Can a Cordless Drill Go Through Concrete?

DIY projects involving concrete aren’t something that tops the to-do list. Concrete is a great material for buildings, but its strength opposes making any alterations. As a result, with such a durable material, it becomes a very difficult task even to do as simple as fixing a mailbox or hanging a photo frame, or hammering nails. Plus, it is not practical to own all the tools for DIY home projects.

Nonetheless, almost everyone owns some kind of cordless drill in their toolbox or at least recognizes someone who has one. A cordless drill is one such versatile tool that can be used to drill into concrete or any other hard surfaces like brick, stone, etc.

The results may not be as effective as the corded ones; still, you can expect to get the task done satisfactorily. 

Plus, in this article, you can learn about the essential features needed to drill into the concrete and more. So, let’s dive into the topic.  

Are Cordless Drills Best Suitable For Drilling Through Concrete?

With the advancement of technology, most people are shifting towards cordless tools. As cordless tools are easier to use, cordless drills are gradually gaining popularity for carry-on projects like drilling through hard surfaces, including concrete, brick, stone, and cement.

Though a corded drill still remains a preferable choice, corded drills are somewhat equally powerful. However, this is not the case for all the models of cordless drills available on the market. The other models might work fine.

The most common drills available in the hardware stores are of four types:


Drill/Driver: They primarily come in use to drill a hole or drive a screw into different types of materials like metal, wood, and plastic.

Hammer Drill: Hammer drill also has several similar features to drill. Yet, they have an additional hammer setting that enables them to drill through hard materials such as concrete and brick.

Rotary Hammers: This is just the heavy-duty version or professional grade of hammer drills.

Impact Drivers: This drill only comes in use to loosen bolts or drive screws.

Usually, people either have a hammer drill or a driver at home. A hammer drill is the most preferred option to drill through concrete.

What are the main features that a Cordless Drill Needs For Concrete Drilling?

Although a standard cordless drill can be used to drill through the concrete, there are some specific cordless drills that come with better features for drilling through the concrete. So, to understand how these cordless drills are better equipped and more apt for concrete drilling, let’s explore their features below:

Unit Watt Out/High Torque

While looking at the cordless drill, it is important to check certain specifications. Unit watts out and torque are two of the most important measurements that help you to understand the power capability of the cordless drill machine. Some of the cordless drills may denote unit watts out, while others torque.  

· Cordless Drill Torque

The measure of pivoting force that enables rotation is called torque. Now coming to the force of the cordless drill, the higher the torque, the more rotational force the cordless drill will possess. Accordingly, this equates to the powerful drilling through the concrete.

Cordless drill torque is measured in pound-inch or inch-pound. In simple words, a pound of torque force is applied to an inch of range from the pivot point. Therefore, the more the inch-pound would be, the more torque and twirling force the cordless drill retains. Cordless drills usually come with a torque rating ranging between 1200 inch-pound to 200 inch-pound.

Nonetheless, if you are looking for a cordless drill that can efficiently handle concrete drilling, go for at least a 300 or more torque rating. You can check the user manual to find the setting of the torque on your cordless drill. If your drill has different torque settings, it will have a ring with numbers on the drill chuck to rotate. You should opt for the higher torque from the settings to derive more power during working on hard projects such as drilling through the concrete.

However, if your drill does not come with a torque setting, it is to assume that your cordless drill is eternally set to high torque.

· Cordless Drill Unit Watts Out

Unit watts out or UWO is a measure of the power capability a cordless drill has to drill through or into an object. This capability can be obtained based on the motor and system with a higher unit watt-out rating that denotes more power. Thus, if torque is the measure of the rotational force of the cordless drill, UWO is the general power capacity of the drills based on their internal factors. Like Cordless drill torque, here also you need to look out for at least 300 or more ratings of unit watt out.

Higher Battery Efficiency

Aggressive drilling jobs drain batteries within a few minutes, leaving you in the middle of the work. As a result, you would have to wait until the battery is recharged to start again. So, when you are looking for cordless drills to drill through the concrete, consider battery efficiency. A cordless drill to drill into the concrete requires more power.

It is important to take into account two main elements – voltage and amp-hour. Where voltage is the translation of the amount of power that the drill is capable of delivering, amp-hour denotes the extent to which the drill can transmit the power.

· Cordless Drill Voltage

The voltage ratings of cordless drills vary from 4 to 20V. However, they usually have 12V, 18V, or 20V ratings. The higher the rating of voltage is, the more power the cordless drill can produce.

Most people own a drill with 12V to 14V, which will work, but you need to change the drill battery sooner. As a result, it is better to go for an 18V or a 20V cordless drill to achieve a higher voltage rating.

