Turned Around: The 8 Best Multi-Bit Screwdrivers

Dec 22, 2015

Category: Gear

You used to be able to get away with just two basic screwdrivers on your belt. If you were packing a Phillips-head and a flathead, you were set. Now there’s hexes, squares, Torx, and more coming all the time. The average home uses almost every kind in one way or another, particularly when you add in whatever happens to be sitting in the garage. To deal with all these different styles, a handyman or DIYer is going to need a multi-bit screwdriver, and frankly, so does the average person who doesn’t want to pay every time they need a step to stop wiggling.

In finding the right screwdrivers with replaceable heads, we sought out both the small-time kind for basic repairs and quick fixes, all the way up to the more comprehensive sets that work for people who specialize in either larger, or more delicate tasks. We found those that carried all of the most common screws and a few that went to the exotic with additional nut drivers, extensions, and accessories. When you’re ready to screw, we suggest you do it with one of the 8 best multi-bit screwdrivers for ease and convenience.

Stanley 4-in-1 Pocket Screwdriver

Stanley 4-in-1 Pocket Screwdriver

Pro: Soft, comfortable grip
Con: Very limited torque and tough to grip due to size

EDC Necessity: Built to be your everyday carry screwdriver, you’re not going to want this for long, exhaustive jobs, but rather keep it in a pocket or a desk for those smaller repairs that can happen anywhere that life blows you. Non-slip magnetic bits are double-sided to reduce space consumption and weight, and the whole thing fits anywhere you can put a pen. From eyeglasses to computer components, up to those nasty deck screws, this can run the entire course of basic bits, or you can swap them out for any of your choice of Stanley’s extensive line of bits and heads.

Purchase: $5

Stanley Stubby Ratcheting MultiBit

Stanley Stubby Ratcheting MultiBit

Pro: Works well on computers
Con: End cap tends to slip off

Sawed Off: A good things / small packages scenario, you’ll get nearly as many of the chrome vanadium bits into this as you will its larger cousins with six slots, but it requires a fraction of the space. A triple-positioned ratchet gives you the ability to swap directions on the fly and when combined with the wide bottom, offers ample area for applying pressure as you twist. It only comes with Phillips and slotted bits, but standard driver bits will take to this easily should you require something a little different, and Stanley has plenty of other options to choose from.

Purchase: $6

Milwaukee Compact 8-in-1 Compact Ratchet

Milwaukee Compact 8-in-1 Compact Ratchet

Pro: Hex shanks for leverage
Con: Bits are hard to replace

Arm Extension: The people at Milwaukee aren’t messing around. Big or small, they always manage to put it in the strike zone. Able to hold 8 bits in the base but scant inches in length, you’ll never lose a bit thanks to the visible bottom storage. It can be operated from a direct base grip since the contoured body gives your whole hand purchase for a unique twisting style that puts all your weight into the motion. Each bit is power grooved so that they are compliant with most power tools right out of the box. Small but bombproof, you’re playing with fire if you don’t have one in your car.

Purchase: $15

Picquic X-7 SixPac Plus

Picquic X-7 SixPac Plus

Pro: Solid handle reduces part failures
Con: Handle is not ergonomic nor very comfortable

Simple Science: For an inexpensive choice, the Sixpac Plus has a level of design and craftsmanship that is rarely seen in the plain screwdriver world. Rather than adding in flash and gimmicks, Picquic has created an automatic bit ejection system that reduces lost hardware and quickens the process of getting your gear ready to go. A spring lock in the bit holder keeps each bit steady for a bullseye every time. Made to use longer bits for reaching further and deeper, it’s charm takes some time to grow on you, but it’ll win you over in the span of a single project.

Purchase: $17

Craftsman 9-41796 Ratcheting Ready-Bit

Craftsman 9-41796 Ratcheting Ready-Bit

Pro: Swiveling end allows you to press and turn easily
Con: Won’t work for high torque scenarios

Speed Loader: Craftsman might not make the best tools in the business, but they’re experts at giving you the best tool for the money. Craftsman’s Ready-Bit is a successful piece of engineering that makes the multi-bit screwdriver into a modern accessory. 14 bits are held in a rotating rack that fits into the handle for finding the right bit without fumbling. Texture on the sides provides traction, but can also move across your hand for when you don’t need to bear down.

Purchase: $29

Wera Kraftform Kompakt

Wera Kraftform Kompakt

Pro: Comfortable ergonomic handle
Con: Does not ratchet

Most for the Money: Until you’ve put a Wera in your fist, you’re just playing around with the lumber. With some of the best bits around, the Kraftform Kompakt driver complete with its own belt case will prove itself time and again. The bits fit in the center when stashed for a more balanced feel with proper weighting at both ends making operation cleaner and tighter. The Rapidaptor for extending the tool has a quick release chuck for getting in close or swapping out heads more quickly. It’s made with German engineering, which speaks for itself, but it’s also backed by a lifetime warranty that’s no joke.

Purchase: $31

Megapro 211R2C36RD

Megapro 13-in-1 Ratcheting Driver

Pro: Locking ratchet mechanism
Con: Only works with included bits or those bought from Megapro

Under the Dome: A total of 13 different heads are tucked away inside a grippable handle along with palm-friendly cap. Using a combination of rubber for grip and plastic for slide, you can use this repeatedly without developing hotspots or blisters on your hands. The haft is a quarter-inch hex at the end of an alloy steel shaft. Mostly Phillips and Torx heads, a slotted and a square complete the collection. With the heads disappearing into the handle for a smoother look and more elegant storage, it occupies no more space than a single standard driver.

Purchase: $34

PB Swiss Tools Insider-3

PB Swiss Tools Insider-3

Pro: Works with aftermarket bits
Con: Limited number of teeth on the ratchet

Beyond First Class: PB Swiss Tools made a name for themselves acting as the Swiss Army Knife of screwdrivers with their classic models. Bringing a bit of the old in with a whole helping of the new, the Insider-3 is the heavy-duty ratcheting driver of your dreams. A long handle and massive shaft reach deep into tight spaces or thread the needle in cramped engine compartments. Up to 10 PrecisionBits can go into the holster. Included standard with the Insider-3 is some slotted and Phillips bits along with Pozidrive, hex, and Torx, covering all the major bases.

Purchase: $99

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