Whether you’re using a corded or a cordless drill, the wattage is one of the most important features to look at. It directly determines the power usage, which impacts how strong it is and how much electricity it uses from your house.
The average cordless drill charges with a battery that needs 25 to 100 watts, whereas most corded drills need 800 to 1,200 watts to operate. The reason that corded drills require so much more is that they draw a constant current.
Throughout this article, you’ll also learn the following:
- The various factors that determine the wattage of your drill
- Is bigger better?
- Battery-operated vs. cordless drill wattage
What Affects How Many Watts a Drill Uses?
Since there’s such a large gap between the number of watts found in drills, how are you supposed to know the true answer? After all, the results could cost you more money on your electricity bill, and you’ll be using more or less power to take on various tasks.
It’s important to remember the simple calculations used to determine the wattage of your drill. If you already have one at home, all you have to do is find the tag or the specs on the battery charger. The equation looks like this:
What this means is that you only need to find the amps and volts of a drill to determine the watts. For example, the Black + Decker 20V MAX Cordless Drill uses 20 volts and 1.3 amps. Let’s plug those numbers into the equation:
- Watts = Amps (1.3) x Volts (20), which means that Watts = 26.
Another quick example comes from the DEWALT Corded Drill, which uses 8 amps and 120 volts. Let’s try the same equation again:
- Watts = Amps (8) x Volts (120), which means that Watts = 960.
As you can see, corded drills are quite higher when it comes to wattage than cordless drills. There are plenty of other factors to consider, all of which will be discussed in the next section.
Check this Watts/Volts/Amps/Ohms Calculator.
The Four Factors that Change the Wattage of a Drill
- Voltage is often known as the power factor. Higher voltage usually equates to more power, which is typically what we all desire from our tools. However, it’s important to remember that you don’t always need tons of power. In fact, too much can sometimes cause screws to strips and surfaces to chip.
- Battery-powered or corded? The answer changes the wattage drastically. Corded drills use a constant power draw from the main source, which is usually your house. On the other hand, cordless tools that use batteries slowly store power into the battery, which means that it doesn’t need to power the tool while it’s charging.
- If you’re using a corded drill, lower settings use less wattage. It’s no surprise that pulling less power requires less wattage, so it’s easy to see how important it is that you always adjust the settings. Some old drills don’t have adjustable settings, which means you’re stuck with the steady wattage pull that they use.
- The weight of the drill is crucial as well. Think about it this way; When you’re driving a large car, it requires much more gasoline (power) than a small vehicle. It works the same with power tools. Lightweight tools that are small or made with lighter materials don’t use as much wattage as heavyweight tools.
Is Higher Wattage Better for Power Drills?
It always seems like tools are getting more and more powerful as time goes on. As a result, we’re able to take on bigger projects right at home. Workers can buy tools for cheap without having to go back to a stationary shop, and customers across the world are able to have their renovations completed on time.
That being said, bigger isn’t always better. There are a handful of drawbacks and reasons that you might not want to reach for the highest wattage that you can afford. For example, the high wattage of non-adjustable corded drills can force you to screw something in too tightly, making it hard to remove.
Below are a handful of other reasons that you might want to think about getting high or low-wattage drills:
- More wattage generally indicates a higher voltage, which gives you more room to increase or decrease the output. If you have a drill with adjustable settings, high wattage is often a welcome luxury. Not only that, but it broadens the number of tasks that you can take on whenever you need to.
- If you can’t adjust the settings on your drill, you might end up having to buy multiple drills. Unfortunately, high wattage (and mostly voltage) can be a bit overwhelming in the hands of someone who’s inexperienced with power tools. Again, you won’t really notice such a problem with cordless power drills.
- If you’re concerned about electricity bills, then lower wattage might be a better alternative. You can get a high voltage drill that’s cordless if you want power without paying more monthly. 20V cordless drills are about as good as most corded drills, but you won’t be using 800+ watts to operate them.
- Certain types of hardwood and many kinds of metals can’t be drilled into if you’re not using enough power. This means that you’ll have to opt for heavy-duty drills that come with more wattage since they typically have more voltage. Before you buy one or the other, consider what materials you’ll be working with.
As you can see, there are many reasons to choose low or high-wattage drills. If you’re working at home on small projects, you could get away with a cordless drill that uses low watts. On the other hand, those who work with power tools for a living might require more power, which means higher wattage and voltage.
It’s important to mention that, while 800 to 1,200 watts might sound like a huge number from a small tool, it refers to the wattage used per hour. Unless you’re running the drill constantly without any breaks for 60 minutes straight, then the total wattage isn’t as big of a deal. Almost any drill on the market would overheat at that point anyway!
Nonetheless, high wattage can still have an impact on your electricity bill. It might only be $10 or so, but you shouldn’t overlook the possibilities. Your concerns about wattage used by a drill should be directed towards the power that you can use rather than the bill at the end of each month. In short, the voltage is more noteworthy than wattage.
Drills are used for all sorts of applications, but there are tons of different specs that make each drill unique from the next. Before you buy the cheapest or most powerful drill that you can get your hands on, consider all of the different reasons why it might be a good or bad decision.
Wattage is only one part of the equation. Mathematically speaking, you should keep an eye out for amps and volts. You should also think about whether or not it’s adjustable, corded, cordless, and the durability of the drill.
Here are a few other things to remember from the post:
- Cordless drills usually use less wattage than corded drills.
- Watts = Amps x Volts.
- More watts isn’t always better.
- If your drill is adjustable, you can use more or fewer watts.
- Consider the materials that you’ll be drilling into before you buy a drill.