Has it really been more than 5 years since we’ve talked about impact-rated screwdriver bit holders?
Some impact drivers work with insert bits, but many require power bit-style bit holders or extensions.
There’s also of course the option to use longer impact-rated screwdriver bits that don’t require the use of a bit holder or extension.
Even when bit holders aren’t required, they can still be convenient for fast bit changes.
A reader recently wrote in, asking for my current impact bit holder recommendation.
What’s your favorite bit holder when using your impact driver? Not specialized like a drywall dimpler, just for phillips/flat head/square drives… If you go on Amazon, good God there’s a million! Magnetic this, ball detent, spring ring, Makita’s Gold Torsion ugly old style Makita blue one… What’s the one you grab all the time unless you need some super specific one.
To be honest, I don’t really have a favorite. I couldn’t even tell you which is the best impact bit holder, as most seem to be perfectly interchangeable.
For non-impact bit holders, I absolutely do have a favorite locking bit holder, the Wera Rapidaptor (usually ~$14-15 at Amazon). I don’t use it exclusively through – I also use impact-rated bit holders with cordless drills and in other non-impact operations.
As it has been 5+ years since I first asked readers’ opinions on impact bit holders that don’t suck, I should have developed a definitive opinion buy now, right? Maybe, but for me it simply comes down to convenience – I grab whichever bit holder I can reach first.
A couple of magnetic bit holders have failed on me, with the magnets popping out. I *could* glue the magnets back in, but I usually forget and eventually discard them rather than open a new tube of SuperGlue. Plus, I have plenty replacements available, as just about every assortment comes with a bit holder or two.
Bit holders can wear out, but I usually misplace them long before that happens.
Wera makes an impact-rated bit holder (~$28 at Amazon), but I haven’t felt compelled to buy it yet.
If you need a recommendation, the Bosch – shown above – is decent, and it typically sells for $4 at Amazon and other retailers. Or, pick up whichever pro brand you can find at your local home center, such as Dewalt, Milwaukee, Makita, or Metabo HPT.
Most pro accessory brands offer a couple of different styles of bit holders, priced from ~$3 to $10, and there are a couple of more premium styles as well.
I don’t have a favorite, and practically speaking there’s no best impact bit holder, at least not a clear leader from what I’ve seen.
I’m sure that there are extreme torque testers out there that have declared a winner. However, I typically break screwdriver bit tips or shear off fastener heads well before I can push bit holders to their limits – not that this happens regularly anymore.
Maybe I’ll develop a favorite before the next time someone asks me the same question. In the meantime, I’m interested in hearing about your impact bit holder opinions and experiences.
Let’s hear about your favorite impact-rated screwdriver bits.
Or how many of you only use whatever bits come with bit assortments and bulk packs?
Dewalt max fit. Need channellock big azz to remove
I would agree… though… the ones I have seem to have a ring on the end that allow you to quick release the bits without the pliers. Tighten the ring with the bit in it and oy do they hold tight, and yeah, I would agree you would need the heavy pliers to pull them out of that grip. Plus, if you’re using the original MaxFIT bits or FlexTorq bits, the holder is compatible with the screw retention sleves for those lines, so it can grip the fasteners really well. I think with the newer MaxFIT, or the FlexTorq bits (I cannot remember which ones this applies to) the MaxFIT bit holder, the one with the yellow stripe near the end specifically (it also comes with a black ring instead of Yellow, still MaxFIT.) the ring on the end that you can tighten happens to double as a magnet, and you can get the 1″ bits deep enough that you don’t need the extra magnetic screw holder, the bit holder does the same job.
So, yeah, I second the DeWALT MaxFIT Bit Holder. There’s several of them that are rather good at bit, and fastener, retention. Often better than expected. And I think there’s some overlap with the FlexTorq editions having the same features and design. I have a bunch of both. It’s hard to complain about them.
My favorite bit holder for several years has been the Millwaukee Impact Drive Guides.
But for an extra $2, I’ve always bought it as part of this mini bit set. The set fits perfect in my tool pouch.
