Cordless screwdriver in the test 2020: Stiftung Warentest winner and recommendations

Image source: Positec Germany


Which cordless screwdriver is the best? Do you need a punch function? What do the different voltages like 10.8V and 18V mean? GIGA has the answers.

If you don’t want to laboriously screw in and out screws by hand with a screwdriver, you need a cordless screwdriver. The devices relieve the manual work and thus save the strength, especially with more complex DIY projects with many screws and holes. The price ranges from around 50 euros for a simple cordless screwdriver for occasional household use to several hundred euros for a professional hammer drill set including accessories. Before buying, you should definitely pay attention to the scope of delivery.

The best cordless screwdrivers: all GIGA recommendations at a glance

Price / performance tip: Bosch Professional GSR 12V-15 FC

Bosch professional cordless screwdriver GSR 12V-15 + accessory set 39 parts

Bosch professional cordless screwdriver GSR 12V-15 + accessory set 39 parts

advantages

  • compact and handy
  • good screw performance

disadvantage

  • Battery life only average

There is a test winner at an affordable price with the Bosch Professional GSR 12V-15 FC. The compactly built device (without a bulky battery stand) won the Stiftung Warentest competition in the “Drill / Driver with 10.8 volt battery” category. The advantages in addition to the class-typical handiness are a good result when screwing and a solid cutting when drilling – not a matter of course for this device class.

The Bosch Professional GSR 12V-15 FC cordless screwdriver is available in different configurations – we recommend the set with a second battery and 39 pieces. Accessory set (25x screwdriver bits, 7x wood drills, 7x metal drills).

Test winner drill / driver: Worx WX175

WORX WX175 cordless drill 20V

WORX WX175 cordless drill 20V

advantages

  • very good at screwing
  • bores well
  • particularly long-lasting battery
  • Replacement battery included

disadvantage

  • Instructions for use only satisfactory

For those who only want the best tool, take it Worx WX175 – Test winner of the Stiftung Warentest in the category “drill / driver with 18 volt battery”. Although the model does not have a hammer mechanism, it does have a powerful and long-lasting 18 volt battery. This can handle more than 160 screwdriving and drilling operations with one battery charge, as the cordless screwdriver test shows. A replacement battery is also included in the set so that work can continue unchecked even when the battery is empty. The battery is charged again within 74 minutes, so that work can go hand in hand. In the test, the Worx WX175 was able to distinguish itself through the very good screwing and drilling – you should only keep your distance from concrete and granite in this device class. The device is not only versatile, but also handy and user-friendly. The instruction manual was only rated as average – most competitors do better.

Impact drill test winner: Dewalt DCD796 D2-QW

Dewalt cordless hammer drill DCD796D2 incl. Accessories

Dewalt cordless hammer drill DCD796D2 incl. Accessories

advantages

  • Versatile: screws, drills and impact drills excellently
  • Good instructions for use

disadvantage

  • Battery life could be a little better

If you want to use your cordless screwdriver not only for screwdriving, but also often for drilling yourself through harder material, you should use a device with a hammer mechanism. In this category, which we will explain in more detail below, the Dewalt DCD796 D2-QW Stand out in the cordless screwdriver test and let yourself be celebrated as test winner (Stiftung Warentest, category “Impact drill with 18 V battery”). This is due to consistently good performance in screwdriving, drilling and hammer drilling, a very high level of versatility, a solid battery and very good durability. There is almost no reason for criticism, which is proven by the final grade of 1.9 (“good”).

Our tip: Order the matching 32-piece bit set at the same time!

Dewalt 32 pcs. Screwdriver bit set DT7969

Dewalt 32 pcs. Screwdriver bit set DT7969

The Dewalt DCD796 D2-QW has also been in continuous use for months in the private household of a GIGA editor. Both the screws on the Ikea shelf and dowel holes that have to be in the masonry: the yellow hammer drill does everything and in many cases can even replace a wired drill. Depending on the type of use, the battery can be empty earlier, so you should definitely use a set with a spare battery when buying. The powerful device from the professional class is a little heavy in the hand with a weight of around 1.7 kg. All in all: clear buy recommendation!

For beginners: Einhell Expert TE-CD 12 Li

Einhell cordless screwdriver TE-CD 12 Li incl. 2 batteries, quick charger and case

Einhell cordless screwdriver TE-CD 12 Li incl. 2 batteries, quick charger and case

advantages

  • attractively priced
  • sufficient power for screwing
  • user friendly

disadvantage

If you want to buy a new cordless screwdriver on a tight budget, you will find it at Einhell. Of the Expert TE-CD 12 Li With a street price of around 60 euros, it is one of the cheapest models from the Stiftung Warentest cordless screwdriver test. Nevertheless, it offers an overall acceptable performance and in the end comes to a rating of 3.7 (“sufficient”). You don’t expect professional performance here, but at least there is a solid entry-level cordless screwdriver for little money, which is also handy and user-friendly. Unfortunately, the device is only equipped with a small battery with 10.8 volts, but after 15 minutes of quick charging it is ready for many screwing operations.

The best cordless screwdrivers: This is how we chose

In our recommendations, we refer, among other things, to the results of the cordless screwdriver test by Stiftung Warentest (edition 02/2019). The renowned test institute took a close look at 22 cordless screwdrivers and put them through their paces. The test procedure used by Stiftung Warentest is explained on the corresponding website; the most important criteria were “function” and “handling”. The results are divided into different device classes, which we will go into in more detail below. Further selection criteria were personal experience and customer ratings from online shops.

Buying a cordless screwdriver: You should know that before buying

What types of cordless screwdrivers are there?

