Kobalt’s Double Drive screwdriver first came out in 2011, and was released in several styles.
All Double Drive screwdrivers are built with unique gearing that allows the driver to be used in a ratcheting-like mode, and an effort-multiplication Double Drive mode where turning the handle to the right or left both results in clockwise or counterclockwise motion.
In Double Drive mode, righty tighty/lefty loosey turns to righty tighty/lefty tighty or righty loosey/lefty loosey, depending on the position of the direction selector switch.
The 2012 Double Drive screwdriver had a plastic gearbox instead of metal, which helped make it more balanced and comfortable to use. It was only available as part of a 32-piece set that also included a new precision driver.
In 2013, Kobalt came out with a stubby Double Drive screwdriver (video review) and a new precision Double Drive screwdriver (video review), both of which I liked. The stubby version had a new direction selector lever that I wished was available on the full-size driver.
Fast-forward to 2014, and we have a new standalone Kobalt Double Drive screwdriver for 2014.
The new driver has a new direction selector switch, similar to the one featured on last year’s stubby driver, and it is MUCH easier to use than the smaller slide switch found in older Double Drive screwdrivers.
To switch the gearing direction, simply pull or push the collar all the way in either direction.
The Kobalt product tags say this is a new “aluminum” version, and while there feels to be a fair amount of metal used in the screwdriver construction, the driver feels nicely balanced.
The driver comes as part of a 13-in-1 package, which includes a bit holder extension and selection of 12 screwdriver bits.
One of the drivers was already demo’ed with shrink wrap pulled back, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to access to internal bit storage compartment. I’m glad I was able to, because I was quite pleased with the quality of the threads. The cap threads on and off easily, but feels securely put when fully tightened onto the driver handle. It doesn’t feel like there’s any substantial risk of cross-threading or early wear.
There was only a small display of these drivers in the hand tool section, and so they might be hard to miss. There’s no large sales-floor display as in prior years.
From what I saw, this is definitely a screwdriver I would buy for casual use, in places I would ordinarily use an inexpensive ratcheting screwdriver or multi-bit screwdriver, if not for my over-capacity tool collection.
This 3rd generation model looks like the best full-size Double Drive screwdriver Kobalt has come out with yet, and I cannot imagine any major improvements that might be needed to justify a 4th generation redesign.
I inspected a couple of drivers in-store. One acted a little funny and wouldn’t turn properly, and I found it was because the direction selection switch was stuck a little between the two settings. A quick pull of the collar, and the driver worked as expected. I adjusted it back and forth, and the issue didn’t repeat itself. A few users mention quality problems on Lowes’ product page, but I didn’t really see any defects in any of the drivers I checked out in-store. This might be the type of product you keep the receipt for, as Lowes’ offers a Lifetime Guarantee on Kobalt tools.
Buy Now(via Lowes)