Electric screwdrivers can be a great choice for those who have pain in their hands or need a speed great than that which they can achieve with a screwdriver. However, it’s not always easy to shop for these great tools online. There’s a wide variety of features and price points which can make it hard to tell if you’re getting a good deal or getting ripped off.
Unfortunately, many manufacturers know this and design their product descriptions to highlight everything good about their model, no matter how insignificant, and conveniently forget to include any negative about their product.
We think that a well-informed customer can get a great deal and find the model that best suits their needs. Our reviews are designed to show you the upsides and downsides of each model. We’ve also included a buyer’s guide which walks you through everything you need to know about these great tools so you’ll be shopping like a pro in no time.
|DEWALT DCF610S2 12-Volt Max 1/4-Inch Screwdriver Kit|
|WORX WX255L SD Semi-Automatic|
(Best for the Money)
|BLACK+DECKER BDCS20C||1 lb||4.40/5|
|SKIL 2354-07 iXO 4V||1 lb||4.25/5|
|Bosch Go 3.6V Smart Cordless Screwdriver Set||1 lb||4.00/5|
The DEWALT DCF610S2 12-Volt Max 1/4-Inch Screwdriver Kit is so good that a lot of people compare it to their beefier drills. That’s a clear sign that DEWALT has done something right with this model, which is a part of their great 12-volt MAX battery line. Since this kit includes two batteries, you’ll be able to work for a long time without stopping even if you don’t already own a battery. It also comes with great LED lights that light up the area in which you’re working and make it easy to get the job done in suboptimal lighting situations.
Also included is a handy belt hook that lets you keep this tool around without having to carry it. It also weighs just 2.2 pounds with the battery installed, making it a very light tool that won’t quickly wear it out. The only problem with this model is that a small minority of units ship with a chuck that breaks. Typically, this happens while it’s still under warranty, but it can be a pain to deal with. Still, this is the best overall electric screwdriver on the market and one that will leave most people satisfied with their purchase.
The WORX WX255L SD Semi-Automatic is about 60 percent cheaper than the top model on our list, and since it works great, too, it’s the best model for the money on our list. The most useful part of this model is its screw holder attachment, which allows you to position the screwdriver and screw with just one hand, allowing you to hold something else while you work. It also comes with an LED light which makes sure that you’re not working in shadow while you drill. Another innovative feature is an onboard bit holder that can hold up to six bits, allowing you to quickly swap bits if you’re going to be using differently-headed screws in quick succession.
Beyond just the price, it’s obvious that WORX has gone above and beyond in designing this model to be both useful and convenient, which you’d think would be standard when it comes to tools, but isn’t always the case. What keeps this otherwise great model out of first place is its very slow charging, which takes hours. If that were to be sped up, we could easily rank this model first, but as-is, it’s still best for the money on our list.
The BLACK+DECKER BDCS20C is another good choice for those looking for a very inexpensive electric screwdriver. You can get it for a fraction of what you’d pay for our top two models, but it doesn’t hold up as well in all areas, making it a good budget buy, but not the right choice for those looking for the best the market has to offer. This model is very compact, and won’t have any problem getting into any space into which you can fit your hand. It also provides up to 35 inch-pounds of force, which won’t beat your drill, but is respectable for a tool of this size.
However, this model lacks an LED light, which is something better electric screwdrivers come with. The forward/reverse switch is also strangely placed and limits what you can do with one hand. While this model is cheap, it’s not the most convenient one on the list. If you need a tool for a quick project or two, this one will leave you very satisfied with your purchase. If you’re looking for a tool that will challenge your cordless drill, then you’re going to want something more than this budget buy.
The SKIL 2354-07 iXO 4V is similar to the previous model in that you won’t be paying an arm and a leg to get it, but this model might be trying too hard to be a modern design. This model does come with an LED light, which is one way in which it’s better than the previous model. It also comes with a battery gauge, which allows you to keep track of your remaining charge with just a glance. However, its most distinguishing feature is its use of a USB charging cable. The upside to that is you can charge this drill with a laptop or via a USB port in your car, making this a truly portable tool.
