Dremel Vs. Power Drill

Dremels or power drills, which are better? This all depends on the task(s) they are used for. Read more to find out the similarities and differences between these two very useful power tools.

Is A Dremel Faster Than A Drill?

The answer to this question depends on what “faster” means. Is it faster in cutting? Does the tip spin faster? Does the motor rotate faster?

Dremels are cordless, battery-operated rotary tools that use special bits. Dremels can be used for drilling, polishing, grinding, and cutting.

Dremels generally run between 5,000 – 35,000 RPMs, while power drills run between 450-3,000 RPMs.

Power drills and dremels supply power based on two factors: speed and torque. Speed is measured in RPMs, and torgue is indirectly related to speed. Many people are suprised to learn that lower speeds can actually supply a power drill more torque. The overall RPMs of a dremel or power drill is greatly affected by the type of material they are cutting. No-load RPMS, or when not cutting or grinding, are usually the maximum the tool can supply.

In general, power drills supply more torque at lower speeds than dremels. Power drills have fast moving bits which rotate quickly in order to drill holes into objects and materials.

Power drills also have much larger motors and power requirements than dremels, regardless of whether they are battery powered or plugin.

Dremels and power drills are usually used for different types of jobs, with only minor overlap.

Is A Dremel The Same As A Drill?

A dremel is not the same as a power drill. However, dremels can perform drilling functions. The dremel differs from a drill because it is associated with a wider variety of accessories and attachments.??

Dremel Vs Power Drill

A dremel will have a rotary tool that is driven by an electric motor, typically under 2 amps. It does not use a chuck for holding the bits, but instead employs collets that expand to grip tiny shafts.

Power drills use chucks and can hold much larger drill, grinding, and polishing bits. A dremel can perform drilling functions, but these are usually for much smaller holes and projects. A dremel is not a substitute for a dedicated power drill.

What Do You Use A Dremel For?

What Do Dremels Do?

Dremels are a versatile tool that can be used for many tasks. These include:

  • Polishing
  • Cutting
  • Grinding
  • Sanding
  • Finishing

Some dremel models and tips are especially useful for working with harder materials such as metal. Some dremels also feature a rotating chisel which can be used to engrave glass, stone, and ceramics.

Dremels are useful for:

  • Hobbies
  • Arts and crafts
  • Carpenters
  • DIY home improvement
  • Electrical work

Dremels are useful for general construction jobs may include: cutting holes in drywall or sheet-rock fixing up plumbing issues, and sanding small areas.

What Is The Largest Drill Bit A Dremel Can Hold?

Dremels are designed to fit up to 1/8″ drill bits, but these can have 1/2″ tips.

Power Drill Strengths

Power drills can drill through very strong materials, such as steel, concrete, and hard woods. Large power drills are designed for rugged use and heavy duty jobs.

Similar to dremels, power drills can also serve as grinders and sanders when using the right attachements. Power drills can also be fixed on a workbench with a mount to provide extra stability.

Power drills can handle the following attachments:

  • Brush wheels
  • Grinder bits
  • Carbide rotary burrs
  • Circular saw discs
  • Screwdriver bits (allen heads, flatheads)
  • Drillbits (very small to very large)
  • Scrub pads, felt wheels
  • buffing and polishing pads (floors, autos)
  • Allen wrench bits
  • Hole saw bits
  • Hex bits
  • Right angled bits
  • Diamond bits

What Is The Largest Drill Bit A Power Drill Can Hold?

Power drills have drill chucks (the part that holds the bit) that are either 3/8″ or 1/2″ sizes. Power drills can switch between these two sized chucks. This means power drills with the larger chuck can hold 1/2″ drill bits.

Both Dremels And Power Drills Can Run On Batteries

There are models of cordless dremels and power drills that rely solely on battery power. These usually run on lithium-ion batteries, however some smaller dremel models use alkaline batteries.

Can A Dremel Cut Metal?

Yes, a dremel can cut metal using a metal cutting wheel.

A dremel cut-off can even cut through hardened steel. A cut-off wheel will cut through metal sheets, bolts, and screws. They are also great for trimming, and cutting grooves in metal parts. The dremel cutting disc is made of abrasive aluminum oxide that reaches diameters of 15-16″.

There are dremel tools that have a metal cutting wheel. You would follow the same dremeling steps for using the dremel on wood, but instead you would use it on metal. The dremeling tips for using a dremel tool apply to both.

Dremel Tool Cutting Tile

Dremel cutting tools work well for cutting tile to make them fit exactly together. These are useful for putting together tile countertops and bathroom floors, or cutting holes through them for fitting plumbing and appliances through.

To cut tile with a dremel, you will need a diamond tile dremel bit, either #562 (for circles) or #545 (for straight cuts).

Dremel Cutting Tool Plastic

Dremels are great for cutting plastic. Plastic is a very easy material for dremels to cut. To cut plastic with a dremel, you will need the right cutting disc. You can choose from the following:

  • Plastic cutting disc – #SC476
  • Reinforced Cutting Disc – #SC456
  • Smaller cutting discs – #409 or #420

Make sure to secure the plastic material or object firmly, and slowly cut through it without rushing. Plastic is a softer material so going fast could lead to cutting off too much.

Dremel Cut Off Tool

Dremels have a cut-off tip that can allows the user to cut through many types of materials. This is a circular tip with sharpened teeth, or a fiberglass reinforced resin grinder, and can include a diamond metal cutting wheel.

Dremel cut-off tools are well suited to cutting plastic, aluminum alloy, soft metal, wood, etc.

Dremel Cutting Tool For Wood

Dremels can easily cut through wood, using multipurpose cutting tips, or special one’s made for cutting wood.

To cut wood with a dremel, you can choose from:

  • Sanding drums (180 grit and 220 grit)
  • Fiber and diamond cut off wheel
  • Wood rasp bit
  • Ball nose grinding stone
  • Up and down cutting spiral bits
  • V-carving bits

An example of a dremel cutting wheel great for wood is the EZ544 EZ Lock 1-1/2″ cutting/shaping wheel. The best Dremel tip for cutting wood depends on the type of cutting and wood being cut.

Dremel Cutting Tool Metal

Dremels are made to cut metal as well, using bits capable of such. These are useful for hobbyists, carpenters, and electricians.

What you need to cut metal with a dremel:

  • Cut-off wheel for metal
  • Cutting bits for metal

Examples of dremel tips made for cutting metal are:

  • Tungsten carbide double cut rotary burrs.
  • Dremel EZ lock fiberglass reinforced rotary tool cut-off wheels (for sheet metal and copper pipe).

In Closing

Dremels and power drills can perform many of the same tasks. Both tools are good to have in your toolkit whenever you need them. Just make sure to aAlways wear safety gear, especially gloves and safety glasses when using them.

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Nick Klamecki, Author
About Nick Klamecki, Author

Nick Klamecki is a certified Fire and Workplace Safety expert with 15 years experience in product research and testing. He has a degree from U.C. Davis, is an active outdoorsman and spent years ensuring the safety of special needs children. Nick researches and tests workplace, industrial and safety products and provides advice on their safe use. Learn more about Nick here or connect with him on LinkedIn | Medium