A reader, Brian, sent in a great question the other day asking for our take about whether a 12V or 18V cordless power tool combo would be best for his planned projects. 12V lithium-ion cordless tools are becoming more powerful, ergonomic and feature-rich which each redesign as brands compete for market share. This makes it necessary to answer the “12V vs. 18V” question on a case-by-case basis.
Brian writes: As a home owner and DIYer, would going with a 12 volt cordless combo such as Bosch’s or the new Dewalt combo be enough for at most framing a wall or building onto a deck? If I go with a 18 volt combo I am thinking in terms of Dewalt, Makita or Milwaukee. In your opinion what would be the best brand? I want something that will last for quite a while.
In our ensuing conversation we discussed brand and tool options, but the question of 12V vs 18V was answered quite quickly. My stance is that it is better to have more power available and not need it than to need it and not have it. I think that Brian knew he was going to go with an 18V kit and only needed a slight nudge away from 12-volts.
It is true that 12V power tools have become highly capable, but they still cannot come close to the performance of 18V tools in more intense drilling and driving applications. Ultimately it comes down to power vs. size, and which is more important for forseeable projects.
What is your take on this? Would you have recommended a 12V setup, or 18V as I did? Brian indicated that he was mainly looking for a drill and impact driver and would have purchased a corded circular saw if he needed one.