3/8 Vs 1/2 Drill Review: Which One Is The Best Drill 2022

A detailed review of the 3/8 vs 1/2 drill… which one is the best drill? which performs better and which one is suited for you.

Brand Dewalt Black+Decker SKIL DeWalt
Best For Best 3/8 Corded Drill Best 3/8 Cordless Drill Best 1/2 Corded Drill Best 1/2 Cordless Drill
Image
Our Score 9.6 / 10 9.7 / 10 9.7 / 10 9.8 / 10
Rating
Model DWD115K LDX120C HD182002 DCD771C2
Speed [RPM] 2500 RPM 650 RPM 3000 RPM 1500 RPM
VSR Yes Yes Yes Yes
Versatility Drilling/Driving Drilling/Driving Drilling/Driving/Hammer Drilling/Driving
Chuck Size 3/8-Inch 3/8-Inch 1/2 Inch 1/2 Inch
Chuck Type Keyless Keyless Keyed Keyless
Chuck Design Ratcheting Ratcheting Metal Single Sleeve Ratcheting
Body Design With Ergonomic Soft Handle Grip With Ergonomic Soft Handle Grip With Ergonomic Soft Handle Grip With Ergonomic Soft Handle Grip
Power Source Corded 8 Amps Motor Cordless 20V Max Battery Corded 7.5 Amps Motor Cordless 20V Max Battery
Made For Small DIY Projects, Light-Duty Home and Job-Site Work Wood, Metal, Plastic, and Other Screw Driving Jobs DIY, Home Projects, Woodworking, Cutting, Drilling Materials Wood, Plastic, Metal, and Masonry DIY, Household Projects, Drilling/Driving Into Lumber and Masonry Applications
Warranty 3-Years Limited Warranty, 1-Year Free Service, 90-Day Money-Back Guarantee 2-Years Limited Warranty 1-Year Limited Warranty 3-Years Limited Warranty
Availability

AMAZON

AMAZON

AMAZON

AMAZON

Whether you’re dealing with low or high torque drills… Or check out other aspects like RPM, AMP, VSR, drill batteries, drill design, etc. All of the drills have this common yet specific thing of having the same 3/8 or 1/2 drill chuck size.

Figuring out other specs of a single drill is quite an easy task. But, comparison of 3/8 vs 1/2 drill becomes a bit difficult as you have to alternate between both types and compare each aspect hand to hand.

And for many folks, it’s a hassle you know… that which should be best for me and my woodworking, DIY, and other projects. What kind of effect it would have on my work. And will it have an impact on my budget..?

In my opinion, for all those questions the answer is “Yes”. Over the past years in my small to bigger DIY, woodworking projects. I have used all these drills i.e., corded, cordless, and the beastly hammer drills.

So, I’ll be humbly sharing my experience with you to clear up this 3/8 vs 1/2 drill difference.

I have listed out the best 3/8 corded drill, best 3/8 cordless drill, best 1/2 corded drill, and the best 1/2 cordless drill. Also, not forgetting

Plus, there is the detailed 3/8 vs 1/2 drill comparison with a chart as well. And lastly, which drill type is best for who?

What Does Chuck Size Mean On A Drill?

Drill Chuck Sizes Explained

The drill size is referred to as the “Chuck Size” of the drill. The chuck as you know is the little guy that holds the drill bit. Depending on chuck size you choose a drill bit that is compatible and works best with it.

These sizes are also known as “Standard Chuck Sizes” and these sizes as you know mainly come in two variations, 3/8 and 1/2.

Drill Chuck Size Chart

Chuck Type Size (Inches) Size In Millimeters (mm)
Standard 3/8 Inches 10mm
Standard 1/2 Inches 13mm

Due to this 3/8 vs 1/2 drill variation, there are a lot of things you have to take into consideration.

Such in the case of 3/8 inch drills, they are designed for small DIYer, woodworking, and around the house projects. While on the other hand, the 1/2 inch drills are specially built for heavy-duty work.

