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Recently Kreg introduced this quick-change bit set for use with its pocket screw jigs. Personally I’ve never understood why these quick-change kits are so popular, especially with key-less chucks becoming so commonplace, but if you’re a fan, now you can quickly switch between drilling pocket holes to screwing boards together.

Kreg gives both the drill bit and the driver 3/8″ hex shanks that snap into their quick-change chuck.  One supposed advantage of the hex-shanked drill bit is that it won’t slip like a round-shanked bit can — but is slippage really a problem in this size bit with modern chucks?

The kit includes their pocket hole bit, a 6″ #2 square driver, the quick-change chuck, depth collar, and Allen wrench.  If you already own a Kreg bit and driver and they work well for you, there’s probably no reason to spend the $30 for this kit until you need a replacement — unless the five seconds it takes to un-chuck the drill bit and chuck the driver is too long for you.

Quick-Change Kit [Kreg]
Street Pricing [Google]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

 

17 Responses to Is This Quick-Change A Scam?

  1. Michael says:

    I can’t speak to these specific Kreg products, but I’m a HUGE fan of the quick-change concept. If you’re using a single drill for multiple tasks that require switching back and forth a lot (drilling, driving, countersinking, etc.) it make the switching operation faster and more convenient, even compared to a keyless chuck.

    1) often drill and driver are very different in size, so a normal chuck has to go “far” to change back and forth

    2) even if you use the “fast technique” to rough out your keyless chuck (grab the outer part and pull the trigger), you still have to tighten it down, which requires two hands, changing grip, and general shuffling. With quick change stuff, my right hand never leaves the drill grip/trigger. My left hand holds drill/driver, and screws. It’s a smooth fluid motion taking less than 1 second to switch out.

    It makes a difference which quick-change chuck you get. I have a rockler/insty-bit version with a great action. You pull the outer part away from the drill to release the bit. Then you can let go of the chuck but keep moving your hand, grabbing the bit on the way. One fluid motion. When you drop the new bit in place, it’ll snap in. My dad (so impressed by mine) got some other brand where you need to HOLD the chuck collar out while you remove the bit. This requires two hands again, which defeats the purpose. He was very disappointed and has now purchased the insty-bit version.

    You can get adapters that will let you put your favorite normal bits into quick-change chucks. This approach is quite economical compared to getting decent bits with hex shanks.

  2. thevince says:

    2) .. there are drills out that that the “fast method” does work. Like my new DeWalt. It has some nice racheting action to really hold the bit tight in the chuck, but when I tried the “fast method” it nearly skinned my palm.

    I agree with Michael: quick-change chucks are only good if you can snap in the new bit. If it requires you to hold back the collar to insert a new bit it’s pretty much useless.

    Hex-shank is REALLY good for tiny bits (like those for jewelers)..

  3. Michael says:

    Hah. Yes, I forgot to mention the many safety problems with the “fast method”! Often if you’re starting out with the chuck too far open to keep the bit centered, you begin by holding the chuck AND the bit. If you don’t let go fast enough, OUCH!

  4. Joe says:

    Kreg also offers a quick-change adapter that fits their pocket hole bit for around $8, if you don’t feel like buying a whole set.

    I agree that it’s not that big of a deal to swap out a bit once, but it’s also not worth $60 for a pocket hole jig to join 2 pieces of wood. Like every tool, it’s about how much you’ll use it.

    So no, it’s not worth $30 for 5 seconds. But me, I go through a little over 800 screws per year, so I spent $8 and save about 2 hours a year for as long as I’m using pocket holes.

  5. dlone says:

    One little quibble about your review: Using the word “scam” implies you think Kreg is up to something dishonest or at least deceitful. I suspect you really meant, “Is this quick change useful?” Let’s save the word “scam” for Wall Street investment schemes.

  6. russ says:

    Since I found the use for a short right angle drill I have two drills. One for the drill bit and one for the screw. Works great. Plus you have a spare drill. If you have the kreg and use the kreg screws buy the short bit for tight spaces.

  7. nrChris says:

    I use a Kreg jig all of the time. A drill is better served to drill the pocket holes (duh) and I use a Bosch I-Drive to screw in the screws–with the ease of stripping out the wood by using a drill, I can’t imagine doing it any other way. So, for me, quick change doesn’t matter. Put one tool down, pick up the appropriate one.

  8. fred says:

    I can see the value of quick change chucks in some limited applications – but not this one. We have found that it is usually faster to dedicate a separate drill for separate functions. In fact, in the part of our shop where we do face frames we have several pneumatic drills and screwdrivers tethered overhead within easy reach of the bench. For our needs and the modest volume that we do – we find that this is plenty fast – and the set-up can be reset to do other tasks – so we never thought to buy a dedicated pocket-hole cutter.

