Table of Contents
- Power Tools Buying Guide
- Our TOP 3 Picks for Corded Drill
- Our TOP 3 Picks for Cordless Electric Drill
You are a DIY enthusiast and are interested in investing in an electric drill. The problem is that you may be torn between buying a corded drill and buying a cordless version – the variety of power drills on the market is endless!
The good news is that you’ve come to the right place. We have provided the ultimate guide to choosing between corded drills and cordless electric drills. You will find out all the pros and cons of each type for easy comparison. Also, you will find reviews of Top -3 products in each category.
Hopefully, it will be helpful for you to decide which product – corded drill or cordless electric drill – suits you best!
Power Tools Buying Guide
Before you invest in any drill, it is necessary to know a few basics about it and how it works. This information will help you get a product that best suits your needs. Let’s start by examining various aspects of electric drills.
What is a Corded Drill?
A corded drill comes with a powerful motor that is connected to a power source by an electric cable. The motor then turns the drill bit or screwdriver bit when you activate the trigger. The electric motors that run corded drills draw their power in their amperage rating. A typical corded drill can have a motor with a rating of 5 to 10 amps. The higher the amperage, the more torque the drill produces.
It is also important to mention that corded drills are more powerful than their cordless counterparts. They are also lighter, and therefore fatigue is not a significant factor when working with these drills. However, they can inconvenience you because you can only work near a power source depending on the length of its cord. They are also noisy and, therefore, you may need here protection when using heavy-duty corded drills.
What is a Cordless Electric Drill?
A cordless drill does not have a cord. Unlike a corded drill, it features a motor that is powered by a battery. Most brands rely on lithium-ion batteries which have more power capacity than ordinary batteries. Unlike corded drills that rely on motor amperage, the power in cordless drills depends on the battery voltage. Drills that come with high voltage batteries deliver more torque, which is the turning power applied on the drill bits.
Some of the powerful cordless drills support 18 to 20 volts batteries. However, these batteries produce less power compared to the motors in corded drills. This feature limits most cordless drills to light-duty tasks. When it comes to size, cordless drills are bulkier since they have to compensate for the battery housing. This design makes them heavier and fatigue can be a factor when working with these drills.
Another advantage of cordless drills is that they offer you the convenience of working from anywhere without worry about a power source or the limitation of an electrical cord. This flexibility allows you to work in tight spaces with ease. These drills are also less noisy compared to corded ones and therefore make your working environment more comfortable.
Types of Drills
Corded and cordless drills have some design similarities that determine how they function and therefore their most suitable applications. Here are some of the most popular drill types.
As the name suggests, these are power screwdrivers are limited to lightweight tasks such as tightening or loosening screws in tight places in tight spaces. They come in small, compact, and cordless designs. Unfortunately, they do not have enough power to drill holes.
Drill drivers are more versatile than power screwdrivers in that they provide you with enough power to drill holes through wood and metal surfaces. You can also use them to tighten and loosen screws. If you are looking to put up shelves in your home or do similar jobs, then a drill driver is your best bet.
These drills function the same way as drill drivers, what makes them different is that they have a hammering action that makes them ideal for masonry applications. Therefore if you wish to drill holes through brick surfaces such as walls, then go for a combi drill.
Impact drivers come in more compact and lightweight designs. They are specially designed to produce more torque while reducing their impact on your wrist. This way, you can handle heavy tasks for longer with less fatigue. Impact drivers are most suitable for large projects that require repetitive screwdriving or drilling holes on metallic surfaces.
These drills are powerful, and ideal for drill holes through concrete and brick walls. It is common for hammer drills to have multiple torque settings. This way, you can regulate the power and keep the RPM low to allow for drilling while minimizing the damage to your surfaces. Unlike impact drills, they do not always have a reverse setting to loosen screws.
Slotted Drive System (SDS) Hammer Drills
The SDS hammer drills function like hammer drills. However, their design features a piston that fires the drill and pulls it back repeatedly drives the hammering action. This design results in increased efficiency while reducing friction and makes the SDS drills easy to work with. They use special drill bits to minimize cases of drill bit slipping. You will also need to use stronger bits that can withstand increased power from the SDS action.
How to Choose the Right Drill for you
Now that you know what corded and cordless drills are, let us examine what you need to look out for when choosing the best power drill for your needs.
