The Best Electric Screwdrivers for DIYers

Save time and avoid hand fatigue on your next DIY project by investing in an electric screwdriver.

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The Best Electric Screwdriver Option

Photo: amazon.com

If you have a DIY project that calls for a lot of manual screwdriving into places too tight for your trusty drill, an electric screwdriver may be just the tool for you. Electric screwdrivers work similarly to drills but are more compact, allowing you to get into tighter locations, like under the basement stairs or behind the furnace. Their motorized torque also prevents the wrist strain and hand fatigue that comes with using a manual screwdriver, making them an ideal option for any screwdriving project.

The best electric screwdrivers have powerful torque and an ergonomic gun-trigger shape that fits easily in your hand for a firm grip and precise control. Use the shopping tips and recommendations ahead to bring home one of the top-quality electric screwdrivers on the market.

  1. BEST OVERALL: TACKLIFE Cordless Electric Screwdriver
  2. RUNNER-UP: BLACK+DECKER Electric Screwdriver with Screwholder
  3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Black+DECKER 4V MAX Electric Screwdriver
  4. UPGRADE PICK: Metabo HPT Cordless Screwdriver Kit
  5. MOST CONVENIENT: WORX WX255L SD Semi-Automatic Power Screw Driver
  6. BEST INLINE: DEWALT 8V MAX Electric Screwdriver
The Best Electric Screwdriver Option

Photo: amazon.com

Before You Buy an Electric Screwdriver

Before you buy an electric screwdriver, you have to be sure it’s the tool you need. To that end, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Manual screwdrivers are less expensive than electric screwdrivers and don’t require a battery source for use. That means you’ll have to rely on your own power to achieve the appropriate torque from a manual screwdriver, which can be difficult if you are working with harder materials, like oak, mahogany, or ebony wood. This is where an electric screwdriver will come in handy. As well, if you have a large project that requires you to drive many screws in a short time frame, an electric screwdriver is a great option.

If you need a high torque for driving large screws deep into hardwood or metal, then a drill may be a better choice than an electric screwdriver. Drills cost more than either an electric or a manual screwdriver, but if you need power, the price may be worth it.

Electric screwdrivers fill the gap between a manual screwdriver and a drill to provide a more balanced driving experience that won’t strip screws or wear you out. If that sounds like the tool you need, read on.

Features to Look for in the Best Electric Screwdriver

Don’t invest in a new product without educating yourself on the most important features. The considerations below will help you decide what electric screwdriver is best for you.

Power

Electric screwdrivers bring motorized power to your screwdriving experience, replacing manual screwdrivers for all but the most basic jobs. However, not everyone needs a heavy-duty electric screwdriver, so be sure to decide what you will use it for before you buy one.

The power output of an electric screwdriver is measured in volts.

  • Lighter models average about 3 to 7 volts of power. These lower voltage screwdrivers are great for light- to medium- duty applications, like assembling furniture, hanging wall decorations, or other simple tasks with low- to medium-density material.
  • Heavy-duty electric screwdrivers are best for high-density material like some metals or hardwoods. Consider a heavy-duty option with voltages that fall between 8 to 15 volts if you are expecting to do a lot of work with your electric screwdriver that would be too demanding for a lighter model.

Ultimately, pairing a light- to a medium-duty electric screwdriver with a powerful impact driver is likely your best option for a cost-effective solution to just about any screw driving problem.

Torque 

Torque is a measurement of how much force an electric screwdriver is capable of exerting on a screw in either the clockwise or counterclockwise direction. The higher the amount of torque, the more force is used to turn the screw.

Torque is measured in Newton Meters or N.m. Electric screwdrivers can have a torque between 1 N.m on the lighter side and up to 27 N.m for heavy-duty models. However, 27 N.m is quite high for an electric screwdriver, with most options falling between 3 N.m and 10 N.m, which is more than enough force for the majority of DIY projects. If you are concerned about regularly working with high-density material, opt for a higher torque option.

Speed

The speed of an electric screwdriver is measured in rounds per minute, or RPM. Lighter electric screwdrivers will have an average speed of 150 RPMs to 300 RPMs, but they can exceed this number.

Keep in mind that while a higher speed will mean that the screwdriver rotates faster, this can cause the screwdriver bit to slip and strip the screw if you are not able to control the tool. This is a good consideration for any increase in power, speed, or torque for an electric screwdriver. The best electric screwdrivers will have variable speed settings for optimal control.

