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12V vs. 18V vs. 20V Cordless Drill: How To Choose

Cordless power drills are considered as handy tools in D.I.Y. furniture projects for homeowners who are fond of home repair and construction workers in a particular job site.

With all the different cordless power drills on the market, there may be a bit of confusion and overwhelming feeling on how to select one, especially if you’re a newbie in the power tool industry.

It doesn’t make sense if you purchase a heavy-duty and expensive tool when you are just planning to put new handles on cabinet doors.

The goal is to get an excellent value for your money with every power tool purchase, whether you’re on a budget and searching for just an interim project or looking for a long-term, quality tool that you’ll be using for quite some time.

Join us as we dive into a world of power tools to help you choose the right cordless drill for you.

12V CORDLESS DRILLS

If you opt to use a drill for just light maintenance and repair around your home, 12V cordless drills may already meet your needs. They serve as an excellent household solution as they come with small motors.

They are lightweight and have a smaller footprint compared to other drills with a higher voltage. There are some reviews from customers who are satisfied with their 12V power drills since it handles 80% work that 18v/ 20V Max models can.

Bosch CLPK22-120 12V Combo Kit

Bosch Power Tools Combo Kit CLPK22-120 - 12-Volt Cordless Tool Set (Drill/Driver and Impact Driver) with 2 Batteries, Charger and Case

One specific 12V power drill we can recommend is the Bosch CLPK22-120 12V Combo Kit. Even if it has a short head length, it still elicits a powerful torque useful in screw driving, removal, or drilling applications.

What we like

The build quality is superb, and there is a lot of power in just a small tool. The drill driver and impact driver drill set has two speeds transmission and has a 3/8″ single sleeve chuck. For precise control, it has 20+1 clutch settings. This tool is ideal for D.I.Y. household projects.

Bosch Power Tools Combo Kit CLPK22-120 - 12-Volt Cordless Tool Set (Drill/Driver and Impact Driver) with 2 Batteries, Charger and Case

Pros:

  • Delivers 265 inches lbs max torque
  • Compact and lightweight-only 1.8 lbs.
  • Ideal for basic handling in overhead operations and tight spaces
  • Includes two 12V 2.0 Ah batteries
  • 3 head-mounted L.E.D.s allow you to work in low-light or dark areas

Cons:

  • Generally, we don’t recommend this tool for heavy-duty construction work
  • Combo set doesn’t come with belt clips
  • Not built for heavy-duty applications

Bottom Line

Bosch is known for its products that are durable and efficient with its quality performance. Overall, this is a good value for money since the kit contains a PS31 12V Max 3/8″ Drill/Driver, a PS41 12V Max Impact Driver, two BAT414 12V Max Lithium-Ion 2.0 Ah Batteries, one BC330 12V Max Charger, two Power Drive Bits and 1 Carrying Bag. It’s a good deal already with its cheap price compared to tools with a higher voltage.

18V CORDLESS DRILLS

In comparison to 12V power drills,18V drills usually have more power and versatile features that are useful for medium to heavy jobs like farming or construction. These power tools offer a more balanced approach to the variety of tasks a customer needs.

Based on reviews, some users would pick an 18V drill for its specifications since it elicits more power than 12V power drills while still being lighter compared to 20V power drills.

Let’s now look at the 18V cordless drill that we suggest that you look at because of its ingenious technology.

Makita CX200RB 18V L.X.T.

Makita CX200RB 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Sub-Compact Brushless Cordless 2-Pc. Combo Kit (2.0Ah) with free Makita BL1820B 18V Compact Lithium-Ion 2.0Ah Battery

This power drill is part of Makita’s Sub-Compact Tool System with the size and weight of lower voltage tools but with the performance of 18V. This model is ergonomically-designed, and it’s ideal for drilling, driving, and fastening.

What we like

It has impressive innovative features and contains two devices in the set. The XFD11ZB 1/2” driver-drill has two speed settings (0-500 & 0-1,700 RPM) ,weighs 2.8 lbs, and delivers 350 inch lbs. max torque.

Meanwhile, the XDT15ZB impact driver also has two-speed settings that weigh only 2.6 lbs and deliver 1,240 inch lbs. of torque.

