CRISPR-Cas9-induced DNA damage may have deleterious effects at high-copy-number genomic regions. Here, we use CRISPR base editors to knock out genes by changing single nucleotides to create stop codons. We show that the CRISPR-STOP method is an efficient and less deleterious alternative to wild-type Cas9 for gene-knockout studies. Early stop codons can be introduced in ∼17,000 human genes. CRISPR-STOP-mediated targeted screening demonstrates comparable efficiency to WT Cas9, which indicates the suitability of our approach for genome-wide functional screenings.