The downside is that it takes a long time to charge via the USB cable, and only gets somewhat faster when you plug it in with the included A/C adapter. This model performs well on the simplest tasks, but it struggles when you get to medium and difficult tasks that require more power. It’s not the most expensive model on the market, but it loses some places on our list due to its inferior charging speed and poor overall power.
The Bosch Go 3.6V Smart Cordless Screwdriver Set is a great example of a set that has good quality but is priced in an uncompetitive manner. This model does come with 33 bits, making it a good kit for beginners or people looking to expand their bit collection. It also comes with a feature Bosch describes as an “Intelligent E-clutch” which is designed to help prevent over-torquing and stops the model very quickly when you release the trigger.
However, this is another strange USB-powered model. That’s useful if you’re not going to have access to standard power outlets, but kind of a pain, otherwise. It also comes with a charger made for European outlets, which means you’ll need to get an adaptor in order to charge this device in an area that doesn’t use that socket type. Overall, this model can be a frustrating one for Americans to use, and if you’re looking to get great value for your purchase, you’re going to be disappointed with this model. This model also lacks a light and other convenient features. Simply put, it costs too much for the experience that it provides, which drops it to last place on our list.
If you’re still not sure which model is right for you after reading our reviews, don’t worry. There’s a lot to take in with these great tools, and it can be hard to see the bigger picture at times. This buyer’s guide is designed to take the stress out of the shopping process by walking you through the various things that an expert would consider before buying the tool. We cover all major features and flaws that you should be on the lookout for, as well as include some tips on getting great value for your money. If you want to get a great deal and get an electric screwdriver that you’ll love using, make sure you check out this guide.
The first thing you need to figure out before you buy an electric screwdriver is whether you need an electric screwdriver, a drill, or an impact driver. These tools have some overlap in their use, but they have specific cases in which they’re more effective. They also can come at similar prices, so the best way to get great value when you buy is to make sure that you get the kind that best fits your needs.
The electric screwdriver is the tool you want to get when you need to tighten or loosen screws. They can be seen as a replacement for a screwdriver, so, they’re going to be useful in any task which you could complete with a standard, non-electric screwdriver. So, you’re not going to be using an electric screwdriver to drive screws into wood if you haven’t already predrilled the holes. They’re not going to have enough power to get the job done. You can also forget about drilling into harder materials like particleboard or concrete.
These tools don’t always come with a clutch, due to their low overall power, but some high-end models do. This gives you more control over the process and can help you prevent over-torquing sensitive bolts or screws. While the electric screwdriver has limited use, it can greatly speed up a project that involves placing a large number of screws into predrilled holes.
Most people are more familiar with drills than they are with electric screwdrivers. The reason is simple. Drills are great general-purpose tools that can do much of what the electric screwdriver and impact driver can do with no trouble. They’re bigger and heavier than electric screwdrivers, which is why you may want an electric screwdriver if you don’t need the extra power that comes with a drill. Drills come with enough power to drive screws into wood without predrilling, and the beefier models can potentially drive screws into harder materials as well.
Nearly all drills come with a clutch, and you should be wary of any models that don’t. When combined with a variable speed trigger, which increases the power as you increase the pressure on the trigger, drills are an effective tool for driving screws without stripping them. They can be used for simpler screwing tasks, but they would be overkill for those situations.
The impact driver is likely to be the tool among these three that most people are least familiar with. The impact driver is the little brother of the impact wrench, which is the tool used by pit crews and mechanics shops to quickly remove lug nuts. Impact drivers excel at producing a lot of torque in a small package. If you’re building a deck, an impact driver can be a great purchase. Since it has higher torque, it will drive longer screws into tough wood with a lower chance of stripping the screw than the drill would have.
Of course, they’re also useful for taking the lug nuts off your tires, so if you want to make that process faster, these are a great investment. Since they use a different mechanical mechanism than the electric screwdriver and drill do, they can actually be lighter and last longer on a battery than a drill can.
Most modern electric screwdrivers come with a lithium-ion battery. The other kind you’re likely to see is a nickel-cadmium battery, but you’d be wise to shy away from those, as lithium-ion, or li-ion as they’re sometimes called, have them beat in nearly every category. Lithium-ion batteries pack have a greater energy density. Consequently, they can store many times more energy in a battery that is the same size as an old nickel-cadmium one. In practical terms, that usually means that a manufacturer will opt to make a lighter battery while keeping approximately the same runtime.
