It seems that whenever I post about any screwdriver bit assortment deals, quite a few folks energetically express their dislike, disapproval, and even disdain for common 1″ insert-style bits.
Many hand tools accept these 1/4″ hex-shanked 1-inch-lenght screwdriver bits, and although rare, there are some cordless screwdrivers and drivers that also accept them without requiring additional accessories.
Generally, if using this type of screwdriver bit in a power tool, you must also use a bit holder, adapter, or extension with an extended 1/4″ hex shank shaft.
That’s probably where the dislike comes from – having to use a separate accessory with these screwdriver bits.
I have quite a few 1″ screwdriver bits dedicated for hand tool use, such as with screwdriver handles, ratchets, stubby handles, palm drivers, and other types of drive tools.
These bits work quite well with cordless power tools as well.
With the 1/4″ hex adapter/extension that comes with most bit assortment sets, you can use these screwdriver bits in a standard drill or impact driver. Add a socket attachment accessory, and you use impact-rated bits with an impact wrench, or standard or impact-rated bits with a cordless ratchet.
In this product image, Milwaukee’s new M12 Fuel High Speed cordless ratchet is being used with a drive size adapter and a bit socket. Well, what if you didn’t have the exact bit socket you needed? A socket adapter lets you use any insert bit tip with a corded or cordless ratchet.
Yes, I know that 2″ and longer “power-style” screwdriver bits are more convenient for use with drills and impact drivers. And no, I’m not just saying this to humor you – they are more convenient, with a one-piece screwdriver bit simpler and often more slender.
But, let’s say you’re using a cordless drill and swapping bits often. Won’t a bit adapter that remains in place be much more convenient to use with removable 1″ hex bits than having to re-chuck a 2″ or longer power bit each time?
Some might say “but I only use impact drivers, and so I can swap bits with ease anyway,” and you’d be right. But what if you need the adjustable torque settings of a cordless drill? The best impact drivers have multiple speed settings these days, but these are coarse speed and torque limits meant to prevent fastener damage, and so they’re not as well-suited for when you’re looking for repeatability.
You might now whisper the phrase “cordless screwdrivers…” to which I have no retort.
I buy premium 1″ insert bits for hand tool use, torque screwdriver or ratchet use, and also impact-rated 1″ bits with power tools and hand tool use when it’s convenient to do so.
Here’s a very serious question:
Bit assortments often include a large quantity of 1″ screwdriver bits. Is this because most users prefer them, or do users simply like these bits for their lower pricing?
A 2″ power bit will usually cost more than a 1″ insert bit.
You can usually find the most popular screwdriver tip styles and sizes in the 1″ insert bit form factor. But what about 2″ bits? Here are some older generation Milwaukee Shockwave hex-style bit tips. Does any brand make hex-style bits in 2″ or longer power bit styles?
Whenever someone criticizes 1″ insert bits, availability considerations come to mind. It’s not just that 1″ bits are less expensive than 2″ bits; often you can only find certain styles in 1″ insert-style sizing.
You can find longer versions of popular screwdriver bits. But what if you cannot? Well, that’s where longer bit extensions and adapters can come into play.
To me, 1″ insert bits are essential.
But what if I removed hand tool use and focused exclusively on power tool use? I would still use 1″ insert bits, and also 2″ power bits as well.
If there is the choice between using a 1″ bit with an adapter or extension, or using a 2″ bit with a tool that has a 1/4″ hex quick chuck, and neither cost nor availability is of any concern, I would likely reach for the 2″ bit.
2″ bits are often better suited for tasks that would otherwise require 1″ bits to be used with an adapter. Even still, this does not mean 1″ insert bits aren’t useful.
How do you feel about 1-inch-long 1/4″ hex screwdriver bits?
I had a large jar full of them but after I offered them to everyone who helps me and no one wanted them, I tossed them.
They easily come out/fall out of their holders. Invariably when I’m up on a ladder or working a long ways from my truck.
I can’t change bits wearing gloves.
When I have a fastener that’s full of paint, I can’t pop out the bit and “set” in into the fastener with a quick smack of my hammer and then pop the bit back into my impact driver and unscrew the fastener without stripping it out. (think a deck made with screws that’s been painted).
They fall out of my impact driver when in my tool bag and then I have to dig clear to the bottom to find that tiny little bit (oh no, he puts his impact away with a bit still in it! Oh the humanity!,,,)
They just plain suck….
Yep, they are a crime against humanity and serve no purpose other than to say an assortment has 1000 pieces. 2 you can use and 998 for the landfill. Only under the rarest circumstance do these make sense ie tight spot with no other alternative.
I also have helpers, and they’d use the bit holder to drive 1/4” hex screws, rapidly “rounding out” the aluminum bit holders, rendering them worthless.
