The Best Cordless Screwdrivers Tested in 2023

Top-quality, easy-to-tote cordless screwdrivers reduce forearm fatigue and speed up your project’s progress. We tested several popular cordless screwdrivers—read on to find out how they fared.

Best Overall

The Best Cordless Screwdriver Option: DeWalt DCF680N2 8V MAX Gyroscopic Screwdriver Kit

DeWalt DCF680N2 8V MAX Gyroscopic Screwdriver Kit

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The Best Cordless Screwdriver Option: Milwaukee 2401-22 M12 ¼-Inch Hex Screwdriver Kit

Milwaukee 2401-22 M12 ¼-Inch Hex Screwdriver Kit

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Best Bang For The Buck

The Best Cordless Screwdriver Option: Black+Decker BDCSFL20C 4V MAX Cordless Screwdriver

Black+Decker BDCSFL20C 4V MAX Cordless Screwdriver

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The Best Cordless Screwdriver Options
Photo: Glenda Taylor

Whether you’re working on a bicycle, replacing kitchen outlets, putting batteries in a child’s toy, or completing a host of other DIY projects, a cordless screwdriver can come in handy to tighten and remove screws quickly and efficiently. Think of a cordless screwdriver as a less powerful alternative to a corded (or cordless) drill.

Cordless screwdrivers don’t have the power to drive through a lot of dense material, so don’t plan on building an entire storage shed with one. However, they can be a good option for light to medium jobs like running screws to hang pictures on walls, tightening cabinet door hinges, and removing outlet covers and switch plates. We’re big fans of power tools that make DIYers’ lives easier, and cordless screwdrivers rate right up there at the top.

With so many brands and models of cordless screwdrivers to choose from, it’s important to know which ones would be real assets in a DIYer’s tool collection and which ones didn’t live up to the hype. We tested several of today’s top models to determine their torque power, overall design, and how effectively they functioned in multiple situations. We put them through their paces, and we didn’t pull any punches—the testing was rigorous and we pushed the tools to their limits.

Don’t guess at how well today’s most popular cordless screwdrivers perform. If you’re in the market for the best cordless screwdriver, read on to learn which features are essential and to find out why the following models earned a spot in our lineup.

  1. BEST OVERALL: DeWalt DCF680N2 8V MAX Gyroscopic Screwdriver Kit
  2. RUNNER-UP: Milwaukee 2401-22 M12 ¼-Inch Hex Screwdriver Kit
  3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Black+Decker BDCSFL20C 4V MAX Cordless Screwdriver
  4. BEST FOR DRYWALL: Makita XSF03T 18V LXT Cordless Drywall Screwdriver
  5. BEST HEAVY-DUTY: Bosch PS21-2A 12V MAX 2-Speed Pocket Driver Kit
  6. BEST SAFETY FEATURES: Skil SD561201 4V Screwdriver With Circuit Sensor
  7. BEST FOR ASSEMBLY: DeWalt DCF682N1 8V MAX Gyroscopic Inline Screwdriver
  8. BEST FOR HOUSEHOLD USE: Makita DF001DW 3.6V Lithium-Ion Cordless Screwdriver
  9. ALSO CONSIDER: Denali by Skil 4V Cordless Stick Screwdriver Set

How We Tested the Best Cordless Screwdrivers

Consumers have come to expect a lot from national brands such as DeWalt, Milwaukee, and Bosch, but we wanted to expand our testing to cordless screwdrivers from a variety of manufacturers. All manufacturers list their tools’ strong points, but unless the products are personally tested, it’s difficult to know if they live up to the claims.

We tested every available function on each tool, including screw holders and light guides, and we scored each one using a rubric. While not every cordless screwdriver came with a souped-up 8- or 12-volt battery, we certainly appreciated the added torque. Each tool was also rated on the brightness of its guide lights, how the tool fit and felt in the hand, and whether it was truly user friendly. DIYers have different needs and budgets, and any one of the picks in our lineup would be an asset to a tool collection.

