Positioning, tightening, and loosening screws is a necessary part of many projects. However, it is also one of the most tedious and time-consuming elements of these projects. Squeezing into tight spots, working at awkward angles and in low light just adds to the frustration. One way to reduce the difficulties associated with drilling, driving, and removing screws is to invest in a screw gun. A cordless screw gun or screwdriver cuts the workload, making the whole process simpler and less time-consuming. However, this is only true if you have the right screw gun for the job at hand, and with so many to choose from it can be difficult to know where to start. Our panel of building project and DIY experts have created a list of the 10 best screw guns to point you in the right direction.
The Best Screw Gun
If you are looking for a screw gun that can deal with any fixing or drilling job, then the DEWALT DC970K-2 18-Volt Compact Drill/Driver Kit might be just what you need. The compact drywall drill is small and lightweight, making it easy to use and suitable for use in tight and difficult spaces. The lightweight design reduces user fatigue, while the dual speed range offers optimal performance. The cordless DEWALT screw gun drill/driver kit is ideal for both professionals and DIYers and comes complete with two batteries, a one-hour charger, and a contractor bag for easy and safe transportation.
Cordless and includes two 18-volt NiCAD batteries
Dual speed range 0-450/0-1,500 rpm
Delivers 380 unit watts out
Compact and lightweight (4.7 lbs)
½ inch single-sleeve keyless ratcheting chuck
One-hour charger included
- Weight4.7 pounds
The BLACK+DECKER Li2000 3.6-Volt 3 Position Rechargeable Screwdriver allows you to work quickly and effectively in small spaces. The rechargeable screwdriver includes a spindle lock that offers greater control and allows for manual screw driving. The forward and reverse switch makes swapping between screw driving and screw removal simple, while the Lithium Ion battery can hold its charge for up to 18 months.
Rechargeable cordless 3.6-volt screwdriver
The lithium-ion battery that holds its charge for 18 months
Easy switching between forward and reverse modes
Includes spindle lock
- Weight1 pounds
The Hitachi DB3DL2 Power Cordless Screwdriver Kit offers fade-free power with its 1.5 Ah Lithium-Ion battery. The battery has a lifespan of up to three times that of a traditional battery and adds less weight to the tool. The handle has two positions giving you the option of either a pistol or straight grip so that you can work effectively even in hard to reach places, while the built-in LED lights give you the perfect working conditions. The screwdriver has forward and reverse modes that are controlled by a simple switch and a spindle lock for manual screw tightening.
Cordless and lightweight
1.5 Ah Lithium-Ion battery
Built-in LED light
Dual handle position
Easy to use forward/reverse switch
21 clutch settings and 1 drill setting
- Weight14.4 ounces
The Milwaukee 2401-20 M12 12-Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Screwdriver features a pistol grip for precision work and comfort. The battery screwdriver is simple and easy to use; it offers a variable speed trigger and can be used with hex end drill bits for drilling as well as fixing/removing screws.
Requires a Lithium-Ion battery
150 in/lb torque
¼ in bit holder
- Weight1.7 pounds
If you are looking for something a little different, then the Pink Power Drill PP182 18V Cordless Electric Drill Driver Set could be just what you need. The power drill is compact and cordless, making it easy to use in most environments and spaces. The built-in LED light and bubble level increase accuracy and make working in low light easier. The drill also features a magnetic base that allows you to hold onto screws or drill bits; cutting down on the time you spend searching for pieces that have rolled away. The drill set includes a pink case, drill bit set, two NiCad 18V batteries, and a battery charger.
0-550 RPM motor
16 torque settings
Variable speed and keyless chuck
Built-in bubble level and LED light
Lightweight and compact
- BrandPink Power
- Weight7 pounds
The WORX WX254L SD Semi-Automatic Power Screwdriver comes complete with 12 driving bits. The tool is of plastic, rubber, and steel construction; making it hardwearing and suitable for use in most environments. It features slide action bit selection and two rapid reload cartridges. Each cartridge can hold six bits, meaning you never lose the bit you need. The battery charger is included in the kit and the 4-volt Lithium-Ion battery can hold its charge for up to 18 months.
Rechargeable cordless screwdriver
Slide action bit selection
2 rapid reload cartridges
12 driving bits, including screw starter drill bit
Uses a 4-volt Lithium-Ion battery
Battery charger included
- Weight3 pounds
If you are looking for an extremely compact and light cordless screw gun, then the Bosch PS21-2A 12V Max 2-Speed Pocket Driver Kit might be just what you are looking for. The driver has the shortest head length in its class, measuring just 5.6 inches. It is ideal for working in tight corners and its 1.4 lbs weight means it can be used for long periods of time without fatigue setting in. The screwdriver has two operational speeds, forward and reverse modes, and speedy screw removal. It also has a built-in LED light for working in low light situations. The screwdriver requires a 12-volt Lithium-Ion battery, which is included along with the charger, and 2 driver bits.
