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Many people mix up between a screw gun vs. drill vs. impact driver due to their similar appearances. While the last two can be used for the same purpose with minor variations, the first one is quite distinct.

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Milwaukee 2866-20 M18 Screw Gun
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DEWALT 20V MAX XR Impact Driver
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Milwaukee 2866-20 M18 FUEL Drywall Screw Gun (Bare Tool Only)
BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX* POWERECONNECT Cordless Drill/Driver + 30 pc. Kit (LD120VA)
DEWALT 20V MAX XR Impact Driver, Brushless, 3-Speed, 1/4-Inch, Tool Only (DCF887B)
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Description
Milwaukee 2866-20 M18 Screw Gun
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Milwaukee 2866-20 M18 FUEL Drywall Screw Gun (Bare Tool Only)
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Reviews
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Best Pricing
Description
BLACK+DECKER Cordless Drill/Driver
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BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX* POWERECONNECT Cordless Drill/Driver + 30 pc. Kit (LD120VA)
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Reviews
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Best Pricing
Runner Up
Description
DEWALT 20V MAX XR Impact Driver
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DEWALT 20V MAX XR Impact Driver, Brushless, 3-Speed, 1/4-Inch, Tool Only (DCF887B)
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Best Pricing

Isn’t it like a screwdriver bit on a drill? What’s the point of having it? As an alternative, is it possible to work with a drill?

As a matter of fact, a screw gun is its own entity.

It’s neither an electric screwdriver nor a drill. Let’s look deeper into what distinguishes a screw gun.

We’ll also go through what each tool is good for, when to purchase a screw gun, and if a conventional drill can be transformed into a screw gun in the sections below.

What Is A Screw Gun?

screw gun resembles a cross between an electric screwdriver and a drill.

Though it resembles a drill in some ways, it has functions and elements that are slightly different. Similar to how nail guns feed nails, certain screw guns automatically add screws using a clip.

Instead of a chuck, a screw gun comes with a “nose,” and most noses can be changed to adjust the drive depth, which is particularly useful when installing drywall.

A screw gun allows you to precisely control the depth of each screw and ensure a uniform drive. A detachable 6mm (1/4-inch) shank bit called a tip is held in the nose.

Since drywall’s surface has a paper covering, pushing the screw too far can be damaging. A minor tear may not seem like a big problem, but since the surface integrity is compromised, it could cause issues in the future.

It is possible to get the required depth with a screw gun and achieve consistent drives with each screw.

Impact Drivers And Drills

power drill is a tool that uses an electric motor to operate a drill bit and drill a hole in metal, plastic, or wood.

A power drill has a handle, an off/on trigger having a safety latch, a switch for reversing the direction of rotation, a knob for adjusting torque, and a chuck for holding the drill bit.

An impact driver is a tool with high torque that can be used for installing screws as well as tightening nuts. It works in a similar way as an impact wrench.

Differences Between Screw Gun vs. Drill vs. Impact Driver

Drills are designed to make holes, whereas screw guns are meant to drive screws. Impact drivers are used for drilling holes as well as installing screws and tightening nuts.

All three have a similar appearance and operate in a similar manner. However, there are a few distinctions.

Screw Gun

Screw guns are able to feed screws automatically, making them suitable for drywall installation or other purposes requiring a large number of screws of the same size. Although certain drills can use a screwdriver bit, this isn’t the greatest method for drywall work.

Drill

Drills have lower RPMs compared to screw guns, in part because you don’t need the bit to rotate as rapidly with the fitting drill bit and torque.

While certain screw gun versions function as drills, they are not quite versatile like drills. If you have to drill, it’s better to avoid them and purchase a proper drill.

A drill is far more versatile in comparison to a screw gun, and you can change out the bit to suit the drill for another application.

For example, a drill can be used to drive Phillips and flathead screws, loosen and tighten bolts and nuts, drill large and small holes, and even stir paint with the appropriate attachment for the tool.

