The Best Cordless Screwdrivers of 2022

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.

By Tom Scalisi and Glenda Taylor | Updated Dec 3, 2021 12:33 PM

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The Best Cordless Screwdriver Options

Photo: Glenda Taylor

Whether working on a bicycle, replacing kitchen outlets, putting batteries in a child’s remote control car, or completing another DIY project, 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 8V MAX Cordless Screwdriver Kit
  2. RUNNER-UP: Milwaukee M12 12-Volt Cordless Screwdriver Kit
  3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: BLACK+DECKER 4V MAX Cordless Screwdriver
  4. BEST COMPACT: WORX WX255L SD Semi-Automatic Power Screw Driver
  5. BEST HEAVY-DUTY: Bosch PS21-2A 12V Max 2-Speed Pocket Driver Kit
  6. BEST SAFETY FEATURES: SKIL 4V Cordless Screwdriver with Circuit Sensor
  7. BEST FOR ASSEMBLY: DEWALT 8-Volt MAX Cordless 1/4 in. Hex Screwdriver
  8. BEST FOR HOUSEHOLD USE: SKIL Rechargeable 4V Cordless Screwdriver
  9. ALSO CONSIDER: WEN 49103 3.6V Cordless Electric Screwdriver
The Best Cordless Screwdriver Options

Photo: Glenda Taylor

What to Consider When Buying a Cordless Screwdriver

While drills can be a bit unwieldy, a slim cordless screwdriver can fit in 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 need 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.

Maneuverability

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.

Clutch

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.

Tips for Buying and 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 lubricate them enough 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.

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

The Best Cordless Screwdriver Option: DEWALT 8V MAX Cordless Screwdriver Kit
Photo: amazon.com

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 more than an hour for the battery to reach a full charge. 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. It aced all our tests, including quickly driving screws into drywall, pine, and even denser birch wood without bogging down.

This cordless screwdriver 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. It also has two LEDs to light up a workpiece as well as a two-position handle that allows a choice between a pistol grip and a straight barrel screwdriver.

To keep from stripping out the screws, it has a 15-position clutch 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

Pros

  • Adjustable clutch settings
  • Bright LED guide light
  • Battery interchangeable with other 8-volt DeWalt tools
  • More powerful than standard cordless screwdrivers

Cons

  • On the pricey side

Runner-Up

Best Cordless Screwdriver Milwaukee
Photo: acehardware.com

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 rpms, 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)
  • Speed: Up to 500 rpm

Pros

  • High torque power
  • Adjustable clutch with cancel-clutch feature
  • Bright LED guide light
  • Ergonomic nonslip grip

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Slightly on the heavy side

Best Bang For The Buck

The Best Cordless Screwdriver Option: BLACK+DECKER 4V MAX Cordless Screwdriver
Photo: amazon.com

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 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 you can swap between bits or use 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
  • Battery power: 4 volts (integrated)
  • Speed: 180 rpm

Pros

  • Charges quickly
  • Holds a charge well
  • Grip converts from pistol to straight barrel
  • Very bright LED flashlight

Cons

  • Not enough torque power to insert screws in wood

Best Compact

Best Cordless Screwdriver WX255L
Photo: amazon.com

The thing that sets this cordless screwdriver apart from others is the screw holder that gives it a bit of a space-age look. We were skeptical about its ability to hold a screw securely enough for straight insertion, but we were wrong. The screw holder module is well made, and just by pushing on the tip, the screw clamp opens and fits snugly around the screw shaft. Equally helpful, the clamp held the screws as we removed them, so no screws fell to the floor.

The WX255L screwdriver comes with a handy bit-swapping feature that rotates through bits by sliding the top back and forth. Simply continue sliding to find the bit that’s wanted. It has a 4-volt built-in battery that can hold a charge for months when the tool is not in use.

The onboard bit storage and light 1.5-pound heft make this an excellent compact and portable cordless screwdriver. The WORX cordless drill also comes with a guide light, but it’s not as bright as some, making the tool best suited for well-lit use. Another downside is the non-variable trigger—leaving us unable to regulate screw speed. Still, for tasks such as aligning and inserting drywall screws, this tool is quite handy.

