Updated November 2018

Best Cordless Drills

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Best Cordless Drills Updated November 2018

Conclusion

Pros

Cons

Hitachi

18-Volt ½” Lithium-Ion
Check Price at: 1 store
The storage case and light are nice to have, but not very useful to all customers.
You’ll feel totally in control of this lightweight cordless drill. It has 22 torque settings, 2 batteries, and a lifetime warranty.
The storage case is oddly shaped, and the light is not LED. Some customers were disappointed that this drill wasn’t as long-lasting as other Hitachi products.

Makita

18V Compact Lithium-Ion ½”
Check Price at: 1 store
Fastest but heaviest drill we reviewed. The ergonomic, rubberized grip enhances control and comfort though.
It has a lot of speed behind it (1900 RPM) in addition to a long-lasting battery that only takes 30 minutes to charge.
This is the heaviest drill on our list (10.4 pounds).

Bosch

18-Volt Lithium-Ion ½” Compact Tough
Check Price at: 1 store
This Bosch drill is better for smaller, lighter home projects, according to customer reviews.
The LED light is strategically placed to illuminate work areas without casting shadows. Customers like how lightweight this small drill is.
No belt clip or battery charge indicator. Some customers would prefer a hard case. Others noted the chuck was loose and needed to be tightened more often.

BLACK+DECKER

20-Volt MAX Lithium-Ion
Check Price at: 1 store
Thanks to a trusted brand and 4k+ cordless drill reviews, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting when you buy from Black and Decker.
It’s the most powerful drill we reviewed with 20 volts and 1500 watts. The battery is interchangeable across other Black and Decker power tools.
Lower quality materials than other products we reviewed. Some customers were confused by the instructions. Although the battery is powerful and long-lasting, it takes a while to charge.

DeWALT

20V Max Lithium-Ion ½”
Check Price at: 1 store
A less-than-average price for such a heavy duty drill.
The DeWalt drill is powerful (20 volts) and highly reviewed (nearly 3,000 cordless drill reviews). Extra bright LED light. Two long-lasting batteries.
Double-check that the battery is properly connected to the charger. One customer suggests watching a video tutorial to get it right.

Our process

8,261
Customer Reviews
53
Products
13
Hours

A cordless drill is often our first power tool. Because they’re relatively safe, many of us start using them at a young age, but we often don’t realize their full potential. During our deep dive on the tool, our team learned just how many different drill bits and attachments are available today. Versatility and efficiency is prized in the power tool world, and we’re happy to report five of the best cordless drills that can get just about any job done—and done well.

Cordless drill reviews guide 

A cordless drill is often the first power tool a homeowner adds to their toolbox. It’s likely also the tool you’ll get the most use out of.

You can use a drill for a variety of home projects, from assembling furniture and decor to drilling holes and fastening fixtures. And depending on the drill bit you’re using, you can work with wood, metal, and other masonry materials.

Power drills usually last three to five years, but some high-quality drills may last longer, especially if you only use it occasionally or for smaller projects. Whether you’re on the market to replace a dead drill, or if this is your first time buying one, we’ve compiled all the details you should know as you shop for a new cordless drill.

How to use a cordless drill

Cordless drills come with attachments called drill bits. Each bit is designed to work with (or through) a specific material. Twist, brad point, and hole saw bits are some examples. Some drill bits can be inserted directly into the part of the drill called the chuck. Others should be placed in a bit holder, which is then held in place by the chuck.

You can use a screwdriver bit just as you would a screwdriver, but with less effort. Flat and Phillip-heads are available. You can even reverse the chuck to remove screws from fixtures and furniture.

Metal and spade bits can be used to bore holes in material. Metal bits will produce smaller holes than spade bits, which can be used for creating a hole to draw cords and cables through an entertainment center. Use a drywall bit to avoid driving screws too deep.

Some miscellaneous yet handy bits you should know about include paddle, sanding, and sponge attachments. You can mix paint, sand furniture, and clean just about anything with a drill.

Best cordless drill for any and all home projects HITACHI 18-VOLT ½”

The Hitachi cordless drill is great for folks who are planning to use their drill regularly on a variety of materials. The 22-stage clutch provides adjustable power and precision for all project types. Lithium-ion batteries are dependable, and a backup battery is included with your purchase, so you don’t have to stop halfway through your project to recharge. This ergonomically designed drill weighs just over three pounds, so just about anyone could handle it. If you’re still unsure, just think of the 10-year warranty your drill (and money) will be covered under.

Drill bits should be properly inserted into the chuck and tightened. A loose bit can make a mess out of the project you’re working on.”

6 Features we tested

Battery life

Since cordless drills are battery-operated, it’s important that you buy one with a dependable battery—the best cordless drills are between 18 to 20 volts—that’s fast and easy to charge. It’s even better to find a manufacturer, like Hitachi, that includes two batteries. As with all cordless power tools, it’s frustrating to have to stop halfway through a project to recharge the tool.

