How to Use a Screw Gun

How to Use a Screw Gun

Handyman's World is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

A screw gun is a fairly lesser-known power tool that is commonly confused with a typical power drill in many cases.

While it is a lot like a power drill it is much more specialized and, unlike its drill counterpart, it is specifically meant for driving screws into the metal or wooden studs in drywall.

This article will take you through the steps necessary to use a screw gun as well as some safety tips and mistakes to avoid when using this tool.

What Is a Screw Gun Used For?

In almost all cases, a screw gun is used for hanging drywall. However, if your project requires driving screws, the screw gun can be used for this application as well. Sometimes, screw guns can be used to screw two pieces of wood together for certain projects.

Outside of this, it has fairly limited uses though. Unlike a drill, the nose of a screw gun allows it to stop automatically when your screw reaches the correct depth.

How to Use a Screw Gun

With the basics out of the way, let’s take a look at how to use the tool, step-by-step.

Step 1: Load the Screw Gun

After purchasing the correct screw gun for your task, the first step is to load it up with the right screws for the job. Automatic models will have all your screws stored while manual models work much like a regular screwdriver where you must load the screws in yourself each time.

It is easy to spot the loading compartment and, for automatic screw guns, you load in the screws much like you would a staple gun. For manual screw guns, there is often a compartment where the screws can be loaded in one at a time.

If you’re using a manual gun, it is a good idea to keep a bag of screws on your belt so that you don’t have to bend down all the time to keep getting new screws.

Step 2: Start Screwing

You will have to place your screw gun at the correct location and put a slight amount of pressure against the wall. While doing this, press the trigger and force the screw into its required depth.

Repeat this step over and over with as many screws as necessary to ensure that the material you are screwing in place is in the correct location with no signs of tearing or any other damage.

Using a Drywall Screw Gun

Step 3: Make Any Adjustments Needed

Finally, if you wish to push the screw in somewhat deeper, you can utilize the adjustable head depth that most screw guns will have.

Adjust these settings to however you need them and be sure that your screw does not rip through whatever material you’re screwing, especially if it is drywall.

The Basics of Screw Gun Safety

As stated before, there are a lot of RPMs behind a screw gun so you need to keep your hands away from the muzzle of the gun at all times. A screw gun can sometimes skip off the head with screws and can easily catch the hand guiding your screw gun.

Needless to say, if a screw gun hits your hand while it is rotating, it will be very painful and cause harsh damage to your hand.

Also, you must keep your screw gun steady when using it. If you simply point its tip over the top of a screw and press the trigger, its speed can make the screw deflect off course. If this were to happen, you could potentially crack woods, cause damage to your drywall, and even hit gas pipes, water pipes, or exposed wires.

You should always keep a hand wrapped around the gun’s top and firmly grip it while you use the gun for the screw to enter straight without any issues.

Mistakes to Avoid, Tips & Tricks

You should always choose the correct depth when using a screw gun. Think about if you’re screwing two planks of wood together, it’s very important that your screw gun is set to a depth that will not go straight through the wood.

Setting your depth is one of the defining features of this tool and it is so you can be certain in joining the planks of wood tightly even if it requires using a variety of depths.

Always measure the material that you are trying to screw together and subtract the depth below its surface where you want those screws to be placed. Then, you can figure out the maximum depth you can set your screw gun for this task.

Also, most people that use a screw gun use it only for harder woods, particularly when a tight grip and screw depth is necessary. If you use the exact same depth to screw a screw into a materials like cedar onto plywood or birch, the screw could simply go right through the softer wood.


The screw gun is a very easily usable tool but it may take some practice and time to get the process down perfectly. Be sure to use the right adjustments and set the screws to go into the correct depth in whatever you are screwing together.

Be sure to follow the steps on how to use a screw gun closely. They are fairly simple, but there is plenty of room for error and if you’re using this tool for drywall, a simple mistake can turn into a very bad headache quickly.

Of course, be sure to keep all the safety precautions in mind when using these dangerous and powerful power tools. Not to mention, it is always a good idea to remember the tips and tricks outlined above as well to always use the screw gun as best you can for the job at hand.