Impact Driver

Unlike the other two tools, the chuck of an impact driver only accepts a 1/4-inch (6 mm) hex shank bit.

Impact drivers are often smaller and lighter, but they lack the versatility of drills. They can do many of the same jobs as a traditional drill, and because of their higher torque output, they can complete tasks faster.

Impact drivers possess the same spinning motion as power drills, but they additionally have a pounding action that hammers down as well as sideways.

This helps with driving screws into difficult materials and prevents the slipping of the drive bit from the screw head. As a result, it is less likely to strip screws.

Uses Of A Screw Gun

While a drill, impact driver, and screw gun are different, a drill or impact driver is versatile and can do drilling, screw installation, and a range of other jobs.

Most drills have numerous clutch settings, allowing you to drill at a slower speed with more torque or at a faster speed with less torque. This allows you to perform a wide range of tasks while maintaining control.

Impact drivers are suitable for removing tough screws and bolts. Corroded or over-torqued fasteners are easier to remove with the pounding action.

A screw gun may be your best bet for installing a drywall and driving multiple screws of the same size with consistency.

This is a drywall-specific tool, and the ability to feed screws automatically allows you to work swiftly and effectively without having to stop to add more screws.

The screw gun also features depth control, ensuring that every drive is uniform.

Cordless vs. Corded Screw Guns

The weight, easier use in difficult-to-reach areas, and portability are the key differences between a cordless and corded screw gun.

A corded screw gun is preferred by some contractors because it is lighter. You must consider battery weight when using a cordless version, as with any cordless device.

That being said, corded screw guns have a set of limitations. The cord will limit your mobility because of where it is plugged in. You’ll have to work around the area, which can be inconvenient at times.

For either option, power isn’t an issue.

Can A Drill Be Used As A Screw Gun?

drill may be converted to a screw gun.

Rather than purchasing a screw gun, a dimpling bit could be inserted into the chuck. However due to the slow speed of the drill, it will significantly slow down your work.

The ideal tool for the work is usually the one designed for it. Therefore, if you need to drive many screws, consider investing in a screw gun.

If you are planning to use the drill to drive screws, adjust it to the setting for screws.

Maintaining a slower speed allows you to have the best control when driving screws. This is particularly applicable if you’re a newbie or working with Phillips head bits.

These bits don’t lock into the screw head as effectively as other bits types and are prone to slip out.

Benefits And Drawbacks Of Screw Gun

So, is it a good idea to invest in a screw gun? The answer would depend on your needs. Here are some benefits and drawbacks to keep in mind.

Benefits

  • Suitable for installation of drywall
  • Depth management ensures drive consistency at the required depth each time.
  • Some versions may also work well as drills, adding to their versatility.
  • In general, the price of the tool is reasonable.

Drawbacks

  • Aside from the installation of drywall, it has a limited application.
  • It is not intended to drill holes.
  • And versions that are compatible with drill bits aren’t as good as a real drill.

Conclusion

We hope you now understand more about the differences between a screw gun vs. drill vs. impact driver. They are, after all, some of the most common power tools, both among professionals, as well as homeowners, and amateurs.

Although there’s some overlap, a screw gun and a drill aren’t the same things. These tools are not interchangeable either.

screw gun is used to insert screws, while a drill is used to bore holes. To ensure that the job is completed effectively, you must use the appropriate tool.

Screw guns are specialized tools used mostly by drywall contractors. It’s not the best choice for tightening bolts and nuts or drilling holes. It is, nevertheless, ideal for driving a large number of screws fast and with consistency.

Having said that, you’ll almost certainly need an impact driver or a drill in most circumstances.

By Robin M


Robin remains an active participant in the skilled trades community. His hands-on involvement in projects, coupled with a genuine enthusiasm for helping others succeed in their home improvement pursuits, reflects his commitment to empowering readers with the knowledge they need to tackle projects confidently.

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