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Making comparisons between a 12v and a 15v drill may seem tedious, but knowing which is right for the job may make all the difference in the end result. Drills can be powerful home improvement tools–but only if you know how to use them effectively.
If there’s a pattern in home renovations and projects that’s clear, it has little to do with certain materials or styles and everything to do with how they are being done: while professionals are still useful for many people, especially for larger projects, more and more people are opting to do it themselves.
According to data gathered by Technavio, the DIY market around the world will be worth nearly fourteen billion U.S. dollars but 2021. In Europe alone, the DIY market is supposed to rise a notable two percent over the next decade.
While there are many reasons consumers opt to take projects on their own, including cutting costs, one of the emerging reasons is surprising: the desire to have the experience and connection to their own home. Whether it’s installing cabinets or putting up drywall, more and more consumers are opting to do it themselves.
And while in theory using a drill should be relatively simple, it can go wrong. That’s why we’ve put together this article for you, which will cover what kind of projects 12v vs 15v drills can handle, as well as other things you need to know about buying and operating drills.
Main Differences Between 12v vs 15v
The Main Differences Between 12v vs 15v are:
- 12v is lighter and cheaper, whereas 15v is more powerful.
- 12v is suited for lighter everyday work, whereas 15v allows you to take on harder more intense projects and materials.
- 12v is great for non proffesionals, whereas 15v goes handy for professionals.
- 12v has a greater torque control and adjustable speeds, whereas 15v is bulkier.
What are the benefits of doing home improvement projects yourself?
Taking on home improvements yourself can help you save a good deal of money–if done right. Even if you don’t take on an entire project yourself, you can potentially slash costs by doing clean up and set up yourself. The best reasons to take on home improvement projects yourself include:
- Convenience. Having service men and women come to your house means you may have to adjust your own schedule. And if your kids or pets in the household, it can be that much more of a fuss.
- Your own vision. While ideally when you hire a professional you’ll be getting more or less what you have in mind, but of course with DIY projects you can completely control.
- Money. As long as you know what you’re doing, you’ll cut back on how much you spend, first of all, because you won’t be paying for someone to do it for you. You can also make cost-saving choices that some might not.
- At your own pace. This more or less falls under the umbrella of the rest of the benefits to DIY projects, but by taking on your own home improvement projects, you also have the option to work as quickly or slowly as you want, making adjustments and reassessing, depending on the project as you go along.
Are there any home improvement jobs I should consider not taking on myself? And is there anything else I need to know when taking on my own home improvement projects?
Not all home improvement projects are best done on your own. While some do attempt it, and some do it successfully, the following home improvement projects may not be the best idea to take on yourself entirely:
- Floor to ceiling remodeling, especially kitchens. Tearing out old floors and cabinets and then installing new ones can be challenging; if you may mistake in measurements, it can also end up even more costly than were you to hire a professional.
- Installing dishwashers or related devices. Dishwashers especially can be surprisingly hard to install; many require you to drill into cabinets but also set up water lines. Unless you’re knowledgeable about plumbing and installation, hiring a professional is in your best interest.
- Tearing down walls. One popular trend is to make homes “open concept” by knocking down walls and making it feel more roomy and spacious. But as tempting as it might be, knocking down walls yourself isn’t necessarily in your best interest. At very least, you need someone to inspect your walls to see if they are load bearing; knocking down some walls could cause major problems, as drastic as ceiling collapsing.
- Leaking roof or pipes. While many homeowners might think they can fix something that’s leaking, it’s at best normally a temporary fix, as problems can lie outside of the leak you notice.
What are the most common uses for drills?
It may seem silly, but before we get into the specifics, why exactly would you want to purchase a drill in the first place? For anyone who has done home improvement or maintenance, it’s a fairly common consensus that drills are essential and versatile tools for a number of things, including:
- Drilling holes for picture frames and another decor
- Crafting or fixing furniture
- Tightening or loosening screws
- Tighten fasteners
- For paint projects
- Miscellaneous work
Drills are all around very helpful tools to have, and they can make simple projects much quicker and more efficient. But there are certain types of drills for certain jobs. Drills are defined as tools meant for fastening or boring holes. Drilling is used for metalworking, woodworking, and other construction projects, and even for medical purposes.
