Cordless screwdrivers are like cheap cars these days. Manufacturers have learned how to keep you spending money on replacement batteries. Or the tools just don’t last that long. This writer’s first cordless tool was a Makita cordless screwdriver kit, gifted by an uncle back in the 1980s. We used it for 15 years. Not once did we ever have to buy anything else for it.
That said, the tools are a godsend for any carpenter, handyman, or DIYer. They get the job done quicker and without the strain that comes from driving in screws using an old-fashioned, conventional, manual screwdriver. Unlike corded power tools, you also never have to worry about tripping over a power cord while up on a step ladder.
The fact that they are indispensable explains why buying the right cordless screwdriver isn’t always easy. There is a veritable sea of cordless screwdrivers in the market. Walk into any hardware store and you’re likely to spend an entire day sorting through their inventory. Maybe even longer.
- 1 The 6 Best Cordless Screwdrivers You Can Buy Right Now
- 1.1 1. Makita XFD131 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless 1/2 Inch Cordless Screwdriver
- 1.2 Impressive Power and Quality
- 1.3 We Can’t Get Enough of It!
- 1.4 2. DeWalt 8V Gyroscopic Screwdriver
- 1.5 Ingenious Innovation
- 1.6 An Easy-to-Use Pro-Grade Tool
- 1.7 3. Milwaukee M12 1.5 amps 12 V Hex Brushed Cordless Screwdriver
- 1.8 Convenience at its Core
- 1.9 Less About Features, More About Function
- 1.10 4. Black & Decker 4V Max Cordless Screwdriver
- 1.11 Compact Convenience
- 1.12 Excellent for Light Tasks, Good Price
- 1.13 5. WORX WX255L SD Semi-Automatic Power Screwdriver
- 1.14 Workx Like a Pistol
- 1.15 “Perfect for DIY Projects!”
- 1.16 Choosing the Right Cordless Screwdriver
The 6 Best Cordless Screwdrivers You Can Buy Right Now
But because you are reading this, you are in luck. We’ve tested a gamut of cordless screwdrivers, did our research, consulted experts and professionals, and have arrived at a list that will narrow your options down to a manageable size.
Now, you’ll be surprised to find that some of our chosen models are not new at all. That’s because newer doesn’t always have to mean better. If a screwdriver stays in the market for a while, then it’s likely because – unlike a cheap car — it’s sturdy and in demand. So read on because below are the 6 best cordless screwdrivers you can buy right now.
1. Makita XFD131 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless 1/2 Inch Cordless Screwdriver
The first spot on this list goes to the mighty Makita XFD131 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless 1/2 Inch Cordless Screwdriver and Drill Kit. It’s first on our list for many reasons, not least among them is that we are fans of the brand. We own a few of Makita’s many outdoor power tools and none of them have let us down over the years.
Makita Corporation is a Japanese manufacturer of power tools that has been around for more than a hundred years. The company has built a strong reputation for delivering reliable and durable tools that appeal to professionals and DIY enthusiasts alike. The company’s product lineup includes a diverse range of power tools such as drills, impact drivers, saws, sanders, grinders, and even gardening equipment.
The XFD131 weighs slightly under 4 lbs and measures 6-5/8 inches long. This cordless screwdriver and drill kit is delightfully compact. Compact, that is, for a cordless screwdriver that provides 440 inch-pounds of maximum torque!
Impressive Power and Quality
The kit comes with an 8V Lithium-Ion 3.0Ah battery (BL1830B), charger (DC18SD), a tool bag, and the impressive T-01725 70-Piece Impact Drill-Driver Bit Set. The bits have 135-degree split-point tips to prevent drill bit walking. The tool’s maximum magnetic 3-inch bit holder and nut drivers provide extra-strong fastener retention.
The XFD131 features a two-speed transmission of 0–500 and 0–1,900 rpm. The new rubberized soft grip is comfortable and ergonomic. If you ever find yourself working in low-light conditions, you can use built-in LED light to illuminate your work area.