Our Top Picks

To qualify for a spot in our lineup, a cordless screwdriver had to be simple to operate, durable, and have enough torque power to complete everyday fastener tasks. Whether built-in or removable, the batteries had to hold a charge long enough to get simple jobs done. We tested each tool on drywall and on two wood species, pine and birch. While cordless screwdrivers are not generally made for inserting screws into wood, some of today’s beefier models have souped-up power, and we tested them to see which could take on the task.

After extensive hands-on testing, the following models earned a spot on our list of the best cordless screwdrivers for a home or a workshop. They’re lightweight and compact enough to store in a drawer, carry in a tool belt, and tote to a work site. Any one of these tools would be an asset in a DIYer’s tool assemblage.

Best Overall

DeWalt DCF680N2 8V MAX Gyroscopic Screwdriver Kit

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If the need is for a cordless screwdriver with plenty of features and a rock-solid reputation, the 8V MAX cordless screwdriver from DeWalt is a terrific choice. Like other cordless DeWalt tools, the 8V MAX cordless screwdriver comes with a removable battery (two batteries are included). We started by charging the battery overnight to ensure it was at full power for testing. Subsequent charging revealed it took just over an hour for the battery to reach a full charge.

The 8V MAX cordless screwdriver aced all our tests, including quickly driving screws into drywall, pine, and even denser birch wood without bogging down. It has a gyroscopic trigger that activates the motor with the motion of a wrist: Twist the tool to the right, it will tighten or drive a screw; twist left, and it will loosen the screw. A two-position handle allows a choice between a pistol grip and a straight barrel screwdriver, and two LEDs to light up a workpiece—a helpful plus.

To keep from stripping out screws, this DeWalt has a 15-position clutch, which we adjusted to suit the density of the boards. It features a speed range of up to 430 rpm, and a torque range of up to 40 inch-pounds. The ¼-inch chuck fits standard bits, and the lithium-ion battery can be used in other DeWalt 8-volt cordless tools.

Product Specs 

  • Grip type: Converts between pistol and barrel grip
  • Battery power: 8 volts (removable)
  • Speed: Up to 430 rpm


  • Adjustable clutch settings reduce the risk of stripping out screw heads
  • Bright LED guide light a helpful plus for use in low-light situations
  • Gyroscopic action allows user to activate trigger by rotating the tool


  • On the pricey side compared to other cordless models that run less than half as much

Get the DeWalt cordless screwdriver kit at Amazon, Acme Tools, or Ace Tool.


Milwaukee 2401-22 M12 ¼-Inch Hex Screwdriver Kit

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Right out of the box, the first thing we noticed about the Milwaukee M12 was its weight. At more than 2 pounds (with battery installed), it’s heavier than many cordless screwdrivers, but it fits nicely in the palm and isn’t too cumbersome for installing multiple screws. It made quick work of inserting screws in drywall, and we were able to insert screws in both pine and birch boards as well.

The M12 is less about fancy features and more about getting the job done. This pistol-grip screwdriver uses Milwaukee’s 12-volt lithium-ion batteries to create a mighty peak torque of 175 inch-pounds. It has an rpm range of up to 500, which makes setting fasteners quick work. The 2401-22 model uses a ¼-inch quick-change keyless chuck to swap out bits quickly, and it has a 15-position clutch to help regulate torque. We were also able to switch into drill mode to cancel the clutch feature.

Another plus: This cordless screwdriver’s battery charges in under 30 minutes with the included charger, so we were able to get back to work after a short break.

Product Specs 

  • Grip type: Pistol
  • Battery power: 12 volts (removable battery)
  • Speed: Up to 500 rpm


  • High torque power for inserting screws into denser hardwood with ease
  • Adjustable clutch with cancel-clutch feature reduces the risk of stripping out screw heads
  • Bright LED guide light makes it easier to work in low-light situations


  • This model feels slightly on the heavy side at over 2 pounds

Get the Milwaukee cordless screwdriver at Ace Hardware, The Home Depot, or Blain’s Farm and Fleet.