Torque

Torque is the rotational force that the tool uses turn an object. Note: Higher torque does not mean higher speed. Most power drills have settings so you can control how much torque is applied. Higher torque could be needed to push through thicker materials, but too much torque could damage surfaces or strip screws.

Speed

Need more torque? Set your electric drill to a lower speed. Ready to drill some holes? Go for a higher speed. Some of the power drills we reviewed have a variable-speed setting for enhanced adjustability.

Light

Lights are sometimes integrated in the design of a handheld power drill. These can be helpful for illuminating dark work areas that can be shadowed by you or your hand. Look for LED lights for the brightest light with the longest burn time. Some manufacturers, like Hitachi, have even gone as far as including an extra flashlight as part of their drill kit.

Chuck

The chuck holds the drill bit in place. Most modern drills have a keyless chuck, so you can tighten it by hand rather than needing an extra tool to change the drill bit. There are ⅜- and ½-inch chucks, but the latter tend to work with more bits.

Bit storage

You’ll start to accumulate different drill bits as you complete more projects. So you’ll likely want somewhere to store your collection. Some cordless drill sets are designed with built-in bit storage, while other manufacturers sell separate storage cases.

Best cordless drill for first-time buyers DEWALT 20V MAX LITHIUM-ION 1/2

If you’re in the market to buy your very first cordless drill, we suggest narrowing your search to the DeWalt drill. You’ll have several options when you go to checkout. You can buy just the drill, or you can start your collection of drill bits by opting for a 21-, 34- or 45-piece DeWalt drill set. A large storage case is also included in your purchase, so you don’t end up with a million tiny pieces without a home.

Lithium-ion batteries provide twice the amount of performance and four times the runtime of other batteries.”

Toolbox necessities and other tips

Equip yourself with the following accessories and information to complete one successful project after another:

  • Batteries take hours to charge, so having a second battery on hand will keep your projects moving right on schedule.
  • Brushless drills can sense resistance and adjust according to the project at hand, so energy doesn’t go wasted on heat production.
  • A two-in-one drill-and-drive bit will become your most valuable bit across many if not all projects.
  • According to the cordless drill reviews we read, having a belt clip was a nice-to-have for some but a must-have to others. This can make your cordless drill even more portable.
  • Don’t forget to take dead batteries to your local hardware store for proper recycling.
  • Use oil as a lubricant when drilling holes in metal.
  • Pause frequently to clear holes of chips and dust when drilling in wood.
  • Replace dull drill bits to prevent surface damage, stripped screws, and safety risks.
  • Use less torque to drive screws and avoid stripping screw heads.
  • Use more torque to drill holes quickly and efficiently.

Clean vents—especially after working with dusty drywall—and oil the chuck. Always preserve batteries at room temperature.”

Frequently asked questions

Which brand of cordless drill is best?

The five cordless drills we featured all come from the best power tool brands: Hitachi, Makita tools, Bosch, Black and Decker, and DeWalt. Establishing a regional presence in 1906, Bosch is the oldest manufacturer of the five brands while 38-year-old Hitachi is the youngest. One thing we love about Black and Decker products is the interchangeable battery that you can use across a variety of its power tools.

What cordless drill has the most torque?

We couldn’t find the torque rating on the DeWalt drill. Of the remaining for cordless drills we reviewed, the Hitachi drill has the most torque at 620 in/lbs.

Is a brushless drill better?

A brushless drill is more efficient, as it senses resistance and adjusts accordingly to the task at hand instead of wasting energy via heat production.

What is the best voltage for a cordless drill?

A 12-volt cordless drill can be used for light DIY, but an 18- to 20-volt electric drill is better for bigger projects.

What types of drills are there?
  • Pistol grip drills look like, well, pistols. They’re popular because of the amount of attachments they work with.
  • Hammer drills are designed for harder materials, like concrete and brick.
  • Drill presses aren’t portable. The drill is fixed to a workbench, allowing you to clamp the material in place while you use a lever to bore holes, sand, or polish the material.
  • Right-angle drills are great for working in tight, awkward spaces.
  • Impact drivers drive screws at high torque with bits that are quick and easy to change.
  • Cordless drills or drill-drivers are portable, electric drills that use a variety of bits and attachments for all purposes like drilling holes, driving screws, and even mixing paint.
What is the RPM of a cordless drill?

RPM stands for rotations per minute. RPM indicates the speed of the cordless drill, and it usually ranges between 300 and 1,500 RPM.

The team that worked on this review

Kelsey Roadruck
Writer
Sabrina Karr
Editor
Mary Elizabeth Bennett
Product Tester
Casey Taylor
Product Tester
John Morgan
Producer

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