Product Specs

  • Grip type: Pistol
  • Battery power: 4 volts (integrated)
  • Speed: 230 rpm

Pros

  • Detachable screw holder
  • Onboard screw-bit storage
  • Well-balanced ergonomic grip

Cons

  • Dim guide light
  • Non-variable trigger speed

Best Heavy-Duty

Best Cordless Screwdriver Bosch
Photo: amazon.com

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, it’s also 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 a cordless screwdriver is needed that can tackle some heavy-duty jobs, check out the Bosch PS21-2A. 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 (removable)
  • Speed: Up to 1,300 rpm

Pros

  • Enough power and torque to use on wood
  • Two gear speeds
  • Variable-speed trigger
  • 20 clutch settings

Cons

  • Among the pricier models
  • LED light is not as bright as we’d like

Best Safety Features

The Best Cordless Screwdriver Option: SKIL 4V Cordless Screwdriver with Circuit Sensor
Photo: amazon.com

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 the outlet when there’s no tester available. 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 nor 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

Pros

  • Circuit sensor is a game-changer
  • Easy-twist on/off operation
  • Bright double LED lights
  • Nonslip grip

Cons

  • Speed isn’t variable
  • Not enough power to insert screws in wood

Best for Assembly

The Best Cordless Screwdriver Option: DEWALT 8-Volt MAX Cordless 14 in. Hex Screwdriver
Photo: homedepot.com

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. Then, 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

Pros

  • Versatile gyroscopic operation
  • Bright LED guide light
  • Ergonomic nonslip grip

Cons

  • A bit pricey
  • Slight learning curve with the gyroscopic operation

Best for Household Use

The Best Cordless Screwdriver Option: SKIL Rechargeable 4V Cordless Screwdriver
Photo: amazon.com

Small but mighty, this diminutive SKIL Rechargeable Cordless Screwdriver is the perfect size for stowing with other frequently used household items in a drawer or on a closet shelf. It weighs just 13.6 ounces and is less than 6 inches long.

This handy SKIL cordless screwdriver accepts ¼-inch bits and features two magnetic screw bit holders on either side of the barrel. It has an LED guide light, which is not as bright as we wished, and it comes with a built-in 4-volt battery that can generate up to 220 rpm. A battery charging cable is included.

The SKIL tool worked well for inserting screws in drywall but bogged down on pine and was no match for the birch boards. The speed is not variable, but the handle comes with a comfortable nonslip grip and has direction-reverse buttons on either side, making the tool handy for both right-handed and left-handed users.

Product Specs

  • Grip type: Pistol
  • Battery power: 4 volts
  • Speed: Up to 220 rpm

Pros

  • Lightweight and small enough for household use
  • Direction-reversing buttons on both sides
  • On-tool bit storage

Cons

  • LED light is dim
  • Not as powerful as other cordless screwdrivers

Also Consider

The Best Cordless Screwdriver Option: WEN 49103 3.6V Cordless Electric Screwdriver
Photo: amazon.com

The WEN Cordless Screwdriver is designed for just two purposes—inserting screws and removing screws—and it performs both of those tasks well. With an integrated 3.6-volt rechargeable battery, the WEN screwdriver isn’t designed for inserting screws into wood. It bogged down when we tested it on both pine and birch boards.

However, it performed well when inserting screws in drywall, and its small size and configuration make it well suited for hanging artwork or assembling prefab furniture. It has two bright LED guide lights that make it easy to see in dark areas. It comes with a rechargeable cord, and the battery held up to multiple tests throughout the day without needing a recharge.
The WEN tool doesn’t come with variable speed, but it spins at speeds up to 180 rpm and offers everything a DIYer needs for quick, simple screw insertion. It comes with a canvas holster that clips onto a belt for easy carrying.

Product Specs

  • Grip type: Pistol
  • Battery power: 3.5 volts
  • Speed: Up to 180 rpm

Pros

  • Simple and basic operation
  • Bright LED guide lights
  • Ergonomic grip

Cons

  • No variable speed

Our Verdict

Cordless screwdrivers are handy tools but aren’t intended to take the place of cordless drills. Still, some perform at a level that’s beyond a regular cordless screwdriver, and it’s impossible to ignore the enhanced benefit. While every cordless screwdriver in our lineup proved durable, easy to use, and comfortable, the DEWALT 8V MAX Cordless Screwdriver takes top honors for sheer torque power, its gyroscopic action, and clutch adjustment. For those looking for a well-performing standard cordless screwdriver at an affordable price, it’s tough to beat the Black+Decker 4V MAX tool that offers ample rpms and comes with a screw holder to boot.

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 in the hand, and whether it was 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.

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. Instead, you could forgo hand and arm fatigue with a cordless screwdriver, which may save energy and time 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.

FAQs

There is 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.