Cordless Screwdriver or Cordless Drill?
How to choose the right electric screwdriver
Electric screwdriver. one of the indispensable tools during any construction professional and domestic work. And before to choose an electric screwdriver, it is necessary to think over all details of purchase and weigh all pros and cons, taking into account key features of future tasks.
Before any purchase, you should familiarize yourself with all types, features and reviews of the tool. So, let’s start from what are the differences between screwdrivers and what types there are.
First, all screwdrivers are divided by the method of power into:
It’s very simple: a cordless battery doesn’t weigh much, it charges quickly, and it doesn’t “tie” you to an outlet.
In addition to cordless screwdrivers, mains powered screwdrivers are no less popular. And then it immediately raises the question of which cordless electric screwdriver is best to choose.
Power tools are powered directly from the mains. One of the great things about cordless tools is that they will work for as long as you need them without recharging.
For example, customers often ask how to choose a mains electric screwdriver for the home. We will answer this question in the following paragraph.
Which one to choose: a mains or cordless electric screwdriver?
The main factor for dividing screwdrivers is the type of operation. Power-driven screwdrivers (220 volts) have a cord up to a meter and a half long, which must be plugged into a socket. Cordless screwdrivers are versatile and practical, but they have a limited battery charge. In turn, network devices can work for a limited period without failure, but each battery has a certain resource, after which it will need to be replaced.
Before you choose a cordless electric screwdriver, determine the conditions under which the tool will be used. If an electric screwdriver is purchased for home use. The models without a built-in battery are suitable, but they are few, and mostly prefer a cordless. Since a private home or apartment will always find an extension cord and a power outlet within a couple of meters. That is the answer to the question of how to choose an electric screwdriver for the home. Considering that the mains versions are always more affordable, it will be a guarantee of reasonable economy without loss of functionality, power or even practicality.
Before choosing a cordless electric screwdriver for remote work outside the home or garage, you need to determine the required power and operating time. There are professional screwdrivers for daily work with built-in battery, but their battery life in everyday use will be only a few years. That is why it is recommended for workshops and production halls to choose mains-powered tools that do not have a limited service life.
What type of battery to choose in a battery pack
Before you choose a cordless electric screwdriver, you need to examine the conditions and factors of different types of batteries. Today, manufacturers offer the following types of batteries:
The first option is the most common. Lithium-ion batteries have a long service life of about 3 thousand charge and discharge cycles. However, power reserve and capacity are retained throughout the entire period of operation, with virtually no loss. The most powerful screwdrivers are considered to be 18 volt.
Nickel cadmium batteries are less common, owing to the difficult operating conditions. For example, the service life of such batteries is only 1000-1500 cycles of charge and discharge, and you have to charge the device only after a complete discharge. The second option is suitable for those who use the device relatively rarely.
Nickel-metal hydride batteries are not very common. Their functional feature is the possibility of long storage without loss of charge, but the cycle of charges and discharges is limited and is about 500.
Important parameters for choosing
Battery capacity determines how long the tool can run without recharging. Consequently, the greater the capacity, the longer your drill or any other cordless tool will be able to operate. Battery capacity is measured in Ah (ampere-hours). That is, if a cordless drill-driver in the technical specifications specifies that the capacity of her battery 1 Ah, this means that within one hour the battery will deliver a current of 1A.
Just as cordless tools are rated in terms of output, battery-powered tools are rated in terms of voltage. when choosing between two batteries of the same capacity, note that the one with the higher voltage will last longer. Screwdrivers have a voltage range of 3 to 36 volts. Cordless tools with high voltage are used for working with hard wood and metal. For example, 36 V cordless screwdrivers can be used for drilling large diameter holes in metal, brick and wood. Tools with lower voltage (10-14 V) are used for screwing fasteners and drilling holes of smaller diameter. And drills with 3-6 volt batteries are only suitable for tightening screws of small diameter (up to 5 mm). The most popular tools with 12-volt batteries among do-it-yourselfers are. Because they strike the perfect balance between performance, runtime, and price.
Please note! Only batteries with a voltage that matches the manufacturer’s recommendation are suitable for the tool. In other words, no more or less than is indicated in the tool’s data sheet. For example, if you install a 12-volt battery instead of a 16-volt battery in a manual screwdriver, the tool’s performance will drop sharply. If you use a 36-volt battery instead of an 18-volt battery, the motor of such a tool will run out of power, which will soon lead to a breakdown.
