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8 Brands to Consider for the World’s Best Screwdriver

Aug 19, 2015   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Beginner, Blog, Manual, Products  //  34 Comments

As machinist’s, we use screwdrivers a lot, right?  Many of us are also major tool junkies.  So, when we get tired of the usual Craftsman or SnapOn options, where do we go for a better screwdriver?

I thought it was worth some research and came up with 9 brands.  What makes a better screwdriver?  Lots of things in common including:

  • More comfortable ergonomic grip
  • Easier to tell at a glance whether you have to right one
  • Extra machine work so the tip is optimized for the job it has to do
  • Overall quality of construction and materials
  • Warranty
  • Extra gizmos and gadgets

Without further ado, here are some possibilities for you to consider:

Klein Tools

Electricians, in particular, seem to swear by Klein Cushion Grip screwdrivers.  But so do a lot of others.  Their 8 piece set is available on Amazon for $64.99 as I write this:

KleinCushionGrip
Klein Tools 85078 Cushion-Grip Screwdriver Set, 8-Piece

To my eye, this is one of the tamer grip designs of the bunch, but people do swear by them.  One special Klein screwdriver I would like to lay hands on is this one:

KleinRapidDrive

Klein 67100 2-in-1 Interchangeable Rapi-Driv Screwdriver

The Rapi-Drive is a speed driver with interchangeable tip that looks like it’d be handy for rapidly installing or removing screws that don’t require a lot of torque–handy in the right situation.

Felo Ergonic Screwdrivers

Now we’re talking about a more ergonomic grip, and they will certainly stand out with their modern design:

FeloErgonic

Felo – Felo 6 Pc Slotted / Phillips Ergonic Screwdriver Set – 62411

And at $26.21, these lovely German-made screwdrivers surely won’t break the bank.

PB Swiss Screwdrivers

These screwdrivers are extremely popular in places like the Garage Journal where tool snobs like to hang out (it’s a great board, BTW, be sure to check it out some time!). Their 6 driver set includes a nice wall rack:

PBSwiss

PB Swiss Tools PB 8244 Slotted/Phillips driver set

That set is $58.99, so this is not the low budget option.  But, they are made in Switzerland, have ergonomic grips, and the grips are made of a special material that still gives traction if your hands are oily–that might be pretty handy.  Plus, I love the way you can tell at a glance whether you have a Slotted or Phillips tip by the end cap color.

Wera Kraftform Screwdrivers

Wera are another German brand that gets mentioned in hushed tones by the afficionados.  They certainly have a distinctive look to them:

WeraScrewdrivers

Wera Kraftform Plus 334/6 Screwdriver Set with Rack and Lasertip, 6-Pieces

The Wera set goes for $31.44.  It’s neat that you can tell the type and size of the driver from the notations on the end cap.  They also sell a step-up model whose main difference seems to be that it is made of stainless steel.  What will the Germans think of next?

Nepros Screwdrivers

As machinists, we know full well that the Japanese make some nice stuff.  Check out this premium wood-handled screwdriver set:

NeprosScrewdrivers

Nepros Wooden Grip Screwdriver Set (6pcs.)

They’re absolutely gorgeous, but at $187.50, I might be afraid to use them very much.  Perhaps only when changing the jets on the Weber carburetors of my vintage Ferrari.  Um, assuming I had one?

Wiha Screwdrivers

Wiha is another great German brand, and I have had some experience with Wiha Torx drivers for changing inserts on my tooling–they’re nicely made.  They have several screwdriver sets, but there best is really nice:

WihaHeavyDuty

Wiha 53097 Screwdriver Set, Slotted and Phillips, Extra Heavy Duty, 7 Piece

They’re not cheap at $93.42, but they’re splendidly well-made, and you have to love the extra features like the wrench flats where the shank goes into the handle.

