18V vs 20V Drill – 2021 Comparison Review

| Last Updated: June 29, 2021

People often get confused when deciding whether to purchase a 20V or 18V drill. For most individuals, the choice ultimately boils down to the model that seems the most powerful.

While a 20V drill sounds more powerful, the truth is that an 18V unit delivers the same amount of power.

To help you make the right decision, we’ve compared the two types and explained their similarities and differences, so you can easily choose the drill that best suits your needs! 

Comparison of the Best 18V and 20V Drills

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Best 18V Drill
  • Variable 2-speed drilling options to choose from
  • Comes with a quick charge option to fully charge in only 25 minutes
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Best 20V Drill
  • A compact and lightweight design to fit in small spaces
  • Equipped with a keyless chuck
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews

What is an 18V Drill and What is it Used For?

An 18V drill is a popular power tool that’s used to drive screws and drill holes. It is, arguably, the most useful tool for professionals and DIY enthusiasts. They’re ideal for nearly every type of driving and drilling tasks, except for very heavy-duty jobs.

Since an 18V drill can be used to fix fasteners and screws onto surfaces or drill holes into walls, wood, and other tough surfaces, it’s perfect for woodworking and furniture assembly. The drill may also double as a saw, allowing you to cut out holes for sink faucets, drains, and doorknobs. The hole saw-bits are available in several different sizes and can be attached to the drill, enabling the tool to cut out a flawless round circle.  

Makita CT225R 18V LXT

What is a 20V Drill and What is it Used For?

One of the most versatile items in a carpenter’s toolbox, a 20V drill significantly reduces the labor required to complete several projects. This well-rounded tool is suitable for DIY projects, minor home repairs, and even professional worksites.

With the right 20V unit, you can drill through sheet metal, lumber, concrete, and more. The tool is also used by construction workers and drywall installers because of its long-lasting batteries and ease of use. To put it simply, a 20V drill is the perfect handyman’s tool.     

Similarities and Differences 

When it comes to cordless power tools and deciding between 18V and 20V batteries, a lot of people get confused quickly. Although the latter seems to pack a lot more power, it’s important to note that the former is just as powerful.

To help you make an informed decision about which type best fulfills your specific needs, we’ve compared the two in detail, highlighting their similarities and differences:

18V and 20V Drill Similarities

In order to properly understand the design and mechanics of the two batteries, you’ll need to take a closer look at their components. Upon doing so, you’ll realize that they have some similarities, such as:

Construction

Both can be classified as cordless drills. If you look closely, you’ll see that both types are designed with the same components, the same inner mechanisms, and the same number of batteries. In fact, the batteries also have the same voltage rating.

Photo Credit: DrillAndDriver.com

Design

The batteries of these two drills have an incredibly similar design. Both feature individual battery cells that are aligned in a group of five and are wired in a single series. Each group is further connected in a parallel arrangement with a wire. This specific design increases the number of amp hours of the battery and ensures a good capacity of watt-hours.

This makes it clear that both batteries basically deliver the same amount of power. It’s important to emphasize that the batteries and motors are the same on a base level, and 20V and 18V drills are essentially the same thing.    

What is the Difference Between an 18V and 20V Drill?

The drills themselves don’t have any significant differences, but the cells in them differ in the following ways:

Voltage Ratings

A closer look at the battery cells shows that every cell has two voltage ratings, namely maximum and nominal. Each cell in a 20V and 18V battery features a nominal voltage rating of 3.6V, which totals to 18 volts nominal if put together. Similarly, each cell in a 20V and 18V battery has a maximum voltage rating of 4V, which totals to 20 volts if put together.

Basically, manufacturers of 20V batteries use the maximum rating, while the manufacturers of 18V batteries use the nominal rating. This is the main difference between the two drills.   

Availability

Another major difference between the two products is that 20V batteries are commonly sold in the US, while 18V batteries are available for purchase outside the United States. However, it’s important to remember that a person using an 18V battery outside the United States will get the same results as a person using a 20V battery within the US.

