And again... 12v or 18v Drill?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by skone posted 08-18-2011 02:57 AM 15635 views 0 times favorited 29 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View skone's profile


147 posts in 3855 days

08-18-2011 02:57 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question drill-driver

Guys, I know it’s not a new question, but the threads I’ve found addressing the topic are a little on the old side.

I’m retiring a 12v Craftsman that spins out of round. I’m trying to choose between the 12v Bosch Lithium and the 18v Porter Cable Tradesman Lithium.

This would be my main drill. (I do have a corded one as well as a drill press for other tasks.)

I like Bosch. Like the size and weight. It is 12v and 12v has done me fine to date.

I like PC, too. It’s a big drill though and I wonder if I really want to be driving screws with such a monster.

Bosch has two batteries. PC comes with one. Bosch is refurb on CPO for $89. PC is refurb on CPO for $69.


Thanks, everybody.

-- "Take extra care not to lose what you feel" (Winwood/Capaldi/Wood)

29 replies so far

View ChefHDAN's profile


1803 posts in 3899 days

#1 posted 08-18-2011 03:14 AM

Except for the Routers, I’ve not trusted PC tools since they are really Delta’s. Anji has a good tip for the Makita otherwise I’d look to Dewalt they both can take a good beating and you’ll notice that people who use these tools to pay the bills tend to have Dewalt or the Makita, nothing against the Bosch I love thier tools but I don’t think the drill/drivers are the best

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2172 posts in 3900 days

#2 posted 08-18-2011 03:34 AM

Professional shop: 4 12v NiCad Panasonics. They do everything I need done by a battery powered drill.

It would be good if you could get your hands on your two choices. Heft, feel and balance are all very personal.

And so, I suppose, is voltage!



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3740 days

#3 posted 08-18-2011 04:20 AM

I borrowed my daughters Makita set referenced above by Anji and They are really nice! Lightweight and powerful with less camout in Phillips screws using the impact driver. I will replace my 18v DeWalt with these the next time their batteries lay down.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Stuey's profile


43 posts in 4007 days

#4 posted 08-18-2011 05:12 AM

For your main drill, I’d recommend an 18V li-ion model. But as the others suggest, you may want a lighter weight 12V screwdriver or impact driver for driving in fasteners.


View Tedstor's profile


1691 posts in 3682 days

#5 posted 08-18-2011 07:47 AM

FWIW, I bought a 9.6v 3/8 Makita Cordless impact wrench in 2004. I was working as an auto mechanic at the time and used the makita countless times, everyday. Even after 3+ years of commercial use, it never skipped a beat and still works today as well as it did in 2004. I bought a driver attachments and use it to drive fasteners these days. Works perfectly, never had an issue. Never had t oreplace the batteries either.
All that said, I’d definitely look into a Makita. And since I’ve found 9.6v to be adequete for commercial duty, I’d think 12v would plenty.

View shopdog's profile


581 posts in 4535 days

#6 posted 08-19-2011 02:30 PM


Thanks for that Amazon link…$229 + tax, with free shipping, and a flashlight!!!
I ordered it yesterday, and it’s already scheduled for delivery today.
I already have a set, but a deck builder can’t have too many impact drivers.

-- Steve--

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 4124 days

#7 posted 08-19-2011 05:18 PM

Most of my cordless tools are 18 volt DeWalts. I have 6 of them. However my regular, every day, hand held drill is a 12 volt Hitachi. It is light weight and seems to have just the right balance and feel. It has plenty of power for most of the things I do. On those very rare occasions when I need more power and cannot use a drill press, I switch to an old corded drill.

I use most of my handheld tools for only short periods of time and the weight of an 18 volt is not a problem. The drill is something that I may use for many hours at a time and the lighter weight and good balance are greatly appreciated.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View SteviePete's profile


226 posts in 4352 days

#8 posted 08-19-2011 05:40 PM

Makita. Not the small ones on amazon. Big ones. Bought when factory guy was having show specials at local AcmeTool. 2 drivers, two lights, circular saw, sawzall, and a load of Makita swag. I have six batteries. two chargers. Drill and drive screws all day. Call me Makito-ho.