Facom Protwist

Facom make great tools.  In fact, if you attend any historic races sporting Formula One cars, you’re likely to see a fair number of Facom tools floating around the pits.  They seem to have an “in” with that crowd.  Their Protwist Screwdrivers are certainly lovely:

FacomProtwist

Facom Protwist Screwdriver Set 6 Piece

$55.30 for these lovelies.  Be sure to check out their nifty Facom Protwist Stubby Screwdriver Set of 5 too!

Vessel Ball Grip Screwdrivers

These Japanese-made screwdrivers have the oddest shape yet, but I have a feeling I would really like them:

VesselBallGrip .Vessel Ball grip Screwdrivers

The ends are marked so you can see what type driver you’re getting.  They’re not all that expensive–$28.94 for the set.  I am thinking that for certain situations, a palm-drive would be really nice.

Conclusion

There you have it–8 brands you may not have been aware of that should be considered for the title, “World’s Best Screwdriver.”  I doubt there is a one-size-fits-all solution here–the choice will be a matter of personal taste.

Which of these would you pick, or what brand not mentioned would you recommend for World’s Best Screwdriver?

Note:  Many of the links in this article are affiliate links to Amazon.  If you click through on them and subsequently purchase the screwdrivers, CNCCookbook will get a small fee.  Hey, we need good screwdrivers here too, and that’s how we’re starting a fund to buy them.  But, if you don’t want to contribute, no worries.  Just search Amazon using the information provided here and you’ll be able to find the same thing, sans affiliate link, in no time.

 

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8 Brands to Consider for the World’s Best Screwdriver
5 (100%) 3 votes

34 Comments

  • Why no pozidrive screwdrivers in these sets? Are they not common in the US?

    • Tom, I hadn’t come across the pozidrive. They look nice. This is why I ask the readers for their ideas and suggestions–something good always comes of asking.

      • Bob,
        I think that you misunderstood the term Pozidrive. It refers to a design of a particular type of cross head. The detail shape of the slots are different to those commonly known as Phillips. The slots in combination with an appropriate screwdriver are designed to reduce the tendency for the blade to spin in the slot. It is not the brand of screw-driver.

        • Posidrive fasteners are pretty uncommon in the US. High-torque applications tend to use Robertson square drive, Torx, or hex socket.

  • I still have my blue handeled screwdriver from the erector set I had as a kid. Priceless

    I think for $187 you should not be afraid to use those screwdrivers on anything. Including opening paint cans and the occasional chisel job.

    The most important tools I have are my insulated screwdrivers designed for working on potentially live circuits. Klein Tools for Electricians are worth every penny.

    My best tools are Powerbuilt Snap-on clones which I bought at the Navy Exchange in Pensacola Fl. They stay in my tool chest reserved for automotive work. Do not want cheap tools that can slip and strip frozen auto parts.

    Just bought a set of black anodized Stanley 6 Point sockets to keep in my new compact car. Black anodized = invisible even on my white garage floor. Dumbest Idea ever!

    I have various Dollar Store and W-Mart screwdrivers and wrenches at various work stations on my property so I do not have to borrow from my good automotive tools for non critical stuff. I do not need a $25 adjustable wrench for my welding tanks.

    $15 worth of cheap screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers and Allen wrenches in my kitchen saves me numerous trips out to my shop for little chores.

    My lathe and Milling workstations are stocked with only the few needed sized that came from cheap sets that were discarded when I upgraded. No high torques or frozen bolts to deal with so no exotic brands needed. The cheap wood handeled screw drivers that came with my Grizzly Lathe still serve well 2 decades later. Something nice about wood.

    My prized tools are my bicycle specialty tools from Taiwan. I have augmented the specialty tools with the beautiful but over priced Kobalt wrenches and sockets from Lowes strictly for vanity purposes. I likes my bicycles way more than my cars.

    My machinist tool box and measuring instruments are a whole different mindset but this blog is about screwdrivers.

    • John, good thoughts.

      I do like to keep tools commonly needed with the machines nearby. I even used some colored electrical tape to color code what goes where. Wrap the handle and then stick a short swatch onto the machine near where the tool would be used. Makes it quick to find the right one.