What’s The Difference Between 3/8 And 1/2 Inch Drill

Difference-Between-3/8-And-1/2-Drill
3/8 Vs 1/2 Drill: Difference Between 3/8 And 1/2 Drill

3/8 Vs 1/2 Inch Drill SIMILARITIES

Now, there is a difference between 3/8 and 1/2-inch drills. But on the flip side of the coin, there are also some key similarities.

Factors Similarities
VSR Both types of drills have VSR (Variable Speed Reverse).
Versatility Both are common woodworking tools used for drilling, driving, hammer in DIY projects, household, job-site, masonry work, etc.
Body Design The body design and gripping system are compact and ergonomic in both drills.
Power Source Both can be battery or AC-powered (AMPs & Volts).
Ease Of Use Both are handheld tools with enhanced portability features for ease of use.
Warranty Both types of drills come with a warranty for customer assurance.

Difference Between 3/8 And 1/2 Inch Drill

A small 3/8 vs 1/2 drill comparison chart that’ll help you understand which drill is best for who and what are the main differences between these drills?

Factors 3/8 Inch Drills 1/2 Inch Drills
Speed [RPM] High Low
Torque Low High
Durability Less High
Lifespan Short Long
Size / Weight Compact / Lighter Bulky / Heavy
Drill Bit Support 3/8 Inch Only Both 3/8 & 1/2 Inch
Job Type / Used For Small DIY Projects And Household Work Professional Jobs And Bigger Projects
Material Type Drilling Soft Materials: Softwood, Drilling Holes In Walls, etc. Hard Materials: Hardwood, Concrete, Steel Drilling, etc.
Price Cheap Pricey

Below I have explained the difference between 3/8 vs 1/2 drills in detail. If you want to know the gist of it. Then check the comparison table above.

1 – Speed [RPM]

There is one important thing I want you to remember about the relation of RPM with Torque. Both are inversely proportional to each other.

If the drill has a higher RPM (Speed) then the Torque will be lower. On the flip side, if you’re using a high torque drill then the rotational speed of the drill will be lower.

The 3/8 inch drill bits are smaller in size compared to 1/2-inch drill bits. Because they need faster speed to drill through materials quickly and easily. If you do small DIY or around your home projects then 3/8 drills are best.

While the 1/2 inch drill bits are thicker in width, made with durable material, and have a large size. So to handle these drill bits you need more control over them to smoothly drill through tougher materials. 

2 – Torque

The torque is a measurable amount of twisting force that the drill applies in an inch per pound. This torque is measured in units Nm (Newton Meter) and Inch Lbs. or In-lbs. As I have said in our above conversation Speed and Torque are inversely proportional.

Now, in the case of torque, the 3/8 inch drills are designed with a chuck that holds smaller bit sizes. Plus, they have motors that are less durable if you’re thinking of putting heavy work on these little guys.

The 1/2-inch drills are built for drilling into harder materials that require higher penetration power instead of speed. If you’re a serious handyman with larger projects at hand then these drills will be best.

By the way, I keep both 3/8-inch drills and 1/2-inch drills along with me. You can check my other posts where you’ll see me playing around with the drills.

3 – Durability

As for durability, the 1/2 inch drills take the cake. These drills’ internal components and external body design are built with stronger materials.

So, they can withstand intense pressure when drilling into hard materials like concrete, bricks, thick walls, etc.

The 3/8 inch drills are also built with tougher materials but compared to 1/2 inch drills they are way lower.

The internal motor and other components are specifically built for drilling lightweight materials such as softwood, for small DIY jobs, and lighter woodworking projects.

3 – Lifespan

The lifespan or longevity is strongly connected to the durability of a drill. The 1/2 inch drills are highly durable both internally and externally. Thus, they can withstand harsh job site conditions.

Here is a previous Dewalt 1/2 inch drill model that I was using, it lasted many years.

My-Old-Dewalt-Corded-1/2-Drill
3/8 Vs 1/2 Drill – My Old Dewalt Corded 1/2 Drill

The 3/8 inch drills are less durable than the 1/2 inch drills as I have mentioned above. It also depends on the brand that you are using.

If you ask me I prefer Makita, or DeWalt tools because they are highly durable and have a longer lifespan compared to other brands.

