Best all-round
  • Removable battery pack
  • Fast recharge time
  • Variable speed
  • 15-step adjustable clutch
Best high-end
  • 3 year warranty
  • Fast charging time
  • Comes with extra battery
  • Lightweight
Best on a budget
  • Adjustable handle
  • Relatively powerful for its size
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Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.

Whether you are someone who occasionally does DIY projects around the house, or if you are a professional who uses a screwdriver every day, a quality cordless electric screwdriver is something that you should not go without. Driving screws with a manual screwdriver gets tedious, tiring and in the worst case, can give you a nasty case of RSI. An electric screwdriver is easier to use, requires less effort and is faster.

You can use one for almost anything that you can use a regular screwdriver for. Assembling new flatpack (IKEA) furniture, tightening screws around the house, building computers, disassembling old furniture, it can help with it all. Electric screwdrivers are ideal in situations where you are working in small spaces and are not able to wield a full-sized power drill.

There are many types and models available, so it might not be easy to figure out which electric screwdriver to buy. This is why I have gone over the various models that are currently available and compared them based on design and performance.

Let’s dive in and find out which is the best electric screwdriver for you!

What is an electric screwdriver?

An electric screwdriver is a typically cordless screwdriver that works with a motor instead of through manual rotation. Another way to view it is as a small power drill. They work at a lower RPM and with less torque than a typical power drill does.

How does an electric screwdriver work?

Electric screwdrivers are relatively simple power devices that combine a couple of simple parts into a small and powerful tool. The main components you will find inside are a motor, rechargeable battery, gear system, switch or trigger, chuck and chuck locking mechanism.

To keep the explanation of the internal workings short, it roughly goes as follows: the switch/trigger lets electricity flow (through wires) from the battery into the motor, depending on how the switch/trigger is pressed or set. This causes the shaft of the motor to rotate. In turn, the gear system transfers that motion to the chuck, which contains the screwdriver bit that does our work.

Top electric screwdrivers in 2020

DEWALT DCF680N1 8V MAX Cordless Screwdriver Kit

Best all-round

The DEWALT DCF680N1 is the cordless screwdriver that seems to have it all. It is fully packed with features and is a great tool for both consumers and tradesmen alike.

Its most distinctive feature is its gyroscopic controls. These allow you to intuitively control the speed and direction of the bit rotation. Give it a quick twist in the desired direction (clockwise or counterclockwise) for the bit to spin at full speed, or spin it with a gentler touch for finer control. The effortlessness of a powered screwdriver, with the control of a manual one!

Aside from the gyroscope functionality, it has an 8V battery pack, 15-position clutch and adjustable handle that allow you to tackle a wide range of projects. In addition, it comes with a battery charge indicator, LED lights and and a removable battery holder.

In short, this tool is a powerhouse that will last you for years to come.

Top Features

  • Gyroscopic controls
  • Spindle lock
  • Battery charge indicator
  • Adjustable handle

Technical Details

Grip type Variable grip
Battery type Lithium-ion
Battery voltage 8V
Battery capacity 1 Ah
Speed 0-430 RPM
Max. torque 40 in.lbs / 4.5 Nm
Weight 1.1 pounds

Pros

  • Removable battery pack
  • Fast recharge time
  • Variable speed
  • 15-step adjustable clutch

Cons

  • Gyroscopic controls are hard to use in tight spaces

Makita DF012DSE 7.2V Hex Driver-Drill Kit

Best high-end

In general, cordless electric screwdrivers that you can currently find on the market are not powerful enough to do drilling. The Makita DF012DSE is one of the exceptions to that rule. It is one of the few electric screwdrivers that can replace a power drill in more demanding applications.

The DF012DSE comes with a powerful motor & battery combination and a 21-setting clutch that lets you pick the exact amount of torque that you need. To prevent overdriving screws, the clutch automatically disengages when the right amount of torque is reached. When you want to drill instead, you can simply set it to its dedicated drill mode.

With this cordless screwdriver you also get a carrying case, charger and two batteries. This allows you to always keep a fully charged battery at hand, so you never have to interrupt your work to wait for a charge to complete.

