The first part of our review showed how well (or rather how poorly), the Multi-Drive fit common 6pt hex nuts and bolts. This part of the review will focus on the hands-on quality and performance of the Multi Drive Wrench.
As shown in the above photo, the Multi Drive tool comes with a small flashlight attachment, a socket and bit adapter, and a set of 12 screwdriver bits.
The socket adapter attachment head includes 1/4″, 3/8″ and 1/2″ square drives and a 1/4″ hex bit holder. Included with the screwdriver bit set are the following sizes: P1, P2, P3, “Star” T9, T10, T15, Slotted 1/8″, 3/16″, 1/4″, hex 3/16″, 7/32″ and 1/4″.
The Multi-Drive is actually pretty well made. It’s a solid feeling tool, and there aren’t any major flaws. That’s not to say that I like to design of the tool, but I have no complaints about its build quality.
The accessories are as equally well made, except for the flashlight, which I found to be extremely lightweight and flimsy feeling.
Design & Performance
As we previously showed you, the Multi Drive does not fit hexagonal fasteners all that well. The “universal” SAE-metric sockets offers little tool-fastener contact, making it somewhat unstable and awkward to use. I found that the tool tended to wobble more than a 6pt socket, or even a 12pt wrench.
From end to end, the Multi Drive Wrench is nearly 10 inches long. This makes the tool compact, but somewhat uncomfortable to use. In normal use, I gripped the tool by its handle, putting the center of my hand about 4 inches from the tool’s axis of rotation. This is okay when dealing with smaller fasteners but a pain when dealing with larger ones.
First, the shorter the distance between your hand and fastener, the lower the torque you can apply using the tool. Second, when gripped from its center, the tool is awkward and uncomfortable to turn. Much of the rotational motion came from my wrist, leading to fatigue after tightening just a few fasteners. Moving my hand to the opposite end of the tool and turning it from there proved to be much more comfortable and easier on my wrists.
The Multi Drive Wrench is designed to be used on 6pt, 12pt, spline, star, square and most rounded fasteners. But in reality, how many times will a homeowner or DIYer come across these fastener types? Yes, “universal” sockets that cover “56 fastener types” sounds great in theory, but a tool designed solely for 6pt hex fasteners will be more practical.
I was unable to round-off or significantly damage grade 5 fasteners with medium amounts of hand-applied torque, but I am not confident that the tool won’t damage lower quality bolts under the same conditions.
The socket and bit adapter head can be swapped in for the large universal socket head by pulling out a knurled pin. The pin is only secured by a small ball detent, but is unlikely to fall out by itself.
Both the universal socket and socket adapter heads are grooved on one side with 8 positions that mate with the Multi-Drive’s built-in ball detent. This allows each socket be “locked in” at a right angle, straight or inline, and at 45° angles. You can use the sockets at different angles, but the tool will likely snap into place at one of the detent positions.
I really wanted to like this tool. It has a nice grip, it’s relatively compact, and it seems to be a well thought out design. But I hated using it. Maybe it’s something I need to get used to, but I just did not like the way the tool felt.
I have a few additional criticisms about the tool. The pin that holds in the large socket head and socket adapter head is carefully and cleanly knurled. But why is there a singly tiny ball detent holding it in place? I would have liked to see it threaded as on a D shackle.
If I’m going to carry separate sockets to use with the socket adapter head, I may as well carry a ratchet as well, rendering the adapter useless. I would have much prefered to have seen a drop-in 1/4″ hex adapter sized to fit one of the sockets.
If you’re looking for a Dog Bone style wrench and don’t need the Multi Drive’s spline, star, and 12pt compatibility, I would instead recommend Black & Decker’s Ratcheting Ready Wrench, or the original if you can still find it. If you are okay with two tools instead of one, take a look at Craftsman’s dog bone wrenches.
The tool featured in this review was purchased at a local Lowes for about $25.