Electric screwdrivers fill the gap between power drills and manual screwdrivers. These handy cordless tools are lightweight, easy to use, and very convenient when you need to drive a lot of screws while assembling furniture, hanging artwork, tightening loose fasteners, or similar projects around your home. But Deane Biermeier, a licensed contractor and carpenter, as well as member of The Spruce’s Home Improvement Editorial Board, cautions, “Remember that an electric screwdriver isn’t a drill. Electric screwdrivers are excellent at reaching into confined spaces and installing or removing screws that require relatively little torque. While there are heavier-duty electric screwdrivers, these tools are generally intended for use on lighter tasks. Heavier uses, such as driving long screws into wood without a pilot hole, is a job for a drill, not a screwdriver.”
We researched a wide range of cordless screwdrivers, evaluating each model for ergonomics, power, ease of use, battery life, and overall value. Our top pick, the DEWALT DCF680N2 8-Volt Gyroscopic Electric Screwdriver Kit, has plenty of power, as well as unique gyroscope action that adjusts the speed based on your wrist movements.
Here are the best electric screwdrivers.
Best Overall: DEWALT DCF680N2 8-Volt Gyroscopic Electric Screwdriver Kit
Doesn't come with any bits
Gyroscopic action can be tricky in very tight spots
If you only need a screwdriver occasionally to drive one screw, then you don't need this tool. But if a screwdriver is a regular part of your day, week, or even month, then you'll find that the many features of the DEWALT DCF680N2 make it well worth the price. This is an 8-volt electric screwdriver that runs off a DEWALT MAX battery pack, which charges in less than an hour and stays charged for days, depending on how often you use it. But thanks to the battery charge status indicator, you'll never have to guess when it's time to recharge.
That's certainly not all this powerful cordless screwdriver offers, however. It is a gyroscopic screwdriver, which is a fancy word meaning that the tool automatically increases speed and direction with the movements of your hand; turn your hand towards the right, and the screwdriver drives the screw forward. Turn your hand towards the left, and the screwdriver reverses to pull the screw back out. The more you turn your hand, the faster the bit turns. The variable speed of the tool ranges from 0 to 430 rpm, depending on the movement of your hand. There's also an adjustable clutch with 15 settings to determine the torque level up to a maximum of 40 inch-pounds—you won't find this feature in lower-power or lower-end cordless screwdrivers.
The handle of the screwdriver can be adjusted to either pistol-grip or inline-grip configurations, so you can choose the one that works best for your needs: go inline if you are working in a tight spot, or pistol if you need a more secure grip. The tool also has a built-in LED light and an easy-change 1/4-inch chuck for use with bits up to 1-inch in length. The screwdriver kit includes two batteries, a charger, and a carrying bag, but note that it does not include bits, which you can purchase separately.
Price at time of publish: $104
Best Budget: BLACK+DECKER AS6NG Cordless Screwdriver
Narrow nose for tight spots
Not a lot of power
No work light
No speed adjustment
This reasonably priced cordless screwdriver is very basic, but if you merely need a tool for occasionally tightening loose screws around the house, hanging blinds, or similar tasks, this is a great option that's also easy to store, thanks to the pegboard hole at the end of the handle. You can turn off the tool and use it as a manual screwdriver, if desired. This screwdriver has an inline-grip handle and is comfortable to hold. At 6 volts and running off four AA batteries (included), you aren't getting a lot of power, but you don't need excessive force for the types of projects to which this tool is suited.
There are no speed settings, just on or off. When switched on, this electric screwdriver delivers speeds up to 130 rpm and 20 inch-pounds of torque. It has a fairly narrow nose, which makes it easy to maneuver in tight spots. The screwdriver includes one Philips head and one flat-head bit, but you can purchase other bits in different sizes, as long as they match this screwdriver's 1/4-inch shank. It does not include a case, but is easily stored in a tool box or even a kitchen drawer.
Price at time of publish: $16
Best Heavy-Duty: Bosch PS21-2A 12-Volt Pocket Driver
High speed and high torque
Two speed settings
Compact shape for accessing tight spots
Not variable speed
Few complaints about charger
This 12-volt electric screwdriver might be compact in size, but it's definitely not short on power. It has 21 clutch settings for torque up to a whopping 265 inch-pounds, and it has two speed settings: low is 0 to 350 rpm and high is 0 to 1,300 rpm, making this a faster and more powerful cordless screwdriver than most others. It has a forward/reverse switch and a built-in work light. The shank is 1/4-inch, so you can use any 1/4-inch, hex-based bits with the tool, although it comes with a flat-head and a Philips-head bit.
