Cordless Drills: What Voltage Are Available and How to Choose One

Among the many tools that are used in constructions and DIY projects, one of the most important and useful is a power drill. It is an electrical motor that rotates a replaceable drill bit, and it is used to make a hole in different surfaces, such as wood, plastic, or metal. In addition to that, a screwdriver tip can also be installed to turn screws. There are different types of power drills available in the market today. One of those is a cordless drill. 

Cordless drills are powered by rechargeable batteries. These allow the user to insert a battery pack and have an operating drill instantly without the need for a power cable. It is among the most versatile power tools because as long as the battery is charged, you can use it anywhere, even when an electrical outlet is not available. 

Most of the time, cordless drills are used for replacing screwdrivers. In addition to that, another common use of a cordless drill is for drilling pilot holes in wood that might split. It is also used for drywall installation, as the process requires lifting and holding large panels in place before inserting drywall screws into the studs beneath the wall. 

Using cordless drills also comes with many advantages. Here are some of them:

  • Convenience: One of the biggest selling points of cordless drills is being portable as they do not require an electric supply. This means that you can use them even in hard-to-reach areas. You also do not have to worry about any cord getting in the way when you use a cordless drill.
  • Additional features: Cordless drills also often have extra features, such as a manually adjustable clutch, a reversible drive, magnetized drill bits, and multiple speeds.
  • Multiple battery use: The battery used for cordless drills can also be used in other tools, including an impact driver, circular saw, and more. The batteries for cordless drills have different sizes. They range from as low as 6 volts all the way up to 28 volts. Among these, the most popular choice is either the 12v, the 18v, or the 20v batteries. The lesser the voltage, the less powerful the drill.

If you are planning to buy a cordless drill soon, one of the things that you need to consider is the voltage. If you have no idea how to choose the right voltage for a cordless drill, we’re here to help you. Read on as we’re giving you more information about the voltage available for cordless drills and how to choose one.

What is Voltage?

Voltage is known as the pressure from an electrical circuit’s power source. It pushes charged electrons or current through a conducting loop, making them do work, such as turning on a light. It simply pertains to the power that is generated when you squeeze the trigger of the power tool. For example, if the power tool has 20 volts, you will not always get 20 volts from it, as the rating is set for optimal conditions. But it is safe to say that you can pull between 16 to 20 volts from it. 

In addition to voltage, you also need to learn about electric current and amperage. The electric current of a power tool is the amount of electricity that is moving through it as it is being used. As you use up the battery in your cordless drill, the current may or may not drop, depending on its make and model. The electric current impacts the torque, which is also influenced by the voltage. 

The amperage hours or AH of the power tool, on the other hand, determines how long the battery will last while it is being used. When the trigger of the power drill is squeezed, and the current begins to flow, the AH will slowly start to drain. Therefore, when you know the AH of the cordless drill, you will have an idea of how long it can last.

Different Voltage Options for Cordless Drills


To ease your confusion about the different voltage sizes on offer for cordless drills, let us take an in-depth look at drill voltages that range from 3.6v to 24v and more. We’ve mentioned earlier that the higher the voltage, the more powerful the tool will be. But in addition to that, there are also other factors that you need to consider when choosing the right voltage. These include its purpose, versatility, and weight. 


This cordless drill voltage is known as the flyweight. This is not actually a voltage for a power drill but for a screwdriver. But it is also worth it to own a little tool that you can use when it comes to assembling pieces of furniture and other items at home.

6v – 8v

Cordless drills with 6v to 8v are entry-level drills. They are best used for very light-duty work. Most of them weigh in at around 1.5 pounds or 700 grams, including the battery. This means that they will not put any strain on your wrists. These cordless drills are commonly used as electric screwdrivers but can also be utilized for light repairs. You can use them in drilling into softwoods like chipboard and other soft metals like aluminum. 

