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Best screwdriver brands

How to buy the best electric screwdriver

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How to buy the best electric screwdriver

Want help choosing the best screwdriver for your needs? We guide you through the key differences and features to look out for.

 

Electric screwdrivers really do help take the hard work out of DIY. They save time and effort when it comes to tasks such as building flat-pack furniture - which involve driving in lots of screws.

But there are big differences between the different types of screwdriver on the market, and prices range from about £6 to several hundred pounds. Read on for our guide to the key differences to help you choose the best electric screwdriver for your needs. Once you've decided which type to buy, go straight to our best screwdriver brands page to find out which brands are rated best by hundreds of Which? members.

Key screwdriver features

Simple electric screwdrivers

The most basic type of electric screwdriver looks like a traditional screwdriver. They are good for light tasks and small spaces, but they tend to have only 3.6v or 4v of power, so may struggle with tougher jobs.

Impact drivers

A more powerful option is an impact driver. These are best for large screws or removing rusty or damaged screws.

Drill driver

This is a good option if you want a tool that drives screws but also drills. Drill drivers fit both drill bits and screwdriving bits to perform both functions - which could save you money in the long run. If you decide to buy a standalone cordless drill instead or as well, our Best Buy cordless drills page should help.

Corded or cordless?

As with most power tools, mains-powered screwdrivers are more powerful than their cordless counterparts, but also less convenient for out-of-the-way places.

Most electric screwdrivers, however, are powered by a rechargeable battery. A higher voltage means you'll finish the job more quickly before you need to recharge, although it usually means the battery is heavier.

A screwdriver's rpm - revolutions per minute - will tell you about its motor speed. The higher the rpm, the faster your electric screwdriver will turn.

Speed

Varying the screwdriver speed gives you greater control. It also helps you adapt to different materials and types of screws. All electric screwdrivers come with reverse action to remove the screws if needed.

Torque control

You can change the rotating force (known as torque) of electric screwdrivers to give you greater control. Bigger, heavier screws will need more force behind them than smaller, lighter ones. Controlling the torque will also help get the screw heads flush with the surface.

Spindle lock

Some electric screwdrivers will let you lock the mechanism so you can use it as a manual tool.

Handle

You'll get a better grip with a rubberised or soft handle - useful for tougher jobs or for sweaty hands.

Other accessories

Some screwdrivers come with accessories such as carry cases or a selection of screw bits. Some also come with lights to help guide you in dark corners.

Brands to consider

Key brands of electric screwdriver include Black & Decker, Bosch, DeWalt, Mac Allister, Makita, Performance Power, Ryobi and Wickes. See our table of best and worst electric screwdriver brands.

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