What are the different types of drills?
The different types of drills may amaze you in their variety. High specialized drills are used for very certain projects. While the main focus of the article is selecting power drills by their voltage, it’s helpful to also understand the different drill classifications. Here are a few of the most common types of drills you’ll come across:
- Hand Drill: A hand drill, also known as an eggbeater drill is actually manual and works from a gear, used for drilling small holes but often power tools are favored over these–though, for some, hand drills are a handy and low-cost option.
- Push Drill: Another manual drill, push drills, it’s a slender drill used for small woodworking projects that are lightweight or require fine detailing.
- Power Drills, which of course is what we’ll be covering, are available in both cordless and corded options. Corded power drills tend to give you more power but also risk becoming entangled or the cords themselves weakening. Cordless drills are by far easier to use in terms of not having to struggle to find an outlet or mess with a cord, but they also tend to be less powerful.
How do you find a good drill in general? What criteria should you be looking for?
Whether you’re shopping for a 12v or 15v drill you still need to know how to find the best tool possible. Here’s what you should know:
- Price reflects more than just the brand, and often is based on the overall features you’ll get, the current level, how powerful the drill is, and what it’s used for. To that mind, don’t simply go for the cheapest drill. Instead, research what kind of drill is best for the job, then compare drills within that same category.
- Know if you want a corded or cordless drill–but if it’s cordless, pay attention to the battery type, too. If you do opt for a cordless power drill, there are a number of features you need to examine in terms of the battery itself. Look for the overall battery life (which tells you how many cycles the battery lasts on average); voltage capacity (seven to fifteen volts for light work, or twelve to eighteen volts for medium work); capacity, and charging options.
- Weight: You’ll need heavier drills for heavier work, but make sure it’s ergonomically designed and light enough it’ll be practical to use. Also, look for extra features like comfort grips.
- Amps are the unit of measurement for the electric current, while volts measure the level of voltage. Taken together, these tell you how powerful a drill is.
- Adjustable clutches allow you to adjust torque settings and can prevent slipping.
- Keyed chucks offer extra security for the end of your drill
- Drill mode selection is offered is many drills now and allows you to change the method of rotation, specialized for wood and metal vs concrete drilling
- Drill chuck size is typically measured in ½, ¼, and? inch sides and refers to the piece of the drill that holds the bit. ? inch is a nice size for basic home projects, while a half inch is favored for heavier projects.
- Speed is measured in rpm or rotations per minute. Faster is not always better: larger bits require slower speeds to avoid problems, including overheating. You’ll also want to pay attention to how many speeds are available: while a speed of two thousand to two thousand five hundred rpm’s is considered a reasonable speed, the ability to switch to faster or slower speeds allows more room for flexibility. You can either go for a set speed, which basically works like shifting bike gears, or an adjustable one.
- Torque control refers to the control over the screwdriver function and is important for precise work. A good drill with has multiple easily adjusted settings.
- Adjustable depth gauges increase accuracy and make your drilling more consistent
- Special features such as high-efficiency brushless motors, can make drills but more powerful and have longer battery lives. Built-in levels help you drill fasteners with more accuracy and some drills also include precision lights. A locking feature may be helpful for longer projects and for safety reasons. And always be on the lookout for accessories, such as drill cases and spare parts.
Why are volts important to consider when selecting a drill?
When comparing drills, the voltage will be one of the key factors you need to understand in order to determine which drill is right for the job. Volts tell you, on a basic level, how much power the drill can access. As you can imagine, as voltage increases, so does the power, and, of course, the price tag.
In many instances, drills with higher voltage will also come with more features and options, though between 12v and 15v drills there may not be a huge difference in other features and accessories.
