What the best cordless screwdriver has
Adequate power for your tasks. Experts recommend choosing the smallest, lightest cordless screwdriver that will get the job done. A 10.8-volt motor (or better) is best for tougher jobs, while a less powerful motor will suffice for occasional use.
A variable-speed trigger, speed ranges and clutch settings. It's possible to strip a screw head even with a low-voltage cordless screwdriver. Clutch settings help you lower the amount of torque on the screw, while a variable speed trigger lets you go slow for tougher jobs.
Rechargeable batteries. Lightweight and durable, lithium-ion is the best rechargeable battery. Nickel-cadmium takes longer to charge, but is less expensive. Both options are better than cordless screwdrivers with built-in, nonswappable batteries.
Fast chargers. Rapid chargers can power your batteries in under an hour. The best chargers monitor the battery while charging, which is important to extend its life.
Convenience features. A built-in LED light, adequate clutch settings, onboard bit storage and a battery fuel gauge can help make the job easier. Above all, make sure the driver is comfortable in your hand and easy to hold.
A sufficient warranty. The best cordless screwdrivers come with at least a two-year warranty that covers both the tool and the rechargeable batteries.
Know before you go
Do you use many drill bits? Do you need a chuck? If you already have a large collection of round drill bits, you may want to consider a screwdriver with a chuck or buy a chuck adapter. The best chucks let you change the bit with one hand by locking into place.
Where will you store it? Over time, cold weather can sap the strength of even the best rechargeable batteries.
Do you work in tight spaces? A cordless screwdriver with an articulating handle allows you the maximum possible versatility for cramped work areas.
Buying tactics and strategies
Try drivers in person. Make sure the tool feels balanced, not top- or front-heavy. Even a lightweight tool can cause fatigue if it doesn't feel right in your hand.
For online retailers, check the warranty policy. Some of the best tool prices are online, but not all websites extend the same warranty that the manufacturer does. Instead of covering the tool for several years, some retailers will only offer a 90-day return policy. Make sure you understand how long the warranty is and how the warranty process works if you are buying online.