Stanley has come out with a new Hi-Speed ratcheting screwdriver (FMHT69236) that they say works 4x faster than traditional screwdrivers, thanks to its 4:1 gear ratio.
The new Hi-Speed driver works a little differently than the various Kobalt Double Drive screwdrivers currently available. The Kobalt works by means of a differential gearing system that translates rotational motion into either loosening or tightening rotation regardless of the direction the driver handle is actually being turned.
The Stanley Hi-Speed driver seems to work via a gear multiplier that trades power for speed.
It looks like the Hi-Speed driver works the same as Husky’s 3X ratcheting screwdriver, but with an even higher gear ratio.
The driver has forward and reverse ratcheting directions, and presumably has a center locked position as well. If not, then the gears had better be robust enough to endure high torque applications.
A built-in compartment in the handle holds a 12-bit cartridge for convenient bit storage.
Buy Now(via Amazon)
I just bought a new Stanley multi-bit screwdriver for $4, and it was a darned good bargain. It’s reasonably well built for what it costs. But would I trust Stanley quality enough to buy one of these $20 ratcheting gear multiplier screwdrivers? To be frank, probably not, but I own and like enough Stanley tools that I would give Stanley and the Hi-Speed driver the benefit of the doubt.
Stanley’s not the first company to come out with a super speedy screwdriver, but maybe they got it right. I think there’s a 51% chance this is a decent driver, and a 49% chance that it’s a gimmick designed to sell during peak tool gift holiday seasons.
Craftsman’s recent Mach ratchet and Mach screwdriver are two other recent “will do it quicker” tools, so this gear multiplier and effort-stretching trend isn’t anywhere near over. In addition to their 3X screwdrivers, Husky also came out with Double Speed adjustable wrenches a while back.
With this driver, the gear multiplier might trade power and control for speed, but the middle ratcheting setting should make up for this.
There are two reasons I might eventually give the Stanley Hi-Speed driver a try, aside from my interest in seeing how well the 4x gearing works.
First, it’s fairly affordable. As long as it’s not shoddily built, it might be a decent ratcheting screwdriver at the $20 price level.
Second, the driver comes with a standard 1/4″ bit holder and 1″ hex screwdriver bits. Many if not most multi-bit drivers come with these hard-to-replace double-sided bits, and that this driver comes with 1″ bits greatly increases its appeal to me.
The Hi-Speed driver looks like it could be good, or at least I’m hopeful that it’s not just eyecandy designed to to attract the attention of Father’s Day gift givers and holiday shoppers.