A cordless power screwdriver uses rechargeable battery power to take the place of a manual screwdriver and make driving and removing screws easier and faster. Whether you’re putting up shelves, assembling furniture, installing a doorknob, or any of a thousand other jobs around the home or office, a power screwdriver is an essential part of any toolbox.
If you’ve ever gotten a cramp from trying to drive a screw with a manual screwdriver what seems like a mile into a never-ending screw hole, you know how painful it can be. Imagine that you’re assembling a new piece of furniture and there are dozens of those screws. I know it’s awful to think about. A power screwdriver will take away the pain.
Manual screwdrivers are a pain in more than one way. Screws come in different sizes which means that you need screwdrivers in a variety of sizes to fit screws you may come across. We have probably 20 or more screwdrivers in our toolbox including Phillips and blade types. Still, it seems like when I go to find a screwdriver for a particular project, the size I need isn’t there. So you need at least a few different sizes to make sure you have the one you need for your next project.
You can drive tough screws with a power screwdriver that you could never drive manually without hurting your wrist and you can do it faster and more reliably than with a manual screwdriver.
A power screwdriver either comes with a bit kit that may also include handy hex bits or you can buy one separately. These kits are small, usually come in a handy case, and because they’re organized, it’s less likely that you will lose one.
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Traditionally manual screwdrivers have been thought of as convenient because they are highly portable, and if you only need a few, take up little space in your toolbox. With the advent of lithium-ion battery technology, power screwdrivers have become more and more compact to the point that they can be palm-sized yet be powerful and maintain their power longer before needing recharging.
If you plan to use your battery screwdriver often, you may consider buying two batteries so that one can be charging while you’re using the other one. This will prevent you from running out of power in the middle of your task.
What should you look for in a power screwdriver?
The battery power is what drives screws and the more power you have, the faster you can drive tough screws. More powerful batteries weigh more and cost more, so if you all you need is a simple power screwdriver for small tasks around the home, you won’t need to pay extra for all the power and size of a commercial driver that will live on a job site.
Volts equals driving force so the more volts a model has, the more powerful it is. Small models that are useful for many tasks around the home may come with around 3.8V, while more powerful models for garage and workshop may have 12V batteries or even more powerful ones.
All power screwdrivers have the capability to drive screws and many can also drive nuts and Torx screws/bolts by just fitting the right bit into the power screwdriver. Not all portable screwdrivers are capable of driving nuts or being used as a Torx screwdriver. Small less-powerful models may only be useful for Phillips and blade screwdriver use. If you think you might need the flexibility, buy a more expensive, more powerful model like a drill driver.
Cordless power screwdrivers come in three styles including inline, pistol, and convertible which can be converted to either configuration.
Inline models are designed to directly replace manual screwdrivers in their configuration and are good for more basic tasks. The inline configuration is longer than the pistol configuration so it generally won’t fit into tighter spaces as easily.
Pistol style models are the configuration of choice for more powerful models and for fitting into tight spaces that inline models won’t. You will find that all of the most powerful drivers are pistol configuration.
Convertible models can be converted from inline to pistol and vice versa depending on your needs. The convenience of a convertible model adds complexity to its design, so you can expect them to cost more than comparable inline and pistol models.
When you’re just starting a screw, you typically want less torque and more speed. When a screw is almost tight, you want less speed and more torque so you can finish the tightening without stripping the screw head. A variable speed screwdriver allows you to tailor the speed to the material and types of screws you are driving.
Multiple Torque Settings
Small screws need less torque to tighten than larger screws. Larger screws also have larger heads that can take more torque without stripping than smaller screws. This can be handled by buying a power screwdriver with the torque you need for most tasks or you can buy a multiple torque screwdriver with multiple torque settings. A model with multiple torque settings allows you to drive screws fast without breaking or stripping them.
While you’re driving a screw, as the screw starts to bind more, it will take more torque to overcome the friction force. If you apply too much the screw can break or the head can strip. To avoid this, a power screwdriver with multiple torque settings allows you to choose a setting appropriate for the screws you’re driving. A built-in clutch will prevent the drill from applying more torque that would surpass the torque setting and possibly damaging the screw.
We’ve all done it; tried to drive a screw manually or at least rotated the head for a better grip on the screw with an electric screwdriver. The problem is that if your power screwdriver doesn’t have spindle lock it may not provide any torque or worse, you could damage the tool. Spindle lock allows you to lock the spindle so that you can use the electric screwdriver in manual mode.
It almost goes without saying that you need to remove screws in addition to driving them. Any power screwdriver you buy should be easily reversible. I’ll say it another way; don’t buy a screwdriver that isn’t reversible.
It can be tough to see screws to drive them, particularly if they are tucked into a tight space where there is very little light. Even using a regular flashlight can cast shadows that might even make the lighting situation worse. Plus, try holding a flashlight and power screwdriver at the same time and properly drive a screw. To say its awkward would be an understatement.
Some models have built-in LED lighting that focuses a powerful light beam directly on your work, eliminates shadows, and eliminates the need to hold a separate flashlight.
All the models that we considered use newer lithium-ion battery technology which holds a charge longer and recharges faster. Fast charging used to be a common feature, but nowadays most models can be recharged in an hour or less and can hold a charge for up to 18 months which is adequate for most operator’s needs.
It goes without saying that you should look for the longest warranty you can find. Manufacturers who offer long warranties are telling you that they have faith in their materials and workmanship and so should you.
We searched manufacturer sites, social media, consumer sites, forums, retail sites, and customer review sites to find the most popular and highly rated models.
Take a look at our list and see if one of our choices is the best rechargeable screwdriver for your needs!
If you’re looking for a compact model screwdriver that is convertible to fit into tight spaces, the Black and Decker LI2000 3.6-Volt 3-Position Rechargeable Screwdriver may be the perfect choice. It features a three-position handle that adjusts to the perfect angle to work in tight spaces and is reversible for either driving screws or removing them. Its advanced Li-Ion battery technology holds a charge for up to 18 months. Here’s what you need to know.
Power Screwdriver Features
- 3.6V Li-Ion rechargeable, 3-position power screwdriver
- Unique 3-position handle adjusts for better grip in tight spaces
- Reversible for driving and removing screws
- Advanced Li-Ion battery technology holds a charge for up to 18 months
- Spindle lock allows you to use the screwdriver manually and provides greater control
- 2-Year limited warranty
A unique gyroscopic power screwdriver, the DEWALT DCF682N1 8V MAX Gyroscopic Inline Screwdriver features motion activation that drives and removes fasteners by simply twisting the tool left or right. Motion-activated variable speed control and reversing action provides precise fastening control. Fast operation of 0-430 RPM is perfect for screwing into wood, plastic, and light-gauge metal. A built-in LED light brightly illuminates your work in low light situations without shadows. Here’s what you need to know.
- 8V gyroscopic, motion-activated, reversible inline rechargeable screwdriver
- Motion activation drives and removes screws with a simple twist of the tool left or right
- Motion-activated variable speed from 0-430 RPM provides precise fastening control into wood, plastic, and light-gauge metal
- Reversible action allows you to easily drive or remove screws
- Handy battery charge status display lets you know when to recharge or switch power packs
- Easy and quick bit changes
- 8V battery pack charges in one hour
- LED illumination focuses bright light directly on your work area in low light conditions without shadows
The SKIL 2356-01 360 Quick-Select 12-Bit Interchangeable Rechargeable Screwdriver features 12 integrated, quick-select, commonly-used bits so you will be able to quickly select a bit without leaving your task. Handy USB charging ability allows you to simply plug the drill into a handy USB-compatible device for quick recharges. A built-in LED work light focuses light directly on your work area for illumination in low light conditions without shadows. Here’s what you need to know.
- 4V, lithium-ion, portable ¼-inch screwdriver with integrated 12-bit Quick-Select Technology and a no-load max speed of 210 RPM
- Fully integrated 12-bit Quick-Select Bit Management Technology has an illuminated window magazine that you just rotate to select a bit
- Lithium-Ion battery technology holds a charge for up to 18 months
- Supports USB charging from compatible USB devices using included USB charging cable or you can use the included USB wall charger
- Built-in battery fuel gauge changes from green to red to let you know it needs recharging
- Built-in SITE-LIGHT LED work light illuminates your work area without shadows so you can work in low light areas without a flashlight
- Forward/reverse driving direction indicator
- 4-Volt Lithium-Ion 1.5Ah cell for plenty of power and longer run time, with the ability to hold a charge for up to 18-months
Part of the Robert Bosch Tool Corporation, SKIL is a leader in portable electric power tools and accessories serving DIYers and professionals alike. If you’re looking for a truly compact cordless screwdriver for your DIY projects, the SKIL 2354-01 iXO 4-Volt Max Lithium-Ion Palm-Sized Cordless Screwdriver may be the perfect fit. It fits neatly into the palm of your hand, yet features a powerful 4V Li-Ion battery that provides plenty of torque to handle most household tasks. Its compact, lightweight design feels comfortable in your hand, is easy to use, and is equipped to operate better in tight spaces. A built-in, maintenance-free, SiteLight LED light illuminates automatically when you squeeze the trigger and brightly lights your work area without shadows. Forward and reverse LED indicator shows driving direction. Here’s what you need to know.
