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What Is a Hex Screwdriver?

By Jay Leone
Updated May 16, 2024
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A hex screwdriver is a type of screwdriver that features a hexagonal tip for driving certain nuts, bolts and screws. Hex screwdrivers, like all types of screwdrivers, are available in an extensive range of both standard and metric sizes. These screwdrivers can make the process of loosening and tightening hex nuts, bolts and screws much easier. Tool steel is a specific grade of steel engineered for making manual tools such as pliers, wrenches and hex screwdrivers. Most power drivers can be fitted with hex screwdriver attachments.

Hex nuts, bolts and screws can be made out of many metals, such as aluminum, brass, copper and any grade of steel. Most types of screwdrivers, however, are almost exclusively constructed out of tool steel. Tool steel is a very tough, durable grade of steel that holds up well to regular wear and is very strong at high temperatures. Hex attachment sets for power tools also can be made out of tool steel. A hex screwdriver might undergo nickel-plating processes to gain corrosion resistance.

The design of these screwdrivers can vary dramatically between manufacturers. Some manufactures design ergonomic grips around their screwdrivers to help make driving more efficient and comfortable. A T-handled hex screwdriver features a handle that is constructed perpendicular to the tool shaft as opposed to around a length of the tool shaft. As with most types of screwdrivers, consumers also can find hex screwdrivers that feature magnetic tips. These are ideal for preventing nuts, bolts and screws from falling out of the screwdriver and becoming lost.

A hex screwdriver that is designed to drive nuts and bolts will feature a cavity to receive a specific size of hex nut or bolt. Consumers should be careful to avoid using the wrong size of hex screwdriver when attempting to loosen or tighten a hex nut or bolt. Although steel tools can be very durable, they are not completely resistant to wear and abuse.

One type of hex screwdriver that offers many applications is a hex key. Hex keys often feature several sizes of standard or metric hex screwdrivers in a compact, fold-out form. These tools are arranged in a fashion that is similar to a pocketknife, and most of the components can be drawn out of the device without disrupting nearby components. A hex key can be useful when several sizes of hex nuts, bolts or screws must be turned or when the correct size is unknown.

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Discussion Comments

By hamje32 — On Oct 08, 2011

@Mammmood - That’s a good point. The most important thing with any screwdriver that you use is the amount of torque, or circular force, that you can apply to it.

With a hex screwdriver you can use a T grip like the article talks about to generate more force – or you can buy hex screwdriver bits.

That’s what I have; I can attach them to my drill using a special attachment, and instantly I have more torque that I can deliver to the bolts. I can also reverse the drill’s rotation, too, in cases where I need to remove the hex bolts from something.

By Mammmood — On Oct 07, 2011

Sometimes I buy furniture like desk sets and stuff like that which require assembly. I’ve noticed that these assembly kits come with a small set of tools to help you put the product together.

The most common of these is a mini screwdriver. It’s usually a hex driver, and I understand why. The hex bolts are the easiest to put in and adjust with ease. The Phillips screwdrivers, by contrast, are a little trickier in my opinion. Sometimes the screwdriver can slip on the screw’s head, making twisting the screw a little more challenging.

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