Whether you are a fan of Doctor Who or not, this review wouldn’t be complete without the sonic screwdriver reference. Xiaomi’s Wowstick 1P may not be a perfect film prop, but is it a perfect tool for your workshop? It’s the first time I got my hands on a motorised screwdriver, at £13 and change, it’s on par with other sets I have.
Wowstick 1P – not supersonic but…
What you get in the box is the Wowstick 1P, a pouch and a set of 20 universal tips. There is no doubt this screwdriver set will take the least space from all small screwdriver sets I own.
The organiser for tips is great when it comes to storing it, a bit awkward to work with, and complicated to close. I usually just scatter all the bits across the table while I work, then spend extra time cleaning it all up. That tube is a pain in the neck to close, as you have to align all bits carefully. I have a 3D printer, so I’m sure I will come up with an alternative solution soon!
Wowstick 1P works off 2 x AAA batteries. Despite the lack of any ergonomics (after all this is just a cylinder), it feels good in the hand, and the diameter is great for applying the torque, unlike some of my other screwdrivers.
Getting screwed in
Speed, torque and ease of use are the three things I’m interested in. This is not a toy, this is a tool. I want to know if this is actually faster than using a normal screwdriver. By “faster” I don’t mean the RPM, but how easy is to work with Wowstick 1P in general.
There is enough torque in Wowstick 1P to tighten a screw, and probably deal with the more stubborn cases. If you find yourself in a situation where the screwdriver isn’t able to loosen up the screw, you can always use a little elbow grease as the gears lock when not in use.
The tool will definitely keep you safe from overtightening the bolts and ruin the thread. It can double as a regular screwdriver when the batteries are dead.
Personally, I’d like the turn speed to be a little faster in the “unscrew” mode. As you could see from the video above, the main benefit is the comfort not the speed of work.
If you have to deal with 20-30 screws, your hand will thank you for not doing each one of them manually. I don’t think you would save a lot of time, but I’m way too familiar with tired hands most often present after IKEA furniture assembly (guess what, I got a cordless drill/screwdriver on my 3rd assembly as well😆).
Ease of use
It’s hard to pick flaws on a screwdriver for £13. I would like the USB charging option to keep the Wowstick 1P ready, but I’m sure the price hike would be significant.
I mentioned this before, Wowstick 1p takes a little getting used to, but I’m already getting efficient at it and it has been only 30 min of me messing around with screws. I can see myself using it.
After a successful mod that improved the quality of my soldering stand, I have more confidence modding my tools and gadgets. 3D printers are fantastic for that and I have two mods in mind:
- better tip organiser
- “wired” insert to run the screwdriver of a USB power bank
I will link these once the job is finished, you may find it useful as well.
Under $15 there are many kits you could buy online. What matters the most, is the quality of the tips. Wowstick 1P is a welcome futuristic upgrade and will end up in my toolbox next to a fancy TS80 portable iron. If you prefer more traditional screwdrivers, here is a set that may interest you.
If you would like to splash out a little more ($40) you can get one that comes with a charging dock:
If you really want to splash out on some screwy-magic-special – you could take a look at the MiniDSO ES121 (review) screwdriver instead. Let me know what do you think about the Wowsticks in this Reddit thread.