Linus Media Group, the media production agency behind giant YouTube tech channels like Linus Tech Tips and Techquickie, just launched the LTT Screwdriver, a $69.99 ratcheting screwdriver geared for building PCs and general use.
And Linus Sebastian, the man behind it all, didn't hold any punches. In the Screwdriver launch video, he said:
There are loads of perfectly good screwdrivers. But this one? This one is the best.
Between a recent written warranty kerfuffle and various 'hot takes' from LTT's founder, Linus Media Group had a lot to prove with their new screwdriver.
And judging by early (slightly biased) reviews from people who travelled to a special 'pop up shop', and a very favorable review from YouTube's independent tool reviewer du jour, Linus might not be patting himself on his back for no reason. The LTT driver soundly beat the newer Snap-On Soft Grip Standard Ratcheting Screwdriver in a variety of tests:
Don't judge the results by that graph—you have to watch the whole Project Farm review to understand the meaning behind those numbers—and the fact that they're not weighted!
I got in contact with LTT a few weeks ago, and was able to acquire (through purchase—no freebies!) two production screwdrivers for early testing.
They arrived last week, and I've put them through their paces, comparing them against a spectrum of ratcheting screwdrivers, from the most expensive ($150 PB Swiss) to the cheapest I could find ($11 Amartisan).
And my results were similar to Project Farm's (if a little more subjective). Watch my whole video (embedded below) for all the details, but the short summary is LTT's screwdriver is every bit a match for the venerable—and more expensive—Snap-On SSDMR4B.
Linus used the same model in orange for years, and I'm sure he based many design decisions on the flaws he perceived in its design.
The LTT Screwdriver's shaft is thinner than the other ratcheting drivers, the ratchet mechanism has the least amount of force required to use it, and the bit storage mechanism—licensed from Megapro—is a pleasure to use, especially in comparison to the stone-age 'unscrew a cap and dump out a bunch of bits' method the Snap-On employs.
That's not to say it's perfect. The smooth plastic grip is fine for lighter work, but requires a lot more finesse if you need high torque, like when screwing into wood. The shaft is in the middle of the pack when it comes to wobble and slop. And little niceties like pre-installed bits (which even the cheap $13 Amazon Basics Screwdriver had) aren't present with the LTT experience.
Another major difference between established tool brands like PB Swiss, Hilti, and Snap-On is the fact you can get same-day replacements in many parts of the world. The LTT Store ships to countries outside the US and Canada (its home base), but for a much higher price. Many Europeans were quoted shipping fees of over $30, making the LTT Screwdriver more expensive than a PB Swiss—at least in certain countries.
So it's not all about the hardware. Just like with computers, you can't judge a system based on CPU clocks and RAM speeds.
There are arguments to be had over the best value for a ratcheting screwdriver (or whether you even want a ratcheting driver in the first place...), and I would argue the Williams WRS-1—which is a cost-down version of the Snap-On—is probably the best value of the tools I tested.
Linus Media Group did partner with Megapro in their design and manufacturing, which gave them a leg up. And though many complain the LTT Screwdriver is 'just a MegaPro with an LTT badge', that's not the case at all. This driver has tweaked ergonomics, a modified bitholder design, an improved ratchet, and a slightly different shaft.
And—oh, yeah—it was designed by a YouTuber.