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Drill Showdown: Corded vs. Cordless Drills

Drill Showdown: Corded vs. Cordless Drills


From building furniture to tighetning a loose screw or ten, power drills are a lifesaver for any handyperson. Though they're created with the same purpose in mind, both corded and cordless drills have unique features to consider before making a purchase. If you don't know the drill by now, here are some key differences between cordless and corded drills to help you decide which is best for you.


Corded Drill

Cordless Drill


Handles more projectsHandles fewer projects

Rotational Speed

High rotational speeds Low rotational speeds


Not portablePortable


More torqueLess torque



Corded Drills


Advantages of Corded Drills

  • Fast rotational speeds - High rotations allow corded drills to be used with small bits and attachments like buffers and metal brushes.
  • Plenty of power - Since it operates off of a consistent power supply, these types of drills are able to operate with high torque. As a result, corded models might be better suited for large projects that involve boring holes through thick lumber, metal or glass.
  • Continual use - Without a battery to charge, you don't have to worry about a corded drill running out of power in the middle of a project. If you're going to be using a drill over a long period of time, it's smart to have a corded option unless you're willing to spring for several replacement batteries.
Corded drill

Limitations of Corded Drills

  • Bulky body - Corded drills are often larger than their portable counterparts, which can make them harder to work with over longer projects. Plus, you have to worry about that cord getting in the way.
  • Cord damage - While some high-end corded drills come with a replaceable cord, many of these devices are unusable if the power cord gets damaged.
  • Requires electricity - Since they need consistent power, corded drills can't be used at worksites or outdoors where there is no electrical outlet available.


Cordless Drills


Cordless drill

Advantages of Cordless Drills

  • Compact design - Designed for portability, cordless drills are easy to carry for almost any on-the-go job. Many models are also smaller than corded devices, making them easy to store in a toolbox or on a workbench.
  • Battery-powered - Since they are operated by battery, these devices are perfect for projects outdoors or far away from power outlets. And let's face it, the need for a drill away from a power outlet is bound to happen eventually.
  • Driving screws - Some models have special handles and power settings ideal for driving various types of screws, nuts and bolts.

Limitations of Cordless Drills

  • Lack of power - While cordless drills can handle many jobs, they might not work well for heavy-duty projects. These models may not have enough torque to control small drill bits.
  • Battery life - A limited power source means that batteries can wear out over time and die in the middle of a job that requires lots of force. Since they need to be charged before each project, you'll also need to plan usage accordingly. If an emergency job pops up but your batteries are dead, you're out of luck for the moment.