If, like me, you’re someone who tends to take apart your computers, having the right tools is important. Unfortunately, many of the tools needed for disassembling a laptop or portable device—Torx screwdrivers, spudgers, and the like—aren’t included in your typical tool collection, leaving you to search them out at Sears, Radio Shack, or various online retailers.
Back when I first started amassing my own collection of computer tools, I remember spending $10 or more for each size of Torx screwdriver. Which is why Newer Technology’s 11-Piece Portable Toolkit is so appealing. For just $18, you get:
- Three Torx screwdrivers (T6, T8, and T10)
- Two flathead screwdrivers (1.8mm and 3.0mm)
- Two Phillips screwdrivers (#00 and #2)
- Two nylon spudgers—otherwise known as pry tools, useful for opening iPods or Mac minis or removing the top case from an older MacBook Pro.
- A set of large tweezers, perfect for fishing out the screw you accidentally dropped into the innards of your laptop
- A scissor clamp for holding cables and other thin objects in place
The screwdrivers have magnetized tips to help keep tiny screws from falling into tiny spaces, and all the tools fit in the included zip-up case; all but the spudgers fit tightly, so they don’t fall out of their slots during travel.
At this price, you shouldn’t expect Snap-on quality. But I’ve used the Portable Toolkit several times over the past couple months, and the tools have worked well. Most importantly for inexpensive tools, the screwdriver tips haven’t stripped, despite being used with a number of very tight screws—a good sign. (Newer includes a one-year warranty, nevertheless.)
One complaint is that while the screwdrivers have rotating, dimpled caps—a design that lets you put pressure on the screw while turning it—the caps on a few of the screwdrivers in the set I’ve been testing don’t rotate freely enough to make this feature useful. It’s also worth noting that the nylon pry tools are intentionally made to “give” to avoid scratching whatever object you’re working on; this means they’ll eventually wear out.
If you’re celebrating the holidays this time of year, the Portable Toolkit is a great inexpensive gift for techies. It’s also a relatively cheap way to reward yourself—these are handy tools to have around.