13 Types of Drills and Their Uses: A Comprehensive Guide

Walts DIY is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you.

types of drills

Do not worry if you cannot ascertain the proper drill for your project. There are several different types of drills, which makes it pretty challenging to get the right one. For those looking for a reference on the types of drills, this comprehensive guide covers thirteen different types of drill and their uses, from a standard drill to a drill press. This article will show you how to use each type of drill and typically used for. If you don’t have any experience with these tools before, this is the perfect place to start!

What is a Drill?

A drill or drilling machine is a tool primarily used for making round holes. It can be fitted with one of two types of bits, either the driving bit, secured by a chuck or the more specialized type called a hammer drill that includes both functions in its design.

A drilling machine is a tool that rotates to create holes in various materials using an abrasive such as sand, water, or diamond-impregnated bits. Drills are classified according to their purpose, and they operate by rotating about their axis: vertical for access through pipes, horizontal (or boring) for work on stone and brick.

Drills are a necessary power tool for any handyman. You can find drills of all sizes, speeds, and power types to fit your needs, from the smallest model that you could use in miniature applications to the larger ones such as a pillar drill or bench drill used on construction sites or machine shops!

Drills vary widely in size, speed, and power. Historically, you could only find a corded electric drill. Still, with the vast technological advancement, operating a cordless power drill is more favorable because you’re getting more flexibility without compromising on power or runtime. Another tick in the box for a modern combi drill is the brushless motor that kicks out more energy and is way more durable than before.

The drill is most commonly found at home improvement stores, where it’s often marketed as drilling holes faster!

See Full Range on Amazon

Here are some of the common types of drills that you can use:

Drill driver 

This is one of the most popular types of drills and can be found in many households. It has a keyless chuck opening and closing around the drill head bit. All it does is rotate or spin in a clockwise or anticlockwise direction. There are different variations, with some clutch to help you mechanically regulate the amount of power. This type of power drill is available as a cordless drill or a corded tool, and there are pros and cons to both. 

With the corded drill usually, everything is included on purchase, but use is limited to the length of the cord. A cordless drill gives you more flexibility, but often you buy a bare tool, and the battery is an additional purchase. That being said, most manufacturers make the batteries compatible with devices across their range.

This type of regular drill does standard hole drilling, whether on wood, plastic, or any metal. Keep in mind that the power level is directly proportional to the size of the hole that you need. But its use extends to using a screwdriver bit when driving screws in wood, plastic, or metal is required or even drill holes in more rigid materials with a masonry bit or concrete drill bits.

Hammer drill 

The hammer drill, also known as the SDS drill driver, has a similar design as the regular drill driver, just that it comes with a hammer-like modification to push the bit in and out when chipping away concrete.

See Full Range on Amazon

In contrast to a regular drill, hammer drills can drill through hard surfaces with more power and speed. The secret is the cam plates which make the chuck rapidly pulse forward and backward as it spins on its axis (this pulsing action is measured in blows per minute BPMs). The hammer action of a drill should be measured by the number of impacts it drills. Ten thousand or more is typical for this tool which can sometimes make it difficult to penetrate through hard materials like concrete.

Fortunately, in most versions, you can decide whether to hammer, drill, or drive using the clutch. You decide whether you want the standard drill driver or the hammer drill, and as a result, you can use this tool in any drilling project. However, it is best suited for drilling through rigid material, like concrete.

Rotary hammer drill (AKA Masonry Drill)

This is a combination rotary drill which is an improved version of the hammer drill. It is bigger than the hammer drill and has a better chipping mechanism, making it more powerful. You will mostly get two modes; chipping and hammering with rotation.

The chipping mode uses a chipping bit for pounding, closely resembling the jackhammer. You can use this combination hammer to drill holes or break up concrete, stone, and other projects.

Rotary hammer drills are used for drilling into masonry and hard materials. It uses SDS or Spline Shank bits that can pulverize the material easily due to their heavy design. What are the advantages of a rotary/pneumatic rotary hammer drill? Unlike cam-type hammers, they accelerate only a bit. This is accomplished through piston design rather than spinning cams. Rotaries have much less vibration and can penetrate most building materials as well as act like “drill only” or “hammer one.”

A rotary hammer drill is perfect for boring a large hole in any foundation. Lag bolts are used to secure foundations, and lead anchors serve as benches or handrails, so the use of this tool will never end!