Top Features

  • 21-setting clutch with drill mode
  • Multiple speeds
  • Built-in LED lights
  • Adjustable handle

Technical Details

Grip type Variable grip
Battery type Lithium-ion
Battery voltage 7.2V
Battery capacity 1.5 Ah
Speed 200/650 RPM
Max. torque 32-50 in.Lbs / 3.5-5.5 Nm fastening torque
71 in.Lbs / 8 Nm max. torque
Weight 0.9 pounds

Pros

  • 3 year warranty
  • Fast charging time
  • Comes with extra battery
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • More included bits would have been nice for the price
  • Large charger

BLACK+DECKER BDCSFL20C 4V MAX Cordless Screwdriver

Best on a budget

The BLACK+DECKER BDCSFL20C is one of the best electric screwdrivers if you happen to be on a tight budget. But when you only plan on doing simple screwing tasks like assembling flat-pack furniture or building computers, you don’t need to spend a lot to get the job done.

While this cordless screwdriver does not come with a lot of bells and whistles, it does have an adjustable handle that gives you the best grip for the job at hand. It also comes with a flashlight that can be used independently. So you are basically getting an extra tool for free!

Top Features

  • Adjustable handle
  • Built-in flashlight

Technical Details

Grip type Variable grip
Battery type Lithium-ion
Battery voltage 4V
Battery capacity 1.5 Ah
Speed 180 RPM
Max. torque 49 in.lbs / 5.5 Nm
Weight 1.1 pounds

Pros

  • Adjustable handle
  • Relatively powerful for its size

Cons

  • Limited extra accessories included
  • No space for extra bits

BLACK+DECKER LI4000 4V MAX Cordless Screwdriver

Best for around the house

If you are looking for a versatile cordless screwdriver for doing projects around the house, the BLACK+DECKER LI4000 is a great option. It has various features that makes driving screw into your walls or repairing door handles a breeze.

This screwdriver comes with a screw holder that keeps screws in front of the bit for you. This way, you can focus on where you want to drill, instead of on keeping the screw properly aligned with the bit. As an added benefit, this feature also gives you the option to use the tool with a single hand. Ideal for when you are working in hard to reach areas!

To prevent stripping and damaging screw heads, this electric screwdriver has a clutch that allows you to select the right amount of torque. It comes with useful visual indicators for each type of screw, so you don’t need to guess which setting is best.

Top Features

  • Screw holder
  • 6-position clutch for torque control
  • Magnetic tip

Technical Details

Grip type Fixed pistol grip
Battery type Lithium-ion
Battery voltage 4V
Battery capacity 1.5 Ah
Speed 180 RPM
Max. torque 70 in.lbs / 8 Nm
Weight 2 pounds

Pros

  • Holds charge well when not in use
  • Useful LED lights
  • Fits well in tight spaces

Cons

  • Not suitable for heavy-duty tasks
  • No changeable battery

WORX WX255L SD Semi-Automatic Power Screw Driver

Most innovative

If you need to frequently swap out screwdriver bits because you work with different types of screws, then you might benefit from an electric screwdriver that makes this easier for you. The WORX WX255L will do a lot for you in that regard.

The main feature of the WX255L is a quick-draw bit changer that lets you switch between bits with a single action. Simply place up to 6 of your favorite bits in the internal cartridge, and they will always be readily accessible for you to swap out with a flick of your thumb.

Aside from this nifty feature, it also comes with a detachable screw holder, six frequently used bits and a battery that stays charged for up to 18 months while the device is not in use. No more waiting for the tool to charge before you can actually use it!

Top Features

  • 6-bit cartridge for easy bit swapping
  • Screw holder
  • Long lasting battery

Technical Details

Grip type Fixed pistol grip
Battery type Lithium-ion
Battery voltage 4V
Battery capacity 1.5 Ah
Speed 0-230 RPM
Max. torque 27 in.lbs / 3 Nm
Weight 1.1 pounds

Pros

  • Easy to swap out bits
  • Screw holder can be removed
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Long recharge time
  • Single LED light casts shadow

Dremel GO-01

Best portable

If you need a simple cordless electric screwdriver that you can easily take with you in your pocket or bag, the Dremel GO-01 will help you out. It is a tool that, despite its compact size, gives you the power that you need for light- to medium-duty jobs.