Also note that some drills are designed to work only with 18V batteries, while some models are designed to work only with 20V batteries.  

Top Pick Between 18V and 20V Drill

Dewalt 20V Max DCD771C2

As explained above, there’s no real difference between an 18V and a 20V drill. However, there are some significant differences you’ll have to consider before you take your pick. To ensure you don’t end up wasting your money, it’s advisable to take a look at the following features:

Weight and Size

Make sure you consider the weight and size of the drill before you finalize your purchase. A 20V drill is usually quite heavy and might cause problems in the middle of your project. Along with getting tired of constantly holding the drill in place, you’re also likely to wear yourself down by moving it from one area to another.

In regards to the size, it all comes down to what you’re planning on using the drill for. If you’re going to use the drill in narrow areas, then it’s better to buy a compact model. However, if you work in large spaces, then you can choose a unit of any size, as long as it meets your expectations.   

Usability

The usability of a drill is what makes it exceptional. Quality models are designed with sound notifications and light indicators, making them incredibly easy to use. Different colored lights inform users of the current settings and the amount of power available. Thus, it’s advisable to choose an 18V drill that’s designed with such features rather than a 20V model without them.

Torque

It’s important that you choose a unit that offers the maximum torque. If a 20V drill offers higher torque than an 18V model, then you should go for it and vice versa. This is because a higher torque will lead to better results, especially if you’re going to use the drill on hard surfaces.

Overview of Our Favorite 18V and 20V Drills

With so many different models available on the market, choosing the right drill is no easy task. To help make your decision easier, we’ve reviewed our favorite drills in detail, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs!

Best 18V Drill:
Makita CT225R 18V LXT

Makita CT225R 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Compact Cordless 2-Pc. Combo Kit (2.0Ah)

PROS

  • Backed by a three-year warranty
  • Battery delivers almost 50% more run time
  • Battery reaches full charge in less than 25 minutes
  • Driver-drill offers 480 inch-pounds of maximum torque 
  • Star Protection prevents over-discharging, overheating, and overloading

CONS

  • Soft case is a bit bulky
  • Not suitable for drilling through extremely thick materials       

What Recent Buyers Report

Almost everyone who purchased this unit was impressed with it. They found the driver to be reliable and the drill to be strong, with one user saying that it was three times faster than their old model. Buyers loved the short charge time and the exceptional battery life and stated that the kit was perfect for demanding high-paced projects.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Delivering up to 2,900 rotations per minute and 3,500 impacts per minute, the impact driver in this kit is designed with a classic ¼-inch hex shank, which means that you can use it with nearly every set of driver or drill bits.

On the other hand, the cordless drill is equipped with two speed settings, one providing 1900 RPM and the other delivering 600 RPM. Both tools are incredibly lightweight, smooth, and extremely easy to use. They also boast ergonomic handles, so you can comfortably work for a long time without putting too much pressure or strain on your body.

Bottom line

Featuring two 18V power tools, lasting batteries, and a charger, this kit enables users to tighten any fastener and drill any hole. With a three-year warranty and Makita’s quality, you’ll surely get a cordless drill and impact driver that will last you years of use.

Best 20V Drill:
Dewalt 20V Max DCD771C2

DEWALT 20V Max Cordless Drill / Driver Kit, Compact, 1/2-Inch (DCD771C2)

PROS

  • Ergonomic handle provides control and comfort
  • Singles sleeve chuck enhances bit gripping strength
  • Lightweight and compact design easily fits into tight areas
  • High-performance motor boasts a power ability of 300 UWO
  • High-speed transmission offers two speeds for a wide range of applications

CONS

  • Plastic chuck tends to become loose
  • Does not come with a battery indicator

What Recent Buyers Report

Most buyers loved this unit and stated that its build quality was great. They liked the fact that the batteries charged quickly and lasted an incredibly long time. Although users found the unit to be small, lightweight, balanced, and stable, they reported that it still packed the same amount of punch as bigger, heavier drills. They also loved the LED light and said that it was perfect for garage or home projects.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Offering speeds between 0-1500 and 0-450 RPM, this Dewalt unit is perfect for a wide range of drilling and fastening applications. Its knobs and handles are ergonomically designed, which enhances comfort and ensures that you achieve the best finishing.

