The Best Cordless Screw Guns for Drywall – 2018

If you’re going to be hanging drywall, then you’ll need a cordless screw gun.

Let’s rephrase that actually, you should have a cordless screw gun unless you want to spend countless hours playing with a screwdriver.

A screw gun is pretty much the number one tool you’ll need for installation, ranking right up there with your razor knife and actually having a wall to put the stuff on. If you’re not going to make the investment in one, then you’ll want to go the old fashioned route and use nails.

There’s really not much to it, but some guns are better suited for the task than others, which means that a bit of research beforehand can save you from ending up with something that’s really not worth much while you’re trying to get things done.

Harry , Homethods Author
Harry

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Top 3 Best Cordless Screw Guns for Drywall

DEWALT DCK263D2 20V

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4.9/5 Rating

Forgoing the fact that this set comes with an easily usable drywall cutter as well, you’ll find that the DeWalt screwgun included in this package is top notch. The brushless motor supplies impressive amounts of torque, and the 20V high capacity battery holds plenty of life which will allow you to plow ahead for a long time.

The ergonomic handle is a nice touch, and since it weighs 3.3lbs you’ll find that it’s easy to use for extended periods.

Even better, if you’re not needing the battery for the saw while working, you’ll be able to forge ahead by keeping the quick charging batteries going with the included charger. Of course, it’s unlikely that you’ll need to in a typical day, this screw gun is designed to run all day.

There’s also an LED light which can keep your work lit up in even dim conditions.

It’s a simple tool, however, and lacks some of the more advanced features you’ll find in other screwguns. There’s no clip for the screws, and you’ll be applying your own force to get things flush with the wall.

Some people have also had a problem with the depth adjustment staying put after a couple of days due to the collection of dust under the depth cone. You’ll need to make sure it’s regularly maintained, which you should be doing anyways.

The saw that comes with the set isn’t brushless, but it does perform quite well at 26,000 rpm.

Overall this set is ideal for the home craftsman but isn’t quite what a budding professional is looking for. 

Pros
  • LED worklight
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Set is perfect for a novice
Cons
  • The set is rather expensive
  • The saw isn’t quite as advanced as the screw gun. 

Makita XSF03Z 18V

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4.8/5 Rating

The Makita XSF03Z is a great example of everything a dedicated screw gun can be. The 18V battery runs at 4.0Ah which means you’ll be able to use it all day and the brushless motor keeps the motor cool and ensures that it’ll enjoy a fantastic, long life in your tool box.

In addition to that it has a well-designed handle and weighs only 3.8lbs with the battery in. Not only will the battery be able to run all day, you’ll be able to do it without getting tired.

In addition to the great build-quality, you’ll find that the Push Drive lock-on mode is great for getting the job done. When used, it will “lock” the gun into run mode, but only when the fastener is actually engaged so it won’t keep running between screws.

The battery charges in 40 minutes, making it one of the quickest charging options on the market and minimizing down time if you do happen to run out its enormous capacity.

The only issue here is that you’ll have to buy the battery and charger separately.

The XSF03Z is a great option for those who want the absolute best basic screw gun they can find. 

Pros
  • Very light
  • Push-Drive
  • Quick charging
Cons
  • Bare tool
  • No case

Senco DS215-18V 2″ 18v

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4.8/5 Rating

Not all of us can settle for something basic, and the Senco DS215 is a great example of what a screw gun really can be. It’s an auto feeding screw gun that will make heads turn even among experienced craftsmen.

It comes in a set with two batteries and a charger which should keep even the most hyper home DIYer busy, and even has a quick slide bit change mechanism that will allow you to change things out on the fly if you happen to break a bit.

Of course, it does weigh a bit more with all of that advanced technology packed in there, but at 5.3lbs it’s still not going to kill your wrists and hands.

The depth adjustment is tools-free as well, making sure that you’ll be able to get just the right fit every time, and the clip runs along the outside of the gun which keeps things out of the way while you’re at work.

Overall, you’ll find this gun is one of the most convenient auto-feeding guns around, making it great even for the amateur. 

Pros
  • Auto-feed mechanism
  • Simple to use
  • Comes with everything you need
Cons
  • A bit pricey
  • Still more complex than a standard screw gun
ProductType of GunExtrasRating 
Dewalt DCK263D2 20V SetStandard Screw GunSet comes with charger, batteries, and a drywall saw4.9
Dewalt DCF620BStandard Screw GunNone, requires battery and charger4.8
Makita XSF032 18V LXTStandard Screw GunNone, requires battery and charger4.8
Bosch SGH182BL Brushless 18VStandard Screw GunBox and tray, requires battery and charger4.6
Senco DS215-18V 5000RPM Autofeeding Screw GunBattery, charger, and clip4.6

What is a Cordless Screw Gun?

A screw gun is generally a pistol shaped tool with a trigger that will cause an electric motor to spin, usually powered by a lithium ion battery.

They’re easy to use, even if you’re the type that really hasn’t picked up a power tool before. The only thing that usually isn’t super intuitive is the directional control that will determine if the motor is spinning clockwise or counter-clockwise. This can easily be figured out, and on most models will consist of a switch just above the trigger for easy, one handed access.

