Using the right tool for the job is critical for correctly completing the job. So, if you’re a woodworker, what kind of drills should you use for working with wood? There are some special considerations you have to acknowledge when figuring out what drill you need.
The best kind of drill for wood is a cordless drill driver with high torque and voltage, long-lasting batteries, and a lightweight design. Your drill should also be durable enough for repeated use.
If you’re looking for help choosing a drill for your workshop, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s discuss what you should look for in a woodworking drill and review some of the best drills for the job.
What Features Make a Drill Good For Wood?
The features that make a drill good for wood are high power, two speeds, easy handling, and long-lasting batteries. These features ensure that you can quickly and cleanly drill into soft and hardwoods at various angles without running out of charge.
So, let’s briefly examine the qualities you should look for in a wood drill.
While some woods, such as soft white pine, are easy to drill into, others can put up quite a fight when you power up your drill. Hardwoods such as hickory and oak can resist your drill’s action, wearing down the motor and decreasing the longevity of a less powerful drill.
So, if you want to drill into various wood types with ease – and without wearing down your drill – you’ll need something with a bit of extra torque.
When shopping for a woodworking drill, it’s best to go with one that has two speeds. That’s because particular woods are easier to drill into at slower or faster speeds.
Lower speeds of around 450 RPM are best for drilling into hardwoods, while faster speeds of about 1200 RPM are best for softwoods.
You can manage with a drill that only has the faster speed since it will be versatile, but nothing beats having a lower setting for drilling into hardwoods since it offers more power.
Drilling straight into a wall is challenging enough, but if your drill is bulky and heavy, it’ll make your woodworking jobs even more difficult. Likewise, if you have to battle a cord as you move around your wood, you risk tripping or accidentally pulling the plug out of its socket.
So, always opt for a drill that is light enough for you to handle. The ideal weight will depend on how comfortable you are lifting your tools, but I recommend always choosing a drill that weighs at least less than 4 lbs (1.8 kg).
Choosing a cordless drill will also make it easier to get into tight angles and move around comfortably as you use it.
As I mentioned, a cordless drill is always your best choice when working with wood. However, you’ll also need to consider how long your batteries will last.
A cordless drill’s power is measured in voltage, typically 12 to 20 volts. I recommend a 20-volt drill since it will last longer, eliminating hours of recharging time.
If you want to get the most out of your drill’s batteries, choose one with a lithium-ion battery pack. These batteries last much longer than the alternatives and can go through more charging cycles without losing capacity.
The Best Drills For Woodworking
Now that you know what to look for in a drill for wood let’s discuss the best models that fit the bill. All of these drills are available on Amazon.com, and you’ll find them linked below with my reviews.
The DeWalt 20V Max DCD791D2
The DeWalt 20V Max is lightweight and compact. The drill only weighs 3.4 lbs (1.54 kg) and is 6.9 inches (17.5 cm) from front to back, making it easy to handle in cramped spaces or maneuver around pieces of wood.
Along with being easy to operate, the DeWalt is also designed ergonomically, with an ergonomic grip for superior handling.
Another key feature of the DeWalt drill that makes it ideal for woodworking is its high 20V power and speed. It has a maximum speed of 2000 RPM and a lower setting of 500 RPM, which lets you work with softwoods and hardwoods.
The Bosch DDB181-02
Another drill great for drilling wood is the Bosch Drill Kit. This drill is small and lightweight, allowing it to be easily handled and used in cramped spaces. It’s not as powerful as most other drills I’d recommend, with only a 12V battery. However, this is the best choice if you need a smaller drill and don’t plan to use it for hours at a time.
Another unique feature of the Bosch is its LED light underneath the drill, which is ideal for working in dark or shadowed joints.
The Bosch also has an adjustable speed. Its RPM can be set between 0-350 RPM and 0-1300 RPM, letting you adjust the drill to whatever wood you choose.
The Craftsman V20
Next is the Craftsman V20 Cordless Drill. The Craftsman V20 is a drill perfect for general work around the house. It’s not as compact as the other entries and weighs 4 lbs (1.8 kg) but makes up for this in both battery life and power.
The Craftsman lithium battery can last for around an hour and has two adjustable speed settings. It can switch between 0-600 RPM and 0-1900 RPM. It doesn’t come with any extra accessories, making it a simple but proficient drill.
The Kimo 12 Volt Drill Driver
The last drill we’ll cover is the Kimo 12-Volt Drill Driver (available on Amazon.com). This drill is lightweight, clocking in at 1.8 lbs (.45 kg). Despite this, the drill features an ergonomic design that makes it easy to handle. In addition, it’s decently powerful and comes with 48 accessories.
The Kimo has a maximum RPM of 1350, making it sufficient for most woodworking jobs. Its key feature, however, is the sheer number of accessories the drill has. It features drill bits, brushes, and batteries, among others.
The only con to this drill is that it only has a 12v battery. However, it’s the ideal pick if you only plan to use it sporadically.
When looking for a drill for woodworking, you want to find something powerful enough to use on both hard and softwoods. However, you’ll also want something small and easy to handle.
Any drills on this list would be excellent for working with wood. They have powerful motors, are reliable enough for consistent work, and are compact enough to work in any space.