The drill also boasts an exceptional motor, delivering 300 watts of power and allowing you to complete a wide variety of tasks without worrying about it running out of power. Weighing only 3.6 pounds, the model is ideal for people whose work involves a great deal of movement. Its 20V batteries further hold power for a long time, don’t require constant recharging, and reach full charge within thirty minutes.

Bottom line

All in all, this Dewalt unit is the perfect mixture of efficiency and durability. Its handle design greatly enhances comfort, while its 16 clutch settings ensure that users understand each function effortlessly. Boasting a compact size, a high-performance motor, rechargeable twin batteries, and LED lights, it’s undoubtedly an impressive unit.

Aspects to Consider Before Buying a Drill

The right model can tighten or loosen screws, chisel away materials, and bore holes. To help you make the right decision, we’ve listed some of the aspects you should consider before buying a drill:

Speed

Measured in RPM (revolutions per minute), the speed of a drill tells you how fast it rotates. It’s better to choose a model that enables you to change the torque and speed according to the task or material you’re drilling into. A lower speed is suitable for driving screws and drilling into soft materials like wood, while a higher speed is ideal for drilling into hard materials, like stone.

Photo Credit: ToolBoxDivas.com

Auxiliary Handle  

An auxiliary handle enhances accuracy and safety while drilling. You can position the additional handle on the right or left side of the unit, which would lead to increased control over the drill.

Accessories

To make your work easier, you should choose drills that work with several different accessories. Such models will enable you to finish your projects with exceptional accuracy and within a short amount of time.

Variable Clutch Setting

A variable clutch setting allows users to adjust the torque, which is a twisting source that overcomes resistance and enables you to screw to the right depth. If you choose too much torque, you’ll drive the screw in too deeply, which can lead to a loss of accuracy and control and damage the workspace.

Conclusion

All in all, there’s no actual difference between a 20V and 18V drill except in place of use and voltage ratings. It’s important to remember that ultimately, no matter what you choose, you’ll get the same amount of power. Thus, it’s better to focus on the different features a drill has to offer instead of just relying on the indicated voltage.

People Also Ask

Choosing between a 20V and 18V drill can be an extremely confusing and difficult task, especially if you’re doing it for the first time.

To help clear away any queries you might have, we’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the two drills:

What Does Volt Mean on a Drill?

Voltage can be simply defined as the available power in a drill. The volt number tells the user about the amount of power the drill has when in use. Drills with higher voltage ratings tend to have a higher price and a greater weight.

Dewalt 20V Max DCD771C2

Does Higher Voltage Mean More Power in a Drill?

In essence, a drill with a higher voltage provides more torque and delivers more overall power. However, it also increases the weight of the drill, so if you’re looking for a lightweight model, it’s better to go for a drill with a lower voltage.

Will a 20V Battery Work on 18V Drill?

A 20V battery will not work on an 18V drill. However, some 20V batteries can be modified with an adapter to fit any 18V tool.  

When Would I Use an 18V Drill?

An 18V drill is ideal for assembling furniture, woodworking, and drilling holes into walls. An 18V drill with a higher torque can also handle heavier workloads, allowing you to drill into masonry, wood, stone, and metal materials.

When Would I Use a 20V Drill?

You can use a 20V drill for installing electrical outlets and lighting fixtures. It is also suitable for drilling screw holes for heaters and showerheads, along with sinks and other plumbing fixtures. If you’re going to drill into a wide range of materials, then a 20V with higher torque is the best choice.