GEARWRENCH recently came out with a new ratcheting screwdriver, 80191R, and a couple of things stood out to me.
Before we get to the drivers’ features, I wanted to share what a reader recently wrote in about them. I wanted to hold off on a post until I had a chance to try the new screwdrivers out firsthand, but the email pushed them back to the center of my attention.
I recently got a Gearwrench 19-in-1 ratcheting screwdriver from Amazon. I like the screwdriver well enough, but what was really fantastic was Gearwrench’s Tech support. It wasn’t ratcheting right in one direction, and they sent me a replacement in a few days.
Thank you Leslie, I am always eager and interested in hearing about readers’ customer support experiences!
Gearwrench is currently a ToolGuyd sponsor, and I’ve been buying and using their tools for years. I don’t believe I’ve ever had to contact their customer support, and am glad to hear Leslie had a great experience.
To start off, the new 19-in-1 screwdriver has a tri-lobe dual-material handle that is also oil and solvent resistant.
I really enjoyed the way Gearwrench summarized their new ratcheting multi-drivers in press materials:
Some people like to tell you that less is more, but that’s not always the case. What you want is less AND more. Less to carry and more versatility. Less time spent juggling tools and more time getting work done. Less focus on the pain in your palm and more attention on the task at hand. That’s what drove tool designers to create the new GEARWRENCH Ratcheting Multi-Bit Drivers.
More?? More what?
More screwdriver bits!
Basically, this is a multi-bit-style screwdriver, with a full metal “high torque” ratchet mechanism, and bit storage compartments inside the handle.
What I find especially interesting are the discrete compartments for up to 6 double-ended screwdriver bits. This should make bit retrieval a lot easier that with screwdrivers that have simpler “big hole in the handle” designs.
Here are all the screwdriver sizes and styles the new Gearwrench ratcheting screwdriver comes with:
- Phillips #1, #2, #3
- Slotted 3/16″, 1/4″, 5/16″
- Hex 5/64″, 3/32″, 1/8″, 5/32″, 3/16″, & 1/4″
- Torx T15, T20
- Square (Robertson) #1, #2
- Nutdrivers 1/4″, 5/16″, 7/16″
Street Price: $20-23
Buy Now via Amazon
Buy Now via MSC
They also have a stubby driver on the way, 80061R, that works with standard 1″ insert bits. Here are the sizes it comes with:
- Phillips #1, #2
- Slotted 3/16″, 1/4″
- Hex 3/16″, 1/4″
Street Price: $14-17
Buy Now via Amazon
Buy Now via MSC
Gearwrench makes one of my favorite ratcheting screwdrivers of all time, although I haven’t used it very much in the past few years. While a fantastic product, my ratcheting screwdriver was really part of a set, and I’ve always kept it in its kit box. It’s still near my main tool box, but I’ve taken a liking towards standalone ratcheting screwdrivers for their greater portability.
I recently gave Gearwrench’s newest screwdrivers a try, and I liked them so much I bought a 20pc set.
I’m hesitant to sound too enthusiastic, but I am a long-time fan of Gearwrench ratcheting screwdrivers, and I am a big fan of their new individually-sized screwdrivers. It looks to me that these new ratcheting screwdrivers combine the best of both worlds!
I am also particularly interested in the 19-in-1’s configuration.
Sometimes I prefer ratcheting screwdrivers with double-ended bits, other times I prefer to be able to use insert bits. Gearwrench’s 19-in-1 ratcheting screwdriver looks to offer a very nice selection of bit sizes and styles, and the stubby offers an alternate format with 1/4″ hex compatibility.
When it comes to multi-bit screwdrivers. I tend to yo-yo between preferences. I like screwdrivers with fewer bits, such as 6-in-1 drivers, because they’re simpler and easier to work with. But, 11-in-1 drivers tend to have greater bit selections, making them more versatile.
Here, Gearwrench basically created a 7-in-1 driver, and it comes with 6 additional screwdriver bits that add another 12 sizes/styles. The on-board storage for those bits is a welcome feature.
I couldn’t resist – writing up this post convinced me to order one of each. Hopefully I’ll get my hands on them soon – please let me know if you have any questions!
19-in-1, or stubby – which would you pick?
Here’s a look at the Gearwrench 56pc set I bought a while back. You can buy the same set today, and there are also other sets and configurations. My favorite part of this set is its T-handle head. That you can mix up the handles and shafts was and continues to be a big selling point for me.
Now that I see it done, that design seems like an obvious next step. I imagine that’s a lot easier to switch bits than say the 11-in-1 styles where there are multiple shafts to juggle.
