Like all specialty tools, the best screw guns speed up your work rate and increase your accuracy. Top screw guns make installing drywall and decking a breeze, thanks to their design and ability to countersink screws to the desired depth.
No other tool drives screws flush with such precision. We look at the best screw guns to determine which one is right for you.
- Brushless motor
- Extreme protection technology
- All metal gears
- Includes accessory set
- Multi-use battery
- Compact size
- 20 clutch settings
- 4,400 RPM
- Brushless motor
- Ergonomic design
- Adaptable chuck
- Battery & charger included
- Auto-feed magazine
- 2,500 RPM
- 1,000-screw magazines
- Easy to use
- All steel gears
Benefits of Using a Screw Gun
The first and most important benefit of using a screw gun is it increases the speed that you work. Fixing drywall requires a lot of screws, and you could use a driver to complete the task, but it would take longer.
The screws must be flush if the installation is to be successful. A screw gun allows you to adjust the depth that the screw goes in, removing the guesswork. Drywall is fragile and can easily crack, especially if you overtighten each screw.
While maybe there are no cracks now, if you get the depth wrong, the integrity of the drywall is compromised and could cause cracks later down the line.
Screw guns also have attachments that feed the screws, much like a nail gun. These clips or magazines speed up your work rate and mean you don’t have to insert the screws into the driver bit manually.
Screw Gun Vs. Drill
Comparing a screw gun and drill is like comparing chalk and cheese. Okay, so they look similar, and both drive screws, but the similarities end there.
Screw guns have one function, and that is to drive screws. They don’t have a chuck that accommodates universal attachments like a drill but instead have a “nose” with a single cross-head or Philips driver attachment for driving screws. They also benefit from adjustable depth, meaning you can set how deep you want the screws, and when they reach that depth, the motor disengages.
Screw guns also have clips or magazines that carry hundreds of screws fixed to a feed. This speeds up the work rate immensely, which is why screw guns are the go-to tool for drywall specialists and construction workers who need speed and accuracy.
Drill drivers are multi-purpose tools that can adapt to many uses. They drive screws, drill, and even have a hammer action that cuts through harder materials like concrete. Drills have more torque to cater to this multifaceted world.
The universal appeal of the drill is all thanks to the 3-toothed chuck that accepts almost all attachments. The downside with a drill is that each screw must be loaded manually, and there is no ability to set a screw depth. This reduces the integrity of the drywall and makes the task a lot harder.
Here’s a handy chart to remember the difference between a screw gun and a drill:
How to Choose the Best Screw Gun
This is your first and most important consideration. The motor determines the torque and speed of your device. You should consider the material you are working with before choosing the screw gun to match.
Drywall and softer materials require less torque but more precision, whereas laying decking or flooring needs brute strength.
Collated or Single Screws
Some screw guns allow you to attach a clip which feeds each screw like a magazine of bullets. It increases your work rate dramatically, so you get more done in a shorter time.
Unless you are working on a mass project that calls for numerous screws at once, you might want to consider using a single screw action. They are lighter and more agile.
Corded Vs. Cordless
There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Cordless screw guns are go-anywhere tools that increase the scope and reach of the work you can undertake. If you are working on a job-site, trailing a power cord around can be a trip hazard. With a cordless model, you don’t need to worry about it.
However, a corded screw gun gives you unlimited power, unlike a battery-operated variety that needs charging constantly. You are limited because you need a power socket to plug in the device, and an extension cord should the project be a little out of reach.
- Unlimited power.
- Unlimited lifespan.
- Cleaner for the environment.
- Limited reach.
- Less convenient.
- Requires a power socket.
- Power cord is a trip hazard.
- Better for job-sites.
- No power cord.
- Snap-on the battery and start work.
- Batteries have a limited life.
- Limited runtime.
Brushed Vs. Brushless Motor
Brushed motors have a finite life and require a higher degree of maintenance. They are also less efficient, meaning that if you have a cordless screw gun with a brushed motor, you will likely get less run time from your batteries between charges.
However, brushed motors are cheaper and effective with corded screw guns.
