It has been a few years since we’ve seen any new iterations of the “Double Drive screwdriver,” which is exactly what the new Craftsman SpeedDrive ratcheting screwdriver resembles.
The Craftsman SpeedDrive (CMHT68129) is said to deliver 2x the speed compared to a standard ratcheting screwdriver. If it’s identical to previous 2x-multiplier ratcheting wrenches, it will require a two-handed grip to fully take advantage of the speed – one hand on the handle, the other on the metal sleeve near the front of the tool.
It does look like the Craftsman SpeedDrive has an updated direction selection pull-switch, rather than a slide toggle. The SpeedDrive also looks a little more compact than previous iterations by other brands.
The in-handle bit storage compartment can hold up to (6) hex bits for convenient access.
Craftsman describes this as a 15-piece set, but it seems the only give you (7) double-ended bits. Does 7 double-ended screwdriver bits give you 14 bit tips + 1 hex bit holder for “15-in-1” functionality?
Here are the screwdriver bits it comes with:
- PH1 + PH2
- PH2 + PH2
- PH2 + PH3
- 3/16″ + 1/4″ Slotted
- SQ1 + SQ2
- T20 + T25
- T25 + T30
So, in all, you get: PH1, (4) PH2, PH3, 3/16″ and 1/4″ slotted, Square #1 and #2, T20, (2) T25, and T30. That’s 10 screwdriver bit sizes and styles, and 1 nut driver, for 11 unique driver tips.
With 7 bits and storage space for 6 of them, you can pop the 7th screwdriver in the bit holder. It looks like the storage compartment is revealed by unscrewing a cap at the end of the handle.
There’s no indication as to whether the bit holder is magnetic.
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Some people really like these 2X geared screwdrivers, others not so much.
IF the Craftsman CMHT68129 works the same way as other brands’ Double Drive screwdrivers and the like, it should work similar to a traditional ratcheting screwdriver when turned with one hand. But when turned with two hands, one to rotate the handle and the other to hold the metal collar stationary, that’s when the 2X SpeedDrive mode is activated.
With the special gearing, Speed Drive mode means each turn of the handle, right or left, produces in torque delivery in the desired direction.
In other words, “righty tighty, lefty loosey” turns into “righty tighty, lefty tighty,” or “righty loosey, lefty loosey.”
With a traditional ratcheting screwdriver – or any other ratcheting mechanism – you have the torque transmission action and then a position reversal action where no torque is applied.
With this SpeedDrive screwdriver, when used in the manner suggested, instead of the gearing ratcheting back, it delivers additional torque.
Here – just take a look at this demo video I put together 10 years ago:
Now, before you scream “gimmick” as loud as you can, this style of screwdriver has been useful for certain users, such as electricians who are working with a lot of cover plates and prefer to use hand tools rather than cordless.
I can’t tell if this is a new regular line Craftsman tool, or something they only came out with for Father’s Day.
I think that the Kobalt double drive screwdrivers are sourced from Hangzhou Great Star (UPC 802909xxxxxx). It would seem odd if SBD is using them for the Craftsman OEM – but who knows.
When I first saw the Kobalt “Double Drive” at Lowes – my thought was that it was heavy and fat-handled. So if the Craftsman is slimmer and lighter – that should be welcome.
It isn’t really a double drive mechanism, but I can confirm as an electrician that the Wera Turbo can be quite nice for speeding up the installation and removal of long fasteners on outlets and panels. It speeds up the process x4. The downside is that it only really works on low torque applications.
That’s exactly why I bought it and my experience as well.
That mechanisms seems more advantageous than the Wera kraftform Turbo, for working with wood and similar high resistance (hi torque?) screw driving situations. The Wera seems more at home with machine screws, electronics, control panels and the like.
A million years ago when I was in college, I worked during the summers in a mobile home factory, mostly doing electrical work and general fixit jobs. The tool of choice for us at the time was a Stanley Yankee (mine’s a Model 130A). It could drive and loosen screws very fast, and the amount of torque that you could generate with it was surprising. This was before double drive screwdrivers (and before cordless drills, even), but the Yankee worked very well for speeding up the workflow. I still grab mine occasionally for quick jobs.