Yeah, it’s called having 2.5″ bits in all the sizes so you hardly ever have to use the 1″s.
1″ bits are nothing but time wasters.
disagree – sorry but they do still have a purpose or 2.
maybe not in the power drive world but they are quite useful
especially if you don’t keep a set of hex or torx sockets in your sets – but you do keep bit holder sockets. There are also sizes that are hard to find in 2 inch power bits.
so out side of the common construction screws – you still need the short normal bits
I’ve only ever got them from Harbor Freight but they aren’t super uncommon.
In the fabrication business that I had an interest in – we used hundreds of 1 inch (25mm) long insert bits. We had a client that specified fasteners to BNAE stanadards, used Torq-Set fasteners, JIS cross-point, and various security screw styles where driver bits only seemed to come in 1 inch lengths.
Meanwhile – in the GC/Remodeling business – each of the trucks might carry sets of insert bits for the odd fastener. But for common sizes (e.g. PH2, R1, R2, R3, Torx 10 – 30 ) the guys much preferred longer power-drive bits
Koko The Talking Ape
Disagree partially. The 1″s are cheap and compact, so they’re good for things like multi-bit screwdrivers that store the bits in the handle. They’re also good for those really weird fasteners used in electronics, security applications, etc. I’ve never seen tri-angle or security torx in 2.5″ bits.
Found another peanut butter jar full of various 1” bits yesterday while cleaning my shop and promptly threw them in the garbage….
I want to know to cause I hate the ones with the retention ring, and it seems all the box brands have them.
Yeah, I have some DeWalt ones that I cannot remove the bit even with pliers and a vice.
Get out a dental pick and remove the ring. The magnet holds the bit just fine
Definitely. I despise the Bosch ones from the post for this exact reason.
I think I’m still using 2 cheapo depot ones that I got years ago. Neither are “impact rated” and I honestly don’t know where they came from.
if I went out to buy one tomorrow I would shop for which name braded one was the cheapest that I could buy – by it’s self. I don’t want or need another bit kit of crap.
That said out side of special torx and any hex bit that is about all I use them for. I run 2 inch bits in Philips 2 and 3 as well as square 2 and t15-25. or maybe it’s 30 whatever the number 10 construction screws use.
Totally agree. I’ve been using the bit holder that came with my Bosch impactor 5+ years ago. It holds bits fine and has shown no sign of wear. I have a Dewalt one that hasn’t come out of the bit case because the stock one works fine.
I just use simple Bosch and Milwaukee ones now.
Never buying another fancy Dewalt bit holding thing as I have had multiple with bits stuck in them.
Same here. I prefer Milwaukee but I like the Bosch as my second choice. I’m always on the lookout for the slimmest profile on the holder as I use mine a lot in tight/oddly angled spaces where clearance is limited. The best I’ve come across was a Wiha adapter that came as part of a multi bit screwdriver that has a spring loaded end cap that pops out for bit changes. I don’t think they make it anymore but it was the slimmest profile adapter that I have ever come across. Dewalt is OK and I’m sure there are better with larger bit holders that don’t suck but I gravitate toward the thin profile.
I prefer the 1” bits over the power bits due to the magnetic tip. I have never used a longer power bit that had the ability to hold the screw on the bit so i wonder why so many prefer them? I mostly use mine to start and drive self tapping screws
Christopher T Haley
Makita Gold is good; the newer Makita styles are not as good. Can’t say about the others; that Bosch looks worth a try. But once you start using 4″ and 6″ bits, you’ll never go back!
I second this. I started with a 1” assortment, decided I hated them, moved on to 2”, then 3”, and just ordered a bunch of 6”. Longer bits allow for all those odd scenarios that a bit holder doesn’t work with.
I usually use the FastCap Taperlock bit Holder, I don’t know if it’s impact rated, but I’ve been using it regularly for years in an impact without issue. Just the best but holder I’ve ever used.
Thanks for the tip, fastcap makes a few thingsi like.
