It doesn’t matter whether you’ve been drilling all your life or you’re new to the activity. Pitting two equally worthy power tools against each other to see which one comes out on top can be a fun sport!
The surge of cordless drill drivers is a relatively new trend, while the glory of corded drill machines dates back decades. Anyway, you’re here to know which one of the two is a better drill: a corded or a cordless drill driver, right?
You’ll be glad to know that we’re going to take power, comfort, unique features, workpiece material compatibility, and even drawbacks into account before giving a verdict.
So, let’s get started with corded vs. cordless drills. We hope you can shortlist your preferences from here and pick one that ticks all the boxes!
Table of Contents
- What Can I do with a Corded/Electric Drill?
- What Is a Cordless Drill?
- What to Consider Before Making the Decision
- Impact Drills vs. Combi Drills
- Bottom Line
What Can I do with a Corded/Electric Drill?
Corded drills are heavy-duty power tools with a good lot of speed and torque. You can easily drill into multiple surfaces without worrying much about a wandering drill bit. We like a corded drill for the heavier applications around the house and workshop.
Whenever a cordless drill falls short, an electric drill driver is your way to go. From making holes into concrete walls to drilling through stone-hard masonry, these power tools take you one step closer to doing heavy repairs at home!
We have rounded up a few of the many things you can do with an electric drill.
Drill Hard Surfaces
Let’s face it; a drill driver is not just for hanging family photos. At times you might have to cut open your concrete wall for installing new pipes, cables, and shelves.
That’s not all; you might need to repeat the process for time-to-time maintenance. And a low-powered cordless drill is hardly up for the job.
So, when it comes to hard drilling surfaces such as concrete, masonry, hardened steel, and wood, a corded drill goes a long way!
Handheld corded drills might not be able to remove tiles from your floors, but a demolition drill surely can! Construction workers regularly use breakers for wrapping up a huge tile removal job.
On a similar note, corded drill machines work surprisingly well on brick and masonry. You might not need a hammer drill after all for drilling into your brick fireplace. It turns out, any well-made electric drill is suitable for the task at hand. Pair it up with HSS masonry bits, and you’re good to go!
The best thing about electric drills is that they double up as power screwdrivers. If you get one that disengages (rotates the other way), then congratulations! You can not only screw in fasteners of different sizes but also remove them at the same time.
In fact, it comes in handy in more ways than one! For example, when you’re removing bolt anchors from the wall, turning them with a pair of pliers hardly gets you anywhere. But, with a high-powered drill driver, you can skip on that penetrating oil and hammer and get it done within seconds!
Benefits of Using an Electric Drill
Nowadays, cordless drills have become much popular among regular people like us.
But corded drills are still going strong with their speedy drill-driving, extremely high RPM levels, and multifunctional use. A corded power drill has sufficient voltage and torque levels to drill into wood, steel, brick, and concrete.
Without further ado, let’s find out the ways a good-old electric drill can help with your project!
The thing about any electric tool is that they have way more power than battery-driven ones. Well, the same holds for a corded drill- in other words, our number one choice of drills for construction and repair-works!
However, if there’s anything as powerful as an electric drill, it is a pneumatic drill. Yes, you’ll have an air compressor following you around, but it’s not that different from using a corded drill driver.
Since electric drills are connected to an outlet at all times, they have a consistent source of power. It backs them up during the job, and you don’t have to worry about recharging a battery.
Personally, it’s a tipping point for us because we were seriously considering going cordless for concrete. Which, according to our friends who tried it, is way off the mark!
Great Speed Range
Both corded and cordless drill drivers have multiple speed levels. Depending on the size of your drill bit and the surface material, you have the option to adjust their speeds. It makes a massive difference because the same speed is never going to work for all sorts of materials, right?
For example, you can drive a 1-inch spade bit into a wooden shelf at 1,500 RPM. However, you need to drill the same bit into steel at a much lower speed. What’s even more surprising is that the smaller the twist bit’s size, the speedier you should go!
Wide Variety of Drill Bits
As simple as a corded drill looks, it has plenty of room for customization. In fact, the many categories and sizes of drill bits for a corded drill driver can surprise you!
