Whoa, did you know that Black & Decker still makes 6V alkaline battery-powered cordless screwdrivers? It’s news to me!
This small driver, model AD600, is powered by 4x AA batteries. Spec-wise, it’s an average light-duty cordless screwdriver, capable of delivering up to 40 in-lbs of max torque. It delivers up to 130 RPM and has a forward and reverse direction-selection rocker trigger switch.
There’s what looks to be a twist-to-lock function, to help prevent the driver from self-activating in a tool bag or box.
According to Amazon, the screwdriver comes with a set of 20 anchors and screws, as well as (2) starter screwdriving bits and (2) drill bits.
Is something like this appealing in today’s day and age, when there are plenty of 4V Max cordless screwdrivers with built-in Li-ion batteries and USB charging to choose from? Sure.
Something like this will probably be among my kids’ first power tools, or at least among the tools they can claim ownership over.
Come to think of it, my first power tool was also a Black & Decker cordless screwdriver, a small inline driver that I got for free for opening a bank account. It worked quite well, too, for its size.
Realistically, a cordless screwdriver like this is not going to hold a candle against a full-size drill. But, given its on-paper specs, it should perform comparably to a small Li-ion driver, although the performance might depend on the type of AA cells selected.
The form factor seems interesting. In theory, I like the inline orientation, which should be more comfortable to use than the inline driver I’ve used in the past.
More choices are always good, and I’m happy to know there’s still a small AA-powered cordless screwdriver for those who want one.
If you have a greater budget, there are plenty of well-regarded “pocket drivers” out there, but you’re probably not going to get a good one for anywhere near this driver’s $13 price.
Let’s reminisce – have you ever used an AA-powered cordless screwdriver like this one before?
Hey Stuart, I need to cite one of your articles (the one on lithium batteries vs alkaline batteries at low temperature) for a science fair project. Would you mind sharing your full name so I can cite correctly ?
Certainly – check your email. Good luck!!
I’ve actually quite enjoyed using that newer Craftsman 4V cordless gyroscopic screwdriver that came out in like Sept/Oct.
It’s lower torque but it fits my needs doing apartment maintenance well.
Yep, I had one. I don’t recall if it had a brand name. It was silver and had a holster that also held several dual-ended screwdriver tips. I never used it much though to be honest. It didn’t turn terribly fast and didn’t have much torque – so I just found myself using regular manual screwdrivers instead. Eventually I remember taking it apart to harvest the parts – I know I still have a keychain bit holder I made from it and I recall re-purposing the rocker switch too.
Now I have a 12v Dewalt screwdriver, both weak and powerful drills and a few impact drivers and I cannot imagine a scenario where I would buy something like this B&D tool where my existing tools wouldn’t work better. But, and it never occured to me until you mentioned it, I would totally have given it to my 4 year old son if I still had it intact.
Mike (the other one)
I’d rather use a manual driver.
I still have my B&D verspak screwdriver, if they had a lith ion batt upgrade I would still use it. My Craftsman Vtek and Bosch 12 driver is used for all the functions this B&D screwdriver provides. I like the fact that old logo is on there.
I bought this inline 4aa screwdriver for my 8 yr old son. It works fairly well for what it is.
I think it was only 6 bucks at the time.
Best electric screwdriver I’ve had so far is a Bosch/Dremel go. Removed the push to go and added a tactile switch as the activation. Wired a couple LEDs in the front. Perfect size. Most electric screwdrivers are too big or have stupid features. I find this perfect for my needs.
I’m a fan of the Ryobi 4v (Tek 4) screwdrivers. Removable LiOn battery and there is also a cutter that is primarily good for one of those things like cardboard. Lots of torque & small compact size.
I’m actually a fan of things that can be powered by disposable commonly available batteries like AA cells instead of rechargeable batteries. 5-10 years down the road you can pop in some fresh batteries and the item is usable. That said, this is a niche light duty tool. Back in another life, we used screwdrivers like this for spinning in and out machine screws holding access covers for control systems.
