New for 2013, Kobalt has come out with an 18-piece Double Drive precision screwdriver set. We really liked the similar-looking precision driver included in Kobalt’s Double Drive screwdriver set, which is currently on sale for $10, and are happy to see that the precision driver is now available separately.
On the outside, the new Kobalt Double Drive precision screwdriver has different styling than last year’s bundled model, but largely looks the same as the old driver. The materials might be slightly different, but we won’t know for sure until we can pick one up for side-by-side comparison and testing.
The new Kobalt Double Drive screwdriver features a magnetic bit holder, and the end cap unscrews for convenient bit storage. The 18pc set comes with the precision driver, a 4-inch magnetic bit holder extension, 16 precision screwdriver bits, and a durable case to keep everything in.
Buy Now(via Lowes)
Price: $15 for the 18pc set.
If you order online, free shipping is available on $45+ orders, and free in-store pickup will soon be available. You should also be able to find these at your local Lowes stores later in the Fall.
Kobalt Double Drive?
Gearing inside the Double Drive precision screwdriver allows you to turn fasteners twice as fast as with conventional screwdrivers. With the direction switch set to forward or reverse modes, hold the sleeve stationary with one hand and turn the screwdriver with the other.
If you take your hand off the sleeve, the Double Drive mechanism allows the screwdriver to be used similar in manner to a ratcheting screwdriver. This comes in handy when you need your second hand available to hold the workpiece or when starting a screw or fastener.
This can all be demonstrated in our video review of the original Double Drive screwdriver:
If you want a better understanding of how it works, go back to the ~55-second mark, or you can also watch the video in its entirety.
I was rather fond of last year’s bundled version of the Double Drive screwdriver, although I seem to have misplaced the original test sample. I have high expectations for the new 18pc set, at least for the money.
I have no intention of using this to replace my individually sized precision screwdrivers (here’s a roundup of my favorite precision screwdrivers), but it looks like it could be good for a portable tool kit or for use on extra-long miniature screws that can be slow to install or remove.
I noticed on the Lowe’s site that they now have a stubby double drive screwdriver for the same price as this precision double drive screwdriver.
Thanks for the reminder! A post about the stubby Double Drive screwdriver is scheduled for later this week. Both drivers are similarly priced but are designed to tackled entirely different tasks. The stubby version fits 1/4″ hex fasteners and is well suited for a general purpose or auto tool kit, while this one only works with smaller precision/mini bits.
I look forward to see what you have to say in the post about the stubby driver.
That’s a pretty cool tool!
I’m definitely not an expert on precision screwdriving, so maybe I’m missing something. I’m trying to visualize however how this could be of much benefit with something as precise, slower, and more calculated as most precision projects are.
The feature seems to be more about aggression when dealing with larger fasteners and creating more time efficiency. The precision projects that I’ve encountered are hardly along those lines. They are generally more about slower and more calculated work that would almost call for the virtual opposite of this.
Maybe I’m just living under a rock.
I have used my precision screwdrivers and others like them in ways I would NEVER EVER consider this tool fit for use. But there are a lot of fasteners it would work well on.
I would consider this more of a technician screwdriver, which in my mind places it between true precision screwdrivers and full-size ones.
Back when I was finishing my graduate research, the transmission electron microscope (TEM) accepted standard 3 mm-wide grids (sample holders). That’s less than 1/8″ in diameter. A single grid was fixed to the sample holder by means of a brass ring and one of the tiniest screws I have ever seen. Breath on the screw – which you wouldn’t do anyways to avoid contamination – and it would blow across the room forever lost. I don’t remember the size, but the sample installation station was equipped with a Wiha precision screwdriver.
So no, you are correct in that this driver would most certainly not be suitable for use where high precision and screwdriver control is a major priority.
This driver seems designed for removing the battery compartments on toys and other such general around-the-home applications where you might come across smaller fasteners. Or for taking apart consumer electronics, where there might be 16 outer case screws that you have to remove to access the hard drive, battery, or RAM for upgrade or replacement. Things like that.
So I went to Lowes last evening to check these out, as per my expectation they were displayed in the cardboard stands with all of the other new items for the holiday season. The driver comes in a nice little case and features the usual faire of plated non-hardened bits. But here is the problem. The bit holder is glued on to the hex shaft and some part of this process makes all of the bit holders cant to one side. I made a point of looking at every driver in the display (50ish) and there was not a single one that was even close to straight. I like the action of these drivers, I just really wish that the build quality wasn’t so awful
Stuart, is there any difference in this year’s version from last year? The only thing that I see is a change in color.