      As for the kitchen, every few years I buy one of those “complete kits” from Sharper Image or Brookstone to keep in the kitchen pantry. Keeps my wife and kids out of my toolbox!

  • I have a set of green Matco drivers and they have outlasted the Strap ons… which I have a nice collection of with busted and chipped business ends… no I do not uses them with a hammer…

    I am a firm believer in buying quality tools (I have a ton of craftsman pro series along with Matco and Snap on) cheap tools cst you time and possible injury… my theory is the same for Cigars… life is to short to smoke cheap ones!

  • As an Englishman currently working in the states the lack of Pozidrive screwdrivers & screws is a fairly constant source of frustration, you really miss them when you have got used to the system.

    Having said that, both my Snap-on screwdriver sets are Phillips rather than pozidrive, so work just fine over here.

    I miss pozidrive bits the most when using the Dewalt impact drives, then the extra grip of the pozidrive really shines through.

    (Note for other English readers, they call Imperial ‘Standard’ over here, asking for an imperial anything will get you a blank look… )

  • Snap-On? They aren’t cheap, to be sure. But the handles are the best-feeling I’ve ever used, and the blades (shafts, tips) are as durable as any others.

    • …and the blades are replaceable. Keep a couple spare #2 phillips blades on hand, and never have another worn screwdriver.

  • You mentioned the Vessel ball grips, which are ok, but for JIS screws, the Vessel “cross point” drives are the best! If you work with anything metric with a “cross point” it’s not a Phillips head, and the JIS specific design is priceless. Plus the built in hex nut on the shaft has been very handy for the #2 and #3 drivers.

  • Grace makes nice old-school wood handled screwdrivers and the price is right. Parallel sided flatheads don’t come out on their own (the tip of the flatheads are ground parallel, not the typical tapered style)

    Elkhead tools makes some nice screwdrivers as well, more of a gentleman’s tool than something to get greasy working on your car though.

  • Why don’t manufacturers make sets of only Phillips screwdrivers? Over the last few years my need for slotted (flat bladed) screwdrivers has decreased greatly. Even if a slotted screwdriver gets messed up a quick trip to a bench grinder usually fixes it. In contrast a messed up Phillips screwdriver is a candidate for becoming a scribe or awl. One can buy sets of square drive or other special drive screwdrivers but not (to my knowledge) Phillips. Finally, in the larger sizes, I think it pays to have the hex section below the handle which allows one hand to provide the push and the other the twist via a wrench.

  • My favorite set is Brownells #080-112-081WB (magna-tip). With 57 tips, you’d be hard pressed to not have just the right size for your work, and the straight tips are parallel ground, so they won’t cam out of the screw slot.

  • You should check out Milwaukee Tools. They make some very nice screwdrivers and other hand tools.

  • Best are the ones I can afford to lose or have “borrowed”.

  • The one thing I also look at when purchasing tools is what warranty they come with if any, and how easy and convenient it will be if I need to exchange them. That is the biggest reason I have the big box store brands.

  • One attribute I look for in a screwdriver is the magnetic properties of the shaft. I like to use a magnetic knife bar for storing screwdrivers and similar tools, but not all brands stick very well to them.

  • […] A screwdriver is the machinist’s best friend, so it’s important that you have a quality screwdriver on your tool belt. The perfect screwdriver has a comfortable grip, easy to identify tips, and is made of quality, tough metal. For a review of some of the top brands of screwdrivers for machinists, please click here:: 8 Brands to Consider for the World’s Best Screwdriver […]

  • Screwdrivers can be purchased separately also. It is not important that you buy the tool box with drives

  • Thanks BOB for such Good comparison article. Its good to see My favorite VESSEL BALL GRIP. If we are opening up some decade old equipment, this one never fails us. Opens Up all the jammed Screws without any clutters. VESSEL Gives a confidence boost for critical Tasks.

