GoFast Innovations JIS Screwdriver Set Hands-On Review


Photo of three sizes of GoFast Innovations JIS screwdrivers.

The Breakdown

This set of three JIS screwdrivers is a motorcycle mechanic’s dream. Full tang, chrome vanadium shafts that are magnetic on the working end and equipped with a male hex head on the protruding butt end. The hex head allows a socket, box end or open end of a wrench to be used on it for more torque on tight fasteners. The rubber coated grips are ergonomically perfect in size and texture to resist hand and finger slippage. Lifetime guaranteed and shipped for free within North America. Just buy a set and be forever happy. These are very close to being on par with Snap-On or Mac tools for less money.
Overall
Pros
Full tang, chrome vanadium shaft is strong and good quality, Excellent grip ergonomics, Magnetic working end, that is heat hardened and has sharp flutes that won’t strip heads easily, Hex head butt for breaking free very tight fasteners Guaranteed for life, Free shipping to your door within North America, Worldwide for a small additional fee, Affordable, quality tools at $34.95 Canadian dollars shipping included
Cons
Only available in three sizes #1, #2 and #3, Not available in stores to inspect before buying

The Right Tool For the Job

Tool Snobbery

Speaking as a licensed Heavy Duty Mechanic I admit to being a bit of a “tool snob”.

That doesn’t mean I must always use premium brand tools like Snap-On or Mac, but more that if there’s a tool available specifically for a task I want it in my arsenal as opposed to just making do with what I have.

In my experience not only does it save time, but it’s also safer for the technician and those around them. Specialty tools are often expensive and that’s why people pass them up. Specialty tools aren’t always expensive and so each should be considered on a case by case basis and the value weighed.

When in doubt, I suggest spending the money on the tool.

Specialty Screwdrivers

Image showing the difference between a Phillips and JIS screwdriver tip.

Years ago our staff writer Brandon thoroughly explored the difference between Phillips screwdrivers and JIS (Japanese Industrial Standard) in this review.

He did a great job and even though I’m a professional mechanic I didn’t fully understand the difference until after reading his review. The gist of what he discovered is this:

  • Phillips screwdrivers will work on larger JIS head screws but will strip small ones.
  • JIS screwdrivers will work on any size Phillips or JIS head screws AND won’t strip any of them.

So why bother buying Phillips screwdrivers? In truth, you actually would be better off just buying JIS. Weird, eh?

Since then WebBikeWorld has reviewed other JIS screwdrivers from Hozan and Vessel which scored well enough, but they don’t stack up well when compared to the tools I received from GoFast Innovations recently. These ones are extra nice while still being reasonably priced.

Full Tang Shaft Design

The protruding hex headed end of the GoFast screwdriver.

Here’s the best part about these tools. The full tang end makes the screwdriver better balanced in the hand and the hex head butt end gives the option of putting a wrench or socket on it to provide tons more turning force for stubborn fasteners.

Pro Tip For Stuck Fasteners

Sometimes when a fastener is really tight or old they need some persuasion using a hammer to break them free. If you try and do that with a screwdriver lacking a full tang the hammer strike will crack the plastic handle and eventually fall apart.

Not so with these screwdrivers, although you shouldn’t be wailing away like a blacksmith on them with a hammer. Just give it a couple of light taps to loosen things up.

This is the reason air or electric impact guns rattle when you use them. The light tapping helps break up any buildup of corrosion or dirt in the threads or around the head of the screw or bolt when impacted.

Chrome Vanadium Steel

The chrome vanadium shaft on the screwdriver is polished, but not to a mirror finish.

A close up of the chrome vanadium shaft on the GoFast screwdriver.

This is the industry standard for screwdriver shafts and it holds up well to even heavy duty usage. They will still rust if used in a corrosive environment, but resist well overall. The shaft on these screwdrivers isn’t mirrored polished like on Snap-On or Mac ones, but it should still hold up well over its lifetime in a backyard mechanic toolbox based on what I’ve seen.

Chrome moly or Bondhus steel would be harder and longer wearing than chrome vanadium, but would also inflate the price on these screwdrivers.

Ergonomic Handle

The grip is made of thermoplastic resin and coated with a textured rubber layer. It’s a good combination that gives positive feedback when used for a long or short time.

