It seems that whenever I post about any screwdriver bit assortment deals, quite a few folks energetically express their dislike, disapproval, and even disdain for common 1″ insert-style bits.
Many hand tools accept these 1/4″ hex-shanked 1-inch-lenght screwdriver bits, and although rare, there are some cordless screwdrivers and drivers that also accept them without requiring additional accessories.
Generally, if using this type of screwdriver bit in a power tool, you must also use a bit holder, adapter, or extension with an extended 1/4″ hex shank shaft.
That’s probably where the dislike comes from – having to use a separate accessory with these screwdriver bits.
I have quite a few 1″ screwdriver bits dedicated for hand tool use, such as with screwdriver handles, ratchets, stubby handles, palm drivers, and other types of drive tools.
These bits work quite well with cordless power tools as well.
With the 1/4″ hex adapter/extension that comes with most bit assortment sets, you can use these screwdriver bits in a standard drill or impact driver. Add a socket attachment accessory, and you use impact-rated bits with an impact wrench, or standard or impact-rated bits with a cordless ratchet.
In this product image, Milwaukee’s new M12 Fuel High Speed cordless ratchet is being used with a drive size adapter and a bit socket. Well, what if you didn’t have the exact bit socket you needed? A socket adapter lets you use any insert bit tip with a corded or cordless ratchet.
Yes, I know that 2″ and longer “power-style” screwdriver bits are more convenient for use with drills and impact drivers. And no, I’m not just saying this to humor you – they are more convenient, with a one-piece screwdriver bit simpler and often more slender.
But, let’s say you’re using a cordless drill and swapping bits often. Won’t a bit adapter that remains in place be much more convenient to use with removable 1″ hex bits than having to re-chuck a 2″ or longer power bit each time?
Some might say “but I only use impact drivers, and so I can swap bits with ease anyway,” and you’d be right. But what if you need the adjustable torque settings of a cordless drill? The best impact drivers have multiple speed settings these days, but these are coarse speed and torque limits meant to prevent fastener damage, and so they’re not as well-suited for when you’re looking for repeatability.
You might now whisper the phrase “cordless screwdrivers…” to which I have no retort.
I buy premium 1″ insert bits for hand tool use, torque screwdriver or ratchet use, and also impact-rated 1″ bits with power tools and hand tool use when it’s convenient to do so.
Here’s a very serious question:
Bit assortments often include a large quantity of 1″ screwdriver bits. Is this because most users prefer them, or do users simply like these bits for their lower pricing?
A 2″ power bit will usually cost more than a 1″ insert bit.
You can usually find the most popular screwdriver tip styles and sizes in the 1″ insert bit form factor. But what about 2″ bits? Here are some older generation Milwaukee Shockwave hex-style bit tips. Does any brand make hex-style bits in 2″ or longer power bit styles?
Whenever someone criticizes 1″ insert bits, availability considerations come to mind. It’s not just that 1″ bits are less expensive than 2″ bits; often you can only find certain styles in 1″ insert-style sizing.
You can find longer versions of popular screwdriver bits. But what if you cannot? Well, that’s where longer bit extensions and adapters can come into play.
To me, 1″ insert bits are essential.
But what if I removed hand tool use and focused exclusively on power tool use? I would still use 1″ insert bits, and also 2″ power bits as well.
If there is the choice between using a 1″ bit with an adapter or extension, or using a 2″ bit with a tool that has a 1/4″ hex quick chuck, and neither cost nor availability is of any concern, I would likely reach for the 2″ bit.
2″ bits are often better suited for tasks that would otherwise require 1″ bits to be used with an adapter. Even still, this does not mean 1″ insert bits aren’t useful.
How do you feel about 1-inch-long 1/4″ hex screwdriver bits?