Nut driver set suggestions wanted
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  1. #1
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    Default Nut driver set suggestions wanted

    I'm trying to choose a decent manual SAE nut driver set. A hollow shaft or a reasonable clearance behind the nut is, of course, a must. The dilemma is magnetic vs. non-magnetic. The ones that have magnets can easily collect chips which may be annoying to remove. Besides, I read feedbacks pointing to the fact that the magnets in even Klein drivers get crumbled or easily detouched/get lost.

    I thought about buying non-magnetic drivers and then magnetizing them with a coil or permanent magnets. The plus is that I can easily demagnetize them prior to cleaning. The minus is that, most likely, I won't be able to magnetize them sufficiently to hold nuts and screws well.

    Yes, I know that I can easily get by without any nut drivers at all, but they can be handy in some situations, so let's skip the "I never use them" discussions.

    I also heard that Klein dropped in quality some time ago.

    Do you have any suggestions regarding brands/models you personally prefer? What shaft length do you use more often, 3" or 6"? Any thoughts on the magnetization issue?

    I made a list of a few nice sets (Klein, Wiha, Wera, Xcelite), but each has its own minuses.

    Thank you.

    Mike

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    I like Bondhus for Allen wrenches and have their SAE and metric nutdriver sets. No complaints. Bondhus seems to do both well. I still like the Klein linesman’s pliers and large gauge copper-wire cutters. I made the mistake of buying a set of diagonal “dykes” cutters off the snap-on truck a few years back. Worst side cutters I’ve ever used, they’re stiff and soft. Knipex makes great pliers. Both cutters and their channel-lock style smooth and serrated pliers are awesome. I’ll still take an older set of Klein linesman’s than Knipex. Most of the established tool manufacturers do one thing a little better. Unless they make crap, as both the DeWalt and Milwaukee hand tools are in my opinion.

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    Maybe not what you were looking for but I'm a big fan of the FAMCO angled ones. They come in 2 types I think the names are angled socket and angled box. I have some of the socket types. They have a through hole on the short side and are deep on the other. You use them both on light and heavy applications. No magnet. I usually use grease, double sided tape or other for retention if needed.

    Andy

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    I have half a dozen sets, some magnetic and some not. I think I use the Craftsman ones the most but they are the older American made ones. I have to admit though that I have never given them anywhere as much thought as you are, I just like to have a few options of most of my tools.

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    Did the magnetic ones you were looking at have the hollow shaft beyond the driving hex? The only magnetic ones I have seen blocked the shaft with the magnet.

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    You can stick a rare earth magnet to the side of it when you need it

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    Klein makes nice stuff but I don't like using Klein for "mechanic work". The grips get all nasty. My nut drivers are cheap Husky (Home Depot) metric and SAE sets and they've never been an issue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wheels17 View Post
    Did the magnetic ones you were looking at have the hollow shaft beyond the driving hex? The only magnetic ones I have seen blocked the shaft with the magnet.
    Klein has donat shaped magnets.

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    Ones I have include an on old Craftsman set, Klein, and several sets of the Xcelite that insert into a handle. Another workaround are sets of 1/4" drive deep sockets. Ditto for small ratcheting box wrenches.

    Moved away from the Craftsman nutdrivers decades ago because the hollow shaft wouldn't clear the threads at one size. Bored it out, but went to the Klein which I still like better for optics, etc. work. I'm continually surprised how many hollow shaft nutdrivers don't have enough clearance to actually clear the intended thread.

    I just use deep sockets, or ones driven on the outside (for infinite all-thread clearance) for greasy/dirty stuff. Small deep sockets are very handy with an extension and a small ratchet. I think it's an Armstrong system I have, though there are now decent Taiwanese clones, that let thread of any length pass through the socket.

    There are two pluses, IMO, for the Xcelite system (with interchangeable shafts, not the small ones). First is that you can keep every size in a small container. Second is the availability of 3" and 6" extensions, stubby and regular handles, ratchets, etc. The extension come in handy when something is buried deep. Just last week that feature was needed to reassemble a microscope with fasteners buried 4" deep behind an access hole. Plus the availability of hex keys, screwdrivers, Torx, etc. in the same system.

    I'd also put a plug in for the Chapman system on the hex wrench side of things.

    I often just use a rare earth magnet just stuck to the side of a screw / hex / nut driver to hold things in place for assembly and disassembly. Also helps hold tiny screws and Circlips for assembly -- lets me spend less time hunting for dropped pieces. Since you can turn most any nutdriver into a magnetic one this way -- and not have to mess with a magnetized shaft when not needed -- I wouldn't get a magnetized set.

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    If they are available in your area I highly recommend PB Swiss. All their stuff is excellent. Haven't shopped for inch nut drivers but they do do inch sizes. Still have an old set of Craftsman inch nut drivers but the handles smell like cat piss (otherwise great haha).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy St View Post
    Maybe not what you were looking for but I'm a big fan of the FAMCO angled ones. They come in 2 types I think the names are angled socket and angled box. I have some of the socket types. They have a through hole on the short side and are deep on the other. You use them both on light and heavy applications. No magnet. I usually use grease, double sided tape or other for retention if needed.

    Andy
    In case anyone else wants to look these up, they are "FACOM", not "FAMCO"

    They look interesting.

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    I don't wear them out, as I'm not a heavy user as most here.
    What is more important to me is the color coding of the handles.

    HF has a nice set of hollow ones, but the color coding is "wrong"

    HF has a cheap set (with the xylite handles) that follow the "proper" color code, but are not hollow.

    FWIW I have a single nut driver that has a 1/4" square recess in the top of the handle, to apply a 1/4" ratchet.

    To me, that would be a nice addition.

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    I have a set of Wiha non magnetic ones that are interchangeable. Very nicely made

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    I have a few sets of the Xcelite drivers in English and metric. They have held up well. I like them because the wall is thin and will get down into recesses, but they are strong enough not to split.

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    I also have a couple of sets of Xcelite in inch sizes: bought them too long ago to remember, probably 70s. They have lasted well, no breakage or damage. No problems with them. The set of small ones came with a torque amplifier. They have small diameter handles but the torque amplifier converts them to a more standard screw driver handle size.

    Since I primarily worked in TV and around magnetic recording equipment and tape, I never purchased any magnetic ones. But I don't see why you could not have both magnetic and non-magnetic ones.

    I also have some metric ones, but they were no-name sets that were given out as salesman's gifts. I have no idea of who made them. I vowed to replace any that broke or wore out, but that never happened. I guess I should have bought more from those salesmen.

    If I were buying today, I guess Kline would be the first that I looked at. I have a number of Kline hand tools and all are excellent - IMHO.

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    I have metric and standard USA craftsman, 30ish years old. The color codes are correct and the hollows are the right diameter. The 3/8 will only take about 1.25” deep before its not hollow.

    I had a set of the Xcelite one when I worked on the road. I had made a road only tool box. Every time I opened the plastic case that the Xcelite nut drivers were in I wanted to puke, seriously something about the plastic handles on that set oozed this nasty acrid vomit smell. Did it from day one. Ended up leaving them at the job when I left.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

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    WERA, simply the best.

    They make them non-magnetic with hollow shafts.


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