Unlike other cordless screwdrivers, the GO-01 uses a push activation system to turn on or off. Simply press the device against the screw you want to drive in, and the screwdriver automatically starts working. Do you want to unscrew a screw instead? Just flip the direction switch before you push to activate the tool.

Top Features

  • Push activation
  • Variable torque with 6 levels
  • Battery charge indicator

Technical Details

Grip type Straight/inline
Battery type Lithium-ion
Battery voltage 3.6V
Battery capacity 1.5 Ah
Speed 360 RPM
Max. torque 44 in.lbs / 5 Nm
Weight 0.6 pounds

Pros

  • Charges through USB
  • Comes with 7 commonly used bits
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • No built-in LED light
  • Noisy

Wowstick MINI

Best precision

If you need to unscrew small screws on watches, electronics, phones and glasses, than you can benefit from a precision electric screwdriver with precision bits. The Wowstick MINI is just that. It is an ultra thin, lightweight cordless screwdriver that is well suited for applications that need accuracy and finesse.

This cordless screwdriver allows you to switch between two different power modes, so you don’t risk accidentally stripping tiny screws with too much torque. It also comes with 56 extra bits, which makes it ideal for repairing all kinds of electronics.

Top Features

  • Slim, pen shape design
  • Lightweight
  • Shadowless LED lighting

Technical Details

Grip type Straight/inline
Battery type Lithium-ion
Battery voltage 3.7V
Speed 200 RPM
Max. torque Dual Torque 0.15 / 3Nm
Weight 0.4 pounds

Pros

  • Rigid aluminum construction
  • Portable and easy to store
  • Great for precision work
  • USB type C charging

Cons

  • Limited power
  • Included bits are of questionable quality

Makita DF001DW Lithium-Ion Screwdriver

Best accessories

When it comes to power tools, Makita is a brand that you can always count on for durability and quality. Therefore, it should not come as a surprise that they have also made an electric screwdriver that is worth your money. The Makita DF001DW is a worthy addition to any toolbox.

Its fiberglass construction makes it a lot lighter than its competitors, so when working with it for a long time you are a lot less likely to end up with tired hands or shoulders. Driving screws in tight spaces is no problem either, due to the small form factor and variable grip of this tool.

Unlike other cordless screwdrivers, this model comes with a large number of quality bits and a solid carrying case. Useful for keeping everything organized in one place and giving you the option to take it all with you on the go when you need it.

Top Features

  • Adjustable handle
  • Comes with carry case and large accessory set
  • LED lights

Technical Details

Grip type Variable grip
Battery type Lithium-ion
Battery voltage 3.6 V
Battery capacity 1.5 Ah
Speed 220 RPM
Max. torque 53 in.lbs / 6 Nm
Weight 0.8 pounds

Pros

  • Chargeable through USB
  • Ultra light fiberglass construction
  • Includes a large assortiment of bits

Cons

  • No torque or speed control
  • No charge indicator

Buyer’s guide to cordless electric screwdrivers

Cordless electric screwdrivers are a great choice if you need to install or remove a lot of screws. Manual screwdrivers require you to do all the work yourself, which can take a lot of effort and take a toll on your wrists and shoulders.

In order to get the results you want, it is important to pick an electric screwdriver that matches your needs.

To do this, there are several things that you need to keep in mind when buying an electric screwdriver. There are the essential features, like the torque, speed and power of the tool, but also other aspects of the tool that might be important specifically to you.

Also, make sure that an electric screwdriver is actually what you need. For high torque applications, like drilling into hard materials or driving screws into metal and hardwood, a power drill is going to be a better option. Drills provide more power and torque, but are also more expensive and unwieldy.

Electric screwdrivers are best suited for when you want to save time and effort on screw driving. Keeping that in mind, let’s go over the things to pay attention to when buying one.

