This is a folding hex key tool, a Bondhus GorillaGrip set, with 7 sizes of metric hex tools housed in a single handle.
I really don’t like folding hex tools, although it has been maybe 20+ years since I’ve used one.
My father had a couple of these, as well as hex keys on a split ring, and I could never find the size I needed. So, once I started buying my own tools, I bought L-keys, hex screwdrivers, T-handles, but never folding hex key sets, and never looked back.
I considered buying folding hex keys before, and finally gave in this week, figuring I’ve held a grudge for so long that it’s time to give them another chance.
There’s definitely a convenience factor here. First, there’s nothing to lose. I have a ball end hex key set with a hole with the 2.5mm L-wrench used to be. It’s around here somewhere, but I never replaced it and now it’s missing. This won’t happen with a folding hex key set.
The portability is also a big highlight – take the handle, pop it into a pocket, and you can comfortably carry it around until or to where it’s needed.
There are some tasks where something like this might be just as useful as standard hex wrenches, but more convenient to carry, store, and deploy. My kids’ balance bikes, for example, have a couple of adjustments where I just need a quick tool with straight hex tips. I don’t need length or ball ends, and something like this might suffice, especially if I keep it where I’ll need it.
Maybe I’m just convincing myself that it’ll be useful, but they’re on the way and so I’ll start finding out soon.
I bought the 3pc set, which comes with an inch handle, metric handle, and Torx handle. If you just want the metric set shown above, it’s priced at under $5.
I’m also optimistic of the quality – Bondhus has a stellar reputation and they’ve had a nearly perfect track record with me. And, they’re made in the USA. Bondhus tools are typically a great example where you can have a good quality tool that’s made in the USA and also affordably priced.
Buy Now: 3pc Set via Amazon
Buy Now: Metric set via Amazon
Buy Now: More Bondhus GorillaGrip Sets
Buy Now: More Bondhus via Amazon
Bondhus has a couple other options, and I’m giving some of those folding tool sets a try as well (purchased at retail from Amazon).
What’s your stance on folding hex keys?
See Also: Klein Tools Folding Hex Key Set
Klein also makes hex key sets with a metal housing. But, I think the Bondhus GorillaGrip and their color-coded handles will be more convenient. I’m not really concerned about the metal vs. plastic handle differences. Still, it’s good to have options.
I’ve got a metric version like the Bondhus – but no idea what brand it is. Then I have a Torx version that looks like the Klein – I also don’t recall the brand. They are both useful in the right context. They live in my racing tool kit for those times I need a quick adjustment at the track or on race day – I’ve never needed anything else for portable use.
However, I never use that style when I’m in my shop. I would rather use a T-handle, bit ratchet, bit socket or an L-key. I’ve eyeballed the Bondhus before – but there’s just no reason to upgrade (I WOULD go that route if I broke what I have or was doing it over again).
Portability and keeping everything together really are the strengths for this style. E.g. if you need to adjust something quickly and don’t know precisely what size it is. A bit ratchet and insert bit selection is probably superior – but that’s more expensive and you need to be more fastidious about not losing any bits.
I agree, these are best in tool bags. Those key-ring sets are terrible to work with.
Oh, no thank you.
A big YES for me. If you’ve ever done field repairs on a piece of farm equipment 6+ feet in the air, and dropped a 1/8 inch black oxide hex wrench in the grass at the edge of the field, you will greatly appreciate a brightly colored or chrome plated set that has no loose pieces to lose. Also, for field work I tend to always start with the folding set as it is easy to carry up ladders and such, and is easy to grab out of a toolbox while taking g up little space. When I’m in the shop ill usually use either the ball end L shaped ones or T handle wrenches, but to me they are invaluable in the field. Also with farm machinery some stuff is metric, some is inch, some even has both! This way I grab 2 tools and have all sizes I need. If too bulky for the situation, ill try and at least figure the size I need and then just carry up that one so I only have one to lose. oh, and I also have a set of 1/4&3/8 drive ones as well. For tough or rusted fasteners or set screws bend a breaker bar to 90 degrees or better, and apply torque while hitting the breaker bar directly above the socket, like you were trying to drive it deeper into the socket. Really helps to break them loose.
