Anecdotally, I see a lot of bike mechanics on the Internet use ball socketed allen wrenches. Is there an objective reason to using them over the 'regular' hex allen wrenches? Are there particular tasks or scenarios that make one style of wrench better than the other (e.g., prevent marring, or stripped socket hole)?


2 Answers 2


Coming in at an angle like brake levers.
Or even straight in you can turn faster.

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The ball-end wrenches are really handy when there's an obstruction in front of the bolt, since they can be inserted at a slight angle.

But since the contact area is smaller, you're slightly more likely to strip the hole. So I would use a regular wrench when possible.

  • 1
    In the smaller sizes it's also possible to snap the ball clean off leaving it jammed in the bolt head. But they are useful.
    – Chris H
    Mar 11, 2016 at 6:43
  • 1
    I never use the ball-end for loosening a tight bolt, for the reasons stated above. But they are handy to unscrew the bolt 'til it comes out.
    – Carel
    Mar 11, 2016 at 19:58

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