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Choosing the Right Drill: A Handyman's Guide to the Different Types

A variety of Milwaukee drills arranged neatly, showcasing different types including cordless and hammer drills. The image illustrates the options available for different projects in the handyman's guide.
"Drill Down: Your essential guide to choosing the perfect Milwaukee drill for every project. From cordless to hammer, explore the options in our latest blog post. ✨🛠️ #Milwaukee #Drills #HandymanGuide"


Imagine you're in the middle of a home improvement project, and you're all set to start drilling. But then you realize, with so many types of drills out there, which one do you pick? Ever tried hanging a heavy picture frame only to have it come crashing down because the drill you used wasn’t up to the task? As a handyman, I can tell you that the right drill can make all the difference. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a weekend DIY warrior, selecting the right drill is crucial for efficiency, safety, and the quality of your work. In this guide, I’ll walk you through the different types of drills, their uses, and tips for choosing the best one for your needs.

Types of Drills

Corded Drills

Definition and Features: Corded drills, also known as electric drills, are powered by an electrical outlet. These drills provide consistent power without the need for recharging. They're known for their reliability and uninterrupted performance.

Pros and Cons:

  • Pros: High torque, reliable performance, no downtime due to battery charging.

  • Cons: Limited mobility due to the power cord, reliance on nearby power sources.

Best Uses: Ideal for heavy-duty drilling tasks and prolonged use, such as in construction sites or when working on dense materials like hardwood or metal. These drills are perfect when you need a consistent power supply and don't want to worry about battery life. A popular model is the DeWalt DWD112, known for its powerful 8-amp motor and durability.

Top Picks:

  • DeWalt DWD112: This model is a powerhouse with an 8-amp motor, offering great durability and performance. It's perfect for heavy-duty tasks that require sustained power.

  • Makita 6302H: Known for its robust construction and powerful motor, this drill is ideal for industrial applications.

Cordless Drills

Definition and Features: Cordless drills operate on rechargeable batteries, offering portability and freedom of movement. These drills are versatile and convenient, making them a favorite among both professionals and DIYers.

Pros and Cons:

  • Pros: Highly portable, versatile for indoor and outdoor use, no cords to manage.

  • Cons: Limited by battery life, may require frequent recharging, generally less powerful than corded drills.

Best Uses: Great for light to medium tasks, including assembling furniture, hanging shelves, or any project where mobility is key. Cordless drills are perfect for situations where you might not have easy access to power outlets. The Makita XFD131 is a favorite among DIYers and professionals for its balance of power, lightweight design, and long battery life.

Top Picks:

  • Makita XFD131: This drill stands out for its balance of power, lightweight design, and long battery life. It’s great for a variety of tasks around the house.

  • DeWalt DCD771C2: Known for its compact and lightweight design, this model is perfect for tight spaces and prolonged use without fatigue.

  • Ryobi P1813: A budget-friendly option that doesn't compromise on power and features, suitable for homeowners and occasional users.

Drill Drivers

Definition and Features: Drill drivers combine the functionality of a drill and a screwdriver, making them versatile tools for various tasks. They are designed to handle both drilling holes and driving screws, making them essential for general-purpose use.

Pros and Cons:

  • Pros: Dual functionality for drilling holes and driving screws, compact design.

  • Cons: May not provide enough power for very heavy-duty tasks.

Best Uses: Ideal for general-purpose tasks around the house, such as installing curtain rods, building furniture, or fixing loose screws. Drill drivers are a staple in any handyman’s toolbox for their versatility and ease of use. The Bosch PS31-2A is a compact and powerful model that fits well in tight spaces and offers excellent control.

Top Picks:

  • Bosch PS31-2A: This compact and powerful model fits well in tight spaces and offers excellent control, making it ideal for precision work.

  • Black+Decker LDX120C: A budget-friendly option that delivers reliable performance for everyday tasks.

Impact Drivers

Definition and Features: Impact drivers are designed to deliver high torque, making them perfect for driving screws and fasteners into tough materials. They utilize both rotational force and concussive blows to drive screws more efficiently than traditional drills.

Pros and Cons:

  • Pros: High torque output, efficient for heavy-duty fastening, less strain on the user’s wrist.

  • Cons: Not ideal for precise drilling tasks, overkill for light-duty projects.

Best Uses: Perfect for construction projects, driving long screws into wood, or working with dense materials. Impact drivers excel in situations where traditional drills might struggle, providing the extra power needed for tough jobs. The Milwaukee M18 Fuel Impact Driver is renowned for its power and durability, often preferred by construction professionals.

Top Picks:

  • Milwaukee M18 Fuel Impact Driver: Renowned for its power and durability, this model is often preferred by construction professionals for heavy-duty tasks.

  • DeWalt DCF887B: A high-performance tool that offers three-speed settings for added control in a variety of applications.

  • Makita XDT131: Known for its ergonomic design and powerful performance, making it a great choice for prolonged use.

Hammer Drills

Definition and Features: Hammer drills combine rotary drilling with a hammering action, making them effective for drilling into masonry, concrete, and stone. They provide both rotation and rapid hammer-like blows to penetrate hard materials.