When choosing an electric drill, it is important to consider the flexibility that comes with it. This will depend on the nature of your project. For instance, if you will be working from a workbench where you do not need to change your position now and then, then a corded drill can work for you. However, if you need to walk a lot, especially in a construction job, then a cordless drill is the best option.
As stated earlier, electric drills can run on either AC or DC power sources. Corded drills run AC motors. The Amps rating on these motors determines the amount of power they can deliver. The good thing with corded drills is that they have unlimited runtime as long as you have a reliable electricity connection.
On the other hand, cordless models run on batteries. The best cordless drill models use lithium-ion batteries because they come in small and compact designs. They also take a short time to charge, have a longer shelf-life, as well a longer lifespan. Battery-powered drills allow you to work off-grid or during blackouts, albeit for a limited time because of their short runtime. However, you can extend their runtime by investing in electric drill sets with multiple battery packs.
The torque of a power drill is the amount of force it can produce to turn a drill bit, measured in inch-pounds. Generally, cordless drills with 12 to 20 volts batteries can produce enough torque for a wide range of applications. However, heavy-duty tasks such as masonry drilling and chiseling require more torque.
The size of the drill chuck determines the diameter of the drill/driver bit that the power tool can accommodate. If you are shopping for an electric drill for general applications, then a model with a 3/8″ chuck size is sufficient. However, if you are working on projects that require high torque, then go for a half-inch chuck size.
It is also important to mention that drill chuck can be keyed or keyless. Keyed chucks are common with corded drills. These models require you to use a key to lock or loosen the chuck when changing bits. Keyless chucks on the other hand are common with cordless drills. You can easily change the bits with your hand in under 5 seconds.
Type of Motor
Before purchasing a cordless drill, it is important to determine the type of motor it is running on. The motor could be brushed or brushless. Brushed motors come in large designs and can be heavy.
However, they are cheaper and easy to repair. On the other hand, brushless motors are more efficient than their brushed counterparts and produce 30% more torque. They also provide longer runtime and have a longer life span. This way, they give you value for money in the long run.
Their better power-to-weight ratio results in lighter drills, which result in less fatigue and improved work output. Therefore, if you are looking for a drill for occasional use, a brushed motor model could serve you well. However, for more demanding tasks, a brushless model is the ideal pick.
When choosing power drills, go for models that are comfortable and easy to use. For instance, rubberized handles are soft and provide a non-slip feature. This way, you have a firm grip on the drill for a stable and safe working experience. Other features such as variable speeds and clutch settings give you added flexibility when using powered drills. Models that come with magnetic trays, drill bit docks and LED lights make you more productive by saving you time.
The weight of an electric drill affects your overall output, especially when working on a big project. Lightweight electric drills translate to less fatigue, thus allowing you to work longer hours.
It is necessary to consider the pricing of power drills before purchasing one. Different models are priced differently depending on their features. Generally, you can get a good electric drill for a price of $30 to $100. However, do not focus on price but the features of the product. The idea is to get a drill that suits your needs.
The best electric drill brands in the market provide consumers with warranties as a guarantee for the quality of their products. Most companies offer 2 to 3-year warranties for their electric drills. Make sure you observe the warranty terms and conditions for it to hold.
How to Use Drills Properly
When using power drills, it is advisable to read through the manufacturer’s manual. This document gives you an in-depth understanding of your and any special features that might come with it.
- Once you are ready, connect your drill to a power course and select a drill that is suitable for your application. This action will determine the outcome of your project. For instance, failure to use the right drill bit might split your wooden surface.
- Now loosen the chuck and put in the drill bit. If you are using a corded drill with a keyed chuck, use the key to secure the bit in place. Keyless chucks on cordless drills are easy to use. Just turn the chuck in the anticlockwise direction to open it up and then place the drill bit shank in the jaws of the chunk. Re-tighten the chunk by turning it in the clockwise direction.
- Confirm the drill settings, such as the desired speed to produce the right torque for the job. Also, confirm that the drill is set to run in the right direction. For example, if you wish to loosen some screws, you will need to set the drill to move in the counterclockwise direction.
- Make sure that the materials you are working on are firmly held in place. For instance, if you are working on a workbench, secure the surface with clamps. If you are drilling holes on a piece of wood, leave some clearance to avoid drilling into the workbench.
