Hand Drill Vs. Power Drill: What’s Best For You?

Have you ever wondered about the difference between a hand drill and a power drill? Both drills can cause some confusion among certain people who are not well-versed when it comes to some of the standard hardware tools we have at home. 

Fortunately, we have the internet, and it allows us to have access to the largest archive of information that we can navigate through our fingertips. In this article, which is ridden with information, we will be talking about the difference between the hand drill and the power drill.

Besides the notable differences, we will also talk about choosing the appropriate drill for your situation. But first, let’s go over the uniqueness of a drill, starting with its uses. 


Photo credits: Eugen Str

Drills are utilized to create holes in a variety of materials, including metal, plastic, and wood. The drill has been around for thousands of years and has been used for everything from mining to construction. Drills have also been used for many other applications. You can use drills for projects such as drilling water wells, working on oil rigs, and even making holes in metal or stone. 

The first drills were powered by hand or foot power but later became powered by electricity. They’re versatile, easy to use, and can handle most jobs around the house. There are many different types of drills available for purchase today. But! They all have one thing in common: they have interchangeable bits that allow you to change the shape of the hole being created with each turn of the drill’s handle.


hand drill
Photo credits: How Stuff Works

Hand drills are often used in woodworking and metalworking. Also, they can be used for drilling holes in other materials such as ceramics. Some hand drills have a hollow shaft, allowing them to be inserted into a machine spindle. These types of drills are known as “lathe-chucks”. The earliest record of this type of drill dates back to Roman times.

🚧 History

Roger of Palermo first described the hand drill in the 13th century; this simple device consisted of a shaft with a handle at one end and a point at the other. The point was used to drill holes into wood or stone, while a bow or strap attached to the shaft would be used to rotate it. This simple hand-powered tool is still used today when drilling holes in the stone. You can use it in stones such as in marble sculptures or creating holes for screws or bolts.

Some early bow drills were two-handed drills, and this could significantly increase the torque that could be applied to the drill bit. This would have been useful for drilling larger holes in wood, bone, shell, or stone. The two-handed bow drill was easier to use than the one-handed version. But! It was less powerful because you are not pushing against a solid object like what you do with a foot pedal or hand clamp on modern drills.

🚧 How the hand drill parts work

A hand drill consists of a rotating spindle to which drill bits are attached. Drill bits are attached to it and rotate with it, cutting through whatever material you are drilling into. The chuck holds the bit in place, and it can be a keyless chuck, which has two jaws that grasp onto your bit when you turn it, or a keyed chuck, which uses a wrench to tighten down onto your bit once it’s inserted through its hollow center. Hand drills may have different kinds of chucks; for example, some use keyless chucks while others require keys for tightening purposes.


A power drill is a tool that uses electricity to turn a drill bit at a high rate of speed. This means that the bit rotates faster than human hands can move. However, they aren’t just used for making holes! Power drills can also be used to drive screws into wood or metal without the need for a screwdriver.

🚧 History

Power drills are the upgraded version of hand drills; they were first introduced in the late 18th century. As you might guess from its name, a power drill is an electric tool used to drive holes into surfaces. It has been in use since 1895 when Wilhelm Fein invented the first one and patented it.

The original version of the power drill was not rechargeable or portable as it needed an external source of electricity. It also didn’t come with any form of cordless operation. And compared to drilling nowadays, all features are much more accessible than during its early days.

🚧 How the power drill parts work

Power drills still use handheld tools to drill holes, but a switch can operate them. This allows you to administer how much power goes into drilling a hole rather than the amount of force you apply when using a hand drill. A person with little or no training can easily use this tool without muscle aches. Unlike manual labor, which requires physical strength and endurance for long periods.


hand drill vs power drill

Power drills and hand grills are the general types of a drill that have so many benefits when it comes to construction. But, we need to know when to use them and what works better to match your skills. Without further ado, let’s compare hand drills with power drills in different aspects.

🚧 Holding and gripping

In a hand drill, you have to hold it with both hands and apply force to make a hole. Whereas in the power drill, you just need one hand to hold it, and the rest of the task is done by the motor. For power drills, they’re great if you’re working outdoors where there isn’t an outlet nearby but still need something portable enough for smaller projects.

🚧 Efficiency

If you are a beginner worker and want to do the job efficiently, then a power drill is the best choice. A power drill will allow for more work in less time. In contrast, the hand drill requires a lot of manual effort.

For example, if you have to drive a nail in a hardwood, then it will take 2-3 minutes to make a hole in the first place. But power drills can make a hole within 20-30 seconds only. So it’s pretty evident that a corded electric drill will be faster than manual hand tools.

If we talk about the speed of drilling holes, then the power drill comes at the top as its motor makes the drilling bit spin fast compared to other options available in the market; this is because its motor provides enough power, which results in faster operation.

🚧 Expertise

A hand drill needs an expert to use it as it requires experience and proper knowledge. Whereas a power drill is easy to use for anyone. Both the hand drill and power drill can be beneficial to a DIYer or professional, but, as with any product, there will be both pros and cons to each. 

The hand drill is a bit more of an artisanal tool, requiring some skill and experience and two hands. You grip the drill handle in your dominant hand while holding the wood steady with the other, or vice versa. On the other hand, anyone can pick up a power drill and start drilling holes in things, whether they’re experienced in carpentry. 

Power drills are also helpful for drilling large holes, depth holes, pilot holes, and screwdrivers (you can find an adapter that converts your power drill into a screwdriver). However, you’ll need to be careful while using it so that it doesn’t slip out of control into your wood.

🚧 Availability

A hand drill can be used only when a human power or manual force is involved. On the other hand, a power drill can be used even when electricity isn’t available because you just need to charge its battery and then use it until it lasts. A power drill has a motor that does the work and a handle powered by the user’s hands. It also has an electric cord that needs to be plugged in or have batteries replaced or charged to use it.

🚧 Price

Of course, the price of hand drills is much lower than power drills. For example, a Dewalt Hand Drill costs around $10, while Dewalt Cordless Drill costs $60. If you are looking for the cheapest one, go with a hand drill but if you value your time, go with a power drill.

Bottom Line

Choosing a power drill over the hand drill is a much more efficient option if you plan to use it regularly. Power drills are easier and more convenient to use, but they come with a higher price tag. However, it is worth investing in this tool because it can make up for its price by serving its user better than the hand Drill. 

It is highly recommended that beginners use the power drill instead of the hand drill. The only advantage is that hand drills have overpowering drills that are lighter than their electric-powered counterparts. The choice, however, will still depend on what you are looking for and how much budget you can allot to this tool. 

After learning the differences between a hand drill from a power drill, let’s now talk about screwdrivers. Jump to the next article by clicking here!

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