Last updated: October 25, 2021

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To make work around the house and garden easier, a cordless screwdriver can not only save you a lot of effort, but also a lot of time.

In our cordless screwdriver test 2021 we explain what you should look for when buying a cordless screwdriver. Since there are different types of cordless screwdrivers, it's hard to know which one is best for your project. To find out, we describe the different types for you and explain their advantages and disadvantages.




Summary

  • Cordless screwdrivers make it possible to screw in any screws with little effort and with speed. Thanks to the rechargeable battery, we can use them on the move.
  • In general, we distinguish between cordless screwdrivers or mini cordless screwdrivers, cordless drill drivers, cordless impact screwdrivers, cordless impact drill drivers and cordless hammer drills.
  • Depending on the purpose, a different cordless screwdriver is suitable. A mini cordless screwdriver or normal cordless screwdriver is sufficient for assembling furniture. To drill a hole in wood, metal or plastic, a cordless drill is sufficient. However, if you want to drill through stone or concrete, use a cordless impact drill. The really strong materials need a cordless hammer drill.

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Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a cordless screwdriver

What is a cordless screwdriver?

A cordless screwdriver is a battery-powered tool used to tighten or unscrew screws. Because it is compact, it is handy and can be taken anywhere it is needed.

Akku Schrauber-1

A cordless drill, or cordless screwdriver, is a battery-powered tool with a screwdriving and drilling function.
(Image source: unsplash.com / Simone Impei )

Generally, a cordless screwdriver is a cordless drill. The screwdriving or drilling function can be determined on the basis of selected bits that are fastened in the drill chuck. In order for your cordless screwdriver to work, you must make sure that your battery is charged. With the change of direction of rotation, you can screw screws in or out.

Which well-known manufacturers of cordless screwdrivers are there?

The list of manufacturers of cordless screwdrivers is long. You can choose from no-name products to professional brand products. Some of the best-known manufacturers are:

Cordless screwdrivers from Bosch

The German company Bosch is known for its industrial tools. You can find the products in all price ranges and types. Qualitatively, Bosch products fall among the top rated. The company has categorised the cordless screwdriver into two colours. Green for Home and Garden, which is for hobby use and Blue, Bosch Professional, for professional users.

Cordless screwdriver from Makita

The company with Japanese roots Makita lives up to its name. Makita products are distinguished by their high quality and durability, which is also reflected in their price. Most of the products are used by professional craftsmen, as they are also suitable for more demanding tasks. Other recommended cordless screwdriver manufacturers, according to Stiftung Warentest, are:

  • Dewalt
  • Einhell
  • Black and Decker
  • Metabo

Decision: What types of cordless screwdrivers are there and which one is right for you?

Cordless screwdrivers can be divided into six subcategories

  • Cordless screwdriver
  • Mini cordless screwdriver
  • Cordless drill driver
  • Cordless impact screwdriver
  • Cordless impact drill
  • Cordless hammer drill

Although these tools have different features and strengths, they are often referred to under the umbrella term "cordless screwdriver", but there is more to it than that. Of course, the right tool has to suit your needs!

Akku Schrauber-2

Since the variation of screws is very large, the screw heads are also different. That's why you need different bits that fit the head of the screw.
(Image source: unsplash.com / Theme Photos)

To find out what kind of tool is best for you, let's take a look at the different types of cordless screwdrivers. In the next step, we will present the advantages and disadvantages so that you can decide which tool is a must for your toolbox.

What distinguishes a cordless screwdriver and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Is another screw loose? With the cordless screwdriver, the screw is tightened again in no time at all. The standard cordless screwdriver is a tool with a 1/4" hexagon socket and is part of a DIYer's basic equipment.

With a low weight, you can also effortlessly do your work overhead. This cordless screwdriver is designed to ease the tedious manual work with the screwdriver. It is very helpful around the house and garden. It performs particularly well with wood and plastic.

The classic cordless screwdriver is not intended for drilling. If you need a helper for daily use at work, the conventional cordless screwdriver is not the right tool. It does not develop enough power for continuous use. However, most cordless screwdrivers have a permanently installed battery.

