Drill it, drive it, store it: How a good set can get your bits organized
Sure, you've got a system: The driving bits go in the baby-food jars, spades go in the coffee cans, and drill bits are sealed up neatly in the margarine tubs. It works well enough, as long as you remember the Phillips bits are inside "strained peas."
But there's a better way to organize all the disparate bits you need to turn screws and drill holes. Nine better ways, in fact, as you'll see in the following slides.
Shown: Folded open, the Quadro tower's four legs reveal panels stuffed to the edges with 100 drilling and driving bits. Folded closed, all those masonry bits, all-purpose twist bits, and dozens of screw- and nut-driving bits take up a mere 4-1/4 inches of shelf space. About $45, Worx Power Tools
Buy your bits by the bunch instead of individually, and you'll have a place to keep them sharp and clean.
Plus, you'll know exactly where to look next time a hole needs to be 1/32 inch wider than it already is.
open the lid on this sturdy steel case, 29 black bits rise in three orderly rows, clearly displaying their markings by 64ths from 1/16 to ½ inch. Lower the lid, and the rows fold down as the case closes with the satisfying snap of an old-fashioned lunchbox. These jobber bits, so called for their versatility, are for drilling into wood or metal. Their black oxide coating resists rust. About $75, Milwaukee Tool
Most augers come packaged individually, but these single-flute jobs are just
4 inches long, so they fit neatly
into the slots of a classy wooden box. The six-bit collection ranges
in diameter from 3/8 to 1 inch and can drill quick holes for wires and pipes or hog out the mortises in fence posts and timber frames. About $30,
The two pieces of a hole saw—its central arbor and the surrounding mandrel—tend to get separated
in the toolbox. With this 2-arbor, 12-saw kit, though, everything has its place in a cushy, foam-lined,
zip-up case. Use these hole saws to cut plus-size openings—from
5/8 to 3 inches in diameter—in doors and cabinets. About $80, Irwin
This Velcro-fastened nylon storage pouch folds flat but still manages to hold 13 spade bits, ranging in diameter from 1/4 to 1 ½ inches. These guys have threaded tips
that pull the bits into the work, letting them bore rough holes
for plumbing or electrical lines more quickly and with less
effort than ordinary spades. About
$30, Bosch Tools
Spring-loaded, quick-change chucks let you swap out hexagonal bits one-handed, and they won't slip in high-torque turns. This handy, time-saving feature, common on impact drivers, small drills, and cordless screwdrivers, has upped the popularity of hex-shanked bit sets, giving you more drilling and fastening options than ever.
This compact, easy-to-tote polyester tool bag unrolls to display 100 clearly labeled drilling and driving bits,
as well as a ratcheting screwdriver in case your drill ever runs out of juice. The cost—a mere about $30—comes to just over two bits a bit (drill sold separately). Ryobit Tools
Unfolding the soft fabric holder reveals a bandolier of driving bits. But the real standouts in this set are the self-centering Vix bits, used for drilling pilot holes for hinges, and the tapered bits for wood screws (on the left) that drill and countersink in one go. A driving sleeve slips over the tapered drill bits so you can drill, drive, and repeat without
ever touching the drill's chuck.
About $62, Rockler
The 38-piece Quik-Lok kit takes
7 hex-shanked drill bits, an extender for reaching fasteners
in tight places, a screw sleeve
for one-handed screw driving,
and bits for most every kind of screwhead you'll encounter
and crams them into a rubber-bumpered, plastic case about the size of a church hymnal. There's even an adapter to convert a standard three-jawed chuck into a one-handed quick-change model. About $30, Milwaukee Tool
One of the more useful hip ornamentations we've seen (and certainly a more stylish choice than a cell phone) is the Puck, a plastic disk full of 15 driving bits held in place by magnets. Pressing the center button lets you fan the bits out into a spiky semicircle or rotate them back inside the case when you're done (INSET). A metal clip keeps them on your belt. About $5, Worx Power Tools