On occasion I need to install hardware in tight spots such as drawer pulls or hinges in narrow cabinets. Full size drivers, of the cordless or manual variety, can be too long to driver a screw properly so that’s when I turn to the stubby screwdriver. But which is my go-to tool? I do prefer a ratcheting driver over a standard because I have better control and chances are I won’t drop it causing a finished surface to be marred and damaged. There are lots of choices on the market but this article will compare the Milwaukee and the new NoCry Ratcheting Stubby Drivers.
First things first: I purchased the Milwaukee driver a few months ago and NoCry sent their version to me free of charge, however, the thoughts and opinions are my own and no payment has been exchanged for services rendered, i.e., this review article.
The first thing you will notice when you hold one of these stubby drivers is the weight and how it feels in your grip. Without breaking out the digital scale you can barely tell which is heavier but I believe the Milwaukee is just a little more hefty. This is noticeable in both the weight and the overall size. The Milwaukee driver is a tad shorter with the bit in the collet (I’ll call it that as I don’t know the exact technical term) and it has a little more girth.
The way the Milwaukee is held can be a little cumbersome but the rubber grip feels good in the hand and makes turning easier, especially if you have sweaty hands while working as I often do. The NoCry driver is lighter and longer by maybe 1/4″ with the bit in the collet and the grip, in my opinion, feels better but has no soft rubber. One thing about a rubber grip is that over time it can peel or pull away from the handle. Even though the NoCry driver is textured plastic it still feels good and responds well in use (no slipping). One thing that Milwaukee has an advantage over NoCry is that it can be placed upright so it doesn’t roll around. The NoCry driver has a rounded end so it has to lay flat on a surface.
Now some talk about the ease of bit installation/removal, the variety of bits, and storage in both. The removal of bits in each driver is pretty simple and operates smoothly but the NoCry driver is a little more difficult to install a bit in the collet. There seems to be some resistance as the retaining bearing requires more pressure to push the bit in place. If the operator has arthritic hands it will be difficult, or even painful, to try to replace the bits in the NoCry driver.
The Milwaukee driver has 7 bits in a wide range including No. 1 and 2 Phillips, 3/16″ and 1/4″ slotted, No. 1 and 2 square drives, and a 15 Torx bit. Those cover most of the needs one might come across in a working situation. The NoCry driver has 6 double ended bits (effectively 12 tips) in an impressive range including No. 1, 2, and 3 Phillips, No. 4, 5, and 6 slotted (as opposed to the inch measurements on the Milwaukee version), No. 1, 2, and 3 posidrives, and No. 4, 5, and 6 hex bits. Personally, I like that range but I feel the hex drive could be replaced with Torx or square drive for more common usage. The NoCry bits are easily accessed by twisting the plastic retaining collar to the opening of the bit you need and the bit is easily removed by tipping the driver down so the bit will slide out. The Milwaukee has a slightly undersized sleeve and the bits are friction fit. This makes it difficult to remove the bits when they are in an orientation where you can see the tips as they can be “pointy” and painful to push on. That can be remedied by flipping them over so the hex ends are in the middle of the handle and the tips are at the end (see photo).
A bit, pun intended, on the operation of the ratchet. I’ll keep it short, again pun intended. I like NoCry’s switch for changing the direction of the ratcheting system. The switch makes it easy to change without having to fumble or use 2 hands.
The Milwaukee driver has a ring that you have to twist to change the ratcheting direction. I’m not a fan of that.
So the run down and my choice. As a guy who is a self proclaimed OCD with tools in the shop I like the Milwaukee driver simply because it matches most of my other hand and cordless tools. But the lack of simplicity in removing the bits from storage and the ratcheting system is a big downer on that driver. The NoCry version is a little more finicky when installing a bit but the operation and storage is a huge advantage over the Milwaukee therefore, I have to choose the NoCry as my go to ratcheting stubby driver. The 12 bit variety is just a plus. Good job, NoCry. Welcome to my shop.
Here are links to the products discussed in this article as well as other NoCry products I use. These are affiliate links and help support what I do at no additional cost to the buyer.
NoCry Stubby Ratcheting Screwdriver – http://amzn.to/2DtpOkx
Milwauee Stubby Ratcheting Screwdriver – http://amzn.to/2DAwf4H
NoCry Safety Glasses – http://amzn.to/2G1y60R