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A drill is one of the most important tools for any homeowner. You don’t necessarily need to be a DIY-er in order to find uses for this power tool around the house. From helping you drill in nails to removing rust, this nifty tool will provide solutions for specific or everyday home owning challenges.
When it comes to buying a power drill, you have some options which differ in their capabilities, features, and design. The primary difference starts with drills being corded or cordless designs. You’ve likely seen both kinds of drills; but did you know they have significant differences that influence the work you can perform with them? Aside from aesthetic differences, there are major functional issues that are worth considering before making any purchases.
For this reason, we’re battling out the two drills to help you figure out which one suits your requirements best.
Main Differences Between Corded vs Cordless Drills
The main differences between Corded vs Cordless Drills are:
- Corded drills have more power due to being directly connected with electricity, whereas cordless drills are weaker since they are battery powered and have limited power input
- Corded drills cannot be used everywhere since they have to be connected with power, whereas cordless drills are transportable and can be used everywhere if they are charged.
- Corded drills are more powerful and durable, whereas cordless drills are weaker and last up to 2 hours if fully charged.
Cordless drills are more popular than ever due to their ease of use and innovations. It essentially is a powerful tool with boring on one end and a battery at its root. Due to their wireless nature, cordless drills are more portable and, therefore, a popular option for handcrafters.
Unlike corded tools, it does not need to be tethered into a socket to power up. Instead, it uses a single or multiple batteries to provide the electrical input required. This controlled output adds versatility and accuracy to the tool while supplying a uniform torque.
Additionally, given its more modern design, it’s more likely to be fitted with some nifty features, such as variable speed settings and built-in lights for added visibility. It also allows the use of gears and accessories, much like the corded variety.
The four main types of cordless drills you may expect to see in your hardware shop include:
- Drill/Drivers: Your standard cordless drill which can be used for making holes or driving screws in wood, plastic or metal materials.
- Hammer Drills: Similar to driver drills, these have an in-built hammer setting which allows the work on additional materials such as concrete, stone, and brick. While adding in functionality, the hammer drills are generally heavier to make up for the power required.
- Rotary Hammers: Essentially fulfills a similar function to the hammer drill, but uses an air pressure mechanism to produce the same effects. They are generally heavier and cost more than hammer drills.
- Impact Drivers: Impact driver drills are generally lighter with less power and the primary function of driving or loosening screws or bolts.
Elements of A Cordless Drill
Even within the types, you’re likely to see the variety and different features which may ultimately sway your decision. Here are some elements to look out for:
There are two aspects of battery options available with cordless models: Type of battery and voltage. Nickel-cadmium and lithium-ion batteries are the most common types of batteries used. A word of caution, however, nickel-cadmium is generally more toxic and less environmentally friendly. Thankfully, most newer models make use of the latter type and are generally safe to use.
On the other hand, the voltage is a reasonable indicator of the torque you can expect from the drill. Higher torque is delivered by drills with higher voltage use. Depending on your usage, torque value should always be kept in mind when making a drill purchase.
The type of chuck determines the functions you can operate with your drill and accessories which may be used. The standard chunk will also determine the width of your holes with most small drills having a chuck size of 10mm.
Additionally, drills with a keyless chuck allow users to replace accessories by hand without the use of chuck keys; thereby, shortening replacement time significantly.
A rotation button allows the drill to remove screws from wood and other material and should be reachable using your thumb and forefinger for easy access.
Cordless drills should allow you to change your speed through an easy to operate the trigger. Your grip should be firm on all speeds, and controlled friction should be applied, regardless of the surface of your material.
The clutch essentially slows the drill from overdriving by decreasing the speed of your drill’s head. Different clutch settings may be provided to perform various tasks.
With the added mobility within cordless drills, work lights are a useful element within your drill. It’ll help ensure you’re never stuck with poor lighting while safeguarding your body from harm.
Features of A Cordless Drills
- A wireless power drill with the ability to drill into wood, plastics, metal, and concrete.
- Ergonomic handle
- The in-built battery used as a power source
- Can be set to variable speeds
- Portable and mobile
- Available in four variations depending on the power required
- Different accessories can be fitted
- Work Light installed within the tool
Pros of Cordless Drills
- Mobility and Convenience – The popularity of cordless models is largely due to the convenience of the drill not being tied to a wire and socket. The mobility not only allows you to use the drill at any location but adds to its maneuverability as well.
