What’s The Difference Between An Electric Screwdriver and A Drill?

Hardware stores carry endless, often very confusing, options that can leave even the most seasoned DIY enthusiasts scratching their heads.


To make the best decision when it comes to buying either a screwdriver or a drill, first you need to know the difference between the two. This article will help you decide which best fits your needs.

Electric Screwdrivers vs. Drills: How to Choose

While their uses may sometimes overlap, electric screwdrivers and drills are two different tools serving vastly different purposes.

There are many factors to consider before deciding which one to add to your toolbox:

1. Versatility

While electric screwdrivers are easier to operate than manual ones, their sole purpose is to drive screws into and out of holes.

Electric screwdrivers are perfect for basic tasks around the house, such as setting up cabinets, installing outlet covers, and repairing appliances.

By contrast, a drill is a high-powered and versatile tool that works mainly to drill holes into different surfaces.

Some drills also allow you to add extra attachments that perform additional uses. For example, you can use your drill to drive screws and other fasteners, install wiring, open large holes in the cement, and even chisel masonry. 

2. Torque and Power

Torque, measured in Newton metres (Nm), is defined as a rotational force that causes an object to rotate around an axis.

Most electric screwdrivers’ torque value ranges from 3 to 5 Nm, with high-end models offering up to 20 Nm. This is because electric screwdrivers usually run on a 4 to an 8-volt battery, thus producing significantly less torque.

Torque and Power

Since cordless drills come with larger motors and, in turn, require more battery voltage to run. This causes the torque to increase, which may sacrifice precision as it causes some drills to lose their way while being pushed into the surface.

3. Weight and Maneuverability

The relatively limited functionality of screwdrivers allows them to be more compact, lightweight, and easy to hold and use than drills. It also allows them to fit into tight spaces and work around awkward angles.

By contrast, drills are powerful machines. This usually means that they’re on the bulky side, with cordless drills weighing between 3.5 and 10 pounds. Their size also negatively affects their maneuverability since they can’t fit into tight corners.

4. Cost

Electric screwdrivers are generally much cheaper than drills due to the former’s relatively simple design. For example, a mid-range drill can cost up to 5 times more than an electric screwdriver. 

However, many people would argue that cordless drills offer more bang for the buck since they can perform a vast array of functions that would otherwise need to be performed by individual tools.


Bottom Line

It all depends on what you want to do. If drilling holes is your top priority, or if you want to use your tool for different functions, investing in a drill makes the most sense. 

However, if you solely want to use your tool to drive screws, then you’ll be better off saving the extra cost by purchasing an electric screwdriver.

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