The 5 Best Electric Screwdrivers: Reviews and Complete Buying Guide

A traditional, manual screwdriver is a great choice for many tasks. Tinkering with electronics, tightening up a single screw in a piece of furniture, or performing fine, delicate tasks are all great reasons to use a manual screwdriver. But if you’re working on a big project – for example, building your own chicken coop – you need something with significantly more speed and power.

To help you get your hands on the right tool, we’ve set out to find the best electric screwdriver that money can buy. We’ve recommended six different screwdrivers from six well-regarded manufacturers. And we’ve also put together a buying guide to help you choose. Now let’s get started!

In a Hurry? Here’s Our Top Picks…

1. DeWalt DW268

DEWALT Drywall Screw Gun, 6.5-Amp (DW268)
  • Helical-cut steel, heat-treated steel gears for long life and durability
  • High power motor for metal fastening applications
  • Versa-clutch torque adjustment system dials in the proper torque needed
  • Rubber grip and two-finger trigger for increased comfort and greater control
  • Metal nose and gear case for durability on the job, excellent ergonomics offers less user fatigue

Last update on 2020-07-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


The DeWalt DW268 (225w) is a very heavy-duty screw gun that’s designed for tough jobs like steel framing and screwing into tough woods like cedar. That said, it’s overpowered and overpriced for light-duty jobs like electronics or furniture assembly.

The motor puts out 6.5 amps, which is more than most screw guns, but less than a high-powered drill. If you’re trying to drive a lot of screws quickly, for example, while you’re building a deck, it’s a good option. To this end, DeWalt offers an optional 50-pack of #2 Phillips bits, which are well-engineered and last through hundreds of screws before you need to replace them.

Of course, you don’t always want the most powerful driver on the market. Sometimes, you need to back off, for example, when you’re screwing into soft plastic or plaster. To accommodate this, the DW268 offers adjustable torque and speed, so you can use it for even the most delicate of tasks.

This is a corded drill, which means you’ll need to be in range of a power outlet or extension cord for it to be much use. Then again, you’ll never need to worry about changing batteries or running out of juice. As long as you’ve got electricity, you can keep on going. And with this much power, you can handle just about any task.

Pros:

  • Very powerful motor
  • Adjustable torque
  • Comfortable rubberized grip
  • Lifetime manufacturer’s warranty

Cons:

  • A little pricey
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

2. Milwaukee 2401-20

Sale
Milwaukee 2401-20 M12 12-Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless 1/4 in. Hex Screwdriver (Tool-Only)
  • DELIVERS 175 in.-lbs. of torque, only weighs 2 lbs.
  • Ergonomic COMPACTS DESING fits comfortably in tight workspaces
  • 15 POSITIONS lutch for refined control over the tool's operation
  • Quick-change KEYLESS 1/4 in. hex chuck for easy 1-handed bit insertion and removal

Last update on 2020-07-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


The Milwaukee 2401-20 is part of Milwaukee’s M12 line of tools. These are 12-volt power tools that are designed to pack as much power as possible into a compact space. As many manufacturers do, Milwaukee has developed dozens of tools to pair with the same battery and charger.

This makes the 2401-20 an attractive proposition if you already own Milwaukee M12 tools. On the other hand, if you don’t, you’ll have to buy a battery and charger, which drives the price up considerably. That said, you do get a lifetime warranty, which means this can be the last electric screwdriver you buy.

If you’re familiar with Milwaukee tools, you know they have a reputation for quality that’s nearly peerless among power tool manufacturers. And the 2401-20 is no exception. This screwdriver has an exceptionally powerful motor for the size, delivering 13.5 foot-pounds of torque at a maximum speed of 500 RPM.

This driver features a sturdy metal belt clip, which allows you to carry it easily up and down a ladder, or to keep it close at hand while you’re switching back and forth between different tasks. This, combined with the compact design, makes it ideal for busy contractors and harried homeowners alike.

The chuck on the 2401-20 has a ¼-inch, locking design that’s engineered for longer bits. Be careful about shorter bits, because only the very tip will protrude.