I have the Bondhus in both SAE configurations and the metric and I like them – relatively compact while still having enough arm to work with and fits comfortably in the hand.
I’ll be the first to grant that it won’t replace your dedicated T-handles or even your L-wrenches.
But like any all-purpose or multi-purpose tool, it has its place.
If you check out the Bondhus catalog, they make a few variations of the GorillaGrips beyond the standard SAE/torx/metric configurations.
I prefer T-Handles and hex/star sockets but I have and use the Gorilla folding sets since their convenient and more accessible. Bondhus rocks!
I can’t completely hate them, but that’s only because I need something in reserve for the fact that SAE hex keys are a thing. Sometimes you just have to admit that millimeters are the best unit for the application.
I think the folders could be amazing… problem I find is the age old adage, “you are your weakest link”. In the case of these folding sets, it’ss the plastic joint where they fold into the handle that breaks. I’d love to see metal handles.
Also, although you can get around this with some heat and ingenuity, if you need to fit into a tight space, these don’t offer a 90 degree bend. Anyone whose has assembled a crib or a paintball marker, you’ll know you need a 90 degree hex/Allen key.
So with both those factors, I feel this design is a bit gimmicky.
I have seen ones that are on a keyring (I am not endorsing these brands or product, the links are for visual representation only). Eventually the spring wears out though and they no longer stay in place.
My choice is ball head hex bits or l shaped in a plastic holder (no endorsement of either product , I do like Bondhus and Tekton as companies though)
Other adage is know the limitation of your tools and know how to extend it. In this case turning the Allen key with a spanner instead of using the plastic handle in high torque scenarios
Plastic is only in newer models.the older models are all metal in I have used the metal sets for 40 plus years and never had a failure that you point out.
I have a set of folding hex key sets in imperial and metric. Since I got T-handle hex wrenches, I only use the folding version when the T-handles are too long or I am not sure which size is needed for something away from the shop.
I keep a set in my truck because they’re much easier to find and not lose
I’ve got several floating around. I love the convenience and the extra leverage the handle can provide. The biggest down side I see is the pivot. Those things tend to come loose. Once that happens the whole tool becomes sloppy. Pivots can usually be tightened. I’m just saying that for me that is the only real down side to them.
A necessary evil. Too convenient to not have around when you work outside the shop. I’ve got SAE, metric, torx, ball, and straight sets. I end up taking both SAE and metric because sometimes only ‘that’ will work. Don’t like them but use them. They are handy to hand to the neighborhood kids when they work on their skateboards and bikes because they lose individual keys and that irritates me.
I have a Craftsman Standard SAE set I picked up at an estate sale. I like the convenience. The Bondus look interesting.
For me these are highly application-specific. In the past I’ve owned bicycles and dirt bikes which they were very handy for. I once managed a materials research lab at a major US university. Some of the equipment and fixtures we used had a lot of socket-head screws involved and for those machines a folding hex key set was the ideal accessory so I made sure that each machine like that had its own foldup . It kept all the tools you needed in one place without having to worry about a the size you need being missing from a set. It also prevented someone from “gorilla-ing” and over-tightening a fastener because of the limited length of the tool.
But for general purpose use on my workbench or in my toolbox or bag? No way. A folding set with a handle is surprisingly bulky compared to a set of plain L-shaped wrenches. If it has a metal folding handle then it’s substantially heavier too. Not to mention that regular L-keys can fit places that the folding wrench cannot. So no, I’ll keep my T-handles and Wiha precision drivers on the workbench, standard keys and hex bits in my tool bag/packout, hex bits, and sockets in my big toolbox. Right now I just don’t have a use for a folding set like this–but I have had uses for them in the past and I can see how they’d be a great help for some people.
I have several bicycle multi-tools (Crank Brothers 35019, Lezyne Rap-20 and Mongoose 45668), in this form factor that include hex keys. They are convenient for road-carry but not so great if you need to apply more than just a bit of torque.
Koko The Talking Ape
Big yay. Years ago I dropped an L-wrench inside the engine of my VW. Never did find it.
