Types of Drills

Just like any other tool, drills come in a wide range of variants, with differing sizes, functions, and power. Therefore, as a DIYer or a professional, you should have extensive knowledge of which types of drills serve your interests the best.

There are ample drills out there and they can largely be categorized into four types namely, manual drills, powered drills, heavy-duty drills, pneumatic drills, and specialty drills. Each of these types has varying functions while some of the sub-types may have overlapping functions.

Fret not, however, as our guide below takes a dig into everything that you need to know about the types of drills in the market.

So, without further ado, let’s get started!

Manual Drills

Manual drills were the first type of drills to be introduced in the world. They utilize the circular motion that you create, through your strength, into torque, which in turn, allows you to make the desired holes.

Their usage has been reduced dramatically over the years. However, as a DIYer, it can be worth having a manual drill at your disposal for emergency scenarios.

Here are some of the most common manual drills out there:

Eggbeater Hand Drill

The eggbeater hand drill features a driving wheel, which starts to revolve as you rotate the handle. As a result, the drill moves along with the chuck, which in turn, makes the drill bit rotate.

It is mainly used for making tiny holes in softer metals and wood.

Breast Drill

A breast drill operates quite similarly to an eggbeater hand drill, except for the plate at one of its ends.

With your chest pressed against this plate, you can apply additional drilling pressure, thereby, creating holes much easier as well as deeper.

Brace Drill

Consisting of a U-shaped spindle in the middle, a brace drill is used primarily for countersinking in woodworking.

Apart from the U-shaped spindle that allows it to produce more torque, it has another spindle at one of its ends, that is used to grasp the drill and put it in position.

Bow/Fire Drill

Featuring a bow, spindle, hearth, and a bearing block, a bow/fire drill uses friction to produce heat, which in turn, produces an ember in sawdust.

Crank Drill

A crank drill is quite handy when it comes to drilling in the harder metals.

Its sharp, pointed tip elevates its and the high helix angle elevates the cutting ability and efficiency of the tool.


Featuring long rotating handles, a gimlet is basically a drill bit that makes use of the force exerted by you to create wide and deep holes.

To exert more force, try extending its handles.

Push Drill

Although smaller in size, a push drill is one of the most robust manual drills, that is adept at high precision work on wood.

To rotate its bit, the push drill comes with a spiral ratchet.

Post Drill

Kept on posts, a post drill can make holes of considerable size and depth in iron.

Table Drill

Having a wide range of purposes, a table drill provides you with a stable surface to drill into the desired materials.

Again, due to the reliance of this tool on the strength of the operator, it is not advisable to use it for heavy-duty drilling.

Powered Drills

Types of Drills

The involvement of motors in the powered drills, automatically makes them stronger than manual drills.

Since the powered drills do not demand any physical exertion from your side, you should opt for them if you are a professional or serious DIYer.

Cordless Drills

Powered by batteries, cordless drills are the portable versions of powered drills. They are extremely productive since you can use them almost anywhere, whether it is plastic, wood, or metal. You can even use them to fasten into the aforementioned surfaces.

However, it must be kept in mind that cordless drills normally have a restricted runtime and the powerful variants of them are costly.

Therefore, you should use them when you are either a DIYer or you are a professional working off-grid.

Corded Drills

Corded drills are more powerful and light-weighted as compared to their cordless counterparts.

However, the fact that their cords are needed to stay connected to a power outlet at all times, reduces their portability incredibly.

Reversible Drill

The reversible drill is so-called because of its ability to rotate either in the clockwise or anticlockwise direction.

Hence, they are most effective in tightening and loosening screws.

Impact Drill

The impact drill is suited to making holes in tougher materials and other heavy-duty applications. This is because of its ability to pound the materials when offered resistance.

Hammer Drill

The hammer drill involves a consistent pounding motion and that’s why it is named as such.

Like the impact drill, the hammer drill is also great at penetrating harder surfaces, including concrete, metal, and wood.

