Best Screw Gun Buyer’s Guide

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Whether taking part in home renovations or a DIY enthusiast, a screw gun is something that you really cannot be without. A power drill is a fantastic tool, but it will be limited in what it can do in larger DIY jobs, for example, if you are fitting plasterboard or basically drilling any screw into a harder surface!  A screw drill will be able to force screws into 2 inches of wood – leaving you able to work with a vast variety of hard materials!

Best Pick – Electric Screw Gun

Makita DFR750Z 18 V Li-ion Auto-Feed Screwdriver, No Batteries Included
44 Reviews
Makita DFR750Z 18 V Li-ion Auto-Feed Screwdriver, No Batteries Included
  • Anti-tilt device to prevent screws from swaying
  • Dust proof construction. Noise level:76 dB(A)
  • Foldable screw guide that keeps the screw strip tangle free
  • Silent clutch
  • Maximum drywall screw 4 x 75 mm

Only Got 5 Minutes?

If you are in the middle of a home renovation, or have a project that you are waiting to start, then read here for all the most important information that you need before purchasing a screw gun.

What Do I Need From A Screw Gun?

If you are wanting a screw gun that packs a punch and will dramatically reduce the amount of time that it takes you to do DIY jobs then you first need to consider the different features that the best screw guns will have so that you know what to look for.

Mains or Battery Powered

Screw guns can be powered in different ways, but the two most common are corded mains electric and battery powered cordless models. It used to be that the corded models had more power than cordless models, however this has changed a lot in recent years with the improvement of cordless technology. But, if you are wanting a cordless model that has a fair bit of power behind it too then you will need to be prepared to pay for this (although it is well worth it if you ask me).

Corded models are able to just keep going, so you aren’t restricted with how much work you can get done by the battery life (like the cordless models that usually have a maximum battery life of around 90 minutes), but cordless will be safer as there is no risk of tripping over a wire!

TOP TIP: If you are thinking that a cordless model is right for you, then make sure to buy one or even two replacement batteries so that you can work continuously while the other batteries are charging.

Speed

The speed of your screw gun will determine how quickly it can drive the screws into the surface that you are working with. These vary massively between different models, from as little as 500RPM (Rotations Per Minute) to as much as 5000RPM so it is important to check for one that is going to be right for you. Obviously, the greater the RPM the faster your tool will be able to get the job done for you, but if you are new to working with power tools then such a large RPM can be a little difficult to work with and can take some getting used to.

Look out for a model that has variable speed adjustments as this will (potentially) allow you to use your screw gun for a variety of different jobs!

Torque

The torque will be decided by the motor, so the better the motor the more torque and varying speeds that you will be able to work with. Most cordless screw guns range between around 12V to 18V, whereas corded models can go up to 260V! Just bear in mind that too much torque can be challenging if you are new to working with this type of power tool.

Models with automatic adjustable torque settings are beneficial as they will avoid damage to materials you are working with. If the tool is set to full power but this is too much for the material that you are working with then the tool will adjust down to lower torque without you even having to lift a finger!

TOP TIP: Look out for models with brushless motors as these will use less power, be lighter and will last longer!

Size and Weight

It is important to look out for models that are more lightweight and compact in size. This will reduce fatigue when you are working so you will be able to get your job done all in one go! Some weigh as little as 2.5lbs – so you will be able to work with these for hours before running out of steam!

Screw Depth

Many models will offer adjustable screw depth, meaning that you can not only work with different types of screws but also that you can control how deep the screws go into the surfaces that you are working with. This feature is crucial for if you are wanting a professional finish to the job that you are completing.

Look for a model that has an easy to adjust “nose cone” (the part that affects the depth of the screw), as this will make moving between different parts of the job easier and less time-consuming.

Best Budget – Electric Screw Gun

Sale
EsportsMJJ Automatic Chain Nail Gun Adapter Screw Gun for Electric Drill Woodworking Tool
  • Brand: Drillpro
  • Fit for electric drill
  • DIY Supplies:Woodworking
  • 1 x Chain Nail Gun Adapter
  • 1 x Chain

What is a Collated or Auto-Feed Screw Gun?

A collated screw gun may be a good option for you if you are going to be completed big jobs that require a lot of screws. A collated screw gun will feed screws into the machine as you work to save you having to feed them in individually by hand. Basically you fit a row of screws that are attached by plastic into your device. After it has secured one screw into place it will “pull” the next one up into the bit ready to be drilled next. As you can imagine, this will save you massive amounts of time to be able to get more important things sorted. But, this is the same as an auto-feed feature on a standard screw gun. A collated screw gun will also exert a lot more power than a standard screw gun, allowing you to force the screw deep into the surface of the material that you are working with, giving a more professional and secure finish.

But, these models will tend to be more expensive, and the screws needed are more specialist, so may not be worth this extra outlay if you are only going to be completing small jobs. Equally a single use driver will tend to be more compact and easier to work with overall.

If you are opting for a collated or auto-feed screw gun then make sure to choose one that is easy to feed the row of screws into. Some can be really quite fiddly, meaning that the time that you are saving having to load individual tools is lost in the first place trying to secure the row onto the feeder!

TOP TIP: Some screw guns (particularly collated screw guns) will be advertised as drywall guns. This means that the power and design make them only really suitable for fitting plasterboard, or other similar jobs. If you are wanting a more versatile tool then check that you have options to change the torque and speed, so that the tool can be used for a greater variety of jobs.

What Other Screw Gun Features Should I Look For?

Now you know the basics, there are some additional features that are well worth considering before making your purchase…

  • Auto-feed feature – a screw gun with an auto-feed feature basically has a row of screws that are all secured together with plastic. These are drawn up into the screw gun each time a screw is released, meaning that the tool is always ready to work and saving you the painstaking task of having to feed the screws individually by hand!
  • An LED light to illuminate the area that you are working – this will help to give you a neater finish to your jobs and make it easier to see what you are doing
  • A sturdy case that will hold the battery (if cordless), charger and different bits that you might need to get the job done. Make sure this is made of sturdy plastic or metal so that you know it is not going to become damaged.
  • Belt clip – This may only be a very small feature but will come in handy when you are working on larger projects where you need a number of tools at once! Trying to juggle a screw gun and a piece of plasterboard, plus other materials is just impossible when you are working on your own!
  • A well-designed trigger, such as a two-finger trigger, so that you have more control over the power and speed at which you are working (this is particularly handy if you are new to working with power tools such as a screw gun!).
  • A reverse function so that you can undo any work that you have put in the wrong place! No matter how skilled you are, mistakes can happen so you will regret not finding a model with this feature!
  • Rubber grip – helps to reduce fatigue and improve comfort when working with the tool.
  • Versatile bit changes – allowing you to work with a wider variety of screws
  • Battery charge light – so that you are never caught off guard with a battery that runs out halfway through putting a piece of plasterboard up!
  • Keyless chuck – This is important for quick changes between bits so that you can get on with the main job at hand!
  • Warranty – Many screw guns will come with a 3-year warranty (providing the tool has been looked after and not been damaged). Make sure to check for the warranty as you are wanting a product that is going to last.

Screw Gun Safety Tips

Screw guns can be dangerous tools if not used correctly, so there are some important tips that you need to follow if you want to avoid coming to any harm when completing your DIY jobs.

  • Make sure to set the screw gun to the right depth so that you do not damage the material that you are working with, or damage the tool.
  • Make sure to keep the material secure and held firm that you are working with, but also that your hands are WELL out of the way before you pull the trigger. There is a lot of torque behind a screw gun and last thing you want is that going into your finger. Screw guns can also “jump” off the material if they miss the head of the screw or hit a hard material underneath, this could cause injury if the gun jumps onto your unsuspecting fingers!
  • Equally, keep a firm grip on the screw gun itself so that it cannot move around. They are working at around 4000 rotations per minute so if you do not exert enough pressure on the tool you will quickly find yourself losing control!
  • We would recommend wearing safety glasses and ear protection when working with screw guns. This will protect your eyes from any debris that may fly off and your ears from what can be a rather loud power tool.

Best of the Rest

Festool 574747 Cordless Construction Screwdriver DWC 18-4500 Li-Basic DURADRIVE, 18 V, Multi-Colour
2 Reviews
Festool 574747 Cordless Construction Screwdriver DWC 18-4500 Li-Basic DURADRIVE, 18 V, Multi-Colour
  • Precision, wear-free electronic switch-off function for accurate insertion depths and a long service life
  • Cordless specialist for classic drywalling with plasterboards
  • Fastening plasterboards to metal and wooden substructures
Sale
DEWALT 18 V XR Brushless Collated Drywall Screwdriver, 2 x 2 Ah
54 Reviews
DEWALT 18 V XR Brushless Collated Drywall Screwdriver, 2 x 2 Ah
  • Powerful 4400 rpm brushless motor drives screws efficiently and effectively offering maximum runtime
  • Set and forget feature remembers your fine depth adjustment setting when removing and replacing the nose cone
  • Locking nose cone allows you to work with the same tool on sites where collated drywall screws are not supplied
  • Quick release collated screw magazine accepts most collated screws to allow the user to fit boards more quickly
  • Ergonomically designed rubber grip gives you excellent user comfort whilst using the tool in either the in-line or pistol-grip hand position
Makita 6844 240 V Auto-Feed Screwdriver with Carry Case
16 Reviews
Makita 6844 240 V Auto-Feed Screwdriver with Carry Case
  • Auto-feed belt system for fast fixing
  • Single handed operation, ideal when boarding
  • Rotation does not engage until bit is in the screw head to avoid stripping the head
  • Increased torque for long fixing applications (e.g. double boarding)
  • Forward/reverse rotation

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of battery do I need for my cordless screw gun?
Most screw guns will come with a battery, however, sometimes you can get just the basic machine and couple it with your own battery. Make sure to check on the product description for the type of battery that you need as these can range from 14V to 20V. We would recommend looking for a Li-Ion battery as this will charge quicker and last longer.

What types of screws can I use with my screw gun?
In theory, your screw gun should be able to work with most different types of screws. However, a standard drill has the option for you to change the drill bit to accommodate all different screws, whereas a screw gun won’t have this feature, meaning it is important to check before you buy. Also, remember that your screw gun is working to much higher torque than most standard drills, so you will need high-quality screws if you are not wanting them to become damaged under the force.

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Last update on 2020-08-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About Mike Jones 178 Articles
I started doing DIY around the house and it soon developed into a hobby. I look for tools and products that are genuinely useful and get the job done. I enjoy writing product reviews, researching my buyers guides and putting tools through their paces. In my downtime, I like to run and I am a bit of a Netflix documentary geek.

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