4 Things to Know About Electric Drill Voltages

An electric drill in a blue container.

Electric drills are available in a number of voltages. Not every project will require a high powered drill. Professionals may need to use a drill with a higher voltage, but a homeowner will have different needs. Understanding the difference between them will enable you to spend less money and get the drill that is going to best suit your needs.

What is Voltage?

Voltage is basically the available power to the drill. The voltage number simply represents the amount of power the drill will have while in use. The higher the voltage, the higher the price will be. The weight of the drill will also be increased with a higher voltage drill. Higher voltage drills will have more settings, more options, and a wider variety of attachments and bits.

Choosing the Right Amount

When you decide on which drill is best for you, a number of things should be taken into consideration. If you are planning on just keeping the drill around for common household tasks, such as fixing curtain rods, putting together furniture, or just drilling holes for hanging pictures or mirrors, a lower amount of voltage is all that is necessary. Some people can get by with just a 9-volt drill for basic tasks.

If you are going to do larger projects, a higher voltage is recommended. This will give you more power and more torque for drilling through harder materials. A 14.4-volt drill will cost a little more, and end up being heavier, but can be used for most home improvement projects. If you have a workshop and use a drill constantly, or consider yourself an extreme do-it-yourselfer, a 24-volt drill may be best.

Types of Drills Available

A man uses a drill.

The lower voltage drills don’t generally offer a lot of bells and whistles. A 9-volt drill will be able to drill through drywall, and will usually have a few settings for torque. The more powerful 24-volt drills may be used for more projects. For example, if you need a hammer drill setting, this isn’t going to be found on a lower voltage drill. The 18- to 24-volt drills are used most often for contractors, professionals, or those who have a knack for more extreme DIY jobs.

Corded Vs. Cordless

Most of us want convenience in everything, including our tools. A cordless drill will give you more portability, but won't always last as long as corded drills. Cordless drills can be made with the same power and voltage as the corded varieties, but won't always offer the continued reliability of torque and power as a corded drill. A cordless drill will lose power as the battery wears down. This means you won't always get the full 24 volts of power out of the cordless drill. If you are planning on using your electric drill frequently, or for long periods of time, investing in the corded drill can offer you more power, longer life, and features not always found on the cordless models.