Pros:

  • Compact design
  • Powerful for the size
  • Variable trigger
  • Ergonomic pistol grip
  • Lifetime manufacturer’s warranty

Cons:

  • Battery not included
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

3. Black + Decker Li2000 Electric Screwdriver

BLACK+DECKER Cordless Screwdriver with Pivoting Handle, 3.6V (Li2000)
  • Lithium Ion Battery holds a charge for up to 18 months
  • Three-position handle lets you work in tight spaces
  • Spindle lock allows manual screw driving and greater control
  • Forward and reverse switch for easy screw driving and screw removal
  • Included Components: Li2000 Screwdriver, (2) Hex Shank Screwdriver Bits, Charger

Last update on 2020-07-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


The Black + Decker Li2000 is a compact, adjustable electric screwdriver that’s made for homeowners on a budget. It costs about as much as a tee-shirt, and you can get an optional 42-piece bit set for a few dollars more. The set includes a 3-inch bit extender, five #2 Phillips bits, a #1 and #3 Phillips bit, 10 standard bits, and an assortment of square and Torx bits.

This three-position screwdriver is a fantastic value for the price. You can use it as a pistol-style driver, a straight driver, or a 45-degree driver that’s great for getting into awkward spaces. In a pinch, you can even lock the chuck in place with the spindle lock, and use the Li2000 Electric Screwdriver as a manual screwdriver.

Unfortunately, cheap tools aren’t good, and good tools aren’t cheap. The body is not very sturdy, and it can easily crack if you drop it, or even if you lean on it too hard while you’re using it. That said, the torque is sufficient for light-duty purposes, more than sufficient for furniture assembly, hanging curtains, and other household tasks.

In addition, the internal battery is very convenient, since you won’t need to carry extra supplies. It also retains a charge for 18 months, so you can leave it in storage and use it when needed.

Pros:

  • Can be used at any angle
  • Can be used as a manual screwdriver
  • Easy-to-use internal battery
  • Inexpensive

Cons:

  • Flimsy construction
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

4. TackLife SDP51DC

Sale
TACKLIFE SDP51DC Electric Screwdriver, 4.0V MAX 2.0Ah Li-ion Cordless Screwdriver Rechargeable, 4N.m, 31pcs Driver Bits, USB Charging, With LED, for Mounting Furniture such as Shelves and Mini-blind
  • ▲【Unique Accessory + Additional Applicability】:The cordless screwdriver comes with the Unique Right Angle Adapter which is ideal for screwing in blind/tight space; Rubber cap could be disassembled, you can install other attachments like corkscrew and scissors(not included).
  • ▲【2.0Ah Lithium-ion Battery + Fast Charging】: Our rechargeable screwdriver is equipped with 2.0Ah lithium-ion battery, which provides long-lasting power; accepts any micro USB to USB charging cable (supplied), so it can be charged by various ports, including calculations with USB sockets; And the three-level power indicator shows the real-time battery charge, reminding you that the battery is low or charging.
  • ▲【4Nm Torque + Quick Change Chuck】:The power screwdriver has 4.0Nm torque setting providing sufficient power; speed up to 200rpm / min, and the 1/4 "chuck allows you to easily replace accessories, very suitable for furniture assembly, mini shutters or installation of curtains, even the installation of storage and decorative shelves.
  • ▲【Ergonomic Handle + 2 LED Light】:Compact size is for easy carry and storage, allows an access into tight places; The ergonomic and rubberized handle gives you comfortable feeling of grip; 2 Front LED light could be adjusted to illluminate dark spaces; On/off switch on top for easy screw driving and screw removal.
  • ▲【Rich Accessories】:Each Tacklife SDP51DC electric screwdriver comes with 30 pcs screwdrivers sized of 1 inch (25 mm), which are suitable for all screws to tighten / loose furniture; 1 pc extended drill bit bracket; 1 pc right angle adapter; 1pc Drill Bit which can drill holes in wood, metal and plastic substrates; USB charging cable; 1 user manual; 1 card.

Last update on 2020-07-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


The TackLife SDP51DC is an affordable, compact screwdriver that’s designed for light-duty jobs. Like the last driver we looked at, it’s not very durably constructed, but that’s not much of an issue; this is a household tool, and it was never intended for heavy-duty use to begin with.

