What is a radiator key?

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 Group of radiator keys 

Radiator keys are hand tools for undoing, tightening and adjusting the fittings of a central heating radiator.


They are also known as radiator spanners, radiator wrenches, valve keys, air release keys and bleed or bleeder keys.

 Using a radiator bleed key 

You might want to use keys on radiator fittings to:

  • Remove unwanted air from the radiator

  • Replace parts such as radiator plugs and valves

  • Drain an individual radiator or the entire system before repair or maintenance work is carried out

 Adjusting lockshield valve 

Some radiator parts can be operated by open-ended or adjustable spanners.


For instance, when adjusting the speed at which individual radiators heat up (a procedure known as balancing), an adjustable spanner is used to turn what is known as a valve spindle to the required position.

 Brass T-shaped radiator bleed key 

Other parts of the radiator are adjusted with the correct radiator key or spanner.


There are radiator keys that are dedicated to a single task, such as bleeding unwanted air from a radiator.

 Multi-key radiator tool 

Others incorporate several types of key and spanner. These are often referred to as multi keys, and in some cases universal keys.

 Universal radiator valve and plug key 

'Universal' suggests a key that does everything, but some universal keys may not perform every type of operation on a particular radiator. For instance, they may not include a bleed key or a spanner to fit the various nuts used on radiator fittings.

    Wonkee donkee universal 
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