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Best cordless screwdriver: Build your flatpack furniture faster with the best electric screwdrivers from £22

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From DIY to garden projects to PC builds, a decent cordless screwdriver will save you a whole lot of effort

Cordless screwdrivers allow you to get much more done in much less time with half the bother. You don’t have to be an Ikea addict to know that assembling flatpack furniture can be a chore, while putting all the screws in place soon gets old in any DIY or PC-building project. But the best electric cordless screwdrivers can take the sting out of any teeth-gritting tasks, such as removing old, rusted-in screws and driving self-tappers in without a pilot hole. Yes, we know it’s bad practice, but who has the time?

What’s more, cordless screwdrivers just keep getting better. They’re smaller than they used to be, with lithium-ion batteries that do a better job of holding charge. The charging itself is now much more convenient, while there’s more control and torque for tricky jobs. If you’re still struggling with manual screwdrivers or working with an older cordless driver, then now’s the time to change. Give your wrists a break and save yourself some effort, and make those house and garden jobs go away.

Bosch Pushdrive Cordless Screwdriver £11 off

This powerful cordless screwdriver is both lightweight, easy to use and has enough accessories to tackle any DIY job you can throw at it. It's a versatile piece that currently could be part of your toolbox for less.
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Was £56
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Best cordless screwdriver: At a glance


How to choose the best cordless screwdriver for you

What should I look for in a cordless screwdriver?

Two things stand out. First, size and comfort. Cordless screwdrivers tend to come in three basic types: compact pistol-grip efforts with a built-in battery; cylindrical tools with a more traditional screwdriver feel; and larger models with removable batteries that will often double as a low-powered cordless drill. The last option is tempting if you want a tool that can take on both jobs, but they’re larger and won’t fit into the spaces that the more compact screwdrivers can. Between the first two types, your choice really comes down to where you’re trying to work and what feels right to you. The pistol-grip design is best for general use, but the traditional style is a little better in more confined spaces.

Second, power and torque. As a rule of thumb, the higher the voltage, the faster and more powerful the motor; you’ll find some screwdrivers that can only deliver 2Nm of torque – enough for flatpack furniture but not much else – and some that will go to 10Nm or more. Speeds run the gamut from around 180rpm to nearer 250rpm or more. Don’t assume, though, that more speed and torque are best in every case. Some more powerful screwdrivers can be overkill for certain jobs, thrusting screws straight through soft chipboard and causing an unholy mess.

Controls are usually kept simple. The more powerful cordless screwdrivers and drill-drivers will have some form of speed control, but most will have a single speed, forward and reverse gears, and a trigger to squeeze when it’s time to start screwing. Most models now also have some kind of built-in torch function, so you can see what you’re doing in dark corners.

How about charging?

Most of the models with built-in batteries charge from a standard wall charger, or even in many cases via a micro-USB port. This is convenient if you’re travelling around and also means you can keep using your screwdriver even if you lose the charger supplied. A few still use some form of charging cradle, where the tool slots into place.

With the larger drill/driver models, you’ll usually need to remove the battery and slot it into a separate charger. That said, even some of these are now charging through micro-USB.

Not all lithium-ion batteries are alike: some will hold a charge better than others, while some will also charge faster, within two or three hours.

Accessories

Otherwise, the main selling point is the accessories – the different bits and extensions that will enable you to handle more specialist tools or more awkward jobs. More doesn’t always mean more value, as some manufacturers provide a whole bunch of cheap bits that will only wear away inside tricky screws and be good for nothing within a year. While the bigger brands will usually bundle in five to ten decent bits, you might want to budget for any extra bits you’re going to need and buy good ones from a reputable manufacturer.

READ NEXT: The best cordless drills

The best cordless screwdrivers you can buy

1. TackLife Cordless 3.6V Screwdriver: The best budget cordless screwdriver

Price: £22 | Buy now from Amazon

There are plenty of bargain-basmeent cordless screwdrivers available on Amazon, but this 3.6v screwdriver from Tacklife is a solid choice indeed. It's rather heavy, but it feels good in the hand, and can charge very quickly via micro-USB (the battery indicator lights are a handy feature too). While there's only one speed option of 200rpm, and a modest 4Nm of torque, it should help you to tackle DIY screwing jobs with ease.

The TackLife comes with a set of 30 drill bits, covering a range of specialist types, plus an extension bit holder and a right angle adapter for those tough-to-reach corners. The front LED light is also very helpful in illuminating darker spaces where required. Spend more and you’ll get better, but this is a cheap and cheerful choice for everyday tasks.

Key specs – Power: 3.6v; Speeds: 1; Max speeds: 200rpm; Max torque: 4Nm; Battery: 2,000mAh lithium-ion; Charger: micro-USB (not supplied); Accessories: 30 bits, extension holder, belt bit case, rigth angle adapter; Weight: 780g

2. Black & Decker CS3652LC-GB: The best-value cordless screwdriver

Price: £36 | Buy now from UK Tool Centre

This Black & Decker model is a step up from the Tacklife, and feels like it’s in a class above. The maximum speed might be slightly slower, but there’s a surprising amount of torque, which really helps when you’ve got to get screws in or out of tougher timbers. And while you might miss the convenience of micro-USB charging, the bundled 9V charger will get this one juiced up in half the time.

The Black & Decker also scores points for its compact size, low weight and overall comfort, and for bundling in a right-angle attachment, which will help you get screws into some really awkward spots. You’ll need to budget extra for more bits – only the basics are provided – but when a top screwdriver costs this little, it seems miserly to grumble about that.

