A multi-purpose screwdriver is SO IMPORTANT to have as an electrician because you never know what style of screw head you’ll be working with when you open an electrical box.
You may need a Robertson, a Phillips, a Flathead, or even various HEX HEAD sizes!
My absolute favorite is the Klein Tools 11-in-1 Screwdriver/Nut Driver made specifically for electricians.. sure there’s other electrician multi-bit screw drivers, but this is by FAR the best multi-screwdriver, in my opinion of course 🙂.
What We Cover in this Article:
- When and When NOT to Use a Multi-Screwdriver
- Multi-Purpose Screwdriver for Electricians vs. Homeowners
When and When NOT to Use a Multi-Screwdriver
Now, once you get your hands on one of these Klein Tools 11-in-1 Screwdrivers, you will think you can use it for EVERYTHING.. but there’s some instances where you DO NOT want to use a multi-bit screwdriver as an electrician.
DO NOT Use a Multi-Bit Screwdriver for HITTING/BASHING
You should ALWAYS have a separate dedicated bashing screwdriver.
You do not need one of those expensive screwdrivers that are made for beating, however, I’m sure they would last you quite a long time, and are meant for that purpose. (I’ve always just used a cheap screwdriver with a handle that wasn’t plastic for heavy hitting).
We as electricians use a screwdriver for bashing when we need to:
- Tighten down a lock ring on a connector to a box
- Chisel out some concrete to make a box sit flush, or if hammer drilling
- If chiseling out wood to make a box fit in studs
So it’s important you have a dedicated screwdriver for bashing (it doesn’t have to be expensive).
If you hit your multi-screwdriver, your bits will become loose, and it quickly lessens the lifespan of these expensive 11-in-1 screwdrivers. Treat it with care, and it will take care of you!
DO NOT Use a Multi-Bit Screwdriver for PRYING
You see, a multi-bit screwdriver is actually quite delicate compared to a regular screwdriver.
You can think of a multi-bit screwdriver like a finishing screwdriver. They are very useful, are intended for a specific use, and must be treated with care!
Sure, you can do some LIGHT prying, but as soon as you feel you need to PRY.. that’s where you look to that beater screwdriver mentioned above.
DO NOT Use a Multi-Bit Screwdriver for PANEL WORK
You can definitely get away with a multi-screwdriver in non-live panel work, but it’s best practice to use a regular screwdriver when working in panels.. this is for a couple reasons.
First, don’t risk dropping something in the panel by accident. If you are working on a meter stack, and you drop a piece of your multi-bit screwdriver behind one of the meter bases, you’re going to have to go hunting.. and it may take awhile to find it, or you risk shorting something out, and BOOM!
Second, the workflow of using a regular screwdriver in a panel is FASTER because it’s solid, the actual head usually fits better in the screw to prevent stripping, and you can quickly drop the screwdriver back into your ladder and not have to worry about losing a bit!
Multi-Purpose Screwdriver for Electricians vs. Homeowners
Now, you may look in your kitchen drawer and think, “I’ll just use this basic homeowners multi-purpose screwdriver”.. and that’s totally fine!
But we’re electricians here, and it’s all about WORKFLOW.
I don’t say this in regards to caring what tools you think electricians SHOULD use, it’s the fact that my favorite Klein Tools 11-in-1 was designed for COMMERCIAL ELECTRICIANS!
A basic homeowner’s multi-bit screwdriver only has one hex head.. BORING!
The Klein Tools 11-in-1 has 3 different HEX HEADS, which are amazingly handy if you have to wire in dishwashers, exhaust fans, open up panel covers, etc.
Conclusion: The Best Multi-Bit Screwdrivers for Electricians
There’s A LOT of brands out there, and even Klein Tools them self have about 3-4 different multi-bit screwdrivers (not including their stubby multi-bit screwdrivers).
But after trying a couple different ones, what I found was that the 11-in-1 by Klein Tools was the PERFECT SIZE. It wasn’t too heavy, it fit nice in the hands, it has 11 bits (a lot of other styles do not have 11 bits!), and I really liked the layout of where the bits were.. IT JUST MADE SENSE!
You do what you want out there, obviously….
But I can only pass on what I’ve tried, and REALLY liked over the years.