Tool Chest

Dewalt Interchangeable Nail Set


Great multi-purpose nail set

I bought this nail set a few months ago — what I really needed was an awl, but I thought I would grind down one of the three sizes of nail sets that come with this tool to be a sharp-pointed hole-poker. I did, and I use that pretty often, but even more often I use the Phillips screwdriver bit that’s the fourth end on the two bits that are included. It’s smaller and lighter to carry around than a full-on screwdriver, also it’s a better (fuller) bit and easier to get to screws with than the driver on my EDC Leatherman Wave. Of course if you need some serious torque, you may want a larger-handled driver on you (or a wrench, see below).

The quick-change collar holds the included bits securely, and also accepts standard short driver bits — there’s a stop at a depth such that a short bit will be properly positioned, and while there’s no magnet to hold it in, the friction of the ball bearing keeps it snug. It will also accept other quick-change bits, though they don’t fit as snugly as the included sets — they have some linear play, but they won’t fall out. (The discrepancy is especially odd to me considering Dewalt is a respected, long-time tool maker with experience making tools that accept standard quick-change bits — as well as selling those bits!) The knurled sliding sleeve is loose enough to release a bit with one hand; this does mean that if the tool lives bit-end down in a tight pocket you can drop your bit out inadvertently as you slide the tool out.

The other end of the shaft is hex-shaped, so it can be chucked into a drill to act as a bit holder, and also gives you some grip to manually torque a screw loose or tight. It will also slip into a 7/16″ socket for even more options.

Overall this is a great multi-purpose tool for an everyday carry or just to have handy in a small tool pouch when you don’t want to bring along your larger tool bag, box, or bucket. If you don’t need three sizes of nail sets available all the time, modify it! (My next mod will be to make the fat nail set opposite the Phillips driver into a flat-head driver.) Carry a small variety of other driver bits and you’ve got a versatile set of tools in a small package.

There are other options for a small multi-bit capable screwdriver, but I feel that this has an advantage not only in simplicity but especially in versatility, given the included sets and the ability to use it in a drill or with a socket or wrench. The only drawbacks I’ve found are the possibility of losing a bit if you pull it out of a tight pocket or pouch, and the difference in the size of the quick-change notch on the included bits versus standard quick-change driver and drill bits. Neither of these is a deal-breaker for me, and I find myself carrying this almost daily, and using it nearly as often. At Home Depot (where I bought mine) it cost a dollar more than Dewalt’s set of three separate nail sets, and is way more useful. The signature Dewalt yellow also makes it easy to see where you stuck it or set it down!

-- Kyle Wayman 12/13/13