What is a Battery-Powered Drill?

D Frank

A drill is an extremely useful tool that, when using the appropriate bit, can be used to drill holes into wood, metal, concrete and a host of other materials and surfaces. A battery drill relies on a battery pack, usually attached at the bottom of the drill, to provide the power source. Battery packs come in various sizes and shapes and with proper care can last for a number of years.

Battery-powered drills can be used to drive screws into wall and other things.
Battery-powered drills can be used to drive screws into wall and other things.

Though useful, a corded power drill has its shortcomings, especially when working outside because long extension cords are required to tie the drill into an electrical receptacle. With the advent of the battery drill, tradesmen and weekend hobbyists alike have found working with drills less restrictive. A battery drill, also known as a cordless drill, allows workers the opportunity to move freely about a work site without having to drag extension cords behind them. Battery drills are also available in heavy-duty sizes (hammer drills) which will allow the operator to perform difficult drill jobs that a smaller battery drill would not be powerful enough to perform.

Cordless drills can be used with a variety of bits.
Cordless drills can be used with a variety of bits.

New battery drills usually come with two battery packs. Accordingly, while one battery is being used to power the drill, the remaining battery can be plugged into a charger to ensure it is fully charged and ready for use. Cordless drill batteries are offered in various voltages typically ranging from 12 to 24 volts. The higher voltage drills usually have more power, but they also cost more. The use of battery powered tools of all kinds are now favored by tradesmen. On a typical jobsite, you can find battery powered drills, circular saws, screwdrivers, jig saws, and reciprocal saws, to name a few.

Drywall installers belong to a group of construction workers who usually prefer battery drills over plug-in models. Drywallers can set the speed control of the drill to allow it to drive screws into and secure drywall products to either wooden or metal studs in new construction projects.

Cordless drills can be used with a wide variety of drill bits that vary from the most common, or twist bits, to forstner bits and hole saws.

Some of the most popular manufacturers of battery drills include Makita, DeWalt, Bosch, Hilti, and Craftsman; they all offer drills that fit the needs of the weekend warrior and trades professionals alike.

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Discussion Comments


@parmnparsley- You may have people tell you that a lithium ion drill is not worth the expense if you live in a cold climate because the batteries have issues in the cold, but this is just not so. I run all of my power tools and drills of 3ah lithium ion batteries that are all rated to -40 degrees. NiCad batteries will often only be rated to -15 or so. The only problems you may run into are with the old lithium ion tools and the cheaper tools. These may experience a problem around 0 degrees or have issues with constant hot/cold cycling.

If you can afford it, buy the lithium ion drill. You will buy fewer batteries in the time that you own it, more than making up for the difference in price.


@parmnparsley- There are a number of advantages to lithium ion batteries. As far as tool batteries are concerned, Lithium Ion batteries are the best. They are lighter, they charge faster, and they perform more reliably in the cold.

The batteries may cost more, but the expense can be worth the benefits. If you are in need of a new drill, you should go with the lithium ion, but if you are still using the one you have, might as well ruin it to the ground before you switch. I work with a drill overhead every day, so the lithium ion drills wear me out much less. It is also nice to have a battery that charges in about 45 minutes, and holds a charge between jobs.


What is the difference between a lithium-ion battery powered drill and a drill with a conventional battery? I am looking at buying a medium duty drill with a 14.4-volt battery for around the farm needs. I found a few I like online, but I do not know if the difference in price ($50+) is worth the benefits. I have been using the old drills with the big batteries ever since they came out, but now I need a new drill and I do not know which one I should buy. Does anyone out there have any advice for me?

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