Yankee screwdrivers are supposedly still popular among the Amish and Mennonite communities that eschew power tools. When I started working you saw of them and bit-braces still used on jobsites – and of course Elwwod (Dan Aykroyd) oulled one out one in the Blues Brothers to gain quick access to an elevator control panel.
Koko The Talking Ape
I was just about to mention the Blues Brothers!
I have two. For a while one issue was finding compatible bits, because they use a weird notch and tongue arrangement on the shaft. But newer ones will take regular 1/4″ hex bits.
They work much better for driving fasteners than loosening them.
Using them vigorously makes them slam into the workpiece, which isn’t so great for delicate workpieces.
And they’re kinda long, so they aren’t great for tight spots.
But they’re great for things like pilot holes in soft wood.
They also made drill bits with the “Yankee style tang” – most of those were 2-flute (not twist drill) style, There was also a dedicated push-drill that was a favorite among telephone installers:
Th bit diameter for these was smaller than for the Yankee srewedrivers, BTW – the first Yankee screwdrivers were made by North Brothers – who also made the finest bit braces. They were big suppliers to the Bell Telephone System. North Bros. and their Philadelphia operations were acquired by Stanley in 1946. As far as length – the longer ones (I have 8, 13 and 17 inch) could be a bit quicker to use – based on their longer stroke but they took some practice.
Lee Valley sells a chuck to covert the Yankee Tang to 1/4 Hex:
Garrett-Wade also sells some of the Yankee-style tools:
They are good for slotted screws much better than cordless
I got one of the Kobalt ones around Christmas a few years back and it’s…fine. It is big and bulky for a screwdriver, but the fact that it’s got a bunch of bits in handle (and IIRC came with a bunch of smaller/thinner bits in a separate carrier) earned it a spot in my little in-the-house tool bag that saves me a trip to the garage for simple tasks like hanging pictures, fixing the kids toys/replacing batteries, etc. I’d hate to have to lug it around all day, but it does fine where I need it.
Yeah, I played with one at the store and that was my impression – big and clunky.
I recently purchased a large T handle driver.. It’s not geared. But it has a free spinning grip collar, in the middle of the driver. So you have one hand on the spinning collar, other hand turning the T handle. Also has a drive socket on one end of T handle. To use when more torque is required. The long shaft then becomes the drive arm instead of T handle. Master force brand from Menards. One of the more unique bit drivers that I’ve seen.
I looked up that Masterforce T handle driver and I really like it. However, there are no Menard’s over here in CA so I would need to ship it for a total of $31. I stumbled on a Kobalt version and it looks exactly like the Masterforce and its only $25 in store. However, none of the Lowes in my area carry it so I would need to ship it for about $33. They both look identical so they probably come from the same vendor. I just need to decide if I want in blue or green.
There was a similar version offered by Mastercraft and Lee Valley here in Canada. Both are discontinued now I believe. Some Lee Valley stores might still have it.
Unlike the Menards/Lowes versions, the spinning collar could be moved up and down the shaft on the Mastercraft/Lee Valley version. It would lock into grooved portions of the shaft. I have the Mastercraft version (which also differs from the LV because it’s a 1/4″ square drive, not hex bit drive). It’s neat, but somewhat large for most of what I do.
Lee Valley: https://www.leevalley.com/en-ca/shop/tools/hand-tools/screwdrivers/drivers/73544-t-handle-driver?item=17K0320
The LV and Craftsman version appear to be identical. I ended up buying the Craftsman 3/8 version from ebay for just a little more than the Masterforce / Kobalt version. If I find it useful I’ll pick up a 1/4 version too. Thanks for the info Plain Grainy and Jared!
Amazon carries the kolbalt model. $23.75, but you need to purchase $25 worth for free shipping.
For T-handle bit drivers, there’s actually a lot of options – with and without spinning collars.
There’s the Felo non-spinner:
Also a Felo “Smart” screwdriver/T-handle:
(I have the Felo Smart set with the M-Tec nut drivers, bit holder and bits – it’s friggin awesome)
Motion Pro (primarily a motorcycle tool brand) makes an excellent version called the spinner t-handle bit driver (I’d provide more links but then I know Stuart’s algorithm would flag my comment for moderation 😄).
MegaPro has a RATCHETING t-handle driver with bit storage (which I think is cool).