Other than a couple of LONG extensions that are occasionally needed in special situations, the best solution is to just chuck all of the 1” bits and their holders into the trash and never buy them again. Far cheaper in the long run than paying someone $20+ an hour to dig through every tool bag looking for a bit holder that no one has ruined.
I use them until I lose them, and I treat them as disposable bits. If I’m in a tight spot 1 inchers can come in handy but thats all dependant. As I type this, I realize how much I hate them and stick to my 2 and 3 inchers.
I use both styles all the time.
I got a nice set of 3” power bits to use with my Wera ratcheting driver because they should last a long time in this application.
Bits are consumables and they get chowdered very quickly in an impact driver or drill so I generally use readily available/cheap insert bits for that type of work.
I specifically avoid the huge bit assortments because I refuse to have those things in my garage. Endless frustration.
They are terrible. They get stuck in bit holders sometimes and require pliers to free.
It’s not always that they “get stuck”, some bit holders are specifically designed to hold bits that tight. It’s so they don’t pull out of the holder and get left in the screw. It’s helpful when you want it, annoying when you don’t.
Agreed. I like the bit holders that ‘latch’ with a moveable collar. Bit holders that make the bit difficult to remove are inconvenient but so is a small bit falling out while holding a heavy piece of material in place. It’s a 3 bears scenario where you want that little bit held just right. On the other hand a 2″ or 3″ bit eliminates the issue altogether.
I use them, and have never had a problem. I do like power bits, but being able to toss a smaller bit when it’s worn out instead of a larger bit is nice. I find a good holder makes a difference; Milwaukee and Wera both make a nice one. For Milwaukee, the bits do stay solidly planted, and you may need some pliers. The trade off is that the smaller bits definitely won’t fall out, and after pulling a bit out a few times, you don’t need pliers anymore. Personally, I have two slots for bits on the left side of my bags, and I use a bit holder with a T20 Spax bit and a double-ended Milwaukee bit with #2 Phillips and T25 tips. I also have a bit holder with a #2 Phillips clipped on the side of the impact driver. I don’t trust that one to stay, though. Just what works for me!
I must have been slow to check the site and came late to the event. I’m surprised by the enthusiastic vitriol for insert bits – had to scroll this far to find an endorsement.
I’m with Leo B. Insert bits are great. I like longer power bits too – and I wish I could find more of them at reasonable prices – but I have an expansive collection of 1″ bits I use regularly. They’re handy.
I have a nice kit I carry in my tool bag, for example, that basically has one of every bit I could possibly need. It’s proven invaluable countless times and is small and easy to carry.
Half the complaints seem better directed at the holders people are using. You need a good locking holder, a good magnetic holder and a nice bit-holding screwdriver to get the best out of insert bits – cheap additions to transform your insert bit collection into something useful.
Might I recommend a Felo magnetic bit-holding screwdriver and a Wera rapidaptor to the naysayers?
I don’t actually have a great magnetic holder for impact/drill use – but that’s because I have several that work fine from Bosch, Dewalt, Milwaukee etc. Just no stand-outs.
I don’t know what I was thinking – forgot to add that everyone should have a bit ratchet too! Those are amongst my favorite tools. I have Husky, Gearwrench, Mastercraft, Wurth and others.
Wurth/Zebra is my favorite by far.
I don’t mind them. With a good bit holder (makita gold, makita xps, bosch impact x, etc.) they won’t fall out. My favorite adapters are the wera rapidapters. They lock 1″ bits in securely.
That said, I do favor 2″ and especially 3″ and 6″ power bits.
After reading this comment and several others recommending the Wera Rapidapter, I bought one and it is great. It may change my opinion on 1 inch bits. If anyone hates 1 inch bits and hasn’t used a really good adapter like this one you should try it.
This is the one I use, first purchased way back in 2009. I have a couple from different tool sets as well.
I guess that’s something else to consider- specialty bits, like Spax’s T20 bit and FastenMaster’s Spider bit, are usually 1”. Even if you don’t usually use 1” bits, it may not be a bad idea to keep a good bit holder handy.
That’s really the only reason I keep short bits around – nearly NO set has hex bits long for example – whereas about half the sets with small bits will have hex.
Skye A Cohen
I think you missed the best argument for 1inch wire detent bits.. the magnet, bit holders usually have magnets in them.
I use everything all the time. Sometimes it’s great to use 1inch bits too when you’re going through them a lot like cement board screws for example where you can go through 6 or 8 bits in a bathroom.
I prefer the ball detent ones but am perfectly happy with the small wire tent 1inch bits.
Using a locking bit holder makes most issues moot. No more dropping bits, no more stuck in fastener bits. Mostly because I want my damn magnet to hold a screw and the 3 1/2” Milwaukee bits aren’t magnetic.