Pros and Cons:

  • Pros: Excellent for drilling into hard materials, versatile with the ability to switch off the hammer action for regular drilling.

  • Cons: Heavier and noisier, less effective for precise drilling in softer materials.

Best Uses: Essential for tasks involving brickwork, concrete walls, or stone. Hammer drills are invaluable when working on renovation projects that involve drilling into hard surfaces. The Bosch 11255VSR Bulldog Xtreme is a top choice, offering powerful hammering action and durability for tough jobs.

Top Picks:

  • Bosch 11255VSR Bulldog Xtreme: This model offers powerful hammering action and durability for tough jobs, making it a top choice for professionals.

  • DeWalt DWD520K: Known for its versatility and power, it can handle both hammer drilling and standard drilling tasks with ease.

Rotary Hammers

Definition and Features: Rotary hammers are similar to hammer drills but offer more power and a piston mechanism for more efficient hammering. They are designed for heavy-duty drilling and chiseling tasks.

Pros and Cons:

  • Pros: Superior power for the toughest drilling jobs, suitable for heavy-duty construction work.

  • Cons: Bulky and less maneuverable, higher price point.

Best Uses: Best for demanding construction projects such as drilling large holes in concrete or breaking up concrete slabs. Rotary hammers are the go-to tools for major demolition and construction tasks. The Makita HR4002 is a high-performance rotary hammer that delivers exceptional power and reliability.

Top Picks:

  • Makita HR4002: A high-performance rotary hammer that delivers exceptional power and reliability, ideal for demanding construction projects.

  • Bosch RH540M: Known for its power and versatility, it can handle a variety of tasks from drilling to chiseling with ease.

Core Drills

Definition and Features: Core drills are designed for drilling large-diameter holes in concrete, brick, or stone, often used in plumbing, electrical, or ventilation installations. They feature a hollow design that allows for the creation of clean, precise openings.

Pros and Cons:

  • Pros: Creates clean, precise holes, highly efficient for large-diameter drilling.

  • Cons: Overkill for smaller tasks, requires proper handling due to its power and size.

Best Uses: Ideal for professional applications requiring large holes, such as installing plumbing pipes or HVAC ducts. Core drills are essential for jobs that require large, clean cuts in hard materials. The Husqvarna DM 230 is a robust core drill known for its precision and power.

Top Picks:

  • Husqvarna DM 230: A robust core drill known for its precision and power, making it ideal for professional applications.

  • Hilti DD 150-U: Offers versatility and high performance, suitable for a variety of core drilling tasks.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Drill

Power Source

Battery vs. Electric: Decide between battery-powered (cordless) and electric (corded) drills based on your typical work environment and mobility needs.

Considerations: Battery life and charging time for cordless drills; availability of power outlets for corded drills. For instance, if you frequently work in areas without easy access to power outlets, a cordless model like the Ryobi P1813 could be a better choice.

Power and Speed

Voltage and RPM: Higher voltage in cordless drills generally means more power. RPM (revolutions per minute) indicates how fast the drill bit turns.

Impact on Performance: Higher voltage and RPM are better for heavy-duty tasks. For example, the DeWalt DCD991P2 offers a 20V motor with high RPM, making it suitable for tough jobs.


Weight and Handle Design: Look for a drill that is comfortable to hold and manage, especially for prolonged use.

User Fatigue: An ergonomic design reduces strain and fatigue. The Black+Decker LDX120C is lightweight and has an ergonomic handle, making it easier to use for extended periods.

Additional Features

Clutch Settings: Adjustable clutch settings prevent overdriving or stripping screws, offering better control.

LED Lights, Belt Clips, etc.: Extra features can enhance usability. For instance, many drills now come with LED lights to illuminate your work area, like the Ridgid R86009K, which includes a powerful LED light and convenient belt clip.

Budget Considerations

Price Range: Drills can range from budget-friendly models to high-end professional tools.

Value for Money: Consider the balance between cost, features, and quality. A mid-range drill like the Craftsman CMCD700C1 offers good value with its reliable performance and affordable price.

Long-term Investment: Sometimes, investing in a high-quality drill pays off in the long run. For heavy and frequent use, investing in a premium model like the DeWalt DCD996B may be more cost-effective over time due to its durability and performance.


Recap of Key Points: We’ve explored various types of drills, from corded and cordless to specialized options like hammer drills and core drills. Each type has its unique strengths and is suited for specific tasks.

Final Tips: Remember, the best drill for you depends on your specific needs and the nature of your projects. Consider the power source, power and speed, ergonomics, additional features, and your budget when making your choice.

Ready to choose the right drill for your next project? Check out our top picks and get started on your DIY journey today! Having the right tool in your hand can turn a challenging task into a straightforward one, and it can make your work more enjoyable and satisfying. Happy drilling!

This comprehensive guide ensures that you have all the information you need to select the perfect drill for your projects, whether you’re tackling a simple home repair or a major construction job.

Don’t forget to share your experiences, ask questions, or leave comments below. Subscribe to our blog for more tips, tool reviews, and tutorials.


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