Home Power Tools

Battery Powered vs Corded Power Tools: Pros and Cons

9 min read

Which Is Better For You?

Aspect Summary
Battery-Powered Pros Offers portability, freedom of movement, and higher torque.
Battery-Powered Cons Requires costly battery replacements and needs breaks to prevent damage.
Corded Tools Pros Consistent speeds and power without worrying about battery life. Limited by outlet proximity.
Corded Tools Cons Cord restricts mobility, and availability of outlets can be a challenge.
Power Output Comparison Corded tools offer superior torque and speed, ideal for tough jobs. Battery tools lag in high-power tasks.
Battery Life vs Continuous Power Corded tools run as long as there’s power; no battery swaps. Battery tools may need frequent charging/replacement, especially for long projects.

corded power drill on a wooden table

Setting the stage

There’s long been a debate among handy-folks about which type of power tool is best for the job: battery-powered tools or corded models.

Some folks love the versatility of going cordless with battery-powered tools, while others swear by the power and longevity of corded tools.

So what’s the deal? Is there really a big difference between the two? Is one type of tool better than the other?

We’ll dive into the pros and cons of both battery-powered and corded tools, and see which one comes out on top in the battle of the power tools.


Battery powered and corded power tools offer their own unique pros and cons.

Battery powered tools offer portability and freedom of movement, but they require costly battery replacements.

Corded tools are plugged into an outlet, so you don’t have to worry about running out of power.

But they can’t be used in any location due to the need for an outlet.

Battery powered tools have higher torque than corded tools, but need intermittent breaks to prevent accidental damage.

Corded tools, however, can work at consistent speeds and power because they’re plugged in and always ready to go.

The Evolution of Power Tools

A Brief History of Corded Tools

Corded tools first hit the scene in the industrial revolution - long ago.

They were preferred for their high-powered motor, allowing them to get more work done in less time.

As more efficient power sources were developed, corded tools began to replace manual hand tools for many applications.

As the Industrial Revolution gained momentum, factories became centered around corded tools, making them even more popular and accessible.

Corded power tools are also seen as more reliable than battery-powered alternatives, as they don’t require a battery change and can often deliver more power.

While battery-powered tools are gaining in popularity, corded options, with their long history of reliability, remain popular among household and industrial customers.

The Rise of Battery-Powered Tools

Battery-powered tools have come a long way.

In the past, they could only run for a short amount of time and didn’t have enough power to get the job done.

Today’s batteries have improved in terms of both performance and longevity.

This has helped them become popular in the market and they can now stand up to the demands of construction work and heavier tasks.

More and more people are turning to battery-powered options because they can work for longer without having to be plugged in and recharged.

This makes them an attractive option for those looking for more convenience or mobility.

Newer batteries can also outperform the older corded tools, furthering their appeal.

Battery-Powered Tools: Pros and Cons


Battery-powered tools are great for many reasons.

They are portable, so they can go with you wherever you need them.

You can use them in tight or hard-to-reach places, since you don’t need an electrical outlet.

They also don’t create much noise, so you can use them without causing a disturbance.

You don’t need to worry about an extension cord limiting your work, and you don’t need to worry about tripping over cords.

Battery-powered tools are perfect for people who need to do work indoors or outside, and without an extension cord.


Battery-powered tools offer convenience and portability, but there are some potential drawbacks to consider.

One downside is the shorter lifespan compared to their corded counterparts.

Batteries don’t last forever and may require frequent replacement; this can become costly.

Additionally, battery-powered tools are usually less powerful than their corded counterparts.

Therefore, they may struggle to complete heavy-duty jobs as quickly as possible.

Last, although newer batteries are better than before at preserving charge, they may not last as long as traditional corded tools.

Corded Tools: Pros and Cons


Corded power tools provide an advantage over battery powered tools–constant power supply.

With no need to worry about running out of battery charge, corded tools are always ready to go.

Plus, corded tools are generally more powerful than battery powered options, making them better equipped to handle certain jobs.

Finally, corded tools can be a cost savings–no need to replace batteries, just plug in and go!