Thanks to its compact size—just 5.6 inches long and 1.4 pounds in weight—you can easily use the screwdriver to access screws that are deeply set, in awkward spots, or over your head. And thanks to its power, the screwdriver easily drives screws not just into wood of any hardness, but also into soft-to-medium-bodied metal. Along with the screwdriver and two bits, you get two 12-volt batteries, a charger, and a handy carrying case for all of it.
Price at time of publish: $89
Best for Electronics: AMIR 28-in-1 Precision Electric Screwdriver
Includes large set of precision bits
Very lightweight and compact
Tip can be magnetized or demagnetized
Poor battery life
Doesn't include good case
This isn't a cordless screwdriver for use in household tasks, but rather, a precision screwdriver for use in repairing electronics, jewelry, eyeglasses, or other items with very tiny screws. The screwdriver itself is not much larger than an ink pen, at just a bit over 7 inches in length and a little more than 1/2-inch in diameter. The tool runs off a 350-mAh rechargeable battery and includes a USB cord for charging the battery when needed. An indicator light lets you know when the screwdriver is fully charged. It has a forward/reverse button and three built-in LED lights, which are very helpful when doing delicate work.
The screwdriver has a top speed of 180 rpm and delivers up to 3 inch-pounds of torque with the motor on or 26 inch-pounds of torque when used as a manual screwdriver. It comes with a set of 24 precision bits in various sizes and shapes, as well as a magnetizer/demagnetizer to make the tip of the tool magnetic or remove magnetic charge, a prying tool for opening computers and other electronics, and a USB charging cable.
Price at time of publish: $26
Best for Assembling Furniture: BLACK+DECKER BCRTA601I Hexdriver Furniture Assembly Tool
Indispensable for assembling furniture
Includes five screwdriver bits as well as a hex wrench
Built-in work light
No carrying case
Not very powerful
Buying the perfect assemble-yourself bookcase, dresser, or cabinet can turn from exciting to exasperating once you discover how many screws are required to put the piece together. And the Allen wrenches typically included with flat-packed furniture are not easy to hold or turn. The solution to the problem is the BLACK+DECKER BCRTA601I Hexdriver, which has a patent-pending chuck designed to hold the Allen wrench that came with the furniture, letting you drive screws 3x faster than if you just did it by hand. Plus, it's far more comfortable to hold and easier on your fingers. And of course, you can also use the tool to drive regular screws; it comes with five screwdriver bits, including Philips, slotted, and square. It also includes a 4 mm hex wrench.
The screwdriver has a 4-volt battery that charges with the included USB cable. You cannot adjust the speed, which tops out at 180 rpm. The torque maxes out at 45 inch-pounds. There's a built-in work light, which is handy when working in cabinets or other dimly lit spots. The Hexdriver does not include a carrying case, however.
Price at time of publish: $26
Best Variable Speed: Milwaukee M12 2401-22 Electric Screwdriver Kit
Very powerful torque
Includes two batteries
Doesn't include any bits
Most lower-powered electric screwdrivers either have no speed settings at all or only have a low/high speed switch. More heavy-duty tools, however, often have a variable speed setting, which lets you tailor the speed to your needs—go fast when driving smaller screws, or slow it down when driving large screws that require more force. The Milwaukee 2401-22 is a professional-level tool, with a 12-volt battery that's compatible with other Milwaukee tools and up to 500 rpm of speed. There are 16 clutch settings for up to a powerful 175 inch-pounds of torque; not many screws are going to resist that kind of force.
This powerful cordless screwdriver has a built-in LED work light, a fuel gauge so you always know how much battery power remains, and a quick-change 1/4-inch hex chuck that requires just one hand for easy changes of the bits. And while designed for use as a driver, with the appropriate bit you could also use this tool for lightweight drilling. At 2 pounds, it's somewhat heavy for this type of tool, but it's only 6.5 inches long, making it easy to use in tight spaces. The drill comes with two batteries, a charger, and a carrying bag. It does not include bits, but you can purchase them separately.