Power

The power of an electric screwdriver is one of its key features. The tool is driven by a motor, and the power of that motor is directly affected by the voltage it runs on. Therefore, one of the things to look at in a cordless screwdriver is its operating voltage.

A higher voltage typically results in a higher power output. But before you go off to buy the electric screwdriver with the highest voltage you can find, keep in mind that this might not be what you need.

If you plan on only doing simple jobs, you can buy a model that works on a lower voltage. This tends to be cheaper and will save you a bit of money (for other tools, of course!).

  • Low voltage screwdrivers work at between 3 to 6 volts. These are sufficient for assembling furniture, PC building, or driving screws into low to medium density materials. You can use them for any light or medium duty jobs that you would use a manual screwdriver for.
  • Higher voltage electric screwdrivers work at around 7 volts or higher. They can be used for applications that you aren’t even able to do by hand. Think about driving screws in metals and hardwood, or drilling in certain materials.

Torque

Torque is used to measure how much rotational force an electric screwdriver can apply on a screw. It is measured in Newton-metres (Nm). A higher torque means more force. High torque is something you need when working with long screws or dense materials.

For most DIY projects, you are well served by a cordless screwdriver with somewhere between 3 and 10 Nm of torque. There are models with less torque available, but these are more suited for specialized applications, like repairing electronics.

For the best results, I recommend getting an electric screwdriver with multiple torque settings or with a clutch system. These allow you to adjust the output torque to the exact amount you need.

The advantage of changing the torque is that you won’t accidentally strip screws and damage bits. This is something that can happen when you use too much torque. In some extreme situations you can even end up breaking the screw itself, which is obviously not what you want.

If you are looking for a good screwdriver with a clutch system, you might want to check out the BLACK+DECKER LI4000.

Speed

The speed of an electric screwdriver, measured in revolutions per minute (RPM), indicates how fast the tip of the tool rotates. Simple cordless screwdrivers might go up to 300 or 400 RPM, whereas the more powerful ones can go up to double that or more.

To put that into context, most people don’t go faster than 100 RPM when they use a manual screwdriver to drive screws. You might be able to go faster for a short amount of time, but it is hard to keep this up for long.

It can be tempting to think that a higher speed is always better. The faster the rotation, the faster you are done with the job after all. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

When it comes to driving screws, you don’t always want to have a high RPM. At high speeds, you have less control over the screwdriver and it will be easier for the bit to slip. Do this a couple times and you can end up with a damaged screw or bit.

This is why the best electric screwdrivers come with variable speed control. This lets you pick the ideal speed for the job at hand. Generally, for drilling or driving screws in light materials, you can get away with using a higher RPM. But for the difficult stuff where you need more control, a lower RPM will give you a better result.

A tool with variable speed control also gives you the option to tackle more types of projects, so it might be worth spending a bit more to get this feature.

For an excellent electric screwdriver with variable speed control, I can recommend the DEWALT DCF680N1.

Battery

Needless to say, the battery of a cordless screwdriver is one of its most important elements. Without it, you wouldn’t even be able to use most of its functions!

There are several things that you need to keep an eye on when it comes to the battery. Doing this will ensure that you won’t have frustrating experiences caused by an empty battery, and you won’t find yourself having to resort to your manual screwdriver.

Battery material

Not all electric screwdrivers come with the same type of battery. There are two types of battery that you might encounter, lithium-ion and nickel-cadmium batteries. They have very different properties, so it is important to pick the right one (hint: it’s lithium-ion).

Nickel-cadmium

Nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cd) batteries are the worst of the two types, there is no way around it. Its main disadvantage is a lower energy density than lithium-ion batteries. This means that they store less energy in a battery of the same size.

Additionally, Ni-Cd batteries also suffer from battery memory effect. When they are repeatedly charged after only partially being discharged, they gradually lose their maximum energy capacity. So over time, Ni-Cd batteries start to hold less and less charge.

Lithium-ion

Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries do not experience the memory effect, and therefore do not lose their capacity as fast as Ni-Cd batteries do. Add to that the larger energy capacity, and you can see why Li-ion batteries are preferred.