Honestly, having a few common types of drill bits is a smart decision. You never know when that plumbing needs a fix, or you need to install a new wall plug!
Take our advice, and use high-speed steel (HSS) bits for concrete and hardwood. Electric drill drivers make the best use of them anyway!
Keyed Chucks for Extra Torque
On the other hand, a keyed chuck allows you to apply extra torque on the drill bit. It grips on drill bits a lot tighter than a keyless chuck and eliminates drill-wandering as well.
It makes all the difference when you’re poking a hole in the concrete from our experience.
Let us tell you, a wandering drill bit on interior walls is not pretty at all. (You don’t want to see what we’re hiding behind the photo frames in our house!)
What Is a Cordless Drill?
From drilling holes to driving screws, there’s hardly a thing a cordless drill can’t do. We get it; they seem small and a tad weaker than your electric drill driver. But what you don’t know is that, at times, it can be the opposite!
A cordless drill is your regular drill driver without a cord. You don’t need to stay near a power outlet nor wish the cord to be a bit longer.
First of all, there is no cord. These handheld power tools use a heavy-duty (yet lightweight!) battery pack to cover an electric line. At first glance, a cordless drill driver can look like a Nerf gun upgrade.
But what if we told you cordless drill drivers could be just as powerful as their corded counterparts? Keep on reading to find out more!
Benefits of Using Cordless Drill Drivers
When it comes to cordless power tools, we prefer an 18V cordless drill with 400+ in-lbs torque. Complemented by a heavy-duty brushless motor, a cordless drill helps you repair, remodel and install new fittings and furniture, and remove tiles as well.
We have listed down the advantages of cordless drill drivers right below. If you’re curious about these handheld power tools (Which you should be! They’re amazing!), give it a read.
They have a Lithium-ion or Ni-Cad battery that can give anything between an hour to a couple of hours of service. As you might have guessed, the battery replaces the power cord entirely.
So, a cordless drill is no longer tethered to a power outlet. You can take it anywhere and use it in any position! It is lightweight, easy to carry, and fits in virtually anywhere.
Perfect for DIY Tasks
A cordless drill driver is a perfect tool for a DIY enthusiast. Why call in the handyman for hanging a simple picture when you can very well do it yourself? In fact, you can fix your in-wall wiring, bathroom plumbing, gutter problems all by yourself.
Not liking the shelf your new home came with? Get your cordless drill running and revamp it in your own style! We’re trying to say that cordless drill drivers give you plenty of opportunities to overhaul things you don’t like at home.
The best thing about brushless motors is that they are less affected by friction, heat, and voltage drops. Compared to a regular motor, a brushless motor uses battery power according to your demand.
Most cordless drill drivers feature a brushless motor. With its battery-saving power and resilient qualities, a brushless motor is in for the long haul!
However, you must remember to give the tool some rest. An over-torqued motor can be both ineffective and dangerous.
High Torque Levels
Just when you thought choosing a cordless drill couldn’t get any easier, the torque reading on the tool can leave you as puzzled as you started with!
Truth be told, getting a high-voltage cordless drill is not the only solution. Don’t forget about torque – the force your drill applies to the surface. When it comes to drilling into regular wood or plastic, you can get away with a low-torque drill machine.
But the need for higher torque becomes much more relevant when you have a steel workpiece in front of you and a tool that absolutely won’t drill it! The unit of torque is Newton-meter (Nm), or in-lbs.
We prefer an 18-volt cordless drill with 400+ in-lbs torque for extensive plumbing and remodeling tasks. After seeing the results, we’re sure you will too!
What to Consider Before Making the Decision
Just because someone else is more than happy with a corded drill doesn’t mean you will be too. For example, if you want a handy power tool for driving screws into a DIY bookshelf, you can do without an industrial-strength drill machine.
You must understand the power ratings, torque, and speed levels for both corded and cordless drills for picking one that suits you the most!
If you’re wondering how to choose the right drill for the job, take a long, hard look at its torque and voltage ratings. This is the most critical part of our discussion, and we strongly recommend that you follow it.
