Drill bit accessories are essential to anyone who owns a drill. They commonly include all sorts of drill bits, screw bits, and nut drivers. It's very convenient to grab your drill, an accessory case or two, and get started on a project. I personally own a few such accessory cases, and I'm going to compare them. However, it isn't my goal to focus on the contents, instead I'm going to focus on something almost equally important, the case itself.
These accessory kits make great holiday gifts for your handyman / handywoman, but it's important to consider the cases in addition to the contents. For more gift ideas, check HERE and HERE.
I've found that there is a wide range of quality in the cases, and it doesn't always correlate with price or brand. Let's start with this no-name brand of drill bits. This came as a "free bonus" with a sawblade wall clock. It was on a good sale and I needed the clock, so why not? It's always good to have an extra set of drill bits, even if they are only good for spacers.
The quality of the case shell is decent for the most part. The latch looks cheap, but seems to function decently enough. Well, that's about it for the pros...
The hinge is made of flexible plastic and looks like it could wear out. The biggest problem is how the bits are held in and how closely they're spaced. Basically, they are way too close together to grab and they are held in waaay too tight. You would need to be a bodybuilder with baby carrot fingers to get these out. I think it would be easy to bend the smaller ones, or even snap them off completely, when removing or replacing them.
This case is basically useless. As soon as I need them, I'm going to take all the bits out and toss the case.
Here's an interesting one. Dewalt is know for high-quality tools, but they are a bit pricey. Sure, you get what you pay for, but there shouldn't be that many problems with it, right?
The case shell is very durable and the latch works great. I'm not sure if they meant for it, but most of the cases I've seen seem to be somewhat modular. If you had a few similar Dewalt cases, you could probably interchange some of the components. See the bit holders in the picture above? Those can be removed and switched around. It's possible to make a custom case based upon your specific needs. That's a very smart move on their part. The individual pieces are easily removed, but...
The pieces are very difficult to get back into their holders! It's possible that it needs to be "broken in" with use, but it seems like they could have had a much better system.
It's a annoying to mess with trying to get the pieces back in after you use them, but overall, it's a good case.
I love this Milwaukee set. It's in about the mid level price range, but I'm very happy with it. It wasn't until I got this set that I really started noticing the cases as well as the contents.
The shell is very sturdy. It has rubber along the edges, possibly for added protection, but it doesn't really seem necessary. The latch is a little loose, but works fine. The thing I like best is that it's extremely easy to remove and replace the bits. It's a very simple concept, but not every manufacturer understands it. Perhaps the case is a little big for its contents, but it makes it really easy to quickly grab what you need, use it, and put it back where it belongs.
I can find no problems with this case besides the gimmicky rubber armor and slightly loose latch. It's pretty bread and butter. It would be nice to have some innovative features.
A great case. This should be the baseline for all drill accessory cases.
Stanley has been in the homeowner market for many years. A lot of other companies, like Dewalt, have branded themselves as tools for professionals. I have mixed feelings about Stanley. On one hand, they are working to catch up to the "professional" companies, but on the other hand, they still make things like this...
There are some great features in this case, but they aren't executed that well. On the left side, those two rows of bits flip up for easy removal, but it feels cheap. On the right side, those three rows of small bits are removable, which is a very nice feature. But again, it feels cheap.
The shell is horrible. It's a hard plastic outer shell with a flimsy plastic interior. Imagine it like a box of chocolates. You know the cheap plastic mold that the chocolates fit in? That's what like the inside of this case is like. The plastic practically crinkles when you touch it. The latch works, but it will quickly wear out. The individual modules are barely held into their spaces. I'm afraid to get this case near an open flame for fear of it disintegrating.
This is a horrible case, but the contents are great! I know I said I wouldn't judge on contents, but we've seen that good contents don't necessarily mean a good case (cough, Dewalt, cough), and this goes to show that a crappy case doesn't necessarily mean bad contents. If they took the flip-up idea and the removable row of bits, and put those in a better case, they would really have something.
Don't take it for granted that expensive or name-brand kits will have good cases. Many times, cases are just as important as their contents. If you're looking at two products with similar contents, consider the cases. Three of my four cases have almost all the same contents, but I know which one I'm going to grab 90% of the time because of the ease of use.