If you’re looking to buy IKEA products then you’ll likely need Allen wrenches. Specifically, you will need metric-sized hex bits rather than imperial sizes.
The sizes you’ll use most commonly with IKEA products are the 3mm and 5mm hex bits. A complete set that will open anything you buy from IKEA will have ten pieces. The smallest is a 1.5mm hex bit while the largest is the 10mm hex bit.
Allen wrenches are small L-shaped tools with a six-sided cross-section. The wrench sizes are determined by the distance across flats (AF). That is the distance between two opposite and parallel flat sides. Read on for more details specific to Allen wrenches used on IKEA products.
Does IKEA Prefer Allen Wrenches Over Screwdrivers?
While some of IKEA’s products are joined by screws, most are joined by Allen bolts. It seems IKEA prefers Allen bolts over screws, and for good reason.
- Phillips heads found on screws experience more slippage than Allen heads.
- The grooves on screws wear out faster than Allen grooves.
- Screwdrivers work using 4 contact points while hexagonal Allen wrenches work with 6 contact points. This makes opening and tightening much easier and efficient.
Do You Get IKEA Allen Wrenches With The Furniture You Buy?
Almost any IKEA product which will need to be assembled will need an Allen wrench for the job. As such, IKEA always includes an appropriately-sized Allen wrench in the tools. Sizes range from the small 1.5mm wrench to the 10mm wrench. IKEA seems to favor the 3mm and 5mm sizes for their products.
For other functions, you may need to use your own tools. For example, IKEA sometimes provides a screwdriver but you will never find a hammer included in the packaging.
Once you make your purchase and get home, always check the assembly manual and take stock of the tools and pieces. When you open each package, place each Allen key next to the similarly sized Allen head that you will use it on.
Small decor items commonly use the 3mm Allen wrench while midsized furniture items use the 5mm. The largest furniture pieces mostly use the 8mm.
When you’re done assembling your IKEA product, safely and carefully keep away your tools. Remember, you will need them when the time comes to move house or disassemble the item.
In case you misplace a specific size of Allen wrench and need to disassemble your IKEA product, you can call your nearest IKEA store for a free replacement. You may also visit the customer care office for a free replacement.
How to Remove Allen Head Bolts from IKEA Products
Most IKEA products use Allen head bolts and will require an Allen key to undo them. Across all sizes, there are several types of Allen heads:
- Countersunk heads
- Rounded heads
- Dome’s head
- Cap head
When removing a bolt with an Allen key, start by cleaning out the head. You can use a small screwdriver to clear debris.
Use a high-quality Allen key with clean corners and made out of galvanized steel.
Ensure you use metric keys for metric heads and imperial keys for imperial heads. Otherwise, you might not find the correct fit. All IKEA Allen heads and keys use metric measurements.
If a bolt is too tight, you might need to first shock the bolt. Fit in a hex bit or screw driver into the head then hit sharply with a hammer.
If shocking doesn’t work then you can use a blowlamp to apply some heat to the base of the surrounding area. Watch out you don’t burn any wood and start a fire. Take care not to breathe in any fumes.
If you use a blowlamp, let the bolt cool down first before you attempt to undo it.
If you suspect the bolt is held down by rust, use a spray penetrant and wait a few minutes before using the hex bit.
Can You Remove Allen Bolts Without Using Allen Keys?
Yes, there are several ways you can remove Allen bolts from IKEA furniture if you have lost or misplaced your Allen key.
You could use a smaller-sized screwdriver whose edges fit snugly to the inner edges of the Allen bolt’s top.
You can also use a hammer and chisel to chip away at the top of the Allen bolt in an anti-clockwise direction until the bolt screws out.
Can You Use Power Tools With Allen Wrenches?
It is difficult to use a power screwdriver or power drill with IKEA Allen wrenches because of the L-shape. However, if you can find a straight hex then you can easily fit it to a power drill and make unscrewing Allen bolts much easier.
Flat End Vs Ball End IKEA Allen Wrenches
Allen wrenches come in two main shapes. Some are flat on both ends. Others have rounded ends.
Both Allen wrench types perform the same functions. However, the bell-end Allen wrenches are easier to maneuver when working in tight or hard-to-reach spaces.
For example, if you want to dismantle a corner cabinet in your kitchen and the Allen bolt is in a small space tightly fitted against a wall, the ball end Allen wrench could fit into the top and work at a comfortable 35-degree angle.
Precautions to Keep In Mind
- For IKEA products, only use metric Allen keys. Imperial sizes may not fit as well and may end up rounding the edges.
- For the same reason, always use the correct size of the Allen key corresponding to the Allen’s head.
- If you buy your own Allen keys, buy metric. You can buy two sets, one metric and one imperial. They are inexpensive enough to afford two sets and small enough not to take up too much space in your toolbox. Also, both sets will serve you across many different items. From IKEA products to bicycles and electronics.
- When you receive your package from IKEA, first take stock of everything you receive.
- Do not use sharp tools like knives to open the package as you may damage the components inside or loose small packages such as the one holding the Allen wrenches.
- Read the assembly instructions before you start. You will again need to read instructions when dismantling the product much later. Don’t lose the instruction manual.
- Start by fitting just a little bit loose until you complete the whole product, then go round tightening each Allen bolt. Take care not to fit the Allen bolts too tight. The wood may splinter. Also, do not fit too loose or your furniture may wobble and be unstable.
- Wear protective clothing like gloves and goggles when working with loose or sharp objects.
IKEA uses metric standard Allen wrenches to join furniture components. The most commonly used are the 3mm, 5mm, and 8mm sizes. Allen bolts offer slippage advantages and ease of use compared to Philips head screws.
IKEA packs free Allen tools for each product that requires one. Customers can ask for a free replacement if they need to disassemble an IKEA product.