Comparison Between 12V vs. 20V Drill

The power of a tool will depend on its size and voltage. A larger drill has more power, but it is heavier. A smaller, more compact drill will have more power and be easier to maneuver. The amount of power that a drill has is the most important factor to consider when choosing a drill. Cordless drills have different configurations. Most of these drills have a 12V, 18V, or 20V battery capacity and power outage.  

So, when faced with the 12V vs. 20V drill debate, it should be determined by the job that you need to do. How do I know the suitable variant to buy? This is the crucial question one should ask before one purchases a drill.

Manufacturers come with new battery technology and innovations very frequently. Now, what power cordless drill you choose will depend on how you will be using it. In this article, we compare 12V and 20V drills. This information will assist any confused buyer in choosing the best variance suitable for them.

12V vs. 20V Drill

12V Drills

Is 12v drill enough power? This will depend on what task you want to perform. 12V drills are of lesser capacity and less powerful tools. Therefore, these drills are suitable for simple and lighter projects that require less power. 12V drills are mostly compact thus easy to carry around. They are also easy to use and ideal for working in tight areas.

Since 12V drills are not as powerful as the 18V or 20V and thus do not operate for long. However, their battery charges faster compared to the large drills. Several brands sell 12V batteries in the market, and they differ in prices and features. Some of the best brands for drills are Bosch, Dewalt, Makita, and Milwaukee.

If you are looking for a drill for general home use, the DEWALT Xtreme 12V MAX Cordless Drill/Driver Kit is suitable. This Dewalt 12V drill is 20% shorter in size and features 32% more power. It is compact, lighter, and more versatile. On top of this, 12V drills are cheaper than 20V drills.

Most of the 12V drills will handle 80% of the 20V models’ work. The drills feature a 3/8 inch chunk and can comfortably drive 3-inch deck screws and boreholes using sharp spade bits. 12V drills are not recommended to use with larger auger bits or hole-saws.

dewalt 12v vs 20v drill

20V Drill

20V drills are becoming popular with time due to their high torque and potent. These drills are almost similar to 18V drills but have a higher voltage. 20V drills are ideal for professionals working on large and challenging projects such as large-scale remodeling and deck building.

20-volt drills feature a ½ inch chunk. Other than power, the 20V drills supply you with constant power for a long time. This makes it the ideal voltage for projects that you will be drilling for long hours. One of the best 20V drills is DEWALT 20V Max XR Cordless Drill Combo Kit.

On the downside, 20V drills tend to be larger and heavier compared to the 12V drills. However, manufacturers can make powerful yet compact drills for versatility and portability with the current innovations. Since their batteries are of high capacity, they take longer to charge. Moreover, 20-volt drills are also more expensive.

12v vs 20v drill reddit

12V vs. 20V drill Differences

When discussing a tool’s voltage, it is all about the torque and power. Therefore, you need to consider other drill features before they settle on the one to purchase. Here are the differences between 12V and 20V drills:

1. Power

The major difference between a 12-volt and a 20-volt drill is their power. Tools with high voltage have more power. Torque and speed create the drill’s power. Heavy-duty operations require you to have a power drill.

20-volt drills are the most suitable tools for these tasks, like drilling stones and concrete. 12-volt drills are less powerful and thus suitable for simpler and lighter tasks such as working on furniture and other woodwork.

2. Size

Another difference between 12V and 20V drills is their size. 20-volt drills are equipped with a bigger motor, thus needing a bigger profile. 12-volt drills are compact and easy to carry around. They also make it easy to maneuver around when working in tight areas.

3. Weight

One thing that most of us consider when buying a tool is how heavy it is. When it comes to weight, 12V drills have an advantage since it is lighter than 20-volt drills. It is, therefore, ideal for anyone working overhead, in attics or crawlspaces. If the power is enough to use on your projects, a 12-volt drill is ideal since it is easy to carry around.

4. Battery Capacity

The battery capacity determines the power of the tool and its charging time. 20-volt drills have large battery capacities, thus more power. Therefore, the cordless drill will serve you for a longer time before it runs out of charge. This is one factor that makes 20V batteries ideal for large projects.

A 12-volt drill, on the other hand, has a battery with a smaller capacity. These drills, therefore, offer a shorter run time. When doing a huge project with a 12V drill, you need to keep a backup battery. On the positive, drills with low-capacity batteries charge faster than those with large batteries.

5. Price

Another major difference between the two cordless drills is their cost. Since 12-volt drills are smaller and equipped with a low-capacity battery, they are cheaper. 20V drills, on the other hand, have a high-capacity battery, thus more expensive. Therefore, if power is not your problem and you are working on a budget, consider the 12V cordless drills.

12V and 20V Drill Similarities

12v and 20V drills have some similarities. The most common feature of the two is that they are both handheld tools. They are available in both cordless and corded forms. Cordless drills are more versatile since you can use them in places without connecting to power outlets. Manufacturers use modern technology to design compact drills, making them easy to carry around.

