Sears has come out with a new Craftsman impact screwdriver set.
Update: Readers point out in the comments that these appear to be rebranded Vessel Impacta screwdrivers ($11 via Amazon), and upon quick inspection I’d agree.
(Stanley Black & Decker now owns the Craftsman brand, but Sears retained the power (for now) to develop Craftsman tools for sale at Sears stores.)
The new Craftsman impact screwdriver set comes with a Phillips #2 driver, and a slotted 1/4″ driver. They say that the new screwdrivers give you the power of a manual impact driver without the weight or bulk.
It says on the packages that these impact screwdrivers help you to remove stripped screws when all else fails.
Digression: What about screw extractors? In extreme cases, these Craftsman impact screwdrivers might have nothing at all to bite onto, and so extractors might be needed.
The Craftsman impact screwdrivers have a proprietary cam rotation mechanism design that rotates the tip counter-clockwise by 12° when the handle is struck with a hammer.
Both drivers feature steel end caps, black nickel chrome plating, “premium anti-corrosion plating,” and comfortable ergonomic grips.
Price: $30, free shipping on $49+ orders
In comparison, you can buy an imported hand impact driver for around $15, or a good pro-grade set by Lisle for $31 or Proto for $42. Lots of brands make such drivers. We briefly posted about hand impact drivers over 7 years ago, maybe it’s time for an update.
If you ask me, a hand impact tool is going to be the better buy, since many are reversible and can be used with sockets or your choice of screwdriver bit. What happens if the tips on the Craftsman drivers wear down? Break? You’re out a whole tool instead of just a screwdriver bit.
Right now the price is $30. I’d expect it to be $15 for Father’s Day, maybe $20. I’d still consider a hand impact driver to the better buy, but as far as “innovative” tools go, these new Craftsman screwdrivers seem handy.
Plus, what happens when you broke a fastener free? With these Craftsman screwdrivers, you can simply turn the handle. With a hand impact tool, you’d probably want to reach for a screwdriver.
Too bad these Craftsman impact screwdrivers aren’t reversible, for times when you need just a little more torque for final tightening. But to be fair, I don’t think I’ve ever dug out my hand impact driver for final tightening applications.
For those of you that have used a hand-powered impact driver before, is this something you would buy?
And does anyone want to take a stab at how the internals are arranged? It looks to me like the end cap is floating. Strike the end cap with a hammer, and the entire handle and shaft rotate as one. I can’t see it working any other way, otherwise if the handle and shaft were decoupled in any way, they wouldn’t be able to function as screwdrivers.
Update: Craftsman previously offered Vessel-made screwdrivers for a short time in 2015 for the Father’s Day shopping season, and it looks like they’re doing the same this year but with this different style. Does that change how you feel about the screwdrivers?
(Vessel is a Japanese screwdriver manufacturer. We’ve tried a few of their tools and found them to be of pretty good quality.)