Makita has a magnetic sleeve that slides over power bits. Works with the Milwaukee bits I’ve tried.
Nah. 1″ insert bits are far too long. Give me some of those VIM half cuts.
>But, let’s say you’re using a cordless drill and swapping bits often. Won’t a bit adapter that remains in place be much more convenient to use with removable 1″ hex bits than having to re-chuck a 2″ or longer power bit each time?
Having another drill/driver or two is much more convenient. If one tool is good, two is better, and 4 or 5 is just awesome. That’s what holiday deals are for.
Someone needs to make a pushmepullyou drill – with a bit holder on both sides so you just have to rotate it in your hand. 🤪
I’ll do you one better with this monstrosity
My wife vastly prefers using 1″ bits in a bit holder while I’m much more of a 2″ powerbit guy. Lots of bit changes typically. She just finds it easier to manage those changes with the holder rather than the m12 impact’s holder.
We also tend to use a lot of bit holding manual screwdrivers where the 1″ is preferred.
Call me weird I loathe 2 inch bits, I always have my wera locking extension, and use 1 inch bits constantly I am typically swapping between Phillips and various torx bits.
Either that or several hex bits, so I typically have a bunch of bits in my pocket and unless in using stainless I love magnets.
Most useful in a wrist rocket.
The only time I use them is in tight places with a ratchet driver and of course the security bits that only come in 1″
I won’t buy 1″ bits. With the quick release chuck on my impact driver and the keyless chuck on my drill, I can quickly swap 2″ and longer bits. Now if I were limited to a drill that required a key, maybe I would consider a magnetic bit holder that lets go every other time, or a bit holder with a spring retainer that I have to use pliers to remove.
BTW, if you’re looking for a impact rated 2″ bit set at a reasonable price, have a look at SKUs 2525395 and 2525370 at Menards.
I like them, they’re cheap and work. They don’t break any faster than the longer ones. I have the dewalt locking bit holder and it’s awesome. # dwa3thldmi , magnets are a must and 2″ bits don’t have them unless you put them in, you know, a holder. Only place I can’t use them is if the screw is to deep to reach.
I don’t have any reason to hate them. I probably use 2″ more often but sometimes a bit holder with 1″ works just fine. I do wish the sets had more balance. I have about 15x more 1″ bits from buying sets over the years.
I hate insert bits with a passion. Yes they have their OCCASIONAL uses, but I see them as something that ends up being used as a last resort.
If you really want to piss me off, give me a 1″ Phillips insert bit. I see no reason for the Phillips to exist anymore, and even less so for the insert versions.
If you ask me, they are an item to have on hand for less commonly used fasteners, where they also won’t need much use. In other words, manufacturers should make kits (not talking about bulk packs of one type here) that are strictly an insert assortment of a wide variety of drives, and stop padding their bit kits with them to up the kit’s piece count.
I know they won’t do this, so I guess it’s time to set up a forge and start smithing all my unused insert bits into some cool blades.
I stock and use phillips screws every day. They will typically cam out before getting over tightened or break. They very much have thier place in manufacturing. Do I want to use a PH on a deck no at the same time I don’t need a torx head screw for a cabinet hinge.
I also use both styles all the time. One big reason for 1″ bits before we go any further, bit ratchets! Sometimes I’m just in such a tight place that one of the only things that can turn a screw is a bit ratchet, and 1″ bits in the ratchet are why. Otherwise I’d be stuck with those fun ultra-low-profile drivers that are basically a driver profile protruding a quarter inch out of a metal sheet. They’re handy when you need them, but only getting whatever arc space you have for a turn-and-reposition can either be annoying or even preclude using them either.
