Tamiya PT01 Electric Screwdriver Review

I did this review because a colleague on Discord thought it would be a good idea and when I went to research it I found almost no information on the screwdriver. I thought that was a bit weird since Tamiya tools are a somewhat overpriced, but always high on quality and generally used all over the world.

I just want to start by saying that I do not receive any promotional items from sponsors for any of my projects so everything you see is just my good old opinion from me using this screwdriver over the last few projects I have finished.

Ok let’s just jump right in, then you can judge for yourself. A word of warning though, you might want to read to the very end before you make your mind up to go out and buy one!

The screwdriver box comes with a few basic items

  • The main screwdriver
  • A charging station and cord
  • Instructions
  • 5 bit driver attachments and a holder
  • and finally a handy carrying case to make everything portable

The package comes in a semi-enclosed box. Other than the name “Tamiya Electric Screwdriver Set (PT01)” just about everything else on the box is written in Japanese. As with everything Tamiya, the box is marketed well. The box has flattering marketing pictures on the front and some useful cartoon features on the back.

Inside the case has two Velcro based tie down straps, one for the screwdriver and another for the charger. This helps so that things don’t shift around during travel. Also inside are two expandable pockets that can be used to hold the extra driver bits. Finally, the lid has a large mesh pocket that can be used to store the instructions or anything else that lies flat.

The bits come in a 6 hole bit holder, yet only 5 bits are included with the screwdriver. These bits include

  • #1 large JIS screw bit
  • #2 small JIS screw bit
  • 4mm flange nut driver
  • 2mm hex/allen bit
  • 2.5mm hex/allen bit

Features

  • separate forward/reverse buttons, not trigger style since it would not function correctly when in the straight position
  • on/off switch for LED light for a constant on light
  • two speed toggle located in the middle of the driver
  • lockout button that prevents the driver from operating accidentally
  • it contains a quick easy to use metal bit release, just pull it out and quick swap the bit
  • tension slipper clutch setting that goes from 1 (loose) to 21 (drill no slip mode)
  • strap loop built into the handle but there is no handle strap included with the screwdriver

The screw driver works in two positions. The first is with the handle tilted down in a pistol configuration and the other is with the handle fully extended. I find that the pistol position is much more comfortable for general use and assembly where I straighten it out when I am trying to get the bit into a tight position. I was surprised initially that there was no lock for the position change but there is enough resistance in the pivot that I have not had any problems with it changing position without me wanting it to. I will have to see if it loosens over time and becomes unusable.

Conclusions

  • The light is plenty bright enough, but you do need to remember to turn it off when you are done since it is controlled by a separate on/off switch
  • Setting the lock button helps prevent it from running during travel, but the lock doesn’t prevent the light from getting turned on and wasting the battery
  • I use it in high speed for disassembly, low speed for assembly. I don’t use it too often for assembly unless there is a 20mm+ screw that I know will need a lot of twists.
  • I never use the clutch setting above 2 since I worry it will strip out some vintage plastic. I would recommend never using it on Tamiya suspension arm screws because they always seem to feel loose and ready to strip even when hand tightening.
  • It would have been ok with me if it came with much less power in order to lighten up the carry weight for hobby use. It probably works great as a general home improvement screw driver but I think its over powered for building RC cars.
  • I don’t find myself swapping out bits, though I do prefer the hand feel of tightening screws in vintage kits. If it does spend a lot of time in my hand when I am tearing down a project it can get heavy over time.

My second largest complaint I have, and maybe the reason I don’t use it as much for assembly, is that the bits are not magnetic. This is very disappointing especially since I have come to depend on this from my manual Tamiya JIS screwdrivers.

If that’s the second largest complaint, then what might be my first you ask? Very clearly, THE COST! Holy bejeezus Batman! Are you ready for this. You get everything here for a whooping $230 USD!!!!! Yes I said 230! Ironically, the cost was what goaded me into buying it in the first place. I mean for that much it HAS to be amazing right?

So needless to say it is juuuuust a bit over priced. At the time of making my YouTube video here is where I found it

  • Amazon $300
  • eBay $180 + $50 shipping so $230
  • Tamiya USA’s site has it for a whooping $560!
  • even RCJaz.com has it for $220 + shipping

Just for fun I decided to see what other items might be out there that might be similar. I found a DEWALT 8-Volt 1/4-in Cordless Screwdriver (1-Battery Included and Charger Included) for only $75 at Lowe’s that looks to have some similar features. Not sure it has every bell and whistle but those better be some special bells for another $160! For another $35 you can get the same screwdriver at Home Depot with a friendly carrying case. Also as some of my YouTuber comments have mentioned, this is an exact copy of the Makita that you can pick up for a much cheaper cost.

So Tamiya, I love you, but in this case I have to say the price doesn’t quite justify the means. It is a good solid electric screwdriver, but I am not sure its worth the cost of a buggy! I think now I know why I didn’t find many people that seemed to have used one :).

If you would like a more in-depth review check out my YouTube review.

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