For most people, a constant rate of 150 RPMs is already more than what you would achieve with a manual screwdriver, so any of these speed options will help get the job done quickly and without fatigue.

Maneuverability 

Electric screwdrivers come in several different forms for maneuverability including fixed pistol grip, variable grip, and inline.

  • Fixed pistol grip electric screwdrivers have a pistol shape, hence the name. The small handle and finger trigger allow you to hold the screwdriver during use without slipping, regardless of the speed and torque being exerted.
  • Variable grip electric screwdrivers have an adjustable grip you can bend, rotate, and reposition for the best access and maneuverability. These adjustable grips are great if you are concerned about space restrictions or if you can’t decide between a fixed pistol grip and an inline screwdriver.
  • Inline electric screwdrivers resemble manual screwdrivers but function the same as any other electric model. Due to their straight grip, they can slip through your hands if the speed or torque is too high, or if your hands or the grip of the screwdriver is wet or slippery. This option is great if you want to make the switch to an electric screwdriver, but prefer the feel of a manual screwdriver.

Battery

The battery life for an electric screwdriver is measured using milliAmp hours (mAh) for small batteries, or Amp-hours (Ah) for larger batteries, with 1000 mAh equalling 1 Ah. A one-amp hour (Ah) battery is capable of producing one amp of energy for one hour of time. Alternatively, a 1-Ah battery can produce ten amps of energy, but can only do so for six minutes. Keep in mind that you use electric screwdrivers only intermittently on projects, and a 1-Ah battery loses power only when the screwdriver is in use.

The average Ah rating for electric screwdriver batteries is between 0.5 Ah and 2.5 Ah. Your battery life needs should take into consideration the availability of electric power for recharging, the average length of use, and the power, torque, and speed requirements of the screwdriver, as higher energy output will drain a battery faster.

Size

The size of the electric screwdriver is important to remember because size ultimately indicates the power of the tool. The bigger it is, the more powerful the motor, but keep in mind that it will be heavier as well.

Electric screwdrivers tend to weigh between one to three pounds, though some heavy-duty exceptions can weigh up to five pounds. One or two pounds may not seem like a lot of weight to manage, but if you plan on using the screwdriver for a long period of time, expect some hand, arm, and shoulder fatigue.

Features

Electric screwdrivers, like most common power tools, come with various additional features intended to make your job easier and set apart the model from the competition. An emerging addition is a magnetic screw holder that extends from the front of the screwdriver so that you don’t need to hold the screw with one hand while using the electric screwdriver with the other.

Other popular features include an LED light for increased visibility and a torque adjustment system that will automatically raise or lower torque levels based on the requirements of the application. These systems frequently include an instant stop feature that will prevent the screwdriver from continuing to drive the screw if the screw has jammed or is fully screwed in. This stops the transmission of torque from the tool to your hand and arm, saving you some aches and pains in the long run.

Our Top Picks

No matter what type of electric screwdriver you purchase, you want it to be a high-quality product. These electric screwdrivers are the best available, based on the above buying factors, price, effectiveness, and reputation.

The Best Electric Screwdriver Option: TACKLIFE Cordless Electric Screwdriver

Photo: amazon.com

1. BEST OVERALL: TACKLIFE Cordless Screwdriver

The minimum torque rating of 1 N.m is acceptable for common, lightweight applications, like putting up pictures, or assembling furniture, and the maximum torque of 4 N.m allows you to complete light- to medium-duty tasks without issue. The small, 3.6V battery works efficiently to produce 200 RPMs of speed in this light, 1Lb screwdriver.

The Tacklife Cordless Electric Screwdriver comes with a long-lasting, 2Ah battery that can be charged in a USB port or in a regular electric outlet with an adapter. The variable grip electric screwdriver can be maneuvered easily and also has a built-in LED light, 10 different drill bits, and an affordable price.

The Best Electric Screwdriver Option: BLACK+DECKER Electric Screwdriver with Screwholder

Photo: amazon.com

2. RUNNER-UP: BLACK+DECKER Cordless Screwdriver with Screw Holder

The six-position clutch of this model allows the torque to be set according to the application, to a maximum of 8 N.m, using Black+Decker’s exclusive SmartSelect technology. This dial uses screw length to determine the necessary driver force for optimal results. The fixed pistol grip screwdriver allows you to maintain a firm grasp on the tool while in use without slipping, and it also has a magnetic screwdriver holder that makes it easy to precisely align the screw without holding it with your hands.