-- Steve, 'Sconie Great White North

View ShaneA's profile


7085 posts in 3648 days

#9 posted 08-19-2011 06:15 PM

I have to agree on the makitas. I have 5, the 10.8 set for shop use and the bigger 18v set for reno work. All are excellent, balanced, powerful tools.

View gizmodyne's profile


1785 posts in 5139 days

#10 posted 08-19-2011 07:03 PM

I am a fan of the Makita’s for most woodworking the 10 ish volt models are fine. Just make sure you know what kind of chuck you are getting as some only accomodate bits and narrow bits.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5268 days

#11 posted 08-19-2011 07:06 PM

Everyone has their own brand preferences, but leaving that aside lets just talk 12V vs. 18V.

I have both types in my shop. The 12V (or 10.8) is great for tight places, overhead work, or anyplace else lightness is desirable. It has plenty enough power to drive big screws. However, I find that the extra weight of an 18V drill is actually an asset most of the time. It takes less force from the user to keep the bit firmly seated in the screw. and the mass seems to absorb some of the torque, putting less stress on your wrist.

I think there is a place in most shops for both sizes, but if I could only have one, it would be the 18V.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View skone's profile


147 posts in 3855 days

#12 posted 08-19-2011 09:09 PM

thanks for all the responses, everybody. keep them coming if you have an opinion to share.

i won’t say i’ve made a final decision just yet on power but good Lord people—- you guys gettin’ kickbacks from Makita or something??? Makita fans are out in full force!

I may very well shoot for the Makitas be they 12’s or 18’s. Local Home Depot is running the same price on 18’s you guys are saying is on Amazon—but without the flashlight.

Looks like the combo in 12v is $169-200 depending on flashlight or not. Hard case instead of soft.

It’s actually not a hard decision to make at this point. Just a matter of swallowing the expense…

-- "Take extra care not to lose what you feel" (Winwood/Capaldi/Wood)

View jerkylips's profile


495 posts in 3620 days

#13 posted 08-19-2011 09:29 PM

one more for makita…sorry.. I had a hitachi 12 volt for years – it was phenomenal. The only reason I retired it was that the batteries were shot & it was going to cost me $120 to replace them. I got a similar set to the Makita shown above, but in 14.4 & nimh battery rather than lio. I’ve had this one for about 3 years now, still going strong – gets used a ton.

I’d say that more than 12v, 18v, specific brands, you shoudl decide if an impact driver will suit your needs. More specifically, is there anything that you need it to do that the impact driver won’t do. If the answer is no, that probably should be your first choice. In most cases, they are so far & above a conventional drill, it’s just silly. They work unbelievably well.

Last thing… I’ve NEVER had a project that my 14v drill couldn’t handle. I can’t really see a NEED for 18v. That’s just my experience, others may disagree

whoops..NOW last thing. Keep an eye on the amp-hours of the batteries – not sure if it’s still the case, but when I was shopping, the makita batteries were significantly better than other brands..

View StephenO's profile


44 posts in 3595 days

#14 posted 08-21-2011 12:41 AM

I have an 18V DW that has seen some pretty heavy use over six years. I’ve often thought about getting a 12V for lighter duty stuff, but it’s gotten to the point that the weight of the 18V doesn’t bother me at all.

-- -Steve, Seattle

View Paul Mayer's profile

Paul Mayer

1154 posts in 4115 days

#15 posted 08-21-2011 02:13 AM

I would go 12V combo set including impact driver and drill. Lithium Ion is a great way to go. If I need more brute force than that I pull out the old faithful corded drill. I bet I don’t need it 3 times per year. Makita is great, but I went with DeWalt. Here is a write-up of the combo kit I went with:

-- Paul Mayer,

showing 1 through 15 of 29 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics