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Electric Screwdriver vs. Drill: What’s the Difference?

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Electric screwdrivers and drills are both essential and versatile. And although they look similar, these power tools differ in several ways. So, what is the main difference between an electric screwdriver and a drill?

Electric screwdrivers are fitted with small motors and are better suited for lighter jobs. Electric drills, on the other hand, feature large, powerful motors that are designed for handling heavy-duty tasks. Also, electric drills have adjustable chucks that can accommodate different sizes of drill bits, while most electric screwdrivers only accept 6.35 mm bits.

However, most people often use electric screwdrivers and drills interchangeably, especially when tackling DIY projects. If you have both tools in your toolkit, it’s about time you learnt how they differ and how best you can use them to get the results that you need.

Click these links to read more about the best cordless electric screwdrivers and drills that you can buy in Australia.

What is an Electric Screwdriver?

In a nutshell, an electric screwdriver is a portable power tool that allows for easy tightening and loosening of fasteners. To use an electric screwdriver, ensure that you attach a bit driver that corresponds to the type of screw that you are working with.

These tools have ergonomically designed handles for user comfort. The grip points are also textured to prevent slippage when handling the tool. Cordless electric screwdrivers come in different sizes and also vary in terms of performance, so you need to pick a model that matches the task description.

The fact that they are cordless means they draw their power from rechargeable batteries, making them even more convenient. You can also go for the corded models if you don’t prefer cordless units. Plus, electric screwdrivers are more efficient compared to regular screwdrivers.

What is an Electric Drill/Power Drill?

An electric drill, also known as a power drill, is a handheld power tool that is used for creating holes in workpieces and surfaces. Depending on the model that you are using, you can effortlessly drill holes in metal, plastic, concrete, wood, just to mention but a few.

Most cordless electric drills come with large-capacity rechargeable batteries that offer longer runtimes. Corded drills are equipped with heavy-duty motors that can deliver up to 3,000 revolutions per minute (RPM). This may however vary from one drill to another. A good number of cordless drills operate at 2,000RPM.

Differences between an Electric Screwdriver and a Drill

As mentioned at the beginning of the article, electric drills are more powerful than electric screwdrivers. When used with caution, most electric drills can work as a screwdriver. However, not all screwdrivers can be used for drilling applications.

Bear in mind that an electric drill can easily strip screw heads when used as a screwdriver. And because electric drills have large motors, they are heavier than electric screwdrivers. With this in mind, electric screwdrivers are very easy to work with, thanks to their lightweight design. This makes them ideal for beginners and DIY enthusiasts.

To effectively use an electric drill, you’ll need some level of experience, but an electric screwdriver can be operated by just about anyone. With the help of an electric drill, you can effortlessly power through all your drilling projects. Electric screwdrivers will deliver exceptional results when working on tasks that don’t require a lot of torque.

Since the high-performance motors on electric drills require more power, these units run on 12V-24V batteries, while electric screwdrivers only need 4V-10V batteries to operate efficiently.

When it comes to pricing, electric drills are more expensive compared to electric screwdrivers. On the bright side, electric drills are more versatile than electric screwdrivers.

It must be mentioned that cordless drills require more maintenance and care.

Where to Use an Electric Screwdriver vs. Drill

Electric screwdrivers are primarily designed for screwing and unscrewing fasteners. You can use them when hanging picture frames and other small items around your home. They can also prove helpful when handling crafts and cabinetry projects or when assembling furniture.

Electric drills deliver high torque and can easily drill holes in a range of materials. They can also be used for fastening applications. That said, you can use them for loosening or tightening screws. With the right attachment, you can as well use an electric drill for sanding and installing nuts. A drill can also be used for hanging drywall.


When choosing between an electric screwdriver and a drill, you should consider the task at hand. If you are after versatility, it would be wise to pick an electric drill. However, if you plan to only work with screws, an electric screwdriver is the right tool for the job.

You also need to think about the types of materials that you’ll be working with. As discussed, the electric motors on drills deliver more torque than those on electric screwdrivers. This means electric drills can perform tasks at a faster rate.


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