Price at time of publish: $99
Best Inline Grip: Worx WX240L Cordless Screwdriver
Includes 12 bits
Three torque settings
Not very powerful
This 4-volt cordless screwdriver from Worx is comfortable to hold and maneuver with an inline-grip that reaches into even tight spaces. Unlike many similar electric screwdrivers, this one has three torque settings: use the lowest, which is 22-inch-pounds, for reversing screws or driving small fasteners, the middle setting for driving average-sized screws, and the high setting, which is 44-inch-pounds, for driving larger fasteners. The top speed of the drill is 300 rpm; the tighter you squeeze the trigger, the faster it goes.
There's a battery life indicator, but you won't need to worry about it very often, as the screwdriver can remain charged for 45 minutes of actual working time. It recharges with an included USB cable. There's also a built-in work light. This tool includes a very nice assortment of bits: one 2-inch power bit, a magnetic bit holder, three Philips-head bits, three slotted-head bits, two square-head bits, and two torque bits. That lets you tackle a wide range of screws, from very small fasteners used in electronics to screws used in common household items such as furniture. You also get a storage box for the kit.
Price at time of publish: $38
Best Adjustable Grip: Makita DF001DW Electric Screwdriver Kit
Includes a set of 81 bits
Adjustable handle for inline or pistol grip configurations
No battery life indicator
Slow battery recharging time
Why commit yourself to only an inline or a pistol grip, when you can have both in one tool? The Makita DF001DW lets you configure the handle to either inline or pistol, which is ideal when you tackle a wide range of projects. The built-in 3.6-volt battery charges with an included micro USB cable. The tool does not have adjustable speeds or torque, but provides a maximum speed of 220 rpm, a top torque of 40 inch-pounds when powered on, and a maximum torque of 53 inch-pounds when used as a manual screwdriver.
Unlike many other cordless screwdrivers, you can turn the LED light on this one on or off, rather than having it automatically stay on during use. And at a mere 0.8 pounds, it's very lightweight, although not especially compact in size. A big bonus is the included set of 81 bits in various styles and sizes, ensuring you'll always have the right bit for your project. On the downside, however, the screwdriver does not have a battery life indicator, although it does have a long battery run time. It includes a carrying case.
Price at time of publish: $64
Best for Household Use: Skil SD561801 4-Volt Cordless Screwdriver
Lightweight and compact
Includes nine bits
No carrying case
Not a lot of power
This compact, lightweight electric screwdriver is perfect for a wide range of DIY projects and household repairs. Its 4-volt battery recharges with a USB cord, and once charged, it runs for quite a while before needing another charge. The ergonomic handle is easy to hold and the 2-finger trigger gives you good control, making it easy to carry out even delicate tasks. The screwdriver does not have adjustable speed or torque, but provides up to 220 rpm of speed and 36 inch-pounds of torque.
There's a built-in LED light to illuminate your work area, and the screwdriver has two magnetic spots for holding extra bits, so if you are working with different sizes of bit, you can keep them close at hand. The direction reverse buttons are on each side, making it easy for left-handed or right-handed use. The tool comes with a set of nine bits in common Philips, slotted, Torx, and square sizes, but you could use other 1/4-inch-shank bits if desired. On the downside, there is no included carrying case.
Price at time of publish: $20
Our top pick, the DEWALT DCF680N2, has gyroscopic control, meaning it speeds up with the movements of your hand. Plus, it has an adjustable handle and plenty of power. But if you need a truly heavy-duty screwdriver, then the Bosch PS21-2A, with its 12-volt battery and 265-inch-pounds of torque, is a great option.
What to Look For In an Electric Screwdriver
Type of Battery
Electric screwdrivers are normally cordless, battery-powered tools. There are corded screw guns for more powerful applications, but these are generally used for installing drywall or similar construction tasks, and aren’t often used by DIYers or home handypeople.
Most electric screwdrivers contain rechargeable batteries and include a charging cord so you can power up the tool by plugging it into an electrical outlet. Today, more models also include a USB cord so you can power your tool up from a USB charger. Some very lightweight, lower-powered cordless screwdrivers rely on disposable batteries, however, usually AAs.
Heavier-duty electric screwdrivers generally use batteries that are removed for recharging in a separate charging station. This is especially useful if the screwdriver is from a brand you already use for other power tools, as the batteries are generally interchangeable between tools, as long as they are the same voltage.
The average DIYer carrying out tasks around the home, such as assembling furniture, tightening loose screws on doors or cabinets, or hanging artwork or holiday lights doesn’t need an electric screwdriver with the utmost in power. For these uses, a tool with 3 to 7 volts of power is sufficient. However, if you expect to use the cordless screwdriver for heavier tasks, such as driving screws into harder wood or metal, then you’ll find a cordless screwdriver with 8 to 15 volts of power is the right choice.