This model isn’t lightweight, but at just 2-pounds it isn’t too heavy either, making it a great choice for reducing hand and arm fatigue. The 4V, 1.5 Ah battery provides up to 180 RPMs during use and is ideal for common screwdriving applications, such as replacing a door handle.

The Best Electric Screwdriver Option: Black+DECKER 4V MAX Electric Screwdriver

Photo: amazon.com

3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: BLACK+DECKER 4V MAX Electric Screwdriver

This variable grip electric screwdriver can be adjusted from inline at zero degrees to a pistol grip at 90-degrees for enhanced maneuverability. The 4V, 1.5 Ah battery provides ample power to tackle the most common DIY applications, such as hanging new light fixtures or replacing home signage.

With up to 4 N.m of torque, the Black+Decker 4V Max Electric Screwdriver is a bargain selection that won’t leave your wallet too light after purchase. It also includes an independent flashlight that you can use separately or attach to the screwdriver for light-guided use, and at just 1 pound, it won’t leave your arms aching.

The Best Electric Screwdriver Option: Metabo HPT Cordless Screwdriver Kit

Photo: amazon.com

4. UPGRADE PICK: Metabo HPT Cordless Screwdriver Kit

The 14.4-ounce electric screwdriver can be set at two speeds of 260 RPMs or 780 RPMs for better control based on the application. The 3.6V, 1.5 Ah battery produces up to 5 N.m of torque, making this electric screwdriver perfect for light- and medium-duty applications.

You can use this variable grip screwdriver as an inline screwdriver or as a pistol grip screwdriver, ensuring that the compact tool can be used in tight spaces without issue. The built-in LED light helps illuminate your work area, while the 21 clutch settings control torque for precise screwdriving.

The Best Electric Screwdriver Option: WORX WX255L SD Semi-Automatic Power Screw Driver

Photo: amazon.com

5. MOST CONVENIENT: WORX WX255L SD Semi-Automatic Power Screw Driver 

Lightweight at 1.5 pounds, the fixed pistol grip Worx Semi-Automatic Power Screwdriver makes screwdriving applications simple. Remove the screwdriver bit cartridge from the screwdriver and load it with six common screwdriver bits. Once replaced in the screwdriver, the bit cartridge can be rotated from one bit to the next with the top-mounted slide, similar to a semi-automatic handgun, which is how it earned its name.

The built-in screw holder clamps onto screws, holding them in place without risking your fingers. With a 4V, 1.5 Ah battery, this convenient model can produce 3 N.m of torque and up to 230 RPMs of speed, making it suitable for most DIY applications.

The Best Electric Screwdriver Option: DEWALT 8V MAX Electric Screwdriver

Photo: amazon.com

6. BEST INLINE: DEWALT 8V MAX Cordless Screwdriver Kit

If you are looking for a powerful electric screwdriver to replace a manual screwdriver, but the pistol grip doesn’t appeal to you, then the inline design of the DeWalt 8V Max Electric Screwdriver is perfect for you. You can charge the 8V, 1 Ah battery with the included docking station and monitor the battery with the power indicator on the side of this lightweight 1pound screwdriver.

The inline design can be difficult to use in tight spaces, but this model boasts several helpful features, including a built-in LED light, a smaller size battery pack that can be charged in just one hour, and a variable speed setting of up to 430 RPMs and a torque of 4.5 N.m.

FAQs About Your New Best Electric Screwdriver

If you still aren’t completely confident about which kind of electric screwdriver you need, take a look at these popular questions and their answers below.

Q. What is the difference between mAh and Ah ratings in batteries?

1000 MilliAmp hours (mAh) is equal to 1 Amp-hour (Ah) and both are measurements of how much electrical current is discharged from a battery over a period of one hour. Higher numbers equate to a longer battery runtime for electric screwdrivers, with shorter lifespans being measured in mAh and longer lifespans measured in Ah.

Q. How can you make the battery life last longer in electric screwdrivers? 

To make the battery life last longer in your electric screwdriver, always ensure that you charge the battery to full then use the screwdriver until the battery runs out. Don’t leave the battery charging longer than necessary and do not remove the battery from the charger if it only has a partial charge.

When storing the electric screwdriver, store away from high heat or freezing temperatures. Also avoid storing the battery near magnetic objects and metals, as these materials can seep power from the battery.