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While at first glance Skil’s new iXO2 — the second-generation of Skil’s entry into the low-cost li-ion cordless screwdriver market, the iXO — doesn’t look that much different from its predecessor.  But, after a little hands-on time around the Toolmonger shop, we’ve come to notice some significant improvements. 

Let’s start, however, with things that remain the same: The iXO2 is a li-ion-powered, 3.6-volt driver that fits in the palm of your hand.  Like other small household drivers, the iXO2 isn’t designed for heavy lifting but instead for more day-to-day tasks.  And, at less than $40 street, it doesn’t cost heavy, either.

Read on past the jump for our experiences with the improved iXO2 — and lots and lots of pictures.

Unboxing

The iXO2 comes pre-packaged in a hard plastic “fish bowl” case which contains the tool, its charger, a 20-piece bit set that snaps into the charging stand, an extension, and a small drill bit.

Note: Click on smaller pictures for larger ones.

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Like the original iXO, the new unit fits easily into a cupped hand.  It also has a non-locking magnet chuck mechanism that holds the bits in the driver.

Something we noticed straight away is the redesigned trigger.  The original model had a rather bulbous, bumpy design that felt a little strange and uncomfortable.  The iXO2 sports a slimmer, more compact trigger that feels much better — more “integrated” with the rest of the tool.  Furthermore, the shoulder on the back of the grip seems less substantial than the one the iXO, which marks an improvement in the area of comfort.

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When you depress the trigger, the iXO2’s large, easy-to-read indicator lights illuminate to show which direction the fastener will go, and a yellow LED light in the iXO2’s tip lights up your work.

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Though it is a li-ion tool — and still had some charge when it arrived here — we plugged the iXO2 in for some charge time before the test.  When you place it in the charging cradle, the charge light on the top of the unit lets you know it’s receiving juice.

In Use

Once it’d received a good charge, we carried it down to the shop for some rough use. We started with the realistic task of driving 1-1/2 “self-starting” wood screws into a 2×4.  While you wouldn’t really call the iXO2 “fast” at its 200 RPM speed, it did successfully drive the screws — which beats the heck out of hand cranking them. It did bog a bit at the at the bottom end of the drive, but the unit didn’t falter.  It drove each screw flush.

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One complaint: The iXO2’s side-to-side direction selector switch sticks out a bit, so if you put it down on a workbench on its side — the side that corresponds with the direction the driver’s set to run —  the switch is forced back to the middle “off” position.  This is a minor annoyance, but it does cause a hesitation if you think you’re ready to go and pull the trigger and… nothing happens.

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The iXO2’s packaging contains a 1/4″ hex-shank drill bit, which made us scratch our heads a little bit.  Would the iXO really work well as a drill?   A bit skeptical, we loaded the bit in and started to drill.  The 200 RPM speed is fine for small bits like the included one; we drilled the small bit through wood with no issues.  However, when we tried to back the bit out, it wouldn’t stay in the magnetic chuck with enough force to remove the bit from the freshly drilled hole.  So, drilling with this attachment might be a challenge unless the material you’re drilling into “grabs” less than wood.In all fairness, this isn’t really a specific issue with the iXO, but rather an issue that’d arise with any magnetic-chuck driver.  The bottom line: Skip the iXO (or its similar competitors) for drilling.  They’re really best for driving, anyway.

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Conclusion

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Overall, our experience with the iXO2, when compared to the older iXO, is much improved.  The smaller trigger is a bit more ergonomic to hold and operate, and the work light LED is a nice addition as well.

The iXO2 represents well in its $40 price class.  If you’ve previously skipped the iXO in favor of Black & Decker’s SmartDriver, you may want to give the iXO2 a look.  This would make a great “around-the-house” screwdriver for basic assembly work, and its li-ion batteries allow it to hold a charge for quite some time in the drawer. 

The iXO2 [Skil]
Street Pricing [Froogle]

 

14 Responses to Hands-On: Skil iXO2 Lithium-Ion Driver

  1. Myself says:

    I was looking at picking one of these up for my dad for Christmas, but decided against it. The charging station just doesn’t look appropriate for vehicle use, and bringing a tool in to charge it every night is a recipe for forgetting it the next day.

    How about a comparison chart of the various less-than-huge screwdriver products? 🙂

  2. Crispy says:

    I was dead set on this particular model. Then I had the thought, “The best only cost a few bucks more.” Not really true in this case but I went ahead splurged for the 10.8 volt Bosch ps-20 reviewed here on Tool Monger. It retails for $130 in Lowe’s and Home Depot, the same price as a big Craftsmen drill. I use it daily in car audio installations and that thing really speeds up my time of disassembling and reassembling dashs and whatnot. Plus it worth it to me to spend the $130 on a drill with such a small size to get into tight spaces and not wear out my arm holding it all the time.

    Two things I think are important to consider is the fact the Bosch has a clutch with 10 settings and I’m willing to bet more torque. Even with 10.8 volts to power it there are certain 8 mm and 10 mm nuts in a dash that I may have to break loose first with a racket and then back out with the drill. Really I only had to do that the first day because I hadn’t charged the battery since I got the drill. I imagine I would be doing it lots more if I had went with the less powerful Skil.