Now I use hex tip hex bits, with either a screwdriver-type or ratchet-type bit holder. More comfortable, more torque, more versatile (with shaft extensions). I do carry around a metric folding set in my bike saddlebag.
I’ll pass. I won’t even buy the snap on ones. If they’re the only thing available, I make them work but otherwise they’re inconvenient to me.
I totally agree! Maybe some like them for convenient carrying but other then that I can’t see what’s to like. Torque us horrible on this type.
I really dig some hex bits for use with a good bitholding screwdriver or T handle
I could probably live without them but they definitely make life more convenient. I keep a Bondhus inch/mm combo one in my pocket and use it quite frequently. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0006O4AEW It is never the perfect tool but it is often good enough that I don’t have to spend the time to get a better option.
To be honest I prefer the all metal versions that Eklind makes as they are less bulky. Unfortunately they do not have a inch/mm combo version (it probably wouldn’t be much smaller anyways). I have several that have been modified with Chicago screws instead of the original bolts. This makes them a bit slimmer and nicer in the hand. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4UzFdfG1Lw
Although they may rarely be the best option among all of the choices of hex wrenches nevertheless they can be a good trade off of size and versatility. For the average non tool person the increased difficulty of losing an individual size might be a significant benefit as well.
For any outside repairs, flat pack assemblies and field work, they’re pretty much a must have. I have a couple sets of SAE, Metric and Torx. Daily grab bag has a set of three. Even if it is just to get the size, so you can load the right bit in a power drill.
Your comment sparked an idea for me: You know what would be awesome?
If they made a tool like this with sockets with Bondhus prohold bits inside them.
E.g. a fold-out socket set mounted to a handle like this, but prohold bits inside each socket so you could pull them out to use separately. I can dream.
Dave in VT
Convenient, yes, unless you are working on something with limited access, i.e. a door knob needs tightening, or a wall fixture (towel bar) where the screw is right against the wall. The bulk of the case makes it difficult.
But that’s why we use the right tool for the job.
I have a love/hate relationship with them. I find them bulky and awkward and not suitable for many tasks, but frequently they’re the only set I can find that hasn’t had the size I need “misplaced”.
It’s the only way to ensure that if I lose it… I’ve lost all the allen keys, not just one size. LOL
Like so many eponymous brands – when W.G. Allen’s 1909 patent ran out the socket-head set screws and little L-Keys to turn them – that he had invented became associated with his name. The Allen Manufacturing Company is for all intents and purposes now gone – absorbed first by Danaher and now the brand is owned by Apex/Bain Capital
Dave the tool
Seems to be a love hate relationship with the folding hex key wrenches. Perhaps it’s similar to those that love the multi tool knifes and those that don’t like them?
I started out decades ago with the key ring and then replaced with the folding hex/ torx wrenches which I still use quite a bit. I do have T-handle wrench sets but honestly use the folding ones much more frequently. Possibly because unlike nuts I don’t have the sizes memorized? I have Stanley versions which seem to work fine for me in the folding handle versions. I am BTW not a multitool knife fan. I own a few different ones but they sit unused most of the time.
Being an electrical contractor for over 40 years when I worked with my tools on a regular basis the folding hex set was preferred over any other style.still have it in my tool bag.
I think they have a place for some people – but I don’t own any. I like the L keys in holders. I find they take up only slightly more space in a bag if I carry some. but I can find them and see what size I need quickly.
Easy to carry in a pocket or tool bag. Usually easy to find in a tool bag or box. Work great if you have room to work but worthless in tight quarters, like a set screw in a squirrel cage fan.
I’ve had this Bondhus 3 piece set in my bag for years. The color coating is a very good thing. I like that you can tighten/loosen when the set swivel gets sloppy from use.
Nope, too bulky.
Damn it! I was ready to say “Oh, no, I’m good. I have bits for that.” Then you had to go and do TWO things!
1) Show me they’re Bondhus!!! After all that mind-blowing over the t-handle sets, you just had to go and show me these… Be honest, Stuart… are you writing this Blog to hurt my bank account at this point? Are you punishing me for my long posts by using affiliate links to get some kickback from me?