9v drills are about as low as you can go, and are a low-cost option, very lightweight, typically include few features, and are mostly used for very small projects, such as drilling holes for hanging picture frames on the wall.
What voltage is right for my job?
When comparing a 12v vs 15v drill, it’s not so much that one is on its face superior in all instances as much as it matters what you’ll be using it for:
- Below 12v: Drills below 12v tend to be lighter, generally inexpensive, and obviously less powerful than 12 or 15v options. These drills are more suited for lighter everyday work. If you have doubted what that means, consider this: these are the kinds of projects that you would never normally hire a professional for and could easily perform yourself with little to no experience with home improvement projects. Drilling holes for picture frames, tightening screws, or other small projects to patch things up will work just fine with drills of lesser voltage. Just keep in mind these drills also do best with plaster, hardwood, and drywall or other softer materials.
- 12v: If you’re eyeing a 12v drill, consider that it works better than 9v drills in terms of slightly more moderate to heavier projects. It likely may also come with more features, such as greater torque control and adjustable speeds that you’ll find useful. This is a great drill to pick if you want to do all of the light work we mentioned above, but you may be drilling into harder material, you may be working on longer and larger scale products, and you need greater precision. For example, working on a deck or making or repairing furniture of some kind would be better fitting for a 12v drill than a 9v drill.
- 15v: 15v drills are the most expensive of these options and also the most powerful. When compared with a 12v drill, the extra voltage allows you to take on harder more intense projects and most importantly, drill into harder material. Metal and ceramic in particular require a 15v or higher drill. If you plan on drilling into either of these two materials, a 15v or higher is a must and a clear winner over a 12v drill.
Of course, affordability is always on everyone’s mind. The higher the voltage, the steeper the price–which is perhaps why 12v and 15v drills are among the most popular.
At both voltage levels, there’s a degree of versatility of features and use, and for a more reasonable price than drills with higher voltage.
What are some high-quality 12v and 15v+ drills I can buy?
Now that you have an idea of what kind of features to look for, as well as whether a 12v of a 15v drill is right for the job, we’ll give you a few drills on the market that you can look at.
All of these drills hold an average of four or more stars out of five by customers and offer a number of excellent features to make your next drilling home improvement job that much easier.
Milwaukee M12 12V 3/8-Inch Drill Driver
This 12v drill by Milwaukee comes highly rated with an average rating of four and a half stars out of four hundred customer reviews.
At just over two pounds, it’s lightweight, offers an ergonomic handle for comfort, has a durable lithium-ion battery (you do have to buy this and accessories separately) and include metal ratcheting around the chuck for improved durability.
With a maximum chuck size of 0.38 Inches, it’s useful for everyday projects; it does not come with some of the bells and whistles of other models but customers were pleased with how easy it was to use and how affordable compared to some of its competitors. Check out our full list of best Milwaukee Impact Driver Models.
Bosch PS130-2A 12-Volt Lithium-Ion Ultra-Compact Hammer Drill/Driver Kit
The Bosch PS130-2A 12v drill by Bosch weighs just over two pounds, features a compact body and head, and features two speeds for increased torque control.
It also comes with an impressive twenty clutch settings for a more precise drill, as well as a fuel gauge that comes with two lithium batteries.
Makita XDT15ZB 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Sub-Compact Brushless Cordless Impact Driver
A step up from a 15v drill, this powerful and compact drill by Makita weighs only slightly more than many 12v drills, and still comes under three pounds.
Meant to work specifically in tight and hard to reach spaces, the drill also features three adjustable speeds and even a special ‘assist mode’ meant to reduce cross threading.
Do more with less. The Makita 18-Volt LXT Lithium-Ion Sub-Compact Brushless Cordless Impact Driver (model XDT15ZB, tool only, battery sold separately) is an ultra-compact fastening solution with significantly less weight.
Be sure to check out our full review on Makita drills here.