Using corded power tools can be inconvenient due to restricted movement.

Limited to the length of the cord, you can only work as far from the power outlet as the cord allows.

Being dependent on power outlets also means that an extension cord may be necessary for outdoor projects, which can be an extra expense.

Finally, cords themselves can be hazardous as they can easily be tangled and pose a tripping hazard.

Performance Comparison

Power Output

Corded power tools have the advantage when it comes to power output.

They provide a much higher torque compared to cordless or battery-powered tools.

This means they can handle tougher jobs, like cutting through metal or fastening large screws.

Cordless tools may struggle in those areas.

Battery-powered tools also tend to have slower speeds; even the best ones don’t match up to corded performance.

While cordless tools are great for certain uses and applications, if you need high-powered, reliable performance you often need to go corded.

Ultimately, it depends on what type of job you’re doing and the level of power you require.

Battery Life vs Continuous Power

There are major differences between the battery life of a corded power tool and a battery powered one.

Corded power tools will keep running as long as you have power, meaning you don’t need to worry about replacing or charging batteries.

However, battery power tools usually can’t last as long, meaning when working on large projects, having to keep replacing batteries can be inconvenient.

Depending on the project, it might be preferable to use either battery power or corded.

For example, if you’re doing some quick work on a small project in a remote area, corded power tools aren’t great since there’s no power source nearby.

But for a big job that will require a long time, battery powered tools may not be able to keep up and corded power will be the better option.

Cost Implications

Initial Investment

For most do-it-yourselfers, cost is an important factor when it comes to deciding between corded and battery-powered power tools.

Battery-powered tools tend to be more expensive when purchased upfront, as the tool itself and the accompanying battery and charger can be costly.

Corded tools are typically more affordable right away, and depending on the project, extra power cords may be needed.

Older cords, however, can be more of an issue due to wear and tear.

If extra batteries are required, that cost should also be factored into the equation.

So if you’re on a budget, corded tools may be the way to go.

Long-term Costs

Buying battery powered tools usually means you’ll need to replace them more often than if you were using corded tools.

The batteries themselves can be pricey and need to be replaced on average once or twice a year if you use them regularly.

This can add up over time and cause a bigger overall investment compared to the upfront, one-time cost of buying the corded tool.

On the other hand, in a corded tool, you only need to replace the cord if it wears out – making that a one time cost with no recurring investments.

Environmental Impact

Battery Disposal

Using battery powered tools often means throwing away the battery after it is done being used.

This has an environmental impact, as batteries contain hazardous chemicals and materials that leak into the soil and water if they are not disposed of properly.

Fortunately, there are options to help lessen this ecological cost.

Recycling or reusing batteries is a great way to help the environment, and some places have even started offering battery disposal boxes so they can be properly dealt with.

Energy Efficiency

Corded power tools have power that is ready to go right away when plugged in.

This can use more energy over time since they stay plugged in and always on.

Battery powered tools, on the other hand, only use energy when being used and are not in use when unplugged.

This means these tools use less energy in comparison, making them more energy efficient.

Overall, battery powered tools use less energy, making them a better choice than corded power tools.

Case Studies: Use What When?

When it comes to portability, battery powered tools are often the better choice.

If you need to make quick repairs outdoor, you don’t need to worry about a long cord restricting your mobility.

Battery powered drills are great for quick repair jobs like tightening screws, installing small fixtures, and working on mobile projects.

Corded power tools are most useful when you need a lot of power to get the job done.

Deep drilling, large construction projects, and high-capacity jobs (like sawing huge pieces of lumber) are best performed with corded power.


Summing up the pros and cons

In summary, battery powered and corded power tools have their own advantages and disadvantages.

Battery powered tools offer portability and convenience while being less powerful.

Because they are more portable, battery powered tools are usually more expensive than the corded versions.

Corded tools, on the other hand, offer more power but cannot be used wherever you need to use them.

Consider these factors when deciding which type of power tool to purchase. Now, you can make your purchase with confidence.

Home Power Tools

Your All-In-One Guide to Home Power Tools