The 10 Best Electric Screwdrivers
This wiki has been updated 21 times since it was first published in February of 2017. Save yourself the time and energy of working manually with one of these quality electric screwdrivers, which get the job done free of restrictive cords and without putting undue strain on your hands and wrists. They'll let you complete jobs faster at the push of a button, with some doubling as drills. Whether you’re a DIYer or a professional, our list has a model for your needs and budget. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
February 05, 2021:
We replaced the Skil iXO with the Skil 4V Rechargeable, a newer model with many of the same useful features, like an onboard magnetic bit holder and a pistol grip that fits comfortably in the hand. We also replaced the Black+Decker BDCS20C with the Black+Decker BDCS30C, a similar model that's more durable and reliable in the long term, while still being conveniently compact. We removed the NovelLife ES121 due to availability concerns, but still wanted to include an option good for electronics and glasses repair on the list. The Wowstick 1F+ is a sleek model that comes with a variety of useful accessories.
May 30, 2019:
New to the list is the rechargeable Black+Decker BDCS20C, which is specially designed for fitting into tight spaces and corners, like when you’re putting in new cabinets or miniblinds. Since it delivers up to 180 RPMs and 35 inch-pounds of torque, it’s best suited for smaller-scale projects. Its two-year warranty covers defects in material and/or workmanship. Note that you can also choose to purchase it with a 42-piece bit set included.
Another strong choice is the Skil iXO, a highly compact and versatile tool that features magnetic housing for convenient onboard bit storage, as well as micro USB charging using your laptop, car charger, or phone charger. If you’re looking for a lightweight model to minimize exertion and arm/hand fatigue, look no further than the Black+Decker LDX120C, which allows you to carry out drilling tasks with ease, even in the most confined of spaces. And its battery life is impressive, as it can hold a charge up to 18 months.
Whichever model you select, be sure to follow safe practices, including wearing protective goggles, when working with power tools, as they can kick up a lot of debris while in use.
With Versatility Comes Power
When one side of the switch is depressed, an electric current flows from the battery directly to one of the motor's contacts, causing the chuck to spin.
Add one part vodka to one part orange juice, some ice, and your equipment is magically assembled. Okay, not really. But all joking aside, whether you work in construction for a living, are putting together a new console table to support the family room television, or you're building a series of storage shelves, chances are you're using a traditional screwdriver to fasten and secure any individual components. Despite its basic appearance, the tool is extremely versatile, even when only considering the manual screwdriver. But its source of convenience doesn't stop there. With the addition of electrical power, you can free yourself from having to contort into awkward positions just to drive that screw in or out of a hole, making that console table or shelving project come together much more quickly and with less hypothetical cursing on the job.
Different from its manual counterpart, the electric screwdriver combines several components in order to operate efficiently, including a rechargeable battery, a power switch, an electric motor, an internal gear system, a locking mechanism for the chuck, and the chuck itself. Drawing power of either positive or negative polarity from the device's battery, the switch sends power to the motor, causing the motor to spin in either a forward or reverse direction. When the switch is in its neutral (or idle) position, no electrical current is flowing, as neither of the motor's contacts have been signaled. When one side of the switch is depressed, an electric current flows from the battery directly to one of the motor's contacts, causing the chuck to spin.
While the motor is an important part of the device, the screwdriver's gear system is no less integral of a component. Depending on the specific tool being used, it will employ some degree of gear reduction in order to augment the motor's power. In terms of the electric screwdriver, gear reduction is a fancy way of explaining how the tool's internal gear system works to decrease motor speed, while inversely increasing the amount of available torque for the chuck to twist the screwdriver bit in one direction or the other. While the motor spins faster than the chuck, the gear system essentially exchanges that generated speed for increased torque, effortlessly driving a screw into a hunk of wood or piece of metal. It's important to note that gear reduction can provide the opposite effect through increased speed and reduced torque, such as in the operation of wind turbines to generate electricity.
One of the most obvious benefits over its manual counterparts is simple convenience. Use of a rechargeable battery, for example, frees the operator from the restrictions imposed by electrical sockets. The electric screwdriver significantly increases efficiency for driving screws into tight spots and awkward angles without having to use manual twisting motions. Some of the most modern electric screwdrivers also leverage gyroscopic technology, allowing them to automatically change speed and direction based on the position of the operator's wrist.
Versatility For Getting The Job Done Quickly
Several practical considerations should be kept in mind when selecting the best electric screwdriver for your needs. You should be aware that these tools fall into three general categories, including basic electric models, impact drivers, and drill drivers. The basic option is ideal for light tasks in small spaces, whereas the impact and drill varieties deliver greater power output and are designed for heavy-duty applications that require as much torque as possible to bore into thick and heavy work pieces.
Several practical considerations should be kept in mind when selecting the best electric screwdriver for your needs.
Voltage output of the tool's internal battery is definitely important. The higher the voltage, the more likely you are to complete a job quickly before a recharge becomes necessary. Some of the best screwdrivers deliver a voltage output as high as seven volts.
Consider an option equipped with an adjustable, rubberized handle and multi-position head, so you can easily grip the device and access tight spaces and awkward angles. Any electric screwdriver with built-in LED technology will make it extremely convenient for completing DIY assembly projects in dark areas or simply working at night. A device with variable speed control can accommodate a wide range of available screw sizes and work materials.
If you want to bypass the device's electric operation when needed, consider an option with a spindle lock, allowing you to use the tool as a traditional screwdriver.
A Brief History Of Electric Screwdrivers
Originally constructed from wood, the earliest screws date back to the times of ancient Rome and were used in the operation of both wine and olive presses. Metal screws were also used in a similar capacity for the printing and paper presses during the Middle Ages. Metal screws and nuts engineered for fastening objects together didn't appear until the 15th century.
The earliest types of manual screwdrivers were equipped with pear-shaped handles and originally designed for slotted screws.
The earliest types of manual screwdrivers were equipped with pear-shaped handles and originally designed for slotted screws. However, the mass production of high-quality screws was extremely difficult until the time of the Industrial Revolution.
By 1908, Canadian resident P. L. Robertson was the first to commercialize the manufacturing process for socket-head screws, which were known for having square-shaped recessed impressions on their heads. This made them a revolutionary development within the fastener industry at the time, as they were less prone to wear and tear. The invention of the Philips head screw in the 1930s made assembly line manufacturing a much more efficient process for the United States automotive industry.
The very first electric screwdriver was invented by Black and Decker in 1923, with the earliest models being corded. Since that time, the use of internal batteries with greater voltage capacities has made the cordless electric screwdriver the tool of choice for both DIY consumers and professionals alike.