Brushless motors are far more efficient and require less maintenance. They have a longer lifespan and can add as much as 50 percent to your battery’s run time. Brushless motors cost more, but the technology is newer and more advanced.
- Better with corded screw guns.
- Need more maintenance.
- Less efficient.
- Not suitable for cordless screw guns.
- More efficient.
- Require less maintenance.
- Better for cordless screw guns.
- Longer lifespan.
The Best Screw Guns of 2022
Screw guns are fantastic tools that make driving screws and fixings a lot easier. Here is our take on the 7 best screw guns money can buy.
1. Makita XSF032Z LXT Cordless Screw Gun
Best Cordless Screw Gun
This Makita screw gun may not sell in the same numbers as the DeWALT model (mentioned later), but it does win the applause of those who buy it. It has an 18V brushless motor to deliver a longer run time between charges, and the nose piece is adjustable to allow you to choose the depth of the screw.
It also has a battery power gauge to tell you the state of the charge and a lock-on feature for continuous use.
Brushless motors are more reliable and need less maintenance. They also deliver a longer run time between charges, increasing the efficiency of your screw gun.
Extreme Protection Technology
Makita has developed this gun with XPT for improved dust and moisture protection. It makes this the ideal tool for professionals working on a job-site.
All Metal Gears
The gears are metal, and so is the housing, which means this screw gun can tackle the toughest jobs. Also, the quality of the components increases the efficiency of power delivery.
Makita sells this screw gun as the bare tool only and charges extra for the batteries. The batteries are not cheap and could double the cost of this drill.
Like the batteries, the charger is an added extra, further increasing the cost of this screw gun.
|Dimensions (inches)||10 x 5 x 6|
2. Black and Decker 20V Max Drill/Driver
Best Budget Screw Gun
Strictly speaking, this is a drill/driver, but as we’ve said previously, drill/drivers are effective at driving screws into wood, drywall and metal. This is our budget choice, and you’d think that for the price, something had to give. But this is far from the truth!
This driver has a 20V motor that creates 750 RPM, and it has 24 clutch positions to help manage the torque and avoid motor burn out. It also comes with a 30-piece accessory set to cover most of your screw driving needs.
What’s not to love when, for a fraction of the Makita’s cost, this Black and Decker drill/driver comes with all the kit you need to start that drywall project.
When you finish the drywall, you can slot another attachment into the universal chuck and start another project. This is a versatile tool.
With a 30 piece accessory set, there is a generous choice of driver bits to cover any size and shape of screw.
The lithium-ion battery in this driver is interchangeable with other cordless tools in the Black and Decker range.
You might struggle to erect metal framing with this tool. It is suitable for wooden batons and drywall but doesn’t have the grunt to tackle anything harder.
Short Run Time
Black and Decker claim that, once charged, the battery will hold a charge for up to 18 months. That’s only if you don’t use it. The battery drains quickly, even on shorter and lighter tasks.
|Dimensions (inches)||8.9 x 4 x 7.75|
3. Bosch PS21-2A 12V Max Pocket Driver
Best Lightweight Screw Gun
If you are looking for something lightweight, this could be the tool for you. It weighs just 1.4 pounds. What Bosch has managed to do is compact a driver into a pocket-size package.
It has 265 in.lbf of torque, a maximum of 1,300 RPM and a 30-minute charger. This set comes complete with a charger and a 2-amp hour battery. The dimensions of this tool enable you to get into really tight spots, and yet it also tackles larger projects like drywall and metal framing.
It really is tiny compared to some in its class. That’s why Bosch calls it the pocket driver.
At 1.4 pounds, this tool will keep hand and wrist fatigue at bay for longer. It keeps you focused on the task ahead, especially if you fit a lot of drywall.
20 Clutch Settings
Set the clutch, and when the torque level is reached, the clutch disengages the motor to avoid stripping the screw.
Build Quality Issues
It seems that Bosch has cut some corners to achieve a competitive price tag for this driver. Some people have reported that the light fails, and the drill function stops working.
