Over in Benjamen’s review of Dewalt MaxFit screwdrivers, KokoTheTalkingApe asked a very good question:
Just out of curiosity, why are these conventional screwdrivers better than the bit-holder type screwdrivers with the replaceable driver tips you can buy anywhere?
His comment was a bit longer, with other good points, but for the sake of simplicity, I only grabbed the first part to springboard into this discussion.
So which is better, screwdrivers or screwdriver bit holders?
For one, screwdrivers often have better tips. Better machined, stronger, fit for the application.
The handles are sized appropriately. Small screwdriver tip? Small handle. Large screwdriver size? Larger handle.
You have lots of options. Full tang shanks with metal strike cap and hex bolster? Many brands offer heavy duty drivers.
Cabinet-style slotted driver that can fit in narrow recesses? You can buy these at any tool or hardware store,
Screwdriver Bit Holders
One handle, multiple bit sizes or styles. You can use a long extension with a short handle. Full-sized bits with stubby handles. When you need a new screwdriver style or size, 1″ or 2″ bits are readily available and usually very affordable.
If you don’t use certain bit sizes or styles often, it’s much more cost effective to buy some insert bits than a new set of screwdrivers.
Which is Better?
I own many individual screwdrivers and precision screwdrivers, and quite a few bit holders of all shapes and sizes.
I generally use individual screwdrivers when I can. I prefer them. They often fit better, and it’s more convenient to swap drivers than to swap bits.
5mm. Phillips #2. Phillips #1. Torx T10. 5/32″ 7/64″. Phillips #0, #00, #0, #2.
Yes, pulling out multiple drivers from a tool box and putting them on a table or project area isn’t quite as neat as a bit holder and box of bits. But they’re much more convenient.
And as mentioned, they fit better, and I often find them more useful to use.
I have long bit holders, and stubby ones. Ratcheting ones, and T-handles. Socket adapters, and mini bit ratchets.
Which ones will I reach for? It depends on the application. More often than not, my hand gravitates to individual drivers.
Screwdrivers are consumable. Better ones wear slower, but they still wear.
I haven’t done any scientific or controlled tests, but I would swear that my better screwdrivers are more durable that my better 1″ insert bits or 2″ power bits. But maybe I’m biased because I’ve worn down plenty of bits with power tools? There’s a sliver of doubt in my mind.
Favorite Screwdrivers: PB Swiss SwissGrip
Second Favorites: Felo Ergonic
Second Favorite: Whichever full-size bit holder from Wiha, Wera, Felo, PB Swiss, or Beta that I can lay my hands on first.
Third Favorite: Almost any of the multi-bit drivers on my list of favorites
What’s your take on screwdrivers? Individual drivers, or “one size fits most” bit holders?