Portable Electric Drills

Every Woodworker Needs A Portable Electric Drill

The first tool we need to talk about is the portable electric drill. I can't even imagine trying to accomplish any project in woodworking or home repair without a good quality electric hand drill. A drill is invaluable and is the most widely sold and used power-tool on the market.


There is a tremendous range of tools from ultra-cheap almost disposable drills to extremely expensive and massively powerful professional drills.

When getting started woodworking, you need an electric drill that meets these basic requirements:

  • well constructed
  • has variable speed
  • reversible
  • double insulated
  • has a flexible cord (one that stays pliable in colder temperatures)…unless of course, it's cordless ☺
  • a keyless chuck

Note: Keyless Chucks save many hours over the life of your tool. A lot of time is spent changing drill bits using the old chuck key (not to mention searching for the chuck key when it is misplaced or lost outdoors).

cordless drill comparison

Keyless Chuck

corded electric drills

Standard Chuck with Key

Cordless vs. Corded Drill

Cordless Drills

These battery-powered tools have almost taken over the market in recent years. They are incredibly convenient, but you will pay more for a cordless drill than you will for a corded drill with the same features.

Cordless drills Are terrific because:

  1. you don't have to worry about access to a power outlet
  2. you won't need an extension cord.
  3. often, it is easier to operate at slow speeds, e.g., as a power screwdriver.

Cordless drills are Not terrific because

  1. drills can be heavier because of the battery weight. (Batteries are getting smaller and lighter as technology improves each year.)
  2. they are more expensive than corded drills.
  3. you must keep the batteries charged.

Corded Drills

These amazing tools have been the standard since the portable drills invention by brothers Wilhelm & Carl Fein of Stuttgart, Germany, in 1895. For doing heavy work with your drill, the corded drill can't be beaten.

Corded drills Are terrific because:

  1. There are no batteries to charge.
  2. corded drill is more powerful and more consistent than a battery-powered drill.
  3. Corded drills will operate at higher RPM for more extended periods.

Corded drills are Not terrific because:

  1. You will need to operate near a power outlet.
  2. You will need a proper extension cord on hand.

Corded drills can be difficult to control at low speeds, e.g., for driving screws.

Hammer Drills, Do you need one?

People often ask me if they need a hammer drill.

  • Hammer drills are essential for any drilling in concrete or masonry.
  • Trying to drill in concrete with a standard Power drill and a masonry bit can be almost impossible.

The hammer action in the electric drill is a vibrating mechanical impact that feels like buzzing. As you press the drill bit against masonry etc. it works like a miniature jack-hammer.

If you live in a home with cinderblock or concrete walls, stucco, brick, or tile, then the purchase of a drill with a hammer feature will be an excellent idea.

You can purchase Cordless and Corded drills with the hammer drill feature.

types of electric drills

There is a vast selection of drills to meet almost every project need with a different size and model of a cordless or corded drill.

Greg’s Drill Preferences

When driving screws, I prefer a Cordless drill because the variability of speed and the torque control settings make driving screws much more manageable.

When I am drilling multiple holes or using the drill with a grinding or buffing attachment, then the Corded drill wins my vote.

As you look at your first drill purchase:

  • Think of every project in your home that needs a hole drilled and a screw installed.
  • Consider the woodworking projects you are working on.

Choose the drill that makes the most sense for you now, as your skills develop, you will undoubtedly feel the need to have at least a couple of drills on hand.

Have fun shopping for your first electric hand drill! I'm sure you will soon agree with me that it is one of the most valuable tools in your toolset.

There's more information about woodworking at https://howtogetstartedwoodworking.com/blog/ ‎.

 Please let me know about your personal drill preferences or experience in the comments section.

4 thoughts on “Every Woodworker Needs A Portable Electric Drill”

  1. Good information. I have both cordless and battery drills. The thing I don’t like about the battery ones is…seems when you need it the battery is always not charged and ya have to wait on it! And the batteries don’t last long so you are always having to buy replacements and they are expensive. It’s cheaper to buy a new drill! Thanks for the info!

    1. Thanks Susan! I agree with you. I do end up buying new drills whenever my batteries give out. I appreciate the comment!

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