Concept: 4 out of 5
Execution: 4 out of 5
Yeah, but: It's even Canadian.
The Long Version: I grew up with an interchangeable-bit screwdriver. It had a hollow plastic body with a spring-loaded top, and any time it was gripped overhead it would pivot open and cascade the loose bits down on the unfortunate user. Over time the bits got lost, and since they predated the universal hex-bit design they couldn't be replaced. I hated that screwdriver: it was the worst combination of bad design and minimal function that made it not quite worth replacing and miserable to use.
I haven't thought much about interchangeable-bit screwdrivers for years, and there's a good set of traditional screwdrivers that I theoretically keep in my tool box. They're nice to use, take up a lot of room, and are never where I need them. So they end up scattered around the house, with different sizes left where I use them the most; the #2 Philips is in my pencil mug on my desk, the red Robertson is on a shelf in the storage room, and the largest slot-head is around here somewhere. A screwdriver set is good, but it's not the ideal solution for household use either.
The Picquic is a multi-bit screwdriver done right. It uses three-inch long hex bits that fit into one of six slots inside the driver handle, and the seventh bit pushes out the next one. This makes it hard to lose the ones that aren't in use, but on the other hand if you lose the loose one then it'll be a challenge to get the next one out.
The screwdriver handle is just about perfect for me, so I wasn't surprised when I went on-line and discovered that I have average-size hands. The shaft meets the handle with a wrench-friendly hexagonal cross-section, allowing considerable torque to be applied. The bit in use isn't clamped into place, but rather is held by the magic of magnets, which let it wobble a tiny bit from side to side. Convenience wins out over that one-piece feeling, but that's really the point.
While I bought mine for home use, I have spotted one of these in the tool belt of a TTC maintenance worker, and Picquic makes additional models as well. Additionally, the different regions – Canada, USA, Europe – come with different bits that are tailored to the type of loose screws that are most likely to be encountered, giving them international utility.
There are similar designs out there from the big store names, but the original is frequently a few dollars cheaper. I have to say that I'm pretty tired of the mimics and clones that invariably emerge once someone else has had a good idea, so I'd probably stay with the Picquic regardless, but it's nice that it's an easy choice.
last updated 28 apr 2012: ratings increased.