New Craftsman SpeedDrive Ratcheting Screwdriver has a Familiar Design

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It has been a few years since we’ve seen any new iterations of the “Double Drive screwdriver,” which is exactly what the new Craftsman SpeedDrive ratcheting screwdriver resembles.

The Craftsman SpeedDrive (CMHT68129) is said to deliver 2x the speed compared to a standard ratcheting screwdriver. If it’s identical to previous 2x-multiplier ratcheting wrenches, it will require a two-handed grip to fully take advantage of the speed – one hand on the handle, the other on the metal sleeve near the front of the tool.

It does look like the Craftsman SpeedDrive has an updated direction selection pull-switch, rather than a slide toggle. The SpeedDrive also looks a little more compact than previous iterations by other brands.

The in-handle bit storage compartment can hold up to (6) hex bits for convenient access.

Craftsman describes this as a 15-piece set, but it seems the only give you (7) double-ended bits. Does 7 double-ended screwdriver bits give you 14 bit tips + 1 hex bit holder for “15-in-1” functionality?

Craftsman SpeedDrive Ratcheting Screwdriver Bit Selection

Here are the screwdriver bits it comes with:

  • PH1 + PH2
  • PH2 + PH2
  • PH2 + PH3
  • 3/16″ + 1/4″ Slotted
  • SQ1 + SQ2
  • T20 + T25
  • T25 + T30

So, in all, you get: PH1, (4) PH2, PH3, 3/16″ and 1/4″ slotted, Square #1 and #2, T20, (2) T25, and T30. That’s 10 screwdriver bit sizes and styles, and 1 nut driver, for 11 unique driver tips.

Craftsman SpeedDrive Ratcheting Screwdriver Bit Holder

With 7 bits and storage space for 6 of them, you can pop the 7th screwdriver in the bit holder. It looks like the storage compartment is revealed by unscrewing a cap at the end of the handle.

There’s no indication as to whether the bit holder is magnetic.

Price: $15

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Discussion

Some people really like these 2X geared screwdrivers, others not so much.

IF the Craftsman CMHT68129 works the same way as other brands’ Double Drive screwdrivers and the like, it should work similar to a traditional ratcheting screwdriver when turned with one hand. But when turned with two hands, one to rotate the handle and the other to hold the metal collar stationary, that’s when the 2X SpeedDrive mode is activated.

With the special gearing, Speed Drive mode means each turn of the handle, right or left, produces in torque delivery in the desired direction.

In other words, “righty tighty, lefty loosey” turns into “righty tighty, lefty tighty,” or “righty loosey, lefty loosey.”

With a traditional ratcheting screwdriver – or any other ratcheting mechanism – you have the torque transmission action and then a position reversal action where no torque is applied.

With this SpeedDrive screwdriver, when used in the manner suggested, instead of the gearing ratcheting back, it delivers additional torque.

Here – just take a look at this demo video I put together 10 years ago:

Now, before you scream “gimmick” as loud as you can, this style of screwdriver has been useful for certain users, such as electricians who are working with a lot of cover plates and prefer to use hand tools rather than cordless.

I can’t tell if this is a new regular line Craftsman tool, or something they only came out with for Father’s Day.

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