This makes it difficult to use the screwdriver for a long time. This means that once the battery is empty, you have to take a longer break. This makes it affordable if you are looking for a tool that will only be used occasionally.

Advantages
  • Ideal for small screwdriving jobs
  • Lightweight
  • Inexpensive
  • Handy
Disadvantages
  • Cannot drill
  • Low power
  • Battery often fixed

What distinguishes a mini cordless screwdriver and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Do you need a helper when tightening screws that is small and practical? The mini cordless screwdriver is ideal for small households. It is not made for big tasks. It helps build shelves and is excellent for DIY projects.

With a maximum torque of 4.5 Nm. the small tool nevertheless provides power and is therefore ideal for avoiding tedious work with a screwdriver and thus saving a lot of time. Since they are about 40 centimetres long and 30 centimetres high, they can be easily stored in any drawer. The mobile device is also perfect for minor repairs on the go.

Advantages
  • Low weight
  • Low price
  • Easy to use
Disadvantages
  • Lower performance
  • Lower battery life
  • Only intended for small projects

Since the mini cordless screwdriver has a permanently installed battery, you should pay attention to the battery capacity when buying it. A higher battery capacity also guarantees longer working time.

What are the features of a cordless drill and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Drilling and screwing? You can do that with a twist of the wrist! A cordless drill has much more power than a cordless screwdriver that has no drilling function. The drill chuck of the cordless drill allows you to use different bits and drill bits.

This enables you to drill holes in materials such as: Wood, plastic and metal. However, the power of this tool is not high enough to drill in stone and concrete. The cordless drill has a replaceable battery, which has the advantage of saving time. While you work with one battery, the other can charge.

This has different weights, so when you buy it, make sure it is not too heavy. It makes it easier for you to screw or drill overhead. This tool has two gears. The slower gear is used for screwing and the faster gear for drilling.

Advantages
  • Ideal for light screwdriving and drilling work
  • Drill chuck allows use of various bits
  • Drills wood, plastic and metal
Disadvantages
  • Not for drilling into walls
  • Price varies greatly according to battery strength
  • Does not drill through stone and concrete

What distinguishes a cordless impact wrench and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

How does a cordless impact wrench work? In a cordless screwdriver, the chuck is rotated by the motor. By adding the impact function to the cordless impact wrench, two metal discs are switched on in the machine.

These work against each other and thus generate a mechanical impact by causing the chuck to vibrate slightly back and forth. The resulting high torque increases the drilling power. The cordless impact wrench offers more power than the cordless drill. This means that screws can be screwed in much more easily and strongly. It is suitable for drilling holes in harder materials such as concrete or masonry.

This tool not only makes it easier to drill holes or assemble furniture. The more powerful types are also suitable for changing tyres or car, motorbike and bicycle repairs. Before buying, it is very important to know which screws you want to use this tool for. Since the force of the impact is much higher, it will cause weaker screws to break.

Advantages
  • Power is higher than a cordless drill
  • High torque for very tight tightening of screws
  • Also ideal for professionals
Disadvantages
  • Can only be used for hexagonal screws and nuts
  • High price
  • Inferior batteries affect the performance of the cordless impact drill

What are the characteristics of a cordless impact drill and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The cordless impact drill can be used for heavier drilling and screwing work. Therefore, it is suitable for almost all materials, such as: Metal, bricks, natural stones, concrete, masonry and much more. As the name suggests, this machine is also equipped with an impact mechanism. The impacts increase the torque.

This gives the cordless impact drill more power to penetrate harder materials. In order to be able to use the device in a more versatile way, you can switch off the impact function on this machine. This gives you the option of using the impact drill as a classic drill, depending on the material.

Advantages
  • Screwdriving and drilling work possible in almost every material
  • High torque
  • Wide range of applications
Disadvantages
  • You cannot penetrate all materials
  • Moderate impact power
  • High price

This machine is very versatile. Because it offers greater functionality, the cordless impact drill is in a much higher price range. But in return, you have a tool that covers many applications.

