What’s the Difference between a Combi Drill and a Drill Driver?

If you’ve ever gone shopping for a drill you’ll know just how many different shapes and sizes they come in. There’s a drill for just about every occasion, and everything in between. This is all well and good, but to the uninitiated it can prove to be more a source of confusion and frustration than anything else.

Given their popularity, ‘Drill Drivers’ and ‘Combi Drills’ are the two most popular varieties of drill among the average DIYer, so it’s not surprising that more confusion exists regarding the differences and similarities between these tools than perhaps any other.

So here’s the difference…

Bosch PSR 1080
The Bosch PSR 1080, one of the most popular and reasonably priced drill drivers on the market today

A Combi drill does as the name suggests and attempts to be a jack of all trades, combining the best bits of both smaller less powerful drills, and larger ‘Hammer drills’. A Combi drill is a great choice if you want to be able to drill holes in plasterboard walls, drive screws, and even to some extent use a hammer setting to drill into masonry.

A drill driver on the other hand sticks firmly to the former two tasks, with its primary designation being to drive screws as an ‘electric screw driver’, although they’re also capable of drilling holes, what they are not powerful enough to do is drill holes into masonry and thick metal, as they have a less powerful motor than a combi drill and can’t be used in the same way.


Makita DHP456RMWX
The Makita DHP456RMWX. You’ll pay a premium for it, but this combi drill is built to last years of hard work and abuse

A Question of Cost

As we’ve mentioned, drill drivers are less powerful and versatile than combi drills because they lack the power and versatility. However they’re appealing to the casual DIYer because they retail at a significantly lower cost. You won’t get much change from £120 or more for a combi drill, whereas drill drivers commonly cost less than £100.

So Which Do I Need?

If you live in a house with plasterboard walls, and only plan to use your drill to hang pictures and put upshelves, then you’ll probably be fine with a drill driver. If you know you’ll be using your drill regularly, and need it to drill into everything from block work to heavy lumber, then a Combi drill is more up your street.


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