What features does the best cordless screwdriver needs to have?
Any cordless screwdriver claiming to be the best needs to have a long-lasting battery life with an indicator. It needs to be durably constructed, offer variable speeds, have a brushless motor, and finally, a spindle lock would be nice so that we can manually run it when the battery dries out.
In case you were wondering, it was our criteria when selecting the best cordless screwdriver. And guess what, we found ten products which fulfilled that.
- 1 How does a cordless screwdriver work?
- 2 Our top picks
- 2.1 BLACK+DECKER LI2000 3.6-Volt 3-Position
- 2.2 Black & Decker AS6NG Alkaline Cordless Screwdriver
- 2.3 DEWALT DCF682N1 8V MAX Gyroscopic Inline Screwdriver
- 2.4 Tacklife SDP50DC Cordless Rechargeable Screwdriver
- 2.5 BLACK+DECKER BDCSFL20C 4V Max Lithium-Ion
- 2.6 BLACK+DECKER LI4000
- 2.7 DEWALT DW920K
- 2.8 DEWALT DCF680N2 8V Max Gyroscopic Screwdriver
- 2.9 Ryobi HP44L 4V Lithium 200 / 600 RPM Quickturn Screwdriver
- 2.10 General Tools 500 Cordless Power Precision Screwdriver
- 3 Best Cordless Screwdriver Buying Guide
- 4 Wrapping it Up!
How does a cordless screwdriver work?
Ever looked at an electrical circuit? The inside of the cordless screwdriver is just like that with four major components: a battery, motor, gearbox, and the chuck.
The battery contains a switch which turns on every time you pull the speed trigger. As soon as the switch turns on, electricity starts to conduct from the battery to the motor, in that order.
As soon as the electrical energy reaches the motor, the motor converts it into mechanical energy via its coils, which it then sends to the gearbox. Depending on the type of cordless screwdriver you may have, the gearbox may offer different speed ranges at which it wants the chuck to rotate.
Once it determines the chuck-rotating-speed, the gearbox sends the mechanical energy to the chuck, which then starts to rotate, hence allowing you to drill holes or drive screws.
Our top picks
BLACK+DECKER LI2000 3.6-Volt 3-Position
Black+ Decker’s multi-position cordless screwdriver is a dream of any DIYer. Its handle can be adjusted into three positions to make sure that, regardless of the awkwardness of the space you might be working on, the screwdriver would do its job with aplomb.
Similar ease is on offer with the Li-ion battery which not only lasts longer but is also rechargeable. That is, while on one end the battery lasts more than a year on a single charge, it is also rechargeable, on the other. That and the fact that there is a built-in battery indicator light should remove any doubt you may have about the performance of this model.
Furthermore, the LI2000 has a 70’’ per pound force which, when complemented by its 180 RPM speed, can provide enough power to work on a wide range of screw tasks. Still, compare it with other, equally priced models, and one gets the impression that the speed of this model is relatively less.
Finally, to make driving and removing screws a cinch, the LI2000 comes with forward/reverse setting. There is also the spindle lock which would let you manually insert screws, should you feel like it. You’d get similar utility from the 6-position clutch which also has visual indicators. Also, if you are working in low-light conditions, the built-in LED light of this screwdriver would come handy.
The torque provided by the LI2000 isn’t that huge, which means you could only use it for light-duty tasks.
Black & Decker AS6NG Alkaline Cordless Screwdriver
Though not as big as the abovementioned LI2000, the AS6NG is more powerful as it provides 6V force whereas the LI2000 loses steam at 3.4V. So, if anything, don’t let its small size fool you to believe that this screwdriver isn’t worth it.
Still, there are a couple of features which the AS6NG lacks, one of which is the multi-position handle which it lacks. It makes up for the absence by providing spindle lock, hence allowing you to switch it to manual operation when the battery runs out.
Allowing you to store the AS6NG with the rest of your tools – be it on the belt or on a pegboard, is the integrated peg hole in this model. Similar versatility is on offer with the double-ended bit which will support not only flat both also Phillip’s heads.
Finally, you can use this screwdriver for extended periods without a hint of discomfort in your hand. That comfort comes from two particular features: its 10.4ounce weight and the rubber grip, both of which combine to make this screwdriver’s usage a cinch.
Its inexpensive price tag is a great attraction, but the fact that this screwdriver doesn’t offer a multi-position handle might be a deal breaker for some.
DEWALT DCF682N1 8V MAX Gyroscopic Inline Screwdriver
Driven by a gyroscopic system, this pricey model from DeWalt provides an interesting feature of motion activation. To see for yourself what the motion activation does, just pull the trigger and twist the hand to its right. As you’d notice then, the screwdriver would start to screw without pressing any further button.
