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The Different Hex Nut Sizes, Explained 

The Different Hex Nut Sizes, Explained

We’ve all been there. Stood standing next to a hex nut, wondering what size it might be. For some reason the impulse to guess the size of the wrench you’ll need is overwhelming.

Maybe it’s fun to make a sort of game out of it, or maybe it’s because guessing hex nut sizes is the only option. Better grab two of three different spanners, in that case.

Did you know that hex nuts have been around since the early 1830’s? It’s about time we learned how to measure and understand these things. Read on and we’ll find out how to do away with the guesswork.

What Is a Hex Nut?

Hex nuts, named after their six-sided hexagonal shape, are easy to distinguish. They’re ubiquitous in their use and found pretty much everywhere. Even the least prone to DIY amongst us have probably had to tighten a nut or two.

The size of the head corresponds exactly to the business end of a wrench. Put simply, when a turning force twists the faces of the nut it takes the path of least resistance along the threads. In the case of the nut, it turns along the spiral thread until it ends.

Astonishing force can lock into place, utilizing the attributes of the steel bolt and nut along with the dependable powers of friction. While a bolt and nut combo may seem a simple thing, they’re perfectly machined to match and the materials they’re constructed of are a marvel of engineering.

Hex Nut Sizes

Sizes of hex nuts correspond to the male part of their duo. The shaft of the bolt either fits perfectly or doesn’t fit at all. If the nut is too small, the bolt can’t enter. If it’s slightly too big, the threads are likely to strip when force is applied.

The different sizes refer to nominal thread diameter. These sizes typically range from one-quarter inch to two and a half inches in diameter. The larger the grade of hex nut, the stronger it is.

Knowing how to choose a hex nut size is as simple as measuring the nut’s diameter from one flat side to another. If you need to know the size you need for a bolt, measure the distance of the thread from either side, horizontally. This is a bolts major diameter and knowing it will allow you to find the right nut to fit.

There are a few different types of cap nut, so choosing the right hex nuts isn’t as daunting as you might imagine. Buying hex nuts is as easy as a quick search online, or visiting your local hardware store!

Measure Twice, Buy Once

Now you’ve used your trusty ruler or tape measure and taken a note of the dimensions, getting the hex nut sizes that you’re looking for will be a cinch. You’ll never have to endure the moment your spanner is the wrong size ever again. 

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