- 4V Lithium-Ion, cordless screwdriver
- Built-in, maintenance-free, SiteLight LED lighting operates automatically when you squeeze the trigger and provides direct lighting to your work area without shadows
- Built-in battery fuel gauge lets you know when it’s time to change the battery
- Handy built-in hex bit holder with 5 bits makes bit changes fast and easy
- Driving direction LED indicator shows forward or reverse operation
- Advanced lithium-ion battery technology holds a charge for up to 18 months
- 1-Year limited warranty
With a lightweight body, convenient design, and useful features, the DEWALT DCF610S2 12-Volt ¼-Inch Cordless Screwdriver Kit features one-handed loading, easy maneuverability in tight spaces, and multiple torque capability. It is reversible for driving and removing screws, has multiple torque settings and variable speeds to match to your task. Three LED lights mounted radially around the barrel target light directly on your task area for better illumination in low-light conditions without distracting shadows. Here’s what you need to know.
- 12-Volt, Lithium-Ion, reversible, multiple torque settings, variable speed, ¼-inch cordless screwdriver kit
- Variable speeds and multiple torque settings allow you to match power to each task
- Reversing action allows you to drive and remove screws equally well
- ¼-inch chuck can be loaded with one hand
- Direct shadow-free LED lighting uses three LEDs mounted radially around the barrel
- Included belt clip allows you to carry this lightweight tool with you
- Measures a short 6.25 inches long and weighs 2.2 lbs. making it easy to maneuver in tight spaces and overhead
- Quick-charging, long-lasting battery packs recharge in less than an hour
- 3-Year limited warranty, 1-Year free service contract, and 90-day money-back guarantee
With a newly-designed tool body, improved circuit protection, and with better LED illumination, the Hitachi DB3DL2 3.6V Lithium-Ion Dual-Position Cordless Screwdriver promises longer life, comfortable ergonomic maneuverability, and user-friendly operation. Its 3.6 volts of advanced Li-Ion power is housed in a versatile, convertible tool body that can change from inline to pistol grip to match your task at hand. Its variable speed capability, reversibility, 21 clutch settings, and one drill setting allow you to precisely tailor speed and torque to each job. Bright LED lighting illuminates automatically when the power button is pushed and shuts-off automatically to conserve battery power. Here’s what you need to know.
- 3.6V, lithium-ion, 2-position convertible, multiple torque setting, reversible, cordless power screwdriver with no load speeds of 200-600 RPM
- Dual Position Handle quickly converts from inline to a pistol grip and back so you can efficiently match the configuration to your task
- Variable speed control offers two speeds including 260 and 780 RPM
- 21 multiple torque clutch settings and one drill setting allow you to tailor torque to each job
- Easy, push-button forward/reverse directional control
- Quick-change ¼-inch hex chuck
- Spindle lock allows you to use the screwdriver to manually tighten screws
- LED illumination system put light directly on your work area without shadows when the power button is pressed and shuts off automatically to conserve battery power
- Includes two Hitachi HXP EBM315 3.6V 1.5-Ah Lithium-Ion battery packs and one UC3SFL quick charger with overload and discharge protection
- Overload and over-discharge circuit protection ensures long motor life
- Measures 10.55 inches and weighs less than one pound for easy maneuverability in tight spaces and overhead
- Includes one Phillips driver bit and a handy hard case for protection, storage, and transport
- Lifetime tool warranty and 2-Year Lithium-Ion battery warranty
The DEWALT DCF680N1 8V MAX Gyroscopic Screwdriver Kit features unique and innovative technology including intuitive, motion-activated 0-430 RPM variable speed control, twist-activated forward/reverse action, and adjustable two-position convertible inline or pistol grip handle. 15 clutch torque settings allow you to match torque to your task. Two built-in LED headlights provide direct illumination to your work area in low-light conditions without shadows. Here’s what you need to know.
- 8V MAX, Lithium-Ion, reversible, motion-activated, convertible power screwdriver
- Adjustable two-position handle lets you choose either inline or pistol grip configuration for more efficient operation
- Intuitive, motion-activated 0-430 RPM variable speed control gives you precise control when fastening into wood, plastic, and light-gauge metal
- 15 clutch torque settings allow you to match torque to your task
- Twist-operated forward and reversing action senses when you twist the tool left or right
- One-handed operation ¼-inch hex-shank chuck
- Two LED headlights illuminate your work in low-light conditions without shadows
- End-mounted battery indicator lets you know when to change battery packs
- 8V MAX battery packs provide longer runtimes and charge quickly in one hour
- Includes one 8V MAX Li-Ion battery packs
- Handy, protective kit bag is included
Power Screwdriver Comparison
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