The specifications of the battery are impressive, too. You get a 50 percent longer run time with the XFD131’s LXT Lithium-Ion battery. That means you can accomplish that much more work on a single charge. You can get the battery fully charged in just 30 minutes, too!
We loved testing this tool. We had heard that there is an unnerving wobble to this cordless screwdriver. We found out that it’s true. We were a little worried about it at first. Wobbles can be dangerous with a tool like this, but we grew accustomed to it after a while. Soon, we didn’t even mind it at all.
We Can’t Get Enough of It!
Makita’s brushless motors pack more power than those of other brands. Makita makes all their chucks. They work well, despite their plastic exterior. We saw no slipping during our tests. All in all, we say this is a first-rate tool for its class and power category.
“Easy to use on many home projects and the power is always there,” says one customer review. “The best one I have had.”
This cordless screwdriver can be rather expensive in some parts of the world. But wait until you get your hands on one. We are sure you’ll understand why we say it’s almost impossible to get enough of this little piece of equipment. We recommend it for DIYers, homeowners, and professionals looking for a compact but sufficiently powerful tool for HVAC, plumbing, and electrical work in tight spaces.
2. DeWalt 8V Gyroscopic Screwdriver
The DeWalt 8V Gyroscopic Screwdriver DCF680N2 is not new to the market. We first had the opportunity to use this cordless screwdriver ten years ago. The fact that it still ranks first in this countdown after a decade in the market speaks to this model’s lasting quality, toughness, and innovation.
Our test kit came with two DEWALT DCB080 8V lithium batteries and a 45-piece screw-bit set. Dewalt offers a tool-only issue of the same cordless screwdriver for which, of course, you pay less. But then chances are, you will need to purchase batteries and other screw bits separately later on, which might mean greater overall expenditures for you.
This power tool features an adjustable two-position handle. You can grip it as you would a pistol or use the straight, in-line configuration for working in tight spaces.
The DCF680 uses a gyroscope which senses when you twist your wrist to the left to loosen a screw or to the right to drive it down. The screwdriver’s 0 to 480 RPM variable speed and reversing mechanisms are motion-activated, which means the further you rotate, the faster it rotates.
We know that some might find all that technology too complicated, perhaps even intimidating. But that should not be the case with this tool. To control speed, you simply twist further, and it speeds up. Simple as that.
DeWalt designed this tool with professional users in mind, and you can tell that at once. We were particularly impressed by this cordless screwdriver’s 15-position clutch, which we are sure anyone who has ever cracked an outlet plate from too much force will appreciate.
With this tool, you just set the clutch system and drive that screw in until the screwdriver automatically stops. If you need more power to free a rusted fastener, just increase the torque. The ample range of the system permits this tool to adapt to a variety of applications.
This ingenious feature, combined with the tool’s motion-activated variable speed and gyroscope, makes the DCF680N2 an altogether companionable ally when working on HVAC, electrical, MRO, woodworking, or plumbing tasks.
An Easy-to-Use Pro-Grade Tool
Now, all these special features may sound a little intimidating to a homeowner or a novice DIY hobbyist, but this tool is remarkably easy to use and convenient.
“Recently, I decided to have this for the ‘around the house’ screwdriver and save a bit of effort for random switch plates and hanging pictures…,” says one reviewer on Amazon. “About two days after getting it, I’ve used it so many times that I’m gonna get another to keep in the garage.”
Simply put, whether you are a professional, a homeowner, or an avid DIY enthusiast, you cannot go wrong with DeWalt’s 8V Gyroscopic Cordless Screwdriver. Even after 10 years, we still think this compact cordless screwdriver is one of the best your money can buy.
3. Milwaukee M12 1.5 amps 12 V Hex Brushed Cordless Screwdriver
The Milwaukee M12 1.5 amps 12 V Hex Brushed Cordless Screwdriver is part of the brand’s touted M12 line. This is a compact drill that weighs 2.6 lbs with a Lithium-Ion battery. This model has been around for a while now but is still among the best, top-selling cordless screwdrivers you’ll find in the market this year.