The speed of a cordless screwdriver is measured in revolutions-per-minute of the bit. While there are heavy-duty electric screwdrivers with speeds of up to 600 rpm, the average DIYer doesn’t require a speed anywhere close to that fast. Generally, for typical home uses, a tool with speeds of 130 to 200 rpm is more than sufficient. Some higher–end electric screwdrivers have variable speed settings, allowing you to adjust the speed more precisely, but most cordless screwdrivers have only a single speed setting and a few have high/low speed options.
Torque refers to the turning force of a tool. Depending on the manufacturer, the tool’s torque might be expressed in inch-pounds or in Newton meters (Nm). The higher the torque, the more force the tool can generate. Don’t assume that you must have the highest possible torque, however. For many applications, too much torque means a stripped or broken screw.
Most cordless screwdrivers offer anywhere between 25 and 85 inch-pounds of torque, which is more than sufficient for typical tasks around the home. For heavy-duty use, though, such as construction, there are cordless screwdrivers with up to 225 inch-pounds. While not all cordless screwdrivers have torque adjustments, those that do are adjusted by turning the clutch, which is the front of the tool, to the desired setting.
There are three basic shapes of cordless screwdrivers.
- Pistol-grip cordless screwdrivers resemble drill/drivers, and are pistol-shaped, as the name suggests. These are easy to hold and control, and are especially comfortable for people who are used to doing a lot of work with power drills.
- Inline-grip cordless screwdrivers have a straight shape that’s most like a regular screwdriver. These are a little more awkward to hold, but are easier to maneuver into tight spaces than pistol-grip options.
- Adjustable-grip cordless screwdrivers give you the best of both worlds: You can rotate the handle into a pistol configuration, an inline configuration, or somewhere in between. This makes the tool very versatile for the widest range of projects.
Most cordless screwdrivers are fairly light in weight. One to 2 pounds is common, with some very lightweight models being less than a pound. Heavier-duty tools, though, can weigh more than 3 pounds.
Some other nice features to look for, especially if you expect to use your cordless screwdriver frequently, include a built-in LED worklight, a magnetic tip for holding screws in place, which frees up your hand, or an automatic stop, which halts the tool immediately once the screw is fully seated or if the screw jams. And while most cordless screwdrivers just come with a couple of bits, there are some that include more comprehensive kits with a wide range of bit sizes.
Are electric screwdrivers worth the money?
If you use a screwdriver frequently for work or for projects around your home, then a power screwdriver, which is much faster and easier than your own exertions, is well worth the relatively small expensive. It’s definitely worth owning an electric screwdriver if you have weak or painful hands that make turning a manual screwdriver difficult.
If you rarely need a screwdriver, however, then you probably won’t use an electric model often enough to make it worth buying one.
What’s the difference between a power screwdriver and a power drill?
Electric screwdrivers and drills tend to look similar and do in fact have overlapping functions. But an electric screwdriver is just that: This is a tool only for driving screws in or pulling them back out. A power drill, on the other hand, can not only drive or unscrew screws, it can also be used to drill holes and carry out a wide range of other functions.
Can I use my electric drill as a screwdriver?
Absolutely! With the appropriate bit, your electric drill can easily tackle screws of various sizes. However, these drills are usually heavier than electric screwdrivers, and can be more difficult to maneuver into tight spots. For many DIYers, it’s worth it to own both a power drill and an electric screwdriver.
Are electric screwdrivers safe?
As with any power tool, it is possible to injure yourself if you do not use the electric screwdriver correctly, but generally, cordless screwdrivers aren’t very risky. Avoid injury by keeping the tip of the tool away from your fingers, and take off dangling jewelry and wear short sleeves while using the tool. And of course, never use your electric screwdriver in wet conditions.
Why Trust The Spruce?
Michelle Ullman is the home improvement/tool expert for The Spruce. She has extensive experience not only in writing about all things related to the home, but also in carrying out various DIY projects, including landscaping, painting, flooring, wallpapering, furniture makeovers, and simple repairs around the house and yard.
For this roundup, she considered dozens of electric screwdrivers, evaluating each for power, speed, versatility, ergonomics, and overall value. She also considered feedback from customers, both positive and negative, and received further input and advice from Deane Biermeier, a licensed contractor, carpenter, and member of The Spruce's Home Improvement Review Board.