Innovation at its core, the Gyro is the latest product from Black and Decker’s impressive line of cordless power tools. It’s a 4-volt max lithium-ion gadget that even a non-handyman can use but it’s not your ordinary screwdriver — it’s a new motion-controlled screwdriver! It’s also the world’s first pocketable li-ion driver with gyroscopic controls. Find out below why the Gyro is considered the best cordless drill and screwdriver for men and women.
Right off the bat, the Gyro looks very different from typical cordless drills and screwdrivers. Instead of a right angle form factor, the Gyro presents itself as a T-handled ergonomic device that nicely fills your hand and uses your natural palm pressure to ready the tool for use. On the handle of the tool and right at the palm position, you’ll notice the “Gyro” logo. This is a tall-oriented button that depresses easily, activates the LED light, and gets the tool ready for use to either drive or remove screws. Sure, it won’t drive in long lag bolts but it can definitely handle most common household project fasteners with ease. It has no trigger or reverse switch and there’s a good reason for this — it uses the InvenSense ISZ-650 Z-axis integrated MEMS gyroscope, a very cost-effective chipset that is both shock resistant and inexpensive. This allows the Gyro to utilize the rotation around the Z-axis to tell it whether to drive or remove as well as to control the speed of the driver. In other words, you tell it to rotate in whichever direction by simply turning your hand! At the rear of the tool is an activation switch so when you hold the Gyro in your hand, you automatically put a bit of pressure on the switch and activate its motion detector sensors.
Once you’re holding this device, simply twist it to the right for fastener installation and tightening tasks, or to the left for fastener loosening and removal. The built-in gyroscope controls the variable speed, allowing for 0-180 RPM adjustments in about 12-15 steps. This allows you to dial in just the right amount of speed that you need — faster for longer fasteners and slower for those that require precision control. The Gyro will work in any direction — vertical, horizontal, upright, upside-down, or any other position in between. The gyroscope direction and speed controls are all relative, meaning you don’t have to hold the driver completely parallel for it to work. The torque level (35 inches per pound) is what you would expect from a 4-volt max lithium-ion screwdriver which should be more than enough for general household uses and minor repairs. The lithium-ion battery is non-removable and Black and Decker says that the battery can remain charged for up to 18 months. It does take a couple of hours to charge though so make sure to plug it in overnight ahead of a project.
Aside from the features already mentioned, what makes the Gyro one of the more impressive Black and Decker tools is it’s surprisingly very comfortable to use. I was a little worried at first about how well it would perform in tight spaces, overhead, or when gripped in a way that applies greater pressure but my concerns were quickly unfounded. I was able to use it comfortably in every way that a traditional pistol-grip driver can be used. Controlling it was easier than anticipated. By variable speed, I assumed there would be maybe two or three speed settings in the 0-180 RPM range but I counted about 12-15 steps! Most users will likely gravitate towards the slowest two speeds or the fastest speed but it’s great to know there are intermediate speed options.
Another cool feature that other cordless drivers do not have is the Gyro locks the bit in place when the tool is disengaged. This means you can really crank down on it when you need more torque than the 4-volt motor will give you. Having used plenty of cordless screwdrivers with non-locking chucks in the past, this was a critical issue and I’m glad Black and Decker engineered the Gyro properly. One more thing — it also has an LED worklight which is a nice little touch although it can be too bright against some surfaces. The package, by the way, comes with two one-inch insert bits, a standard flat head, a Phillips slot head, and a small wall charger.
- Excellent battery life (up to 18 months)
- Intuitive and easy controls
- Palm grip makes it easy to apply a stronger force when necessary
- Lightweight and compact size
- Unique variable-speed gyroscopic control
- Great for household do-it-yourself chores
- No battery life indicator
- Thick profile can be a turn-off for some
- Small learning curve
- LED light can be too bright
- No bits storage
The Black and Decker Gyro is an impressive and well thought out cordless drill and screwdriver. It has enough torque to get those small to medium jobs completed quickly and efficiently. Yes, it will take some time getting used to but it’s actually quite fun to use. And let’s be honest here — when was the last time you heard anyone use the word “fun” to describe a cordless screwdriver? They gyroscopic feature might seem a little gimmicky at first but it works exactly as advertised and with no first-generation hiccups. For about 30 bucks (about the same price as a Black and Decker previous-generation driver) you get a compact, lightweight, and easy-to-use cordless drill and screwdriver for light to medium duty DIY tasks. At that price point, it’s not terribly out of reach and it’s certainly a head-turner every time you use it. And when you’re done using (or if you’re like me, playing with) it, simply pop the driver in a kitchen drawer or toolbox and it will hold charge for well over a year!