But that’s not even all! Lithium-ion also holds its charge better, so the battery does not discharge as fast when you are not using it. They also work better in extreme (high and low) temperatures. Plus they have less of an environmental impact than Ni-Cd batteries do!

You might be wondering what the catch is, and that is the price. Li-ion batteries cost more, so you will be paying a higher price for an electric screwdriver with a Li-ion battery than for one with a Ni-Cd battery.

There is a slight nuance here however. Ni-Cd batteries need to be replaced a lot sooner than Li-ion batteries. So while you might have to pay a higher initial cost for a Li-ion battery, it will also last you a lot longer.

Battery life

One important aspect of the battery is its battery life. Needless to say, if you buy an electric screwdriver you want it to be there for you when you need it. You don’t want to end up without charge in the middle of a project.

Battery life depends on a number of factors, but the main one is the battery capacity. It is measured in Ampere hours (Ah) or milliampere hours (mAh). On small batteries, you will see the battery capacity measured in mAh, whereas the capacity of larger batteries tends to be rated in Ah.

Typical Ah ratings for electric screwdriver batteries are between 0.5 and 2 Ah.

Battery capacity is only one part of the equation, however. A battery stores a certain amount of power, but what also matters is how much the cordless screwdriver consumes.

Power consumption is affected by the output torque, speed, and most importantly, how often and for how long you use the screwdriver. The higher or longer any of these variables are, the shorter the battery life.

Because of these factors, it can be hard to give a specific number of hours of battery life on a specific model of electric screwdriver. But when it comes to increasing battery life, a bigger battery is always better.

Replaceability

Some cordless screwdriver batteries are removable, whereas others are fixed in place without an option for them to be swapped out. In general, a removable battery is always preferred over one that is fixed.

With a removable battery, you can swap it out whenever it is empty, and replace it with a full one. That way, you can keep working on your projects. Simply keep an extra battery in the charger at all times, and you won’t have any downtime.

Additionally, when the battery is at the end of its life, you have the option to swap it out and replace it. Having to buy a new electric screwdriver when the battery dies is a massive waste and a strain on the environment, so it is best to avoid that.

Recharge time

On the topic of keeping batteries in the charger, recharge time is something to keep in mind as well. Especially if you only intend to use a single battery with the screwdriver.

If the battery runs out of power and it takes 8 hours to recharge, you will have to switch to your manual screwdriver. This is not ideal when have a lot of furniture to assemble or are working on a big project

So depending on what you intend to use the cordless screwdriver for, make sure it has enough charge and it recharges fast enough for your needs. And if you plan to do a lot of work with it at once, an electric screwdriver with a removable battery, in combination with an extra battery is the way to go.

The powerful Makita DF012DSE is available in a kit with extra battery, powerful charger and a practical carrying case for storage or travel.

Size & weight

The size and weight of an electric screwdriver are strongly interlinked. The bigger the tool is, the more powerful the motor and battery are. It is inevitable that this also increases the weight of the device.

Despite that, you don’t need to worry that a lightweight cordless screwdriver is going to be too weak. Technology has come a long way in recent times. High-density lithium-ion batteries and modern brushless motors are a powerful combination, even at smaller sizes.

Weight

A lightweight electric screwdriver might weigh one to two pounds. If you have your eye on one that weighs less than that, then it is wise to double-check the quality of the device first.

Heavier cordless screwdrivers weigh more than that, but at some point you might as well buy a cordless drill instead. These give you more power for the same price.

Make sure that you carefully think about the weight of the screwdriver. An extra pound might not seem like a lot, but it will make a big difference if you use the tool for a long time.

The goal is to minimize strain and stress on your hand, arm and shoulder, and for that, a lightweight cordless screwdriver is ideal.

Size

Needless to say, if you want to work with screws in small, tight spaces, you need a small electric screwdriver. A small screwdriver is also beneficial if you want to carry the tool around, whether it is in your pocket or in a toolbox.

In the end, it is going to be a tradeoff. One the one side you have battery life and power to think about, and on the other side you have comfort of use and portability. You have to pick the cordless screwdriver that suits your needs best. If you absolutely need to be at both sides of the spectrum, get two different electric screwdrivers.