You should consider a corded or a cordless drill with a higher voltage for starters. It contributes to more power generation, which, later on, helps you drill right through complex materials.
It all comes down to your intended use of the drill machine- whether you’ll be working with wood and plastic or drywall and concrete.
To give you an idea, an 18V cordless drill successfully makes holes into hardened metal surfaces. But if you use a 6V power tool for the job, it would hardly scratch the surface.
If you ask us, we’re going to recommend an 18-24V cordless drill driver. After all, it’s suitable for big projects such as carpentry, house remodeling, tile removal, furniture assembly, and so on.
We like corded drills so much because they take a minimum amount of time to drill holes. Unlike cordless drills, these aren’t going to scratch around on a brick wall.
Offering variable speeds from relatively low to very high, they can drill brick and masonry and put screws in soft wooden furniture. We like the control a corded drill has. But sometimes, a power drill can lead to over-drilling and wandering if you’re not careful.
However, a cordless drill isn’t that slow of a power tool. It might operate at lower RPM levels than a power drill. But it’s much more lightweight, easy to carry, and features both clockwise and anticlockwise motions.
Setting this power tool at a low-speed level can achieve near-perfect results. For a DIY project, it can be virtually flawless. Once paired up with the right motor and battery, a heavy-duty cordless drill is all the gear you’re ever going to need.
Keyed vs. Keyless Chuck
The chuck is the cylindrical device that clamps and turns the drill bit. It’s located at the front part of the electric drill driver and is available in keyless, keyed, and hybrid options!
Keyless chucks make it easy for you to shuffle between one drill bit and another. But you can’t torque a keyless chuck down. It can be quite a disadvantage when you need as much torque as possible (drilling through difficult materials such as steel and concrete).
Most cordless combi-drills come with a keyless chuck- making it easy for regular people to set up new fittings, curtains, and shelves in their homes.
Ease of Use
A cordless drill reduces the strain on your wrists during the job. Therefore, it’s an ideal option for time-consuming projects. A high-torque power drill set at a slow speed can tighten nuts and bolt heads.
It can punch holes into a variety of floor, wall, and shelf materials and screw-in fasteners with the right drill bit. But it’s also quite heavy.
For what it’s worth, cordless drills aren’t as aggressive as electric drills. A cordless drill driver is suitable for hanging curtains and pictures, assembling furniture, putting up wooden shelves, and many more. We think that the end result is much neater with this one!
Impact Drills vs. Combi Drills
An impact drill is a high-powered screwdriver made for DIY woodworking projects. Its high-tech configuration is our personal favorite. To elaborate, this cordless tool applies a certain amount of pressure to the screwdriver bit and reduces arm fatigue.
However, if you like the specs of a drill driver but want a hammer function at the same time, try a combi drill. Its three-in-one feature gives you the best of both worlds.
You get all the pros a drill driver can offer: its drilling and screwdriving actions, of course. Then you get an additional hammer function in the same tool. While slightly chunkier than a power screwdriver, a combi drill has the most versatility among all types of cordless drills.
But if you’re having trouble choosing between a corded drill and a cordless drill, the best course of action is to meet it midway and settle for an impact drill. We repeat- a cordless impact drill never disappoints!
If there’s one thing that we don’t like about corded power drills, it’s the annoying cable that protrudes from its back. And yes, it gets a bit worse. Your working area is as good as the length of the cable. If it’s shorter than your requirement, you’re in a pickle.
This is where the cordless drill comes in to save the day. While a corded drill requires electricity from a power outlet, its cordless counterpart runs on a rechargeable battery.
Additionally, a cordless drill driver has a smaller top than a corded power drill. This slight difference in its engineering allows the tool to get much closer to the surface. As a result, you get to work comfortably in tight corners like floor and ceiling joists.
This was our take on the whole corded vs. cordless drills issue. Personally, any high-voltage drill driver with variable speed, a keyless chuck, great torque, and user-friendly features does it for us. But after this long discussion, we won’t blame you for picking a favorite!