Rotary Hammer Drill

The rotary hammer drill is similar to the hammer drill, except that it uses pistons rather than cam plates for speeding up the cam plates.

Used mainly in masonry, it also has an additional grip for ease of handling.

D-Handed Drill

A D-handed drill again, resembles a hammer drill, except that its trigger is at the back instead of the front. It features a robust motor that allows it to generate consistent speed and power.

Besides drilling, you can also use a D-handed drill for mixing purposes.

Combination Drill

A combination drill is a versatile tool, that can operate both as a hammer drill and an impact drill.

Whether you need to drill into a soft material or a tougher one, a combination drill can fulfill your requirement.

Mechanic Drill

Like a Combination drill, a mechanic drill is also quite a versatile version of powered drills.

Hence, you can use it for both light and heavy-duty applications.

Auger Drill

It is a relatively large-sized variant of powered drills that uses long handles to make holes into the ground.

This drill comes in two designs, one for an individual and the other for two persons.

Core Drill

One of the rare types of powered drills, if you need to bore holes of several feet, into walls or similar surfaces, a core drill will do the trick for you.

It has a secondary grip as well as a safety clutch for better handling and safety purposes respectively.

Heavy-Duty Drills

Types of Drills

When it comes to heavy-duty drills, drill presses top off the list. Here are some of the most widely used drill presses:

Portable Drill Press

A portable drill press also called a benchtop drill press, is ideal for DIYers as well as for some industrial applications.

As a drill press, it is a sizeable and powerful option for a drill.

Floor Drill Press

A floor drill press is basically the more potent form of a portable drill press.

It has the ability to drill deep holes in dense material.

CNC Drill Press

It is a multi-purpose, programmable drill press that is used mainly in mass production factories for making accurate holes.

Apart from drilling and boring, it can mill and turn as well.

Mill Drill

A mill drill is essentially a heavy-duty drill press with an added feature of milling.

It has a large column and an X-Y table. So, apart from boring holes, you can also use this tool for removing material.

Paper Drill

As apparent from its name, you can use a paper drill to make precise holes in paper.

Pneumatic Drills

Types of Drills

Pneumatic drills or jackhammers make use of compressed air to operate.

Their exceptional power makes them perfect for use in heavy-duty applications, like breaking pavements. You can also use them in potentially explosive surroundings.

Straight Air Drill

Featuring a compact frame, a straight air drill can be used in tight corners and spaces.

The smaller size of a straight air drill makes it a great alternative to powered drills since it can generate more power regardless.

Gun Handle Drill

A gun handle drill is even more powerful than a straight air drill. Hence, it is ideal for industrial applications.

Specialty Drills

Some of the drills are designed for unique purposes. As such, they can’t be used for any other application. Some of the top examples in this regard are:

Cranial Drill

A cranial drill pertains to the medical industry, where neurosurgeons use it to drill holes into dense bones, such as the skull.

So, if you are not associated with the medical profession, it is highly unlikely that you are going to need this drill.

Dentist Drill

Used by dentists, a dentist drill is composed of a cylindrical head, a long handle, and a small bit.

It can attain super high speeds of up to 250,000 RPM.

Mini Drill

A type of hand drill, a mini drill is used for high-precision tasks, such as the making of jewelry.

Although it may sound like that a mini drill is quite complex in nature, in reality, it is pretty convenient to use.


Types of Drills

So, there you have it – a comprehensive guide on the type of drills.

Now, to choose the right type of drill for your needs, you need to take into account the nature and the scale of the task at hand. To give you a bit of an idea, as a DIYer, if you’ve got a decent budget, a cordless drill is probably your best bet. Otherwise, you can get yourself a manual drill.

Liam Weissman

Hello and welcome to PowerToolGenius! My name is Liam and for the last 9 years, I have worked extensively with various power tools and accessories. I have tested hundreds of different brands and models and understand the industry extensively and have been working with tools my entire life!

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