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Remember those cool screwdrivers Lowe’s released last year? You know, the ones that always turned the screwdriver the same way no matter which way you turned the handle? It looks like they’re out in the open now, and True Value has created a competing set that you’ll see in stores in the next few months. TV calls it the “SwiftDriver.”

If you’re having trouble visualizing how this works, I feel your pain. I had to see one (like the one pictured, though not exactly the one pictured) to get the concept. You ratchet it back and forth just like you would a standard “ratcheting” screwdriver, but instead of simply moving in one direction and “ratcheting” in the other, these drivers switch directions internally such that the screw head continues to turn forward as you ratchet your hand back into position to turn again. It’d be a bit difficult to use in really high-torque situations, but it kicks ass for removing machine screws and such. They strike a nice balance between the ease of a full-on power tool and the hand-driven sensitivity of a plain ‘ole screwdriver.

True Value’s version will MSRP for $25 and will sell in a kit form containing the driver, 7 Phillips bits, 3 slotted bits, 3 square recess bits, 4 star bits, and 6 SAE nut drivers. Look for it on shelves in May.


12 Responses to TrueValue’s Dual-Direction Smooth “Ratcheting” Screwdriver

  1. george says:

    having to use the other hand is a pain. i will continue to use my cheap electric sd.

  2. jesse says:

    The Lowes item was the Kobalt Double Drive, which seemed popular enough, but was discontinued. I bought one and liked it.

  3. Blair says:

    A friend received one of the Kobalt units for Christmas this past year, and I did have a chance to play with it, I like the action, but agree that having to use both hands is cumbersome in a lot of situations. I have yet to see him use on a job we have worked together.

    And yet I have three Yankee screwdrivers, (it seems that my ancestors found them pretty handy before battery power), and I still use one on occasion, so I’m not going to say these “double drive” type of drivers are a waste of time, who knows, for some applications I may be unaware of they may be the perfect tool.

  4. ambush27 says:

    I’ve always disliked ratcheting drivers. They just seem to require more effort, especially when transitioning from low torque to high torque, which requires a different grip and technique.

  5. Dan says:

    I’ve got a stanley rotator ratchet that works the same way but for sockets.

  6. Peter says:

    I like the ratcheting drivers especially the large knobby kind since it allow me to work with moderate/severe carpal tunnel. They tell me to get the surgery but I can’t afford it so in the meantime I’ll still with my Christmas clearance Husky from Home Depot with the big 2″-3″ knob.

  7. fred says:

    I’m old enough to remember when Yankee Drivers were everywhere on a jobsite and when bit braces were the tool of choice for driving lags – but I wonder what niche this tool fills now – or why the OEM switched from Lowes to True Value.

  8. Chuk Gleason says:

    I bought the Kobalt one last December, and it’s cool that it comes with so many extra bits, nut drivers, etc. I had to replace an “Overdriver” (http://www.spectools.com/spec.htm) which I had had for several years, and had even given as gifts a couple times. It was very good, held up for a at least 10 years. Same basic idea – auto ratchet, reversible, and high-speed if you hold onto the coupling ring. Price on the Kobalt is great, esp. with the extras. Hope I can hold onto this one at least as long (& that includes keeping it from a tool-using daughter!).

  9. Mike Lee says:

    I had a problem with the lowes double drive. Sometimes the driver would lock-up. I guest that why they discontinued the driver. If it keep jamming up, I will take it back.

  10. Dave says:

    Speaking of Yankee drivers, which I’ve used some for outdoor construction and which are very cool, I’ve got another inherited tool which is a Craftsman push drill with bits that store in the handle, the end of which rotates so that each bit has it’s own pocket. I use that all the time even when there’s a cordless drill handy and love it.

  11. Nathan says:

    Best $6 I ever spent on any tool. Much tougher and smoother than the Kobalt.

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