This driver only accepts hex-shaped attachments, so it isn’t a universal chuck. It might restrict you with the number of attachments you can get for this driver.
|Dimensions (inches)||5.6 x 6.5 x 2.5|
|Batteries included||Yes (2)|
4. DeWALT 20V Max XR Screw Gun
Best Screw Gun for Metal Framing
This battery-operated drywall screw gun is deceiving. It has more power than the corded version, and although it is a drywall tool, the 4,400 RPM it generates gives it enough torque and the ability to fix metal framing.
It comes with an optional collated magazine to speed up the work rate, and it has a brushless motor to deliver maximum run time and increase the screw gun’s longevity. It is balanced, ergonomic, has a lockable nose cone and you can set the depth of the screw.
This cordless screw gun is more powerful than the corded version, and it delivers 4,400 RPM, making it the ideal tool to fix metal framework.
Brushless motors are smoother, more efficient and require less maintenance. They also increase the run time of your battery.
This is a tool built for comfort, which benefits professionals who fix metal framing and drywall from dawn till dusk.
It’s becoming increasingly common for well-known brands to sell batteries and chargers separately. This increases the cost of the tool significantly.
DeWALT batteries are not cheap, so you can double the overall costs if you want a functioning tool.
|Dimensions (inches)||8.25 x 3 x 11.13|
5. DeWALT 20V Max Cordless Drill/Driver Kit
Best All-Purpose Screw Gun
This drill/driver kit comes with the battery and charger. It delivers a maximum of 1,500 RPM, and the high-performance motor generates 300 unit watts of power. This makes it a versatile tool and ideal for applications like drywall and metal framing.
If you want an all-purpose tool that does the work of a screw gun and adapts to so many other tasks, this DeWALT drill/driver set is a great choice.
The universal chuck affords this drill/driver immense versatility. It screws, drills and drives fixings.
This drill/driver creates 530-inch pounds of torque. It is the ideal tool when erecting metal framing and performing other more robust tasks.
Battery and Charger Included
As you may already have noticed, many name brands like to charge you extra for the battery and charger, but not with this DeWALT set. Both are included.
This set comes with a 1.3 amp-hour battery, so don’t expect it to stay charged for long. You might have to factor in the cost of upgrading the batteries to something with a longer life.
Build Quality Issues
Several buyers have complained that the batteries are defective or only last a couple of charges before dying.
|Dimensions (inches)||13.88 x 9.88 x 4.25|
6. Senco DS232-AC Auto-Feed Screw Gun
Best Auto-Feed Screw Gun
This Senco screw gun takes all the strain out of hanging drywall by auto-feeding the screws. It speeds up the job and means you don’t have to load every screw manually. And when you need to reload, the new clip comes with 1,000 screws.
It has a variable trigger with lock and reverse functions, it generates 2,500 RPM, and it even comes with 2 drive bits and a case. Senco may not be as well known as DeWALT and Makita, but this screw gun is our choice for the best auto-feed tool.
The auto-feed screw clip turns a screw gun into a super-efficient tool. Drywall screws should be installed every 12 inches, so if you are drywalling an entire house, imagine the time you will save with this auto-feed.
2,500 RPM is more than enough speed to tackle the daily tasks of drywalling and metal framing.
Having 1,000 screws at your disposal increases the bulk capacity of the work you can undertake. Drywalling takes a lot of screws and this magazine frees you to get on with the job.
This screw gun is heavy, weighing in at just under 6 pounds. Watch out for hand and wrist fatigue.
|Dimensions (inches)||16.38 x 3.38 x 9.5|
7. DeWALT 6.0-Amp Drywall Screw Gun
Best Screw Gun for Drywall
Once again, DeWALT features on the list. This is a corded screw gun, so you can keep working without worrying about loss of power. It has a set and forget nose depth to ensure that every screw drives to the correct depth, and it has heat-treated steel gears, which makes this screw gun a heavy-duty tool that can take the punishment.
It has a high-speed transmission, a rubber trigger, and it is lightweight and ergonomic so that you can use it all day without suffering from hand or wrist fatigue.
