different types of drills

Different Types of Drills: A Guide for Beginners

Drills are the tools we use when we need to make a hole on a surface. This may seem simple enough, but you have to keep in mind that there are different types of drills to choose from.

They use chipping or rotation movement to complete the task.

In fact, they are part of the required tools in all kinds of boat making projects listed in MyBoatPlans, which is a complete reference for all boat builders.

Let’s take a closer look at the different types of drills, what it does, and when to use it.

What Is a Drill?

A drill is a device mainly for punching holes and fastening items together.

It uses different accessories like a cutting tool or driving tool attachments.

At the top of the drill is the chuck where you will attach the bit or other accessory that you need to complete your task.

In recent years, we have seen a lot of changes and innovations in this tool. Below are some of the several types of drills.                   

Different Types of Drills and Their Uses

Before we proceed with the drill types, let us first understand important technical terms.

Drills make holes with drill bits while drivers secure bolts, screws, and other fasteners with driver bits.

Basic Home Drills

A drill is an essential part of any home improvement.

You will need it in simple jobs like hanging a picture frame to a more complicated task as putting up fences.

The different types of home drills are:

  • Eggbeater Hand Drill

This hand drill got its name due to its similarity to how an eggbeater works.

It is the first generation of cordless drills popular in woodworking.

The eggbeater hand drill is the favorite in most homes before the affordable power tools became widespread.

Its simple design lets you use it for limited and straightforward tasks.

It can bore a hole in wood using simple bits without any difficulty but not on harder surfaces.

  • Push Drill

This hand drill uses a straightforward action.

Just connect a bit, point it on the right spot, and push it across the material to create a hole.

However, it is not suitable for thick and solid materials because it does not have the needed power to get through the surface.

Push drills are quite popular among woodworkers since they make lots of holes, especially small ones.

It is also perfect for puncturing drywalls or paneling.

  • Gimlet

This handheld tool is also a specialty drill for woodworking and relies on the user’s strength to perform well.

You can use it to make small holes in softwood to prevent splitting the material, which usually happens if you use power tools.

  • Cordless Hand Drill

As its name implies, it is a wireless power tool that functions through a battery pack attached to the handle’s bottom.

Most of the time, cordless screwdrivers are also basic cordless drills.

You just need to attach the necessary drill bits for you to use it.

Cordless drills are perfect for making holes on the wall, woodworking, or furniture assembly without the power cord’s restrictions.

different types of drills

Powered Hand Drill

Power hand drills are reliable tools that you can use around the house. They come in either corded or cordless varieties.

It has an electric motor that spins a replaceable drill bit to create holes on metal, plastic, or wood.

Changing the tip to a screwdriver bit allows you to loosen or tighten a screw.

  • Corded Power Drill

Corded power drills function through electricity, providing a constant flow of energy supply by connecting its cord to a wall socket.

However, corded tools have limited movement as dictated by the drill’s power cord’s length though you can use a suitable quality extension cord if necessary.

Its powerful motor can quickly drill through various materials like concrete, fiberglass, metal, plastic, and wood.

  • Reversible Drill

A reversible drill lets you change the chuck’s movement from clockwise to counterclockwise.

This function is perfect when loosening or tightening a screw.

As it is, that’s the only advantage of this drill’s function.

  • Impact Drill

This handheld tool is excellent for heavy-duty tasks.

It applies extra force to the bit while it rotates, providing a better cutting ability to the twisted drill bit.

An impact drill is a perfect tool for making a hole on hard and knotted wood.

  • Hammer Drill

A hammer drill has a similar function to an impact drill but gives added force from the rear and is perfect for masonry.

This power drill is mainly used to drill hard materials since it creates a hammering motion through its impact function.

  • D-Handle Drill

A D-handle placed at the back of the traditional hammer drills gives it more stability than the simple trigger grip making it suitable for heavy-duty works.

Manual Drills

Manual drills have long been gone and dated, which was the favorite tool of many woodworkers.

These manual drills are perfect when making measured holes.

Its different types include:

  • Breast Drill

These are traditional hand drills that will function well based on the user’s hand and wrist powers.

The added part at the back of the tool is braced against the user’s chest to give it more power and leverage.

  • Brace Drill

A brace drill is a hand tool where you put pressure on the top part while rotating the U-shaped grip. This function creates more power to make holes in wood materials.

Pneumatic Drills

Pneumatic drills are the most powerful tools in this category.

They use compressed air to operate, allowing them to make deep holes in thick and solid materials.

This large and heavy mechanical drill may require an air compressor to function fully.

  • Straight Air Drills

A straight air drill is small, making it suitable for confined spaces.

This handheld tool has a compressed air hose that you connect to an air compressor to work.

  • Gun Handle Pneumatic Drill

This tool is named as such because of its shape.

It uses compressed air to function, giving it enough power to make holes on hardwoods or soft metal.