- Greater Control/Precision – Being battery-operated, the power input and output can be controlled by the user and therefore gives greater options for control, making your work more precise and accurate.
- Storage Friendly – No wires to secure or store, the cordless drill can be compactly stored away without taking up much space.
- Comes in various speeds – Each drill comes with a handy set of variable speeds enabling you to control the flow of your work.
Cons of Cordless Drills
- Less power than corded models – The electrical input is rather limited, and therefore, cordless models cannot provide the same output as their wired counterparts.
- Charging Required – Likewise, in order to use the drill, you’ll need to charge it and be responsible for battery maintenance as well to ensure the longevity of your tool.
- More expensive – Cordless tools are generally more expensive than corded versions.
Products To Consider
With the advantages and disadvantages in mind, here are some products we recommend as being stand out cordless drills:
- Most Affordable: Bosch PS32-02– Lightweight drill with speeds up to 1300rpm and high powered torque.
- Most Powerful: Makita XFD131 18V LXT – Heavy-duty drill with a 54Nm torque and speed range from 0 to 30,000rpm.
- Best Deal: DEWALT Flexvolt 60-Volt and 20-Volt MAX Lithium-Ion Cordless Brushless Combo Kit – Compact hammer drill and impact driver in one set. Speed reaches 2,000rpm to 3,250rpm.
While more traditional, corded drills haven’t been phased out by the newer technology. The power and capabilities remain unmatched, given these drills aren’t limited by the batteries they use. Instead, they are tethered to a socket that supplies the electrical input they need.
There following are four commonly found variations when it comes to corded drills:
- Drill/Driver: The standard, multi-purpose drill which has the power to handle most projects while providing the best results.
- Hammer Drill: Similar to its cordless variety, used to drill into stone or concrete materials while being heavier and more expensive.
- Rotary Drill: The high-powered specialty variety for heavy-duty performance.
- Angle Drill is used for getting around small, tiny corners and is mostly used by electricians or plumbers.
Corded Drill Elements
One of the main concerns for corded tools is the extension of their wirings. Not only does it limit where you work, but it can sometimes impact the angles and sides you can efficiently target. Some tools will require you to use extra extension wires while others may be long enough on their own.
The wire should be long enough allowing you to comfortably and securely work within your project area. Another important aspect to remember is the material of the wire itself, which should be flexible yet sturdy to avoid any safety risks.
Similar to cordless drills, chucks are usually of two types. You’re more likely to find chucks with keys in your corded tools given the traditional design, but there are keyless options out there as well.
While the power and, therefore, the speed of corded drills is generally higher, speed control is an optional choice. Some models will feature only a single speed which is then used for dedicated tasks. It’s important to look at variable speed options if needed for your project.
In order to facilitate the loosening of a screw, allowing you to dismantle materials quickly, most corded drills will have a direction switch to toggle between the two rotational cycles.
Features of A Corded Drills
- Wired power tool used for drilling materials such as wood, plastic, metal, and concrete.
- Uses the electrical output to supply power
- Different grip options available allowing you to have a firm fit
- Choose between single or variable speeds
- Four main types of corded drills available
- It can be used with external accessories to add to its functionality.
Pros of Corded Drills
- Offers Higher Power and Speed – Due to its blade diameter, the saw can cut through tough lumber while also catering to everyday woodworking use.
- Efficient “Plug-and-Play” Functionality – The rotations and changes in degree provide the user with maneuverability, unlike other saws that are restricted in their use.
- Cheaper – Given its size and usage, the Corded can help decrease clutter by removing the need for many tools or other saws and is fairly compact than some other options.
Cons of Corded Drills
- Requires Electrical Output and/or Extensions – Unlike the miter saw, you won’t be able to achieve the same effortless precision; therefore, the Corded is generally not considered beginner-friendly.
- Not as Storage Friendly – While guards and safety tools can be purchased, the mobility of the tools ultimately makes it more prone to cause injuries than their counterparts.
Products To Consider
There are numerous – old and new – models of corded drills available on the market; here are a few we recommend:
- Most Affordable: DEWALT DWD115K – A versatile drill with speed ranges from 0 to 2,500rpm
- Most Powerful: Hitachi D13VF Corded Drill – With its 9.0Amp motor, this corded drill gives you the power to handle most projects.
- Best Deal: Makita 6302H 1/2-Inch Corded Drill – Small, lightweight, and impactful. This drill is packed with features, providing an overall impressive package.
