
I misspoke. I meant “service call” tool kit/set. Set of tools that you would take with you when you first response to calls for help. The intent is to service/repair as opposed to “project” or “production” tools.
And yes, I stay away from those emergency/road side tool kits.
Thanks for this Stuart. I ordered a set after seeing this and they arrived today. I used to work, and live, less than two miles from my rental. But since our recent move, I’m now 30 minutes away. I got a call from my tenant while at work about a week ago saying the furnace wasn’t cycling on after it kicks off. I had a feeling that the probe needed a light sanding. I had to borrow a piece of 2000 grit sandpaper, a nut driver and pliers from my neighbor friend. It did the job……. But reminded me that I need to put together a survivalist tool bag to keep in my vehicle. This set of hex wrenches will go in that. I have a set of Wera here at home. I just know as much as I pack, there’s going to be something I forget. You probably have a post somewhere where you cover this topic…
Shoebox size travel kit you say….. definitely a needed article. I always end up putting to much in mine.