Southwire Tools is coming out with a range of new Made-in-USA screwdrivers, as seen on Amazon and their social media channels.
It’s unclear as to whether there will be any sets, but so far we’ve seen a selection of screwdrivers and nutdrivers on Amazon, priced at ~$10 to $16 each, but that’s subject to change. (We’ve learned not to take Amazon preorder pricing too seriously.)
Here are the common features, as taken from the Amazon product pages:
- 22% larger cushion-grip (compared to their previous generation screwdriver)
- Corrosion-resistant shank
- Tether hole for lanyard attachment
We reached out to Southwire hoping for more detailed information, but have not seen any press materials yet. We also haven’t seen any press materials about their new electrician’s hammer, but we’re hopeful we’ll learn more.
At the time of this posting, we can see listings for new Southwire Tools screwdrivers with Phillips, slotted, square, and SAE nutdriver tips.
The new Southwire USA-made screwdrivers are said to have a lifetime warranty.
Southwire first came out with a selection of USA-made wire cutters and strippers back in 2017, and I think new USA-made screwdrivers are welcome.
The new tools definitely look to be quite different from the traditional cushion-grip screwdriver designs that electricians tend to gravitate towards. All of the Amazon listings describe the handles as being 22% larger than Southwire’s previous generation screwdrivers and nutdrivers. Assuming that they mean 22% wider, that could make them more comfortable for higher torque applications.
Personally, I’m not a fan of thicker screwdriver handles, but the tapered shape of these drivers do make them look welcoming and hand-friendly. All of Southwire’s product images show the tools being gripped in gloved hands, but I don’t think there’s any conclusion to draw from that.
Because of the lanyard hole, the screwdrivers don’t look to have full-length tangs, a potential downside for some users. Although, users who want this feature could also pick up a pair of inexpensive demo-style screwdrivers, which typically have full-length tangs and metal strike caps.
It’s a bigger deal that the product photos don’t show driver-end size identification. In other words, let’s say you have a couple of screwdrivers and nutdrivers in your tool pouch. Without driver-end size markings, how do you quickly determine which screwdriver you need to grab? This is a feature a lot of users consider a must-have.
It is also interesting that Amazon has the first product listings for these screwdrivers. At the time of this posting, Lowes’ website only shows the older style of Southwire cushion-grip screwdrivers, and none of these new models. The new Southwire hammer is currently shipping from Amazon, but still doesn’t appear on Lowes’ website.
If we’re talking about USA-made hand tools aimed at electrician’s, one of the first questions to ask is how they compare with Klein.
Price-wise, the Klein tools come in a bit lower, but that could still change. For instance, the Klein Phillips #2 screwdriver is (as of the time of this posting) $8.13 on Amazon, and eligible for extra $0.26 savings if you “clip” a coupon. The Southwire Phillips #2 screwdriver is currently listed at $11.93 at Amazon.
We don’t yet know the full scope of Southwire’s product launch, or whether they plan to release additional screwdriver styles down the road. Klein’s selection of screwdrivers and nutdrivers is quite mature, but I would guess than a few SKUs are the most popular by a large margin.
From what I could find, Southwire is launching two sizes of Phillips #2 screwdrivers. As evident from a quick Amazon search, Klein offers a larger selection of lengths and styles. Southwire has room to grow, and that also gives them potential opportunities to innovate and adapt to developing trends. For instance, Southwire gave their new drivers handle holes large enough for tool tethers and lanyards. If Klein is to offer the same functionality, they’d need to start from scratch with a new handle style.
Which would you rather use? A question like this is always hard to say without having both styles of screwdrivers in-hand, but personally I might like that the Southwire handles are cushion-gripped, rather than being cushion-wrapped. A lot of people favor Klein’s traditional screwdriver handle styling, but it has limitations. For instance, you need a roughly cylindrical shape. Southwire’s screwdrivers have a tapered geometry, which necessitates the molded cushion grip. I have really grown to like Euro-style screwdriver handles, which tend to have more complex geometries, and so neither style would be my first pick.
It’s a big deal for Southwire to launch USA-made screwdrivers and nutdrivers, and it’s definitely welcome. Southwire has their work cut out for them if they’re to carve out a bigger chunk of the hand tool business. But I wonder – would they develop and launch new USA-made hand tools if they hadn’t already made inroads? They have made a lot of progress in five years, and I have the feeling they’re going to push forward, with more hand tools to come in the next five years.
The new Southwire screwdrivers look interesting. Hopefully Southwire can share more about these new screwdrivers and what went into them; we’ll report back if we learn more.