Over the years I’ve seen screwdriver handles in nearly every conceivable shape. Round, square, triangular, pentagonal, hexagonal, and just about everything else. There really is no industry standard design anymore. Some designs lean more toward comfort, while others lean more toward turning power. Then someone comes along and tries to produce a design that excels at both. Wera is that somebody.
Founded in 1936, German based Wera is well known for high quality tools. Rather than being a “jack of all trades” and hitting the market with a Wera branded version of every tool and product imaginable, Wera is a “specialist” type of company that focuses on doing a few things extremely well. Developed in 1968 through a collaborative effort with the Fraunhofer Institute (a renowned German research organization), the Kraftform screwdriver is very unique and instantly recognizable. It is to Wera what the Sawzall is to Milwaukee. So much so, that they actually incorporated the design into their logo
Wera designed the Kraftform to contour to the human hand. If you take a roll of clay and squeeze it in your hand, it comes out looking remarkably like the Kraftform handle.
But enough with the trivia lesson, lets talk about the drivers. The first thing I noticed was that this set came with a holding rack, a pretty nice one I might add. While this is a 6 piece set, there are 7 openings on the rack (more about that later). As you might expect, the Kraftform does fit nicely in your hand, almost unbelievably nice! While it’s clear the handle was intended to be held with a full grip, it remains remarkably comfortable to hold in virtually any position. Whether “choking up” on it or holding it toward the butt of the handle, I couldn’t find a position in which it felt awkward or uncomfortable. The Kraftform is what I refer to as a “hybrid” handle, meaning that it incorporates both hard and soft panels. Wera claims these soft panels are designed to coincide with the muscles in the hand thereby increasing comfort and turning power. I mostly slept through anatomy and consequently, I’m not really in a position to say with any degree of certainly how that claim plays out in reality, but it certainly sounds plausible. I like that handles feature markings at 12 and 6 making it easy to calculate full and half turns for carb adjustments, etc. and detailed sizes are printed on both the side and top of the handles making them easily identifiable in a drawer or in a belt pouch.
While the handles are certainly the star of the show, the innovation doesn’t stop there. The Series 300 drivers also feature Wera’s “Lasertip” technology. What is “Lasertip” technology you ask? It’s a pattern of lines laser etched into the tip of the drivers for the purpose of gripping the fastener to reduce cam outs and help hold the fastener on the tip thus reducing the need to magnetize them.
So does it work? It does. While they really shined on decent quality fasteners, even on cheap, Chinese, sheet metal screws bought at Harbor Freight for pennies a ton, there was a noticeable advantage to the lasertip. In my fastener holding test I was able to keep the screws on the driver even pointed straight down as long as I was reasonably steady handed. Was it as effective as a magnetized tip? no, but magnetize these bad boys with Wera’s magnetizer/demagnetizer (available for around $10) or even one of the General Tool models, and you’re ready for battle. I can’t say how the lasertip etching will hold up with years of use. I imagine it will loose some effectiveness over time, but how much and how fast I will let you know.
Overall, I was extremely impressed with the 300 series. So much so, that I went straight to Zoro tools and ordered a couple more of them. Our test set included 4 flat heads and 2 phillips (#1 and #2), so I added a #0 and #3 phillips. I’m pretty set for screwdrivers as I sit, but I have every intention of eventually making every screwdriver in my box a Wera Kraftform, they’re that good! There are many variations of Kraftform drivers including insulated, stainless shank, ratcheting, multi-bit, chisel drivers, precision, (and probably several more) in sets of various size and configuration. You won’t find Wera at your local big box store, but a quick internet search will turn up several sources. If you’ve never had a Kraftform in your hands, you owe it to yourself to give them a shot.