But with reinforced concrete and extremely hard stones, even the cordless impact drill reaches its limits.

What distinguishes a cordless hammer drill and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

What the cordless impact drill cannot do, the cordless hammer drill can! The cordless hammer drill is a tool for professionals. The high impact energy means that even demanding projects can be completed without effort. How does a cordless hammer drill work?

The cordless hammer drill has a pneumatic impact mechanism. This means that we have a metal bolt that is set in motion by an eccentric drive at a low frequency, but hits the drill chuck with a lot of intensity. This causes the drill chuck to vibrate.

This tool is suitable for drilling concrete, stone or masonry and for drilling large diameter holes. Note, however, that you can only use the cordless hammer drill for brittle or soft materials if the percussion mechanism can be switched off.

With a high torque, this machine is very powerful. You don't have to use much force to drill into masonry because it drills almost by itself. However, so much power also comes with disadvantages. The cordless hammer drill is loud and it is in a much higher price segment.

Advantages
  • Ideal for hard materials
  • High impact energy
  • The amount of power needed is very low because the drill does everything by itself
Disadvantages
  • Only suitable for soft materials if impact stop is available
  • Very loud
  • Very expensive
  • Very heavy

Buying criteria: These are the factors you can use to compare and evaluate cordless screwdrivers

In the following, we would like to show you the factors you can use to compare and evaluate cordless screwdrivers. These are:

Power

Do you want to know how much power is behind it? You can tell how powerful a cordless screwdriver is by looking at the torque and the battery voltage.

The torque determines the power of a cordless screwdriver

The torque determines the force with which you screw or drill. It is measured in Newton metres (Nm). To screw in thick screws or drill into concrete, a higher power is needed. With many cordless screwdrivers it is possible to set the torque manually.

Depending on the material and the screw, a lower or higher setting is suitable. If the setting is too high, the materials will be damaged.

Akku Schrauber-3

With the right cordless screwdriver, you can easily screw or drill into wood, metal, stone or concrete.
(Image source: unsplash.com / Matt Antonioli )

The battery voltage is measured in volts. The number of volts needed depends on the functionality of the cordless screwdriver. If you want to use the tool for driving screws, the volts and speed are not so important. In this case, a higher torque is important. A mini cordless screwdriver is suitable for lighter projects. It is very well equipped with 3.6 volts. Whereas a larger tool needs significantly more power.

The higher the number of volts, the higher the motor power. A motor that is more powerful can also reach a much higher speed.

Battery capacity

The battery capacity corresponds to the power of a cordless screwdriver.

The battery capacity corresponds to the power of a cordless screwdriver. The greater the capacity of the battery, the longer the working time possible. This capacity is expressed in milliampere-hours (mAh) or ampere-hours (Ah). A battery with 1200 mAh or 1.2 Ah means that the battery needs to be recharged after providing 1200 amps for one hour or 300 amps for four hours.

If you use a cordless screwdriver at high voltage, the battery will discharge faster. The most powerful ones provide about 4 Ah. The battery is the most important part of a cordless screwdriver. With a higher capacity, it is possible to work longer at full power without having to recharge the battery so quickly.

Battery types

The battery is the heart of a cordless screwdriver, so you should always pay attention to battery types when buying. At present, the most commonly used batteries are lithium-ion batteries, as they have strong advantages over the other types.

Nickel-cadmium battery

The nickel-cadmium battery is the oldest of the battery types. The disadvantage of this battery is the memory effect. This occurs when the battery is charged before it is completely discharged. What is the memory effect?

The memory effect is a loss of capacity of the accumulator in which the accumulator remembers the energy requirement before charging and then only provides the required amount of energy that was available during the previous discharging processes. It is no longer charged to full capacity.

To avoid this effect, charge the battery only when it is very low or completely discharged. Completely discharging the battery can help it to regain full capacity if the memory effect has already occurred. Do not stop charging prematurely as this can also damage the battery.

Nickel-metal hybrid battery

The nickel-metal hybrid battery is not as affected by the memory effect. Unlike nickel-cadmium batteries, they also have a lower self-discharge rate, which means they have a higher capacity. However, the nickel-metal hybrid batteries are designed for fewer charging cycles, which reduces the life of the battery when it is repeatedly charged.

