Electric screwdrivers, or cordless screwdrivers as they are also called, are basically the smaller versions of cordless drills. Although they are much more lightweight in both size and power in comparison to cordless drills, they can still perform a multitude of tasks around your home. Below is some further information on the types of electric screwdrivers available, and where I feel they provide an invaluable option for many DIY enthusiasts.
Electric screwdriver designs
As far as I’m aware, the first mass produced cordless electric screwdriver was made by Black and Decker (who else!). It basically had a motor in the handle that rotated the shaft of the screwdriver and suddenly, removing and inserting screws was simply done with the press of a button. I remember getting one in the late 1980s and thinking it was truly revolutionary, and this simple straight handle design is still available, although there are now alternatives.
One alternative is the pistol grip option (see right) which really reflects the design of the standard cordless drill. In my view, it’s the most comfortable to use, allows you to apply a little more pressure than the traditional straight handle design, and is simply a very compact, easy to use, little electric screwdriver.
The other main option is the electric screwdriver which gives you both a straight handle, or pistol grip option, as rather cleverly, it has a pivoting handle so you can use it in a straight position or move the handle down to provide more of a pistol grip. In some ways, I think that this is a great innovation, as there could be occasions where gaining access to a tight area, may require a straight handle design, but personally, because the standard pistol grip designs are so small anyway, I’ve yet to find an occasion where I really need the straight handle option – and let’s face it, you can always grab a standard screwdriver in such instances.
Power, functions and extras
In terms of function, these tools are designed just to screw and unscrew screws. Some will allow you to use a small pilot drill bit, but basically, it’s all in the name – they are solely electric screwdrivers. Some will have various torque and speed options (more about that if you check out my cordless drill guide link, mentioned in the introduction), however for this little tool, I feel simple is best, so don’t be too concerned about having to buy one with all these options.
Tool power is generally denoted by voltage, with 3.6V and 7.2V being the most common types available. All models should be supplied with a charger which you simply plug the electric screwdriver into when the battery runs out, and some electric screwdrivers will be supplied with a good selection of bits, and maybe even right angle adaptors to get into an awkward space. Basically, the charger is essential, the bits are always a nice touch as you’re going to need them, but ‘special’ adaptors are a good extra but by no means an essential part of your purchase.
Why buy an electric screwdriver?
For me, where electric screwdrivers come into their own is for ‘light’ DIY, such as assembling flat packs and changing door handles, but they are also great for more demanding jobs, where lots of screws need inserting such as with fitting a kitchen for example. Although I must admit, I tend to use my cordless drill for most drilling and fixing jobs, there are times when I opt for the little electric screwdriver as it is less tiring to use, and the technology in design is so good these days, they really can punch above their weight with many screwdriving tasks.
My electric screwdriver choice
As suggested earlier, my favourite option is the solid pistol grip electric screwdriver, and in terms of brand, Bosch are for me, the market leaders. They do have different models, but I find that the little Bosch IXO is all that I need. Simple, no frills, comfortable and powerful.
You may find slight variations with the Bosch IXO ‘packages’ available – some deals even give you a corkscrew attachment! You’ll always find good prices for the Bosch IXO on Amazon, as well as at Screwfix, and Tooled-Up.