I generally prefer insert-bit compatibility – but I think that’s beside the point for a screwdriver like this. This appears to be intended as a general maintenance all-in-one design where you don’t add extra pieces to it because it usually has everything you need. In that context double-ended ball detent bits are just fine (and should work well for that matter – they lock in without adding the extra width of a locking bit holder).
I like what I see!
I agree completely about the “general maintenance all-in-one” idea. To me this is a fantastic tool for a homeowner or general maintenance use. It would be great to toss in a small tool bag or belt, glove box, or even the kitchen junk drawer. It’s the perfect thing to grab for a quick job.
But for any sort of serious use I don’t care for multi-bit screwdrivers and would rather have a set of solid one-piece ones.
The only multi-bit screwdriver I own is an old Fiskars. I suppose it would be an “8 in one” since it has 4 double-ended bits and then the 1/4-inch nutdriver. These newer N-in-one screwdrivers I’ve seen mentioned here are no doubt better, but not better-enough to make me feel like upgrading. That 8-in-one is more than enough for my casual use needs. If I encounter a job that won’t handle I’m reaching for a cordless tool or a proper solid screwdriver, not a different multi-bit one.
Another unsung benefit of multi-bit drivers is that when someone asks for a screwdriver, you can just hand it to them, and they sort what driver they need, no further customer support required.
I’m probably missing something, but how would you get the bits out of the handle? It looks like a very versatile option, though it is a little light on Torx for my personal preference. Interesting find!
I assume you hold your finger over the ones you don’t need and tip out the one you do.
I’m of sure how the bit retrieve works. But I’d like to see a removable module that’s tethered to the driver.
Similar to what Jared said, I’d guess you cover all but one hole with your palm.
I like the removable shaft idea applied to a ratcheting driver, but would’ve liked it even more if they did a short/long orientation. Does anyone remember who makes the nut drivers like this? I swear it’s a thing where you flip the shaft around and it goes way farther into the handle in one orientation than the other.
Alternatively, make one end a double-sided ball retention bit end and the other a regular insert bit end. Or even combine these into one thing: regular bit end on the “stubby” end o the shaft and double-sided bits insert into the driver in its longer configuration.
I’m almost certain that was Klein – but I couldn’t find it when I tried looking. I swear there was a Toolguyd article about it.
That’s the one! Thanks.
I didn’t recall it being a precision driver.
Klenk tools has adjustable length nut drivers.
Wiha has the System 6 with adjustable length shafts (Drive-Loc) and they have nut driver shafts with that system.
Klenk also makes this multi-bit ratcheting screwdriver:
I’m spoiled by my wera and williams ratcheting drivers. Pricey at around $35, but man they are so worth it!
It looks well made, and I love Gear Wrench products. But a multi-bit screw driver that relies on the butt end (giggle) to be unscrewed is a non-starter for me. (A) I don’t want to lose or drop the cap (B) I will always ruin plastic threads) and (3) I like to use the handle end and spin the screwdriver against my palm, and that will undoubtably unscrew the end cap when I don’t want it to unscrew. I understand that it is probably user error, but a screw on end cap is a no go for me.
mt_noob has nailed it. i agree completely. i have had 2 other screwdrivers with screw type end caps and they wind up unscrewing and dumping the bits out into the bottom of the bag. eventually you lose the cap. its a pia. also, i do the same – with the palm turning. i like the idea of body storage for the bits but a screw type end cap makes this a no-go.
Just a thought – let’s not forget this is a ratcheting screwdriver. That might not fully alleviate the concerns with the threaded cap, but I bet its much less likely to unscrew during use because you don’t need to use a second hand while repositioning your grip.
@Jared – that is a good point, using the ratcheting feature should make it less likely to unscrew the cap accidentally. Although I’d probably still mess it up. : ) I’ve tried a regular ratcheting screwdriver as well as the double drive ones from the big box store. Inevitably, I always just seem to end up leaving them in the “locked” position and using them like a fixed driver. I end up forgetting to enable the ratcheting feature even when it would make sense. That is more of a testament to my inability to adapt than the pros or cons of any specific tool.
If I do end up giving a ratcheting screw driver another chance, it will likely be either the mega pro, or the Rolgear/mltools silent ratcheting screw driver. The mega pro has the bits inside the handle, with and the back end can be slid open to expose the bits. The back end also spins in use which I also prefer. But that also looks like it makes the handle just a tad thicker than I prefer. The MLtools/rolgear driver holds the bits in the handle via a friction fit which reduces the diameter somewhat. But I’m not crazy about the bits being right there under your fingertips as you hold the handle. Ultimately I hope to find a place one day where I can try both models in hand before purchasing to see if either one fits all my requirements (and pet peeves).