Grip type

Cordless electric screwdrivers can have different types of grips, like inline (or straight), fixed pistol grip and variable grip. Depending on the types of projects you intend to do, you might favor one over the other.

Inline/straight

Inline electric screwdrivers are very similar in looks to traditional manual screwdrivers. The motor and battery are located in a compact housing in line with the bit of the tool.

These devices are lightweight and compact, but do not give a lot of grip. So at times when you apply a lot of torque and, for example, your hands are sweaty, the tool can slip out of your hands. Not something that you want to happen in critical moments.

Fixed pistol grip

Fixed pistol grip electric screwdrivers have a grip that is shaped like a pistol. They have a large handle with a trigger that activates the tool.

Because of its grip, you can apply a lot more torque without having to worry about the device slipping from your hands. It also gives you more control when driving screws at high speed, so there is also less chance of accidentally stripping bolts or screws.

The downside of fixed pistol grip cordless screwdrivers is that they are bulkier and heavier than inline ones. This makes them less portable and less suitable for jobs in narrow spaces.

Variable grip

Variable grip electric screwdrivers give you the best of both worlds. They come with an adjustable handle that rotates and sometimes even bends. You can reposition the grip depending on if you need accessibility or the ability to drive with a lot of torque.

The adjustable handle makes them a great option for when you want a combination between inline and fixed pistol grip cordless screwdrivers. But be warned, these devices cost a bit more and also have an extra point of failure.

Features & accessories

Aside from the things listed above, you might also want to keep your eye on any extra features or accessories that are included with the electric screwdriver. Not only can they make your experience with the tool easier, they can also save you money by not having to spend on a separate accessory.

Bits

Most cordless screwdrivers have a selection of bits included with the tool. It is always useful to have the right bit at hand, and unless you already have an assortment of bits lying around, this can be something to pay attention to when choosing which electric screwdriver to buy.

Keep in mind that the number of bits is not everything. In my experience, only a couple of bits are used frequently. The others you might never use, or at best once in a blue moon.

Because of this, it can be better to have a small number of high quality bits included instead of a large number of low quality ones. Bits that lose their tip shape after a couple of uses are not worth paying for.

In general, reputable brands supply higher quality bits than your generic off-brand tool brands.

Spindle lock

A spindle lock feature is useful for safety reasons. It keeps the chuck of the cordless screwdriver from moving when you change its bit. This prevents you from getting injured if you accidentally engage the trigger of the screwdriver while you swap bits out.

Some tools lock the spindle automatically when the trigger is not pressed, whereas others require you to switch the forward/reverse switch in a neutral position. Either way, it is a useful feature to have to keep your fingers safe.

An added benefit of the spindle lock function is that it allows you to use the electric screwdriver as a manual screwdriver. In situations where the screwdriver does not have enough torque to remove a particularly stuck screw, you might have a better result by manually controlling the tool.

LED lights

If you plan on working in areas with limited light, an electric screwdriver with LEDs can be useful. These are pointed directly at the area in front of the bit and let you see exactly what you are doing.

This feature saves a lot of time compared to setting up a lamp next to our work area or, let’s be honest, getting our phone out, turning the torch function on and holding it up with our other hand.

Screw holder

People who need to drive a lot of screws in a short amount of time can benefit from a screw holder. This is an often magnetic accessory that holds a screw in place in front of the bit.

This accessory saves a lot of time, effort and frustration from not having to hold screws in place with your other hand while driving them in with the electric screwdriver.

If you are interested in this, you can also buy the accessory separately. They can be found as magnetic drive guides.

Onboard bit storage

In situations where you need to work with several different types of screws in short succession, you are going to need to use different bits. Instead of placing these bits on a workbench or in your pocket, it can be useful to keep them on the electric screwdriver itself.

Just like the screw holder functionality, this will save you time and frustration. No one wants to spend their time trying to find that one bit that they just used five minutes ago.

This feature does slightly increase the size and weight of the cordless screwdriver, but if you work with a lot of different bits, it is definitely worth it.