Oddly enough, my first power tool was one of these with a rechargeable built in battery. I got it in 2006 and it still works fine today, though the battery life has surely changed. I usually reach for my M12 driver but I like letting my kids use this and since it was my first, I just can’t seem to get rid of it. I’ve always been very impressed it still works rather well when you want to save a few turns of the screwdriver.
I still have the alkaline and a rechargeable B&D screwdriver. I use them for outlets and plate covers when I’m doing more than a couple at a time. I’ll also break one out for ceiling fans, I don’t see the sense in replacing them when they both have a clutch adjustment and put out around the same amount of torque as the newer li-ion units
By and large people buy these things as gifts for people moving into their first apartment etc. and they sit unused and then the batteries go bad and leak and they get tossed. Most of the time when you just need to remove an outlet cover or whatnot a regular screwdriver works as well or better and will last your lifetime versus all this plastic destined for the landfill in a few years.
Dan S., I totally agree with you. I have a really nice Williams Ratcheting screwdriver that I keep in my kitchen drawer. It’s one of my used tools. This ratcheting screwdriver comes with great snap on bits which don’t round out screws. I also don’t have to worry about keeping it charged.
I have a double ratcheting Kobalt that has bit storage in the handle. Been using that one for years. I’ll use that for any task that isn’t better served by an impact driver.
If this thing had a nose-hair trimmer attachment, I might might be interested.
Obviously there is a demand for them or B&D would have discontinued them. I am not sure about the market purchasing them however? Perhaps people that feel they would rather replace batteries than throw out a whole unit once the enclosed battery dies? People develop strong opinions that sometimes die hard. For me it’s the fact I would never purchase a cordless tool where the battery could not be switched out with a fresh/new one. This is an opinion formed on past experiences with cordless tools (some I loved) that went useless when the internal battery would no longer charge. Yes, I realize lithium is different but some of my cordless tools/toothbrushes/etc had lithium and still went bad way before their time IMO.
I’ve had 4 versions of b&d’s cordless screwdriver. The batteries for the versapak & the 2.4v didn’t last long. The aa version works but the bit release collar fell of & reminds me of a cheap wind up toy. The 3.6v pivoting handle version holds a charge & doesn’t roll off a table with the handle down but the trigger is a pain to use. All where dirt cheap new or from a garage sale. I see amazon still sells them $13-15. Not worth it.
Koko the Talking Ape
I could see these things being handy for assembly work, especially for electronics. Also, some people have reduced strength or range of motion in their arm or wrist, and this kind of tool might be really useful for them.
I’d worry about how sturdy that plastic case is and how securely the motor is attached to it, because that connection has to transfer the torque from the motor.
Also, I wouldn’t want to load a fresh set of AA batteries every time they ran dry.
Bosch makes a set of 4-volt electric screwdrivers with rechargeable, replaceable batteries. I think I’d go for those over this little guy.
Unrelated to this topic, but Metabo is having an incredible promo for their brushless SDS hammer – $199 for a kit with 1 4.0 Ah battery and vac attachment! Same tool but without battery, charger and case is $99.
They have a bunch of other promos as well, but the only site honoring these at the time is Ohio Power Tool.
I’m pretty sure you addressed this before, but why is it that AA, AAA, C, and D cells (among other sizes) have long been standardized, and can be used in many devices with different power requirements, but tools, phones, and I’m sure other devices, use proprietary batteries that are not standardized.
If proprietary batteries are good financially to the tool companies, why did “dry cells” ever become standardized for other uses?
I’ve been a fan of cordless screwdrivers for a while. My first was a rechargeable “Singer” made in Japan that I bought sometime in the ’80’s. It was the pistol style, dark blue – kinda like the Bosch color. Don’t recall what the voltage or battery tech was (guessing Ni-MH), but it had its own dedicated wall wart charger. The thing was quite useful and surprisingly powerful. Don’t remember what happened to it, but guess it must have stopped charging.
Currently have one of the Ryobi Tek4’s that I received as a gift from a Ryobi rep. Again, quite useful at times. Stockpiled a couple of extra batteries since Ryobi seems to be killing off the Tek4 line of tools.