However, if you had twisted to the left after pulling the trigger, the unit would have started to unscrew. Similarly, if you feel that the drill speed isn’t enough, just flick your hand faster, and the motor would amp up.
Moreover, for those of you who work in low-light conditions, this screwdriver comes with a built-in LED light. And though it loses battery pretty fast, the integrated battery indicator on the unit would give you a warning notice in advance.
Finally, despite all its useful features, the DeWalt DCF682N1 would have been better had it been provided with a multi-position handle or multiple clutch settings, both of which are absent in this model.
At the price at which this model is available, not many users have complained about the lack of multi-position handle or that of multiple clutch settings. Still, we feel this model would have been more useful had it provided both these options.
Tacklife SDP50DC Cordless Rechargeable Screwdriver
Starting from its design, and you won’t find anything extraordinary in the shape of the Tacklife SDP50DC. It comes in the same gun-shape which is perfect for home usage. Despite that, as suggested by its high-quality plastic and rubber cover, it still has some industrial power tool elements.
Overall, the design comes fully packed as suggested by the 2 LEDs on top of the screwdriver which tells the remaining battery life. Just beneath them is the forward/reverse button to let you turn the Tacklife into screw/unscrew mode depending on the task at hand.
Looking at its power of 35in/lbs., and one would have to admit that anything above the simple household task might be too much for it. And by household tasks, we mean jobs like fixing electric outlets or assembling furniture. Hence, if your tasks involve screwing into a wood, this model might not suffice.
Finishing on a positive note, Tacklife provides 30-pieces of screwdrivers bits in the package. And to make sure you have a space to store them as well, all of them come in a nice case.
As suggested above, the Tacklife SDP50DC isn’t one of the most powerful screwdrivers out there, which means you can only use it for simple household tasks.
BLACK+DECKER BDCSFL20C 4V Max Lithium-Ion
Being one of the most recognizable brand names in this niche, Black + Decker has churned out another quality product in the BDCSFL20C. And if its performance alone won’t do the trick, the compactness of this model alone might make it your favorite.
Thanks to its compactness, this model would fit snugly in the palm of one’s hand, not to mention the usefulness which its sleek design would provide while you’re working with it in tight spaces. For, in such conditions, its multi-position handle would come to help.
What’s more, unlike your average screwdriver out there, this model could handle even aluminum.That said, on hardwood surfaces, its force might be too much. However, if your work involves working in low-light conditions, the built-in LED light of this model might come handy.
The lack of two major features severely hit the reputation of this model. For, it doesn’t have a battery indicator light and the location of forward/reverse switches could also have been a bit better.
Unlike the previous Black + Decker models we reviewed – both of which were for household use, this one ups the ante with its heavy-duty force. That is, with its 70in. per pound force and a 180RPM, this is one of the high-end models out there.
To give you more control over the LI4000, its manufacturer has provided it with a six-position clutch. Going one step further, each position of the clutch would be complemented by visual indicators, hence leaving no chances of accidental stripping.
Furthermore, thanks to Black and Decker’s Smart Sense technology, torque selection would both be quick and easy. Other user-friendly features are also present, like the adequately positioned Forward/Reverse switch (which also has an indicator), and a built-in LED light to let you use the LI4000 in low-light areas.
Lastly, in addition to the LED indicator, the battery of this model is rated by Energy Star, a certification which all but guarantees that the battery would be durable.
Just when you thought that the LI4000 was perfect, here comes the spoiler: its handle is NOT multi-position.
In case you weren’t satisfied with the power of the LI4000, the DeWalt DW920K – with its 7.2 Volts and 80 in. per pound of torque, might just suit you, and that too while having a multi-position handle which would fit snugly into the palm of your hand.
Making the DW920K capable of operating in any situation is its variable speed trigger. With a maximum of 500 RPMs, you could do anything from fastening to pre-drilling with this model. And if you feel something has gone wrong, the trigger has the reverse option, too!
To minimize downtime and allow you to change the screwdriver-bits in no time DeWalt has provided this model with a hex-shank chuck. More importantly, since it is quick-release, the chuck prevents the bits from running out.
For those of you who work in low-light areas, the absence of LED light in this model might serve as a deal-breaker.
DEWALT DCF680N2 8V Max Gyroscopic Screwdriver
When it comes to the use of technology in cordless screwdrivers, DeWalt is miles ahead of its competitors. And in case you don’t agree with this statement, the technology-laden DCF680N2 is here to prove your doubts wrong.
Its motion sensing technology lets you control everything from forward/reverse switch to the RPMs of this model.
Yes, you read it correctly, twist your hand to the right, and this model would start to screw. Twist it to the left, and it would start running in the opposite direction. And to control the speed of the motor, all you have to do is to just flick your hand fast (or slow), and the RPMs would follow suit.
