Deck screw driver- what do you use?

What do you use? I've been driving most of my deck/drywall screws with a 3/8 variable speed drill for 15-20 yrs.
I finally killed it last week. [it drives deck screws pretty good- but I really should have gone to the garage and grabbed the 1/2" to remove those 20 yr old screws]
So I'm 'in the market'. I've got a nice assortment of cordless dril/driversl for sheetrock, but I'll be doing 2 decks in the next few years so I thought it was time to get something that will make those jobs go easier.
Both decks will be trex- or trex-like material- over PT lumber.
I've looked at these 2 on Amazon- (Amazon.com product link shortened) A $50 Dewalt DW257. 9 reviews and only scored 3 stars- one guy had his fall apart on his first deck.
So then I look at the $50 Milwaukee- (Amazon.com product link shortened) Milwaukee 6742-20 - 11 reviews and scored a 5 star rating-- but I don't know if it will hold up to deck screws. One guy mentions decks and though he likes the driver he doesn't think it is up to that task.
I don't want to spend more than about $70 bucks. Should I just get another 3/8 variable speed or is a crew gun a real plus?
Thanks, Jim
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wrote:

I would go for the Milwaukee, but a 1/2".
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-snip-

I should have mentioned- I've got a couple 1/2"ers- corded and 18v. But I'm old and my forearms aren't what they once were, so I was looking for something a little lighter.
Though that might still be the way to go- newer 1/2's might be lighter than my old ones.
thanks, Jim
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(Amazon.com product link shortened)
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
*I love my Bosch impact driver. It is much lighter than a drill and requires less effort.
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-snip-

Thanks for the thought-- I like Bosch so I looked at them. Ouch! If I was going to build decks for a living--- or if I was 20 yrs younger- i might go for one, but they look a little pricey for my limited use.
OTOH- now I've got another driver I'm looking at- A reconditioned 7amp Bosch for $70 http://bosch.cpotools.com/screw_guns/sg25m-rt_spec.html
Jim
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Shop for a deal. Borrow one before you buy. They really are far superior for driving screws.
R
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-snip-

Which one do you have? Do you drive big screws into yellow pine? Now That I've started really looking at them I see they make a selection from a $90 reconditioned driver to the $3-400 beasties.
Jim
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I d go with the impact driver too, but look for a used one on Craigslist (but watch for OLD TIRED batteries !!) If laka money for one of those, I'd go with a regular corded 3/8" VSR drill. See what they have for RENT at home Depot if its a ONE TIME job. I ve had a 9.6V DeWalt, 9.6V Craftsman "Professional" series VSR, 12V DeWalt dual speed VSR and a Ryobi 18V P220 3 speed hammer drill at various times. I'm about TIRED of buying rechargeable batteries every 2 years or so but right now, I'd use my RYOBI on 'hammer' setting as its very much like an impact driver. I ve started to use my 3/8 Craftsman CORDED drill a lot more lately..where I'm finishing the basement, its only a slight inconvenience to drag a cord.
IMO, those "screwguns" are made for shooting #6 drywall screws thru sheetrock and maybe an INCH into the framing, NOT for doing decking.
BTW, I saw a HD flyer the other day with a 18V RIDGID hammerdrill for $ 129 or 149. A friend has one and said his is guaranteed "lifetime"..even the batteries. Now thats a good deal !
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*I forget what model it is, but it is a 10.8 volt that I bought at Lowes. I did not see it in the new Bosch catalog online. It looks as though it has been replaced with the PS40-2.
I mostly drive into 2"x4"s for attaching things or mounting plywood. The biggest that I have driven is 6" x1/4" lag screws without a problem. What I like about the impact driver is the light weight and less effort required. Before I had this I would use my 18 volt Ridgid drill for driving screws. It is much heavier and I always had to put some muscle into it. The impact driver is much lighter and does all of the work and there is no cam out and screw heads getting stripped.
If I was doing a deck I would want an impact driver because at the end of the day you will have accomplished more and ache less.
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Impact drivers do a better job for deck screws , but why not use what you have and burn them out first, 70$ wont get you the best of anything.
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Don't even think about doing serious deck building or framing without an impact driver and a good nail gun. King of the Hill in our area is the Makita 18V Li ion impact driver. Coupled with Torx head screws you can screw together up to three 2 x 4's in a just seconds. Exercise care though, not to bury the screw heads too deep. If you can't afford the upfront price, try used on eBay or a tool rental place. Odds are you'll want one in your arsenal like our local farming pros. Bottom line, the impact driver is fast becoming a real necessity for ease of use, saving time and neater work.
Joe
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I'm long past any *serious* work.<g> I've been here 25yrs and will likely die here. I've got a deck, a porch & 3 windows to go before I start building birdhouses for entertainment.

OK- you're the second person to recommend a tool I've never seen in action. I'll look into them a bit more.
Thanks, Jim
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On Mon, 06 Jul 2009 18:04:27 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@invalid.com wrote:

Cheaper maybe. Definitely not simpler.

The right tool won't be ruined--- and you can mess up the decking pretty good if you use a hammer as infrequently as I do.

I can do push-ups if I find my arms too weak for everyday tasks.

I'm long past impressing 'women'-- though SWMBO has an appreciation for a good tool now and again.
I'll stick with screws despite the price because they hold better, are removable, and *I* can do a much better looking job with them.
That they are easier to place than nails is a bonus.
Jim
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says...

The Dewalt is the way to go. You really want a dedicated screw gun, not a variable speed drill. I bought the Dewalt 257 just to put in my large Trex porch and really like it. The slower speed (from deeper gearing) is the key. A drill gun that spins 4000 rpm is not needed for deck screws, and will probably not have enough torque for them unless it is a very high amperage gun.
The difference between a drill and a screw gun is huge. Just lean on it, don't let up, and let 'er rip. In fact, it helps to press hardest as the screw head sets. Let the adjustable clutch set the screw. I used color matched TrapEase screws with square drive and highly recommend them. They have a special head that prevents raising areas around the head. Every one is perfectly flush set with the Dewalt. I did pre-drill the deck boards to lessen the drive torque with the long TrapEase screws, but I would recommend that with whatever you use to drive the screws.
And, I have done a ton of drywall with it, and find the 2500 rpm is much easier to control than the high rpm guns.
--
Dennis


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Jim Elbrecht wrote:

A drill really doesn't have the torque for deck screws.
The last project I did that involved a lot of screwing I used an air-gun, but it was pretty heavy. Next time I do a lot of screwing I'll buy an air-screwdriver from Harbor Freight.
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