Easy to Use
Set the depth, load the screw and press the trigger. It is that easy to use.
Few power tools are made in America, so it’s nice to see that DeWALT designs and builds their tools in America. This is great if you like to buy American products.
This screw gun is competitively priced, making it incredible value for money.
All Steel Gears
The gears are heat-treated steel to give them durability and strength. It would take a lot to break the gears on this screw gun.
While the power cord keeps this screw gun running all day, it isn’t going to suit job-site environments where a trailing cable is a trip hazard.
|Dimensions (inches)||12 x 10.25 x 3|
|Product||Best||Weight||Dimensions||Batteries included||RPM||Brushless motor||Warranty|
|Makita XSF032Z LXT Cordless Screw Gun||Cordless||3 lbs||10 x 5 x 6″||No||4,000||Yes||3-year|
|Black + Decker 20V Max Drill/Driver||Budget||4.25 lbs||8.9 x 4 x 7.75″||Yes||750||No||2-year limited|
|Bosch PS21-2A 12V Max Pocket Driver||Lightweight||1.4 lbs||5.6 x 6.5 x 2.5″||Yes||1,300||No||1-year|
|DeWALT 20V Max XR Screw Gun||Metal Framing||2.7 lbs||8.25 x 3 x 11.13″||No||4,400||Yes||3-year limited|
|DeWALT Cordless Drill/Driver Kit||All-Purpose||3.64 lbs||13.88 x 9.88 x 4.25″||Yes||1,500||No||3-year limited|
|Senco DS232-AC Auto-Feed Screw Gun||Auto-Feed||5.6 lbs||16.38 x 3.38 x 9.5″||No||2,500||No||N/A|
|DeWALT 6.0-Amp Drywall Screw Gun||Drywall||2.9 lbs||12 x 10.25 x 3″||No||5,300||No||3-year limited|
How to Use a Screw Gun
As with all power tools, safety is paramount, so for this task, you will need goggles and a face mask to protect against dust.
1. Set Up the Screw Gun
If you want the screws to be flush in the drywall, you will need to set the driver bit to sit proud of the nose by 1mm. This ensures that once the correct depth is reached, the clutch disengages the motor.
2. Check the Depth
To check you have the screw set at the correct depth, drive one into a scrap piece of drywall. If it sits flush and there is no damage to the drywall, you are good to go.
3. Brace the Drywall
Ensure that the drywall is secured temporarily and in the correct position. You might get someone to hold it in place, at least until you have driven the first couple of screws.
4. Load the Screw
Place the screw onto the driver bit. Raise the screw gun, so it is level with the drywall, with the tip of the screw resting on the surface. Don’t worry about the screw falling out as most bits are magnetic.
5. Drive the Screw
Press the trigger and gently push the screw against the surface of the drywall until it bites. At this point, the screw will feed itself in. When you have reached the desired depth, the clutch will disengage the motor.
How Deep Should Drywall Screws Go?
Drywall screws should penetrate to a depth of between 0.625 inches to 0.75 inches. The screw should be no less than 0.25 inches from the edge of the drywall sheet. This ensures that there is no cracking or stress on the drywall that might later develop into a crack.
How Often Should You Screw Drywall?
Drywall screws should be installed every 12 inches. If you are fitting a sheet of drywall measuring 48 inches wide, you will have 5 screws in each stud. That equates to 2 on the edges and 3 in the middle.
Do I Need a Pilot Hole for Drywall Screws?
It depends on the screws you are using. If you are using specialist drywall screws, they are threaded all the way to the head and have a straight body. These do not require the drilling of pilot holes.
Other screws are cone-shaped and fatter at the head-end than the tip. Also, the threads don’t run along the entirety of the shaft. If you are using this type of screw, it would be a good idea to drill pilot holes.
Get It Done With a Screw Gun
Screw guns have one task, and that is to drive screws into wood, metal and drywall. They make large projects easy because they take the guesswork out of driving every screw to the correct depth.
The next time you are thinking of fixing some metal framing or hanging drywall, invest in a screw gun, and you will thank your lucky stars you did.