The Kobalt Double Drive screwdriver (previewed and reviewed here a year ago) features unique gearing that greatly speeds up fastener driving applications. For the 2012 winter holiday shopping season, Kobalt has come out with a new 32-piece Double Drive screwdriver set, discussed below, as well as an innovative Double Drive ratchet set.
Also be sure to check out Husky’s new $10 3X ratcheting screwdriver.
2012 Double Drive Screwdriver BONUS Set: Buy Now via Lowes.
To work the Double Drive mechanism, first toggle the selector switch to set the gear drive direction. Hold the blue collar with one hand and twist the screwdriver in either direction. If you let go of the collar, the screwdriver works similar to a ratcheting screwdriver. The video below shows the Double Drive feature in action.
The new 32pc set comes with a full-size Double Drive screwdriver, a mini precision screwdriver, and an assortment of bits.
Shown above, the mini Double Drive screwdriver is essentially shrunken-down in almost all regards. The only difference between mini and full-size Double Drive screwdrivers is how the mini takes smaller bit sizes and does not feature internal bit storage.
I am actually fond of the spinning cap at the end of the mini Double Drive. If you’re not familiar with this type of feature, spinning caps allow you to push down on precision screwdrivers with your palm while turning the drivers with your finger tips. The spinning cap allows for easier positioning and constant pressure while installing or small removing fasteners.
Lowes and Kobalt describe the full-size driver as being identical to the one released in late 2011, but there are two noticeable differences.
First, the direction selection switch and gear housing to the front of the blue collar are made of plastic. These components on the original Double Drive screwdriver were made of metal.
The shift from metal to plastic was probably done to lower costs, but it brings an added benefit for users: lower weight. One thing I didn’t like about the original Double Drive was how heavy it was compared to other bit holders and ratcheting drivers.
It could be my imagination, but the new Double Drive mechanism feels smoother in operation than last year’s. Smoother gearing doesn’t seem like much, but it left me with a more positive overall impression of the new driver.
With the 32-piece you get 20 1/4″ hex screwdriver bits,10 micro/precision screwdriver bits, the two Double Drive screwdrivers, a bit holder case, and two extra screwdriver bits that come with the drivers.
The 32pc set will be available at Lowes stores and online starting in November for $20-25.
Buy Now(via Lowes)
There is also a limited-edition online-only bonus set that includes a free carrying pouch and screwdriver extension:
Buy Now(via Lowes)
I own the original kobalt double drive and can say its awesome. I can turn screws 4 times the speed if you turn both hands the opposite direction while screwing instead of just one had going back and forth and the other hand holding the double drive feature.
I didn’t buy this last year so it looks like I am buying it this year 😉
I was curious if more smaller bits can be purchased separately? They look so cheap and I feel like I’d need some extras.
There are a number of micro/precision screwdriver bit sets floating around (such as via Amazon), and Wiha micro bits are available individually.
Just ordered mine!
Thanks for the heads-up
I tried a demo of True Value’s branded one (Master Mechanic?). I thought it was a bit large / heavy for my liking. I’m looking for a good ratcheting screwdriver. Maybe I’ll give this one another try.
i own two of the original double drives and really like them – just ordered two of this set and noticed they are on sale till january for $19.98 – even a better deal
Just bought it and am really impressed though I wish the end cap on the smaller one was removable as I’d love to store the bits inside it. Can’t imagine needing to use the swivel cap they installed.
Might get an adapter for the larger bits to fit with the smaller — could be a nice, lightweight substitute to carrying a lot of bicycle tools on longer tours.
Love the tool, but keep breaking the bits….Very thin!