This screwdriver has an internal battery, which means you won’t have to bring battery packs with you everywhere you go. As a matter of fact, you won’t even have to carry a charging cable. The battery charges via micro USB, so a cell phone charger or any USB to micro USB cable will get the job done for you.

Included in the kit is a 30-piece screw bit kit, along with a 3-inch bit extension. The extension and all of the bits have a standard hex-shaped profile that slides in and out of the chuck with minimal effort.

One thing we really liked about this driver is that it includes a 90-degree adapter. This handy tool helps you get around corners, and to work inside small spaces. It’s particularly useful for appliances since you often have to get inside small gaps to get at difficult-to-reach parts.

The SDP51DC comes with a 2-year warranty. Just make sure to mail in the registration card so you can stay covered.

Pros:

  • Can be used for 90-degree driving
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Easy USB charging
  • Includes 30 bits

Cons:

  • Not very powerful
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

5. Senco DS332-AC

Senco DS332-AC 3" Corded 2500 RPM Auto-feed Screwdriver
  • 2, 500 RPM high-torque motor and patent pending corner-fit feed system
  • Tool-free screw length adjustment and belt hook-right or left handed adjustable
  • Quick Slide button bit change and variable speed trigger with lock and reverse
  • Patented sliding screw guide and precise depth-of-drive adjustment with depth lock
  • Comes complete with two drive bits, drywall and wood nosepiece, and storage bag

Last update on 2020-07-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


The Senco DS332-AC is unique in our list in that it’s a dedicated drywall screwdriver. On the one hand, this makes it exceptionally fast, since it takes strips of screws instead of individual screws, so you can drive one screw after another in quick succession. On the other hand, you’re limited to relatively lightweight screws, suitable for drywall and light construction, but not for load-bearing walls or hardwoods.

The tip is adjustable in two different ways. First, you can adjust the screw guide to set the screws at various depths, so you can leave them slightly exposed, flush, or countersunk. Secondly, two different tips are included, one forgiving tip for drywall, and one stiffer tip for screwing into wood.

The high-torque motor is exceptionally powerful, with a 2,500-RPM motor that’s absurdly fast. In reality, you’re not going to get that kind of speed under load, but even at half that speed you’ll sink a 3-inch drywall screw in less than a second.

The DS332-AC is a powerful, corded tool, but it’s on the expensive side. For many homeowners, it’s liable to be overkill. But if you’re building a deck, framing a garden shed, or sheetrocking a new wall, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a screwdriver this well-suited to the task.

Pros:

  • Blazing-fast high-torque motor
  • Self-feeding screws
  • Adjustable drive depth
  • Can be used for drywall or wood

Cons:

  • A little pricey
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Electric Screwdriver Buying Guide

If this is your first electric screwdriver, you might want a little more information on what makes one of these tools worth – or not worth – buying. So we’ve put together a buyer’s guide to help you sort out all the features you should be looking at.

Corded vs. Cordless

Corded power tools might seem like an anachronism in this day and age, but they still have a lot to offer. Typically, they’re heavier-duty than battery-powered tools. For a fun example, check out this comparison between the corded and cordless versions of an otherwise-identical band saw. The difference is clear, particularly at higher power levels that require significantly more voltage.

As a result, corded models are perfect for jobs that demand the maximum amount of power. In addition, you also don’t need to worry about battery life. As long as you have a power source, you can keep working all day without any issues. On the other hand, if you don’t have access to a power outlet – for example, if you’re out at a wilderness cabin – you’ll be left without any options.

Conversely, cordless screwdrivers are lighter weight and easier to transport. And while they may not be quite as powerful as a corded model, they’re generally up to most jobs, particularly if you drill a pilot hole beforehand. Their light weight and un-tethered design make them ideal for taking up and down ladders.

Cordless drivers are also a better choice for tight spaces. Not only will you not have to worry about getting tangled up in your own cord, but you won’t have to worry about dragging an extension cord all the way through a crawlspace or under a deck.

