Hitachi’s entire range of power tools is dressed in a fantastic jungle livery and comes with deeply textured, soft plastic handles to give you essential extra grip, but the DB 3DL is perhaps the most innovative design.

This green gizmo is designed to reach the screws that other drivers simply can’t. You can straighten him out to give you a reach of 25cm, or snap your snake into a 90-degree angle to get it working just like a regular drill or screwdriver.

Torque to the hand

The DB 3DL is surprisingly powerful for a pocket device too. The maximum torque is 5Nm, which means you can undo even the most stubborn screw, or drive one into a solid piece of hardwood.

There are two speeds and 21 torque stages, so when it comes to the more delicate jobs, like disassembling your girlfriend’s new mobile phone, it’s equally adept. Just twist the chuck end down to a low setting and fit a fine crosshead driver bit (not supplied) and you’ll have that Nokia N95 reduced to its component parts in no time.

The battery is another plus point. The Li-Ion cell is 40% lighter than its Ni-MH counterparts and it’ll last 30 minutes on a single charge. Two are included in the nifty plastic carrying case, so that should easily cover a day’s work.

LED light saber

In practice, we found the LED headlamp was a particularly useful addition. It’s not so bright that your screwdriver suddenly becomes a light saber and it canes your battery life, but it really comes into its own when you’re working underneath a defective Peugeot 205. The beam is directed right at the bit tip, so you can see precisely what’s going on.

Only the basic crosshead/flathead driver is included in the case, so you’ll want to get a mini set of bits to go with this. Look for the 6.35mm quick lock hex type bits.

Given its slim proportions and flexible usage it’s not too hard to justify a place on your utility belt for Hitachi’s handy autoscrewdriver. And adding it’s ability to get you in and out of tight spots and illuminate the whole operation gives it a marked advantage over rivals.


Stuff says... 

Hitachi DB 3DL review

Hitachi’s ingeniously hinged screwdriver is your flexible friend when it comes to awkward screws and looks remarkably like a Halo 3 gun