Corded vs Cordless Drills: What to Look Out For
The following factors should be kept in mind when deciding between the two options:
Power, Speed, and Torque
These three factors impact one another to provide you with the baseline power at your disposal. It determines your power consistency and impacts your ability to perform certain drilling operations. When it comes to the two, corded drills, have more power and do not run out of juice. Whereas when going cordless, having a low battery can lead to delays or power inconsistencies which damage your work.
Weight and Size
Aside from the power, your tool should feel comfortable within your hand throughout your process. The weight should be bearable while the size should allow you to perform your tasks smoothly. Corded tools are generally lighter and smaller than cordless ones, but there is another factor to consider…
Mobility refers to both being able to work at your desired locations effectively and your maneuverability. Corded drills are limited by their range unless additional wire extensions are purchased and given their wires, may be difficult to maneuver, despite their size.
Your ability to work will also be determined by your grip while using the tool. Both tools come in a variety of different ergonomic handles, and additional grips can be installed as accessories. But it should be taken into consideration before starting any new project with your tool.
Knowing your electrical output limitation or ability to charge the drill’s battery would help determine which option to go for. Consider the location(s) you’re going to work at and the length of your projects. A smaller project at remote locations is generally suited for cordless drills; while longer projects will need a more consistent power source, making a corded drill the better option.
Both kinds of drills can perform similar functions, and it could all come out to price. The corded drills are generally less expensive, but it depends on your project requirements as well.
Considering your brand is also important to know the options available to you. It’s always advisable to buy your tools from an authorized seller and under warranty. Always try to get a feel of your options before making a purchase and go for a reputable company to ensure your experience is a positive one.
Corded vs Cordless Drills: Which One Should You Get?
Due to its price and power, our recommendation goes with Corded Drills with the Makita 6302H 1/2-Inch Corded Drill being our overall best pick as outlined further above.
Cordless drills can be beneficial for certain projects or by users who drill frequently. It offers similar results to the corded version while being portable and storage-friendly. Depending on your requirements, a cordless tool can be quite handy around the house and offer more security in terms of its battery-powered use.
That said, corded drills cannot be replaced simply due to the sheer power they provide. If making a general-purpose purchase, investing in a wired drill will provide you more torque for your money. That said, always be aware of the specifications of the tool you’re purchasing in order to ensure you’re aware of all the features available to you.
Given all their differences and similarities, Corded drills are the tool we recommend for your next home renovations project.
Drill Safety Tips
Having a power tool requires responsible usage, and the following safety precautions must be taken at all times:
- Know Your Manual – The best safety policy always beings with precautions, and your manual is filled with all the instructions your manufacturer recommends for safe usage of their tools. If you need more in-depth demonstrations, you can always watch instructional videos and revisit them whenever you need a refresher.
- Wear Safety Gloves – Drilling is hands-on work with your tool undergoing some intense friction. As a safety measure, wear gloves at all times when working with the drill to prevent accidental contact with the bit or any materials.
- Protect Your Eyes – When using power drills on any material, you’re bound to get particles flying about which may come in contact with your eyes if unprotected. To avoid this, make use of protective goggles that fit firmly.
- Don’t Forget About Your Clothes – Accidents can also occur from snags of clothing or exposed skin. Wear comfortable yet fitted clothing to avoid entanglements while taking off any jewelry before operating the drill.
- Turn Off Drill When Not in Use – Whether you’re replacing a bit or setting the drill to the side for a break, power it off until you need to use it. It should also be placed on a leveled surface away from your body.
- Ensure Bit Is Firmly in Place – When replacing bits, an unsecured chuck can lead to damage of materials or body; therefore, check your bit has been locked tightly within before powering on.
- Store Appropriately – in order to maximize your time and longevity of your tool, use adequate storage space for the drill. All wires should be plugged and wrapped neatly in place. If cordless, charge your batteries after use to avoid any issues.
FAQ’s About Corded vs Cordless Drills
Your method of replacing the drill bit is dependent on the type of chuck on your device. Traditional chucks will require the use of keys to loosen and fasten bits while keyless chucks have a collar which you can adjust to make easy and quick replacements.
Generally, yes. It depends on the power and speed of your drill and the type of variation you opted for. Refer to your instruction manual to understand which materials you can drill and the steps or precautions needed.
Given a low battery can impede on your ability to start or finish projects quickly, increasing charge time is a common concern. There are recommendations to keep extra charged batteries on hand if you frequently make use of your drill. Else, the best option is to practice timely charging to ensure you’re never without.
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