Are Cordless Drills as Powerful as Corded Drills?

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If you plan to get a new drill, there are a few primary considerations to keep in mind. One of these is whether you want a cordless or a corded drill. The main issue when comparing corded and cordless drills is their power level.

So, are cordless drills as powerful as corded drills? This is one of the questions this article will answer. First, to give you an idea of what you can expect from these drills, we will compare cordless and corded drills. Then, we’ll discuss which one is best for you.

The Basics

Let’s define what these tools are. A cordless drill is a drill driver that uses a battery or battery pack as its energy source. The average drill battery will be somewhere between 6 and 22 volts. Depending on the battery, they may also have anywhere from 1.2 to 2.5 mAh and usually last up to 2.5 hours.

Then, there’s the corded drill, which uses a power cord that has to be plugged into an AC power source. Because they are plugged into an electric outlet, these corded drills can be powered by a 110 or even 120-volt power supply that never runs out.

Cordless vs. Corded Power Drills

You may deduce from the above section that cordless drills are not nearly as powerful as corded drills. In fact, a corded drill is generally much more powerful than a cordless drill, several times more powerful.

This means that corded drills are better used for heavy-duty applications, including jobs that involve thick, dense, and hard materials. For example, you can easily use a corded drill for wood, masonry, and metal.

The less powerful cordless drill is generally better for lighter purposes. However, they won’t have the same penetration due to the lower power level, especially when thick materials are concerned.

Also, if you are working on heavy-duty and large jobs, your battery will run out fairly quickly. High power consumption means high battery consumption.

However, this doesn’t mean that cordless drills don’t have their benefits. Let’s compare other main features of both cordless and corded drills.

Power Supply and Dealing with Batteries

Constantly dealing with charging batteries and batteries running out of juice are issues cordless drills come with. However, the average battery on a cordless drill will last between 45 and 90 minutes.

If you have to work all day, you need multiple batteries. However, this is not an issue with corded drills, which have a constant power supply that never runs out. Therefore, it’s more convenient for long-term work.  But, you must have a nearby power source which often means dealing with extension cords.

Are Cordless Drills as Powerful as Corded Drills

Torque and Speed

A decent battery-powered drill can put out 200 or 300 pounds of torque with ease, with some producing up to 500 or even 600 inch/pounds of torque.

However, if we’re talking about a corded drill, 400 or 500 pounds of torque is usually the starting point, and they can go much higher.

Corded drills are more powerful, and this difference then also leads to a difference in the maximum RPM. So although cordless drills can move at very high speeds, corded drills can move even faster.

Size and Weight

Another consideration is that corded drills are usually much lighter and smaller than cordless drills because of the battery pack on a cordless drill.

If you have a small cordless drill, the battery might make up about half the weight. This makes a corded drill much easier to use over prolonged periods as you will suffer less user fatigue.

This also means that although you have to deal with the power cord, corded drills can efficiently work in tight spaces.


One of the main benefits of cordless drills is that they are highly portable. You can take them with you on the go, and you never have to deal with plugging them in. Cordless drills are specifically designed for portability as you never have to worry about an external power source.

Noise Level

Another slight difference, although somewhat negligible, is that corded drills tend to be a bit noisier than cordless drills. Again, it’s not a deal-breaker either way, but it is a difference worth considering, nonetheless.

Final Thoughts

Both corded and cordless drills have specific benefits and drawbacks. However, if you are looking for maximum power and speed, you can’t beat a corded drill.

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