The “rubber hairs” or comb tooth areas on it will trap grease and dirt quite well though and will need to be cleaned out. I generally use WD40 or Varsol to do this without harming the handle, but Brake Kleen should be avoided as it will break down the rubber coating over time.

There are some unattractive seams on the rubber coating because excess rubber wasn’t trimmed away carefully after being molded at the factory. It’s not a big deal but is a notable difference between this price point of tools and the much more expensive Snap-On brand. Still, they both remove screws equally well and this is merely cosmetic knit-picking.

Magnetic Tip

The blackened and heat hardened tips are also magnetized much to my delight. The magnetism on the smallest screwdriver isn’t really strong, but just about right.

I used it to install a Pinlock on the AGV Sportmodular Carbon helmet I just reviewed. The tiny screws were easy to drop, but the magnetic tip made this an easy job thankfully.

I began doing this task with a Phillips screwdriver and right away realized I needed to switch to the JIS instead as the Phillips started climbing out of the screw head slots and stripping them. The JIS bit in perfectly tight and didn’t move. This illustrated perfectly what Brandon talked about in his review. JIS is the way to go on small fasteners!

Final Verdict

A set of three GoFast Innovations JIS screwdrivers.

These are exactly the kind of tools I like to buy for my own home use. They’re inexpensive and well designed to get the job done right.

The full steel tang makes these tools more functional than most on the market and coupled with a no quibble lifetime guarantee from owner Paul Jones I’m sure they’ll be the last JIS screwdrivers I’ll ever need.

Coming Soon

GoFast Innovations is about to release a set of JIS bits for use in ratcheting screwdrivers or impact drivers as well. They’ll be a short and long bit set and will be available at the beginning of August 2018.

I’m sold on these.

 

10 Comments

  1. Bill Pollack
    August 17, 2018
    Reply

    I’ve been following the JIS discussion since 2003, and in addition to Brandon Jackson’s 2011 article for wBW, he also wrote a follow-up on Vessel’s JIS offerings in 2013, and Mad Dog had a Hozan-centric article in 2016. I had some comments on all of those, and wBW sent me some bits to experiment with and comment on (B.P., in the comments).

    I was unaware of the GoFast offering, and just ordered a set of the screwdrivers (and the bits were also available). The 34.95 Canadian came to a USD charge of 27.47 (at least, that’s what PayPal said).

    Thanks for checking these out, Jim, and for the clearly written review.

    • Jim Pruner
      August 20, 2018
      Reply

      Bill you have no idea how happy I am to read this.

      Some of my other friends have raised their eyebrows at me questioning my sanity in reviewing a set of screwdrivers. They just don’t realize how much nicer JIS ones work on metric fasteners and even when I explain that I don’t think they totally understand.
      I hope you like them as much as I do.
      Cheers!

  2. Matt Sherrill
    August 21, 2018
    Reply

    Not mentioned in the article is that most “JIS” screws will have a punched dot on the head.

    • Jim Pruner
      August 22, 2018
      Reply

      Hi Matt! Yes you’re right. Thanks for the feedback.

  3. Tom Conley
    August 26, 2018
    Reply

    It’s ironic that we fault Phillips screwdrivers for slipping out of the head when excessive torque is applied. They were expressly designed to do just that so that the fasteners could not be over torqued.

    • Jim Pruner
      August 27, 2018
      Reply

      If slipping out didn’t strip the heads I don’t think anyone would be finding fault with them.

      The JIS ones don’t slip even when high torque is used conversely.

  4. Eddy Brunet
    September 19, 2018
    Reply

    Please let me know when you have stock on the JIS bits for impact driver.
    Would like 2 sets of bits and 2 sets of screwdrivers.
    Thank you

    • Jim Pruner
      October 4, 2018
      Reply

      Hi Eddy!

      Paul at GoFast tells me the bits are available now.
      I got a set myself and can recommend them too.

  5. psuedonymous
    September 20, 2018
    Reply

    A viable alternative to JIS-head screwdrivers are Pozidriv screwdrivers. They have the same non-tapered flanks, and a very close head cone-angle. The additional ‘mid flute’ protrusions of Pozidriv start halfway up the flutes, so would only interfere with a JIS head if it is unusually deeply cut (in which case a Phillips would engage acceptably).

    • Jim Pruner
      September 23, 2018
      Reply

      I haven’t tried posi drive in a JIS head, but I can see how that could work too.

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