I’m sure you know what a multi-bit screwdriver looks like, but just in case, let’s start off with a good example – the new Wiha multi-bit drivers.
There are many other sizes and shapes of multi-bit screwdrivers, but there’s one major commonality – built-in bit storage.
As long as it has multiple bit sizes and styles, it’s a multi-bit screwdriver.
Some interchangeable bit screwdrivers also have ratcheting mechanism.
But the point is this – on one hand, we have multi-bit screwdrivers that deliver x-in-1 functionality.
And on the other side of things, we have screwdriver sets, individually-sized screwdrivers, and other one-tool-fits-one-size screwdrivers.
The “You Have to Pick!” part of the title is unfair, I know, but it’s a good exercise in sorting out one’s preferences and needs.
I love using multi-bit screwdrivers, but could give them up if I had to. Individually-sized screwdrivers, on the other hand – those would be tough to replace.
There are also bit sets, which can sometimes make up for the shortcomings of multi-bit screwdrivers, but they also don’t quite have all the benefits of individual screwdrivers.
Some bit sets have hex shanks, others have a proprietary connection. There’s also the option of pairing a bit holder with standard 1/4″ hex insert or power bits, but that’s usually just a multi-bit screwdriver without internal storage.
The Big Question – Which Would You Pick and Why?
Multi-bit screwdrivers excel in giving you x-number of screwdriver sizes and styles in a compact package.
Individual screwdrivers give you tip-specific handle shapes and sizes, and also shafts as narrow as they need to be. You can always find the ideal screwdriver size and shape for an application.
Can multi-bit screwdrivers replace individual drivers in ALL scenarios? No. Can individual screwdrivers replace multi-bit drivers in ALL scenarios? Possibly – things get complicated when you think about ratcheting mechanisms and special scenarios.
There’s no right answer to this question.
For me, I prefer and benefit from having both types of screwdrivers at my disposal. I need individual screwdriver styles for certain applications, and I also like the variety available to me.
But you also can’t pocket an entire screwdriver set in the same way you can a multi-bit screwdriver.
If I had to pick one, it would be individual screwdrivers. If a multi-bit shaft is too wide, or its bits too short, they won’t fit all of the types of fastening tasks I come across.
The reason for this post is because I’ve seeing a lot of polarized opinions. “Multi-bit screwdrivers are the ONLY choice.” Why?
Overwhelming preferences are okay, and I’d like to hear more about everyone’s choices and preferences.