12-volt vs 18-volt cordless drill and tools – is bigger really better? Find out in this article and choose the best set of tools for you!

Here’s the top-down comparison between 12 volt and 18 volt drills:

12-Volt Cordless Drills & Tools18-Volt Cordless Drills & Tools
Less powerful but good for everyday tasksMore powerful. Good for heavy-duty tasks
Faster charge timeSlower charge time
Shorter run-timeLonger run-time
CheaperMore expensive

We often think the higher the number, the better the performance. But that’s not necessarily the case when it comes to shopping for cordless drills and other tools. Are you ready to see some of the major differences between these tools in more detail? Then check out the extended guide below.

Cordless drills
Using a higher voltage drill is not always what you need, read on to find out why!

Comparing 12-Volt vs 18-Volt Cordless Drills & Tools

Are you looking for the biggest and most powerful cordless drill and tools? Or are you after something compact and lightweight? Do you want something that will charge quickly? Or is the price of the tool making the decision for you?

You see, there are so many factors to consider when choosing tools. To help you make the best choice, check out the comparison below. It will discuss the differences in features between 12-volt and 18-volt cordless drills and tools.


What kind of tasks will you be doing with your cordless drills and tools?

If you will be using yours to do heavy-duty high-stress tasks, then you will need tools with 18 volts. But what if you will only use your cordless drill or tools to do odd jobs around the home? Then a 12-volts will be perfectly suited for you.

For your everyday jobs, 12-volt drills and tools are great. This is because they provide you with ample power to complete the tasks successfully without the added bulk of a larger tool. But if you are going to do any rigorous work, you may be better off with more powerful tools.


I get it. Tools are tools, we expect them to be a little heavy. But do you spend a lot of time working in awkward spaces or even working in spaces above you? Then the weight of your tools is an issue. To avoid wrist fatigue and keep a steady hand, you will need lighter tools.

12-volt cordless drills and tools tend to be much lighter than those with 18-volts.

If you spend a lot of time working in tight, hard-to-reach spaces, you should opt for 12-volt tools. But, if you know you won’t be using your cordless drill and tools for lengthy periods, go for 18-volts.

Some 18-volt cordless drills for example are significantly heavier than 12-volt drills. Some of them are 1 pound heavier or more than their 12-volt counterparts. This weight difference can really be of value during a long day of drilling.


How much room is there in your tool kit? If you’re like me then I’m sure you’d agree that there’s never enough! That’s why I like to opt for smaller tools. I do this so that I can fit a wider variety of tools in my toolbox to take with me on a job.

If you are looking for a small cordless drill and tools, you should choose within the 12-volt range. If you’re not limited by how much you can carry, choose from the 18-volt range.

Charge Time

There’s nothing worse than waiting for cordless tools to fully charge. The wait seems to be agonizing, and time doesn’t seem to budge when there’s a job waiting that you’re itching to start.

12-volt cordless drills and tools charge the fastest. This is because their batteries are smaller so they charge faster. If you are often charging your tools in a hurry, the 12-volt range will be best suited to you.

Cordless drill charging
The lower the voltage, the faster your drill will charge


Have you ever been in the middle of a job when the battery on your cordless tool ran flat? Now that’s a horrible mix of both frustrating and time-consuming. So let’s get you kitted out with a cordless drill or tool with a long run-time.

18-volt cordless drills and tools have a longer run-time. They can drive heavier loads without slowing down the battery. If you have a long day of work ahead of you, 18-volt tools will be the best match.


Cordless drills and tools are expensive. Are you looking to save a little money?

12-volt cordless drills and tools are cheaper than those with 18-volts. And the price difference is quite something. The great thing about 12-volt tools is that you get a great tool at a reasonable price. What more could you ask for?

Advantages of 12-Volt Drills & Tools

So how can I summarize 12-volt drills and tools? Here are the advantages of choosing these as the newest additions to your toolbox.

The advantages of 12-volt drills and tools are:

  1. They are powerful. They are perfect for completing odd jobs around the home.
  2. They are lightweight. Take the strain and the load off!
  3. They are small. Tuck them into any toolbox and away you go.
  4. They charge quickly. Did you forget to charge your tools last night before? Not to worry, as these charge in a jiffy.
  5. They are cheaper. 12-volt drills and tools are affordable.

Advantages of 18-Volt Drills & Tools

Ok, so what about the flip side? Let’s take a look at some of the advantages of 18-volt drills and tools.

The advantages of 18-volt drills and tools are:

  1. They are super powerful. These tools are perfect for heavy-duty professional jobs. They are awesome at completing the toughest of tasks.
  2. They have a long run-time. Never get caught out running out of battery before you complete a task!

Overall Recommendation

So what’s the verdict? If you are looking for a new set of tools are you better off buying a 12-volt or an 18-volt set?

It seems like a 12-volt cordless drill and toolset is best. It ticks more boxes and is versatile. It will get the job done without being too heavy, taking up too much room in your toolbox, or burning a hole in your wallet.

Ok, so when should you choose an 18-volt cordless drill or tool? You should choose an 18-volt drill or tool if the following describes you:

  • You need a super powerful tool for heavy-duty, professional work. You are a professional carpenter or installer. You need to rely on extra hard-wearing tools for the toughest of jobs.

18-volt cordless drills for example often have higher RPM (revolutions per minute). This could even help you to get the job faster.

  • You need cordless tools that will allow you to keep working for the best part of the day. Perhaps you put them for a quick charge at lunchtime while you grab a coffee and a bite to eat. Besides that, your 18-volt tools will hold their battery while you work around the clock.

Thanks to innovative, new Lithium batteries, some cordless drills for example can hold their charge 50% longer than before. With battery life like this behind you, there will be nothing stopping you from getting the job done!


Choosing between 12-volt and 18-volt cordless drills and tools could be challenging. They are both good for different reasons depending on how you use them. I hope this article has helped you see which tools would be better suited to you.

Choose 12-volt cordless drills and tools if:

  • You are looking for lightweight tools to reduce wrist fatigue
  • You like smaller tools that are easy to take on the go
  • You want a lightweight tool
  • You are looking for tools that charge quickly
  • You don’t want to spend too much money

Choose 18-volt cordless drills and tools if:

  • You are looking for the most powerful tool for heavy-duty jobs
  • You want a tool with a really long run-time

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Have a great day!