The first difference there is with cordless screwdrivers: Can you also drill or just screw? The simplest types of devices are pure cordless screwdriversthat cannot drill and are sometimes also called “mini screwdrivers”. They are equipped with a magnetic bit holder with a hexagonal socket into which the bits are inserted. These devices are sufficient for households in which a few screws only need to be screwed in occasionally. The battery is usually permanently installed and can only be charged on the device. On the other hand, the devices are particularly compact and light, which makes working less difficult and is also practical for difficult-to-reach bottlenecks.

Bosch IXO cordless screwdriver (5th generation)

Bosch IXO cordless screwdriver (5th generation)

For another, there is Cordless drill. These devices not only screw in and screw out screws, but also drill holes. Since, thanks to the drill chuck, they can take bits as well as bits for screwing, they replace a drill to a certain extent, even if they ultimately have more power. Cordless drills usually have two gears – a slow one for screwing and a faster one for drilling. In addition, the torque can often be adjusted. In the case of cordless drills, a distinction is also made between models with and without hammer mechanism. The models without impact can easily drill into softer material such as plasterboard or aerated concrete. In the case of harder surfaces such as masonry, concrete, granite and the like, however, a Cordless drill with impact function the right choice.

Dewalt combination drill set, 23 pieces (masonry, wood, metal)

Dewalt combination drill set, 23 pieces (masonry, wood, metal)

Another classification can be made on the basis of the battery voltage. We will go into this in more detail below.

Buying a cordless screwdriver: What do I have to look out for when buying?

If the models from the cordless screwdriver test presented above did not come with the right device, the trade offers many other models. However, nobody should blindly buy the next best offer. The following criteria are important when buying a new cordless screwdriver.

  • Performance data: The stronger the cordless screwdriver, the easier it is to tighten even stubborn screws or drill holes. The decisive performance data are the battery voltage (more information below), the idling speed and the maximum torque.
  • Battery life: the longer you can work with a battery in one go, the better. In an emergency, however, a replacement battery can also be used, which is included in the scope of delivery of many high-quality sets.
  • Weight and handiness: the heavier a cordless screwdriver, the more strenuous it is to work with it for longer periods. The more compact the device, the more versatile it can be used, even in confined areas.
  • Supplied accessories: In addition to the replacement battery already discussed, a set of bits is usually included in the scope of delivery. The decisive factor here is how many different essays are included. Cordless drills often come with a couple of drills. More information on accessories can be found further down on this page.

What do the specified voltages relate to (e.g. 3.6 V / 10.8 V / 18 V) and what do they do?

Manufacturers such as Bosch and Makita usually offer different battery systems with different voltages. The batteries of a system can then usually be switched back and forth between different devices, i.e. they can also be used for other tools. In addition to the design, the voltage of the battery is decisive.

The stronger the battery of a cordless screwdriver, the more power it has at work, so it can also screw in or loosen harder-moving screws and drill into harder materials. In addition, the devices with a “large” 18 volt battery also have more stamina. This means that you can do more work before you have to put the battery back on the charger. This is particularly useful when there are many screws and holes in a row. However, many cordless screwdrivers also have an exchangeable battery in the scope of delivery. Alternatively, these can be purchased separately. Theoretically, working hours can also be extended indefinitely by simply purchasing several batteries to change.

The following voltages are common for cordless screwdriver models:

  • 3.6 to 9.6 volts for light screwing work
  • 9.6 to 14.4 volts are all-rounders for screwing and drilling, suitable for do-it-yourselfers
  • 18 volts and more are durable and powerful devices that are also suitable for professionals

What is the punch function and do i need it?

A cordless screwdriver with an impact function is comparable to a small drill. With these devices, the hole is not only drilled by the rotating movement of the drill, but also by a back and forth movement of the hammer mechanism. This is particularly advantageous on hard surfaces such as concrete, stone and other materials. This is where cordless screwdrivers with a drilling function quickly reach their limits, but without impact. However, even the cordless drills with impact function usually cannot replace large and powerful drills or even a professional-grade rotary hammer. These devices offer even more power in the end when the going gets tough.

Accessories for the cordless screwdriver: What is necessary and useful?

Many manufacturers already include a number of accessories with the devices. If necessary, additional accessories can also be purchased separately. In the following we will go into which accessories make sense and which additional purchases can perhaps be saved.

Do I need a drill chuck / bit assortment?

A bit assortment is essential for working with a drill / driver. This should either be included in the scope of delivery of the selected model or purchased separately – unless one already exists in the household. The common bits include slotted and cross bits in different sizes, so that the common screws can be screwed in and out. But also Torx (star-shaped bits) and other variants are quite practical, especially if the device is to be versatile. If these are not part of the basic equipment, they can easily be purchased later as accessories:

Wera bit assortment, 61 pieces

Wera bit assortment, 61 pieces

A drill chuck and drill should also be included with a cordless drill or purchased separately. The exception is if the device is not to be used for drilling, because z. B. a drill is available. But then a cheaper cordless screwdriver without a drilling function might be sufficient.

Do I need replacement batteries?

Whether a replacement battery is required depends on the planned use of the device. Who z. B. want to build a wooden garden shed with countless screws in one piece, even with the most enduring devices, as a rule, one battery charge will not get by. A forced break for charging the battery is then preprogrammed if there is no replacement battery available.

Bosch Professional 12V system battery GBA 12V 2.0Ah

Bosch Professional 12V system battery GBA 12V 2.0Ah

If you only rarely need the cordless screwdriver and charge the battery regularly, you will usually get there with a battery. This is especially true for high-quality devices with a powerful battery that can easily hold the charge over a longer period of time. Here, at most, an additional battery can be purchased later if one should not be sufficient.

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