I pretty much chuck a rapidaptor in most of my devices that I’ll be using primarily for screw driving that aren’t an impact. So like my M4 screwdriver (it’s chuck is not good with 1″ bits at all), a couple assorted 12V drills and right angle drills and power screwdrivers, those kinds of things all just live their life with rapidaptors in them. Then they play nicely with 1″ bits. Or 2″ bits, or whatever I have around. They’re usually plenty powerful for anything I’m driving that uses what I’ll generalize as a less common head. The hex/allen screws, smaller torx, smaller just about anything, actually just about anything that isn’t T25/PH2/SQ2/PZ2 I pretty much drive with one of those drivers and have rarely been let down. All the construction, drywall, deck, etc. screws that I’d actually use with an impact driver are one of the more common T25/PH2 (around here) heads, so those bits I’ll look for and keep 2″ versions around since they’re mainly used with the impact anyway. It’s surprisingly rare for me actually using my impact driver on something that isn’t T25 or PH2, thinking about it, any for anything other than the impact, 1″ bits aren’t really inconvenient for me. Sometimes they’re even the difference between fitting in a space, and needing a bit ratchet or right angle drill/adapter or similar instead. Even larger bits like T40, figure a bigger fastener where the impact would shine over a drill, most of them I run across are bolts on the car, usually it seems put into threaded holes in the body/frame. The last thing I want to do is have to rethread a structure member hole because I tore it out by running the bolt back in with an impact driver. I may reach for the impact to break it loose, but that’s also rare, since I know I’m not putting it back that way. Usually I’ll throw the bit in a socket to break the bolt loose, then run it out with the drill, so I can use the clutch settings when I go to put it back. So all in all, I’m good with either size. I do agree availability of 2″ bits is a problem though, especially without an attached overabundance of 1″ bits. I have a zipper pouch that I keep of all 2″ bits, mainly T25 and PH2 2″ bits that I bought in bulk to make the cost-per-bit reasonable, with a few other random rows of 2″ bits stuffed in those rubber sleeves, and that bag works fine if I’m headed somewhere for a job I know I’ll be using the impact a lot, and on a lot of fasteners. Don’t really need an entire bit case with all different bits if I know I’m headed out to attach deck boards all day. Conversely, if I’m not even taking the impact driver with me somewhere, no need to bring the pouch of specifically 2″ bits.
I think the bigger conversation maybe is around sets of bits, where the commonly available ones are jam-packed with 1″ bits, and it’s hard or impossible to find a set that is mainly or only 2″ bits for folks that prefer that. Overall, there’s really a whole handful of problems with how companies do sets of bits, which definitely makes them hugely less-useful for people that already have any kind of bit assortment already.
1. Skewed quantities of bits. Sets with 1 each 2″ T25 and PH2, then 12 each 1″ T25 and PH2. That’s not balanced, and it’s just not useful to people who go through lots of bits, nor people who prefer the 2″ bits (which seems to be more, if the 2″ is available anyway, just go for that in most cases). Some sets lately have gotten better about this, but there’s still unbalanced ones out there, and back 5 or 10 years ago, I think most sets I looked at were on that order of giving me the rock and hard place choice of how many copies of 1″ bits I wanted.
2. Buying replacement bits (particularly 2″) is only comparably cheap in very large quantity, and isn’t readily available. If I have a set, but need to replace a 2″ T25 bit let’s say, and I go to home depot, I’ll find either a 2-pack T25 for $4, or a 5 pack for $5. That’s all I can find on the shelf at my home depot. Compare that to getting 60 bits plus a nice new bit case for $20, and it’s outrageous. Absurd. Infuriating. 33 cents a bit if I buy a new case but filled with a lot of stuff I don’t need. $1 a bit, sometimes $2 a bit, to get just the bits I need to replace in that set. Or to re-create the set with the bits I want. Why would I want to pay that, and I’ve rarely if ever seen deals on the sets of replacement bits at the big box stores. Deals everywhere else, never on individual bits. Sometimes online they’ll fall into the 10% off a brand, or $ off of $ for hand tools or similar promotions, but those still only go a little ways towards making the price per bit comparable. The alternative is order 25 2″ bits of one type for $10, or 60 bits for $20, as an example. That hits the price numbers, but is only online, I can’t get it today if I need it, have to wait on it to come in, have to refill my bit set, and stash the rest somewhere that I’m not going to lose them (which usually means I’ve immediately lost them). It can be done, but you have to need the quantity, and be okay with the time, inconvenience, and only minor decrease in annoyance doing so.
3. There are no sets geared towards tradespeople/pros. My ideal set for “general use” would be a row of 2″ T25 bits, a row of 2″ PH2 bits, a third row (which finishes one side) of 2″ other bits (PH1, PH3, SQ2, Slotted, etc.). The other side of the case would have a couple upright rows of 1″ bits in the random other sizes so I have them if I run across one. Then the bottom row with the couple drill bits for convenience, bit holder for the 1″ bits, and maybe a couple 4″ bits in the common sizes as well. Maybe a couple nutsetters just to fill space if there’s any left over, and 1/4″ and 3/8″ square adapters for sockets. That’s me. A decking crew may want mostly T25s, some nutsetters appropriate to their lags or tapcons, then the couple random bits for if they hit a light fixture they need to remove or attach or something like that. A plumber may use more hex bits for some of the fixtures, may want more of the even longer bits for getting in weird places (I don’t know, I’m not a plumber). The point being, such sets don’t exist. Obviously they can’t cater to every trade, and people will always have their own preferences, but I can’t walk in to a store and get a new set that’s even CLOSE to any of those if mine gets lost, busted, worn out, apprentice is using it, whatever. I have to buy a new set, take out what I don’t want, buy the refill bits at the higher prices for what I do, and at the end of the day not only is it expensive, but I have “waste” bits that still cost me money, it took a not-negligible amount of my time to set it up, and getting the right refill packs the most economically was probably annoying in the first place because I have to math it out. How many do I need to fill a row, which all different types did I want, add in or subtract the ones that are already in or aren’t in the set that happens to be available this time, it compounds annoyance. And isn’t worth the effort for most.