Usually included with the electric screwdriver drill is a battery (sometimes even two) and a battery charger. But their shelf life is limited, and if the tool is used very intensively, in the end it will be necessary to replace the old battery with a new one. In this case, it is worth to stop at the branded products. Then there will be no doubts about quality, reliability, service life and, of course, the branded battery from the same manufacturer will fit exactly to the drill-driver. In our section “Batteries” you can find batteries and battery packs for tools from domestic and foreign manufacturers, among them you can always choose exactly what you need.
Chargers can also be purchased separately, the main thing to pay attention to the type of batteries they recharge, and the time required for charging. In this regard are very convenient universal chargers that can work with NiCd, NiMH, and Li-ion batteries. For example, a Makita DC18SE belongs to such chargers and can charge three types of batteries with different voltages (from 7 to 18 volts).
The influence of battery voltage on other characteristics of an electric screwdriver
All parameters of a cordless tool are “coordinated” with each other. The greater the voltage and capacity of the battery, the greater its weight and size. For example, a battery of 10.An 8-volt electric screwdriver may consist of only three lithium-ion “banks” of 3.6 V each, while an 18-volt battery needs at least five (in practice, there are usually more “cans” inside the battery for the sake of increasing its capacity). In addition, higher voltage requires a more powerful electric motor and a more massive gearbox, and this also leads to increased weight and size of the tool. So for working in tight spaces or overhead, it’s worth buying an electric screwdriver with a 10.8 V battery pack because it will be more compact and lightweight. And 18-volt models are better for those who have enough space in their workplace to use larger tools.
There are other nuances to consider when choosing an electric screwdriver. For example, the design of the motor is of great importance. State-of-the-art tools with brushless motors even at voltages of 10.8 volt have more power and torque than many 18 volt models with conventional collector motors due to lower power consumption and less friction and heat loss.
Top 10 rating according to KP
DeWALT DCD771D2 (medium )
Electric screwdriver from the famous American manufacturer of repair equipment in the corporate yellow color. Although the price here is considerable, but this machine can be considered almost a benchmark. There is a quick-action chuck, adapted to work with bits or drills up to 13 mm in diameter. The electric motor produces 1500 rpm, which enables the wrench to develop a maximum torque of 42 Nm. The motor brake instantly stops work as soon as the trigger is released.
By the way, it comes with two batteries, which greatly increases the battery life of one of the best screwdrivers for home. However, there are some remarks to the model. For instance, for some reason there is not even an elementary supplement for the bit on the housing, and the built-in LED, which is supposed to light up the place of work, does not do a very good job with this.
Pros and cons
Excellent workmanship, extra (and not cheap separately) battery included, motor brake
Metabo PowerMaxx BS 2014 Basic 2.0Ah (medium )
The extremely popular model from the German company Metabo. The origin of this people’s love lies in the fact that the creators managed to maintain a balance of performance, quality and cost, which is difficult to argue with the competition. The electric screwdriver is very compact and weighs only 800g. The small size is, of course, something to pay for. But not in this case. the electric motor allows the wrench to develop a torque of 34 Nm.
But if this “kid” gets too much strain, it will work electronic protection, which will not let the device break. Not only that, the chuck is removable and the hex bits can be used with or without an electric screwdriver. Finally, there are two batteries included here that charge relatively quickly. Puzzlement causes only a huge case, in which it is easy to lose a small electric screwdriver.
Pros and cons
Great value for money, weighs only 800 g, hexagonal bits can be used without a chuck
Hammer ACD12LE (medium )
A single-speed electric screwdriver at a reasonable price that is not without compromise. The maximum diameter of bits or drills is 10 mm, but that is not the main problem. But the electric motor, running at 550 rpm and a maximum torque of 18 Nm, greatly limits the scope of the device. In other words, the Hammer ACD12LE is unlikely to cope with anything other than minor household work. But they didn’t skimp on the reverse, motor brake and operating time. It really reaches 3 hours on a single charge. True, provided that the battery is fresh enough. And, of course, there is only one in the set.
Makita DF333DWAE (medium)
The well-known model from the Japanese company Makita, well known and loved by Russians. The reputation of a relatively fresh screwdriver has been made by numerous predecessors, but it does not fail itself either. Weighing 1.1 kg, the electric motor delivers 30 Nm of torque at 1,700 rpm. Quick-action chuck is capable of handling bits or drills up to 10mm in diameter. The ergonomics of the electric screwdriver itself is almost perfect, and the storage case is well thought out. Two batteries included. By the way, they are assembled from batteries format 18650, which gives “hobbyists” a huge scope for modifications with their own hands. The model has practically no disadvantages. The only complaint is the absence of the holder for additional bits on the housing, and not very convenient backlighting.