Weights just 1.4 lbs
Head-length is only 5.6 inches
Delivers 265in/lb torque
Two speed 0-350 RPM and 0-1,300 RPM
21 clutch settings
Forward and reverse modes
- Weight4.5 pounds
The Makita XSF03Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Drywall Screwdriver is ideal for a wide range of drywall and framing applications. It delivers 0-4,000 RPM and features Push Drive Technology; saving battery power and providing a quieter working environment by only having the motor running when the fastener is engaged. The need for carbon brushes is eliminated in the Makita screw gun, meaning that the motor runs more efficiently and cooler, and therefore has a longer lifespan. The screwdriver design is ergonomic for comfortable use and compact for ease of use in space and difficult to reach places. The built-in LED lights mean you are assured of your accuracy, even in low light situations.
Achieves consistent screw depth through its adjustable nose piece
Continuous use capability with the Lock-on button
Compact size at just 9 7/8 inches in length
- Weight3 pounds
The PORTER-CABLE PCCK600LB 20-Volt 1/2-Inch Lithium-Ion Drill/Driver Kit includes everything you need to get started on any job, regardless of its size or complexity. The kit includes a double-ended bit tip, two batteries, and a charger. The drill itself is compact and lightweight making it easy to use in small spaces and reducing user fatigue on larger jobs. It features a two-speed gearbox and a metal ratcheting chuck that reduces slippage. The drill also includes an LED light to ensure your accuracy in any light levels and a battery fuel gauge to ensure you always know when you need to recharge.
Compact and lightweight
23 clutch settings
Built-in LED light
Uses a rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery
- Weight1 pounds
If you are looking for a unique way of attaching or removing screws quickly, then the Drywall ScrewGun Cordless Collated Magazine Attachment from DEWALT might be just what you are looking for. It allows you to convert to an automatic feed collated screw driving system quickly. The DEWALT collated screw gun type of system makes it possible to single-handedly drive screws into surfaces such as ceilings where your other hand may be required to keep you steady.
Auto feed system creates a collated screw gun
Easy to change screw size and driving depth
Includes a disassemble release button
Accepts most generic screw strip brands
- Weight1.3 pounds
Best Screw Gun Buying Guide & FAQ
There is a wide range of tools on the market, all of which promise to make it easier to complete the project you are involved in. While some do exactly that, others can make it harder and even cause more difficulties. Others are capable of the job you need them for but require you to buy add-ons or additional components before they are completely effective. This is just one of the things you need to be aware of when looking for a screw gun. In this part of the buying guide, we explore the key features to look for in a screw gun, the benefits of opting for a drywall screw gun, and the differences between a screw gun and a drill. We also explore whether you should look for a cordless or a corded gun and answer some of the most frequently asked questions about screw guns.
Features to Look for in a Screw Gun
One of the most common problems you will encounter when looking for a screw gun is working through the different terminology that is used to describe the tool. Terms such as screw gun and screwdriver are used interchangeably. Drills are often also described as screw guns or as having the necessary capabilities. There are also different types of screw guns, such as the plasterboard screw gun and the cordless drywall screw gun to contend with. This is why it is important to look beyond the title of the tool and explore in detail its features and abilities. The key features you need in a screw gun are listed below.
This relates to the amount of power the tool has. The higher the torque the more twisting or rotational force it can apply. Torque is measured in Newton Meter (Nm) and the screwdriver you are considering should either have an Nm number or different settings that represent Nm numbers.
- No load speed
This measures the rotational speed of the tool’s bit. The measurements are recorded in revolutions per minute (RPM). The best screw guns are those that have variable speed settings as these give you the level of control you need for various jobs. No load speed and torque work together to define the ability or performance of the screw gun. Where these can both be varied, you have a tool that can be quick and accurate on diverse and delicate surfaces.
- Chuck size
This determines the diameter of the bit that can be used. The larger the chuck the greater the variety of bit diameters that can be used.
- Spindle lock
This is an important safety feature. The spindle lock prevents the chuck and bit from moving when you remove your finger from the trigger.
- Forward/reverse modes
It may sound obvious but check that the screw gun you are considering has both forward and reverse modes and that it is easy to switch between the modes while working.
If the screw gun is heavy, then it is going to be very difficult to use for long periods of time. The best screw guns and drivers are lightweight and compact to reduce user fatigue and allow you to get into smaller spaces with ease.
- Handle design
The design of the handle will determine how easy the screw gun is to use in different situations. Look for an ergonomically designed handle, especially if you are going to use the tool for long periods of time.
- LED lights
Many of the best screwdrivers have built-in LED lights. These help your accuracy in low light situations. The lights are either designed to illuminate the whole work area or to guide the bit into a specific location on the work area.