Both options have something to recommend them, and which one is better is going to depend on what your exact task is. That said, battery technology is getting better by the day, and corded electric screwdrivers are becoming harder and harder to find.

Pneumatic Power Screwdrivers

One type of screwdriver we haven’t reviewed is a pneumatic screwdriver. We haven’t talked about these because they’re not electrical, and most people don’t want to buy an air compressor just to power their screwdriver. On the other hand, if you already have an air compressor, a pneumatic screwdriver like the one below might be the best choice of all.

Pneumatic screwdrivers are exceptionally lightweight, since they don’t have to house a motor or as many gears as an electrical model. They’re also significantly more powerful, perfect for automotive work. Just keep in mind that you’ll need a compressor and a high-pressure air hose to operate one.

FivePears 1/4-Inch Pneumatic Air Powered Screwdriver,5H Air Torgue Screwdriver with Bit,12000rpm,M4-M5 Screw Capacity,40N.m Torque
  • √ 【Comfortable grip】: compact appearance, comfortable handle, easy to operate. Ergonomic design of the industrial air screwdriver highly reduce fatigues while deliver the best performance.
  • √ 【Quick change self locking chuck】: Equipped with screw head quick connector:1/4"(6.35mm) ensures that bit won't drop accidentally, easy to operate.
  • √ 【Forward reverse switch】: Forward reverse switch controls the bit to move clockwise or anticlockwise, so people can install or remove the screw conveniently. R-direction install screws, L-direction removal screws
  • √ 【Adjustable the speed】 : 0-12000rpm
  • √ 【Widely use】: this pneumatic screwdriver is suitable for the fastening and dis-assembly of screws in the light industry field such as machine manufacturing and metal auto repair. Widely used for woodworking decoration, home decoration, home appliance assembly, etc.

Last update on 2020-07-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Speed and Torque

There are two primary metrics used to measure the power of an electric screwdriver: speed and torque. Let’s take a close look at how each of these measurements works.

Speed is a pretty straightforward metric. It’s simply a measurement of how fast the screwdriver spins, in revolutions per minute (RPM). The higher the speed, the more easily your screws will bite in heavy material like oak. It will also significantly increase the pace of your work if you’re driving a lot of screws into a softer material like drywall or pine. The number you want to look for is the manufacturer’s maximum idle speed; this tells you the upper limit of your driver’s performance.

Obviously, speed isn’t everything. It also matters how powerful your screwdriver is. A strong screwdriver running at low speed can sometimes be preferable to a faster, weaker screwdriver. That said, it’s still a good thing to know.

Torque is the measurement of how strong the motor is. It tells you how much force your screwdriver is able to exert, measured in Newton-meters (Nm) in metric and foot-pounds (ft-lb) in English. The higher your driver’s torque, the tougher material it will be able to drill through.

How much torque you need is going to depend on what kind of work you’re doing. For drywall or pine, a low-torque screwdriver will be more than powerful enough. But if you’re trying to drive a screw into oak, hickory, or other hardwoods, a higher torque screwdriver is the way to go.

Typical electrical screwdrivers max out at around 20 Nm, although some more powerful models can apply as much as 30 Nm of torque. By comparison, 30 Nm is about the bottom limit for a mid-torque power drill.

In most situations, the most important thing to look for is control versus total power output. For this reason, most manufacturers usually call their screwdriver “medium torque” or “high torque” to give you a general range.

Some models of electric screwdriver allow you to adjust your torque and speed. This gives you the versatility to work on a wide variety of materials and tasks. Here’s a quick overview of how to adjust your torque on a typical screwdriver collar ring.

Power

Power ratings are measured in voltage for cordless power tools. The most common screwdrivers are 5-12 volts, although some models are compatible with smaller 18-volt batteries. The more voltage your battery puts out, the more torque your screwdriver will deliver. Then again, more powerful batteries typically weigh more, so you’ll need to weigh your options.

Because power outlets are only 110-120 volts (in North America) or 220-240 volts (in Europe and Asia), there really isn’t any voltage variation to be found in corded electrical screwdrivers. Instead, you’ll need to look at wattage as a proxy. The more watts your screwdriver draws, the more powerful it is.

