I recently came across a new Husky screwdriver at Home Depot, and it immediately called to mind similar “Double Drive” screwdrivers that continue to be sold at Lowe’s under Kobalt branding.
Home Depot describes the new Husky tool as a continuous drive ratcheting screwdriver on its packaging, and as a ratcheting Double Speed screwdriver online.
The description isn’t important, but I am mentioning this in case you go looking for the screwdriver online at a later time (I also have a link at the end of this post). As the descriptions are different, this screwdriver won’t show up in a web search for “Husky continuous drive screwdriver.” But I digress.
The main thing about this screwdriver is that, as it says on the packaging, it can drive your fasteners 2X faster than with traditional ratcheting screwdrivers.
With a ratcheting screwdriver, the reverse motion can be considered as wasted energy. You turn a fastener with one turn of a ratcheting screwdriver, and reset its gearing position by rotating the handle in the opposite direction.
But with this Husky screwdriver, a reverse motion will also serve to drive a fastener in the desired direction. Thanks to this process, you can turn a fastener in the desired direction no matter which direction you rotate your handle. Toggle the direction switch and you can get dual-action torque transmission in the opposite direction instead.
What’s the catch? You need two hands to activate this special 2X speed mode. You use one hand to turn the screwdriver handle, and the other to hold the special gear collar in a fixed position. You’ll find the collar towards the front of the handle.
Husky looks to offer a lot with their version of the Double Drive screwdriver, such as built-in bit storage and two shaft sizes.
Unfortunately, the handle can only accommodate one of the bit cartridges, although that’s better than not offering bit storage. The handle looks and feels surprisingly compact, which is why I think it’s a plus to offer bit storage at all, rather than a minus that it cannot accommodate all three.
The driver comes with (15) 1/4″ hex screwdriver bits.
I have had mixed feelings for this style of screwdriver over the years, but it has its merits. And, based on the last couple of similarly-designed screwdrivers I tested, the driver should still be useful even if you can only hold it with one hand.
When operated with one hand and without holding onto the gear collar, similar screwdrivers behaved in a way comparable to that of traditional ratcheting screwdrivers.
My local Home Depot stores are reporting anywhere from 3 to 92 units in stock.
At the time of this posting, online ordering is disabled unless you opt for “scheduled delivery,” which involves courier-style delivery straight from your local store for a free ($8.99 for my area).
If you’re interested in the screwdriver’s 2X driving speed functionality, its $10 price tag seems reasonable. If your Home Depot still has these in stock, you can the Husky screwdriver display at the holiday tool deals and gifts center.
Curious how good they are, but I won’t be buying one. I’ve used (and even own – a gift) a Kobalt doubledrive and don’t find them that impressive. The idea is neat in concept but it feels like the gears tends to bind or even slip when pushing any amount of torque through them.
Works fine as a standard ratcheting screwdriver but the double-drive mechanism has always underwhelmed me.
so it is made by someone else. One feature I like on this is the exchange able shaft piece. long and short. I had that on my snap on ratcheting driver years and years ago – loved it then. when It broke I didn’t buy another the cost was absurd – and well electric drive is easier.
I have the kobalt one too – same thing gift. I like it for some things. the 2 x drive but cuts your torque in half or so – so it only works well with free running threads and few wood screws. but it’s great for things like cover plates heavy though.
I grabbed one… seems okay… put it in the kitchen drawer… you know the one.. 🙂
oh but my kit came with there smaller 1/8 drive double drive device and bits. now that part I really like. Yes I have the precision screw drivers. but the 1/8th bits have a few that I didn’t have like the t5 I think it was.
anyway it’s actually nice for taking apart laptops. There are the few longer machine screws and it’s nice to spin them out quick. They are also non magnetic not that I worry about that as much these days. (no spinning discs and the idea that you’d induce current in a circuit is so minimal)
Do you remember the part number? I can’t seem to find it under Husky at homedepot.com but may not be looking for the correct item
The original Kobalt Double Drive had plastic gearing. Have no idea about the current model. I’m just curious what this driver has under the hood. Ten bucks isn’t exactly a fortune, but I wouldn’t waste my time or money if the gearing was plastic.
I’ve got the little known spec tools overdriver which has a single speed smooth ratcheting motion and a quadruple speed. It’s awesome I can’t remember their design, but I think it’s got really fine pitch gears because the action is so smooth. There’s no discernible clicking.
There aren’t any batteries so quad speed relies on gearing ratios requiring significant force if you’re not assembling something with a loose machined fit.
I love it for light electrical work- getting switch plates on faster.
Other ratcheting screwdriver in electrical bag is the Bahco stubby with a Milwaukee ECX bit. Great for high torque on the receptacle screws without the risk of stabbing yourself with a long ungainly model.
Rounding out the kit is a simple tombstone klein flathead.
I got one for use on Christmas morning—toy battery compartments and assembly of awkwardly shaped and sized things where high torque is not a factor. Speed is of the essence when kids are waiting.