4. The sets are constantly different and changing. Plus, recently, it seems like a lot of the sale sets are one-shot special buys that aren’t the regularly stocked sets. If I go in my home depot, I think there are 3 Milwaukee bit sets that they regularly stock. None of those are the ones on sale this holiday season. I’m pretty sure that none of those 3 are the same bit assortment / count / style that was stocked a couple years ago either. I get that there have been improvements, we had the old shockwave silver bands, the newer red bands, the short lived matrix carbide, and now the silver tips. But even as they upgrade the bits, they could have a couple sets where they keep the set contents and layout the same.
I don’t want to stop having new assortments to try that may be useful for some people, I myself picked up the set from this season with all the hex bits because we use a lot of hex with the robotics team, and it’s the only set I remember seeing that has 2x of all the hex bit sizes. Usually they’re a filler afterthought in other sets, if they exist at all. There was a “set” from many years ago that was actually 4 separate mini cases, which had more tailored assortments in each case, that I really liked and have never seen since. I’ve seen a few 2-case and 4-case sets in more recent years, and the plethora of new single-case sets, and don’t want to discourage such things. There’s people, homeowners especially, where getting a set like that is perfect, they get the variety so they can do anything, and a few spares of each so if they break one they’re not stuck trying to find a replacement. Which leads to the next point.
5. Replacement bits are not available for all sizes and shapes. Tying back to the not readily part as well, if I go in home depot, I can get replacement bits in the common sizes and styles. Sometimes they have a few of the less common ones. But if I want replacement Milwaukee 3mm hex bits? Bang outta luck. I’m not even sure I can get just the 3mm hex silver-tip bits online. Looks like I can get the red bands, or a set of all the metric size silver tips (which will have one 3mm in it), and that’s all a quick google found. There’s other brands, so maybe I’m fed up at Milwaukee and order a pack of Wiha 3mm hex bits instead, then have to wait on them to come in. Goes back to I can’t go into home depot and replace the bits in my bit set, regardless of the overpriced-ness of replacement bits. I’d be stuck looking for a whole entire new bit set (probably with the highest count of 3mm hex bits there is, if there are even multiple options with 3mm hex bits).
Don’t get me wrong, there’s a place for the bit sets that exist today. Home depot and everywhere has to cater to their crowds. Lay persons are wowed by a high bit count, translate that mentally to “this should cover anything I may need and last forever”, and probably they do. There are some kits out there (possibly more in recent years that I remember than in the past as well) that are fairly balanced and have a wide assortment of bits, and are arguably some of the best sets there’ve ever been for the average homeowner. In the same vein, a contractor/pro can build the price of bits into their jobs, and paying shelf price for T25s in a pinch to fill up their set may not even blink an eye. And maybe that’s smart on the part of the companies, if they introduced a high-bit-count set that catered towards pros, they’d want to price it comparable to pros buying bits at just-slightly-better-than-shelf prices. And that would likely price it out of the range of the casual stop-in shopper, which will also price it right off being stocked regularly. But there’s also no offset to that by stocking 2″ bits in stores for more types, or in quantities and prices reasonably competitive.
The Bosch custom cases were actually I think a really good idea, I’m kind of sad they never took off. They also were still on the expensive side on a per bit basis for the tailored rows, you were basically paying medium-count refill pack prices for the bits, even if they were ready made and a little more specifically what people needed. Again, the pre-filled cases were good deals, I have several of the $10 deal clear-lid cases all over the place, but if I wanted the row of 2″ bits to throw in there, it could be $8 or $10 just for that. Nice for customizability with building a new case out, it would definitely be the best/only way to get something semi-off-the-shelf close to my “ideal” bit loadout, but it quickly got expensive doing so and refilling it later still had the same problems. If Bosch (or any company) would make the price per bit even ballpark comparable between refill bits and buying all-new high-count assortments, they’d probably pretty quickly shoot up to the #1 bit brand, just for that. I’d have also loved to see Bosch push a “custom case builder” with their custom case series, maybe in partnership with lowes, where you can build your case online, it adjusts the prices based on the specific bits you want but gives you a “kit discount” if you will, to keep prices in range with what a similar pre-made assortment would cost. I.e. a box full of 2″ bits will be more expensive than a premade assortment that has a lot of 1″ bits, but not hugely so. If a 60 piece set that is 40 1″ bits and 20 2″ bits is $20, then a set of 40 2″ bits might be $30-$35. There’s some allowable premium for getting close to exactly what you want (still built from their regular list of regularly available SKUs, which may only have 5-8 options of bit selections for 2″ bit “rows”). Alas, none of that ever materialized. And no other company has really followed suit or tried again.
