Buying Tips for Power ScrewdriversPower screwdrivers, also known as cordless or electric screwdrivers, provide muscle in a small package. They take the frustration out of installing blinds, assembling furniture and other household tasks. They can handle those hard-to-reach places where turning a screw by hand is all but impossible. For larger jobs, which require driving many screws, power screwdrivers will do the work swiftly and accurately. Power screwdrivers are available in many models with different features. Which one to buy depends on the jobs that need to be done. For light tasks around the house, a compact power screwdriver will work efficiently. Attaching different materials, such as drywall to metal or metal to wood, will require a more advanced power screwdriver with an optimal combination of force, heft and run time. When shopping for a power screwdriver, take into consideration the following features:
Shape and Grip
The most basic power screwdrivers have the same shape as a hand screwdriver. They can easily be used to fasten a screw in a very tight place. More advanced models change handle positions from straight to pistol grip, giving the user more flexibility. The handle and grip will determine the ease of use and the hold of the tool. Many power screwdrivers offer ergonomic grips and anti-slip, soft-grip handles. Before buying, hold the power screwdriver up and test the comfort of the grip.
Some light power screwdrivers weigh only one pound and can easily be carried in a pocket or bag. While great for someone on the go, these tools have limited power and are best used for easy household tasks such as hanging pictures. If a more powerful screwdriver is needed, buyers should pick it up, lift it and see how the weight feels. For those using a power screwdriver for long periods of time, weight must be carefully considered to avoid arm fatigue.
Power and Speed
Cordless screwdrivers can range in motor power from 2.4 volts to 18 volts and higher. Higher voltage means more power but consumers shouldn’t necessarily base their buying decision on voltage. If the tool will be used infrequently and on soft materials such as wood, a 3.8-volt driver will work fine. Choose a 12-volt driver for more frequent use and heavier materials. The 18-volt drivers tend to be used by professional construction workers. Some power screwdrivers have variable speeds that offer better control. Slower speeds with more torque work well with larger screws that need more force, while faster speeds get the job done quicker. All models of power screwdrivers have a reverse speed that makes removing screws easy.
Since power screwdrivers are cordless, battery life must be considered when purchasing one of these tools. Power screwdrivers have two battery options: lithium-ion (Li-Ion) and nickel-cadmium (NiCd). Li-Ion batteries have become more popular because they provide more power, longer run times and a greener option with less toxins. Most power screwdrivers come with two batteries and a battery charger. Some chargers work in 15 to 60 minutes while others take more than five hours to recharge a battery.
In addition to the features above, power screwdrivers have other options that buyers might find useful. Opting for a screwdriver with an LED light makes sense if they are working in dimly lit areas or just need extra light to see. Buyers may opt for screwdrivers that include user-friendly drill bits and chucks, belt clips, battery-charge indicators and storage bags. The manufacturer’s guarantee or warranty can also help in the decision of which power screwdriver to buy.
Power screwdrivers make life easier both for the DIY-er and professional workers. With many models on the market, finding the right power screwdriver can seem overwhelming. Remember to consider how the screwdriver will be used and then find the model with the features needed to complete the tasks. This will save time, money and frustration and get the jobs done quicker and easier.