An alternative way to store bits is how Picquic (made in Canada) does it:
I agree, to be honest. Love the Gear Wrench stuff overall, but that cap is BEGGING to be lost, followed shortly by all the bits it contains…
I want a mix between this, and one of my go-to favorites: the MegaPro. The pop-out but constrained bit storage is one of the best things ever, in my book. Have used mine continually for longer than I can remember, and it has never let me down.
….and this is why I love discussions like this on TG; made me revisit MegaPro’s site to see that they actually DO make a similar ratcheting driver (did not realize this!), and also have a soon-to-be released “precision” driver! Can’t wait to see if that is on par with their other products… if so, I might just have to pick that up. (Hey @Stuart – you see this??)
$49 for the 56pc set, good deal?
Great set for sure. Looks a little pricey, but everything is probably very good quality. I could use one.
*Shudder* Double-End bits… They drive me crazy… I have no rational reason for this, it’s just… No Likey…
In fact, I’m not fond of ratcheting handles with storage at all. I don’t know what it is, I just prefer it, Stubby or Full Size, to be just… a Ratcheting Screwdriver Handle… Kinda like a Power Tool, without the Motor. If you gotta start slow or careful, the bit goes in the handle, and you start the process. Once started, the bit stays in place, and the handle gets replaced with some kind of appropriate power tool.
But, that’s me. And I’m getting far more accustomed to the new 2021 Gearwrench designs, I like that they’re brighter than they used to be. And they’re supporting Stuart, and I’m definitely on Team Stuart.
I bought a Husky multi bit screwdriver that has a ratcheting function. I originally bought for the trunk of the car but quickly abandoned since I occasionally need a large flat head screwdriver as a pry bar. So these types of tools can’t handle that. As someone else had mentioned, these type of things are great for around the house but less effective for heavier duty work. Now it is my “around the house” tool.
I have a kobalt driver with a screw top similar to that; if you are pushing with your palm, you will end up un-threading the cap.
I’ve had one of those screwdrivers for years, just don’t know who made it. It was a gift from a family member as much as 10 years ago. I think it came from Lee Valley, not sure. The one I have is really well made………. don’t use it that much though.
So I like all the feature of that but one – the double ended bits. I do have a tekton mult bit driver with the dual ends – for the junk drawer in the kitchen.
But I don’t like them for anything else and I wouldn’t waste themoney on a ratcheting one. I’f I’m doing the work for something that I’m going to want a ratcheting setup – I use bits that I can easily replace or I have multiples of.
But I like that bit holser in the handle idea wish there was more of that.
That other set with the 2 handles and the like I’m going to look into. I have the snap on ratcheting handle with the interchangeable shaft kit – but I don’t even use that much now days.
also that 56 piece kit comes in a few other kits with different “bits”
so you can get a 40 piece that is the same drivers and shafts but without the sockets. A worthwhile options.
also it seems to indicate those drivers have lights in them.
and they are a 45 tooth mechanism which is common for these sorts tools. Should run fairly smooth.
I still love my Williams ratcheting screwdriver! One of my most used tools.
I like this except for the cap. As other have said these tend to get lost or come unscrewed in use. A couple years ago I picked up this Husky 12 in 1 and it’s great I keep it in the car kit. https://www.homedepot.com/p/Husky-12-in-1-Quick-Load-Ratcheting-Screwdriver-99671/301939829#overlay
I have the Klutch version of this screwdriver I picked up 4 years ago. The first thing you notice when you pick it up is how heavy it is. I think it is probably the heaviest screwdriver I’ve ever handled that size which backs up the heavy duty mechanism in the handle. It must be something substantial. However, I find the weight of it gives it great balance with most screwdriving tasks. The 3 double hex bits along with #2 and #3 philips along with the nut driver selections. It handles an incredible amount of tasks for my work. It’s old, stained, cuts on the grip and every time I tweak my tool bag I retire it for something high quality or new that could take its place but it always finds its way back.
Irwin makes a similar design and while it seems nice and sturdy the ratch mechanism broke after 1 year of casual use. I have a husky ratcheting screwdriver with handle storage , but the bits are the long reversible bits. So far it has been the best and toughest I have used to date
I believe that the Husky (UPC 0820909996712) is made for Home Depot by Hangzhou Great Star
Looks like the same screwdriver is also sold under the SATA brand (in case you prefer that color scheme):
They appear similar in design, different in construction. I see others similar to the Sata, but the Gearwrench looks unique.
Different in more than just cosmetics?
This looks identical to the SATA 19-in-1 ratcheting screwdriver but in a different color with a different handle mold.