This tool is 7 x 6 x 2 inches. There was a time when a battery-operated tool of this size meant that the manufacturers had chosen to compromise power for the sake of user convenience. That is not the case for the M12 cordless screwdriver.
Powered by a 1.5-amp 12-volt battery, the brushless motor on this tool allows it a considerable peak torque of 175 inch-pounds at a maximum speed of 500 RPM. The 15-position clutch helps regulate torque. You can switch it to drill mode to cancel the clutch feature.
Convenience at its Core
Our test kit came with a 5-year warranty and a contractor bag. It did not include a battery, though. We had to purchase those separately, along with a charger. The Milwaukee M12 is heavier than many other cordless screwdrivers, but it fits well and snugly in the palm and is easy enough to use so that you can install multiple screws without strain.
This hex screwdriver features a variable speed trigger, which we liked; and two belt-clip positions for both left- and right-handed users.
The one-handed bit change system permits maximum ease of use. This model uses a ¼-inch quick-change keyless chuck that permits you to swap bits fast and easily. We loved this design feature.
You pull the chuck out with one hand. As soon as you insert a hex bit into the chuck, it snaps back and then locks. When you are done, just pull the chuck back and the bit pops out. We appreciated the innovation that went into the system as it made changing bits a breeze. A built-in LED light and battery indicator help you avoid interruptions to your work.
Less About Features, More About Function
This screwdriver is one of the strongest in its class with one of the fastest drilling times. This pistol-gripped tool makes quick and easy work of setting fasteners and will do a fine job on drywall. We drove three-inch screws into the wood with nary a hiccup.
And, oh, yes, the M12 battery charge time is only around 30 minutes! That’s fast. Really fast. Get two of those red Milwaukee M12 Lithium-Ion powerhouses and you won’t ever have to stop working. Just charge one while using the other.
This is a great tool. We liked it and so did a lot of other users. “I purchased this electric screwdriver for work after being frustrated with the poor build quality you’ll find in the <$40 price range,” says one user review. “Thought I’d spend a little extra money and it’d be worth it – and I was right. This product is very well built, feels very sturdy and reliable, and serves its intended purpose about as perfectly as I could’ve asked for.”
Our final verdict? The M12 cordless hex screwdriver is less about features and more about function. It won’t do what an 18-volt screwdriver can do, but you can use it in tight spaces in a way that would be difficult to achieve with the latter. Sometimes, all you need is just enough power to get the job done, and that is what this tool is about.
4. Black & Decker 4V Max Cordless Screwdriver
The Black & Decker 4V Max Cordless Screwdriver is the first of the smaller tools on our list. We admit that we tested it because we liked the brand. Black & Decker power tools have earned their reputation as a pinnacle of quality, reliability, and invention in the industry. With a century of experience and a steadfast commitment to customer satisfaction, this brand continues to set the standard for lesser manufacturers.
Tools like the BDCSFL20C 4V MAX Cordless Screwdriver are among the many testaments to the company’s enduring reputation. While it’s a light-duty implement, this pistol-gripped cordless tool will not crush screws and it won’t screw with your budget, either.
Just by looking at it, you would know that this tool does not generate as much torque as the other tools on this list. The lithium-ion 4V battery-powered motor provides a max speed of 180 RPM, so it cannot do a lot of the things that more powerful cordless screwdrivers will do. But it is not designed for driving screws into heavy hardwood or other similarly demanding tasks.
Out of the box, this light, compact tool weighs just a bit over a pound 7.2 x 1.7 x 9.1 inches, according to the spec sheet. But it feels lighter and smaller. You can carry it around in the pocket of your overalls all day and forget you even have it.
The handle pivots into three positions, which means you can use it in a variety of ways. You can hold it like a pistol or pivot it into a straight line and use the built-in LED light as you would an ordinary flashlight.
The light also works well when you need to drive screws in dimly lit corners of your home – as you sometimes would, say, on a power outlet underneath a table or a computer desk. We tested the BDCSFL20C for that specific purpose and found the illumination adequate.
