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I'm bored.  Here's something I can't remember ever being discussed and can't find anything while searching.  I always think about this when I'm in the shop and use them, but it's not sexy enough to remember after I leave.

I've got a handful of the lousy Dewalt screw gun bit sets that are dirt cheap this time of year.  Been using them for years.  Half the bits are stripped, most of the magnetic bit holders are either broke or wobble.  At some point I need to throw them all in the trash where they belong and replace them with something of decent quality.

What does everyone use?  Most sets look as cheap as the Dewalts.  LV has this set, but a lot of their stuff like this is pretty crappy.

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I think those bits are pretty much consumable. I started buying the tips in bulk packs, same as I do for small drill bits.

The extension "shanks" that hold them in the driver are another matter. To be fair, I use whatever is cheap that day, but Dewalt seems as good or better than most.

If you need the long reach and want to avoid wobble, buy the long-shank bits, instead of using short tips in a holder.

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I can't think of any bits worse than the Dewalts.  I bought some T25's, and ended up throwing them away.   For TORX screws (also called Star Drive), the different colored ones sold in Lowes work pretty good-can't remember the brand name. 

We put on a standing seam metal roof a little over a year ago.  The screws for that are square drive, which I strongly dislike, but they were all that was available.  I ordered some Wiha bits for those square drive screws, and I think we only wore out one on that whole job.

I try to avoid the short ones that need to go in an adapter.  I think the only short ones I use are stored in the handle of a Snap On ratcheting screwdriver.

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GRK are the colored ones Lowe’s used to carry. I have not purchased drivers there in awhile. 99% of the equation is the fastener. The driver is “male” and the fastener “female” for lack of faster description. The female socket is more likely to get buggered in plating and coating processes. Being sure to use the right driver and Fully seating it is the key to making them last longer. Buying bits designed for impact use helps also. 

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Well at least I know I'm not missing out on some awesome set that everyone but me knows about.

I suppose there is some benefit of having your screw gun bit strip out before the screw head.  If I build furniture that has screws somewhere though, it's always either square or torx head, and neither the bit or screws tend to strip out of those (for me)

I bet that Ryobi set would be right on par with the Dewalts.  I may pick some up the next time I'm in the store.  I'll keep on rotating the cheapies in and out and forget about it. 

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As a ex tool pusher (salesman) , I could go on about driver bits for an hour but, just let me say...YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR.

The difference between a #1 and a #2 Philips screw is hard to see with a naked eye BUT there is a big difference when you use the wrong screwdriver. You usually ruin one or the other, so if you are tearing up screw heads or breaking bits, switch to the other size bit to see if that makes a difference.

AND THEN, there is a screw style called "Pozi-drive. At first glance they look like a standard Philips screw but, on closer inspection you will see THEY ARE NOT THE SAME. Where Philips screws have tapered surfaces in every direction, Pizi-drive are square on every surface of the slotted area. The Pozi-drive also have a small X across the drive slot area (and yes, the driver has provision for that X)  One of the wrong drivers in either style will end in frustration and maybe a broken driver or ruined screws.

Then, we could get into things like "Tamper Proof Torx" also but....Maybe another time. :)

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Chestnut, 

I was a MAC Tool Distributor and sold mechanic tools from my truck. 

I am sure there are gimmicks out there but, I didn't handle any of them. We were the second most expensive tool company in the US. Snap-On had us beat on price but, when it comes to quality it was 6-6. 

The one brand of screwdriver bits that I found to hold up best (believe it or not) were Acme. :) I still have a few that I bought for my self. I have them from 1" 3" and up to 6" long and still use them all the time in my cordless drill and screwdrivers.

 

I've made a terrible mistake. The bits I meant to recommend are APEX not ACME! 

Edited by Rapid Roger
I made a terrable mistake in company names.
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Wile E. Coyote used Acme all the time. Couldn't resist that! Who sells Acme? Need to replace some bits for my Ryobi drill. They are the two-ended bits- Phillips, #2 and #3 and flat in two sizes. The best bits that I have came in a set from Brownell's who sells to the gunsmithing trade. Their flat blades aren't tapered but straight to prevent climbing out of the screw head. FWIW, gunsmiths will have lots of extra bits and grind them as needed to fit.

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Not intending for this to be a Festool commercial, but :ph34r:, you really do get what you pay for. Most bits are cheaply made and many drivers have poor retention so a crappy bit wobbles in a crappy driver. Not a recipe for success.

I know someone will scream due to the cost... but :)

Since I've been using the Festool bits with their drill/driver, I no longer look at them as consumables. Used properly, they last. I bought the installers kit several years ago, and haven't replaced any of them yet.

While we're on it, the Festool Centrotec system is just fantastic. While we're on that, their drill/drivers are great as well :) 

 

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Wiha is having a sale on their web site right now, and has some bit sets on sale.  If you need lots of one type of bit they have a bunch of 100 packs discounted by about 33%.

I've got lots of their drivers and bit sets, and they are the best ones I've used.  I just ordered a security bits set for use at work (working on laptop computers and other small devices).

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I can't believe any are better than Wiha.   It's important for the bit to completely fill up whatever the socket shape is on a screw head.  This is what I didn't like about the Dewalts, that I threw away.  My best choice after those, that day, were the Milwaukee bits, which were only marginally better.  Those got thrown away once I was back home.

I'm sure there is some magic to the Wiha metallurgy too, but I don't spend time thinking about that.  The fit is what is most important to me.

Thanks for the heads up on the Wiha sale!    The terminator impact bits were the square drive ones that lasted forever when we were putting on that roof.   I don't care a thing about a short bit in an adapter.   I only want the ones in one piece that work in an impact driver.

A note on the GRK torx bits:   Our Lowes still sells them, but they're not where the other bits are near the screws,in the hardware aisle.  The GRK bits are on a GRK screw display back where the treated lumber is.  To me, they are as good as any in operation, but don't last as long as the Wiha ones.  I can usually run in a five pound box of screws with one bit though.

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