For pneumatic screwdrivers, air pressure is the primary measure of power. The higher the pressure your screwdriver can handle, the more torque it will put out. Be careful; setting your compressor power higher than the screwdriver’s rating can cause seals and O-rings to blow out. Not only will this ruin your tool, but it will also void your warranty.

Clutch Positions

We’ve already touched on adjustable torque, but how do you know how adjustable the torque is?

All electrical screwdriver motors run at full power when they’re engaged. In order to adjust the torque, they utilize a clutch, which senses how much strain the screwdriver tip is under and disengages the gears when that level is exceeded.

The more clutch positions your screwdriver has, the more control you have over its operation. This is an especially helpful feature when you’re working with soft materials like plastic that are easy to damage.

Drill Bits and Accessories

Obviously, your screwdriver isn’t much use without a bit. Most screwdrivers come with a couple of pairs of bits, usually Phillips and standard. But for many purposes, you’re going to need more than that. But why are there so many types of screw heads anyway?

Here’s a quick look at each style:

  • Phillips head screws are the most common type. They provide plenty of security with a near-universal design, and they come in three sizes.
  • Standard or slotted screws are the first type of screw head developed. They’re convenient because you can often free them up with a coin, a key, or another non-standard driver. However, they’re also not well-suited for high-torque applications, since they’re easy to strip.
  • Torx screws or star drives have a six-pointed design that makes them virtually impossible to strip. This makes them ideal for automotive applications, or for electronics applications where you need to be absolutely certain not to let your tip slip.
  • Hex or Allen heads are hexagonal and are similar to Torx in that they’re difficult to strip, but they’re also easily turned with a manual Allen key. They’re commonly found on appliances and furniture.
  • Square heads are typically used in woodworking applications. They provide a lot of torque, but they’re vulnerable to stripping if you over-drive them.

For a deeper dive into different types of screw heads, check out Real Engineering’s screw head guide.

Comfort and Ergonomics

Of course, a well-designed screwdriver isn’t just about motors and performance. A comfortable, well-sized grip goes a long way to making your electric screwdriver easier to use for a long period of time. Also, look for a sturdy area on the top of the screwdriver where you can hold it with a second hand. This will make it easier to handle when you’re putting out a lot of torque.

Best Electric Screwdriver Brands

When you invest in a power tool, it’s important to choose a brand you’re confident in. The better the brand, the more likely they’ll still be around next year to honor their warranty – and the less likely it is that you’ll need to make a claim to begin with.

  • DeWalt – In 1922, Raymond DeWalt invented the radial arm saw, a powerful, modern tool that revolutionized the way carpenters cut wood on a jobsite. With his newfound wealth, Raymond went on to found DeWalt tools. In 1924, they opened their first plant in Leola, Pennsylvania. Their first product was the “Wonder-Worker”, a modular woodworking saw that could be assembled in 9 different configurations. They were purchased by Black + Decker in 1960, but maintain their own brand and product lines.
  • Black + Decker – Black & Decker Corporation was founded in Baltimore, Maryland in 1910 by two partners: S. Duncan Black and Alonzo G. Decker. Originally, it was a small machine shop, but in 1917 the company made its mark on the industry by patenting the modern pistol-grip electric drill, which is still the most popular style of drill to this day. They own several other popular brands including DeWalt and Stanley.
  • Milwaukee Tools – Milwaukee Tools was founded in 1924 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They’re most famous for their tough, modern impact drivers, but their M18 and M12 lines of tools are some of the most powerful in their class. They’re one of the few companies that still manufacture their entire product line inside the US, which means you’re getting the best parts and workmanship available.
  • TackLife – This is a relatively new company, founded in 2015 by a group of 10 friends. We normally wouldn’t list a Chinese company as one of the “best”, but TackLife has developed a reputation for producing rugged, powerful tools at a reasonable price. Because their business strategy is entirely online-oriented, you won’t see TackLife tools in a brick and mortar store.
  • Senco – In 1936, American inventor Albert Juilfs invented the springtamp eliminator, a small automotive part that was designed to reduce vibration in automobiles. The Newtown, Ohio company remained obscure until 1947, when they developed an electric upholstery stapler for automobile interiors. Since then, they’ve expanded their product line to include a variety of staplers, nailers, screwdrivers, and other fasteners.

