A ratcheting screwdriver, or multi-bit screwdriver, is the handle of a screwdriver with interchangeable bits, preventing handymen from having too many tools in their toolbox.
Ratcheting screwdrivers also “ratchet” when you turn a screw. In other words, you should not have to twist your hand as much when using the tool. Using a ratcheting screwdriver over a traditional screwdriver should also make your use of time more efficient.
Be sure that you are choosing the correct ratcheting screwdriver, however. Choosing the wrong ratcheting screwdriver can cause more issues on your next project than advantages (Source).
When purchasing a ratcheting screwdriver, you want to consider the durability, number of bits, bit sizes, and the ratcheting options.
Read our reviews of the top five ratcheting screwdrivers here.
Best Ratcheting Screwdrivers 2018
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Ratcheting Screwdrivers 2018
- 2 1. Klein Tools 32558 Ratcheting Multi-Bit Screwdriver/Nut Driver – Best Overall
- 3 2. Wera Kraftform Kompakt Ratcheting Screwdriver – Best for Ratcheting Action
- 4 3. Stanley 62-574 Multibit Ratcheting Screwdriver Set, Pack of 20 – Best Screwdriver for Bit Options
- 5 4. Dewalt Multi-Bit Ratcheting Screwdriver Set – Best Choice for Diverse Use
- 6 5. Craftsman Ratcheting Ready Bit Screwdriver – Middle of the Road Option
- 7 Factors to Consider Before Purchasing a Ratcheting Screwdriver
- 8 Our Final Take
|Klein Tools 32558 Ratcheting Multi-Bit Screwdriver||A+|
|Wera Kraftform Kompakt Ratcheting||A|
|A Stanley Multibit Ratcheting Screwdriver Set||A|
|Dewalt Multi-Bit Ratcheting Screwdriver Set||A-|
|Craftsman Ratcheting Ready Bit Screwdriver||A|
1. Klein Tools 32558 Ratcheting Multi-Bit Screwdriver/Nut Driver – Best OverallFirst, durability must be considered when purchasing a ratcheting screwdriver. Klein’s Ratcheting Multi-Bit Screwdriver is made of tempered steel, making it a choice for any professional handymen.
Because of the tempered steel, the bits do not slip out of the shaft easily and withstand quite a bit of torque. An additional benefit to these bits is that they are interchangeable with bits from other ratcheting screwdrivers.
This particular set comes with 9 different bits. These bits are multiple sizes and include phillips, flat-head, nut driver, and hex driver shapes. All the sizes needed to get the job done well.
Another major benefit to this screwdriver is the ratcheting action. There are options to ratchet in forward and reverse, and also to lock the ratchet. Locking the ratchet converts the screwdriver into a traditional screwdriver.
The only real disadvantage to the Klein screwdriver is its weight. It is much heavier than the other models of the Klein ratcheting screwdrivers, causing some frustration when ratcheting or carrying the tool.
2. Wera Kraftform Kompakt Ratcheting Screwdriver – Best for Ratcheting ActionIn terms of durability, the Kraftform Kompakt Ratcheting Screwdriver is different from the Klein. The Kraftform Kompakt is made from zinc, making it lighter but just as sturdy as the Klein.
This Ratcheting Screwdriver is an improvement on the Klein for number of bits. It comes with a whopping 16 bit options. These bit options are similar to the Klein.
The ratcheting action on the Kraftform is what makes it special. With a special tooth system, this ratcheting screwdriver can withstand up to 50 Newton metres, or 38 pounds, of torque.
Like the Klein, however, it has forward, reverse, and stop action on the ratchet. This allows for traditional screwdriver use.
A final benefit of the Kraftform Kompakt, is that it is under a limited lifetime warranty. Though this does not mean you can get a free replacement because of wear and tear, it does mean that manufacturing defects are covered.
3. Stanley 62-574 Multibit Ratcheting Screwdriver Set, Pack of 20 – Best Screwdriver for Bit OptionsThe Stanley Multibit Ratcheting Screwdriver is made from alloy steel, which makes it slightly less durable than other ratcheting screwdrivers. However, an additional durability benefit is the magnetic bit holder. This bit holder allows for easy bit switching and additional support in securing bits.
