For too long I relied on traditional insert bits for my power drill/driver. I liked the easy variety of “ends” that were available, but I was also frustrated by the magnetic holders that would drop the bits at the wrong moment.
Then I discovered power bits (bits that fit into Power Bit base, also known as a 1/4″ hex shank base). These are usually seen on the magnetic insert bit adapters for power drills, and are designed so that the machine-end of these bits lock in mechanically. Not only do they lock, but they offer 1/4″ shaft slimness for their entire length, while also offering varied lengths.
For instance, at work I frequently use a 12″ shafted #3 Phillips bit. I also use 2″ Torx bits, a variety of 6″ bits (tiny Phillips, security or plain Torx, and #2/#3 Square), and a larger set of Ryobi drill bits, all with the Power Bit base. I’ve also got a full set of nut drivers, 1/4″, 3/8″ & 1/2″ socket adapters (straight & wobble), extensions, and flex shafts. All these fit in drills (with a locking adapter in the chuck), and impact drivers. I still have some insert bits, but I’ve found that I’m seriously reluctant to use them. The design difference may seem minimal, but the impact is significant when you work with these tools all day.
Power Bits have been a major boon for me, and I thought it worthy of Cool Tools. In terms of brands, I’ve found Wiha Tools makes 90% of the Power Bits I need and use.