Matt the Hoople
This was my thought where this would be useful. This and electronic toys that need repair or laptops with their 15 screws. Handled one in store. Put in and out of cart three times before deciding I didn’t need it since I already have a skill electric screwdriver.
I got one. I like it ok. Something about the latest Husky screwdriver handle design really appeals to me. It has a nice hand feel.
I put it through it’s paces assembling a couple Ikea products and was pleasantly surprised at the gear action for the price.
However, the lack of a ball detent in the handle’s 1/4 hex receiver drives me nuts!
The included extensions all have retention balls, but they don’t do anything because there’s no detent in the handle itself. As a result, the extensions are very weakly retained and have fallen out on me during use a couple times.
I had low expectations at the $10 price point, so I’m not upset. But however many cents they saved on skipping a manufacturing step took this from a tool I’d pay twice as much for to a junk drawer queen.
I got the Kobalt because ‘Dad likes tools..’. So much plastic mushy feel to it. I had to hide it for over a year before getting rid of it.
I still don’t understand the concept. For low torque bolts, just pick the right size, or cut them down. Why waste time driving extra threads that aren’t needed? Even at 2x speed, you’ve gotta know that something is wrong.
For high torque screws…these aren’t the tools you’re looking for. Move along.
For assembly, maybe use a Yankee screwdriver?
For long screws, how about a brace with screwdriver bit?
One good thing about it: It’s not another personalized mug from that store at the mall. I can’t remember the name.
Outlet and light switch cover screws seem perfect for something like this.
I kind of agree with Al here, I don’t really see where this tool shines.
I can see it working well for electrical outlets, switches, and cover plates….but if I’m just doing one or two I don’t really care if this tool might save me a grand total of 30 seconds. A normal screwdriver works fine and it’s hard to justify the cost of this….and if I’m doing a lot of outlets such that the time savings starts to add up then why not use a power screwdriver? This seems like a strange middle ground. It’s faster than a normal screwdriver, but if I find a normal screwdriver is too slow I’m going to skip this tool completely and go for a power tool.
Matt the Hoople
I agree. Played with this at HD the other day. Thought about buying cause seems neat. Then thought about when and how I would use. There are a few applications where it would be useful such as opening up a computer keyboard or laptop or kids toy (plastic things usually have about 20 screws holding them together. Other than that I don’t see a benefit. Maybe use the hex bit to assemble an IKEA desk or something but still need to final tighten with Allen wrench. I have the cheap Skil 4v power driver (older model) bought for $15. Even at $20 for the current model, I think it’s a better investment. Unless, you are an electrician’s helper having to install 200 switch covers a day in new construction office buildings.
I got a Black and Decker 4v screwdriver (BDCS50C) a couple of years back. It’s not the best…really needs a USB port for charging., and a strong magnet and ball detent for bit holding.
This is the way to reduce repetitive motion. Power first. Tweak by hand.
After my datacenter was built, I put down the DeWalt drill and driver. They chew up soft metal mounting hardware. Real easy to cross thread when there are 4 “standard” nut/bolt sizes thrown into a gallon ZipLoc bag.
Experienced techs know how to use a norma screwdriver two-handed to keep it spinning during assembly or rack-n-stack. But, most of the time you’re holding the equipment with one hand for alignment.
If you’re going to lose the ‘feel’ feedback by employing mushy plastic gearing, then you might as well apply power.
I’ve built my own mini-datacenter. Racked and stacked tons of gear. Tore down and fixed hundreds of desktops and laptops. I can’t see space in my bag or on a bench for this. Definitely would not displace another screwdriver for it.
I always carry a Milwaukee X-in-1. The one with the wire bending holes in the shaft. That thing is worth its salt.
I have the Kobalt version and it’s the perfect kitchen/junk drawer screwdriver. Which isn’t to say it’s not useful. But I’d never make room in my kit/bag for it. For outlet and switch covers the Klein Rapi-Driv can’t be beat for being able to hold the cover/devices with one hand and drive with the other.
I’m done with husky hand tools. You get what you pay for big time with tools. I’m a firm believer in the “buy once, cry once” mentality. The last time I was looking for a set of torx-security wrenches, I picked up a cheap husky set because I already had a good one, just needed it in the moment. The finish and tolerances were appalling. The hole in the drive wasn’t even remotely centered in any of the sizes below a TS15. If I’m ever at a Home Depot and I’m walking by I check them out and without fail, they’re all unusable at the smaller sizes. Their ratcheting wrenches are ok, the pawls are a little chunky but the chrome finish always has manufacturing artifacts left behind on all of them. If it’s something cheap you need in the moment, some are decent, but anything you plan on using with any regularity, I would say stay away
I’ll just say this about Tools for Dads: My teenager begged last year for God Hand cutters for his model-making hobby. They were ridiculously expensive and hard to find right before Christmas. Around $90 with shipping.
He scoffed and turned up his nose when I suggested a Tamiya cutter that was one-third the price.
We bought the tool for him.
He is no longer allowed to buy me crap tools as gifts. 🙂