For almost as long as I remember, I’ve used used the classic watch-makers style screwdriver sets, along with others for large screws.
In decades past, these served me well. But recently I’ve gone through a number of them, with the heads breaking. It seems they’re increasingly made from cheap low grade metal that just doesn’t last. After the last such episode, when the flat head of one broke when tightening a screw during a locomotive service, I decided it was time to look elsewhere.
While looking around for replacements, I came across this Wiha set 7 screwdriver piece set.
I’ve used Wiha tools previously but never considered them for screwdrivers. They were more than I’d usually pay but the reviews were compelling so I plonked my money down and ordered a set.
Having used them for a few months now I’m really pleased with them. More so than I expected.
Let’s cover the important aspects first.
As a self-confessed tool nerd, I like to know about the brands behind my tools. Some of brands are well-established, while others are newer and less well-known and it can be difficult to know which brands are reliable and make products that will last and which ones are not.
Wiha however are the former, a German family-run business that has been around for 80 years and have a reputation for quality and innovation. In 2016, they were named one of the TOP 100 most innovative mid-sized companies in Germany and I’ve yet to have one of their tools break on me.
Sizes and types
The Wiha 7 piece set has a good range of sizes for model railway work, with the three Phillips #00, #0, #1 and four flat head aka slotted sizes 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, 3.0mm covering the majority of jobs I’ve carried out on my layout for the last 3 months.
From wiring terminal blocks, attaching wires to controllers – here a Gaugemaster DC controller – to dissembling 00, HO0 and N gauge locomotives for servicing, there’s been a screwdriver to match and I’ve not needed to reach for another.
Back to where we came in.
Some of the cheap, made-in-China mass produced, watch makers screwdrivers I’ve had break with the tip snapping or the corners rounding under even moderate usage.
The Wiha screwdriver set is made from CRM-72 tool steel, which is hardened for maximum durability. This makes it a less more wear resistant and stronger than screwdrivers made from softer carbon steel, such as many of the watch-makers type screwdrivers.
The difference this makes was born out in the albeit non-scientific testing I carried out, namely putting them under as much pressure as I could to see if they break. Over the last three months, no matter how much force applied in normal usage I couldn’t get them to deform. They’ve yet to break or snap.
This bodes well for a long life span and the comments here reinforcing my early findings that they will last
This is where these really score. With other small screw screwdrivers they often have narrow handles that become painful to hold and twist after a while.
These have thick tapered barrels with a moderate weight that fitted my hands really well. There’s also a slight ridged surface to the thin end of the taper to allow finger tips to grip them.
Even better, the rotating cap at the end, that pushes into the palm, which allows the screwdriver to be rotated by fingers instead of turning the hand, is rounded plastic and again a reasonable size so it doesn’t hurt when held over long periods of time. While other screwdrivers left an impression in my palm, these didn’t.
The combination of comfortable tapered barrel size and soft cap makes these screwdrivers much to work with.
Conclusion, is the Wiha 26197 set worth it?
Let’s not waste time. Yes, it’s worth it.
For screws of the sizes to match, which thankfully is most on my model railways, these are now my go-to screwdrivers. They’re strong, reliable and comfortable and worth the little extra compared to other non-brand small screwdrivers.
You can get Wiha 26197 7 Piece Precision Slotted and Phillips Screwdriver Set here.
Full disclosure: I spend days, weeks perhaps months testing modelling and model train products for the reviews on ModelRailwayEngineer and have used hundreds of tools, accessories and materials over many, many, years. For this review, no money or gifts were exchanged and I bought the product at the normal advertised price and without the supplier knowing it would be reviewed here. The links on this page may take you to carefully selected businesses, such as Hornby, Amazon and Scale Model Scenery, where you can purchase the product under affiliate programmes. This means I receive a small commission on any orders placed although the price you pay does not change. You can read my full affiliate policy here