Bottom line, the high count bit sets with a bunch of 1″ bits are not for everybody. But there are people and usages where they are valuable, or at least acceptable, so that’s why they exist. The rampant slew of packed bit sets for comparatively cheap target those people. The people who need one bit, run to the store, and just grab whatever bit set looks good. The people who do most of the work with screwdrivers where 1″ bits may even be better. The people who need assortment over bit length, and don’t mind the bitholder tradeoff (and maybe appreciate the cost tradeoff). Maybe they make up more market share for premade bit sets, who knows. If you hate 1″ bits, such sets aren’t for you. Maybe 1″ bits in general aren’t for you. You know what you want, and I guess you have to pay for that privilege unfortunately. Complain away about prices of 2″ bits individually, complain that companies don’t make sets with a majority of 2″ bits, or put them on sale so you can pay the same prices the 1″ bit users do. I’m not sure it’s justified to complain about the existence of 1″ bits though.
Well done Tim – I think this is the first comment I’ve ever seen that’s longer than the article, haha!
Had to check that off my life goals, now I can retire!
A doctoral thesis on 1″ bits! Thanks for a good read.
Mike (the other one)
I use them all the time, but only in manual magnetic screwdrivers. I run into a lot of tamper resistant/security bits, etc. and I keep most of them in those rubber blocks, which are kept inside a plastic box. I almost never lose them. A driver with a powerful magnet is a must.
The only downside is they can’t reach recessed screws, so I have standalone screwdrivers in the most common sizes. (Keystone, Cabinet, Phillips, Torx)
For powered drills/drivers, the longer impact bits are the way to go. They are just more durable.
I prefer a positive lock between my spinny tool and the driver bit. Way to often the magnetic adapters use weak magnets and the screw ends up holding onto the driver bit.
Not sure if those locking extensions work with 1” bits or not, but they’re way to chunky for some applications.
I like 2” or longer
I’ll say this – if nobody wanted them things like
SHOCKWAVE 1 in. Steel #2 Philips Insert Bit Set (25-Piece)
Drywallers. This is the reason these exist.
I hated them when I would just use a magnetic bit holder, then I got a wera rapidapter and now I almost exclusively use the 1″ bits. Only time I reach for the longer bits is when I am in a narrow hole. When the rapidapter finally broke I got a bosch and a dewalt locking bit holder, and so far I like the dewalt one better.
I don’t like ’em little bits. I only use 2″ or larger. No matter which extension I’ve used, I always find I have to grab a +2″ bit eventually. Because the locking bit holders get in the way, or don’t allow for enough depth, etc. This is in construction.
I keep 100 different 1″ bits in my primary kit, and my smaller kits have Wera BC-30’s with a custom assortment.
I’d be grumpy if I had to carry the same in 2″.
Good to have as spares/backup, otherwise, junk.
try using a 2 inch bit in a drywall screw gun
They’re fine for multibit screwdrivers or a screw gun, but they are annoying and frustrating to use with a cordless driver or drill. I try to keep the 2″ bits everywhere I might need them. The Milwaukee Shockwave bits are very good.
Um, duh … MAGNETS TO HOLD SCREWS.
Just a Medic
Yep. A magnet holding the screw to the bit and tool frees one hand to hold the workpiece. Screw-holding magnet bit holders take 1-inch bits, ergo 1-inch bits are indispensable.
What’s a good set of 2”+ bits? I’d prefer 3-6”. I only ever see singles, I’d like to have a set that comes with a holder.
Most of my 1″ bit use is either when I need the special/security bits or in a bit ratchet. I use 2″ or longer bits for just about everything else. What I am looking for is a stubby bit driver that accepts 1″ bits for less than $10. Wera and Whia make them but I don’t want to spend $15 or more on such a thing unless I absolutely have to. I got the Irwin when it was less than $4 but it was super fat so I returned it. I haven’t been able to find one that meets my criteria. Anybody have any suggestions?
There’s a Picquic stubby that uses 1″ insert bits. Hard-handled. Should be in your price range. It holds insert bits in the handle too.
I am pretty sure Malco makes a locking stubby – but I’m not sure what price it is.
Me personally? I’d probably use a bit ratchet in most scenarios where I’d consider a stubby bit holder.
Could also use a palm ratchet with a bit-holder socket. I have an SBD Craftsman set I bought for cheap that still works well (it came in a “toughcase” with some sockets and 1″ insert bits).
