Sign In to join the community | Help
Gift Ideas


1/2 inch drill vs. 3/8 inch drill

I'd love to hear from anyone who has an opinion on this. The more, the better. 


What's the difference between a 1/2 inch power drill and a 3/8 inch power drill other than the size of the chuck? If you were advising someone who never owned a drill, how would you suggest he or she decide which size to purchase?


Is one size better for a cordless model?


Would there ever be much of a reason to ditch one size and start over with a new drill of a different size? Or is there a reason to own one drill of each size?



Not what you were looking for ? Try posting a question
Posted 2013-01-30T21:34:37+0000  by HomeDepotCraig HomeDepotCraig

Well Craig....


Most of the 1/2" crodless drills have great batteries now a days. So they would work just fine for most projects.


But if you have a lot of large holes to drill or bolts to screw in then no matter what kind of battery you have it will most likely die on you before you get the project completed or it can even damage the drill motor. This is the only time that I think a corded drill would be necessary.


I'm a big fan of all of the cordless tools that are available right now. The new Lithium Ion technology is really great compaired to the old Ni-Cad batteries. They are up to 45% lighter and hold a charge up to 4 times as long.


In most cases a cordless drill will complete the typical DYI job. Keep in mind that most drill kits come with two batteies so one should always be on the charger so when the first battery dies you have another one to switch it out with.


With that said I think a person need s to think about all of the possible projects that they may take on and choose the correct drill form there.

Best Answer

Posted 2013-02-06T23:23:29+0000  by Christine_HD_OC

Hello Craig,


This is a very common question in the power tool isle.


The main two differences are the size of drill bits that you can use and how much power they have.


Most common DIYers use a 3/8" drill. It has plenty of power and can use up to a 3/4" drill bit (on softer materials) with a reduced 3/8" shank. Most 3/8" drill bit sets only go up to a 1/2" with a reduced 3/8" shank. If you are working with wood you can get spade bits that are available in larger sizes.


The larger bit sizes create more torque and the 3/8" shank can snap easier. When you have a cordless drill the more load you put on the drill the quicker the battery will die.


The 1/2" drills are more for the contractor due to the heavy use and load that they require on a daily basis. They are powerful enough for the larger drill bits and are made to withstand the daily wear and tear.


I don't think that one size is better than the other when it come to a cordless model. I think it depends on what you're going to use it for. 


Yes I think that the more experienced you get you will start taking on larger projects that might need larger holes drilled or more torgue. That is the only reason I could see you wanting to upgrade to the 1/2".


I personally have one of each.  3/8" and 1/2". I like that the 3/8" drills are lighter so if I'm just working in the shop all day I don't have to worry about my arm getting tired. There are the other times like when I built my deck that I needed larger holes drilled and also more torque to install the bolts. I was thankful that I had my 1/2" drill.


So figure out what you're going to need to do with your drill and that should narrow your options down.


I can't wait to hear all of the other opinions on what drill is right for them and why.


Thanks Craig for starting this thread. I love talking about tools almost as much as I do using them. Ok that's not true but I do like to talk about them.  

Posted 2013-02-02T00:39:47+0000  by Christine_HD_OC

Good stuff, SheCanDoIt22.


You touched on this-- a 1/2 drill has more torque, which takes more power. Does this mean that you'd rather have a corded model? Or have batteries improved to the point that they're viable for 1/2 drills?



Posted 2013-02-04T19:19:03+0000  by HomeDepotCraig
Cordless drills are much better than corded drills in my opinion. Corded drills can be lighter, but the cord restricts your mobility a lot. For an all-around good cordless drill I'd just stick with a 1/2" chuck rather than having to buy another drill later on.
Posted 2019-04-27T05:53:22+0000  by jasonabalos
Not what you were looking for ? Try posting a question