    However if you don’t need the extra torque, then the smaller and less expensive Skil should be good.

  3. Jim R says:

    Skil (Bosch’s consumer products division) has a 10.8 Lithium drill Model 2410. My guess is, it is the PS20 without a built-in battery(not plug-in), with the PS10 electronic chuck and fuel indicator, and IXO direction and work lights, and a lower price($79 suggested price-I paid $39 for mine at Home Depot on sale).

    I have worked very well for me in handman jobs that are too small for my 18V heavy large cordless, but to big for a 3.6 like the IXO. I use it for most jobs and it easily hold a charge for one days handyman work.

  4. CO says:

    Thanks for the tip Jim R.! It seems the only place to find the 2410 is online from Skil’s website. My guess is that Bosch doesn’t want to keep it in retail because it would kill sells of the more expensive PS20. Well, I just couldn’t get myself to pay $120 for the PS20, regardless of rave reviews. Anyway, I jumped on ebay, and got lucky. Only one for sell and it happened to be new. Cost $40 + $10 shipping. So for less than half the Bosch, I’m excited to try it out.

  5. Mikey01 says:

    I bought the Skil iXO2 and I am delighted with it. I repair office equiptment and computer/laptops/printer/copiers with it. It does everything very well. I recharge about every three weeks and use it every day, a lot. The magnetic extention is powerful enough to hold not only the bit, but the screws on the end of it as well with ease. Being light weight it carries very well in any pocket. It’s a surprising little monster. I have the Bosch PS20 for use at home but seems big and heavy after useing the iXO2 all day at work . But the cumbersom 10.8v PS20 would not be as light, easy to handle, easy to cary, for work use and would contribute more to Carpel Tunnel Sydrome for as much as I would use it. The Skil iXO2 isn a must have item for me.

  6. David says:

    I received the iXO2 4 days ago, and I’ll be exchanging it today. I like the tool and it seems quite capable for its size, and I look forward to using it a lot. Why am I exchanging mine? In the first hour of use I drove some 1 1/2″ wood screws into existing holes, but when I released the trigger as the 3rd screw bottomed out, the drill did not turn off. My iXO2 seems to have locked into the “on” position, and the only way I can turn it off is to move the yellow direction switch into the middle position. As soon as the directional switch is moved to either direction’s position, the driver starts running. The trigger still controls the LED worklight, but only the directional switch controls whether the bit rotates. It appears that there are two switches controlled by the trigger: one for the LED and one for the motor, and I believe I have somehow fused the power switch into the ON position. Strange, isn’t it?

  7. Gabe says:

    I wanted one of these for awhile, not a skill but a small screwdriver, i received this for Christmas (not sure if you are allowed to say Christmas on the Internet anymore, if not please change to “as a holiday gift”).

    It works well, did indeed drive a drywall screw into a 2X4 without any pre-drilling. I would say in doing so it should be considered a assisted screw driver, not really practical. If I were doing more than 4 screws this way i would use something a bit bigger.

    The one thing that the review doesn’t mention, and maybe is a standard feature of these little hand held drivers, is that it can be used as a manual screwdriver when you need a little extra torque. When you release the trigger it automatically locks the drive shaft so you can twist your hand and drive in the screw. I also found that twisting while it is going speeds thing up quite a bit.

    Mine did not come with a drill bit it came with 10 bits and a nice little holster, maybe they realized that it is not the best for drilling.

  8. dave says:

    Does anyone know where I can actually buy one of these? The Skil website refers me to Home Depot and Walmart, and neither of these (locally) have it, and the staff are telling me they can’t order it if they don’t carry it – go figure.

  9. Dan says:

    I purchased a similar hand driver at OSH last year (07) for $10. It has many of the same features as the Skil model, Foward/Reverse LED and LED work light for low-light work conditions, and fits in the palm of your hand.

    What I especially like about the OSH model is that it came with a nice cordura holster that clips to your side/belt and has a section that velcro’s open/close (seperate from the holster) that houses all the extension and bits for the driver. The power supply is small as well.

    I have pics if your interested in seeing it for comparison.

    DanH
    Long Beach, Ca.

  10. Brian says:

    I received one as a gift… I thought I would like it but…The direction switch is clumsy & in the way continually getting shut off. I am returning it though as the Trigger locks on & the only way to shut it off is to bang the handle on something solid a few times. Eventually this wears on you & it as it finally died! This is the worst tool I have ever owned.

  11. Ron says:

    I have an iXo2 and have for several years. It doesn’t want to charge the battery even though the charger seems to have the correct voltage. Can the battery be exchanged. I cannot get it apart.

  12. Ivan Berger says:

    Nice while it lasted. But when the battery died (as all batteries do), you can’t get the battery replaced, according to Skil.

  13. dennis smith says:

    Where can I buy a charger for my skil iXo2 as

  14. Nancy Huggins says:

    My Husband bought me a skilix02 for Christmas I think at least 10 years ago. I just love it! It’s lite weight and easy for me to use, and I use it a lot! UnfortunatelyIt gave up working,I guess I worked it too much! I was really surprised to see this is still available and I plan to by 2 one for me and one for my Son!Thank you

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