18V VS 20V Cordless Drills

18V VS 20V Cordless Drills? What’s the difference?

Since my old drill stopped working, I went to get a new one in the Amazon.com. While I was checking there and trying to decide which drill is the best for me, I noticed the difference in battery power of those drills and this reminded me of a couple of articles I read a while ago.

You see, there was, and still is, a lot of discussions online regarding the difference between 18 volt and 20-volt cordless drills. People want to know if there is any difference in performance, battery life, or any other feature when it comes to these two types of cordless drills.

Basics of marketing

Before I begin to write the answer to that question, I will attempt to explain how the human mind works when it comes to buying. I believe that some of you can feel where this is going, but if you don’t, keep on reading, I will reach my point soon.

The human mind works on a principle that has enabled us to survive for tens of thousands of years, and, although we have improved our lives drastically with technology, our brains still work the same way they did thousands of years ago. This principle is: ‘The more, the better.’ Let me explain this in more detail.

Whenever a person looks for something to buy, or get, to be more general, you will be inclined to get as much of it as you can for as little money as you can give. This is because we think more is always better, and it usually is, but every one of us has had a situation in his life where he went to get more of something for the same price and once he got the product realised that he should have bought that one or two things for the same price that were of better quality.

It goes without saying that many marketing specialists use this inclination to sell more of their products to us or to convince us that we are buying more than we actually are. That’s about it when it comes to marketing strategies.

What are cordless drill batteries consisted of

cordless drill

If we would take the battery that is used with a cordless drill and disassemble it, we would find smaller batteries. These smaller batteries are called ‘cells,’ but they work in the same way as other, normal batteries do.

Most batteries usually have five cells, in a parallel position, but cordless drill batteries can also consist of six, or even ten cells. If batteries have more than five or six cells, additional cells are usually placed in several rows. 

The highest number of rows that a cordless drill battery has, that I have personally seen is three rows. Such alignment of cells within a battery is the reason why some cordless drill batteries are bigger than others, and yet, they have the same voltage. For example, a twenty-volt battery can be consisted of five cells, with each cell having a four volts output. Since they are in a parallel position, four volts time five batteries equals twenty volts.

However, a twenty-volt battery can also consist of ten, or fifteen cells. If we were to take a battery containing ten cells, the voltage of each cell would be two volts. The amount of total voltage must always be twenty in a twenty-volt battery so the voltage of individual cells will be adapted to suit this.

I honestly don’t understand why did they stop at twenty volts, when they can easily produce drills with more powerful batteries, or drills with longer battery life, but that’s a topic for another time.

The reason for such alignment of cells and the reasons why are there more than five cells being in a single battery is money. If the manufacturer takes cheaper cells, he can achieve the same effect when it comes to battery performance, for the same amount of money.

I recommend that you always go for smaller batteries because they consist of fewer cells, but those cells are usually of higher quality, so you won’t only get a better product, but you will also save space when working.

This doesn’t apply to higher end drills, because they are usually made from the top of the notch materials, and there are other reasons for them having large batteries, but that’s also a story for another time.

So, by now you’re probably asking yourself-

How do all these facts relate to the subject of this article?

The truth is simple when it comes to this. Eighteen-volt batteries and twenty-volt batteries are the same things. Literally the same. The thing is, an eighteen-volt battery operates nominally at eighteen volts. Every battery can be charged a few volts above its optimal operating value. Eighteen-volt batteries can have a power of twenty volts when they are charged to their full potential.

When you combine this fact with some of the marketing strategies outlined in the second section, you are beginning to understand what is this all about.

Some companies have decided to implement this into their product presentation to maximize the number of products that buyers will want to buy. Since people usually go for the bigger value, no matter how small it is, such strategies have proven to be very useful to the manufacturers of cordless drills. As a matter of fact, as time flows, the number of  ’20V cordless drills’ increases while there are less and less 18V cordless drills on the market. This alone is a testimony to just how effective such a strategy is. And this is not limited to the DIY niche.

If you take a careful look, you can spot more of such changes in your everyday life. And I’m sure that some of you probably already have spotted this when it comes to

10.8 V and 12 V cordless drills

cordless drill

I’m sure that you noticed a couple of years ago that there is more and more 12 V cordless drills and less and less 10.8 V cordless drills. This happened because these drills usually cost less than the standard eighteen-volt drills that most technicians use, so the manufacturers have decided to test this new strategy out on these cheaper models, and the results were as expected.

You can see that there is no manufacturer that still advertises his products as ten points eight-volt cordless drill, yet the market is filled with twelve volts cordless drills. Since this strategy proved out to be quite a success, they have decided to implement it into the former eighteen-volt cordless drill, and they got what they wanted. 

The sales increased for a certain percent, and all the manufacturer has had to do was to change the label to advertise something that is basically truthful. This is isn’t one of those cases of false advertisement. This is real, and since this was done somewhat in secret, the average person who went to buy the drills thought that they have developed a more powerful model of drills and that their life will be easier from now on.

Well, they haven’t. But they could have done just that. They could have increased the battery life or the power of the drills, yet they haven’t. But that’s fine.

I’m sure that they will improve the industry standard when it comes to cordless drills, just for the sake of development and advancement of technology as soon as possible, but until then, we have to be satisfied with ’20 V’ cordless drills.


To get the most out of your cordless drill, make sure to clean it after each use and keep it in a case that it was shipped in. You can also get a separate case, made specifically for this purpose that will protect it from damage and keep it shining for a very long time.

To get the most out of your cordless drill’s battery, make sure to plug it out as soon as it is charged fully. Don’t allow it to charge after the adapter indicates that it is charged to the max. It could stop working, or it could damage your drill. As a matter of fact, it could even explode if you are working in hot weather, but that probably won’t happen unless it is overcharged to the letter.


The size of the batteries doesn’t matter when it comes to medium or high-end cordless drills, but if you are planning on buying low-grade cordless drills, make sure to get ones with the smaller batteries because it is made of smaller cells, that have less likelihood of breaking down, while the larger batteries have, the higher likelihood of breaking down since they are made from more cells that are at the same time, usually of lower quality.


And that’s it!

I hope that the tips have been helpful and that you will take advantage of this article so that you won’t fall for that trick from now on since eighteen and twenty-volt drills are the same thing.

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