- Battery life
How long does the battery last? Longer lasting batteries need replacing or recharging less often. This speeds up your project and means that your screw gun is more cost effective over the longer term. Many of the best screw gun kits come with more than one rechargeable battery so that you can have one on charge while you are using the other.
- Magazine attachment
If you are going to be working in positions where you only have one hand free, then an attachment that feeds screws into your screw gun can be very beneficial. If you are looking at such an attachment, then check that it fits the screw gun that you have.
- Additional features
If you are a DIYer, then a screw gun that can also act as a drill can be very useful. It allows you to complete several different jobs without the need for additional tools. However, you should ensure that screw driving is its primary job and that it has all the features you need for this first.
Benefits of Using a Drywall Screw Gun
The main benefits of using a drywall screw gun are accuracy and speed. A drywall screw gun allows you to pre-set the depth at which you drive the screw. This is ideal in situations where you have delicate surfaces, need to ensure the screws do not go in too deep, or you need them flush to the surface but still need to work quickly. These features are particularly useful when working on drywall installation or ceilings.
Screw Gun vs Drill
As we stated earlier the terms screw gun, screwdriver, and drill are often used interchangeably. However, if you are focusing on drywall or other jobs that require speed and accuracy of screw placement, then a screw gun is better placed to do the job. Screw guns tend to have a higher torque and features that allow for more accuracy screw depths to be achieved.
Many of the tools on our top 10 best screw gun list are versatile tools that are capable of achieving the speed and accuracy of a screw gun while providing the additional capabilities of a drill. The key to buying the right tool for the job is to know what it is you want to achieve and then match that to the key features of the tool that you are considering.
Corded Vs. Cordless
When choosing between a corded screw gun and a cordless one much depends on the preference of the user. One of the main benefits of a corded screw gun is that you never have to worry about running out of battery. As long as you have an electrical outlet, you can complete the job at hand without the need to stop and recharge or replace your batteries. However, this does mean that you need to be within a set distance from the electrical outlet or have access to an extension cord to give you more range. Using a corded screw gun also adds to the weight and unwieldiness of the tool; this can be difficult if you are working at height, need to work with one hand, or are trying to get a job done quickly. There is also the constant risk of catching the cord, tripping over it, or it simply getting in the way.
A cordless screw gun allows removes all these issues and significantly lessens the weight of the tool. However, you do need to ensure that you have enough battery power to complete the job at hand. The best screw guns come with rechargeable batteries and often include a spare battery, so you can always have one on charge while you are using the other.
In terms of weight, a cordless screw gun is only lighter and easier to wield if the screw gun is compact and lightweight and the battery is designed not to add more weight than is necessary. When checking the features and dimensions of the tool, check for the weight of the tool including the battery.
Best Screw Gun FAQ:
Q: What is a screw gun?
A: A screw gun is very similar in design to an electric drill. However, its primary purpose is to drive screws into materials quickly and accurately. Screw guns often have an automatic feeder or clip that allows screws to be fed into the gun for even quicker driving. Most commercially available screw guns are more easily recognized as automatic screwdrivers that have additional features that also allow them to be used as drills. Screwdrivers can also have automatic feeders attached to speed up the process further.
Q: How does a screw gun work?
A: A screw gun works in a similar way to a drill. The bit is secured into the chuck or nose of the gun and a screw is held in place ready to be driven in. Many screw guns have automatic feeder attachments that hold belts of screws ready to be driven in. Other screw guns use magnetic force to hold the screw to the bit. Once the screw is in place rotational force (torque) is applied to drive the screw into place. Some screw guns, including drywall screw guns, can be pre-set to drive the screw to a certain depth. This stops you from driving the screw too deep and ruining the material or leaving it too loose and risking a poor connection between the screw and the material.
Q: How do I use a screw gun?
A: All screw guns differ slightly in their set up and usage. Given this, it is important to check the users' guide before using your screw gun for the first time. It is also important to ensure that you have a fully charged battery if using a cordless screw gun or a safe electrical outlet if using a corded version.
Finally, never change the bit while the screw gun is connected to the mains or switched on. Doing so could cause an electrical shock or injury should the chuck turn at speed while your fingers are in the way.
Our Top Pick
Our top pick is the DEWALT DC970K-2 18-Volt Compact Drill/Driver Kit. This compact drill/driver might be just what you need if you are looking for a multi-purpose tool that can deal with any job that you put in front of it. The compact drywall drill is small and lightweight, making it easy to use and suitable for use in tight and difficult spaces. The lightweight design reduces user fatigue, while the dual speed range offers optimal performance. The cordless DEWALT screw gun drill/driver kit is ideal for both professionals and DIYers and comes complete with two batteries, a one-hour charger, and a contractor bag for easy and safe transportation.