Same here, don’t think it’s impact rated but I’ve never had a problem with it. I avoid the magnetic holders like the plague. They either don’t hold well enough, or they hold to well and I have to get one or maybe 2 pairs of pliers to pull it out. It’s just a recipe for frustration.
I’ve used a bunch; I like the makita gold, new makita xps and milwaukee holders. The bosch impact adapter is just ok.
My favorite are wera rapidaptors though. In the same style, I really like the bosch daredevil 6″ bit holders.
I’ve got a bunch of different types. The standard ones are pretty much whatever is on hand. I’ve got Bosch and Milwaukee that I prefer. Also have a bunch of generic ones that are fine. Of the special use stuff, I have a nice Century Drill & Tool that pivots, a Black and decker with screw guide collar, a ares 2 in 1 that has a socket drive, and a wiha that can use theie double-sided bits. All are nice. If they are all in reach, I probably like the Milwaukee best.
The Dewalt locking magnetic one is my favorite. It has a locking collar you have to pull back to unlock the bit, then it locks when you insert one.
Matt the Hoople
This is the one that lives in the tool holder at the bottom of my 12v extreme Dewalt drill. I like it because it functions similar to the bit holder built into the impact driver. One hand operation. The bit does not come out unless you want it to and then it’s way to remove. I have others lying around for use in other tools but they are usually whichever is cheapest or came with a bit set that was on sale.
The only bit holder worth a damn is Wera’s Rapidaptor
I’ve looked at those, but have always thought they are too big/bulky and would get in the way. Do you find that it can’t fit in some places or gets in the way?
Milwaukee “SHOCKWAVE” (I don’t know why it’s always capitalized).
Model # 48-32-4531.
I use other bit holders that came in various kits all the time, but the Milwaukee is the only one I have any fondness for. I like the locking collar much better than magnetic retention.
Not too expensive and it works well.
I rarely use them but I usually just grab one i have laying around and there just the magnetic ones that come in a kit and after a few uses they tend to strip out on me. It’s probably something I should invest it, or maybe i have and don’t remember. A dewalt one is sticking out in my mind but I think as long as you get a name brand your probably going to have good luck with it
DeWalt DWA3HLDFT locking bit holder. They make longer ones too.
Dewalt locking for me. The slim profile is what sets it apart. It’s just as slim as a magnetic one but positively locks so the bit doesn’t get stuck in the screw. I have the wera but it’s just too bulky and won’t get into tight spots.
Which one is this? I have some locking but they are definitely more girthy than the magnetic ones.
search for these. DWA3HLDFT and DWA6HLDFT and DWA12HLDFT
I’ve been using the $14 Wera since your last article. I didn’t realize it wasn’t impact rated. You wouldn’t know when using it.
I’ve had so many different kinds at this point… I lost my Wera at some point and had to start using my old ones for a couple weeks. I quickly ordered another Wera. I test various types of equipment for a living. It makes buying tools annoying when you are someone that discerns all the features that could be better in your personal tools.
I’ve also tried the same Wera Rapidapter but with the additional Magnet that stabilized the screw. Don’t bother with that model, unless you really need it.
I use Milwaukee 1″ bits. I got a ton of them on black Friday two years ago. Still haven’t used all of them
2.5″ bits, are Wiha all the way. I don’t know why they are so much better, they just are. I felt stupid paying 10x the price to try them out. After a while, I didn’t feel stupid anymore.
I keep the Wera Rapidapter on my impact driver 100% of the time, when not in use, and 90% of the time when in use
“Last Best Tool” (YouTube) went through the Wiha CentroFix handle and how there’s no wobble to any Power Bit blade in it. I’ve since added one to my kit and it’s exactly that, an amazing fit. (Insert bits lock in too.)
They’ve got three bit holders under CentroFix, and though they’re not specified for impact, I gotta think they’re pretty nice too – but I’m with the others who stay away from insert bits.
I’m sure I’ve over-thought this, but I’ve been running screws in an impact for well over a decade, so here goes:
1) Must be magnetic.