9v – 11v

One of the most common sizes that you will see for cordless drills is 10.8v. However, they are also for light-duty work but with a lot of muscle. With these drills, you can drill holes easier, and it won’t tire out so easily when working for longer periods. Most 10.8v drills weigh in at around 2.2 pounds or 1kg, including the battery. It is around 50% heavier compared to a 7v drill, but it is not very heavy.

This cordless drill is a good choice if you are into drilling for an odd job around the house. It is perfect for getting into tight spaces and working overhead. You can use it to drill into plastics, woods, and metal. However, it should not be put under lots of stress as it will not last very long. It is a good option if you are not into DIY and you just need it occasionally for jobs around the house. 

12v – 15v

Cordless drills that are 12v to 15v are a gem for DIY enthusiasts. These are perfect for home improvements and as well as for those who love to work on small construction projects. A 12v cordless drill can be used for drilling small holes into soft and hardwoods, boring small holes with spade bits, and driving small and long screws into wood. It is a powerful drill that is compact and lightweight. It can weigh around 2.9 pounds or 1.3kg. They are very handy that even professionals use them alongside their 18v drills. 

18v – 20v

These cordless drills are a must-have if you are an avid DIYer or a tradesman. They feature all the versatility and power that you need. With an 18v cordless drill, you will be able to do pretty much any task both indoors and outdoors. These drill drivers can drill into brick and concrete even without a dedicated hammer drill function. 

Cordless drills that are 18v to 20v are perfect for drilling wood, metal, masonry, PVC, ceramic, tile, and plastic. They can bore large holes and can handle large auger bits. They also accept a wider range of bits and other accessories. The only downside with 18v drills is the weight. They can weigh up to 8.8 pounds or 4kg. Therefore, if you are working in tight spaces or overhead, you may get tired quickly. 

But since lithium-ion batteries are now being used, these power tools are a lot lighter now. One of the lightest 18v drill drivers that you can find weights just 2.2 pounds or 1kg with a 2.0 Ah battery. You can also read our cordless drill reviews 18v for more information. 


This is the super heavyweight among all the cordless drill voltages. This one is for the professionals. It is what you need to use if you are going to drill concrete and iron plate or if you are going to bore a lot of holes through joists or studs. You don’t need such a high voltage unless you are working on a building site.

Which Voltage is the Best for a Cordless Drill?


Choosing the right voltage for a cordless drill depends on your personal preferences and needs. If you are a professional or an avid DIYer, you will need an 18v drill. However, if you intend to use it for hours at a time, day in and day out, it is also great to get a 12v drill, as it is more compact and weighs less. It is also a good idea to have a 12v drill as a supplement to your 18v, but it should not be a replacement. 

If you are a real home DIY enthusiast and you do not want to mess about it, then you should only go for an 18v. These days, 18v cordless drills are much lighter and easy to use. Unless you will always work overhead or up a ladder, its weight should not be an issue. If you are planning to work on standard DIY, you can go for only a 12v drill. It can breeze through anything you want it for, and it can also last a long time. 

Other Factors in Choosing a Cordless Drill

In addition to looking at voltage, there are also other factors that you need to consider when choosing a cordless drill. Here are some of them:

  • Wattage: The wattage is as important as the voltage. The higher the wattage, the better as the drill has to work less hard and will not tire out fast.
  • Battery interchangeability: It is better to choose a cordless drill whose battery is compatible with a drill or other power tool of the same brand and voltage that you own. This will help you save money as you can just buy only the drill body.
  • Battery capacity: The battery capacity of a cordless drill can greatly affect its overall weight.
  • Charging time: You also need to check how long it takes for the battery to charge and whether it has the fast-charge capability.
  • Lithiumion: It is also better to purchase a drill with a lithium-ion battery as they are lighter and can last longer.
  • Twospeed gearbox: A two-speed gearbox is important for adjusting torque when switching between drilling and driving.


It is undoubtedly convenient to own cordless tools, particularly cordless drills. They do not have a cord to drag around, and you can use them wherever you need them. You just always need to keep the batteries charged or have an extra ready to go. We hope this post will help you in choosing the best cordless drill for your needs.