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:
- Battery Life
- Technical Specifications
Follow those guidelines and you’re well on your way to mastering the art of installing drywall.