4 – Size And Weight

The 1/2 inch drills mostly have a large size and weigh more due to the metal framework and internal components. Because these drills have to face harsher drilling, woodworking, construction, and industrial-type jobs.

So, to sustain and reliably work through these types of jobs the drill overall is made with a heavy-duty material. This results in more reliability and durability but, of course, the overall size and weight of the drill also increase.

Now, the 3/8 inch drill internal components and external body are made with lightweight material and frame. So, you can easily handle small DIY, Home, and Garage tasks.  

If you ask me the 1/2 inch drills are pretty awesome. But, holding these heavyweights becomes a pain. Holding them for a longer duration causes hand aches and joint pain in the wrist.

Due to these problems if you’re drilling through tough material a slight imbalance can make a tilt hole, which means you lose drilling precision.

To avoid these issues I suggest you should use an angle drill guide. These are special types of stands built for easily drilling through tough materials.

They reduce the overall weight on your hands and wrist. They grant precision in straight or angled drilling plus, you can adjust the drilling depth as well.

5 – 3/8 Vs 1/2 Drill Bit

Here is the thing about drill bits…You cannot use a 1/2 inch drill bit into a 3/8 inch drill as they are larger compared to the 3/8 inch drill chuck size.

But you can use a 3/8 inch drill bit in a 1/2 inch drill. That’s the reason 1/2 inch drills are more versatile. You can use them with different jobs that need different-sized drill bits.

And as you know the 1/2 inch drills are for tougher drilling so their bits are made with durable material. On the other hand, 3/8 inch drill bits are smaller in size and are not that durable enough to drill through harder materials.

I mostly use black metal and steel drill bits. Besides all-metal, they are also drilling bits in other alloys such as black oxide drills with magnetic drive guide, and titanium drill bits with titanium finish.

The most common issue most DIYers face is drill bit loses its sharpness. So using a drill bits sharpener is way better than getting a new drill bit set every time.

6 – Used For Work And Material

With drills, your work is mostly around drilling wood, steel, other metals, concrete, etc. The 3/8 inch drills are built for drilling into soft materials such as softwood, drilling holes in walls, etc.

While the heavy-duty 1/2 inch drills are used for harder materials i.e., hardwood, concrete, steel drilling, etc.

7 – Price

Lastly, the price… Here in this case scenario being cheap, the 3/8 inch drills take the cake. Due to all the above aspects, we have dealt with 1/2 inch drills that do give us an edge in many ways but they are expensive.

3/8 Vs 1/2 Drills: Our Picks

I have listed and categorized the drills from corded, cordless, and hammer based on 3/8 inch and 1/2 inch sizes. I say these drills are best for almost every collector, handymen, woodworker, DIYer, home, garage, and shop owner.

Dewalt DWD115K 3/8-Inch Corded Drill Kit [Best 3/8 Corded Drill]

9.6 / 10

Dewalt DWD115K Specifications

Brand Dewalt
Model DWD115K
Speed [RPM] 2500 RPM
VSR Variable Speed Reverse With Reversing Switch
Versatility Drilling/Driving
Chuck 3/8-Inch Keyless Ratcheting Chuck
Design Ergonomic Soft Handle Grip
Power Source Corded With 8 Amps Motor
Accessories Durable Carrying Case
Best For Small DIY Projects, Light-Duty Home and Job-Site Work
Warranty 3-Years Limited Warranty, 1-Year Free Service, 90-Day Money-Back Guarantee
Our Rating 9.6

Black & Decker LDX120C Drill, 20V Max Cordless [Best 3/8 Cordless Drill]

9.7 / 10

Black & Decker LDX120C Specifications

Brand BLACK+DECKER
Model LDX120C
Speed [RPM] 650 RPM
VSR Variable Speed Reverse With Reversing Switch
Versatility Drilling/Driving
Chuck 3/8-Inch Keyless Ratcheting Chuck
Design Ergonomic Soft Handle Grip
Power Source Cordless With 20V Max Battery
Accessories LBX20 20-Volt Max Lithium-Ion Battery, LCS20 Charger, and Double-Ended Bit
Best For Wood, Metal, Plastic, and Other Screw Driving Jobs
Warranty 2-Years Limited Warranty
Our Rating 9.7

