Cordless drills are reliable, versatile and hardworking additions to any home DIY or professional power tool kit – in fact, a cordless drill might be the most basic power tool found in any garage, construction site or workshop. No matter what you’re working on – from fine, detailed woodworking to even heavy-duty construction – a power drill can make your work, and your life, easier.
Some might even say that a power drill is a must-have for any tool kit. And the good news is that if you’re buying for the first time, you don’t have to go for the most expensive drill to get one that performs well. You can find high-performance, reliable models that are budget-friendly to get started.
If you’re looking for the best cordless drill for you, you’ll first want to think about your specific needs, but we’ve also compiled below some cordless drill reviews that can get you headed in the right direction.
Cordless Drill Comparison Chart
|Brand/Model (Click Item Text to Scroll to Review)||Rating|
|1. DeWalt DCD771C2 20V MAX Li-Ion Cordless Compact Drill Driver Kit|
Our Top Pick for 2019
|2. Porter Cable PCCK607LB 20V MAX Brushless Cordless Drill Driver||9.8/10||CHECK PRICE|
|3. Makita XFD131 18V LXT Li-Ion Brushless Cordless Driver-Drill Kit||9.7/10||CHECK PRICE|
|4. DeWalt DCD777C2 20V Max Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Compact Drill Driver||9.7/10||CHECK PRICE|
|5. Bosch Power Tools PS31-2A Cordless Drill Set||9.6/10||CHECK PRICE|
|6. Milwaukee 2606-22CT M18 Cordless Drill/Driver Kit||9.5/10||CHECK PRICE|
|7. Black+Decker BDCDMT120C 20V MAX Matrix Cordless Drill/Driver||9.3/10||CHECK PRICE|
Best Cordless Drill Reviews
1. DeWalt DCD771C2 20V MAX Li-Ion Cordless Compact Drill Driver KitCLICK TO CHECK PRICE
As our No. 1 pick, this drill features a high-speed transmission that ranges in speed from 1-450 to 1,500 RPM for a wide range of drilling and fastening projects. With a high-performance brushed motor, this unit also gives you 300 unit watts out (UWO) of power ability – which lets you complete almost any project you can think of. It’s also lightweight and compact, making it fit easily into tight areas, and its half-inch, single-sleeve ratcheting chuck offers tight bit-gripping strength for maximum stability during a job.
This cordless drill has an ergonomically designed handle for ultimate control and comfort, and its maximum initial battery voltage is 20 volts. It is part of DEWALT’s 20V MAX lithium ion line, currently boasting more than 180 products and status as the manufacturer’s fastest-growing line. This cordless drill also features a three-year, limited manufacturer’s warranty from one of the most trusted brands in power tools.
Reviewers love the high performance and long battery life of this cordless drill – and many offer that it’s the hands-down, No. 1 cordless drill on the market, living up to its claims of high power and light weight. Users say it’s a powerful workhorse of a drill with outstanding battery life. Some users report problems with batteries not charging or drills abruptly stopping working, though most issues like this are worked out with customer service. Overall, though it’s a bit pricier than many other models reviewed here, users say this drill is worth the extra investment.
2. Porter Cable PCCK607LB 20V MAX Brushless Cordless Drill DriverCLICK TO CHECK PRICE
This model features a powerful motor with 370 MWO of power that lets you tackle the most heavy-duty of jobs without stalling out, plus a transmission that offers 1,800 MAX RPM for speedy fastening and drilling applications. This drill features a brushless motor that gives you 50 percent more runtime than a brushed version, and the half-inch ratcheting chuck gives you reliable bit retention.
In addition, this cordless drill comes in a compact size and lightweight design, so it’s good for use in cramped or tight spaces – in fact, it only weighs a little over three pounds, so you can use it for lengthy projects without getting fatigued. This drill comes with a three-year limited warranty.
Users praise the incredible amount of torque this drill can provide, combined with an extremely long battery life – some have said as long as eight hours. Because the torque is adjustable, you can also do some trial and error to get the right amount so that you don’t strip fasteners or otherwise damage your project. Reviewers say that its balance makes this drill comfortable to use for long periods of time. The chuck also gets high marks for its versatility, performing equally well with any size bit, and users love the attention to detail reflected in the design and ergonomics. Some reviewers reported wishing for even more power, but most users agree that this drill should be able to handle whatever you throw at it.
3. Makita XFD131 18V LXT Li-Ion Brushless Cordless Driver-Drill KitCLICK TO CHECK PRICE
With its mechanical, two-speed transmission and brushless motor, this cordless drill is up for a wide range of fastening and drilling projects, and it delivers 440 in.lbs. of max torque for the power you need. Its brushless motor also optimizes battery energy use for up to 50 percent longer use time per charge, thanks to its electronic control. Because this motor is brushless, it also runs cooler and more efficiently than a brushed version, which helps extend the overall life of the drill. The design of the drill’s electronic controls also allows it to use energy efficiently in order to match both RPM and torque to the demands of a particular job.
If you’re looking for one of the best power-to-weight ratios on the market, this is it. And it’s an ideal drill for the professional user – with more driving and drilling power, increased productivity and less time spent charging the battery. Adjustable torque settings provide you full control, so you can handle everything from large fasteners to delicate, tiny screws.
With this drill, you’ll also get an efficient 18V lithium-ion battery that can be fully charged in as little as 30 minutes. This drill is part of Makita’s 18V lithium-ion system, which is the world’s largest cordless tool system of its type. And with Makita’s Star protection computer controls, the drill and battery are able to exchange data in real time in order to monitor conditions and prevent overloading, overheating and over-discharging.
Users love the fact that this drill also includes integrated modes that help ensure proper fastening – both the assist and tightening modes help control speed and torque to help prevent stripping, breakage or other damage to your project materials. Its only drawback seems to be the time it takes to get replacement parts.
4. DeWalt DCD777C2 20V Max Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Compact Drill DriverCLICK TO CHECK PRICE
With its brushless motor, you can expect a longer motor life for this drill, and with its compact and lightweight design, it fits into tight areas that could be awkward for larger tools. This drill features an ergonomic design and ideal tool control and balance, plus its high-performance motor delivers 340 watts out of power. Its high-speed transmission also delivers two speeds – ranging from 0-50 to 1750 RPM.
With this drill comes two 20V Max compact lithium-ion battery packs, a compact charger and a carrying bag. It also features a three-year, limited warranty from DEWALT, one of the most recognized and trusted names in the power tools market (they’ve topped the list on many of our articles, including our Best Impact Driver post. This drill is less heavy-duty than other models reviewed here, so while it would serve well for a homeowner’s toolkit, it may not deliver the heft and power needed for more complex, heavy duty professional jobs.
Users report that this is a solid, reliable, mid-priced drill that offers good value, with reliable power and speed and not a lot of maintenance required. Some users report that the chuck occasionally spontaneously releases and that power delivery can be intermittent, but overall, reviewers are overwhelmingly positive about this drill. Many report that it has plenty of torque for their needs, the grip feels nice in-hand, and the carrying case/bag is high quality. Most users love that two batteries come standard with this drill, which means you can always have one charging while the other is in use. Some would like to see a battery-life indicator, which isn’t currently part of this particular model.
5. Bosch Power Tools PS31-2A Cordless Drill SetCLICK TO CHECK PRICE
Both the convenience and the high torque of this drill make the Bosch PS31-2A able to handle materials ranging from wood and drywall to even metal. If you’re a precision user, this drill may be for you – with its two-speed drill driver combo, you can make precise torque adjustments for the most accurate drilling and driving. And with integrated LED lights, you can see even in the darkest corners and other low-light areas with ease.
This cordless drill comes with two 12V lithium-ion batteries, which provides overall increased run time – this is a small but mighty tool that would be appropriate for the most professional drill applications. It offers professional-grade power at the extremely light weight of just over two pounds. Because it’s so light, this drill is ideal for long bouts of overhead drilling like electricians, contractors or plumbers might need to undertake.
Reviewers say that the light weight makes this drill handle extremely well – it lives up to its claim of being easy to wield even in tight or awkward spaces, and many users say it can run with the big boys in terms of power. Its only drawback is its small size – if you choose this option, it’s great for most jobs, but you may need a larger drill for bigger jobs. In fact, this cordless drill might be considered too small for professional use, but an outstanding option for smaller jobs for the DIYer.
6. Milwaukee 2606-22CT M18 Cordless Drill/Driver KitCLICK TO CHECK PRICE
This drill includes everything you need in a complete set – an M18 half-inch drill driver, two M18 red lithium compact batteries, an M18 and M12 multi-voltage charger and a carrying case for the kit. This drill is designed to deliver 500 in-lbs. of torque and up to 1800 RPM, and its small size allow you to access even the tightest of work spaces. Designed for durability, the drill’s advanced overload helps protect its useful life – with an all-metal gear case and half-inch metal chuck, you can expect this drill to stand up to the most challenging projects and abusive work sites.
With a built-in LED light, you can work faster and more efficiently in dimly lit settings, and REDLINK intelligence protects this drill against overload situations, which lengthens the tool’s overall useful life. And its battery can be fully charged within 30 minutes to make sure you stay up and running – one battery can charge while the other powers your drill.