FAQ

Before we wrap up, let’s answer some common questions you may have about these tools. We’re going to fill you in, so you can make a better decision.

Q: Why Buy an Electric Screwdriver Instead of a Drill?

  • When compared to drills and impact drivers, electric screwdrivers are significantly lighter. Obviously, there’s some significant variation; for example, there are plenty of impact drivers lighter than your average drywall screw gun. But in most cases, an electric screwdriver is going to be lighter.
  • A quality electric screwdriver gives you finer torque adjustments than a traditional drill. This is helpful when drilling into delicate materials like plastic.
  • Smaller electric screwdrivers use smaller batteries. This means they can charge faster than a large, 18-volt drill.
  • Many electric screwdrivers have an adjustable pivoting head, which can be used for driving in screws in tight, difficult places, or at awkward angles.
  • Additionally, a lot of electric screwdrivers have pivoting handles. This means you can use them with a traditional pistol grip, or in a straight configuration like a manual screwdriver.

Q: What Extra Features Should I Look For?

A: Of course, there are plenty of optional features to keep an eye out for. Here are some helpful extras that can improve your overall experience.

  • LED lights. These give you clear visibility of your work area, without the need to carry a flashlight in your other hand. If you’re working in a dark area, you’ll appreciate this feature.
  • Extra batteries. If your cordless screwdriver only comes with a single battery, you’ll have to wait for it to recharge once it runs dry. With a second battery, you can always have on one the charger, ready to go.
  • A lanyard, a belt clip, or both. These are especially helpful if you need to go up and down a ladder or if you need to keep your hands free to switch back and forth between different tasks.
  • A high operating speed. This isn’t to say that you always want to run your screwdriver at maximum speed, but it’s good to have the option when you need it.
  • A carry case or storage bag isn’t just a convenient way to get your tool from A to B. It also helps you keep all your accessories together, so nothing gets misplaced.
  • Some manufacturers, like DeWalt and Milwaukee, offer a lifetime warranty. But make sure to fill out and send in the warranty registration, or you’ll be stuck buying a new tool if something goes wrong.

Q: What Are Different Types of Electric Screwdrivers Used For?

A: There are a few common varieties of electric screwdriver you should be familiar with:

  • Pistol-style screwdrivers are bent at a 90-degree angle, just like a drill. This provides a comfortable, ergonomic grip, and lets you lean into the screwdriver if you need to.
  • Straight electric screwdrivers are just what they sound like: they’re perfectly straight. The grip isn’t quite as comfortable, but the design is more compact, which means you can work more easily in tricky locations.
  • Pivoting screwdrivers have a hybrid design, so they can work in either configuration. This makes them more versatile, but the addition of a hinge means there’s one more part that can potentially get damaged.
  • Drywall screwdrivers are a totally different beast. They’re built to drive numerous screws in quick succession, and have a self-feeding design. This makes them convenient for big jobs like drywall, but they’re also heavy, and require two hands to use effectively.

Wrap Up

So, with all of this taken into account, which one of these screwdrivers is the best?

If you want a single, quality driver that you can use for the rest of your life, we recommend the Milwaukee 2401-20. This 12-volt screwdriver is rough, tough, and ready to rumble. It has a powerful motor for the size, it’s compact, and it has LED lights for easy visibility. It also comes with a lifetime manufacturer’s warranty.

If you’re looking for something even more powerful, the Senco DS332-AC is where it’s at. This driver is insanely fast, and lets you drive dozens of screws per minute. For large projects, it’s hard to beat such a rugged, reliable driver.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a cheap screwdriver that can handle light-duty, everyday tasks, the Black + Decker Li2000 is very effective. It’s not going to win any awards for durability, but it’s an unbeatable value for the price.

Ultimately, the best electric screwdriver is going to be different for different people. But we think we’ve presented enough variety that there’s something here for everybody.