- Now drill the hole in the desired surface. Start by placing the tip of the drill on the surface at a reasonable angle. For instance, for straight-through drilling, hold the drill bit at a right angle to the surface. Now, use your finger to apply pressure on the trigger to start drilling. Once the drill bit has cut in the surface increase, the pressure on the trigger. This move will speed up the drilling.
- Examine the hole to confirm whether your desired bolt or rivet can fit in the hole. If the bolt is too large for the hole, use a slightly larger drill bit. Hopefully, the bolts will fit perfectly. Clean the workbench and remove any chips that might have accumulated on it.
Drill Safety Tips
It is advisable to handle electric drills with a lot of care to avoid accidents. Here are infallible tips to help you operate your power drill safely.
Avoid Loose Clothing
When working with electric drills, it is advisable to avoid loose clothes as they can get entangled with the rotating part of the drill. If this happens, you can suffer serious injuries that could affect your daily life for a long time. To be on the safe side, avoid ties and long-sleeved shirts. You may also need to tie back your hair if it’s long.
Keep Your Working Area Neat and Secure
Whether you are drilling holes or fastening screws, you need your working surface steady and secure. If it’s loosely held in place, it could shift and fall or hit you. The drill could also slip and land on your hand. Such accidents could cause damage to your property or lead to serious injuries.
Invest in Protective Gear
The drilling action of the drill could send metallic, concrete, or wood particles flying in the air without a warning. Such debris could find its way to your eyes. If this happens, you could suffer serious injuries. In this case, you need to invest in quality safety goggles to protect your eyes. Also, use fitting but comfortable gloves for your hands as well as a face mask to keep off dust.
Use Pilot Holes for Your Screws
Before driving screws into any surface, it is advisable to make drill pilot holes. The holes hold your screws in place and make sure that they drive straight. Pilot holes also prevent drills from slipping and eliminate the need to apply a lot of pressure on the tool.
Secure Your Drill Bit In Place
Before you use a power drill, insert the drill bit in the chuck and ensure that it is firmly and securely fixed in its place. Failure to do so could prevent you from drilling straight holes. You also risk the drill slipping and causing accidents.
Our TOP 3 Picks for Corded Drill
DEWALT is a renowned American brand that is wholly owned by Stanley Black & Decker, Inc. It’s famous for its efficient and reliable power tool. For example, the DEWALT DWD115K Corded Drill comes in a compact and lightweight design that makes it easy to handle. It features an ergonomic mid-handle grip with soft rubber padding for added comfort. Its 8.0Amps motor can deliver variable speeds of 0 to 2500 RPMs, allowing you to handle any light-duty drill task with ease.
It doesn’t matter whether you want to drill a hole or remove screws from a surface, this drill is equipped with a reverse motion lever that lets you change the direction of the drill bit. Its keyless chuck can handle 3/8″ drill bits. It is designed to tighten as you work to avoid slippage for added efficiency. This drill comes at an affordable price of $70 and a 3 years warranty. The company also provides you with one year of free service and in case you receive a defective product, you have up to 90 days to return it.
The Black and Decker brand has grown to become a respectable household for both home and industrial power tools in America. Its products are reliable and ingeniously designed to give you value for money. For instance, the Black & Decker DR260C Corded Drill comes in a compact and lightweight design that allows you to work for a long with less fatigue. It features a powerful 5.2 Amp motor that delivers up to 1500 variable RPM for a wide range of applications. You can use this tool to fasten screws and drill holes in both soft and hardwood surfaces.
The Black & Decker DR260C Corded Drill has an onboard bit storage that allows you to switch from drill and screwdriver modes with added ease. It also has a 3/8″ keyless chuck that allows you to change your bits with ease. Its trigger comes in a pistol design for added convenience.
When it comes to runtime, this drill can operate as long as you have a power supply allowing you to complete your project without delays. The company offers you up to 2 years warranty as a guarantee for quality. With an affordable price of $30, this drill is sure to give you value for money.
SKIL is renowned for manufacturing powerful power tools with high performance. These range from electric drills to lawnmowers. If you are shopping for a heavy-duty drill, then the SKIL 6335-02 Corded Drill is a great pick. It comes with a powerful 7.0 Amp motor that delivers variable speeds between 0and 950 RPM, allowing you to handle the toughest jobs with ease. Its side-assist handle gives you a firm grip for easy control and added stability when handling heavy tasks.
The skil corded drill comes with a 2-finger trigger with a lock option for added flexibility.
