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Unless you’re a janitor or in the video game repair business, you’ll probably only need security bits about as often as the Cowboys make it to the Superbowl. Still, it’d suck to be out of beer and burgers when it actually happens. That makes ’em the perfect cheap-ass tool buy. And for a whoppin’ $10, Harbor Freight will hand you the set above, including bits for hex, hollow-hex, Pozi, Torx, hollow-tip Torx, square, and spline fasteners, plus some slotted and Phillips to boot.

You also get some accessories, including what looks like a magnetic driver, some adapters, and a Y-looking thing (see enlargement above). The description calls this a “hook hanging bit,” but I’ll admit to complete ignorance as to what you’re supposed to do with it or how. If you know, please share. I’m stumped and Google couldn’t help me.

The set doesn’t include a driver, so you’ll need to bring your own. If you’re a regular Toolmonger reader, I’m betting you already have one (or ten) floating around, but if you don’t they sell plenty of ’em as well. My advice: order online. If you walk into the store, you’re likely to come out with a grocery cart full of other cheap-ass stuff, some of which you’ll be very happy to own and some of which you’ll find yourself looking at months later scratching your head thinking “Why the hell did I buy this?” HF is downright dangerous that way.

100-Piece Security Bit Set [Harbor Freight]


27 Responses to Cheap-Ass Tools: $10 Security Bit Set

  1. Collin says:

    That y thing is exactly what they call it. Looks like it holds the hook part of a threaded hook so you can use the driver to screw it in.

  2. asdf says:

    The hook hanging bit cups the curve of a screw-ended cup-hook, or an eye bolt.

  3. Todd says:

    The hook hanging bit is for driving a small hanging hook into a wall or ceiling. The hook fits inside the “v” of the y-shape and allows hooks to be turned.

  4. MikeT says:

    The first two commenters already explained the hook hanging bit, but there’s no need for a hook-hanging bit if you have a threaded eye. Just chuck the threaded part into your drill, put the hook in the eye, and you’re good to go.

  5. Mrten says:

    You can also do winged nuts with it (rather poorly)

  6. Paul McCall says:

    I’ve used one to put hooks in the ceiling to hang plants. Making it work was a very delicate balancing act Screw eyes aren’t much easier.

  7. Mike47 says:

    Y-thingies and screw-eyes aside, these cheap-ass sets are made from cheap-ass steel and the Phillips bits in particular are nearly worthless. One or two screws is all you can drive before they deform and start hopping out of the screw during driving. My advice is don’t depend on these sets for urgent or critical work. You’ll be disappointed, if not downright pissed off.

  8. Tony Clifton says:

    I have one of these sets and it’s typical HF quality (really, for $10 what were you expecting?); some of the holes in the security bits are off-centered and I don’t know if they would actually engage the screws they’re designed for because of that. One thing to keep in mind is that these are the standard screw bit length, so if the screws you’re trying to remove are recessed more than about 3/8″ (e.g. two of the screws on an Xbox 360 controller) you’re not going to reach them.

    Honestly, if you run into a security screw (and have the time to wait) I think you might just be better off ordering the exact driver you need as a stand-alone screwdriver rather than this set.

  9. rick says:

    These bits are pretty cheap, I have them. The metal is rather soft and you can beat them up pretty fast if it is a high torque application. However, who cares. I bought them for the security bits… the phillips were just gravy. In the last 5 years I have chewed through most of the phillips bits, buts everything else is good. For the light user they are fine. Throw in a more durable couple of phillips bits and you are good to go!

  10. johnnyp says:

    “Why the hell did I buy this?” keep buying that crap and you’ll be asking yourself “Why the hell did I buy this at that store?” When your in the middle of a job and the tool breaks

  11. DaveVB says:

    Small world isn’t it? I just picked up this “Y” bit at Ace hardware on their clearance table. It was perfect for a job that is probably once in a lifetime; At my job, we acquired a military barracks that had, in 100 rooms and up and down the hallways, “T” shaped screws that had held the bottom of pictures in place on the wall. They were screwed in pretty far and tight in plastic anchors, you know how stiff they can get, so I was lamenting how I was going to get these screws out! Voila! My answer was on the clearance table!!!

  12. fred says:

    If you haven’t seen this before here’s a different sort of hook&eye driver


  13. Coach James says:

    I got that same but set at a Cummins traveling tool circus except the case is blue. Not the best but for a seciruty bit every couple years, they are fine.

    Also, you can also use a socket to run in screw hooks. I do and it is a lot easier than the Y bit.

  14. Noah says:

    It’s not “hollow tip Torx”, it’s “security Torx” or “tamper resistant Torx”.

  15. Ambush27 says:

    An Allen key chucked in your drill also works pretty well for eye hooks.

  16. ChuckBlack says:

    I’ve been eyeing another version of this set for a while now, still haven’t made the plunge but after reading this article I will stay away from the HF version.


  17. Peter Mueller says:

    I have the Griot’s Garage set and love it. In fact I bought seven of them so far: one for work, two for home (one is in the kitchen drawer the other downstairs in the workshop, one for my father in law, one for my mother, and one for each of my brothers). There are few tasks this set cannot handle.

  18. browndog77 says:

    This is the type of set I referred to in the recent thread about screwdrivers. Very useful, and the hook-hanger is a must-have for thumb screws and all kinds of hook/eyelet hardware. A lot of built-in appliances use thumb screws that are long and fine-threaded, and this bit w/ a flexible shaft works great for that. If you install drop ceilings, they are priceless!

  19. Techmonkey says:

    You will need these more and more to do any type of repair on your appliances or cars. Using my cheap security bits, I have successfully repaired an espresso machine, tool batteries with loose wires in them, opening a car alarm system to adjust the vibration sensitivity. Opened a cordless phone to fix another bad wire connection. I only spent $5 on mine, but I have not had to perform anything heavy duty with mine. I will have to buy a larger, better quality security Torx for my car so I can remove a busted car seat.

  20. george says:

    i bought that set on sale long ago. used it twice and it saved the job i was doing. so to me it was well worth it. if i find i use a bit more than several times then i will go and buy a good quality bit.

  21. Dr Bob says:

    Dropped my wireless router and knocked something loose inside. And to open the case, there are two little Torx screws staring at me. Fortunately, the router still works.

    Thanks for posting the Griot’s link and the recommendation.

  22. pete says:

    im from rhode island (so the stores i mention are Jerrys Hardware in Narragansett, and Damons in Wakefield), i’ve noticed a few small mom & pop hardware stores carrying security bits, if you only need 1 or 2, check there. they often come with hardware bin-box systems. Just ask!

  23. Scott1847 says:

    This pure junk and a total waste of money. I’ve never hear anyone every say, “I wish I’d bought a cheaper tool.” As mentioned earlier, it not unusual to hear some lament buying a cheap tool. These are cheap, virtually useless bits.

    Also consider that when you buy them you’re supporting the use of horrible working conditions of young, exploited Chinese labor. Harbor Freight simply doesn’t care about the labor that makes the products they sell. If they did, Harbor Freight executives would insist all of their suppliers are EICC compliant (http://www.eicc.info/eicc_code.shtml).

    Electronic Industry Compliance Coalition = EICC. It references “electronic” but their standards will have a positive effect on all industries.

  24. Yadda says:

    I bought my set from HF on sale for $5. I also received a free 25 foot tape measure with the purchase. If I only use each of the items a few times it will be well worth the money spent.

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