Moreover, cordless drills come with two batteries. If your drill has only one, it is better to opt for an additional interchangeable battery to continue working while the other one charges. You can also get a fast-charging battery that is not only as potent as other batteries but it also has the additional benefit of faster charging.

· Cordless Drill Battery Amp-hour

Here also, the amp-hour of a cordless drill should be higher to last longer. As concrete drills require much more battery power, the battery on your cordless drill must come with a lot of amp-hour. This is to ensure that while drilling through the concrete, the battery does not run out of power. Therefore, it is ideal to select a cordless drill with a battery having at least a rating of 3amph or higher.

Type of Cordless Drill Battery

As the battery plays a key role in a cordless drill, choose the battery type carefully. It is the type of battery material that holds the charges. There are categorically four basic materials used for batteries of cordless drills. These include NiMh, NiCad, Lithium-Ion, and Alkaline, among which lithium-ion is the most powerful and new type of battery used in cordless drills. Hence, you can choose a cordless drill with a Lithium-Ion battery to operate the task of drilling into the concrete.

With or Without Hammer Action

It is a different consideration whether to have a cord or go cordless. In this case, as we are focusing on cordless drills and their types, hammer action is something not included in the cordless version.

Drills having hammer action are better suitable for drilling through concrete and similar other hard surfaces. This is because of its use of two gear sets that help to form a percussion hammering action simultaneously with the rotating drill. Unfortunately, the typical cordless drills do not feature a hammer action.

Although it is not necessary to possess a cordless drill with hammer action, still this feature can make the operation a lot easier and more time efficient. So, you may choose a drill with a hammer action or a hammer drill for making drills through the concrete surface.

Besides, there are some drills equipped with a hammer action along with a standard drilling action. This type of drill, also known as combi drills, enables not only to rotate and drill but also to move up and down to drill through hard materials effectively. Therefore, you can consider this combination of drills to get an all-around style of drilling.

Concrete/Masonry Drill Bits

Just like how important it is to have a powerful cordless drill to drill through the concrete, having the right drill bit is also vital for concrete. Without this feature, even if you own the most powerful drill available on the market, you will still lag in drilling through the concrete.

Hence, with the help of specific drill bits, you can drill through the concrete and other hard surfaces. You cannot choose an old bit to run this project. It will be ideal if you use a masonry drill bit to work on hard surfaces like concrete. From the tip shape, it is easy to identify a masonry bit. The pointed end of a masonry bit comes with a wide, flat style tip. If you are about to use it for the first time, learn about it from the hardware store and get the right drill bits for your project.

Masonry bits are available in varied materials and sizes, with 8mm, 10mm, and 12mm being the most popular sizes. If you want a stronger bit, see if the tip has tungsten carbide that helps to extend longevity and durability. These types of bits are expensive but last longer than ordinary ones.

What are the things Needed To Drill Through the Concrete?

The essential things to drill into or through the concrete are as follows:

  • Hammer Drill
  • Carbide Concrete/Masonry Drill Bit
  • A pencil
  • Safety Gear includes work gloves, safety goggles, ear protection, and a dust mask.
  • Blue Painter’s Tape (Optional)
  • Shop-Vac (Optional)

What are the steps to Drill Into Concrete?

There are some significant steps that you must take to drill into the concrete easily.

Step 1. Make A Mark On the Spot

First of all, use a pencil to mark the spot on the concrete where you will drill the hole. Remember to be careful with the wiring, pipes, or ductwork on the concrete that possibly could get damaged during the operation.

Step 2. Fix the Depth Stop

Next, it is time to set the depth stop on your drill for ¼ inch longer than the actual depth required for making the whole. Suppose your drill has no depth stop, you can rather use the blue painter’s tape by simply measuring the right length on the drill. Then, place a portion of the tape on the exact point of your drill to know where you should stop drilling.

Step 3. Place the Drill Bit To The Drill

Now that you know where to start and stop the drilling process, fit your drill tool with the right size of the carbide masonry drill bit. Following this, create a guide hole by positioning the drill bit.

Step 4. Start Drilling

Start with the drilling process without applying much pressure on the drill bit in order to avoid breakage. Remember to keep the speed at the lowest until you reach ¼-inch depth. Blow the dust or shop-vac out of its guide hole.

Again set the drill bit into the guide hole and start drilling at a medium speed this time until you reach the desired depth. In between the tasks, shop-vac or blow out the dust from the hole occasionally.

Which Drill Is Ideal For Different Kinds of Concrete Tasks?

Kinds of Concrete WorkExamplesType of Drill Suitable
Light dutyDrilling holes for hanging frames, shelves, or hookCordless power drills
Medium dutyDrilling to fix metal brackets, make pilot holes for fastening masonry screwsCordless hammer drills
Heavy dutyHammering nails into the concrete, metal anchor or toilet flanges installation, etc.Combination of drills

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