2) It’s… A… 3-Pack… For $25 CAD… We’re back in the realm of “It’s stupid Not to buy them.” …Though I wish the redirect was showing Amazon Canada instead of a tool supplier/marketplace supplier that is then fulfilled by Amazon.ca… but still… $25… All three types… It’s Pentel GraphGear 1000 Mechanical Pencil all over again!
I’m gonna chill out, take some deep, cleansing breaths… and just wishlist this For Now… But remember… You started this, Stuart!
Regards your dilemma. I too sometimes rationalize NOT going to Toolguyd because of the “too many tool purchase syndrome” it encourages.
Stuart has found our weak spots, hasn’t he? I’m sure his goals are genuinely pure, and I am… mostly… joking in my post there… But if these brands knew the kinds of sales that ToolGuyd has achieved for them… They should’ve collectively bought him a NASCAR by now! Maybe even a Semi-Truck he can drive to safe sites and perform experiments on tools for review in private!
And they could get away with it if they just linked up as a consortium of all the brands he talks about… SBD, TTi, APEX,…. All of the top level companies that cover all the brands… too many to list here… That way they can’t bias him, or be accused of biasing him, because it’s All of them doing the single purchase!
Hell, I saw that weird EDC axe thingy on YouTube from when Anthony was guest-writing his first article? The one we all looked at and screamed, repeatedly, that the price, and the audience, were utterly wrong. That they should get a Military contract and make a mint off that? That tool? Yeah… I saw it on YouTube and for a moment I actually Considered It …That is quite the demo of how powerful Stuart can be.
I think they’re great in the field for occasional use.
IE: they’re great on a bicycle on in an automotive toolkit.
For projects in the shop and around the house I’ll reach for my key sets.
I’m an industrial mechanic where 90% of the fasteners are socket heads. Some of the guys I’ve worked with over the years like the folding sets, but I’ve never been a fan of them personally. My biggest gripe with them has always been a clearance issue when working to get at fasteners in confined areas, but I don’t see an issue with home use,
I recommend new guys to grab folder in sae and mm just to have em, but when you can make sure and pick up L’s and T’s. The folders are convenient, but hardly ever ideal. Frames warp or break, or more commonly when they start to rust your whole set becomes a chore to use-or they get loose and floppy, becoming even more awkward to physically turn.
i think most of the hex screws i have had to deal with are on brake rotots and the folding ones never had the ability to apply enough torque to it. So while i have one its been of limited use
As said great to keep in a tool bag for infrequent use. I have several. I also have some torx ones from when I drove a volvo and they came in pretty handy.
Agree with most of the comments. I always have metric imperial and torx set in my toolbox. I hate when I have to use them but 20 years later and none are missing. Surprisingly my toolbox gets raided for these relatively often. Then they complain.
For the price, it’s a no-brainer for a backup/vehicle tool bag or in a kitchen drawer. I have that orange handled combo SAE/Met one and it’s saved me a bunch of trips out to our garage for random little tasks. Def worth the $7 or whatever it was for convenience alone. T and L handle sets for the shop. Loose ones and keychain sets go in the trash.
An absolute necessity for mobile service.
I bought both sets of these and I never seem to be able to get into the tight spots where I’ve needed them. Oh well, I’m sure they will come in handy sometime.
I suppose they can be handy but I have not had good luck with them and prefer the individual allen wrenches bundled in a carry set for ease of storage.
I run folding sets in some of my mobile tool sets.
Wiha sets are great in a spare toolbar. Better made than the Bondus, and with a little tab to push out the keys. For example:
I would have to disagree. I’ve got no shortage of Wiha stuff, and I’m not crazy about Bondhus, but being familiar with both, I’d take the Bondhus fold ups over Wiha. The Wiha’s are bulky, janky, come loose, and require jumping through hoops to open and close. The Bondhus is simple, smaller, just works.
*toolbag* of course…
I have a Few Craftsman sets in my main box and a couple HF sets in my mobile cart.
For the life of me I don’t recall ever using them though. It’s always a bit socket or a T- handle.
