What to Know About Cordless Drill Voltage?

Cordless drills assist people in drilling holes and driving screws without having to worry about connecting them to a power outlet. The users receive efficiency, mobility and weight at once when using a cordless drill. When focusing on the appropriate voltage for cordless drills it is important to choose a voltage rating suitable for your task.

Normally, cordless drills need 12V, 18V volts for light-weight tasks and 20V, 36V and more will need for heavy duty task. Drills need high voltage for their higher RPM and impact drivers and wrenches require higher current to produce higher torque than drills

An increased voltage indicates a larger, heftier battery. In this article, you will find answers to many questions you have when it comes to the voltage of cordless drills. So keep reading.

What is Voltage (V) in a Cordless Drill?

The voltage (V) of the drill is the required electric potential difference to operate the drill. The cordless drill consumes DC voltage. Voltage is an electrical force that pushes the current through the circuit in the drill. It powers the motor that makes the drill rotate. Cordless drill voltage is supplied by the rechargeable Li-Ion battery. Cordless drill voltages are available as 12V,18V,20V and 36V. In some special cases, we can see 48V and 60V cordless drills for heavy-duty tasks.

Higher voltage generally allows for more torque and higher RPM. Therefore, drills with higher voltages can drill through tougher materials more efficiently. However, higher voltage also means a heavier battery, adding to the overall weight of the tool.

Regarding power supply, the voltage is stored in the rechargeable battery pack of the tool, which is most commonly comprised of lithium-ion cells. These cells store electrical energy by the use of chemical reactions. When the tool is operational, the stored energy is converted back to electricity, then supplied to the motor of the tool, powering it.

How Does Cordless Drill Power Varied with Voltage?

The drill power is denoted by the multiplication of Voltage and Ampers (P=VI). When the voltage of a drill is increased its power increases. Cordless drills spend their power on the torque for the task. Hence, When the power of the drill is increased, its torque also increases. Therefore, higher voltage drills have the power to drill into harder materials and do it faster than a drill with lower voltage.

How Does Cordless Drill Efficiency Varied with Voltage?

The efficiency of the cordless drill is the percentage of the power input to the output. Hence the efficiency of the cordless drill is influenced by its voltage. The higher voltage enables the drill to perform more challenging tasks and operate more efficiently under load.

What are the Differences Between 12V, 18V, and 20V Drills?

12 V18V20V
Size & PortabilityCompact
Easy to carry around. 
Easy to manoeuvre
Do not require a lot of space compared to 20V drills. 
Equipped with a bigger motor, thus needing a bigger profile.
Less portable compared to 12v & 18V drills.
, Battery CapacitySmaller capacity.
Offers a shorter run time.
Wise to keep a backup battery
Have large battery Capacities
Less Power than 20V.
Has large battery capacities, thus more power.
Ideal for large projects. 
CostCheaper than 18VCheaper than 20V Expensive
UsabilitySuitable for simpler and lighter tasks (furniture and other woodwork). 
Ideal for anyone working overhead, in attics or crawl spaces. 
Ideal for many common jobs around the houseBest for heavy-duty operations (drilling stones and concrete)

The efficiency will depend on what task you need the drill for.  Still, a 12V cordless drill will be a clever choice if power is not your issue and you are working on a budget.

Read More About – 12V Vs 18V Drill: Is 12V Essential?

What are the Differences Between Higher vs. Lower Voltage Drills?

Choosing what is best among high voltage drills and low voltage drills will depend on the task you are using the tool for.

For tough works that demand more torque, a higher voltage is a better solution as torque makes it convenient for you to use bigger force without settling as much pressure on the battery. Particularly, construction and domestic tasks with durable materials require high-voltage drills.

On the other hand, low-voltage drills come in handy when dealing with small tasks like drilling into softwoods. 

There are both pluses and minuses in both options. Batteries with a high voltage will run out of power when you work for an extended period, users might find it disturbing as they take longer to charge. For the users who always work on varied projects, it would be wise to have both high and low-voltage drills. 

Which Drill Battery Has a Higher Voltage?

If nickel-cadmium batteries are discharged and recharged to the exact state of charge multiple times that will lead to a “memory effect”. In its charge progression, the battery memorizes the point where recharging started and during the next use, the voltage unexpectedly drops at that point, as if the battery had been discharged.

However, the capacity of the battery will not decrease to a great extent. Some batteries resist this reduced voltage long enough for the voltage to return to normal, while some devices fail to function during the dropped voltage period.

Due to this reason, the battery can die before reaching its expiration. Further, when a battery of various cells is completely discharged, various charges may occur, diminishing the lifespan of the battery.

Lithium-ion batteries deliver considerably more voltage than Ni-Cd batteries. The bent of Li-Ion batteries is that they can be recharged before they are fully discharged without creating a “memory effect”.

Li-Ion batteries are well fitted for recent fuel gauge applications as their self-discharge is less than half in contrast to Ni-Cd. However, the safety circuit is created in each pack, restricting the maximum voltage of each cell during charge and impeding the cell voltage from plunging too low on discharge. 

Can I Use a 20V Drill Battery on an 18V Drill?


It is an incredible solution to use a 20V battery in an 18V drill machine. Users who employ multiple tools are instructed to buy many battery packs associated with drilling requirements. Batteries and chargers are individually available to purchase.  In this case, if you can alternate and use batteries, that would be beneficial. 

Both 20 and 18 voltages have cells created in groups of five. As five does not go into eighteen evenly, it is obvious that an 18V is a 20V with a different label. 18V and 20V MAX systems function with the same rate of voltage. Even though the guts of each battery cell are different from one brand to another, they need the same voltage as an 18V tool.

Tom Mackency

Tom Mackency

Hi, I am Tom Mackency. It has been 10 years that I have been working as a professional woodworker since 2013. I am really enjoying my carrier by creating many kinds of projects in my workshop. But mostly I like for home improvement projects. Home improvement and DIY projects are the most interesting things for me. More than that, the coolest things are power tools. Those are very precious and efficient than a decade ago. So I try to introduce so many things about power tools, woodworking, DIY projects, home improvement and many more interesting topics here.

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