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As sad as it sounds, an electric screwdriver is something that I've always dreamt of owning since being a small child! Many years ago I used to watch my father using his machine and they looked good fun and they always interested me (sad again!). About a year ago now I purchased lots of flat packed furniture to update my bedroom, this is when I realised that I simply could not go on it life without an electric screwdriver. I spotted the Black & Decker AS36LN electric screwdriver in a local timber and builders merchants for the very reasonable price of £36, a quick comparison on the iPhone confirmed that this was an excellent price so I grabbed the last one and fled home.
*** About the AS36LN ***
The unit is made by Black & Decker being assembled in China - as usual! The screwdriver is designed for general DIY use and it doesn't seem to be aimed at the trade with a rather low but powerful enough 3.6V built in battery. The screwdriver is battery powered and the internal batteries are fully rechargeable using the cradle provided with the driver making it a very portable and handy device. Included in the box are various screwdriver bits and a small storage tin to keep the whole lot in to prevent anything getting lost or broken in storage. The driver is a rather powerful device with many different torque settings to suit the type of materials being screwed and it ensures a snug fit of every screw into the material.
*** Setting the screwdriver up for the first use ***
This was rather easy as the unit came ready assembled in the box and it only required a full overnight charge to begin use. In the box I found the screwdriver, a charging cradle and plug, 10 various screwdriver bits and an instruction manual. I had a quick flick through the small instruction manual and it was perfectly easy to understand with pictures demonstrating certain features and functions. The screwdriver was easy to put on charge and I only had to drop the driver onto the cradle to begin charging, the cradle reminds me of a cordless phone making charging easy and convenient. The charging light went out overnight indicating that the screwdriver was fully charged and she was ready for use, the set-up was as easy as that....
*** Using the screwdriver ***
The first good point that I noticed about this screwdriver was how light and small it is, the driver is easy to hold and hard to drop as it's the perfect shape to grab on to and it has lots of rubber grip around the holding area preventing accidental slippages. The screwdriver is generally a very simple device to use and I did not require the instruction manual to begin screwing, there are very few buttons on the driver - only a forward / reverse button and the trigger to start her turning and that's it! To begin use you simply select the required screwdriver bit from the selection provided, pop it into the magnetic holder on the front of the screwdriver, insert it into the head of a screw and pull the trigger to start the screw turning. Every screw that I've screwed using this screwdriver has worked perfectly and the little motor inside this screwdriver has plenty of power to drive the screws into almost any type of timber, if the screwdriver begins to struggle I usually adjust the torque setting by turning the torque selector at the front of the screwdriver to a higher value, this feature works well and I have used it a lot for screwing delicate materials to prevent over torqueing.
The screwdriver has a few nifty features that apparently make the device easy to use. One of these features is the retractable magnetic screw holder that pops out the front of the screwdriver just under the screw bit. I have tried using this feature and in all honesty I find it rather useless, maybe it's just me that cannot get the screw holder to actually hold a screw without it slipping upon touching the material that I'm screwing into? I find it much easier to hold the screw with my finger and slowly turn it in using the screwdriver than use this rather useless feature. The one feature that I absolutely love on this screwdriver is the extremely bright blue LED bulb fitted just above the screw bit, this illuminates the area being screwed and it's perfect to ensure an accurate screw location.
The screwdriver has both a forward and a reverse gear built in so screws can be unscrewed as well as screwed in. The forward / backwards control is by two buttons either side of the handle just above the on/off trigger, it's easy to change the direction of the turn and it generally works very well indeed. All of the buttons and triggers on this screwdriver are of an excellent quality and they feel very robust. The unit feels very sturdy in use and it's easy to apply pressure to the screwdriver for some screws that need that extra boost to pop in.
*** Reliability, maintenance etc. ***
I have owned this screwdriver for roughly a year now and I've used it at least once a week for various tasks around the house. The screwdriver has yet to let me down and it's worked faultlessly for the whole time that I've owned it however Black & Decker supply this product with a reasonable 2 year guarantee against mechanical faults and manufacturing errors so I'm still covered! The device is very strong and robust and I have confirmed this by accidentally dropping it onto a concrete floor on numerous occasions, the poor little driver just bounces and she always makes a speedy recovery. The bit's provided are equally as strong and mine are all still fine after numerous uses, if they need replacing the driver takes the standard screwdriver bits so they are cheap and easy to get hold of.
There is very little, if any maintenance to perform on this little screwdriver apart from charging it and keeping the beast clean. A full charge from a totally flat battery takes roughly eight hours to complete which isn't too bad for me as I'm not a regular user of a screwdriver, for someone doing lots of DIY work I'm guessing that eight hours is too long to wait and it could be very inconvenient as there are no easily removable batteries to use after a flat one.... For this reason I don't think this device is at all suitable for someone with loads of screws to screw! The 3.6V battery however is generally performing well in my screwdriver allowing up to 50 medium screws to be screwed on one charge - the battery is a Lithium-ion so it holds its charge nicely between charges.
*** Any negatives? ***
The only slightly negative I can think of is that the screwdriver does not have a variable speed trigger... The motor is either on or off and there is no in-between speed so a screw cannot be slowly inserted without stopping and starting the motor continuously. This is slightly annoying but I've soon gotten used to the problem and I've learnt to just live with it!
*** My overall opinion ***
This is a nice electric screwdriver that does everything it says on the tin with hardly any fuss. The device has plenty of power and some nice features to make the job slightly more interesting and apparently easier - apart from the extendable screw holder of which I think is a bit of a joke. This is the perfect electric screwdriver for the average DIY'er that's not too concerned about waiting on battery charges; it's strong, efficient and very reliable. Overall, I highly recommend this screwdriver and I don't regret buying it one bit!
Thanks for reading,
Corded: no / Black & Decker AS36LN Lithium-Ion Auto Select Screwdriver with Magnetic Screw Holder 3.6 Volt / Patented Retractable Screw Holder with magnetic carrier holds screws in place to allow ONE handed use Lithium-Ion Technology-Battery stays charged and ready for up to 18 months Auto Select Clutch - to select the right torque for your screwdriving applications New Forward Reverse Mechanism ensures the screwdriving mode is directly in view Telescopic Screw Holder to screw in tight areas Countersink bit included to screw near the edge of the board and the hole done will help to prevent splitti