Good tech toolkit?

I have several sets of TERRIBLE computer/tech screwdrivers. The cases are shit, the metal on the screwdriver heads bends, they don’t have magnetic tips, etc…

Can anybody recommend a good and reliable set of screwdrivers (and ideally some really thin-nosed pliers, too) that I won’t feel like throwing at the cat* every time I try to open up my laptop?

  • The cat is usually just a convenient target and needs to get more exercise.

I’ve got a set of craftsman screwdrivers and have also been buying some Wiha screwdrivers to fill in some gaps (5.5mm nutdriver for a keyboard, T5 for a phone). Both brands are good, though I don’t think either ones are magnetized. Just stick a magnet higher up on the shaft and you’re good to go (one of the rare earth kind, like from a hard drive).

I have a set of pliers almost identical to these, and they’ve worked fine.

There is a $10 precision screwdriver at Harbor Freight that comes with a large set of bits that can open up just about anything, even special Apple screws. It comes in a plastic orange case.

I haven’t bought this particular package since it wasn’t available when I bought a few a la carte items but I am pretty happy with what I did.

You can magnetize a screwdriver by hitting it with a hammer a couple of times while the shaft is pointing north-south.

Thanks for the feedback. I’ll look into these various options. There’s a Harbor Freight store very nearby, so that might win. Also – that’s a pretty cool trick, Miramon! Any idea why it works?

When you strike the ferrous metal, the impact shakes up many of the microscopic magnetic domains in the crystal matrix of the steel. To begin with, the domains are pretty randomly aligned so the total magnetism of the object is neutral. When they are shaken up, if the screwdriver shaft is pointed N-S, the earth’s magnetic field naturally aligns a slight preponderance of them along the axis of the shaft. Now the whole thing becomes slightly magnetic. You can then demagnetize the object by heating it, which randomizes the domains again.

This method might not make a screwdriver strong enough to pick up a heavy bolt, but in my experience it’s just enough to hold onto those tiny screws that are the worst offenders in getting dropped and lost in the case or in the baseboards or whatever.

Of course if you have an actual magnet at hand, it’s a lot easier: just stroke the shaft with the magnet; however, this may be NSFW.

I like it Miramon :)

As for my kit it is a collection of various things all pooled together into my ‘tech kit’.

I never found one brand or complete set really that good for everything, my thin nose pliers are Stanley brand as is the magnetic cross/phillips tip screwdriver i use for most case/hardrive/mobo screws, but i also have a non brand set of tiny, tiny screwdrivers for elves that are meant to be magnetic, but are so small the magnetic pull needs assistance from blue-tac to keep hold of the tiny screws they work with.

Probably the biggest help i’ve found is patience and having a steady hand (and good hand-eye coordination), and not working on awful ‘brand’ PC’s that lock and block everything you might need access to (they seem to be better in the modern era for the most part).