When you’re running peanut screws or wood screws all day long, installing device boxes or CJ6s or whatever, you need the screw to stay on the bit by itself. Has to be a good magnet, too, in case there’s a weird angle or a little wobble or requires strong pushing, or is a weirdly long or heavy screw.
Have to be able to stick the screw on the bit, sometimes set the impact down, hold a piece on your other hand, and screen it in. So, good strong magnet.
2) Must retain the bit.
I actually PREFER to require pliers to remove the bit. When I’m running a couple hundred screws per day, and have to pull the stupid insert bit off the previous screw every couple minutes, that bit holder goes in the trash. I’d actually like to glue the bit into the holder!
And if I need a different insert bit (#1 Robertson or whatever), I just BUY ANOTHER BIT HOLDER. They’re not expensive.
3) The shorter the better.
When you’re zipping in a long screw, especially at a weird angle, or into metal and the thing walks, screws tend to want to walk or wobble. The longer your bit holder, the more likely the wobble will knock the screw off your bit. You end up slamming your stupid fist into the stupid joist or whatever.
The closer your hand is to the work surface, the more control you have, and the less likely wobble will be. Think of it like center of gravity. A long bit holder on a long impact, far away from your trigger finger, will exacerbate bit wobble, and you’ll send the screw flying. I only use 1” insert bits for this very reason.
So the whole holder-and-bit-and-impact length will directly affect wobble, efficiency, and grumpiness. So, the shorter the better.
4) Narrow bit holders are better. Sure, rapidaptor style retaining holders hood the bit real well, so the bit doesn’t get left behind every couple minutes. And that’s great. BUT, there are tons of times when I am running the screw through a small hole.
The whole bit holder, bit, perhaps extension, and often the screw, all need to fit in a narrow space. And rapidator style bit holders are often too chunky to work. Additionally, rapidaptor style bit holders rarely are also magnetic, so they won’t hold the screw well if at all.
So. I’m not asking much, am I!
I’ve tried tons of bit holders. The one I’ve ended up buying dozens of (and giving away to apprentices) is the Wera 893/4/1 K style magnetic bit holder. It has the strongest magnet (to retain both the bit and the screw), is shorter than most, has no added thickness/bulk, and isn’t a million dollars.
If someone out there has found a better one (shorter, stronger magnet, whatever), please let me know!
Ill have to try this one, thanks. It sounds like your list of needs, Wants and concerns line up with my own feelings on the matter.
I too agree completely with your requirements. I am going to try your recommended bit holder. The Bosch ones don’t hold up with impact drivers.
Thanks! Just ordered one.
I don’t have a a favorite bit I believe 1 inch bits and holders are mostly just a throwback/leftover to the time before impact drivers. Remember the days when you had your first cordless drill and could drill holes and drive screws to the correct depth with the drill clutch and don’t have to drag a cord around.
We thought we had the world by the tail and now I can’t recall the last time I used a drill to drive a screw.
Has anyone tried this Crescent impact bit holder? https://www.crescenttool.com/products/power-tool-accessories/fastening/cavbhset-31-31-pc-vortextm-bit-holder-fastening-set
Milwaukee Shockwave magnetic in 3, 6, and 12 inches. I’ve never found a locking holder that I can tolerate the thickness of.
Try the Felo one. I quite liked it
The 6″ Milwaukee quick-connect one (whatever they call it) live on my M12 Surge and it’s great. Something about having that extra space between the front of the driver and whatever I’m working on is kind of a game-changer. Unless I just need to be up on something with a 2″ bit I like the extension.
That’s my EXACT setup! I like the 6” extension on mine too. Feels weird using a shorter one after using it for so long
For a long extension holder, I really like the Diablo 6″ or 12″ ones. The locking mechanism is the smoothest I’ve ever used, there’s extremely little wobble or runout, and very reasonably priced. They aren’t magnetic, though.
I also like my Wiha SlimFix bit holder – it’s claimed to be impact rated (I haven’t broken it yet), and it’s very slim.
