Apex Bits Accessory Reviews

Apex Bits: Impact Bits, Nut Driver, and Bit Holders


It seems like everyone makes impact bits these days, but is there really a difference from one brand to the next? We got our hands on several varieties of impact-rated Apex bits to see how they stand up against others we use like Makita’s Gold series and Milwaukee’s latest generation of Shockwave bits.

Apex bits judge themselves in four main areas: identification, fit, life, and durability.

Pros

  • Easy to read sizing
  • Excellent fit
  • Longer life (based on Apex’ testing)
  • Tougher to break

Cons

  • Bulk packs are more expensive than Makita Gold and Milwaukee Shockwave
  • Not as readily available as more popular brands

Recommendation

I really like the performance I’m getting from these impact-rated Apex bits so far. They cost more than Makita and Milwaukee for contractor packs but they have an excellent fit and are highly durable.

Pick up a 5-pack of the ones you use the most and see how well they work for you. Be sure to come back and tell us you think!

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Diving Into Impact-Rated Apex Bits

Identification

Most of our bits don’t have identification at all. Those that do stamp the bit size somewhere on it and it’s hard to read. Realistically, most of us know by looking what size Phillips head we’re picking up. Some of the other types aren’t quite as easy, though many of you have been using them long enough to know.

Apex Bits

Regardless of your level of experience, the white on black printing is easy to see on the side of each bit.

Fit

Having a great fit takes a quality bit and a quality fastener. If one of the two is off, the whole system suffers. Apex bits claim to have just 1.4º of wobble while its closest competitor sits at 1.5º and those at the far end have 2.5º.

Apex Bits

I grabbed a handful of screws along with some Makita Gold and Milwaukee Shockwave bits to see just how good the fits really are. All three have zero play in their forward and reverse turning motions.

But there’s a big difference when you start rocking the bit to see which ones engage the screw head best. Makita’s bit seems to have just a touch more wobble than the other two and I really can’t tell the difference between Milwaukee and Apex bits when it comes to fit.

Life

According to their internal tests, Apex bits will survive more than 20,000 cycles in an ASME proof load test under 100 in-lbs of torque. Its unnamed competitors that uncannily have colors to match Bosch, DeWalt, Makita, and Milwaukee range from about 7,500 to 12,000 cycles.

Apex Bits

I’m not about to drive 100,000 screws just to prove Apex’ point here, but the results are interesting. This isn’t talking about how the fastener reacts to 1800 in-lbs of torque from an impact driver in metal fastening. It’s talking about how long it lasts under a steady 100 in-lbs of torque. In this test, Apex simply lasts a ridiculously long time. But then again, 7,500 screws ain’t bad, either.

Durability

Durability is how much torque it takes to break the bit. According to their internal testing, Apex bits take close to 160 in-lbs to break. Their competition’s low end is around 75 in-lbs and the high end is around 120 in-lbs.

Apex Bits

I did my best to test this and got some interesting numbers on Makita Gold and Milwaukee Shockwave breaking points. The problem is that the bench vise we have doesn’t hold strong enough for me to get an actual breakpoint torque on the Apex bits before it starts to turn. As frustrating as it is that I can’t offer exact figures, it is clear that it takes more torque to break the Apex bits.

Price and Availability

Apex impact bits aren’t the type that you walk into just any store and grab, but Acme Tools has them. Looking at 2-inch #2 Phillips bits as an example, here’s how the pricing breaks out:

 

Apex

Makita Gold

  • 2-pack: $3.97
  • 15-pack: $12.97

Milwaukee Shockwave

  • Single: $2.77
  • 5-pack: $5.97
  • 15-pack: $9.97

It’s interesting that Apex is on the lower side for single packs and more expensive than the others by the time you get to the 15 packs.

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The Bottom Line

I really like the performance I’m getting from these impact-rated Apex bits so far. They cost more than Makita and Milwaukee for contractor packs but they have an excellent fit and are highly durable.

Pick up a 5-pack of the ones you use the most and see how well they work for you. Be sure to come back and tell us you think!

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