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I wanted to buy a drill, but some friends suggest I buy an electric screwdriver instead. They say you can use an electric screwdriver more than a drill, but I'm still unsure which to buy.

I think a drill would be more useful than an electric screwdriver.

Which would be more useful, if I could only purchase one or the other?

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possible duplicate of Do I need a cordless screwdriver if I own a cordless drill? – ChrisF Apr 15 '11 at 19:31
Get one of each. – shirlock homes Apr 15 '11 at 23:53
up vote 4 down vote accepted

The screwdrivers are designed to work at a much lower RPM which makes them much more controllable. They also have a lot more torque than the drill. I've used both and the difference is night and day. With the high torque of the screwdriver I have often driven screws into wood without predrilling at all.

Also the good screwdrivers have torque limiters that let you set the maximum torque--set the cutoff where you want it and when the screw is fully driven the limiter kicks in rather than snapping the head off the screw.

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Where are you getting the more torque numbers? This high torque screwdriver has 1/5 the torque rating of this drill. Were you thinking of an impact driver instead? Also, almost all electric drills have an adjustable clutch too. – Doresoom Apr 15 '11 at 22:35
Agreed. I don't think you can buy a cordless drill without an adjustable clutch, and any decent one will have variable speed. I'd also say in my experience, 18 and 24V drills are miles ahead of the 14V ones. A decent cordless drill is a tool every homeowner should have. – gregmac Apr 16 '11 at 4:52
@Doresoom: Of course the 14.4v unit is more powerful than the 7.2v one. Also, your "drill" appears to have the features of a cordless screwdriver. – Loren Pechtel Apr 16 '11 at 22:31
Drill. Screwdriver. I'll just leave this here. – Doresoom Apr 18 '11 at 3:00
@Doresoom It looks like the cordless screwdriver has conquered the cordless drill since the last time I had occasion to be looking at them in the store. – Loren Pechtel Jul 13 '15 at 21:36

I have a Black and Decker 14 volt cordless drill that I use as both a drill and a screwdriver. I've had it for about 8 years now and it's been one of the most useful tools I've ever purchased. It is reversible and has adjustable speeds and torques. It came with an extra battery...I keep which-ever battery I'm not using on the charger at all times. There's nothing more useless than an electric drill/screwdriver with a dead battery!

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I would think that a drill is more useful since you can attach any type of bit to it, including all types of screw drivers (star, flat, philips, etc), actual drill bits of various sizes, and other miscellaneous attachments.

(As an aside, I had a Black and Decker drill whose battery charger actually stopped working after 3 years or so. I recently bought a Ryobi and am hoping that it will last much longer.)

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Which would be more useful, if I could only purchase one or the other?

A screwdriver might be good if you are about to move into an unfurnished home and assemble a zillion items of flat-pack Swedish furniture and then never ever do DIY again. Of course you'll spend a lot of time waiting for your screwdriver to charge up.

Otherwise, if I could buy only one, I'd buy a drill - almost all consumer/contractor grade drills are drill/drivers with a variable clutch for driving screws.

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Most electric drills have screw driver attachments that are fine for screwing in but not for screw removal. When you remove a screw, the fingers that grab the screwdriver come apart (as if you were removing a drill bit).

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I your drill is loosening up while operating in reverse, you've got a bad chuck. Drills operating correctly shouldn't have this problem. – Doresoom Jul 13 '15 at 16:37

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