Cordless Drills vs Corded Drills

A power drill is one of the most used and versatile pieces of equipment in a contractor's tool box.  Aside from the obvious applications, drills can also be used for polishing, sanding, fastening, grinding, and even bundling copper wire.  

If you are a casual user of power tools you're probably still aware that there are two basic paths you can go down for drills and those are cordless, and corded.  Both have their benefits and drawbacks so if you're trying to decide which way to go, this post is for you.


The biggest plus for cordless drills is that they don't have a cord.  You can really see how much that improves your life the moment you get into a project where there isn't power nearby.  You might be building your kids swing set or working in an isolated are where there is no power outlet.

Not having to drag out an extension cord saves a lot of time and hassle.  It's also nice not to have a cord in your way when you're trying to get your drill into a tight spot.  It never fails when you're about to get into the perfect position and the stiff end of a power drill cord blocks further movement.  

Cordless also makes a drill much easier to hang on a shelf or set down on a ladder.  Corded drills inevitable get pulled down by their cords smashing into the floor below.  

Power and Torque

Cordless drills have the convenience factor but corded versions are unmatched in power and torque for the most part.  Even the best cordless drill does not have as much power and torque as the corded versions. The consistency of that power is also crucial.  When you are driving heavy, long bolts, or drilling through tough material, sometimes the cordless drills can peter out.

CordlessDrillZone mentions that corded drills are great for using extensions like paddle bits to mix mortar or plaster in a bucket or for prolonged drilling. Otherwise, owning a cordless drill can handle 99% of common jobs you'll need a drill for. Try buying at least an 18v cordless drill.

Weight and Size

Another advantage to the corded version of a drill is the weight and size of the whole tool.  Cordless drills are generally a little bulkier because they have a battery pack to carry around.  This may not seem like a big deal until you're using a drill for a prolonged period of time (i.e. greater than 30 minutes).  That battery and the general balance of a cordless drill can start to weigh on you.

Longevity of the Tool

There isn't really any hard data on this other than my own experience but corded drills tend to last longer than their battery operated counterparts.  For the most part, that is because of the battery. Of course you will still have the cordless drill even after the battery bites the dust but then you have to fork out another $60 - $80 dollars for a fresh battery from the manufacturer.  With a corded drill, you don't really have to worry about that.

Powering Multiple Tools

A cool plus for the cordless category is the ability to swap batteries with other tools.  Of course, you can only do this if you purchase cordless tools from the same manufacturer but if you do, the benefit is really great.  For example, some jobs require a drill and an impact driver (both of which come in cordless versions from leading makers).

You can change out batteries between the two tools instead of having to plug them both in, run multiple extension cords, or get up to unplug one and plug in another (which is the ultimate pain in the rear).  If you shop around, you'll see that some manufacturers make entire lines of tools like drills, impact wrenches, saws, and screwdrivers that can all use the same batteries.

Ultimately it's a good idea to have a cordless and a corded drill on hand for household projects.  There are sometimes when one is just a better choice over the other. Cordless offers you the convenience of not having to lug an extension cord around or fiddle with a drill and cord in tight spots.  Corded versions provide the power and torque you need for prolonged drilling, sanding, or driving jobs.

It's easy to become confused or feel overwhelmed when it comes time to choose tools for your home renovation plans or projects. I have found Tools Freak to be extremely helpful when it comes to making decisions regarding tools, as they review manual hand tools and power tools along with lots of helpful informative posts.

1 comment

  1. Definitely a fan of the cordless drill - except when I forget to charge the battery!


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