Black & Decker didn’t design this tool for professionals. While we can imagine how it can come in handy at the job site from time to time, this Black & Decker cordless screwdriver is clearly a tool for homeowners and DIYers.
Excellent for Light Tasks, Good Price
If you want a cordless screwdriver for assembling toys, furniture, or fixtures, the BLACK+DECKER BDCSFL20C would be a very good choice. The 4V lithium-ion battery also yields enough power for driving fasteners through wood, thin metal, plastic, and even plaster.
So, why is this cordless screwdriver on this list when it seems to underperform in comparison to other tools? Because it does it accomplishes light screw-driving tasks exceedingly well at a price point that many homeowners would consider a bargain.
“A lot of reviews have referred to the fact that it’s only one speed,” explains one satisfied user. “Variable speed would be nice, but then you’re into a much higher priced and bulkier item. So that’s why I’ve given it 5 stars…” The world’s economy being what it is right now, that is saying something.
5. WORX WX255L SD Semi-Automatic Power Screwdriver
To tell you the truth, we were most skeptical about the merits of the WORX WX255L SD Semi-Automatic Power Screwdriver. We love the Worx line of gardening equipment, having reviewed and tested many of them.
But this writer, in particular, was under the quite naive assumption that the market for smaller power tools was firmly in the grip of well-established names like Bosch, Black & Decker, and DeWalt.
Naïve assumptions aside, we kept running into so much positive customer feedback about this cordless screwdriver that we thought we ought to include it in our tests.
The Worx line of lawn and garden equipment is owned and distributed by the Positec Tool Corporation, a manufacturing company based in China. The company has North American headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina. The brand is known primarily for its top-quality trimmers, lawnmowers, and chainsaws.
Workx Like a Pistol
Right off the bat, this tool appealed to our politically incorrect ‘macho’ inclinations because it works like a .357. Now, the ‘semi-automatic’ tag can be misleading. The Worx SD’s singular feature is a bit loading system that functions exactly like the cylinder of a revolver. The top slide, which you pull back to load the cylinder into the tool, reminds you of an automatic pistol.
Out of the box, the SD WX255L comes with a reloadable cartridge cylinder and 6 bits. Pull the slide back and the current bit retracts into the tool as the removable 6-bit chamber rotates.
Push the slide back forward and the new bit is in the chamber. Cool! You’ll find a button on the side that reverses the rotary action when you want to unscrew rather than drive in a screw. The kit comes with an attachment that holds the screw in place so you can use this cordless screwdriver with one hand. The bit won’t drop to the floor and rattle away into the oblivion of some inaccessible corner of your home.
“Perfect for DIY Projects!”
Worx claims the 4-volt alkaline battery will keep a charge for 18 months. We never had the chance to test that claim but customers seem to lend credence to it. “The battery holds the charge for weeks, and can be recharged in a few hours,” one says. The battery does run the motor of this tool up to a good 270 RPM, which is ample for tasks around the house and the workshop.
For our tests, we got kitchen cabinet doors installed with the SD WX255L. We tightened the hinges on some doors. We fitted outlet plates into the walls of our test home, too. In the workshop, we used this tool to take apart and reassemble a small Vox amplifier. The tool worked smoothly and without a hitch.
This is a solid tool to keep around the house. It’s efficient and it functions smoothly. And it’s fun to use, too. “This is a really handy electric screwdriver,” says one customer review. “Perfect for projects. It has two arms that hold the screw steady and a light, which can also be useful.” We quite agree.
Choosing the Right Cordless Screwdriver
Choosing the right screwdriver requires some prudence and smart decision-making. By prioritizing durability, precision, power, and ergonomics, whether you are a professional or DIY enthusiast, we think you can achieve optimal results and get better value for your money.
Consider what bits you’ll need for the tasks you usually undertake. Accurate tip selection prevents slippage. On the other hand, durable construction guarantees a tool capable of withstanding years of use and rigorous applications. Of course, you need to decide how much money you can spend on a tool, too.
If you are shopping around for the right cordless screwdriver, we’re quite sure the list above should make for a good starting point.