The number of bits with this ratcheting screwdriver is 20. The benefit of this means that there are many options for you to use while on the job.
These bits are not just different shapes, but have many different sizes. This is a huge advantage, as you may know which shape you need, but you will probably not be positive which size you need.
A disadvantage is that the handle storage cannot hold all 20 bits, meaning you must know which size you will need before going to a job. It is also difficult to get the bits out of the storage compartment, causing some frustration with the handle storage.
Ratcheting action here, meets the standards set by other ratcheting screwdrivers. With reverse, forward, and stop action, the Stanley is easily converted to meet your needs.
4. Dewalt Multi-Bit Ratcheting Screwdriver Set – Best Choice for Diverse UseThis screwdriver is decently sturdy and durable. It also has a magnetic bit holder, making it a great choice for durability.
As far as bits in this screwdriver, there are twelve bits, in multiple sizes and shaped slotted, phillips, square, and star. This allows for great diversity in use of the screwdriver.
One feature this screwdriver has, which others do not, is the removable bar. The bar in this screwdriver allows it to be used in a power drill as well as the ratcheting screwdriver. This extra advantage makes it an excellent choice.
The ratcheting action on this screwdriver is solid. It provides the standard three directional options. It also allows for an extension bar, which lets the use get into tighter places than traditional screwdrivers can reach.
There are two large disadvantages to this screwdriver. The first is the plastic packaging can be incredibly difficult to unpackage. In some places, the packaging is actually tucked inside of the screwdriver.
If the packaging breaks off, the plastic is difficult to remove from the screwdriver. Be cautious in how you remove the screwdriver.
The second disadvantage that on some of the screwdrivers–though not all–the ball bearing bit does not function properly. If you are purchasing this screwdriver particularly for ball bearing use, consider a different bit.
5. Craftsman Ratcheting Ready Bit Screwdriver – Middle of the Road OptionThe Craftsman Ratcheting Screwdriver is another screwdriver with a magnetic tip, ensuring the bits are easily attached and secured. Overall, this screwdriver is incredibly durable and can withstand a lot of torque.
This screwdriver has 14 interchangeable bits, making it just about a middle of the road screwdriver. however, it does have a magnetic bit attachment, setting it a little about the standard ratcheting screwdriver.
For ratcheting action, this screwdriver has the standard three directions. It can ratchet forward, in reverse, and can stop, allowing the screwdriver to become a standard screwdriver.
Unfortunately, the disadvantage to this ratcheting screwdriver is a large one. While some of the screwdrivers on the list cannot store all of the bits they sell in conjunction with the ratcheting screwdriver, this one simply does not store them well.
In other words, it is simple for the bits to fall out or become lost when stored inside of the screwdriver. It is highly recommended you find a second way to store your bits.
Factors to Consider Before Purchasing a Ratcheting Screwdriver
A ratcheting screwdriver is an excellent choice for any handymen. By purchasing a ratcheting screwdriver, you will ultimately save yourself time and money.
However, when you look to purchase a ratcheting screwdriver, you must consider the number and type of bits, durability, and ratcheting action.
Even once you consider these options for standard ratcheting screwdrivers, there are other choices to take note of. Read on for our final thoughts before you purchase a ratcheting screwdriver.
Below are things to consider before buying a ratcheting screwdriver:
You must ensure that your ratcheting screwdriver is durable and can withstand large amounts of torque. THis often means understanding the material that your ratcheting screwdriver is made of.
Traditionally, a tempered steel screwdriver is the best. Steel is incredibly strong, and when it is tempered it can withstand more torque than traditional steel.
The second option with material is an alloy steel. Alloys are traditionally strong, because the alloy combine strength of both metals, without absorbing too many disadvantages of the metals.
Finally, zinc is the last metal on the list of durable metals for ratcheting screwdrivers. It is a strong metal, but it is incredibly lightweight, allowing the metal to be used more diversely.
Other metals can be just as durability, but are often heavier or more difficulty to use as a screwdriver.
Amount of Torque
Similar to durability, the amount of torque is incredibly important. The amount of torque you will apply to a screwdriver is different than other handymen.
Consider the need of a minimum of 50 Newton metres. If you choose a lesser torque, it is much easier to bend the screwdriver.