This drill gets high marks from reviewers for a high level of power delivered in a small package, and they report that it also handles extremely well. Some users have reported that the chuck can loosen during use, but overall, users are pleased with the level and quality of power and reliability this drill provides. Many users point out that Milwaukee is a brand known for quality, and this cordless drill is no exception – it gets high marks overall for being a solid, reliable choice. As a matter of fact, both our Best Hammer Drill and Best Impact Wrench articles feature Milwaukee units as our top choice.
7. Black+Decker BDCDMT120C 20V MAX Matrix Cordless Drill/DriverCLICK TO CHECK PRICE
With a compact and lightweight design, this powerful 20-volt drill provides plenty of power for a full range of projects. Because it’s small and light, you can easily tackle drilling and driving projects in confined spaces. This drill is part of the overall 20V MAX system from a brand well-known for quality and performance within the power tool market.
This system includes a power unit, one drill/driver attachment, one lithium-ion battery, a charger and one double-ended bit. In addition, it comes with a two-year manufacturer’s warranty. This may be a good cordless drill for the first-time buyer with ligher-level household projects. Its variable speed trigger allows you to control the precision of your work, and with the MATRIX Quick ConnectTM system, attachments change out easily with a push-button release.
Users love that this is a reliable drill that can serve the home DIYer well – but it may not have enough heft or power for professional-grade construction projects. Some users report that the level of torque and RPM can limit the types of projects this cordless drill can handle – but it’s great for the average homeowner with mostly lighter-weight projects to tackle. Overall, users report that it has sufficient power, with light weight and a long battery life, plus a powerful bit magnet. Its biggest limitations may be its lack of ergonomics once you hit high-pressure jobs and the lack of RPM. But most users agree that its pros far outweigh its cons.
How a Cordless Drill Works
A power drill functions via a fairly simple mechanism – a trigger switch first activates an electric motor, which then drives a rotating chuck, which is simply the mechanism into which you can attach a screwdriver or drill bit. The chuck, in fact, can accommodate many different types of accessories, which will allow you to drive screws and bore holes, plus polishing, sanding and grinding a wide array of materials. All you have to do is pull the trigger and the electric motor turns, which rotates the chuck and appropriate accessory or bit. Until the 1980s, you may have needed a special tool to tighten the chuck, but today’s models are nearly all keyless, which allows you to secure the bit or accessory by hand.
Most of today’s drill models will include a variable-speed trigger, which lets you control the speed of the electric motor by how hard you squeeze. This is also influenced by price – lower-end models may only run at top speed, but more expensive versions typically offer anywhere between two and four speed settings, which may range anywhere from 200 to 2,000 RPM.
Once the trigger is activated, the rotation transmits through the clutch, which helps regulate torque. Some drills offer adjustable clutches, and you might see some models with as many as 24 clutch settings – generally, the higher the setting, the more torque a drill can deliver.
While drill and screwdriver bits are the most common drill accessories, they certainly aren’t the only ones available – and your options allow you to complete a wide range of tasks, some of which may even surprise you. For example, one of the most versatile bits is the twist bit – it features a cylinder-like shaft with a cutting edge wrapped around it. You can use a bit like this to bore holes in both metal and wood. You can find a wide range of drilling and screwdriver bits, plus drum and disc sanding bits, polishing bits and bits for cutting or grinding.
In addition, the most modern drills – especially some of the cordless versions reviewed here – offer additional bells and whistles like LED work lights, high-capacity batteries and built-in levels.
Corded vs Cordless Drill
Power drills have long been one of the most versatile and commonly owned power tools on the market. They started out as corded versions that had to be plugged into a power source at all times. However, in 1961 Black and Decker introduced the world’s first cordless drill, powered by a nickel-cadmium battery, which made this power tool even more versatile. And recent decades have seen the further development and rise in popularity of the cordless drill. In fact, cordless drills really came into their own a few years ago when manufacturers started using the lithium-ion battery. With their huge energy density combined with light weight, they are highly effective and have all but completely replaced the traditional nickel-cadmium battery once used to power these devices.
Corded and cordless drills work much the same way; they’re simply powered via different sources – you’ll see corded versions rated in amps and cordless drills measured in volts. Of course, the higher the voltage or amperage, the more power inherent in the drill – and more power means more torque, or rotational force, associated with the bit.
Corded drills offer the benefit of never having to be recharged, plus typically being more powerful than cordless drills – but they also bring the disadvantage of dealing with the cord potentially getting in the way and making sure your jobs are always close to a power source. Since cordless models offer higher portability but can’t run forever, it’s smart to make the investment in at least one extra battery so that you always have a backup charging while the drill is in use.
