Wrench Your Way to Happiness


Back when I was in college, I used the cheapest set of hex keys I got from the department store to work on my bike. I didn’t know any better. I mean, why should I spend what seemed to be an obscene amount of money on a set of hex wrenches when I can buy cheaper ones and use the savings for more beer/burritos/carbon fiber parts?

I was wrong. Don’t ever go cheap on tools.

I stumbled upon a set of Wera Tools 950 SPKL/9 SM N hex keys while researching tools for my garage. Wera Tools may not be a household name in the U.S. compared to the likes of Snap-on, Craftsman, or the iconic Park Tools in cycling circles, but rest assured, they’re not some rebadged run of the mill sort of tools. These hex wrenches are the real deal and reasonably priced at around $32 per set.

The 950 SPKL/9 comes with the Wera’s Hex-Plus technology that Wera claims provides up to 20% more torque while preventing rounding of the screws. It also helps with grabbing grounded screws. The ball end on the long arm helps with driving screws in tight spaces.

Each key comes with the company’s BlackLaser surface treatment to combat corrosion while the mid-end of each key is coated with their green SPKL thermoplastic sleeves. Initially, I wasn’t sure about the sleeves but after a year of using them, I can attest to how nice they are to work with in a cold garage. The colored sleeves also make it quicker to locate on the bench. However, the sleeve can also be problematic at times as it slightly increases the diameter that it covers, making it difficult to reach into deep crevices.

Overall, the 950 SPKL/9 SM N made wrenching easy. It’s well-made, comfortable to work with and proved to be durable. There are instances where having a T-handled hex would be a better choice, but if you’re looking for a set of lasting, no BS L-shaped hex keys, Wera 950 SPKL/9 would be a great addition to your tool kit. Alternatively, Wera also offers hex keys without the SPKL sleeve as well as ones made out of stainless steel.

Photo: Stephen Lam