How to Choose the Right Cordless Drill or Driver

Not sure whether to go with a cordless drill or driver for your DIY projects? At a glance, these tools look very similar. They perform the same types of jobs, too. The main difference between drills and drivers comes down to how they are used. Standard cordless drills are used for a wide variety of projects, from drilling holes into metal to adding screws into wood. Combi-drills perform the same function as standard drills, with the addition of a hammer mode that allows you to drill into masonry. Impact drivers are often used for more intensive drilling, thanks to their fast-paced rotational strike.

The type of power tool you choose will ultimately come down to the material you are using and the type of project you are planning. Before you get lost in the technical details that can often make it confusing to know which tool is best, read our guide on how to choose the right cordless drill or driver.

Which is the Best Cordless Drill or Driver?

Here’s what you need to know when choosing the best cordless drill or driver.

Drill driver

This is your standard drill that is used for a wide variety of projects. These tools can drill into wood and metal. They can also be used to add screws. They have two speeds and multiple torque settings. Torque is typically lower on drill drivers than combi-drills or impact drivers. 

When choosing a drill driver, check the capacity of holes you can drill as well as the highest torque setting. This will give you some idea of how it will perform when drilling screws. It’s also important to note the battery. Look for higher rated batteries that allow a longer time between charging.


Combi-drills offer all the features of a drill driver, along with a hammer function. This means that these tools can be used for drilling into brick, concrete, stone and other masonry types. You will get all the features of a standard drill driver as well. These tools usually offer up to three speeds. You can use lower speeds for screw driving, while high speeds can be used for drilling materials such as wood or metal. 

You will want a well-constructed combi-drill that has a metal chuck or gearbox, as this tool will be used for heavier duty work compared to a regular drill driver.

Impact Driver

These high-torque tools are mostly used for driving screws and tightening nuts. They work at very fast speeds, allowing you to work quickly. They are not as versatile as drill drivers but they can perform some of the same functions. You will need the correct bits and a hex chuck to use this tool for other drilling applications. This type of chuck has a fast-release mechanism designed for drilling screws into tough materials. 

The combination of high-torque and high impact levels makes these tools faster and more effective than combi-drills. To get the most from the driver, choose a tool with a decent battery and sturdy construction. 

Which is the best tool, then? If you are aiming to do a wide range of projects, a combi-drill is a good choice. If you plan to do basic DIY around the house, a drill driver is a versatile tool that gets things done. For high-speed screwing, an impact driver is the way to go. Of course, you don’t have to settle for just one type of tool. If you are a serious DIY enthusiast or a renovator, having more than one tool means you will always have the right cordless drill or driver for the job at hand.

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