How to read electric screwdriver specifications

When you ask someone for recommendations about what tools to put in your home toolbox, an electric screwdriver should always be one of the answers, no matter who you ask. It is just incredible how handy this relatively small tool is.

There are plenty of opportunities to use it. Are you assembling furniture? Great, use an electric screwdriver instead of a manual one and do the job five times faster. Constructing a new deck for your house? An electric screwdriver will save you some time and won’t strain your hand at all. Every job requiring a screwdriver can be done more efficiently if you have an electric screwdriver on your hands. Another great plus is that it allows people with lower arm strength to do their own simple repairs themselves without having to call for help.

But how to find out which electric screwdriver is for you? Many different specifications appear in each model’s description and here we will go over some of the main ones.


This one is pretty self-explanatory. Corded electric screwdrivers need to be plugged into the wall to work while cordless run on batteries that have to be charged beforehand. Cordless might seem like a better option – they can be used anywhere and are often more lightweight. But corded electric screwdrivers tend to be much more powerful. So it all depends on what kind of work you are planning on doing.


Speed indicates how fast the screwdriver head rotates when turned on. It is measured by RPM (Rotations Per Minute). The faster it rotates, the easier it will be for the screwdriver to drill into different materials. The manufacturer usually specifies the ‘no load speed’, meaning the RPM of a screwdriver that isn’t screwing in anything at the moment. So if you see Electric Screwdriver No Load 500 RPM then that screwdriver will be perfect for simple jobs that don’t require much strength. If you need the tool for heavier jobs, then search for something with a higher RPM, such as Electric Screwdriver No Load 4000 RPM. Most screwdrivers operate with one speed only but there are some models that have adjustable speed.

Size and Weight

These specifications matter immensely if you are planning on using the screwdriver daily or for a long span of time. You need to be able to use it without waking up the next morning with pain in your shoulder or wrist so check the weight before you purchase an electric screwdriver. Also, check the size to make sure that you will be able to fit your new tool into your toolbox or the workshop. Electric screwdrivers are not large tools but still, some models, especially corded ones, resemble a drill rather than a manual screwdriver.

It is a good idea to drive up to any home improvement store and see how different models fit in your hands. If you have rather short fingers, a smaller screwdriver might be better. You don’t have to buy it right there but you should try to gauge what weight and size will be good for you so that you know what to look for later when e.g. shopping online.