Craftsman has come out with a new Mach screwdriver that features an offset shaft and convertible T-grip handle. The new Mach series of tools also includes a push/pull swivel-head ratchet and socket set, and a new wrench set.
The offset shaft means that you don’t use this as a screwdriver, you crank the free-spinning handle as you would a speeder handle. The Mach screwdriver has a 1/4″ hex bit holder, and comes with a 10-bit assortment.
You can flip the shaft from the position shown in the image, to 90°, which converts the Mach screwdriver to a right angle driver capable of greater torque delivery.
I initially wrote that the shaft can be pivoted to create a T-handle configuration, as it does allow for pressure to be exerted directly over a fastener, but it functions more like a right angle, or L-shaped driver. With the way the Mach screwdriver pivots, you get the best of both configurations – greater control and higher torque.
On top of all that, the driver has a retractable screw guide that should make it easy to install or loosen screws without dropping them.
Price: $30, as low as $19.99 when on sale.
ETA: May 2014
Buy Now(via Sears)
Update: In the comments, Fred has pointed out that Klein makes a similar “Rapi-Driv” screwdriver ($13-16 via Amazon) that functions in a similar manner but lacks the Mach’s T-handle mode.
I have one of the new Craftsman Mach screwdrivers on the test bench, and gave it a spin – or rather a few cranks. It’s definitely has an unconventional design, and will take a few more uses before I get used to it.
The screwdriver works via a cranking motion, rather than wrist-twisting. It’s not quite shaped the same as a speeder handle, but works in the same manner.
Craftsman says that the driver was built for speed to rapidly advance fasteners, and the driver meets these claims nicely. In brief testing, the Mach screwdriver did work quicker than regular screwdrivers, and even a little quicker than a ratcheting driver.
A downside of the half-speeder shape is how you cannot put a lot of pressure directly over the fastener. But, if you need more pressure, the driver converts to a T/L-handle where you can really bear down on the handle to tighten or break free a fastener.
This is an interesting screwdriver. There are times when I can see the design coming in handy, such as for driving applications that would otherwise leave my hand fatigued and a little sore. The Mach screwdriver allows you to put your arm into the cranking motion, which should allow for greater force transmission than if the shaft was straight. I think that this could potentially reduce the friction and fatigue associated with longer or repetitive manual driving tasks.
The driver is definitely a little gimmicky and will probably be heavily marketed towards Father’s Day gift-giving shoppers, but it’s actually one of the better such products I’ve seen in recent years. I’ll need to test it out a bit more, but thus far I do like the Mach screwdriver. It’s unconventional, but handy.
I don’t think I would buy one at its full price of $30, but on sale it would probably be a nice addition to my portable tool kit or even my main tool box.
Thank you to Craftsman for providing the review sample unconditionally. Review samples are typically given away, donated, or retained for editorial and comparison purposes.