The Buyer’s Guide to Screwdrivers

Skill Level: Beginner

If you had only one tool around the house, it would have to be a screwdriver.

A person is connecting the charging cable to the BLACK+DECKER 4V MAX* Cordless Screwdriver.

A well-stocked toolbox needs more than one manual screwdriver, and it should also have at least one power driver for ease of use. Power drivers aren't just convenient, they can also do jobs that manual screwdrivers can't.

Screwdriver Basics

Screwdriver Size

All types of screw heads and screwdrivers come in one of four sizes: No. 0 to No. 4, with 0 being the smallest and 4 the largest. The most common size is No. 2. It's vital to match the size of the screwdriver head or tip to the screw you're trying to turn. If you don't, the screwdriver may slip and strip the screw’s head, making the screw useless and difficult to remove.

The length of the screwdriver shank is another important variable. You can develop more torque with a long shank, but you often need a shorter one to fit inside the space in which you're working. Shank lengths vary from a few inches to more than a foot.

Alkaline Drivers

You don't have to remember to plug in an alkaline screwdriver because it's powered by AA batteries. Choose a low-voltage alkaline driver if your primary needs are to hang the occasional picture or assemble mail-order furniture. Opt for a more robust 6V driver if you plan to use it in the wood shop. A more powerful alkaline driver can handle most of the demanding tasks encountered in woodworking, and it can double as a drill, simply replace the screwdriver bit with a drill bit.


No single screwdriver does it all, so you may prefer to buy a multi-driver that includes several small interchangeable heads or tips, called bits. A basic multi-driver set usually contains No. 1 and 2 slotted bits, No. 1, 2 and 3 Phillips bits and No. 1 and 2 Robertson bits. You can usually add a torx bit to the set as needed. If you need a hex driver, your best bet is to buy a multi-driver Allen wrench set, which includes sizes from 5/64 to 1/4 inch and/or from 1.5 to 8 millimeters.

Power Drivers

You can use screwdriver bits with any power drill, but a dedicated power screwdriver, such as the BLACK+DECKER® CS3653 3.6V Lithium Rechargeable Screwdriver, is comfortable and easy to use, especially in tight spaces, and it packs all the driving punch you need.

Low-Voltage Rechargeable Drivers

The handy BLACK+DECKER® CS3653 3.6V Lithium Rechargeable Screwdriver can be charged from a micro USB charger and is a convenient utility tool for projects around the house.  Similarly, the BLACK+DECKER® 2.4V Direct-Plug Rechargeable Screwdriver can plug directly into the wall when you need a recharge, sparing you another cord to keep track of. Optional features that you might consider include:

  • Charging Type: Consider whether a wall or USB charger will fit your needs.
  • Adjustable Torque Setting: When you don't need the tool's full driving power, choose a lighter setting to avoid stripping screws or driving them too deeply.
  • Forward/Reverse Indicator: A visual aid lets you know which way the driver is rotating so you don't accidentally drive a screw deeper when you're trying to extract it.
  • Retractable Screw Holder: Avoid dropped screws and work more comfortably with a magnetic holder that positions the screw and keeps it in place while you drive it.
  • Pivoting Head: Rotate the head perpendicular to the handle to fit the BLACK+DECKER® 4V MAX* Lithium Pivot Screwdriver with Accessories  into ultra-tight spaces.
  • Gyroscopic Motion Control: Change the speed and direction of rotation of the driver bit with a flick of your wrist.

Impact Screwdrivers

The toughest jobs, such as driving long screws into hardwood, take extra power. An 8V impact screwdriver provides the torque you need for these jobs. It operates at 10 times the speed of other screwdrivers and develops twice the torque. If you need to free a rusted screw or assemble machinery, this is your tool.