Pros and cons
Lightweight and comfortable to work with, two batteries of 18650 batteries, the reputation of a reliable tool
Bosch GSR 120-LI (medium )
What rating of the best screwdrivers for a house without production of the German firm Bosch? This model belongs to the “blue” professional line, which means it should be able to do a lot of things. For weight of 800 grams the electric motor of the tool can work with a torque of 30 Nm, which is good. Batteries are inserted into the handle and do not protrude beyond the handle, which is also good. As well as the fact that there are two of them in the kit.
It uses rather advanced electronic overload protection, but its work can be annoying. it does not let the screwdriver work at the limit. Of course, this also affects the operation in drill mode. metal or concrete GSR 120-LI not drill from the soul. There are questions to the quality of the tool as well. Someone encounters the fact that the quick-action chuck tends to unscrew itself. And someone is complaining about the burned out electric motor after three months of work. Problems are, however, of an isolated nature.
Zubr DSHL-121 (medium )
The Russian electric screwdriver of Chinese manufacture at once captivates by its 2021 we get a full-fledged cordless tool. Speaking of batteries. Here it comes with just one lithium-ion battery. But it charges relatively quickly. in 45 minutes. the electric screwdriver turned out to be quite robust and not afraid of hard work, despite the torque of 25 Nm. In general, not a bad budget option, which is not a shame to use at the limit of possibilities.
Hanskonner HCD1838R (medium )
A powerful electric screwdriver from a brand with a very confusing history. The official website talks about the experience of Russian craftsmen and German engineers, which does not add clarity. In fact, the pretentious name hides a Chinese manufacturer. Electric screwdrivers are not cheap, but claim to be professional tools. This is evidenced by the chuck diameter to 13 mm, and a maximum torque of 55 Nm, and two speeds. The weight is not small. a complete electric screwdriver weighs 1.7 kg.
Which cordless electric screwdriver is better?
The capabilities of a particular model largely depend on the battery. In order to choose the right tool, you should first study its battery. Types of rechargeable batteries:
Nickel-cadmium. Cheap batteries with memory effect and short life time. They lose capacity quickly, can withstand up to 300 charging cycles. installed in budget power tools.
Nickel-metal hydride. Industrial-grade batteries. Used in power tools and appliances. Endure up to 1000 charging cycles. Resistant to careless operation and low temperatures.
Lithium-ion. Combine quality and reliability. High power capacity and voltages. Practically free of memory effect and self-discharge. Withstands up to 3000 charge cycles. Are susceptible to low temperatures, therefore they lose their charge very quickly in cold conditions. Used in household and professional tools.
The capabilities of cordless screwdrivers are affected by their voltage. Usually between 1.2 and 36 V.
Possibilities of the tool depending on the voltage:
- 2V. a regular screwdriver with a battery,
- 3-6 V. minor household works,
- 10-18 V. work with wood, metal, plastic,
- 18-20 V impact electric screwdriver,
- 30-36 V. professional class tools.
For home everyday work is enough WCD-12 Li. The CHD-S20LiB electric impact screwdriver from Worcraft is the best choice for professionals working with hard materials.
Choosing the battery by indicators
The types of batteries we have already compared in detail, and you can well decide which one you need, depending on the nature of the planned works. But there are two other main characteristics of batteries, on which the choice of an electric screwdriver is made:
The capacity of a screwdriver battery can be from 1 Ah up to 7 Ah. Means how many amps are consumed in an hour of work. As a result, it turns out that the tool with a battery of 1 Ah will twist screws for about 2 hours without recharging, the average. 4-5 hours, the highest capacity battery will provide 8-9 hours of work.
That is, the higher the capacity, the longer the device will work without interruption for charging or battery change.
Battery voltage determines the class of the tool and its power:
- Up to 12 volts. Screwdrivers with low power. Used for infrequent and uncomplicated home work;
- Voltage 12-18 volts. the most common indicator. These are great screwdrivers, designed for home craftsmen and professionals alike. Used in repair work, installation of partitions;
- The most powerful. 36 volt rating. The devices are professional, with them you can twist the longest and thickest screws, dowels, screws and self-tapping screws. And also work on very hard surfaces (metal or wood), screw fasteners, and drill holes.
When choosing a battery by voltage, carefully look at the data sheet of the electric screwdriver, what voltage the manufacturer recommends for this model. If the device is designed for 12 volt battery, then you can not put the battery 18 volt, the motor is not designed for this voltage, it can break down.
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