Ideal 9-in-1 Ratch-a-Nut Screwdriver

A conventional screwdriver with a few unique features that tradespeople will really appreciate


Ideal 9-in-1 Ratch-a-Nut Screwdriver

The new 9-in-1 Ratch-a-Nut model 35-988 screwdriver from Ideal Industries looks, for all intents and purposes, like a conventional screwdriver. However, it has a couple of very useful features that tradespeople will really appreciate.
The 35-988 is 8-5/8" long (not including the bit) and has a 5" handle. The removable and reversible shank is made from chrome vanadium tool steel, which has the attributes of increasing tool strength, toughness and resistance to wear and fatigue. The reversible shank holds a Twist-a-Nut™ bit in either end. The shank holds the bits firmly in place. Unfortunately, you can't use standard replacement screwdriver bits; you're limited to the Twist-a-Nut bits (which makes it a good idea to purchase the optional bits at the same time you buy the screwdriver).

Reversible shank removed
Three-way geared ratcheting mechanism
The handle is made of a two-part thermoplastic elastomer material (Santoprene®), which is resistant to water, perspiration, oil and chemicals. It's a comfortable handle; it fits well in the hand and is reasonably well balanced.
The three-way geared ratcheting mechanism on the 35-988 operates very smoothly, without any slack, enabling you to apply all the torque you're worth. The three-way mechanism has forward, lock, and reverse positions. The ratcheting selector is located at the front of the handle, which means you can turn the selector one-handed, using your thumb and forefinger. However, the ridges on the selector aren't very pronounced; I found the selector slipped unless I applied a lot of thumb and finger pressure. A bit of a nuisance.

Wire-Nut wrench
Accu-Loop wire looping system
In the base of the handle is a ratcheting, universal wire nut wrench. It accepts twist-on wire wire connectors from every major manufacturer. Just place the nut in the handle, insert the wires into the nut, and then twist them tight. Way cool.
The other great feature on the 35-988 is the very clever Accu-Loop™ wire looping system. Essentially it consists of two wire looping holes built into the handle. Insert #12 AWG or smaller wires, and then turn the handle to create a perfect loop.
By the way, the "9-in-1" moniker refers to the number of Twist-a-Nut bits that the screwdriver accepts. It comes with two double ended bits - a 1/4" slotted plus #2 Phillips, and a 3/16" slotted plus /#1 Phillips. Available separately are a 1/4" slotted plus #1 square, 1/4" slotted plus #2 square, and a #15 plus #10 Torx. Unique features and good price make the Ideal 9-in-1 Ratch-a-Nut screwdriver one top-notch tool.


  • 8-5/8" overall length, 5" handle
  • Chrome vanadium tool steel
  • Two-part thermoplastic elastomer handle
  • Geared ratcheting mechanism
  • Accu-Loop™ wire looping system
  • Wire nut wrench
  • Includes: 1/4" slotted; #2 Phillips and 3/16" slotted;#1 Phillips Twist-a-Nut™ double ended bits

Manufacturer:Ideal Industries
Retail Price:$33.00
Model #:35-988
Made In:USA
Carl Duguay, November 2010
Discover more great woodworking reviews!
Subscribe Now and get instance online access to our library filled with exciting woodworking information.
Continue to stay connected to the latest tool reviews with our bi-monthly woodworking magazines!