As always, the choice between a corded or cordless drill comes down to your particular needs and personal preference. Think about the types of jobs you’re tackling, your typical work environment and what kind of power you need.
Setting up and Maintaining a Cordless Drill
Getting started with your cordless drill is pretty painless, though it might take some trial and error to get the feel just right. Drill bits, especially larger twist bits, sometimes have a tendency to skate across the surface of the material when you first start drilling, so it helps to do a little planning in advance.
First, use a pencil to mark where you want to drill your hole – cross lines work nicely. Then you can use a punch to make a dent at the spot you’ve marked – if you do this in advance, you’ll help the bit stay in one place while you start the shaft spinning. You’ll want to start slowly, and then increase your speed as the hole gets deeper. You can do the same with screws, tapping them in place with a hammer, even, to make sure they’re staying where you want them.
Once you’ve mastered setting up and using your cordless drill, you can extend its life by paying attention to a few maintenance details. Try to regularly use a clean cloth to remove oil, dirt, grease and dust from your drill, but don’t use harsh cleaning products or those that are petroleum-based – they can damage the drill’s outer casing. You may also want to use compressed air to blow dust out of the drill vents in order to make sure the motor can breathe properly and isn’t in danger of overheating.
In addition, because your cordless drill has so many moving parts, it’s a good habit to regularly oil the metal parts of the tool – especially the chuck. You can use any standard metal lubricating oil. And don’t forget to take care of your batteries – make sure to store all fully charged drill batteries at room temperature. Try to charge them every month or two even if they’re not being used.
Make sure also to store your drill in a dry environment – humidity can allow water vapor inside the drill, which makes it vulnerable to rust and corrosion. You’ll also want to make sure that your drill isn’t exposed to extreme hot or cold temperatures for long periods of time. A room temperature of around 72 degrees is ideal.
Best Cordless Drill Buyer’s Guide
The sheer number of cordless drills available on the market can be daunting if you’re not careful. First, make sure you know how often and how heavily you think you’ll need to use your drill, and then make sure you keep each of the following qualities in mind as you make your choice:
Torque and RPM
RPM – or rotations per minute – tells you the maximum speed a drill can achieve. Even the least expensive versions will offer a couple of options, usually 300 and 800, and you can switch back and forth between high and low speed. This type of drill is better suited for light-duty projects. But – you also have to consider torque when you consider speed. Torque is simply the rotary turning force the drill can deliver – so the higher the torque, the better equipped the drill is to drill into hard materials. If this is the kind of work you’ll be doing, you may want to go for a lower speed, while a higher speed drill can be your best option for work like boring holes.
The clutch disengages the drive shaft when it meets a pre-determined level of resistance, which decreases your chances for snapping screws or overdriving. Most cordless drills feature an adjustable clutch, but you’ll see a wide variety of setting numbers. It’s usually best to go for the widest range you can afford since that lets you test and fine-tune how you operate the drill. There’s some talk as well that any decent drill should offer at least 24 clutch settings, but the final choice is up to you.
Any cordless drill must have a strong battery that can hold its charge long enough and with enough power to get you through your jobs. Drills with the highest quality batteries will be more expensive, but a good battery means you don’t have to worry about running out of juice in the middle of a project. Also look for a charger that gets your battery fully charged in no more than an hour.
Brushed vs. Brushless – No matter what type of motor you choose, magnets will drive the rotary motion of the shaft. The only difference is what’s delivering that power – a brushless motor uses internal circuitry to produce a revolving magnetic field, which means there’s no need for brushes. Overall, brushless motors have proven more efficient and powerful than those powered by brushes. They also tend to produce less friction – so less heat – during use. Brushless motors typically run a little higher in price than brushed versions, but most users agree that paying extra is worth it, especially if you’re a heavy user of your drill.
The chuck basically holds the drill’s rotating bit in place. It should hold tightly enough that the bit doesn’t shake or wobble. Make sure you think about the chuck size before making your drill purchase – a 13mm chuck is usually a good place to start. Even if you’re drilling mostly small holes, this chuck can hold a larger bit if you decide to take on any heavier duty projects in the future.
Summing It Up
No matter your level of expertise or the complication of your DIY or professional projects, you can definitely find a cordless drill on the market that’s just right for you. And you don’t have to spend a fortune – you can pick from several different pricing levels to find an option that fits your budget too. The possibilities are almost endless, but don’t let the choices overwhelm you.
You can apply some method to the madness. First, we’ve narrowed the field for you by outlining some of the market leaders. Carefully consider the cordless drill reviews presented here, and also think about how you’ll use the tool, the materials you most often work with, and any challenges you think you might face with projects on the horizon. When you put all these requirements together, you’re sure to find the best cordless drill for your projects, your budget and your level of home-improvement ambition.