Nickel-cadmium batteries also develop a “memory.” Charging them before they completely discharge can lead them to set that point as the new “empty,” even though they still have plenty of energy left. That means the voltage will drop, even though the battery still has charge left.
Li-ion batteries don’t suffer from this problem. They also work better in hotter and colder temperatures. The only downside to Li-ion batteries is that they cost more, but the benefits are so great that it’s almost always a great idea to choose a model with Li-ion batteries over nickel-cadmium.
Many electric screwdrivers make use of brushless motors. Old, brushed motors required a part, called brushes, which sat at the center of the rotating drum and helped create the magnetism needed to spin the drum. This was very energy inefficient, due to friction as the brushes traveled around the center of the drum and required frequent maintenance to keep the tool working well since brushes would wear out over time.
Brushless motors don’t need brushes to run, which has a ton of benefits. There’s far less friction involved since the outer and inner parts of the drum don’t have to touch each other, which means there’s far less energy lost due to heat. The motors are also lighter, since they lack the brushes, and combined with the savings due to better heat control, results in a motor which is far more energy efficient. So, with a brushless motor, you get a lighter, more efficient tool, though like with lithium-ion batteries, you will pay a premium to get the newest technology.
One of the best things about cordless screwdrivers is that they don’t have to weight a bunch but can still pack a punch. This is due in large part to the inclusion of brushless motors and lithium-ion batteries. Of course, you’re going to see some variance based on how powerful the electric screwdriver is, and how large the included battery is. At the low end, an electric screwdriver could weigh about two pounds. Any less than that, and you should start asking questions about the quality of the parts inside.
There’s no theoretical maximum to how much these models could weight, but keep in mind that once they get too heavy, it makes more sense to invest in an electric drill and get far more power for the money. Most good, high-quality electric screwdrivers weigh no more than five to seven pounds. That’s light enough to make it easy to maneuver them into tight spaces and light enough that you won’t wear out your wrists and arms when using them.
There are a few extra features which don’t significantly change the price but can greatly improve your experience, which in turn increases the value that you get out of your purchase.
One of these useful features is onboard bit storage. This feature allows you to store bits in or on the electric screwdriver and have them on hand for when you need to switch them out. This does increase the overall weight of the drill some, but if you’re going to be working with a bunch of different screws in quick succession, it’s an invaluable feature.
A screw holder is a device which holds a screw in place on the bit while you position the electric screwdriver. This is more useful for people who will be driving a lot of screws in quick succession, but most people will still derive some value from it.
LED lights are also useful. You never know when you’re going to be working in a spot that has suboptimal lighting, so LED lights on your electric screwdriver can make those jobs easier and will mean that you don’t have to find your flashlight in order to work.
Many people try to maximize their value by investing in the most expensive or the cheapest model they can find. While that sometimes works out okay, there are better strategies for getting a great deal. A better method is to focus on your ideal scenario in which you use your electric screwdriver. Figure out which features would help you create that scenario.
Then, make a list of electric screwdrivers which have those features. It’s a good idea to choose the cheapest one from that list. It has all the features that you need for a good experience, but also comes at the best price, making it the best overall value for your money.
The DEWALT DCF610S2 12-Volt Max 1/4-Inch Screwdriver Kit includes our favorite electric screwdriver, which comes with great LED lights and a belt hook, in addition to its inclusion in the great DEWALT 12V Max battery line. The WORX WX255L SD Semi-Automatic includes a screw holder attachment, a LED light, and onboard bit storage. Since it costs a fraction of what you’d pay for our top model, it’s the best value for the money on our list. The BLACK+DECKER BDCS20C is compact, and comes with decent torque, but has problems with its switch and lacks an LED light, which drops it to third place. In fourth is the SKIL 2354-07 iXO 4V which comes with an LED light and USB charger, but its poor power and slow charging cost it a few places. The Bosch Go 3.6V Smart Cordless Screwdriver Set includes 33 bits, but is EU-wired and is quite costly relative to the power that you get in the set, which means it can rise no higher than last place on our list.
We hope that our reviews and buyer’s guide have helped you better understand electric screwdrivers and find the model that is right for you.
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