Skil HD182002 1/2 Corded Hammer Drill With 100PCS Drill Bit Set [Best 1/2 Corded Drill]

9.7 / 10

SKIL HD182002 Specifications

Brand SKIL
Model HD182002
Speed [RPM] 3000 RPM
VSR 2-Finger Variable Speed Trigger
Versatility Drilling/Driving/Hammer
Chuck 1/2-Inch Keyed Metal Chuck For Larger Drill Bits
Design Ergonomic Soft Handle Grip
Power Source Corded With 7.5 Amps Motor
Accessories 13-Pieces Masonry Bits, 13-Pieces Spade Bits, 16-Pieces Brad Point Drill Bits, 22-Pieces High-Speed Steel Drill Bits, 1" Screwdriving Bits, 20-Pieces 2" Screwdriving Bits, 3-Pieces Nut Drivers, 1-Piece Hammer Drill, 1-Piece Bit Holder, 1-Piece Drill Bit Gauge, 10-Pieces Countersink, Chuck Key, Side Handle, Depth Gauge
Best For DIY, Home Projects, Woodworking, Cutting, Drilling Materials Wood, Plastic, Metal, and Masonry
Warranty 1-Year Limited Warranty
Our Rating 9.7

Dewalt DCD771C2 XR 20 Volt 1/2 Inch Cordless Drill / Driver Kit [Best 1/2 Cordless Drill]

9.8 / 10

DEWALT DCD771C2 Details & Specs

Brand DEWALT
Model DCD771C2
Speed [RPM] 1500 RPM
VSR 2-Speed Variable Trigger
Versatility Drilling/Driving
Chuck 1/2-Inch Single Sleeve Ratcheting Chuck
Design Ergonomic Soft Handle Grip
Power Source Cordless With 20V Max Battery
Accessories 2 20V Max Lithium-Ion Batteries, Compact Charger, Contractor Tool Bag
Best For DIY, Household Projects, Drilling/Driving Into Lumber and Masonry Applications
Warranty 3-Years Limited Warranty
Our Rating 9.8

My Personal Recommendation

If you ask me I use both so there is no such hype as to which is the best. Both work fine when used for the work they are made for.

I do say that the 1/2 inch drills are more versatile compared to 3/8 inch drills but are pricey as they come. I say keep both if you’re a tools collector or enthusiastic.

I think it feels like you have your own set of weaponry tucked in your Garage and you are ready to go for your next job.

With both types of drills in your arsenal, you can handle all the DIY jobs that’ll come across you.

3/8 Vs 1/2 Drill FAQs

Q: Should I Buy A 1/2 Or 3/8 Drill?

Ans: If you’re the home guy/girl and doing small home chores or DIY projects then go for the 3/8 inch drills. But, if you are a dead serious handyman, and are handling bigger jobs then 1/2 inch drills suits you best.

Q: Can You Use A 3/8 Bit In A 1/2 Drill?

Ans: Yes, you can use a 3/8 inch drill bit in a 1/2 inch drill and that’s why the 1/2 inch drills are considered more versatile. You can smoothly do all types of drilling jobs that need drill bits of different sizes.

Q: How To Determine Drill Chuck Size?

Ans: The drill chuck size is determined by the numbers that are engraved on the chuck. These numbers are either in “Inches” or in millimeters and they look like 1/2-inch (13mm) and 3/8-inch (10mm).

Q: What Is The Standard Drill Chuck Size?

Ans: The most used standard drill chuck sizes are 3/8-inch (10mm) and 1/2-inch (13mm). And these chuck sizes are used in both corded drills and cordless drills.

Q: What Does 1/2 Inch Drill Mean?

Ans: The 1/2 inch drill actually refers to the drill chuck sizing which is found on the chuck itself. It means the chuck can hold a maximum of 1/2 inch drill bit size or a smaller size such as a 3/8 inch drill bit.

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