I’ve got a set. I never reach for them if I have “L” keys on hand tekton and wiha L key sets with ball ends 💯
Mike (the other one)
Klein offers color-coded plastic-housing folding Hex key sets in Metric, Inch, and combination of smaller sizes. Eklind is also a great maker of folding Allen keys.
I generally prefer insert bits, or even standalone drivers. However, the convenience and small storage size makes these an excellent choice for service calls or a road bag. As stated, you don’t have to worry about losing one from the set.
I keep a couple in my truck, and use them pretty often, even as dogging keys.
They have their place and they are better than nothing but not useful in my line of work repairing medical equipment in hospitals. I often need the long reach of a T handle and the narrow width of the individual hex wrench.
Not a fan
I have the Milwaukee multi-bit screwdrivers that store the long bits in the handle – and they’re perfect. The bits don’t get separated from the tool that easily and you can put them in your drill/electric screwdriver easily.
Surprisingly few bit sets have hex in them for some reason.
I can see settling for carrying these (and I do like the Bondhhs fold ups over other brands), but I find that half the time I use a hex key, there is no way I could reach the screw/bolt with a fold up. They’re
not the most portable, but long ball end L-Keys, all the way to the bank, preferably PB Swiss. Second up are T-Handles. I like the classic Wiha for that (I believe I have “magic spring”). There’s usually a junky metric fold up in every office I’ve worked at and that makes a lot of sense (no lost keys). Coincidentally, I just sold off most of my SAE hex stuff because I NEVER use it.
I’m not wild about using the folders, but they’re easy to have on hand. Picquic makes a nice Allen key alternative in their usual screwdriver style. The Metric Picquic has replaced my Gorilla Grip in my traveling kit.
I think they’re the best solution for general use. T-handles take up too much space, and individual allens in a holder can be hard to access.
The trick with the folder is to set the torque on the end bolts, then use loc-tite on the nut.
I bet I have 10 sets at least, scattered about. All-metal, though, Who’d want a plastic case? Sits in a seldom-used toolbox for 10 years and gets brittle and the ONE TIME it COULD have saved the day, it breaks/crumbles.
$150/hr for a mechanic, plus the downtime, etc–all because of CHEAP plastic–no thanks.
Might want to pick up a few sets. Before the glue company finds out they’re using their name.
But trademark protection does not grant exclusivity when using a name. You usually are granted a trademark (often with some logo, artwork or lettering font) for a specific line of product. Even the trademark “Gorilla Grip” has many registered trademark owners – many owned by Hills Point Industries for things like pet products.
I think the Bondhus is a good choice. I have a few such folding key sets and use for on-the-go when needed. I found the Bondhus to be the perfect balance between size and quality – while my Bahco bike tool is disappointing (wobbles a lot), and the Klein-style metal signet is too heavy to carry – the Bondhus is both light and has a really solid feel.
Kobalt has a 17 key SAE/Metric ball-end combo set out:
A little bulky but doesn’t twist under stress. Made in Taiwan, $9.98.
Bondhus makes a version that is metric on one side, standard on the other. It’s the one with the orange body. It’s super handy to have on hand for all the little sizes one might run across on electronics and such. It’s been a life saver multiple times and I have several, each in different took kits, at home and at work.
They have their place. If I am working around the house, or in the shop, I’ve got different manner of various sizes and styles of Allen wrenches. They are much better for working on things and give better leverage and are just easier to use.
However, when I am out, coaching youth shooting sports, I always have a set of fold up tools in both Metric, Imperial and Torx, either in my pocket or in my kit. Whether I’m needing to adjust a bow site, repair a rifle scope mount, or some other quick fix during a practice or match, they have saved a match and kept the kids going. But, when I am back home, if I am working on any of these same repairs, I’m using my regular Tool sets.
It’s not necessarily an issue because they are folding, it’s only an issue when they are not good folding keys. The old Bondous ones weren’t. After years and years of roadside bicycle repairs, you get an idea of good folding tools. Most are not. If those are rock solid and you can torque them down without wobble or winding up to break something loose, then it would be a non issue for me. The old ones weren’t incredibly solid. Hopefully these are.
Bondous are great. Folding set is a good option for working on bicycles.