Automatic torque adjustment

Some cordless screwdrivers come with a torque adjustment system that automatically adjusts the torque level to what is needed. So if a screw requires more force to drive, it automatically raises the torque level, and vice versa.

These systems can also come with an instant stop feature. This stops the screwdriver from driving the screw when the screw is stuck. Either because the screw is fully screwed in, or because it jammed.

Without this feature, the electric screwdriver would continue to apply torque. And because the screw is stuck, the torque would be applied through the screwdriver to your hand and wrist instead. So ultimately, if you use your cordless screwdriver a lot, this feature will save your joints from some wear and tear.

Other accessories

You can find a lot more accessories than the ones that are mentioned above. For example, some electric screwdriver kits come with a case to store the tool, its bits, and other attachments in. These are useful for both storage and transport.

Which brands of electric screwdriver are best?

When it comes to choosing a specific brand of electric screwdriver, or any power tool really, it helps to stick to well-known, reputable brands. Some examples are DEWALT, Black&Decker, Makita, Bosch and Dremel.

It might be tempting to go with a cheaper, off-brand tool that looks good, but more often than not, you will run into issues at some point. Whether it is manufacturing quality problems, issues with the battery or bits that easily get damaged, these problems all show up a lot more often with off-brand tools.

Warranty is nearly always better with name brands too, so it is better to stick with these if you want peace of mind and a worthwhile investment of your money.

Note that some reputable brands, like Craftsman, have outsourced their manufacturing overseas and are now selling lower quality tools than what they are known for. This is important to pay attention to, and researching a brand before buying a tool can help you discover any issues like this in time.

Mistakes to avoid when choosing an electric screwdriver

When buying an electric screwdriver it is important to keep in mind the scenarios you will be using it in. After that, look at which features you would need for those situations, and then focus on finding the cheapest, reputable tool that has those features.

Oftentimes this is enough to get you what you need. You can buy the most expensive tool available, but you would be throwing money away if the only thing you need to do is assemble flat pack furniture once in a while or work on your PC occasionally.

On the other end of the spectrum, the cheapest electric screwdriver is not going to do you much good if you need to use it day in day out. In that case you want something that is reliable, stands up to heavy use and has more features that make your job easier.

The difference between an electric screwdriver, drills and impact drivers

You might be looking for an electric screwdriver, while you actually need a drill or an impact driver. Not a problem, that’s what all this information is for. Let’s take a look at the differences between these tools and which one you should use.

Electric screwdrivers

An electric screwdriver is the tool of choice for any job that you would do with a manual screwdriver. Usually this is going to be driving screws in predrilled holes, and inserting or removing screws and bolts from threaded holes.

For driving screws into harder materials, or drilling in general, electric screwdrivers are not the best option. You could still do these things with a high-powered cordless screwdriver, but you would be better off with a drill if this is the main task that you need to get done.

However, if you need to assemble your IKEA furniture or work a lot on RC cars or computers, an electric screwdriver is the best option and will greatly speed up your work.

Drills

When comparing electric screwdrivers, drills and impact drivers, drills cover the large middle ground. Drills overlap a lot in functionality with the other two choices, and this all-purpose use is where their strength comes from.

Drills have more power than electric screwdrivers and are great for drilling holes in many types of materials. Even harder materials are no issue, provided that the drill is powerful enough.

Driving screws without predrilling is no issue either. This is something that an electric screwdriver is going to have trouble with.

Of course, this all comes with a price, both literally and figuratively. Drills cost more than electric screwdrivers and are larger and heavier than their smaller cousins. Using a drill in a project that requires a lot of screws is something you feel in your shoulders and arms the next morning.

If the only thing you intend to do is simple screwing jobs, then an electric screwdriver is the way to go. But if you find yourself regularly having to drill or drive screws without predrilling, a power drill might be a better option.

For an all-round excellent power drill that does not break the bank, take a look at the BLACK+DECKER LD120VA 20V MAX Cordless Drill.

Impact drivers

Impact drivers are something that many people don’t have experience with. They are not a common sight in your average tool kit. Unless you ever specifically needed it, you are unlikely to own one.