Best Bang For The Buck

Black+Decker BDCSFL20C 4V MAX Cordless Screwdriver

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If the goal is to find a light-duty cordless screwdriver that won’t crush screws or a budget, the Black & Decker 4V MAX cordless screwdriver may fill the bill. We were impressed by its versatile features and even more impressed at its budget-friendly price. While this tool doesn’t generate as much torque as some of the picks in our lineup, it still quickly inserted drywall screws. It wasn’t as successful with wood, but that’s not what this tool is intended to do.

This screwdriver has a three-position handle, swapping easily from a straight screwdriver to a 45-degree or right-angle driver in seconds. It uses ¼-inch driver bits, so users can swap between bits or employ the chuck as a ¼-inch nut driver.

The screwdriver boasts an LED flashlight that was unusually bright, making it easy to see in darkened areas. The 4-volt screwdriver comes with two bits and a charger. Its 4-volt lithium-ion battery held a charge well throughout the testing, and this model features a built-in battery and a simple charger cord that plugs in directly.

Product Specs 

  • Grip type: Converts from pistol to straight barrel grip
  • Battery power: 4 volts
  • Speed: Up to 180 rpm


  • Charges quickly, reaching a full charge in about an hour
  • Grip converts from pistol to straight barrel making it suitable for various situations
  • Very bright LED flashlight that can be used by itself or for low-light assistance


  • Not enough torque power to insert screws in hardwood

Get the Black + Decker cordless screwdriver at Amazon, Lowe’s, or The Home Depot.

Best for Drywall

Makita XSF03T 18V LXT Cordless Drywall Screwdriver

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The battery-powered Makita drywall screwdriver does only one thing—inserts drywall screws into drywall—but it does it well. Unlike the other picks on this lineup, the XSF03T is a single-purpose tool.

We’ve installed hundreds of drywall sheets over the years, so we know that the screws used to attach the panels should create a dimple in the drywall but not tear its protective paper surface. The XSF03T is designed with a depth adjustment that made it easy for us to tweak the depth of the screw so we could achieve the dimpling effect on different thicknesses of drywall.

We charged the high-capacity 5Ah battery that came with the tool and started testing. With just a few rotations of the depth-adjustment ring located on the nose of the tool, the Makita provided more or less torque to suit various drywall thicknesses. The trick to using this (and all) drywall screwdrivers is to physically push the tool as soon as the screw meets resistance from the wall stud. When done correctly (it takes some practice), the elongated nose on the Makita countersinks the screw head and creates a dimple in the drywall. The dimple will later be filled with compound when taping the walls.

The back end of the XSF03T is ergonomically designed for using a second hand to push with. We found it very comfortable to use, and we appreciated the bright LED guide light that made it easy to see where we were inserting screws in low-light situations. This drywall screwdriver had ample power for inserting the screws without tearing the paper covering.

Product Specs

  • Grip type: Pistol grip
  • Battery power: 18V rechargeable lithium-ion (brand-specific)
  • Speed: Up to 4,000 rpm


  • Screw depth is adjustable to suit different thicknesses of drywall sheets
  • The tool comes with a 5Ah Makita 18V battery and a charger
  • This drywall screwdriver creates a shallow dimple in drywall for taping


  • Not designed for use with other types of screws or materials

Get the Makita cordless drywall screwdriver at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Acme Tools.

Best Heavy-Duty

Bosch PS21-2A 12V MAX 2-Speed Pocket Driver Kit

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As soon as we slipped the charged 12-volt battery in the Bosch PS21-2A cordless screwdriver and pulled the trigger, we could tell it offered more torque than most. It has two speed ranges we could switch between by sliding a lever on the top of the tool. The screwdriver generates up to 1,300 rpm at top speed, which is quite an accomplishment for a cordless screwdriver.

It also packs some powerful torque—and we were able to insert screws with ease into drywall, pine, and birch boards. With that much torque, the 21-adjustment clutch is essential to prevent stripping out the screw heads.

In addition to ample torque and speed, this screwdriver is compact, with a head length of just more than 5.5 inches. It comes with two 12-volt batteries and a charger. Plus, there’s a built-in LED light to help see in dim locations, but it would be better if it was brighter. If DIYers want a cordless screwdriver to tackle some heavy-duty jobs, the Bosch PS21-2A ought to do the trick. It’s a potent tool in such a small package, weighing in at only 1.4 pounds.