Heavy-Duty Drills

If you need a more powerful drill than handheld ones, a drill press is what you need.

It is the perfect tool for making holes in metals.

  • Portable Drill Press

You can move this heavy-duty tool to different locations as you work, but you also have the option to mount the base on your workbench for stability.

A portable drill press is a lightweight tool that can produce accurate holes.

That is because the material is clamped to ensure its alignment is correct.

You can interchange the bits from the vertical drive while placing the material on top of the adjustable platform.

You can use different accessories apart from drill bits, depending on the task at hand.

  • Drill Press

This heavy-duty tool needs to be anchored on the ground and would require some space on both sides for convenience.

It can produce holes on hard materials that are generally clamped on the table.

different types of drills

Power Sources for Drills

Based on the different types of drills we listed, drills can function on four various sources. They include:


Manual drills depend on the user’s muscle strength, and all hand drills are manually powered.

Some hand drills use a crank motion, while others require a pushing motion.

Lastly, some manual drill models use a twisting motion.

You will see manually powered drills typically used in woodworking, where control and delicacy are required.


Most corded drills use electricity as its power source.

It is where they get their endless energy to complete the task.

Electricity can power up bigger motors so it can produce a more powerful drilling output.

As mentioned, corded drills’ biggest downside is the restriction created by the power cord, limiting mobility and flexibility.


Battery-powered drills give you the portability and mobility to use the tools anywhere, anytime. 

There’s no need to look for an electrical outlet for the device to function.

That said, cordless drills have limited power in terms of force and battery life, making it unsuitable for long work hours.


Pneumatic drills function using compressed air through an air compressor.

Technically, these are also corded drills powered by the steady and forceful air.

These compressed air-powered pneumatic drills offer excellent power but are not as common as electric and battery-powered tools.

Drill Motor Types

The motor is what makes the drill work. Power drills use two motor types, namely brushless and brushed.

These two motor types differ in the technical and mechanical aspects that make them function differently.

Brushed Motor

The affordable brushed variety made from carbon is the original motor type used for power drills.

Carbon brushes are installed on the stationary part of the motor.

These brushes allow power switching between the motor and the rotor without sparking.

They also offer high torque and functional reliability.

The problem is that these components wear out through constant use because of the friction.

The brushes would need regular cleaning or replacement as necessary.

Brushless Motor

Brushless motors generate power using magnets.

It does not create friction and has less heat production, reducing maintenance.

All it needs is dusting without having to replace worn out brushes.

All brushless motors have similar designs.

The fixed stator holds the coils and rotor, where magnets are permanently glued.

Optional Features

You will not find all the following features in all the drills in the market.

This list just aims to give you an idea of other features that you might or want in your drill.

LED Light

Some manufacturers have incorporated LED lights into their drill’s design, which is trigger-activated.

The added feature allows the user to continue working even in dimly lit spaces.

Adjustable Side Handle

The adjustable handles allow the user to personalize its position according to their preference.

This adaptable feature provides added comfort and stability to your drilling.

Lock-On Switch

Some drills feature a lock-on switch. When the lock-on is enabled, the tool will only work when engaged.

This feature helps in saving battery power, which also helps reduce unnecessary noise.

Depth Gauge

Some drills have a built-in depth gauge that acts as a guide to prevent over drilling.

You can place it on top or the side of the tool.

Electric Brake

Drills equipped with an electric brake will immediately stop functioning as you release the trigger.

Mobile App Integrated

There are high tech drills that you can wirelessly sync to your smartphone.

Once connected, you can easily personalize their performance.

Reverse and Forward Button

Some drill models have a reverse function that will let you turn the bit forward and backward.

Belt Clip

The belt clip is an optional feature that you can attach to the drill to fasten your belt when not in use.

MyBoatPlans: Drills and Bits

It’s hard to build a boat without using a power tool and the corresponding drill bits.

Using the correct tools for your boat ensures faster and better results.

You need to use a specific drill, bits, and technique depending on what type of work you are doing on the boat.

If you are building a wooden boat, it is better to choose the slow speed setting on your power tool to prevent the wood from splintering.

Also, ensure that you are using a good-quality drill that produces the right amount of power for a particular job.

You must keep your drill bits organized to prevent damaging its tips and keep it sharp.

As a boat builder, you must include both manual drills and power tools in your arsenal.

You can check the complete list of tools that a boatbuilder needs in MyBoatPlans from the experienced master boat builder.


After knowing the different types of drills and their specific uses, you should now have an idea which one to use for your boat building tasks.

To ensure the success of your project, the easy-to-follow boat plans from MyBoatPlans would be great to have in your arsenal.

You will find 518 boat plans from the simple to the complex for both beginner and professional boat builders.

The list of tools and materials is also included in the plans so you have complete information.

For more drill tips and reviews, kindly visit Boat Diaries’ blog section.

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