  • For some reason I find this discussion, now I am retired, absolutely fascinating. I too have a best tool box with 5 drawers, and now ( as I am 60 years old) and have collected tools since childhood) at least two other overflow cantilever boxes with older reject tools in case I have rougher jobs to do. Now I have three married grown up kids they help them selves from the second division toolboxes but when my son borrows my low range torque wrench and 3/4″ Allen sockets for his racing bike from my division one tool kit, I miss them like an old friend. Tokoma used to make the best screw drivers and now I think Wiha or Teng tools are supposed to be pretty durable. What you need in a screwdriver is a tip as hard as diamond and an ergonomic handle.
    Dr Chris

  • […] http://blog.cnccookbook.com/2015/08/…t-screwdriver/ ____________________________ Reply With […]

  • […] no alternative — screwdrivers were made for these types of tasks. You should have both flat and Phillips-head sets with a variety of different sizes, so […]

  • I’m definitely not interested in any rubbery / rubberized coated screwdriver. The rubbery coating they invariably use breaks down, smells nasty after a while and turns your expensive ass screwdrivers into junk when it gets really bad. The softer it is, the more likely you have a tool that won’t be reliable in a decade or 2.

  • No love for Starrett?

    Was absolutely thrilled to be able to find a pair of Starrett 559A/B wood-handled screwdrivers, but am sad that they are no longer made.

    They have the nicely shaped curved ground tips w/ parallel ends which are becoming unusual, but which I prefer.

    Current example: http://www.leevalley.com/US/wood/page.aspx?p=70159&cat=1,43411,43417

    • William, I like the parallel tips too. Very popular with gunsmiths, so that’s one possible place to look. The ones from your link are also beautiful.

      I will say, I have some nice gunsmiths screwdrivers which I keep separate from my general-purpose screwdrivers. The latter take some abuse from me, I will admit. They’re often handy for poking, prying, and other un-screwdriverly tasks. As such, the brands listed above are inexpensive enough I don’t feel bad about using them freely or replacing one every now and again if I am too hard on it.

  • Odd that you left out Proto. Those also get a lot of buzz on the Garage Journal. Nice solid drivers with consistent quality.

    Chapman makes a great insert set that’s especially good if you’re doing a lot of slotted screws in pieces where not slipping is critical, eg gunsmithing.

  • I work at one of the shops that manufactures most of Snap On’s tools. If you have purchased on of the cordless ratchets in the last 2 years, your welcome 🙂 That being said, I wouldn’t buy their smaller tools. They just don’t have strict enough tolerances imo. They worry more about the engraving font than uniformity in GD& T. I’m going to run down a few of the others I’ve tried.
    1) Klein tools are top notch. They aren’t the most comfortable I’ve used but they are certainly durable. Their whole line of hand tools is really well made and they never give me a moments trouble about warranty issues. I inherited most of my Klein’s from my Lineman grandfather and they still work great.

    2) Wiha is another fantastic option. They are really durable and the holder for the Allen wrenches is a example of smart engineering. It may not seem to be a big deal but the way all the wrenches turn to the side simultaneously is a big help when you are using multiple sizes.

    3) I personally would caution against Wera. They feel nice at first but the rubber gets nasty in no time and it starts to fall apart and stick to your hands. They are very bad about tearing up the heads of screws. Their torx do this so often I keep a set of Torx Plus to fix the cutters that the operators tear up bc my boss only buys Wera . The torx heads also tear up in very little time.

    Save your money for Klein tools or Wiha, you’ll be glad you did. Someone mentioned Milwaukee tools, I don’t care for the screwdrivers but the power tools are top notch. The 12 volt impact was my go to tool when I was an electrician. I’ve had the same driver and batteries for 6 plus years of heavy use and they are still going strong.

  • Hey, what are your thoughts on SK screwdrivers?

  • […] months ago, a group of tool junkies rated the best screwdrivers, listing implements manufactured by Klein (U.S. made), Felo Ergonic (German made) and PB Swiss […]

  • […] 8 Brands to Consider for the World’s Best Screwdriver […]

  • That is very useful information on how to choose a good screwdriver

  • […] 8 Brands to Consider for the World’s Best Screwdriver […]

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