Product Specs 

  • Grip type: Pistol
  • Battery power: 12 volts rechargeable
  • Speed: Up to 1,300 rpm


  • Enough power and torque to easily insert screws into hardwood
  • 2 speeds and a variable-speed trigger allow users to choose the right speed for the project
  • 21 clutch settings reduce the risk of stripping out screwheads


  • Somewhat pricey compared to other screwdrivers tested
  • LED light is not as bright as on comparable models

Get the Bosch cordless screwdriver at Amazon, Lowe’s, or Menards.

Best Safety Features

Skil SD561201 4V Screwdriver With Circuit Sensor

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Having previously believed the power to an outlet was shut off only to suffer painful shocks, we know the value of being able to test an outlet in a pinch. So we were pretty impressed with the SKIL cordless screwdriver’s ability to sense if the outlet was still hot, just by depressing a button on the top of the tool. The SKIL emitted a sharp warning beep when we tested a hot outlet, and a red light flashed. When we tested a dead outlet, there was no light nor beep. This built-in safety feature is a boon for those who don’t typically carry electrical testers around while doing DIY projects.

This compact cordless screwdriver boasts a dual-LED light, 10 changeable bits, and a micro USB charger. The chuck accepts any ¼-inch drive bit and also functions as a ¼-inch nut driver. It has both forward and reverse, but no adjustable clutch or speed settings. While it inserted screws effortlessly in drywall, it bogged down when trying to insert screws in wood boards. Still, it’s so valuable at sensing circuits that this cordless screwdriver could be reserved solely for electrical maintenance jobs.

Product Specs 

  • Grip type: Straight barrel
  • Battery power: 4 volts
  • Speed: 230 rpm


  • Circuit sensor alerts the user to the presence of a live wire with a beep and a light
  • Bright double LED lights clearly illuminate a work area
  • Nonslip grip makes it easy to grasp and maneuver the tool


  • Speed isn’t variable
  • Not powerful enough to insert screws into wood (though quite capable with drywall)

Get the Skil 4V cordless screwdriver at Amazon, Menards, or Acme Tools.

Best for Assembly

DeWalt DCF682N1 8V MAX Gyroscopic Inline Screwdriver

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The DeWalt 8-volt MAX cordless screwdriver was the very first of the screwdrivers we tested, and we were not yet familiar with its gyroscopic technology. At first, it seemed counterintuitive, but now, it’s one of our favorite features.

Here’s how the gyroscopic effect works: Line up the tool with the screw that will be inserted or removed. Then, squeeze the trigger, which will cause the tool to emit a hum. Next, either rotate the tool to the right or the left. When rotated to the right, the screw bit also turns to the right to insert a screw. When rotated to the left, the bit reverses and twists to the left to remove a screw. It’s that simple—no need to push buttons to change directions. We learned to increase or decrease the speed just by rotating the tool more or less.

The screwdriver’s chuck accepts ¼-inch bits and runs on a rechargeable 8-volt DeWalt battery (included). It generates up to 430 rpm and comes with a bright LED guide light. Its straight barrel-type grip makes it easy to reach corners where a pistol grip might be too cumbersome. The ability to control the screwing mechanism just by rotating the tool makes it well suited to assembling prefab bookcases, cabinets, and more.

Product Specs 

  • Grip type: Straight-barrel type
  • Battery power: 8 volts
  • Speed: Up to 430 rpm


  • Gyroscopic operation allows users to regulate speed by rotating the tool
  • Bright LED guide light makes it easy to use tool in dim areas
  • Ergonomic nonslip grip is comfortable and reduces hand fatigue


  • There’s a slight learning curve with the gyroscopic operation

Get the DeWalt inline cordless screwdriver at Amazon, Lowe’s, or The Home Depot.

Best for Household Use

Makita DF001DW 3.6V Lithium-Ion Cordless Screwdriver

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For all those little household fastener chores, such as installing outlet and switch plates, tightening cabinet or drawer screws, or hanging pictures on a wall, we think the lightweight Makita 3.6V screwdriver is just the ticket. At just 3.6 volts, this little cordless screwdriver is designed for light-duty applications, and it excels in that capacity.

