November 30, 2022

Power Tools Showdown: Drill vs Electric Screwdriver

Drill vs Electric Screwdriver

Do you need to drive screws into a hard surface? If so, which power tool is better suited for the job – a drill or an electric screwdriver? This article will compare the two tools and help you decide which is better for you. Both drills and electric screwdrivers have pros and cons, but which is the best choice for your needs? Keep reading to find out!

Characteristics of a drill

A drill is a tool for drilling holes and driving screws instead of hammering them. It is more of a power-based tool rather than a speed-based tool. It helps in functions like driving a screw or drilling a hole. Unlike an electric screwdriver, it will not fulfil a variety of other speed-based functions compared to a drill.  A drill has its output power parallel to the drive shaft. 

They are for miniature applications, and there are many drills: some are powered manually, and others use electricity or compressed air as the motive power. When it comes to torque, the drill machine makes more rotational power. Every drill has a power source powered by a cord or battery pack. The power source will be on the butt of the grip.

A drill makes enough power to uphold the rotation of the spindle while facing resistance. The tool rotation of the spindle will not slow down, and the motor remains cool. Higher amperage helps the Drill motor stay cool, and not overheat over an undefined time. The cordless drills can use 4 – 8 AMPs of constant power. Drills make use of more electricity at any time and indicate a more powerful tool.  

RPMs measure how many times the spindle turns a full rotation in a minute (Wjec.co.uk). The drill has a low RPM rate, with an rpm ranging from 400 to 2000 RPMs. A drill has an angle. It has a 90-degree angle between the handle and the bit, making the force towards the task easier. The strength of the drill machine is that it produces large amounts of power and torque to drill holes and fasten screws.

The chuck is where you insert and fasten your drill bit. Newer technology does not use chuck keys since it can receive bits without the help of any tool. The trigger will activate the drill. It is at the top of the handle in a similar location to that on a toy gun.

Some drills feature a variable speed trigger, which allows you to control how fast the bit spins by how hard you squeeze it. It is a feature for tackling a range of projects, but simpler drills often will not be capable of doing it.

Characteristics of an electric screwdriver

An electric screwdriver is there to drive the screw. Other models offer the same pistol-grip handle as a drill. Others are barrel-shaped, whilst others feature handles that swivel into either position. An electric screwdriver has a slotted drive shaft (SDS) chuck that accepts only driver bits with hexagonal shafts.

Modern electric screwdrivers have rechargeable batteries. The battery may be installed and chargeable through a wall outlet, or removable and chargeable via a separate station. The battery voltage, which regulates driving torque and rotational speed, runs from four to 10 volts. Battery capacity, measured in amp-hours is around 1.5 Ah.

When choosing the right electric screwdriver, consider what you will use it. Define the screwdriver’s frequency of use. If it needs use all day, a corded model might be better. If it only needs to be used 2 or 3 hours a day, a cordless model might be ideal but keep an extra battery and a charger close by. Pay attention to the screwdriver’s efficiency, if it needs higher usage.

Also, pay attention to the tightening torque. A high tightening torque means a strong screwing force. The higher the tightening torque, the easier screwing will be, even in hard material. The tightening torque determines the power of the screwdriver. That power depends on the motor and varies between 450 and 705 watts. 

You get a higher supply voltage if an external transformer powers the electric screwdriver. That is the power the screwdriver will be. For cordless electric screwdrivers, the power is linked to the battery voltage, ranging from 3.6 volts (V) to 18V. For cordless electric screwdrivers, a high voltage allows for longer battery life and avoids having to recharge the batteries too often. Electric screwdrivers are called impact electric screwdrivers for intensive screwing/unscrewing.

The rotation speed is essential if you use your electric screwdriver regularly. Corded electric screwdrivers have a higher rotation speed than cordless ones (Nitto-kohki-eu). Electric screwdrivers have one rotation speed. For corded electric screwdrivers, this is between 3,000 and 6,000 rpm (rotations per minute), and for cordless electric screwdrivers between 180 and 450 rpm. For impact electric screwdrivers, the speed is in counts per minute: between 3,000 and 50,000 cps/min.

Can I use a screwdriver instead of a drill?

You can use an electric screwdriver to drill a hole, but only if the tip is small enough. Drilling with an electric screwdriver is not ideal because they are not made for that function and will overheat quickly. If you must use an electric screwdriver to drill a hole, keep it moving and use short bursts. Using an electric screwdriver as a drill is not recommended because it can damage the tool. I would not recommend using a drill instead of an electric screwdriver, either. You can, but it will not work as well because it is not made for that function either. A drill is made to drill holes, and an electric screwdriver is made to drive screws.

Can you drill with an electric screwdriver?

Yes, you can use an electric screwdriver to drill a hole, but only if the tip is small enough. Drilling with an electric screwdriver is not ideal because they are not made for that function and will overheat quickly. If you must use an electric screwdriver to drill a hole, keep it moving and use short bursts. This is ideal for drilling small pilot holes in wood, aluminum, and other soft metals.

Differences between drill and electric screwdriver

  • Electric screwdrivers are more affordable than drills. 
  • An electric screwdriver is less versatile than a cordless drill.
  • An electric screwdriver can drive screws in tight spaces where a drill cannot fit. Its size also makes it easier to store.
  • An electric screwdriver can drive screws into soft wood without sinking the heads deep enough to split it.
  • An electric screwdriver is easier to hold and operate an electric screwdriver.
  • Drills accept hexagonal sockets to drive hex-head bolts, which an electric screwdriver cannot do. You can also use it to bore pilot holes for large and small fasteners.
  • Unlike an electric screwdriver, a drill can be a sander, grinder, or paint mixer. 
  • Drills can free stuck screws and bolts and drive screws into dense materials like hardwood and masonry.
  • A drill is versatile for drilling holes, driving fasteners, and polishing, whereas an electric screwdriver is for driving screws.
  • The drill has a chuck for holding the bits, while cordless screwdrivers have hexagonal sockets that accept ¼-inch driver bits. 
  • The electric screwdriver has a torque limiter and runs at a slower speed compared to a drill.

When to use a screwdriver versus a drill

If you have difficult screws to remove, that is when you can use a screwdriver. Screwdrivers work at a lower rpm and become easier to control than a drill. Drills are for polishing, sanding, stirring paint, and even cleaning drains with the right accessories. In general, an electric screwdriver is used for driving screws and a drill is used for drilling holes. An electric screwdriver can also be used to drill holes, but it is not as effective as a drill and can damage the tool. A drill can be used to drive screws, but it is not as effective as an electric screwdriver.

David D. Hughes

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