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.
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.