There’s a PB swiss ratcheting T-handle driver too (if money is no object).
Wera has a compact T-handle driver with rapidaptor style bit holder (comes in that advent calendar Stuart recently posted about).
Both Laser and Wurth have ratcheting swivel t-handles (like the Felo smart if it had a swivel-head ratchet on the end).
And the last one I’ll mention is the Williams WRST1 – another ratcheting T-handle.
I work on motorcycles a lot and I like T-handles – as you might have deduced. I don’t own all of these, but they’ve all caught my eye at one point or another. I actually tend to like dedicated T-handles (as opposed to bit-holding) the best.
It occurs to me that if someone made a 2x or 4x “speed driver” T-handle – that might actually be really cool. T-handle would let you apply more torque, yet you could have the high-speed…
I stumbled onto these just looking at random tools (which is something I do at times while stuck in zoom meetings for work).
Craftsman Professional “Grip Driver”:
Husky T-Handle screwdriver:
You can also run something like a sliding T handle
with an extension
and then a 1/4″ to hex bit adaptor
Maybe it’ll hold up to years of use, but no question the proprietary bits are probably craptastic.
I’ve given up on gimmick screwdrivers or even just basic multi-bit drivers. In almost every case, the bits are no where near the quality on fixed drivers.
Even the Klein 4 or 7-in one drivers have crappy bits.
I’ve used a set of Klein Rapi-Drv screw drivers for years. I got a Double Drive to see if I would like it more. Turns out I would rather use my arm than my wrist. Any situation that would make the Double Drive worth it, I would rather use a 12v drill/driver. So I have a blue one in a tool set somewhere than I never use. I definately don’t want a black and red one to join it. I could imagine using the Wera Turbo (4x might be worth it more than 2x was) since they have an insulated handle that works with my VDE shafts.
Not sure about this…I mean, it’s a neat concept, but I do this by hand with my ratcheting screwdriver all the time. If the ratchet mechanism won’t engage due to low torque, you have to grab the shank of the driver to let it ratchet backwards anyway. And, since I’m grabbing the shank, I also twist it forward as I turn the driver backwards. It’s kind of hard to explain in text, but whenever the handle is moving so is the screw. No toggles or switches to hit and it works with absolutely zero resistance from a fastener as well.
I do this with my socket wrenches to increase efficiency (if I understand correctly). However, the concept of the speed drive is slightly different because the drive turn/stroke can have a significant speed advantage.
Right, the “speed drive” screwdrivers have a planetary gearset inside them which makes the shaft spin faster than the handle. This isn’t just holding the socket to make sure the ratchet works perfectly, this is actually speeding up the “RPM” of the screwdriver shaft compared to how fast you turn the handle.
You can think of it like an overdrive gear in a car: because of the gear ratio, it goes faster but it has less torque.
That is incorrect.
I describe how the mechanism works in the post. It turns at 1X speed in the forward direction, and at 1X speed in the reverse direction rather than remaining motionless. 1X + 1X = 2X vs. 1X + 0 = 1X.
Whoops, I misread the original, thanks for setting me straight. I was describing a traditional speeder screwdriver there.
No worries – there *are* gear-multiplier ratchets, and I might have assumed the same about this one had I not previously known about other screwdrivers of similar designs.
So I see the notch and retaining ring – will this take a standard 1 inch bit. If not DO NOT LIKE
It it takes standard double end bit – maybe. but I still prefer a regular bit holder.
I have the kobalt double drive and I even have the 1/8th precision model too. I like the precision best I think – it’s actually handy for hard drive screws.
anyway the kobalt double is heavy – un balanced and large for it’s needs. But I still liked it when I got it. I use it on occasion – here lately I find I use my cordless driver the most. Just no point once you get to that place.
I don’t own this tool or have any experience with it, but it seems that if you wanted to use it for 1 inch bits and it was designed for longer ones it would be simple enough to put a spacer of some sort (a piece of dowel, perhaps) down the bit hole to take up most of the space, that way a normal 1″ bit could work no problem.
I was waiting for the opportunity to share my favorite hex bit racheting type screwdriver right here:
The pentogrip feels great and the plastic doesn’t stink like the old Craftsman screwdrivers. I was first introduced to this type of screwdriver back in the early 90’s while installing car stereos & alarms, and it has proved to be a real time saver in the car/electronics environment. I was unaware that Craftsman, Kobalt, and Wera had their own versions, probably because I never had the need or desire to look for a replacement.