Also consider if you are the only one using the screwdriver. If you own a business or have a friend or family member who will regularly use your ratcheting screwdriver, be sure they will not apply too much torque.
Ratcheting action should traditionally have three ratcheting options. Some screwdrivers have easier ways to switch the ratcheting action, and some screwdrivers do not have a third direction options.
All ratcheting screwdrivers have forward and reverse option, as this is the traditional meaning of a ratcheting screwdriver. However, the ratcheting screwdriver has a third option, turning it into a traditional screwdriver.
The access to this ratcheting change is possibly the most important detail here. Ratcheting screwdrivers should have a ring at the top of the screwdriver, allowing the direction to be changed or stopped easily.
One of the most important features on a ratcheting screwdriver is the magnetic bit attachment. If the bits are magnetically attached to the screwdriver, it ensures the security of the bit.
The magnetic piece holds the bit securely. It is then easier for you to screw in the bit holders, securing the bits.
It also means that when you are changing the bits, it is much easier to do. THis is because the bits will easily detach and reattach when you are in the middle of work.
Bit shapes are a huge challenge in terms of choosing the correct ratcheting screwdriver. THere are many bit shapes to choose from, including, but not limited to: Phillips, Slotted, Flat Head, Square, and Hexagon.
It is important to choose the correct bit shapes for your current or most common projects. However, you should also be cautious in choosing a limited number of bits.
Typically, unless your work is very limited, you should choose the screwdrivers with the most diverse style of bits. If your screwdriver has additional bits you can purchase, aside from the base set, you should take this into consideration as well. Perhaps the base set will get you by until you can determine which additional bits you need.
Extension bars are an incredibly important piece to consider when you are choosing the perfect ratcheting screwdriver. Extension bars, among other things, allow you to extend the bit on the screwdriver.
This extension can allow you to get into spaces further than you can reach. They can also allow you to reach into spaces which are simply too tight for your hand to fit.
If you commonly find yourself struggling to reach into the tight places of your home or business in order to tighten screws, you must consider whether your extension bar is included or not.
You also should do research on whether your extension bar allows you to use the bits for a traditional power drill. If it does, this means that all of your bits can also attach to a power drill. This can be a huge advantage and can ultimately save you money on the sizes and shapes of bits you must purchase.
Number of Bits
The number of bits is incredibly important to consider. Though it is important to consider how many shapes your screwdriver includes, the number of bits can indicate the number of different sizes.
When working on a project, sometimes it does not matter which shape of bit you have, but instead it matters which size of bit. It is important to make sure your screwdriver comes with as many bit sizes and shapes as possible.
Though this is not always an easy option to find, if you are a professional handyman, or simply do a lot of handyman work, you absolutely must look for the largest number of bits you can attain.
A tooth system is an intricate option on a ratcheting screwdriver. This is only for the truly picky and high-tech.
A tooth system is the number of ridges allowing the ratcheting screwdriver to ratchet. If your tooth system has a higher number, it means that there are more ridges.
The higher the number of ridges (or teeth), the greater the strength of the ratcheting power. If you are looking for the stronger ratcheting screwdriver, you absolutely must take tooth system into consideration.
In this listing, the Klein screwdriver has the highest tooth system rating. It also means that it has the strongest ratcheting strength.
Our Final Take
If you are still considering whether you should purchase a traditional screwdriver or a ratcheting screwdriver, remember that the ratcheting screwdriver can save your wrists and other joints from too much pain and twisting. You should also consider the ease of changing bits versus the struggle of finding the correct screwdriver.
Before you purchase a ratcheting screwdriver, truly consider which projects you will be using the screwdriver for the most often. Allow this to determine the bit sizes and shapes you need up front.
You should also do your research–does your ratcheting screwdriver allow you to purchase more bits in different sizes and shapes? If not, consider a different screwdriver. If so, you may have found a winner.
Make sure you know that your screwdriver is durable enough to handle the torque you will use against it. Additionally, make sure that your ratcheting screwdriver is able to reach the spaces that you want to without a chance of dropping a bit in a tight place.
Leave us a comment and share your favorite ratcheting screwdriver and your reasons why!