For a long time, I resisted the new generation of battery-powered portable tools, especially the smaller ones like this Black & Decker PD600 Pivot Plus Power Screwdriver.
I’m no Luddite—in fact, I tend to be an early adopter of new-tech devices. But for some reason the cordless drivers took something away from the building experience for me. I had to think about it for a while before I figured out why.
Granted, if I had to work in an assembly-line, punch-the-time-clock kind of environment, I’d stock my toolbox with every kind of power tool known to man. They’re timesaving marvels, with loads of power and long battery life and, hey, what’s not to like?
Here’s what I finally figured out—I actually enjoy the feel and tactile sensation of a hand tool once in a while. Tightening a bolt or a screw with my own muscle power rather than a lithium-ion battery’s juice just gives you a certain sense of satisfaction, you know what I mean? That final turn of the screw, when your arm and hand muscles tell your brain that it’s torqued just right, not too tight and not too loose—well, there’s some satisfaction in that feeling. I guess it’s the satisfaction of knowing the job is done right, and knowing it at a deep level. Also, it gives me the sense that I’m not in such a hurry all the time, that I can take a few moments to tighten a screw with a regular old human-powered screwdriver and not worry about any deadlines. OK, maybe I am kind of a Luddite.
Don’t get me wrong—if I’m hanging a drywall job that requires about a thousand drywall screws, I will not use hand tools. I’ll pick up the biggest, fastest drill driver I’ve got and slam ‘em home.
This little tool, Black & Decker’s folding handle rechargeable screwdriver, is exactly the kind of tool I would’ve avoided some years ago. But it is a handy timesaver, I must admit. It has pretty good power for driving all but the most serious screws, and the reserve battery power is generally fairly long-lasting, depending on the job you’re doing.
It has a three-position handle that folds up nicely, allowing you to work in tight spots with limited clearance. It won’t replace a stubby hand screwdriver in really tight spots, but when the handle is folded it does the job in most spaces.
Two speeds do the trick for screwing into most materials, the LED light shows you what you’re doing, and Black & Decker’s QuickConnect system lets you switch from a screwdriver bit to a drill bit fairly rapidly and easily.
Downsides include fairly short battery life if you use the tool as a drill/driver—it’s really not made for heavy-duty use—and a diminishing battery life over time as you use the tool. The big negative, in my opinion, is the lack of a detachable battery pack—which means the whole tool is out of commission while it’s plugged in to recharge. But hey, what do you want for around $25 on Amazon?
This Black & Decker PivotPlus Screwdriver has good power, fairly long battery life and a handy light for working in dark places.
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
- This will drive screws in fairly hard materials
- The pivoting adjustability feature helps in tight places
- Two speeds
- Good LED light
- Your drill/driver does the same job—but it’s bigger
- Not enough power to drive screws repeatedly into hardwoods
- No detachable battery
- Battery does tend to lose its re-chargeability over time