I have a 2 cm thickness (3/4 inch) stainless steel that I would like to drill some holes on it. What is the min. voltage cordless drill should I use? Are there other alternative beside drill to create holes on the stainless steel? (The holes diameter range from 0.5cm to 2cm [3/16" to 3/4"])

  • Hello, and welcome to Stack Exchange. 2cmx2cm hole in stainless, and it must be cordless?? That's tough. Consider a corded drill. Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 13:01
  • Converting for my mind that 3/4" thick. Thats going to be difficult and likely not a task for a cordless drill.
    – Tyson
    Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 13:05
  • I have a Dewalt 1/2" 3 speed drill that I have drilled up to 2-1/2" holes through steel I beams up to 1" thick. It takes several battery's to go this big but it is much easier than pulling extension cords for a single hole when the location requires a lift basket 30-40' in the air. I have drilled several holes up to 3/4" thick through stainless plate for 1" pipe so it can be cone with a quality drill and carbide bits with cutting oil.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 15:18
  • It's not so much the voltage that's the problem, the drill's power will just translate to how long it takes you to drill the hole. It's more a matter of trying to do this with a handheld drill, cordless or not. Fwiw though the Milwaukee M18 brushless drills are pretty beefy. Still, I wouldn't even try this in the air with a corded drill, unless you've got a steady hand, strong arms, and good endurance (and if you're on a ladder, good solid footing). Make sure you keep the bit oiled, btw, and watch out for heat build-up and binding. You might want to keep the speed low.
    – Jason C
    Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 18:48
  • Feeds and Speeds. There are official tables for the correct feeds and speeds for your material. Harder to do with a hand drill, but possible to get it with "feel". When you get it right, "chips" come off smoothly in long curls. (if it's starting to tangle around the drill bit, back off for a split second, that will break the curl.) If you stop getting that happy feed/speed (ie because your battery is running down) STOP IMMEDIATELY and correct the problem - don't struggle on, or the material will work-harden. Commented Nov 19, 2016 at 4:17

4 Answers 4


When drilling stainless go slow (do not over heat the metal) If the metal gets hot it will "work harden" and is hard to drill with a drill press. It may take a while but can be done with a good quality 1/2 drill motor and good drill bits. If you are purchasing a drill get one with at least 2 speeds and a 3 speed would be best used on the lowest speed. Cutting fluid or a light oil will help reduce heat and improve the cutting. Last you will want a high quality drill bit something with a titanium nitrite coating or carbide. I have a full set of carbide cutters for stainless but these are very expensive and if you drop them on cement they can shatter. If you only have 1 battery stop when the motor starts bogging down and recharge the battery. I have drilled 1-3/8" holes through stainless with my Dewalt but it did take 2 5AH batteries and part of a 4AH battery the stainless was only 3/4" thick.

  • Too slow is a problem. You have cause/effect reversed: it didn't work-harden because it got hot; it got hot because it work-hardened. When you are at correct "feed and speed" with a sharp bit, it's efficient and quick, typically with long chips, and chips and bit run cool. Commented Nov 19, 2016 at 4:28

It has nothing to do with voltage. You can use a 7.2v drill if you have enough batteries (or patience) on hand. Like others have said, a corded drill is the best bet, and a press is better for thick metal. Binding is a potential problem.


If you are drilling 2cm (0.78inch) holes in stainless... and it absolutely has to be battery operated. You do not have many safe options here.

There is only safe and portable drilling process I can think of, clamping a 12+mm mild steel plate to the stainless steel and drill it with a battery operated magnetic drill. Any of the common battery powered magnetic drills will work, the voltage does not matter.

Other common hole making options besides drilling 2cm stainless steel would be water jet cutting and plasma cutting.

If you have to use a hand drill I would suggest using a step drill bit as those are fairly stable for hand drilling.


There's no way in the world that you're going to drill a 2 cm diameter hole in 2 com thick stainless steel with a cordless drill. You should find someone with a drill press that you can use.

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