Besides,it includes 18V LXT® Lithium-Ion Batteries, which contribute to more run-time and a Rapid Optimum Charger, which has a built-in fan for the optimization of the battery’s life.

Pros:

  • L. ™ Brushless Motor delivers 1,240 in.lbs. of Max Torque
  • Assist Mode (A-mode) which helps eliminate “screw cam-out” and “cross threading” and for more efficient fastening
  • Extreme Protection Technology (X.P.T. ™) -protective seal embedded in the tool providing water and dust resistance
  • Features an integrated L.E.D. battery charge level indicator
  • Star Protection Technology- communication between battery and device which prevents the mechanism against overloading and overheating

Cons

  • This tool is not recommended in drilling with concrete and other hardened materials.
  • A bit expensive compared to other brands with the same 18V battery

Bottom Line

Overall, its price may be a bit expensive, but rest-assured that Makita is renowned for its quality tools and innovation throughout the years.

What is unique with this tool is the A-mode feature that automatically kicks into high speed if you begin with a low setting, and it senses the rise in friction as well.

20V CORDLESS DRILLS

Tasks that use more torque need batteries with a higher voltage to complete the toughest jobs, and 20V power drills prove to be efficient in this area. Some people thought that they are more expensive than power tools with a lower voltage, but that’s not the case for all.

Below is a 20V power drill that we suggest that deserves its recognition.

DeWalt DCK283D2 20V Max XR Cordless Drill Combo Kit

DEWALT 20V MAX XR Cordless Drill Combo Kit, Brushless, 2-Tool (DCK283D2)

This efficient combo kit both has DCF887 1/4″ impact driver and DCD791 1/2″ drill-driver run on brushless motor technology, which runs smoother and contributes to a longer lifespan.

What we like

DCF887 has a compact (5.3 in. front to back) design to fit into tight areas. Its impact driver setting works well in regulating the speed and its torque. The drill has a two-speed gearbox and is capable of generating as much as 1,750 RPM of speed on the top setting and boasts 510 lbs in torque.

DEWALT 20V MAX XR Cordless Drill Combo Kit, Brushless, 2-Tool (DCK283D2)

Pros:

  • Compact and lightweight design-comfort, ease and reduction of fatigue
  • Contains X.R. Lithium-Ion 20V batteries with a battery charge gauge- saves time and effort
  • E.D. Spotlight Mode with 20-minute shutoff- more visible in the dark or confined spaces
  • Include belt hooks for more convenience

Cons:

  • The combo kit comes with a heavy bag
  • Some reviews claim that device vibrates/wobbles a little upon usage

Bottom Line

One thing’s for sure — DeWalt is a reliable tool given that they are on the most prominent power tool manufacturers out there.

Whether you’re a simple homeowner, contractor, or professional, this combo kit will not disappoint your expectations. It has the right combination of driver-drill and impact driver with long-lasting batteries. All in all, it’s a reasonably priced drill.

Conclusion: How To Choose

It all comes down to choosing the right tool for the job, identifying the needs of the buyer, and planning accordingly. All 3 have superb inclusions in the combo kit that each offers, but the final call will be up to your needs.

However, the bigger tool or the more expensive one doesn’t always mean that it’s better. Voltage is also not considered as an indication of what would be the better performing power tool since not all 20V Max drills can deliver higher R.P.M., torque, or operating time of a single battery.

If you have budget considerations, Bosch CLPK22-120 12V Combo Kit is a decent power tool for small household tasks needing precision work. Apart from its size, it’s power and performance are decisive factors to consider. Another downside is that it’s warranty only offers up to a year.

The Makita CX200RB 18V L.X.T. is also the right choice if you’re searching for a balanced approach in completing medium to heavy jobs. Makita is also distinguished based on its unmatched quality and durability. However, the price of this specific model is a bit higher compared to the two.

Nonetheless, our pick for this one is the DeWalt DCK283D2 20V Max for its overall build quality and brushless power technology. Even if it’s compact and lightweight, it still delivers a lot more power and exerts more performance. The belt hooks are a bonus for portability purposes too.

5/52 ratings