Over at Lowes, I caught glimpse of a new Kobalt Double Drive 6X speed screwdriver. This is a little different than the 2014 edition of the Kobalt Double Drive, in how it has speed-multiplying gearing.
All of the previous Kobalt Double Drive screwdrivers had 1-to-1 gearing.
This new 6X speed model has different gearing that allows screwdriver bits to turn 3X for every 1 complete turn of the handle.
Kobalt’s Double Drive gearing mechanism allows you to convert alternating clockwise and counterclockwise rotations of the handle into just one direction of motion of a fastener.
In other words, set the direction to forward, and no matter how you turn the screwdriver handle, the screwdriver bit and fastener will rotate in the forward or clockwise motion. Set the direction switch to reverse, and handle rotations, regardless of direction, will turn the screwdriver tip and fastener in reverse or counterclockwise motion.
Kobalt’s new 6X speed Double Drive screwdriver has a different gear ratio, which turns smaller rotational motions of the handle into greater motion at the top. This means you get more turns of a screw or fastener with fewer turns of the handle.
Since this is a Double Drive screwdriver, 3X turns of the handle in one direction, plus 3X turns in the opposite direction, and you get 6X turns of a fastener. That’s why this is a 6X screwdriver and not just 3X.
The set comes as part of a 32-piece set that includes an assortment of 1/4″ hex screwdriver bits.
Price: $20 at the local Lowes.
Model number: 0607881
While the “try me” samples in-store worked as they’re supposed to, this is something I would never consider for personal use. If you’re installing wall plates, or otherwise spinning light duty machine screw into threaded holes, then this seems to be a good tool for getting the job done quicker. But if you require greater control, turning precision, or small movements, that’s something you lose with this tool.
I’m not sure how well this driver fares against high torque applications, but you might encounter greater resistance due to the speed-favored gearing ratio.
If you only have $20 for a “let’s see how well it really works” non-conventional tool, the Kobalt Direct Drive gearless ratchet, and online-only bonus gearless palm ratchet set stand greater chances of getting pulled from the kitchen junk drawer every now and then.
I have purchased a number of Direct Drive screwdrivers over the years, but they rarely stay in my toolbox or near my workbench for more than a month or so. By the time January rolls around, they’re either stowed away somewhere for potential future needs, or given away.
Despite the 6X speed appeal of this version, I can’t say I would treat it differently. But, don’t let that discourage you. The next time you’re at your local Lowes, at least before the end of the year, find the “try me” display and give this a whirl.