12v vs. 20v drill Pros and Cons

Both 12V and 20V drills have their pros and cons. The best one between the two will depend on where and how you want to use it. Here are the pros and cons of 20V and 12V drills.

12V Drills Pros and Cons

12-volt drills offer lesser capacity and power and are ideal for simple, easy, and less power-requiring tasks. They are also applicable where you will need to hold the tool for a longer period since it is lighter.

Since the drills are compact, you can comfortably use them in narrow spaces and tight areas or when working against an angle. Drills of this variant are available from different brands, and thus, you have to be keen when buying the best 12V drill. Here are the mentionable pros and cons:


  • It is compact and lightweight
  • They have two-speed modes
  • Some 12V drills have two batteries
  • 12V drills are inexpensive
  • Suitable for drilling and driving angular-shaped objects


  • The charging time is less
  • Offer less working time
  • They are less powerful

20V Drills Pros and Cons

As seen above, 20-volt drills are suitable for professionals or anyone working on projects in need of heavyweight tools with massive power. Apart from power, it gives you a constant power supply thanks to its high-capacity battery. However, just like any other tool, the 20V drills have pros and cons, which include:


  • The drills are powerful
  • They have large-capacity batteries
  • Offer consistent torque for long hours
  • Suitable for heavy-duty projects


  • They are a bit large and heavy
  • It takes a long time to charge
  • They are more expensive

Read More: Ryobi 18V Vs. 40V Battery

Is a 12 Volt Cordless Drill Enough?

A 12-volt cordless drill will be enough to work on lightweight home projects and weekend DIY tasks that do not need so much power. These cordless drills are equipped with smaller batteries and are not powerful enough for heavy-duty projects. Therefore, they are popular among beginners, DIY enthusiasts, and professionals due to their compact nature.

Is Higher Voltage Better for Cordless Tools?

A higher-voltage cordless tool is better for professionals or homeowners working on heavy-duty projects. A high voltage means that the tool has more power and provides enough energy for high-torque applications. High Voltage cordless tools are equipped with high-capacity batteries that enable them to run longer without the need for a recharge.

Are 12V Drills Worth It?

12V drills can handle almost 80% of the activities that 18V or 20V drills can. These drills are made to do a variety of work for both professionals and DIYers. If the power is enough for your task, then a 12V drill will be worth it since it’s lightweight, compact, and can work in tight areas.

Can a 12V Drill Go Through Concrete?

A 12V drill can go through concrete, but you require some basic drilling techniques. To drill concrete with a 12V drill, it is advisable to use masonry bits. With these bits, you can also drill through stone and brick. You can drill through concrete using either a cordless or corded drill.

Will an 18V Battery Work With a 12V Drill?

You should never use an 18V battery with a 12V drill. 18V batteries are of higher capacity, and they will impose too much current on the drill’s motor, causing it to burn. It is always recommended that you use the right battery for each drill. For instance, use a 12-volt battery for a 12V drill and an 18V battery for an 18V drill.

What Voltage Is Best for a Cordless Drill?

Cordless drills have become common these days, especially due to their mobility. The right voltage for a cordless drill will depend on the type of project you are performing. 12V cordless drills are suitable for most household tasks. This drill uses a small battery and is thus suitable for lighter tasks. When working on heavy-duty projects, you will need a high-voltage cordless drill such as 18V or 20V.

Is 20V Drill Good?

20V drill is a perfect choice for homeowners and professionals working on challenging projects like drilling through dense materials. 20-volt drills high capacity battery enables you to work continuously for a long period without recharging. Though the 20V drill is more expensive than its low-voltage counterparts, it is a worthy investment.

Can You Use 20V Battery on 18V DeWalt?

18V and 20V drills are almost the same, and they operate with a similar amount of voltage. Dewalt 20V Max operates with 18V battery packs. However, when you use a 20V battery on an 18V Dewalt tool, it is advisable to use it with an adapter or conversion kit.

Final Words

Yes, this is a challenging decision to make when buying a tool is whether to purchase a 12V, 18V, or 20V. Choosing between 12V vs.20V drills depends on your estimated cost and project requirements. The 12V drill is compact, lightweight, and budget-friendly. It, however, produces less power and is thus suitable for less challenging tasks.

20V drills, on the other hand, are large but powerful. These drills help you comfortably work on tough and large projects that need more torque. This large battery provides you with a longer run time. With the different brands of drills in the market, pay special attention to their features and choose one that fits your needs.


Hi there, I am R. Hasan Tito, a mechanic, and owner of this website. My friend and I created this website to share our knowledge, expertise, and experience with our fellow mechanics' community and car users. I am a specialist and certified automotive mechanic (Both Heavy Commercial and Private Cars). I worked as a Mechanic and Mechanic Supervisor for over fifteen years at Global Rebound Automotive companies - Toyota, TATA, BMW, Nissan, TVs, and Others. Now, I enjoy my new role of leading a team of automotive experts (in their respective fields) and publish new content on a regular basis on my website and social media.

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