Rather than requiring the user to remove a battery, the DF001 has an internal battery that charges via a USB cord that can be plugged into a computer’s USB port or a standard outlet using the included AC adapter. We tested the DF001 by inserting and removing screws in drywall and wood. It comes with an ample 81-piece accessory set boasting bits for most types of screw fasteners used today, including Phillips, flat, and star bit. Plus, the tool has an LED guide light that can be turned on when desired (it doesn’t automatically stay on when the screwdriver is in use).

The DF001 also converts from a pistol grip to a straight-barrel grip, making it even more versatile. It weighs less than a pound so it didn’t slow us down—yet it offered ample power for inserting and removing screws, even in wood, without the tool’s motor bogging down.

 Product Specs 

  • Grip type: Converts from pistol to straight-barrel grip
  • Battery power: 3.6 volts
  • Speed: 220 rpm


  • The tool converts between pistol and barrel grip for added versatility
  • The LED guide light can be turned off to preserve battery power
  • Charges via USB cord and comes with an AC adapter and 81-piece accessory kit


  • This tool is designed for light-duty projects only

Get the Makita 3.6V cordless screwdriver atAmazon.

Also Consider

Denali by Skil 4V Cordless Stick Screwdriver Set

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Amazon recently launched its Denali brand of hand and power tools. After testing several others in the line a few months ago, we were excited to try the new cordless screwdriver set. We considered it a plus that the tool is actually manufactured by the Skil brand.

The Denali screwdriver doesn’t boast many bells and whistles, but it did allow us to choose from one of three torque settings. We found that handy when inserting screws into materials with different densities—for instance, more torque when inserting screws in wood than in softer drywall. It also features an LED guide light, but we found it to be dim and unlikely to offer much illumination in low-light situations.

The Denali charges via a USB-C cord (included). We liked this setup, as it simplifies charging—no need to remove and charge the battery separately. A compact tool measuring about 7 inches long, it was useful in restricted spots, but we would have liked a convertible grip. A barrel grip is excellent in some situations, but a convertible pistol grip would add versatility.

The only real downside we noted was that the Denali tended to bog down a little when we inserted screws in wood. It did the job, but it took longer than it did on drywall. Still, this is a handy little cordless screwdriver to have around the house or to keep in the trunk of a car for when small jobs arise.

Product Specs 

  • Grip type: Straight-barrel grip
  • Battery power: 4 volts
  • Speed: Up to 300 rpm


  • Allows users to select from 1 of 3 torque settings
  • No need to remove the battery; it conveniently charges via a USB-C cord
  • Comes with a handy 34-piece screw-bit kit and case


  • Light-duty only; motor bogged down slightly with dense hardwood
  • LED light is pretty dim and unlikely to truly illuminate a work area

Get the Denali cordless screwdriver at Amazon.

Jump to Our Top Picks

The Best Cordless Screwdriver Options
Photo: Glenda Taylor

What to Consider When Choosing a Cordless Screwdriver

While drills can be a bit unwieldy, a slim cordless screwdriver can fit into tight spots. And because it works faster than its manual predecessor, a cordless screwdriver will help keep a project on track. It can also reduce fatigue and benefit anyone with wrist or hand mobility issues—after all, twisting a wrist back and forth with a conventional screwdriver can become a real pain.

With a manual screwdriver, your hand can get in the line of vision, making it challenging to see what you’re doing and potentially causing the screwdriver to slip off fasteners. This isn’t a problem with a cordless model. Plus, because it’s lightweight and doesn’t require an outlet to plug into, it’s perfectly portable. A cordless screwdriver is a handy compact tool that can be toted anywhere. Keep these and the following considerations in mind while shopping so you’ll be better able to choose the model that best fits your needs.

Speed and Torque 

The more power a cordless screwdriver has, the faster it can turn. While cordless screwdrivers don’t require the amount of power that a drill driver or an impact driver might have, they still need enough juice to get the job done. If purchasing a straight barrel-type driver, consider one with a speed between 300 and 500 rpm—ideal to loosen or tighten a screw quickly without being too fast to handle. With pistol grip models, speeds of more than 1,000 rpm are easier to control.

