Milwaukee 11-in-1 Multi-Tip Screwdriver - Review
With the release of the 11-in-1 screwdriver, Milwaukee has put itself in direct competition with the fantastic Klein 10-in-1. We know what you're thinking, "the Milwaukee has to be better...it's one louder." Well, not exactly. As it turns out, the new tool is so specified towards electricians and HVAC guys that its eleven functions don't really apply to everyone.
Starting with driver tips, the Milwaukee has a #1 Philips; a #2 Philips; a 1/4" slotted; a 3/16" slotted; a 1/4", 5/16", and 3/8" nut driver; a #1 ECX bit, and finally a #2 ECX bit. If you don't know what an ECX bit is (we didn't), it's a combination of a Philips and a slotted that comes off looking like a Robertson bit with a slotted bit stuck through it. It's a new design that Milwaukee has come up with that works in those strange 'Philips or slotted" screws that are commonly seen on electrical devices (outlets, breaker panels, etc).
Aside from the screwdriver tips, the Milwaukee has two other tricks, both centered around the electrical trade or specifically, wiring. First, there is a little wire stripper in the handle. It's really just a little groove with a blade tucked down in it. At first, we snorted at this, thinking that Milwaukee was trying a little too hard to get to the magic number of 11, but then we rolled a piece of 12 gauge wire in the groove and the sheath just came right off.
The second non-tip feature of the screwdriver is a little hole in the stem that you can use to bend a wire. Now, these two features might not be too practical if you're wiring an entire house, but in a pinch, this screwdriver is certainly capable of replacing your pliers.
About three weeks ago, we started carrying this tool around and we really haven't let it out of our sight since. At first we thought the handle was too smooth and we missed the more knobbly Klein, but a few days later we were used to it and thought of it no more. Because we're carpenters, we have yet to use the ECX bits and really miss the torx bits that are on the Klein, which actually can double as Allen wrenches when working with little set screws (perfect for door hardware). If we were electricians though, we'd be fully enamored with the Milwaukee and probably a little bit misty-eyed that they finally made a screwdriver tailored so specifically to our needs that all the dumb carpenters in the world can't even use a bunch of its features.
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Posted by Doug Mahoney at April 29, 2010 5:35 AM
My main occupation is building custom machine control panels and I also work part-time at an independent hardware store, Aykroyd Hardware. Naturally I get tools for the panel shop from the store. We're a Milwaukee dealer and I grabbed one of these 11-in-1s when we got them in a couple weeks ago.
For the most part I am happy with it as I use the ECX bit for tying in wires to breaker boxes and outlets. I have only used the wire stripper once to test it because I use specialty tools for that, however it works well. The other bits are fine for putting in DIN rails and installing other equipment to back planes and such.
There is only one dissapointment and that involves the slotted driver bits. I have to tie wires into terminal blocks...lots of them. The smallest bit is too large to fit most terminal blocks.
For most electricians out in the field this may be a mere quibble, and I otherwise find this to be a well made tool.