Ice coring of temperate and polythermal glaciers demonstrates some limitations of most electromechanical (EM) and thermal electric (TE) drills. Most TE drills are heavy, require a heavy power system, work slowly and cannot operate in boreholes going through the cold–temperate ice transition. Antifreeze thermal electric drills (ATED) are capable of operating in polar ice caps, polythermal and temperate glaciers, in boreholes filled with water and/or hydrophilic fluids. Performance of the ATED drill can be improved by using an open-top core barrel and low-power and narrow-kerf coring head. ATED-type drills can be modified for an open-top core barrel equipped with low-power coring head and include a new scheme for drilling-fluid circulation using two pumps. A small metering pump releases pure ethanol above the top of the drill, and a second pump enables circulation of the borehole fluid, an ethanol–water solution (EWS), above the kerf. Use of a narrow-kerf coring head reduces power requirements and makes it possible to design a lightweight drilling system that includes the EM and TE drills for shallow and intermediate-depth drilling.