Akku Schrauber-4

Battery voltage is measured in volts. To determine what volts your cordless screwdriver should have, you need to know what you are using it for.
(Image source: unsplash.com / Thomas Kelley)

Lithium-ion battery

The most recommended battery types for cordless screwdrivers are the lithium batteries because they provide a lot of power by storing more energy. Compared to nickel batteries, the self-discharge of lithium batteries is much lower. Even if they have been in the toolbox for a while, you can use the cordless screwdriver without recharging it.

One thing you should be aware of with this type of battery is that they should not be completely discharged, as this could even lead to a short circuit. The biggest weakness of this type of battery is its service life. The number of charging cycles is lower, which means that in the long term these batteries will have to be replaced. The manufacturing costs are also much higher than for the other types, which of course increases the purchase price.

Lithium-ion polymer battery

The lithium-ion polymer battery is the latest model; it is a further development based on the Li ion battery. In general, these batteries have the same advantages and disadvantages. One advantage over the Li Ion battery is the weight, they are lighter than the Li Ion battery. This also makes it more comfortable to work overhead. The charging cycles describe the service life of a battery. This life varies depending on the type of battery:

Battery types Charging cycles Battery life with weekly charging
Nickel-cadmium battery approx. 800 - 1500 charging cycles 15 years
Nickel-metal hybrid battery approx. 350 - 500 charging cycles 7-10 years
Lithium-ion battery approx. 500 - 800 charging cycles 10-15 years
Lithium-ion polymer battery approx. 300 - 500 charging cycles 7-10 years

Weight

Depending on the cordless screwdriver, the weight varies greatly. While a mini cordless screwdriver weighs about 0.3 to 0.5 kg, a cordless impact drill weighs about 1.5 to 2.2 kg. You can clearly see that the differences are very big.

Akku Schrauber-5

Holding a cordless screwdriver in your hand for a long time can be uncomfortable. That's why you should pay attention to the weight when buying one.
(Image source: unsplash.com / Eugen Str)

Since you have to hold the tool in your hand for much longer during more time-intensive projects, the weight can make it very uncomfortable. Therefore, it is very important to know what kind of cordless screwdriver you need for your project.

Purpose

Do I want to screw, drill, assemble the new furniture? Or am I looking for a more powerful tool that can drill a hole through hard materials? Do I use the cordless screwdriver every day, every week or just once in a while? These are the questions you need to ask yourself to find the right cordless screwdriver.

Type Craftsman type Application
Cordless screwdrivers and mini cordless screwdrivers Beginners Furniture and screws with prefabricated holes
Cordless drill and screwdriver Beginners, DIYers and professionals General drilling and screwing work
Cordless impact screwdriver DIYers Drilling and screwing, changing tyres, tightening/loosening nuts and other heavier jobs
Cordless impact drill DIYers and professionals Heavy drilling and screwing
Cordless hammer drill DIYers and professionals Very heavy drilling and screwing, such as: Concrete, stone, masonry

Charging time

If you have a fixed battery or no spare battery, you may be forced to take a longer break from work. This can of course be disadvantageous. In general, you can expect a charging time of 30 to 60 minutes for rechargeable batteries. In the case of inferior products, however, you have to reckon with 3 hours or even up to 6 hours of charging time. It is therefore important to look at the battery capacity and the battery type before buying a cordless screwdriver or a replacement battery.

Accessories

Without the right accessories, you are helpless even with the best cordless screwdriver. Since the variety of screws is very large, the screw heads are also different. That's why you need different screwdriver bits that fit the head of the screw.

These screw attachments are called bits. Depending on the material and the cordless screwdriver, you need a different drill You need drill bits for drilling. But you should bear in mind that you need a suitable drill bit depending on the material. Stone, concrete, metal, wood or tiles - each building material requires a different drill bit. Accessories for a cordless screwdriver include

  • Bits and bit sets
  • Spare batteries
  • Chargers
  • Carrying case
  • ...
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