Impact drill 

The impact drill is generally known as an impact driver. It does not use the standard forward chipping technique but relies on a rotating hammer and a chipping mechanism. In case you are wondering how this is relevant, the hammer strikes the anvil, which in return creates a greater turning force.
Fortunately, most drills are made in such a way that they can comfortably accommodate this mechanism. However, remember that this variation is not as smooth as the drill driver, even though it still delivers. You can use this type if you need to drill screws faster than the standard drill.

See Full Range on Amazon

Here are our recommendations for the best DeWALT impact driver.

Core drill 

A core drill is one of the most powerful drills that you can use to create holes. It is made of a large motor, which can be attached to the frame to ensure steady when creating holes through surfaces.

Instead of grinding out the hole, this product spins a core bit. Therefore, you do not have to hammer, chip, or drive any application while working on your projects. It is best used in big projects that involve creating large holes.

Earth auger

This super powerful drill, also known as the ground auger, uses AC or gas power to turn the robust motor. It has a wide bit that drives through the ground, removing dirt quickly and more accessible than the average or powered shovel.
See Full Range on Amazon
From the description, you can deduce that this type of drill is best used to create holes on the ground or ice. You can use this for ice fishing or settling different posts.

Benchtop drill press

drill press is a stationary machine that drills holes with less effort and accuracy than hand-held models. One of the essential features of this piece of equipment is its lever and rack system, which helps apply pressure evenly onto your workpiece without any unnecessary strain upon your arm or wrist muscles and fix angle increments for easy drilling.

This makes it easier because rather than having an individual adjust their grip every time they lower in too far or upwards at an awkward angle, these adjustments will be made automatically for precision hole drilling.

A drill press is a small machine that enables you to produce clean, precise holes in wood or metal. At the same time, their size and power limit hand-held drills. The table allows vises or clamps to position and restrains work, making operations much more secure with an adjustable height for totally personalized drilling positions.

Corded drill 

The corded drill is connected to an external power source and can offer a higher torque than some standard drills. Unfortunately, it is becoming less common, thanks to superior technology that has developed cordless drills. 

It has a pistol grip that makes it easy to use. You can use this when working on plastic, metal, or even fiberglass. You don’t have to worry about running out of power when you settle on this. However, ensure that you get a suitable extension cord. 


Floor drill press

The floor drill press is a powerful workshop tool that allows you to add sanding drums and other items if you’d like to make it more functional. This is usually bigger than the benchtop drill but is mostly highly portable.

You will notice that a pillar extends from the base of this press. Some of its advantages include better power, higher stability, and a relatively larger working area. It is used for cutting holes through wood, metal, and other material.

See Full Range on Amazon

Beam drill 

This is a relatively sophisticated type of drill. This tool is used to make a hole in rather large beams. It is used primarily in constructing barns and other large structures. It has an open spot at the center where you can view the cutting area. You can straddle the beam and use the hand cranks on either of the sides to drive the bit into the wood once it is lowered and aligned.

Hand drill

Also known as an ‘egg-beater,’ this hand drill is popular in schools due to its simple design and action. However, it’s very limited in power and, therefore, you will find it hard to drill into more rigid materials. Model making with Balsa wood is about its limit.

Further reading: Best Manual Hand Drill – Top 5 Reviews and Buyers Guide

Push drill

Another hand drill this time, each push makes the drill spin and into the material. Like the egg-beater, this is very limited on power, so it has a minimal amount of use.

D-handle drill

Most power drills have the same handle type, but it’s shaped like a D and allows you more control when using it with this model. Because of this, it’s arguably the most heavy-duty power drill and is ideal for drilling into bricks and mortar using a masonry drill bit.

See Full Range on Amazon


These are a few drills that you can get depending on what you’d like to achieve. Other types are best suited for different functions. Therefore, ensure that your drill is well designed for the project you are working on. We hope you have found our types of drills article helpful, and it has given you additional knowledge to make your next purchase.

Here are some other articles you may like:

Best Right Angle Drill – Top 6 Reviews and Buyers Guide

Best Milwaukee Drill Bit Set – Reviews and Buyers Guide

Best Milwaukee Impact Driver for the Money – Reviews

13 Types of Clamps – Which One is Right For You?

Here are our favorite Hammer Drills

CLICK any image to see Ratings & Reviews on Amazon

Walter Snyder

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *