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?


6 Answers 6


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.

  • 1
    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, 2011 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, 2011 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. Apr 16, 2011 at 22:31
  • Drill. Screwdriver. I'll just leave this here.
    – Doresoom
    Apr 18, 2011 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. Jul 13, 2015 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!


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.)


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.


I mostly use a corded electric drill these days for drilling and screwdriving, being a bit concerned about environmental and end-of-life issues related to cordless gear that gets abandoned by the manufacturer and needs to be replaced when the battery dies.

The only thing I miss is the torque control. With an electric drill, you're in full control to under- or over-do things as much as you can handle. It's nice to have the option of torque control where you may do damage without it. However, this hasn't yet motivated me to buy an electric screwdriver.


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).

  • 1
    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, 2015 at 16:37

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