Once you have decided between corded or cordless tools and have chosen your preferred brand, you will have to choose the voltage of the power tool you intend to use. Options vary between 12-Volt, 18-Volt, or 20-Volt. Selecting the correct one might be easier than you think. That’s because there hardly is any difference in the variety of choices, and these differences would not impact the work you intend to do.
Whether choosing between a drill, an impact wrench, or any other cordless power tool, the choice of voltage will only affect minor details of each power tool. In this discussion, you will be provided with the essential difference that choosing different voltages will have. By the end, you will be capable of choosing the perfect power level for your need.
Among the key points where voltage can make a difference, five points stand out. These five points will be discussed briefly, but know that it would not necessarily have any impact on your ability or that much of an effect on the tool’s performance.
These five points include power, weight, size, battery performance, and price. It is as simple as these five factors and they will make the choice that much easier once you understand the basics.
The Main Differences
Naturally, as can be deduced, the greater the electrical flow in any piece of equipment, the more power it can deliver. Basically, what this means in cordless power tools, is that with a higher voltage battery, the tool can make use of stronger motors or other moving parts.
While you may think that this will significantly affect the performance of your tool, it would only become a need if you undertake industrious work. For DIY projects that are small and done at home, a 12-Volt drill, for instance, would be as effective as a 20-Volt drill.
On the contrary, if you are working on a sensitive project that uses fragile equipment or parts, too much power could prove to be a problem. When considering power, simply choose what is required by the project. If you undertake multiple jobs and are uncertain of each requirement, then settle for the middle range just to play it safe.
If the voltage requirement of the tool increases, you can expect the weight to increase. While the weight is a small consideration for most, keep in mind that it would become a problem if used for long hours or in tight, confined spaces.
12-Volt tools tend to be much lighter than more powerful hardware. Keep this in consideration because if you are going to use the tool for a long day’s work, it will be ideal to use a lighter option that will not tire you too quickly.
When it comes to size, higher voltage power tools will always tend to be much bigger for two reasons. First, the hardware of the tool, like the motor, would most definitely be bigger, making the profile of the tool much larger.
Secondly, to get that amount of voltage in a battery, the battery would also tend to be bigger. Size only matters, though, if you work in hard to reach places or confined spaces. With any other project, the size would be a small, almost needless, consideration to keep in mind.
On the subject of the battery, the most important consideration, more important than the size, would be its overall performance. There are two factors to consider when it comes to battery performance.
The first is the run-time. This would be the amount of time the tool can operate on the battery power provided. Of course, with modern battery design’s technological advancements, battery life is far better extended than ever before. However, if you think that a higher voltage battery would last longer, keep in mind that the hardware it operates could require more battery power.
In general, a higher capacity battery would last longer on a single charge. Run time is important for the sole purpose of lasting as long as needed to get the job done. Running out of power in the middle of the task would not only delay the finish but also become a bitter inconvenience.
Each tool would usually provide you with a rated run-time figure in mAh. It would therefore be good to check this before purchasing whichever you choose. The second consideration in battery performance is the charge time. If you run out of power, the rated charge time would determine how long the project is delayed.
Smaller capacity batteries have much quicker charge times than higher voltage batteries, but if this becomes a problem, you could always invest in extra battery packs.
The last consideration is budget. As can be expected, bigger power tools, with bigger batteries and higher voltage, will be more expensive than smaller variants. It’s almost a universal law.
The only exception would be the possibility of finding an ongoing sale or settling for a lower quality brand but a higher-powered tool. If, however, the budget is not a problem, then you are free to make your choice with the exclusion of cost.
One last note should be taken in your considerations. An 18-Volt tool would, in most cases, possess the same hardware as a 20-Volt tool, which means that there would not be a difference in the tool’s performance.
Once you realize this, the choice will be simplified to picking between a 12-Volt and an 18-Volt. When you choose which voltage, the five main points in consideration will simplify the options.
The correct option would perfectly fit your endurance, the circumstances of the project, and the purpose of the tool. If you know you will work for hours or even days on the same job, choosing a lighter tool that will reduce your fatigue and make things easier would be the obvious choice.
However, if you need that extra bit of power for an industrious project, a higher voltage option would be more ideal.
If the project or job needs to be done in confined spaces, a suitable option would be a smaller, compact 12-Volt variety. In simplified terms, the choice will come down to practicality.