I’ll look at the Picquic. The Malco looks like the 1″ bits will get stuck down in it. I have a bit ratchet and like it.
At any given time I have 4 or 5 1″ bits in my left pocket. They are handy to use because they are small and convenient. I have a ton of 2″ bits that never get used they are to short. I have around 10 or so 3″ holders with 1/3 impact rated. My go to driver’s are 6″.
I hate these packages that include many of these 1″ bits. Having a few is useful but 99% of the time I use the longer ones with impact drivers.
For handtools I normally prefer using proper screwdrivers if possible (wera).
So these small bits are really for the odd scenario …
I rarely use a screw driver. I have 5 or 6 impact drivers. 1″ bits are worthless to me. I won’t even buy a kit on sale from Milwaukee, as they always include two dozen 1″, plus about half as many 2″ bits. What is the point of filing my drawer or bit box with something I never use?
They are always falling out of the holders and then I have to go find where they dropped. Even with a good holder, I wouldn’t bother, as the 2″ or 3.5″ are more convenient to swap out for me.
Dave the tool
Wow! I had no idea so many dislike the 1” bits! They are all I use and usually the 2” bits remain unused in my work. Of course I use the various magnetic bit holders and I have multiple lengths of them for different applications ie short, average, long and really long! The cheap magnetic bit holders as many have stated simply don’t have a good magnet and/or have too much wobble in them whether a bit is inserted or not and I quickly rid myself of them. I suppose for me it is based upon convenience of quickly changing out the bits, affordability and cost factor and lastly as others have stated many speciality bits are available in the 1” size. I usually place the bits in small plastic containers to keep them sorted.
I like 1″ bits in hand tools and 2″ + in power tools. I have multiple drill/drivers to avoid changing bits very often during projects and my primary drill/driver these days is the Makita CXT Hex (model FD10z) which comes standard with a 1/4″ bit holder.
I also keep the several Ryobi quick change adapters handy for my other drill/drivers in situations where I am switching bits (even if its one bit change its still a time savings versus directly checking a bit). I dislike the standard 1/4″ bit extensions as I find they don’t hold bits all that well and add a little “too much” distance increasing the length of the overall tool.
As far as impact drivers go, a 2″ + is the only way to go IMO. Firstly a 1″ bit is hard to remove from most impact drivers, just not enough grab onto when removing the bit (and Makita doesn’t offer an ‘ejecting bit collar’). Also the line of sight is a bit better with a 2″ + bit.
My preference is always for Power Bits. Good ones aren’t hard to find anymore for anything, except maybe for the weirdo security types.
The only thing I avoid more than 1″ bits are cheezy cheapo anything else. To me, insert bits are the last resort, not always completely avoidable but I’m always reluctant.
I was going to make a wise ass comment “first world problems” but WOW I didn’t know they was so much pent-up anger about 1 inch insert bits. One of the nice things about toolguyd is it gives you a lot of exposure to other people’s experiences good and bad. So you don’t make smart ass comments like me 🙂
Personally I don’t mind the 1 inch because I like the magnet. Agree you have to have a decent bit holder. There are a lot of junk ones out there.
I guess I should try some of the slip over magnetic thingers to magnetize my assortment of 2, 3 and 6 inch bits.
I do wish there were some longer insert bits in some of the less common fastener types like torx, hex, security fasteners etc.
I’d pay a pretty penny if somebody like PB swiss made their ball end allen key assortment in a 6” impact bit size. Sometimes the insert bit holder is too wide to fit in the hole.
You might try these:
I have a set of these in security torx on my workbench that are very very good.
*Then again– reviews are a mixed bag. Maybe I lucked out with an early set that was well-machined.
The only things that come to mind for me is how many times I’ve had to explain to guys why their 2″ bit is about permanently stuck in their 1″ bit holder, retaining ring, notch, blah blah blah. That alone moves me towards trying to roll with/supply just extended bits. Still though, I can’t say I’ve ever given it much thought. 1″ bits seem me/us like what I assume paperclips would be to an office- they’ve been here forever, don’t where they keep getting em, but they’re always around when your dedicated bit walks off, and it’s all just a fact of life lol Some I prefer, some I don’t, but it’s never a surprise if one fails or disappears.
After reading all the above comments, it seems like the majority of the hate for insert bits comes from those regularly using impact drivers.
Makes sense. They’ll work, but it’s awkward.
Yea, just no. And a set with them, no. Not at any price. I don’t have bits fall out into something they should not. I don’t keep bits that strip.
Irwin has a nice set of power bits and plastic box that lasts a respectable time
They’re fine. They’re cheap. More fit in a smaller form factor, but it’s good to have extras(duplicates) rather than just a variety pack. At some point they’ll no longer be in your holder and I’m not going to look for them. They don’t fit in recesses. It’s not that much faster of a bit change. Longer is better.
They are essential for any work done in the field or on location. Don’t need to carry around 2″ #27 security torx or #3 Robertson around all the time. I keep multiple, multiple full sets of 1″ bits at home, in the shop and in the car. The red packs from Harbor Freight are my go to sets for most work. Also have some Wera sets for precision work or damaged, seized fasteners. Obviously with lack of fastener access – like in plastic electronics and toys – long bits and real screwdrivers are still needed.
They are ESSENTIAL.
I keep a wera textile bit safe 43 bit organizer in my Veto Tech Pac, on a velcro strip that I sewed into the upper area of the back panel of the bag.
My 1″ 1/4″ hex bits are mostly PB Swiss…Robertson 0-3, Pozidriv 0-3, Torx 10-40, up to 8mm and 1/4″ hex, Phillips 0-3, JIS 1-3 a few slotted sizes. That, along with my wiha ESD tin, covers 90% of my fastener needs. I’ll use them with handles, torq tools, or (my favorite tool) bit ratchets.
If I need a hex size larger than 1/4″ or 8mm or a #3 or a tx40, I reach for a 5/16″ hex ratchet & my collection of 5/16″ bits. If I need to be able to reach a recessed fastener, I have a second tool bag that I leave my 3″ bits in that usually gets left on my cart.
The bit holder is half the battle. Fastening by hand? A good magnetic bit holder from wera or felo or pb swiss is great. Using a power tool? I’ll typically use my wera bitorsion bits and bitorsion rapid adapter…quick changes, bits last forever. Plus…pop one in a low profile ratchet, and you can get in and out of tight quarters easily.
I cannot abide 2″ bits. A ring magnet is needed to keep many drive types on the bit, but that eliminates any advantage in slenderness that they possess…I’ve never found a good way to store them either. They’re great for doing a bunch of repeatable work on Torx fasteners…but beyond that I honestly don’t get the appeal.
The best solution I found is to buy a bunch of small bit holders (3″ or below) for each commonly used bit size/type.
It’s about the same size, and has all the convenience of using 2″ bits alone though a little larger.
Essentially you’re just eliminating the need to change the bit in use, but it makes a world of difference.
I then swap out the bits only when one wears out or breaks.
This is also the most economical solution, even as a pro I can’t imagine throwing away 90% of your bits because they are 1″.
I like to use the bit holders that require pliers to remove the bit.
A bit that constantly stays in the screw is the most frustrating time waster when driving a high volume of screws.
Locking bit holders are unfortunately not as robust and expensive to constantly replace.
In a hand ratchet, they’re fine. In a power tool, they’re not for me. It is one more opportunity for wobble and, as mentioned before, they always fall out at the most inopportune time. In HVAC work, they’re also a pain to handle, as the small size is almost sure to get lost. Longer power bits are more convenient to handle and use. Driving sheet metal screws with 1″ bits is an exercise in frustration, with a fixed longer power socket or bit is much easier, and when you’re driving them by the hundreds, it makes a huge difference.
I’m with the guys above who’ve chucked them in the trash, where they belong. I usually keep a box full of them in a toolbox at home, and I don’t think I’ve ever gone back to use one of them.
As others have noted, in more usual situations, probably not much advantage over a longer bit, but I find those short bits VERY useful indeed for working in tight spaces when used in conjunction with a suitable right-angle ratcheting driver, the best of which I’ve found is similar to this one from Walmart
The one I have was from Bestway Tools in NY, which has now been bought by Mayhew Tools, although I can’t find it on either website. Lee Valley Tools also used to carry it until recently. One advantage is the knurled knob which allows you to turn and start a screw when there isn’t enough room to swing the handle. I recently used this combo to tighten the angle-adjusting screws on a security camera which was already mounted and no room to get a regular screwdriver in.
Coming back to this thread after having 1″ bits forever entombed in 2 Dewalt Bit holders.
DeWalt will not replace. To wit:
These bit holders are considered accessories and are covered by the retailer’s return period only, so we are not able to provide replacements. I am sorry for the inconvenience
This is after they suggested a method of removal using pliers and a drill, which I tried. Hell, I got the vice involved with no love.
So, now I have a 2.5 ” T17 and P3 bit. I was going to lament that of course it would happen with infrequently used bits, but then that makes sense: if it was a frequently used size, I probably would have used a 2″ bit.
I use 1″ bits and an adapter for my impact driver and drill driver with no problem. So much easier and faster to swap out bits compared to using the 2″ or 3″ bits. Phillips no. 2, torx 20, 25, and 30 are basically daily use sizes so I have about a dozen of each size and never have a problem.