Thanks Eric, I just ordered a couple or the Wihas.
I’ve had a Makita with a reversible bit holder for years. The backside has a countersink. Unfortunately, the lock has jammed and I can’t get the reversible part out. And I can’ find a replacement for it. Does anyone have a lead on one?
I’ve had plenty of trouble with bit holders losing magnets and some bit holders never wanting to give up the grip of the bit. Both really frustrating. I recently picked up the Menard’s brand of extension bit holders, 2″ and 4″ IIRC, both impact rated AND they have the spring loaded release mechanism that spits the bit out once you retract it. Very nice indeed, at least that is my experience. There are longer versions available too. By the way, I’ve rid myself of all 1″ bits.
I just use my Wera Rapidaptor on my impact and haven’t had an issue yet. I also really like my Felo one.
Trying to find one that holds double bits with impact 1/4”
DeWalt DWA3HLDFT, took awhile to find that part number. I have a couple I have beat on for a few years. They have a strong lock with easy removal, good magnet. Norske makes really good ones, Makita XPS is decent.
The cheap DeWalt are bad, any that I have tried from Milwaukee, including the shockwave, is useless. Any of the cheap ones are useless.
As for the reason I use 1″ with a holder is because it’s magnetic. Those stupid magnetic collars are usually junk, Makita makes an ok one, but the older not newer. Dewalt makes a good one but it’s big, their older plastic one is junk as the magnets always fall out. Another issue with the collars is they don’t play nice with different brands, or even different lines within the same brand.
Dewalt Maxfit bit holder has been a go-to. Locking bit holder much like on Wera. Magnetized to hold screws. Jammed bits are rare.
I totally agree with Shane. My favorite bit holder by far is the Wiha latching holder that came included with a set of impact rated bits in a small steel case. It is slimmer and lighter than the Milwaukee latching bit holder. The latch release is located behind the bit holder cap instead of surrounding it, which makes it slimmer. It costs about 3 dollars more but Wiha is a premiere brand and I think it’s worth it. I have also had bad experiences with retaining ring holders not releasing bits, so I stay away from them. My Wiha bit holder has never released a bit yet that I didn’t want released and I use it in my 20 V powered driver.
As someone who uses my impact almost daily, I am addicted to the bit holders with the sleeve that keeps a screw from wobbling around. Its my thing, I have them everywhere in the van. I use regular 2 inch bits but like I said its an addiction. No brand in my opinion is better or worse, I have them from various brands.
The latest one I tried is this:
I like that the sleeve is spring-loaded – and I’m thinking about buying a few more.
Stuart, as a fellow appreciator of PB Swiss, I’m surprised you haven’t tried theirs… specifically, the PB 450 or the PB 450M (magnetic).
I’m using this one, it’s not bad.
Milwaukee Shockwave is my vote. Has worked perfectly without stuck bits now for the entire time I’ve had it. Also one handed bit changes
I hate 1” bits. I prefer 3” and 6”. If I use a bit holder then it’s a Wera Rapidaptor and it’s only because I couldn’t buy the bit in the 3” or 6” length.
I recently bought the Makita XPS set that was/is going for $15 now at Home Depot. I don’t own much of anything Makita but I’m starting to like the XPS impact bits. I like the finish on them and I’m hoping that they won’t corrode much. All my other bits from Wiha, Wera, Bosch, Dewalt, Milwaukee, Felo, all rust. I live in Hawaii so that might be part of it. One advantage of the Makita XPS is the fact that you can spend $4 and buy a magnet that fits on the end of any of their XPS bits. It holds the screws very well.
The thing that always bothers me is that the bit holders for the insert bits are too long (usually 2.25” or more). This makes it hard to get into tight spaces and often leads to wobbly bits. Has anyone found a shorter bit holder?
I don’t know of any shorter bit holders.
But, there’s always the option of using power-style screwdriver bits, which are often 2″ in length. Some brands offer 1.5″ long power bits.
Some impact drivers can also accept 1″ (and longer) insert bits without needing to use a separate bit holder.