  9. Joel says:

    I’m with many of the others – if doing a lot of pocket hole stuff, you def need two drills. I am quite happy to see the new version of the drill bit though, because some of the small portable drills can ONLY support quick change bits… like my rt angle drill for example. I’ll probably get the new bit so I can use it in tight spaces.

  10. John says:

    I wonder if the orignal writer does carpentry for a living.
    “quick change” combined with cordless is efficient and sensible.
    If you are setting cabinets; switching between countersinking, drilling, and
    fastening, it makes the work simpler. Two drills? Why? And with a jobsite
    having a minimum of temp electricity, trades are hard put to have enough
    for stationary tools, let alone chargers. With the “fast method” (Using your
    motor to help tighten and loosen the chuck) you are wasting battery energy.
    If i use a countersink or bit daily it is set up on a hex adapter or shank. The only crime is that some manufacturers make such poorly machined hex shanks—- usually coming out of China. W.L. Fuller makes the best adapters, though the Snappys are decent.

  11. OK, fine let me back peddle a little and explain where I’m coming from.

    First my experience with quick change bits and chucks is that yes they may be marginally faster, but the fact that now instead of one connection between the bit and the chuck you now have two connections. You’re making the bit longer and introducing another joint that can flex. I like to have the bit or driver only as long as I need, I feel it gives me better control.

    Second, since I got a drill with a ratcheting chuck, I can’t understand how you can sell a drill without one. I think the $30 you’d spend on this quick change would be better spent on upgrading to a drill with a ratcheting chuck next time you have to buy one. My opinion, but I’d be interested to hear if other people feel the same way.

    Third after some comments I went down to the shop and noted how I changed bits in my drill. I really couldn’t describe it because it’s like a reflex. I grab the old bit between my index finger and thumb and the chuck with my palm and rest of the fingers and reverse the drill. Then I grab the new bit the same way between my thumb and fingers and the chuck with my palm and other fingers and run the drill forward. If the new bit is bigger I first reverse the drill some more before I tighten it. I’ve never “skinned my palm” or felt that I was doing anything dangerous. I don’t think I’m really draining the battery either because I’m barely putting a load on the motor.

    I think the drill designers actually meant for you to change bits this way, but they couldn’t actually promote it because of fear that someone would hurt themselves.

    Fourth: Again this is from my experience, but if you are constantly switching bit drilling pocket holes aren’t you doing something wrong? Say you’re making a face frame, you drill out all the pocket holes then assemble. You don’t drill a pocket hole, drive a fastener, drill a pocket hole…. Sure there could be situations where you need to swap bits back and forth, but are you doing it all the time?

  12. paganwonder says:

    Punch Lists require quick-change. This set gets added to my tool box.

  13. David Bryan says:

    Keyless chucks suck. Especially if you’ve got a bad hand.

  14. JamesStaggs says:

    I don’t use the quick change adapter much, but the hex end bits work great in my Bosch PS20. No one needs an 18v drill to run a self drilling 1 1/4 screw through a predrilled hole!

  15. John says:

    I am not a young guy with a love and savvy for and about all things
    new (i phones twitter facebook).
    But as always you use what is or becomes efficient.
    Quick change is not about fast… it is efficient.
    Yes, it adds a little length, for fastening you can use
    shorter apexs (magnetic bit holders).
    No, I don’t think the interface has to be wobbly, there
    are many good hex holders, Wiha, Instybit. Sure
    if you shop at HD, you are going to run into junk.
    I bought some Irwin hex shanks that would not even
    fit in my Wiha adapter…. Irwin could not even respond.
    And if you don’t like the adapters that can catch on the top
    of a hole in a ladder and release the tool, use the orginal
    Insty-bit (Professional). Insty bit was making the adapters
    for other companies (Bosch and it looks like Kreg).
    Maybe Kreg really didn’t need to make this kit, but then
    what would they look like when some knockoff came out
    in hex shank? Luddites?
    As said before, you can get hex shank setups from W.L Fuller
    American made. I replace the hex set screws with Bristol
    spline set screws, which can be bought from Fuller ( this is
    not an advertisement). you can really honk on them to
    prevent slippage.
    For older hands, Jacobs is making refit keyless chucks
    (Soft grip) amazing how much more torque you can get.
    I know everyone has their preferences… you can have
    you ol’ Motorola brick cell, pop your 8 track in the box, and
    plug in your corded drill and key the bit in.
    Are you still using a hammer drill with a chuck or SDS?

  16. jason says:

    the author seriously needs to look the word “scam” up in the dictionary.

  17. Dano says:

    Yeah, calling it a “scam” is a horrible thing to do. I wonder if Kreg could sue.

    The best quick change is having 2 drills.

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