We study the effect of droplet coalescence on turbulent wall-bounded flows by means of direct numerical simulations. In particular, the volume-of-fluid and front-tracking methods are used to simulate turbulent channel flows containing coalescing and non-coalescing droplets, respectively. We find that coalescing droplets have a negligible effect on the drag, whereas the non-coalescing ones steadily increase drag as the volume fraction of the dispersed phase increases: indeed, at 10% volume fraction, the non-coalescing droplets show a 30% increase in drag, whereas the coalescing droplets show less than 4% increase. We explain this by looking at the wall-normal location of droplets in the channel and show that non-coalescing droplets enter the viscous sublayer, generating an interfacial shear stress, which reduces the budget for viscous stress in the channel. On the other hand, coalescing droplets migrate toward the bulk of the channel forming large aggregates, which hardly affect the viscous shear stress while damping the Reynolds shear stress. We prove this by relating the mean viscous shear stress integrated in the wall-normal direction to the centerline velocity. (C) 2021 Author(s).