Little Tools, Big Punch

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Credit: Photo: by dotfordot.com

Though not designed for heavy work like the tools in the test, one of these versatile models may deserve a place in your toolbox.

The pocket-sized, 10.8-volt Bosch PS40Z is a must-have gadget tool, and it doesn't need a belt hook–it fits right in a nail pouch. I use it for driving pocket screws, installing locks and strikes, putting up towel bars, and endless other small jobs.

Another handy tool, especially for installing drawer guides in tight quarters, is a right-angle impact driver. I've used the 12-volt nicad Ridgid R82233 for a couple of years, and the new 18-volt LI Makita BTL061 carries an even bigger punch at about three-quarters the weight. Its full-finger grip trigger is supersensitive and controls speed well, so that even the smallest screws start easily. And best of all–especially when I'm working in cabinets–it has a bright LED light.

The 7.2-volt Makita TD020DSEW is the first stick driver with an impact feature and is great for small fasteners that might need the break-free kick of an impact without stripping the screw head, such as on painted-over switch plates. Stick drivers are a favorite of the electrician, and the skinny shape helps it fit into panel boxes and other tight spots. It comes with a nice holster, but it could easily slip into any pocket.

The Panasonic EY7541LN2L is very similar to its high-ranking brand mate, but is actually an impact wrench with a 1/4-inch bit holder/adapter that snaps on to its 1/2-inch socket-driving end. This wrench version has the highest-rated, 1640 inch-pounds of torque, and tested well with 106 lags driven at 7.0 seconds each. The adapter accessory can fit other brands and types of 1/2-inch impact wrenches, and makes for a quick change to impact driver use.