Updated: Oct 12, 2016
Drywall Screwdriver Reviews:
- What is a drywall screw gun?
- Benefits of using a drywall screwdriver gun
- How much do drywall screwguns cost? Which should I buy?
Driving drywall screws by hand is way to tiresome if you have an entire house to do. You can use a drill, but most drywall installation experts recommend using a screw gun, also referred to as a drywall screwdriver. I've seen people try using a regular drill with variable speeds to put in drywall screws and more often than not they end up tearing the drywall paper and ruining it.
The benefit of using a screw gun is that the tool has a clutch and special collar so that when your screw reaches a certain depth, the driving motion from the gun will stop. Almost all craftsman who install drywall for a living own a screw gun for this reason. Beyond drywall, screwdrivers and screwguns are used for framing and decking with wood or steel. The top brands are Milwaukee, Senco, Makita, DeWalt, Bosch, Hitachi, and Porter Cable. Expect to spend at least $60 for the basic models and upwards of $200 for the collated screwdrivers with autofeed systems.
The video below shows the basic functions of the Senco Screw Gun -- DuraSpin Features & Benefits:
Drywall Screwgun Buying Guide
What should you look for in a screw gun? Features to consider are variable speed and reversible motor and autofeed system, adjustable torque settings, RPM and amperage of motor, plastic or metal clutch housing and adjustable clutches. You may find a screw gun also called a decking drill as professional remodelers and contractors use these guns regularly.
The depth gauge (or cone) is the key feature to many - once the screw has gone far enough into the drywall, the drilling motion comes to a stop. Screwing the screw to far in will only ruin the paper on the drywall. A screw gun will allow you to accurately and quickly put up drywall in any home/office environment. Corded screw guns are preferred by many drywall installers simply because they are lighter than the cordless models which can cause hand and arm fatigue when working for longer periods of time.
Outdoor decking projects are better suited for the cordless screw guns since you tend to be leaning over the deck and weight is not such a big deal. Not having to worry about a cord and electricity is another plus. The Senco DS275-18 Cordless Collated Screwdriver is a top rated cordless model. A best seller in the corded models is the Milwaukee 6742-20 6.5 Amp Drywall Screwdriver. In terms of reviews, we found several solid tests done by professional contractors.
The best was that done by Toolsofthetrade.net where they tested 8 autofeed screwguns meant for decking and subfloors - some with extensions so there is less bending required and much of the work can be done from a standing position. A strip or coil system is how the screws are fed into the gun. You will find pistol grips are the most common on these tools, but the D-handle and T-bar handles are becoming more popular. Another well informed review was written by Art Wadal of Builder News Magazine - he tested 5 new screw gun models. He says the Makita 6834 Autofeed Screwdriver is lacking in several ways (cross fires, jams, etc) and the Tools of the Trade article confirms several of these complaints. The Senco DuraSpin DS300-AC does a better job, although it is heavier.
Askthebuilder.com has a video demonstration with a few tips on how to use a screw gun on drywall. We found it short and to the point and worth a look for newbies. We were hoping to find ratings from trusted Consumer Reports, but they haven't done reviews on drywall screwdrivers that we could fine. You can browse the best selling screw guns online here.
Best Drywall Screwdriver:
RECOMMENDED - After reading reviews on all types of screw guns, we think the Milwaukee 6740-20 6.5 Amp Screwdriver is a good buy. At just over $100 it won't break your bank and it works on applications like drywall hanging, decking, and framing. The 6.5 amp motor is more than powerful enough with a variable speed control that takes you from 0 to 2500 rpm. Owners say depth adjustments are easy with the Ramp-off depth locator. The grip is ergonomically shaped and the 2 finger trigger is comfortable - even after a long day of work.
The 6740-20 comes with 48-32-1040 #2 drywall bit tip, 48-32-3065 magnetic bit tip holder, 42-70-5280 belt clip, and 49-26-1036 depth locator assembly. At under 4 pounds in weight, it's light and has good balance. Another option is the cheaper Milwaukee 6742-20 6.5 Amp Drywall Screwdriver which works great on assembly, flooring, drywall, fencing, roofing, and decks. Features a Snap action clutch, Quik-Lok double insulated cord, and consumers say "it's easy to use and comfortable in your hand". See all the top rated drywall screw guns here.
To check out how to use a drywall screw gun - click the image below to go to video.
RECOMMENDED - The Senco 1R0004N DS200-AC Duraspin 3300 RPM Collated Screwdriver is a reputable tool that can drive screws from 1 to 2 inches into the hardest of wood. Comes with both a drywall and wood nosepiece. Owners say the trigger lock with reverse makes for quick work of any project. Another top seller is the Senco DS300-S2 - probably best described by Michael Davis (owner of Framing Square, Inc.) as "a versatile, high-quality screwgun, small enough to use one-handed running wall sheathing, but with extension in place has the power to be a dependable standup subflooring tool.
It feeds a full range of screw sizes, converts easily, felt great in my hands, and shot screws quickly and accurately". Worth mentioning is the Makita 6844 Autofeed Screwdriver - although some experts didn't put this one up with their "top picks", we couldn't help but notice the positive comments coming from actual owners on Amazon in the product review area. The D-handle gives the operator great control and the adjustable stopper base lets you handle different length screws without a problem.
Top Rated Screw Gun:
RECOMMENDED - In several head to head reviews we read, the Dewalt screwguns were not first, but certainly in the top 3 for overall performance. The DeWalt DW272 Heavy-Duty 6.3 Amp Drywall Screwdriver. It's funny how DeWalt calls all their products "heavy duty" in the descriptions but this one proves it's worth with owners calling it "durable" and "a great little performer". The nosepiece offers a "set and forget" depth collar for consistent performance and at 3.1 pounds it's the lightest model in our "top picks". The 6.3 amp motor offers no load speed from 0 to 4000 rpm and it also features a standard clutch.
More videos and resources are here on our Drywall Screw Gun Resource Page.
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