The best thing about using a cordless gun is right there in the name, there’s no cord to trip over and you won’t have to search out an outlet. They can supply a surprising amount of torque and power with just the provided battery, and functionally there’s no real difference in usage unlike a lot of power tools.

What Are the Different Types of Screw Gun Available?

There’s a bewildering variety of specialized screw guns on the market today, advances in technology and engineering have made them able to do just about anything that you can think of.

The main differentiation that’s apparent to most people is the power source. While some might complain that cordless guns don’t have “enough power”, you aren’t ever going to have an issue with one while you’re dealing with drywall and wood. Corded guns have their place, but simply aren’t necessary for working with sheetrock.

Autofeed screw guns are rather handy if you find yourself needing to zip up a whole wall but the extra functionality comes at a higher price tag. With one of these guns you’ll load a “clip” in the front end which will allow you to quickly and easily access the next screw without having to dig in the box.

They can also be a bit harder to get into tight areas, and a lot of amateurs will find them quite unwieldy until they get used to the changed dimensions and weight distribution of the gun if they’ve used any other type before.

Collated screw guns are massively powerful, able to drive much further than a normal screw gun. With proper drywall screws and a direct line of entry perpendicular to the face of the sheetrock the extra power isn’t necessary since they’ll go in flush anyways but they have the potential to make things easier for the amateur.

Of course, it’s just potential, collated screw guns can be a bit touchy but they’re not exceptionally hard to use as far as tools go. While they’ll allow an experienced craftsman to make short work of hanging a panel of sheetrock, they can also cause a lot of problems for a novice who isn’t quite sure when to let off.

Get the angle a bit off and even the best of them will readily jam.

If you’re just starting out and decide to invest in a collated gun, get some practice with it before you get to the walls themselves.

What are the Advantages of Having a Screw Gun for Drywall?

Do you like twisting things for hours and hours? Bending nails or destroying panels with a near miss with a hammer? If you like your life to be as hard as possible, then you absolutely should not buy a screw gun.

If, on the other hand, you prefer to do things easily, accurately, and quickly then you need a screw gun. It’s pretty simple, the alternative is to use nails, which have their own host of problems, or spend several minutes on each individual screw in a panel which can add up to over an hour per panel versus the five minutes or so it takes with a good cordless gun.

If you pick one with a chuck, you’ll also find that you can use it with drill bits quite easily. While not essential for every task involving drywall, you’ll quickly find that being able to drill pilot holes while hanging or drill out old anchors makes your life a whole lot easier.

The only reason to not have one around the house is if you’re absolutely terrified of making your projects a ton easier. If that’s the case, we recommend hiring a professional.

Since he’ll bring his own.

Features to Compare

The main difference in screw guns is almost always going to come down to two things: longevity of the motor and ergonomics. While battery life used to be a heavy consideration, most lithium ion batteries will charge extremely quickly and if you’re working in the field instead of just in your home, chances are you’ll have a back-up on the charger as soon as you’re done unloading at the job site.

For the amateur there’s only one main thing to consider: weight and ergonomics. If you’re not used to using a screw gun. Then you’re going to kill your wrists and hands if you just decide to purchase an expensive, fancy screw gun made for heavy-duty, all day use. What you need is something lightweight and comfortable. Battery life is a second consideration, just to save you some frustration.

Trust us, a heavy, super powerful, collated gun with an auto-feed is going to end up taking longer than a simple, lightweight tool that you can use all day.

Of course, if you’re already inclined towards tool use there’s a bewildering array of technical specifications you’ll be tempted to take into account. We’ll run them down in just a moment, but keep this in mind: any screw gun will work fine for drywall and wood. Any of them. They’re soft materials and you want something easy to use.

If you’re intent on digging into the technical specifications some of the following should be kept in mind:

  • Motor Type- Brushless motors will last pretty much indefinitely since less friction will be applied inside the gun. They’re also quite expensive, but you’ll have a tool that will last you a lifetime if you choose wisely.
  • Retractable Clips- With guns with an autofeed mechanism, it can be quite handy to be able to remove or pull the clip back in order to save yourself some room in close quarters like inside corners.
  • Variable Speed with Soft Start- While variable speed is useful in a lot of tools, it’s not quite as useful when it comes to drywall since the material will be one consistency the whole time and the gun should be designed for it. What is useful is a “soft start” which means that the gun will rapidly accelerate the motor instead of just turning it on full blast. This extends the motor life and can prevent accidents if you just bump the trigger on something.
  • Depth Adjustment- Depth adjustment is quite useful if you’re having trouble getting the screw heads flush with the drywall. It’s really the only mechanical thing you should be messing with on the gun for the most part.
  • Bit Replacement– Bit replacement can be a pain depending on the type of gun you’re using, and it’s important to make sure that you can easily replace it in case anything happens to it. There’s a variety of different mechanisms, some easier to use and some harder.

Keeping the above in mind, along with the weight and comfort of the gun itself, will get you on the right track to picking out the perfect screw gun for your own use.

In order of importance, the things to compare are:

  • Comfort
  • Battery Life
  • Technical Specifications

Follow those guidelines and you’re well on your way to mastering the art of installing drywall.

References

  1. http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/tools/reviews/a3793/4292657/
  2. http://www.doityourself.com/stry/4-types-of-screw-guns-explained
  3. http://www.galttech.com/research/household-DIY-tools/best-drywall-screwdriver-screw-gun.php