Though technological prowess is the unique aspect of this model, it still hasn’t forgotten the features which make a screwdriver the best. For, the handle is multi-position to allow you to use the model in tight spaces. And if you feel that there is a danger of accidental stripping, the 15-position settings, which the clutch of this model has, suggest otherwise.
Think the DeWalt DCF680N2 suits you just right? Its astronomical price tag might force you to think otherwise.
Ryobi HP44L 4V Lithium 200 / 600 RPM Quickturn Screwdriver
Due to the fact that it doesn’t come from as reputed a brand as DeWalt or Black & Decker, the Ryobi HP44L is massively underrated by the consumers. Still, one glance at its feature set, and you’d agree that this screwdriver deserves more recognition.
Take, for instance, the two-finger trigger which gives its users more control over the screwdriver’s speed. Then there is the two-speed gearbox – as this screwdriver operates at both 200 and 600 RPMs, which makes this screwdriver capable for a wide variety of applications.
Making the bit easy to change is the ¼’’ hex provided by this model. And if you are worried that the battery might ditch you midway – it has no indicator – the usage of Li-Ion battery should quash any such concerns.
Two points. First, there is no LED light so this model is all but useless in low-light conditions. Second, there is no battery indicator light.
General Tools 500 Cordless Power Precision Screwdriver
If your work involves gadgets and household electronics, and an occasional heavy duty product to deal with, then the ease of usage and the price of General Tools 500 deserves your serious attention. Though it runs at a serious 100 RPMs, the longitudinal shape of this model makes it a cinch to operate.
While it may look tiny at first – a weight of just 0.16 ounces doesn’t help matters – the battery timing of this model is anything but minute. For, when fully powered, its two AAA batteries would keep this screwdriver up and running for a mammoth 10hours in one go.
The handle of this screwdriver gives you another reason to buy it by offering multiple grip positions. That, and its super-soft rubber covering means you’d never suffer from wrist-fatigue while using this screwdriver.
The bits employed by Power Tools for this model badly let the screwdriver down. Aluminum-made, these bits won’t last long and aren’t magnetic either.
Best Cordless Screwdriver Buying Guide
Think you the abovementioned product list is enough to land you the best cordless screwdriver? Think again and take help from this buying guide to make an informed decision.
Features that are Important
What type of work a particular screwdriver would do depends on its shape, and there are three basic shapes in which you may find most cordless screwdrivers. They include: straight, pistol or a combination of both.
If you are going to buy a screwdriver for some basic DIY tasks, the straight styled screwdriver might suffice. That said, it will perform only the basic jobs, which means that if your task involves working at awkward angles, the pistol style might just suit you.
And if you are unsure about the type of work you may have to do with your screwdriver in future, going for multi-position is your best bet.
Battery: Life and Power
Most people, just want their screwdriver’s battery to be longlasting, assuming – wrongly, dare I say, that power is a given. Therefore, apart from looking at the warranty of the battery, you also need to look at its power.
As you might already know, Li-ion batteries are the most durable, hence make sure your screwdriver has one of them. Second, turning our attention to power, you might get screwdrivers ranging between 4Volts and 20Volts in the market, with more wattage making the driver more powerful.
When compared with the brushed DC motor, the brushless DC motor offers many advantages, the most important of which is that it has fewer moving parts. Consequently, it would suffer less wear and tear over time.
The lack of moving parts offer brushless motors another advantage: their inner components are completely closed, due to which they operate with less noise. Finally, unlike brushed DC motors, they do not suffer from voltage drop or friction, which means they last longer and provide better overall performance.
First thing first, only the most high-end of cordless screwdrivers offer the option of adjustable torque. Therefore, models which offer adjustable torque demand a king’s ransom for it, which means you might have to pay more.
As for the torque, put simply, it means the clamping force the screwdriver would apply. Greater the clamping force, the easier it would be for you to screw into hard surfaces. However, if your screwdriver offers adjustable torque, you can adapt its clamping force to the material at hand.
Carrying case, Swivel Head & Spindle Lock
Not exactly a ‘feature’ of the screwdriver, a carrying case is a must-have accessory alongside it. Not only will it make the screwdriver portable, but it would also prevent the loss of anything.
The swivel head, meanwhile, would make your work easy by reaching screws in not-so-easy places. As for the spindle lock, it would let you use the screwdriver manually if/when the battery runs out.
Wrapping it Up!
There you have it; ten of the best cordless screwdrivers the market has to offer. Each of them has their unique features which means that if you’re serious, you’d be able to choose a product suiting your needs.
And talking about serious, we found the DeWalt DW920K to be pretty serious, so much so that the majority of our staff recommended it as our favorite product. Yes, the lack of LED light acts as a dampener, but, apart from this shortcoming, we weren’t able to find this screwdriver lacking in any other aspect.