The more torque your screwdriver has, the denser the material that it can drive a fastener into. Heavy-duty screwdrivers have an increased amount of torque available and may be suitable for driving a few drywall screws into wood studs, but this can drain the battery quickly.


A cordless screwdriver can reach and manipulate screws in small, awkward spaces much more easily than a manual tool can. If there is room for the tip of the driver to go onto the fastener, these powered screwdrivers help do the rest.

To fit into such tight places, the best cordless screwdriver is highly maneuverable. A slim, compact design helps, and many models also have rotating handles that swap from a straight grip to a pistol grip, like those seen on drills and screw guns. Also, a smaller battery size makes cordless screwdrivers easier to tuck between boards and other low-clearance scenarios, such as behind sinks for plumbing tasks.

Power Source

Many cordless screwdrivers come with rechargeable batteries, and they tend to range between 4 and 8 volts. Since a cordless screwdriver requires much less speed and power than a drill, these lower voltages are adequate. The benefit of a smaller lower-voltage battery is that it fits in smaller places than full-size options and it helps make the screwdriver as light as possible while still being rechargeable.

Some lower-end screwdrivers use replaceable batteries. These models are less convenient, not to mention expensive if replacing batteries frequently. They usually have less power and torque as well.

Battery Life

If there is a large project coming up, it’s helpful if a cordless screwdriver has enough power to see it through to the end. Luckily, battery life isn’t much of a concern for most of the best cordless screwdrivers because their small motors don’t use as much battery energy as a large motor does.

However, some cordless screwdrivers have a battery level indicator that alerts when it’s running low on power. It’s helpful to know the battery status, so it can be juiced up while on a lunch or supply-run break, as many typically recharge in about an hour.

Screw Type

Cordless screwdrivers tighten or loosen screws in pre-threaded holes. They’re perfect for screws in electrical boxes and fixtures, screws used in automotive interiors and appliances, installing door locks and cabinet hardware, and other mechanical settings with threaded holes.

Except for the most heavy-duty cordless screwdrivers, these tools are not typically designed for lag screws and bolts, wood screws, and fasteners in other dense materials. While it’s possible to drive a screw through drywall with one of these tools, that’s simply not the type of job these tools are made to tackle. For this situation, grab a drill or an impact driver instead.

Chuck Size

Cordless screwdrivers use toolless chucks, so swapping between bits is quick and easy. These chucks fit ¼-inch bits—the same bits used in standard multi-bit manual screwdrivers. There are also ¼-inch-drive drill bits, allowing a screwdriver to be used as a drill in light-duty material like thin wood or plastics.

The variety of ¼-inch bits available make cordless screwdrivers incredibly useful. Alternate from driving Phillips head screws to removing Allen or Torx screws in seconds. Most cordless screwdrivers use magnets to hold the bits in place while also providing a bit of magnetism to keep the screw on the end of the bit.


The clutch in fastening tools regulates the amount of torque applied to a fastener. Once the set torque is reached, the clutch will start to “slip,” preventing the tool from driving the fastener or drilling any deeper. Just adjust the clutch according to the type of fastener and the type of material. Since this is situation-specific, the rule of thumb is to set the clutch to a low setting and increase slowly as needed.

Too much torque can break smaller, older, or low-quality fasteners. Fortunately, the best cordless screwdrivers have adjustable clutch settings to avoid stripping or breaking these fasteners. The clutch can also avoid overdriving the screw too deeply, which may also cause unwanted results.

Torque settings can make a significant difference when working with old, stubborn fasteners. Instead of tearing the heads off screws or stripping the fastener beyond recognition, the clutch will begin to slip, preventing the driver from continuing to turn and causing damage.

Not all cordless screwdrivers have adjustable clutches, though. Some don’t have the power to require one. However, higher-end screwdrivers with more torque usually do.

The Best Cordless Screwdriver Options
Photo: Glenda Taylor

The Advantages of Owning a Cordless Screwdriver

By the time a project with a lot of assembly is finished, your forearm and hand might be tired from using a manual screwdriver. Lesson learned: To forgo hand and arm fatigue, pick up a cordless screwdriver, which may also save energy and time , allowing you to move on to the next project.

