I went out yesterday looking for a special size of screwdriver that I needed for a repair — a small T8. Normally you can find just about any size torx bit you need in a large bit socket kit and/or in a set of torx hex keys, but due to the very small size, I was having no luck.
I ended up at my local Lowes to see what precision screwdrivers they had in stock, and noticed a new Kobalt version that I had not seen before. It is their new QL3 Quik Load version, which included the size I was looking for. Next to it were two other versions (1/4″ non-ratcheting & 1/4″ ratcheting), so I went ahead and bought all 3.
At the store they have a bit pre-installed in the chuck, and after using it I could see how easy it was to install/remove bits — as well as the “tight feel” & great bit retention. Along with the new color scheme on these (and other Kobalt tools), it seems that Lowes has decided to do a product line upgrade & improve the quality of their tools overall.
Each screwdriver comes with multiple double-ended bits, which keeps you pretty well covered right out of the package — and because they are using standard sizing (1/4″ hex & 5/32″ hex), it means that they handles will work with all the other bits that you probably already own. They accept double-ended, flat, and grooved bits (all the standard versions on the market).
One thing that you will notice right off the bat is how there is basically no movement (aka “slop”) when you slide a bit in place. Unlike a regular bit driver, the retention is excellent & there is absolutely no way to remove the bit unless you slide the release collar back. Installing/removing bits takes literally less than 1 second, and the one handle + a variety of bits = a lot of freed up toolbox drawer space!
All 3 versions have removable caps & hollow handles for bit storage —- BUT, keep in mind that the long included bits (in the bit holders) will not fit inside. The length of the handle is not long enough to accommodate them, and it will be compatible with the standard bits like you already own. The double-ended extra long versions must be stored in included bit holder for transport.
One upgrade that I would like to see (and easily did myself) was to install an o-ring over the threads of the 1/4″ versions. This creates a retention surface for the plastic cap to “screw down on”, and will prevent it from being accidentally lost. As the screwdriver comes out of the package — no o-ring is present & the cap cannot be installed 100% securely (unless extra-tight). By adding the o-ring, that problem was eliminated & it worked much better.
Overall I think that these are an EXCELLENT value! Normally bit holding screwdrivers are never any good unless you spend big bucks…..with the lower-priced units being junk. That is not the case with the QL3 versions, and the bit retention is extremely strong and tight. Zero slop & the ratcheting version even feels like a higher-end unit with the 72-positions per rotation.
If you are in the market for a bit holding screwdriver, check these out at your local Lowes. They run between $10-$12/each and have a lifetime no-hassle guarantee!