Crowdfunding Spotlight: The Wowstick Screwdriver

By Ryan Whitwam

An electric screwdriver that looks like a pen.

You cannot undertake any DIY project without the right tools, and one of the most vital is the venerable screwdriver. There are plenty of fancy driver sets out there, but you've still got to twist your wrist to do the work. The Wowstick is even fancier because it does the twisting for you. This is a super-compact electric screwdriver currently cleaning up on Kickstarter that looks like a pen and comes with up to 56 different bits.

The Wowstick has an aluminum unibody design with two buttons around where your thumb would rest on a pen. These buttons rotate the bit clockwise and counter-clockwise. The body is 16mm in diameter and weighs about 50 grams. There's also a cap that covers the bit attachment when not in use. At the opposite end, you have a microUSB port for charging. Points for not using a DC barrel or proprietary connector, but a more modern Type-C plug would have been better.

The creators also suggest you use the Wowstick as a fidget toy. That seems a little silly—it's only a fidget toy insofar as you can pick it up and not use it. The same could be said for almost anything that sits on your desk or workbench.

If you don't press the buttons, the Wowstick works like a regular screwdriver. For screws that don't need much tightening, the automatic mode will get them all the way in. It spins at 200 rpm, so it should be able to thread even longer screws quickly. To tighten and loosen screws, the designers have so-called "dual power" mode. With the button pressed, you can turn the screwdriver slightly back and forth, and the motor will spin up and down to tighten/loosen the screw. This seems like a reasonable solution to not having enough torque for tougher fasteners.

I often have trouble seeing what I'm doing when I'm dealing with screws in the depths of a computer or mechanical keyboard, but the Wowstick has a cool solution. It has three small LEDs around the bit that light up your workspace.

The Kickstarter campaign was only looking for $20,000, but it's already taken in several times that amount. The cheapest package deal is already gone, but you can get a Wowstick and 20 bits for $35 right now. If you want the full 56-bit set, that's $46. The standard kits will allegedly ship in December. The Pro kit, which starts at $60 and includes cases and other accessories, won't ship until March.

As with all crowdfunding campaigns, you should proceed with caution. Although, this is a refinement of an older product from the company called the Wowstick 1F. So, it's not a complete ground-up design.