This corded drill has a half-inch chuck that accepts large bits for your tough job applications. It comes at an affordable price of about $40 and a two-year warranty. It also comes in a compact and sturdy design, which makes it durable, thus giving you value for money.
Our TOP 3 Picks for Cordless Electric Drill
RYOBI is one of the renowned brands that specialize in battery-powered electric tools. For instance, the Ryobi P208 One+ Drill runs on an 18V lithium-ion. This cordless design gives you the flexibility of moving around without worrying about the limitations of corded drills. This cordless drill also functions as a screw drill which allows you to use it for various fastening projects.
You don’t have to worry about working in dark spaces as this drill comes with LED lights that illuminate once you activate the drill action. Its compact and lightweight design allows you to use it for a long time without getting tired, thus improving your productivity. It also makes it easy to use in tight corners.
The Ryobi electric drill comes with a 1/2″ keyless chuck that allows you to change bits with ease for added flexibility. It has a two-speed gearbox and twenty-four clutch settings. These features allow you to use this drill for a wide range of applications. In case you want to free your hands and still have easy access to your screws and bits, you can use its magnetic tray. Also, its rubberized handle provides you with a non-slip feature that gives a firm grip on the tool while working.
It also has a battery meter that allows you to know how much power is remaining on the battery. This way, you can know when to change the battery in good time and also estimate how much work you can handle with every charge. The manufacturer gives you a three-year warranty for this cordless drill, as a guarantee for superior workmanship. Moreover, the Ryobi P208 One+ is fairly priced. You can own it for as little as $80.
Like most DEWALT power tools, the DEWALT DCD771C2 Cordless Drill is designed to offer unparalleled performance. It features a compact and lightweight design. It weighs only 3.64 pounds, which makes it easy to handle with one hand, thereby reducing fatigue and allowing you to work for long hours. The compact design allows you to access tight spaces with ease. Its sturdy construction makes it an ideal pick for use in harsh environments and makes the drill highly durable.
It features a powerful motor that delivers up to 300 UWO. This drill also supports dual speed settings, i.e. o-450 RPM and 1,500RPM. These features allow you to use it for various drilling and fastening applications. The DEWALT DCD771C2 has a 1/2″ keyless chuck which features single sleeve ratcheting which provides a tight grip on drill bits.
This Dewalt electric drill has an LED light positioned just above the trigger. It enables you to work in dark spots with ease. The package comes with two lithium-ion batteries, a battery charger, and a contractor’s bag for storing your drill. Each battery can give you about five hours of runtime. The two batteries double the drill runtime allowing you to do more work. Moreover, these batteries take less than an hour to charge. This means you can work continuously with major breaks. You also get a 3 years warranty and one year of free service. This cordless drill retails for about $100 and is sure to give you value for money.
The BLACK and DECKER BDCDMT120C MAX Matrix system is designed to give you multiple applications for your drilling, sanding, and cutting needs. You can attach up to six attachments such as a sander and drill. It features a 20V motor that delivers up to speeds between 0 to 800RPM, producing enough torque to work on wood and ceramics.
It comes with a 20V lithium-ion battery that has a shelf-life of 18 months. This means that you may only need to charge it once per year if you do not use it frequently. And if you opt to work full-time, this battery gives you up to 18 hours of runtime. This way you can work without for long without the need to recharge it.
This BLACK and DECKER electric drill allows you to change bits in under 5 seconds and comes with a rubberized handle for a non-slip and comfortable grip. This drill weighs only 4.3 pounds. This lightweight design reduces fatigue and allows you to work for longer. Moreover, you get 2 years warranty from the manufacturer on workmanship and materials for domestic users. With only $60, you could be the proud owner of this ingenious product.
Although corded drills are lighter, smaller, more powerful, and have no limited runtime, they lack some features that are common with cordless drills, such as the flexibility of using the drills off-grid.
Most corded drills have a power rating of 4 to 8 amps. The higher the drill’s amperage, the more torque it produces. Therefore, if you want a corded drill for heavy-duty applications, go for one with higher amps.
Yes. The power of a corded drill is determined by the amperage rating of its motor. On the other hand, cordless drills rely on battery voltage.
A cordless drill that uses lithium-ion batteries which are durable and keep a charge for long. Some of the best cordless drills in the market have batteries that can run up to 18 hours.
Cordless drills can supply you with enough power to complete most of your household projects. However, they are not ideal for heavy-duty tasks.