Klein Tools, long famous for their electrical hand tools – specifically their screwdrivers and pliers – has a wide selection of professional-grade nut drivers available. I’ll start by saying that although I’m unbiased in the sense that we didn’t receive anything from Klein in return for this review, I do already have a favourable impression of the Klein name from past experience.
We’ve been using Klein nut drivers in the shop for 5+ years now but since I just picked up a new set today (Model #647: 7 Piece Cushion-Grip Nut Driver Set – 6″ Shaft) I’ve decided to do a review outlining my experience over the past few years and my first impressions of the new set. My first Klein tools, a set of their classic screwdrivers, came from my grandfathers basement and are certainly 50+ years old. While many of the ‘old-time’ tool manufacturers made top quality tools in the past, many of these companies haven’t maintained their quality over time – focusing on cost reduction at the expense of quality. Comparing the overall quality of the three ‘eras’ of Klein tools I have available to me, I am happy to report that there doesn’t appear to be any compromise in terms of quality.
The main evaluation will be based on our existing drivers with approximately 5 years of use in the mechanical/hydraulic and electrical-controls industries. The pros, cons and general consensus are the combination of this experience.
- Size and shape are both printed on the heads which Klein calls Tip-Ident®. This lets you quickly see the size and shape (type) so you can quickly distinguish between similar handles in your tool belt . Nut drivers get a hexagonal colour-coded marker with the size written clearly inside for easy recognition. This is a new(er) feature of Klein screwdrivers and nut drivers but it’s a great feature that saves a huge amount of time.
- Hollow shafts. The shafts of this specific set are hollow, allowing you to use them on longer threaded shafts without having to switch to a wrench. Controller racks, HVAC units and air filter housings are some of our more common uses for a hollow shaft but they’re good to have regardless. I’ve used these hollow shaft drivers for many years now without any issues due to decreased shaft strength.
- As noted before, Klein has a reputation for durable tools that are ready for professional work. If for any reason you do break these or any other Klein hand tool, they back it with a lifetime warranty.
- Made in the USA by an American company. While we’re Canadian, it’s still good to see domestic products – both because of the job creation and the increased quality typically found in domestic products.
- The drivers fit nuts & bolts very tightly without the wobble and gaps sometimes seen in lower-quality tools. This is important as it dramatically reduces the number of rounded heads, subsequently reducing time wasted freeing stuck bolts.
- Large selection. There’s a large variety of nut drivers available from Klein Tools ranging from cushion grip to plastic handle, insulated to non-insulated, single tool to multi-driver. You can also choose hollow shafts, magnetic tips, long shafts, full pass-through handles and stubby-versions. Whatever the application, Klein has you covered.
- One of the best features of these nut drivers is their overall availability – Klein Tools are available at specialty tool distributors and electrical suppliers across North America but they’re also widely available at building supply warehouses such as the Home Depot making warranty returns seamless regardless of where you are.
- The Handle. These nut drivers have the classic Klein handle with a black ‘cushion-grip’ rubber over a clear yellow hand-plastic handle. Personally I really like the size and feel of these handles but based on hand size and individual choice, it’s just personal preference.
- Full-tang shaft. Some people insist on a full-tang shaft (shaft extends through the full length of the handle). On a flat point screwdriver that you’ll use for knockouts (and ‘unofficially’ as a pry-bar) I fully agree with the need for a full-tang. On nut drivers I don’t think there is a need and it just adds extra weight to your tool belt but it’s just personal preference.
- No sizing data on the shaft. The only thing I wish Klein did differently with this set is include the sizing data stamped into the shaft in addition to the head. Heads tend to get scuffed over time, making this sizing hard to read. This certainly isn’t a deal breaker and doesn’t take away from the durability – the reason you buy Klein tools.
These are a professional-grade tool and when you need a dependable nut driver with lifetime durability, I would highly recommend these. It’s important to remember tool quality impacts performance. The precision-stamped heads on these go a long way towards eliminating stripped nuts often caused by lower quality imitators – lost time that will quickly eclipse their modest price. Whether you’re an electrician, mechanic or millwright – or if you’re a home handyman that demands reliable tools – these nut drivers from Klein won’t disappoint.