Being able to see what you’re doing is key to a quality finished project. If your hand keeps getting in the way of a task, the tool may slip off the screw, marring the surface or scratching the workpiece. Cordless screwdrivers let users see what they’re doing since a hand won’t block the view.

Instead of carrying several screwdrivers around in a tool box or tool belt, it can be easier to tote just one cordless model. Since the bits are easy to swap, a complete bit set can reduce the overall weight and free up space in a belt for other tools. It’s much easier to carry one cordless screwdriver with eight tips than eight separate screwdrivers.

  • Cordless screwdrivers minimize user fatigue when driving several fasteners.
  • Smaller cordless screwdrivers allow you to see a workpiece better.
  • One screwdriver can take the place of a drawer-full of manual screwdrivers, making for easier portability to the job site.

Tips for Using the Best Cordless Screwdriver 

A cordless screwdriver is a tool that many reach for again and again for a host of different tasks. Here are a few ways to get the most help from this handy tool.

  • Drill pilot holes for driving screws into dense materials. If using a cordless screwdriver to drive a screw into wood, drill a pilot hole first. Most of these tools simply don’t have the power or torque to run a fastener into dense materials.
  • A drop of soap on the threads may help drive a screw into dense material. If driving a new screw without a pilot hole, try a bit of lubrication like a drop of liquid hand or dish soap on the threads. This may provide enough lubrication to allow a cordless screwdriver to get the job done.
  • Use the ¼-inch chuck to loosen or tighten ¼-inch hex screws. Many small hex-head screws on appliances like washers, dryers, and refrigerators are ¼-inch. That means the tip of a cordless screwdriver will fit over the head, and it can tighten or loosen these screws.
The Best Cordless Screwdriver Options
Photo: Glenda Taylor


There’s a lot to consider when selecting a new cordless screwdriver, so there may be some lingering questions. If you’re still wondering about the ins and outs of cordless screwdrivers, check out these answers to some commonly asked questions.

Q. What is a cordless screwdriver?

A cordless screwdriver is a battery-operated tool that tightens and loosens screws with a motor and a trigger instead of using the user’s hand power to operate a manual screwdriver.

Q. What’s the difference between a cordless screwdriver and a cordless drill? 

Cordless drills accept several drill bit sizes with adjustable chucks, while cordless screwdrivers only accept ¼-inch bits. Also, cordless drills tend to have more adjustability in terms of speed to allow drilling into different materials accurately and efficiently.

Q. How do you operate a cordless screwdriver? 

There are a few slightly different methods to operating a cordless screwdriver, but here is a general usage guideline:

  1. Choose the right bit and place it in the chuck.
  2. Adjust the direction you want to drive the screw (tighten or loosen) with the switch on the screwdriver.
  3. Seat the bit completely into the head of the screw.
  4. Maintain pressure on the fastener and squeeze the trigger.

Why Trust Bob Vila 

Bob Vila has been America’s Handyman since 1979. As the host of beloved and groundbreaking TV series including “This Old House” and “Bob Vila’s Home Again,” he popularized and became synonymous with “do-it-yourself” home improvement.

Over the course of his decades-long career, Bob Vila has helped millions of people build, renovate, repair, and live better each day—a tradition that continues today with expert yet accessible home advice. The Bob Vila team distills need-to-know information into project tutorials, maintenance guides, tool 101s, and more. These home and garden experts then thoroughly research, vet, and recommend products that support homeowners, renters, DIYers, and professionals in their to-do lists.

Meet the Tester

Glenda Taylor is a product tester and writer specializing in construction, remodeling, and real estate. She and her husband own a general contracting company, and she is experienced in both residential and commercial building applications. She tests a wide range of power tools as well as other home improvement, household, and lawn-and-garden products.

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Tom Scalisi


Tom Scalisi is a freelance writer, author, and blogger with a passion for building. Whether it’s a DIY project or an entire website, Tom loves creating something from the ground up, stepping back, and admiring a job well done.