Key specs – Power: 3.6V; Speeds: 1; Max speeds: 180rpm; Max torque: 5.5Nm; Battery: 1,500mAh lithium-ion; Charger: Proprietary 9V; Accessories: 2 bits, right-angle attachment; Weight: 360g

Buy now from UK Tool Centre


3. Bosch IXO: A true cordless classic

Price: £49 | Buy now from Amazon

The Bosch IXO is a bit of a DIY design classic, and it’s never looked or felt better than in its new sixth-generation form. Bosch has worked to make the IXO a fun bit of household kit, even running a public survey to choose a cooler colour scheme, which means you can get this one in standard green and black or a raspberry tone. What’s more, you can accessorise it, with attachments that turn it into a mini-circular saw, a spice grinder, drill or even corkscrew.

Don’t think, though, that this isn’t a proper working tool. It’s got more than enough torque for assembling flatpack furniture or putting up shelves, and the variable speed trigger means you can start up slow, get a good grip, and then speed up to drive the screw in. Ten standard screwdriver bits and a case are bundled in, along with a micro-USB charger, which takes around three-and-a-half hours to do its work. It’s hard to describe a tool as lovable, but if any tool deserves it, this is it.

Key specs – Power: 3.6v; Speeds: variable; Max speeds: 215rpm; Max torque: 4.5Nm; Battery: 1,500mAh lithium-ion; Charger: micro-USB; Accessories: 10 bits, case; Weight: 340g

4. Makita DF001DW: The best cordless screwdriver for big projects

Price: £48 | Buy now from PowerToolMate

If you’re looking to get some serious work done, the Makita DF001DW has you covered. It can switch between pistol-grip and standard barrel screwdriver modes for different situations, and it feels extremely robust in the hand. Even the micro-USB port in the handle has a cover. A two-way switch at the top of the handle drives screws in or out at a single speed.

This one’s great for bigger projects: it’s versatile, it’s got plenty of welly and it comes with an 81-piece set of bits that should cover just about everything you’d need. With a respected brand like Makita, you know you’re not getting poor-quality accessories. It’s a little large for some smaller jobs, though, and a little too fierce for jobs that need finesse, such as PC builds or appliance repairs. When you’re up to something major, though, this is a top tool for the job.

Key specs – Power: 3.6V; Speeds: 1; Max speeds: 220rpm; Max torque: 4Nm; Battery: 1,500mAh lithium-ion; Charger: micro-USB; Accessories: 81 piece bit set, case; Weight: 360g

5. Worx Slide Driver: The most practical cordless screwdriver

Price: £45 | Buy now from Robert Dyas

Where most cordless screwdrivers follow the same basic model, the Worx Slide Driver has its own smart ideas. How about a rotary cartridge that slots inside the body and allows you to switch between bits in an instant? Or how about a screw-holder attachment that slides onto the end of the tool and allows you to work single-handed?

On paper, it’s lower on torque than rivals, but in practice it can tackle most tasks, and it’s one of the most practical designs out there. We also have to admit there’s something cool about the revolver-style bit cartridge and slide-action switching mechanism. Throw in respectable charging times – around three-and-a-half hours – and you have a tool that seems to make every job that little bit easier.

Key specs – Power: 4V; Speeds: 1; Max speeds: 230rpm; Max torque: 3Nm; Battery: 1,500mAh lithium-ion; Charger: Proprietary 4.2V; Accessories: 6 bits, removable screw holder; Weight: 500g

Buy now from Robert Dyas


6. Bosch Pushdrive: The best cordless screwdriver for heavy jobs

Price: £59 | Buy now from Amazon

There’s something reassuringly traditional about the Bosch Pushdrive. It looks like a screwdriver and works like one too: there’s no pistol grip or trigger, and the motor starts running as you push the tip against the screwhead. The action takes some getting used to when removing screws, but makes perfect sense when you’re putting them in.

With a maximum 5Nm of torque, this is a pretty powerful screwdriver, and with its 32-piece accessory set and kit, you’ll feel equipped to tackle heavy DIY jobs. Yet it’s also lightweight, small and easy to use in awkward or cramped spaces, and it charges up over micro-USB in less than 90 minutes – and often less. With six torque settings to handle different tasks, it’s more versatile than your average screwdriver as well.

Key specs – Power: 3.6V; Speeds: 6; Max speeds: 360rpm; Max torque: 5Nm; Battery: 1,500mAh lithium-ion; Charger: micro-USB; Accessories: 32 piece bit set; Weight: 300g

7. Black & Decker 18V Combi Drill: A powerful cordless drill and driver

Price: £50 | Buy now from B&Q

This compact drill-driver won’t fit into smaller spaces, but it’s great for getting screws in and out during DIY projects and will handle a range of lightweight drilling jobs as well. It has a choice of ten speeds and more than enough torque to get screws in and out of denser timbers. In fact, your bigger worry is that it can strip cheaper screw heads at the start or finish.

As with most drill-drivers, the battery is a separate unit that slides onto the bottom of the handle. It’s charged by its own charger and can take up to six hours to charge. This and the sheer size means it’s not as convenient a tool for basic household DIY, but it’s a brilliant and affordable option when you have something more ambitious in mind.

Key specs – Power: 18V; Speeds: 10; Max speeds: 650rpm; Max torque: 30Nm; Battery: 1,500mAh lithium-ion; Charger: 18v proprietary; Accessories: 1 bit; Weight: 750g

Buy now from B&Q

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