Sorry, I didn’t know that the model I referenced was discussed back in 2014:
It must have been before I knew about this site, but user name “Chris” pretty much nailed (or screwed, lol) all the important points from a user standpoint. The only problem I occasionally have is gear slippage, but it is still my go to driver. I have been using this type of driver for almost 30 years, and whenever I grab a standard ratcheting driver, it feels so slow.
By the way, I have no affiliation with spectools.
I still have my Kobalt double drive screwdriver. I’ve always thought it was little gimmicky and the handle is too big, but I still use it occasionally. I moved it out of the bottom of a tool bag and threw it in my lawn shed last year. It keeps me from having to run into the house for something simple.
What I find a little awkward with these double drivers is getting used to them. It’s just a little awkward. I never had any issues with torque. This Craftsman one looks better, I guess. From a Kobalt standpoint (and they sure do look eerily similar) it’s not bad for most applications and a good Shed or Car screwdriver.
What would the torque rating be on this? If any?
…Meh? I… Want to like it… It definitely has some refine and polish I like… but double-end bits? I’m having trouble liking it that way. Yeah, as said above, you could probably measure off some dowel to lodge into place for the ubiquitous 1″ bits… but… In that whiny, child-like voice in my head… I DON’T WANNA! UuuuuGhhhh…
As some have said… It’s probably better to get the Wera Kraftform Ratchet or Turbo/Turbo ESD. They’re… Stupid Expensive… You look at them from the outside and question your life choices when you consider Wiha or Wera tools… But the quality and features, plus long-term satisfaction ratings from other users… They seem to hold up to the test, even though they’re $80+ CAD depending on whether you’re buying just the handle, or entire sets that go with them, usually in a tool roll when in a set.
I have the DeWALT 8V Gyro 680… the original… The line between that and any sort of manual driver, including my Leatherman tools with their bits… That line is really blurry, and hard to justify which side you go on. But the long double-ended things that are pretty well proprietary to the driver you get them from? Those get an instant “No” from me, no matter what. I have enough 90/Right Angle adapters, flex shafts, and even 3-jaw chuck adapters for the whole thing… I have a dozen different ways to do this… well… BETTER….
Admittedly I’m falling asleep while writing this… if it makes no sense, or seems like a crazy person wrote it (though I can verify one did anyways) feel free to just delete it and pretend I was sleeping. It’s where I’m going anyways.
I bought a Craftsman ratcheting screwdriver 1.5 years ago. I was using it for the first time and it failed. Threw it in the drawer and didn’t waste my time for warranty. Not a big fan of them anymore.
I read this and since I was heading to Lowe’s to return a screen door guard I figured I would pick one up. I have used a lot of screw drivers in my life from lots of brands, all the tool trucks, craftsman, wera , wiha, husky, GW, harbor freight, Klein, and I’m sure some that I’m missing, even 3 or 4 ratcheting types.
I have to say this craftsman is stupidly awesome, especially at the price! I’m going to go back and grab 3 more. One for the garage, (the one I bought is for the wood shop) one for the kitchen drawer to replace an old craftsman that holds bits in the handle and one for the truck box. Even my wife is amazed with it!
I recently purchased the screw driver at the top of the page the craftsman speed drive, and I know this is really dumb but i cannot figure out where the release button is to put a new bit in. The one it came with slid out, but I have searched all of google and youtube and apparently I’m an idiot. anyone know?
I have messed with the only moving parts, the ratcheting mechanism, and the loosen tighten toggle already.
I still haven’t seen this in person yet, and Craftsman hasn’t made it clear how bits are retained. But, the screwdriver bits look designed for a friction ring, in which case insertion and removal usually involves firm pressure. Friction-ring bit holders are non-intuitive for anyone who is more used to traditional magnetic bit holders, and so it’s not a silly question.
If you’re asking where the spare bits are, I’m guessing the handle has a screw-on end cap. Sometimes they can be a little tight. Some models have pull-out handle caps, but in the absence of finger tips, this one likely screws on and off. Again, not a silly question.
Stuart is correct it is a friction ring.
Just give it a good tug.