Gents, I know such discussions tend to get wildly personal(as in preference, not anger) because just like tool bags, nothing is exactly perfect for each tradesman. So with that, lets try to get a handle(no pun intended) on screwdrivers, bits and their grips.
I am a maintenance electrician by trade. 99% of the screwdrivers I carry are Klein Cushion Grip models. They have served me very well. I have replaced a few of them due to misuse. This was in nearly every case by some genius who ‘borrowed’ them and then proceeded to use them as pry bars, chisels, and spare parts for the Millennium Falcon. I have seen various reports of tip failure lately on the Klein models but even with my newer ones I have not experienced this.
So with all that I am seriously considering what I personally want to tote around going into the tail end of my career. I have always been one to use a dedicated driver for the fastener I am using at the time. I have never been much on the 5 in 1 type drivers.
I know plenty of guys use them and love them. However, from a safety perspective my original supervisor in the job I took as a novice electrician took a VERY dim view of these things. Mostly because of the ability of bits disengaging and lodging in bad places in panels and control cabinets. I am not speaking of live work but areas where things could become lost in a hurry. And he flatly fobade their use in panels. He’d seen more than one insert bit lost down a conduit for his comfort. Anyroad, it has always affected my approach to drivers. And for the most part I do not want to abandon this approach for my go-to tools.
What I have wondered about is the interchangeable bits and handles that use four or five inch shafts rather than the one inch style insert bits. I have looked at what is typically available at Home Desperate and Menard’s and find I am less than underwhelmed by the lot of them. Cheap feeling and bulky, they mostly reek of slapdash diy stuff. And most use the short one inch(25mm) insert bits. I get it about those bits. They are used in many power drivers and I use them myself in that capacity. They just like to pull out of driver handles. A lot.
So what about the PB Swiss, Wiha, and some of the Wera interchangeable models? I note that many of them have a very good assortment of bits and lengths. I also wonder about handle size. The Klein’s come in two typical sizes not including the extra chunky ones used on the new 5 in 1 nutdrivers, the bigger slotted models and the ones you can hit with a hammer or some of the newer 99 in 1 or whatever they are called. I cannot get a good mental picture of the brands I mentioned as to handle size. It is listed on their sites but can be a bit vague as to width of the handles.
The two common Klein sizes for stuff like #1 Philips and 3/16 cabinet tips is about 2-5/8(67mm) from back of plastic nub on handle to where the plastic meets the metal shaft and the rubberised part is about 2-3/8(60mm) in length. Laying the measure across the rubber handle is about 1-1/8(28mm). The next size up for #2/3 Philips and 1/4 cabinet tip is 4.25(108mm) from handle back to shaft, 2-7/8(75mm) rubber length and around 1-1/4(32mm) wide for the rubber part. I have seen pictures of many of these brands handles laid side by side but they were bottle openers! I need some information as to how they size compared to the Klein.
Overall, would you say the handles and bits of the interchangeable models feel stout enough for most work? As mentioned, I will keep a few dedicated drivers no matter what. I am thinking of way to cut down on the bulk of extra nut drivers, lesser used screwdrivers, and things of that nature. I do need the shafts of the bits to have the option of 5-6 inch length for control cabinet work and similar. Sorry to be long. I just want to make a good choice.