Impact drivers are designed with one purpose in mind: driving screws hard and fast. It is designed differently than your typical drill, and because of this it can output much more torque.

This increased torque lets an impact driver drive large screws into dense wood, something that a drill does not have enough torque to do. One application in which this is useful is building a deck on your house.

But even when it comes to driving regular screws, it does this faster and more efficiently than a drill. As a result, an impact driver tends to have a longer battery life than a drill.

Another common application for impact drivers is removing screws and bolts that are stuck. You need a lot of torque to get stuck bolts loose, and drills are simply not powerful enough for this.

One of the most popular impact drivers available at the moment is the DEWALT DCF885C1. It is a powerful impact driver that will save you a lot of time and effort on big projects.

Frequently asked questions

After reading the information above, you might still have some questions about electric screwdrivers. This section can give you the answers that you are looking for.

Is an electric screwdriver the same as a drill?

An electric screwdriver and a (power) drill are different devices. They have some overlap in functionality, but also have a number of important distinctions that make each of them suitable for different tasks.

Electric screwdrivers are smaller and more lightweight than power drills. This makes them portable and usable in small spaces without problems. You can not do this with power drills, which are bulkier and harder to handle.

A downside of this is that electric screwdrivers also have less power. As a consequence, they aren’t very suitable to drill or to drive (large) screws without predrilling.

Power drills have a lot more power and are suitable for more tasks. You can use them for drilling in a variety of hard materials and drive almost any screw. Of course, this power must come from somewhere, and because of this, power drills take up more space due to a larger motor and larger battery.

Can an electric screwdriver drill holes?

Unless you have a particularly powerful cordless electric screwdriver, you won’t get very far drilling holes. In low-density materials it can work, but for the dense stuff you will need to use an actual power drill. The strength of electric screwdrivers lies in their ability to quickly screw and unscrew.

What voltage of electric screwdriver should you use?

The power of an electric screwdriver is directly affected by its voltage. So the voltage you should go for depends on the type of jobs you intend to do.

If you only intend to use your cordless screwdriver for PC building, working on electronics or assembling furniture, you can stick with lower voltage (3-6V) models.

If you need more torque, for example for driving screws in low- to medium-density materials or drilling in low-density materials, you will be better off with a higher voltage model.

What is the best electric screwdriver?

If I had to pick one, I would say the Makita DF012DSE. But unless you actually need all of its power and functionality, you are better off getting a lower-end model. This will save you some money to spend on other things.

Is an electric screwdriver always better than a manual screwdriver?

In most situations, an electric screwdriver is faster and more efficient than a manual screwdriver. But that doesn’t mean that you can throw out all of your manual screwdrivers once you buy an electric one.

There might be times where even a small electric screwdriver is too large to access a specific screw. In that case, a long, slim manual screwdriver will save the day.

Additionally, In cases where you need to apply a very specific amount of torque, a manual screwdriver can prove superior over an electric one as well. Nothing beats tactile feedback in situations where you need to be delicate.

And if the battery of your electric screwdriver runs out, it is of course always useful to have a set of quality manual screwdrivers at hand!

Conclusion

It can be hard to decide which cordless electric screwdriver to buy. As often the case with power tools, there is no ‘best’ one. Instead, it depends on what you need.

For an overall excellent electric screwdriver with a wide range of features, the DEWALT DCF680N1 is where it’s at. It is powerful and fully adjustable in its torque, speed and handle position. Not many cordless screwdrivers have this amount of configurability, so this one is my favorite pick.

If you are on a budget, you can’t go wrong with the BLACK+DECKER BDCSFL20C. It is the lowest priced electric screwdriver in this line-up, but still packs a decent punch. It does not take up a lot of space and with its added flashlight and adjustable handle it gives you excellent value.

The professionals out there have more requirements than your typical DIYer. If you happen to be someone who needs to use a cordless screwdriver every day, the Makita DF012DSE is one of the best options you can go for. Aside from its high torque and variable RPM, it comes with a high quality charger, extra battery and a hard-shell case to carry it all.

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