Does your tool pouch have way too much going on in it right now? Are you pressed for space, and do you find that you have 8 lbs of drivers crammed into a 6 lb pouch? Ideal Industries has a space-saving solution for you to consider. The Ideal 12-In-1 Multi-Bit Screw and Nut Driver, if the name hasn’t already given you a pretty good handle on what this tool is all about, presents a one-size-fits-all approach to fastening screws and nuts. Plus, for those of you who like to support American efforts to take back manufacturing duties, Ideal makes this in the good ol’ U.S. of A.
The Nesting Doll Of The Driver World
Ideal uses a design we’ve seen once or twice before. An overmolded handle houses a metal shank that accommodates two different nut sizes. Two bits fit in the ends of the shank, and each of those bits can accommodate a few different nut sizes. The whole shank system employed here also houses a variety of bits that nest away when not in use.
The Ideal 12-In-1 includes a variety of bit types as well. Basically, most the common fastener types you’ll run into doing electrical work have been buried somewhere in this driver. The only question is whether or not it has everything you’ll run into over the course of a day.
- 3/16″ Slotted
- 1/4″ Slotted
- #1 Phillips
- #2 Phillips
- Torx T10
- Torx T15
- #1 Square
- #2 Square
- 3/16″ Hex
- 1/4″ Hex
- 5/16″ Hex
- 3/8″ Hex
While 12 tools in 1 design is very good, there are a handful of models out there that have more. Doing so requires more nesting or an innovative handle design along with a higher price. Like any multi-tool, there’s always the question of what you really need vs just sticking another tool on the feature list. The 12-in-1 path is probably about as deep as most of us will need to go.
The butt of the handle features some really clear and legible printing that allows you to easily identify it in the midst of a bunch of other tools. The overmolding is comfortable and allows for a good grip when you really need to crank down. To make the obvious comparison, I do prefer Klein’s cushion grip over Ideal’s, but it’s still at Pro level.
The downside of virtually every multi-bit driver, especially when they house this many tools, is that the handle diameter grows. If you’re the kind of guy or gal that prefers a slim handle, that’s something you’ll want to keep in mind.
Price and Value
Online prices are currently running in the $17 – $23 range for this model. That’s actually a few dollars more than Klein’s 11-in-1 32500 that lacks just the 3/16″ hex driver. Milwaukee’s 48-22-2761 with the same driver set as Klein is currently running $8. While I don’t have any concerns about Ideal’s ability to hold up to everyday electrical use, you’re going to have to ask yourself if that 3/16″ nut driver is so common that it’s worth the extra money. That said, as this model reaches more of the major retailers, we may see that price settle down some.
The Bottom Line
The Ideal 12-in-1 Multi-Bit Screw and Nut Driver covers most of the fasteners you’ll come across as an electrician. The obvious win is that you’ll be able to replace 12 individual drivers with one tool, saving you space, weight, and money. While I don’t have any concerns about the quality of the build, the current pricing may give you a reason to check out some of the 11-in-1 models out there and forgo the 3/16″ nut driver.
Ideal 12-In-1 Multi-Bit Screw and Nut Driver Features & Specs
- Model Number: Ideal 35-946
- Fully Nested Design Keeps Bits Onboard
- Cushion Grip Handle
- Made In The USA
- Price: $17 – $23