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This $18 Tool Is the October Prime Day Power Play Every Homeowner Needs

I liked the Skil cordless power screwdriver so much I bought it twice.

David Katzmaier Editorial Director -- Personal Tech
David reviews TVs and leads the Personal Tech team at CNET, covering mobile, software, computing, streaming and home entertainment. We provide helpful, expert reviews, advice and videos on what gadget or service to buy and how to get the most out of it.
Expertise A 20-year CNET veteran, David has been reviewing TVs since the days of CRT, rear-projection and plasma. Prior to CNET he worked at Sound & Vision magazine and eTown.com. He is known to two people on Twitter as the Cormac McCarthy of consumer electronics. Credentials
  • Although still awaiting his Oscar for Best Picture Reviewer, David does hold certifications from the Imaging Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology on display calibration and evaluation.
David Katzmaier
2 min read

This Skil serves as my daily driver assembling stands and mounts in CNET's TV lab.

David Katzmaier/CNET

I own as healthy a selection of tools as do most dads my age, and one of my favorites is this power screwdriver. Over the last year since buying and using it, primarily to assemble and take apart TV stands and VESA mounts in CNET's TV lab, it's been perfect. Now that it's on sale for October Prime Day, I bought another one for home.

What sets this one apart? First off, the design is great. To activate the motor to turn the screw you rotate a little dial clockwise or counterclockwise depending on whether you want to loosen or tighten the screw. It's super intuitive, just like a manual twist-your-wrist screwdriver. I've used cordless power screwdrivers with fixed handles and one with a handle that rotates from straight to a right angle, but I prefer the fixed straight design.

It charges via USB so I don't have to worry about losing a proprietary charger. The charge lasts seemingly forever with the relatively infrequent use I'm betting most casual homeowners put these kinds of tools through. It locks the bits in and comes with a basic set, including that crucial magnetic extender (Amazon's page has one picture with a nice case and a lot more bits, but that's misleading -- this model only comes with a basic bit holder, eight bits, a drill bit and magnetic extender). And there's a light, which is one of the main reasons I reach for a device like this instead of a manual one.

On the other hand, don't expect this thing to drive difficult screws or drill bits -- you'll want a good cordless drill for that -- or fully replace a manual screwdriver or three. I still prefer to use a manual screwdriver for stuck screws that require a lot of force to start unscrewing, or for pretty much any flat-tip (non-Philips) screw since power screwdrivers tend to become easily disengaged from those. My current favorite manual screwdriver is this Klein (ratchet FTW), which is on sale right now for $22.

Finally, there's my strictly anecdotal experience with two other cordless electric screwdrivers. An older, refurbished Skil my father-in-law gave me eight years ago is still going strong. A Black & Decker I got before this new Skil somehow blew the clutch (maybe when I twisted it manually too hard) and had to be replaced. So I went with Skil again. 

It's also worth noting that if you want to spend a bit more on a cordless electric screwdriver that features more bits, a nice case and multiple torque levels, my colleague Adrian Marlow likes this one