A cordless drill, or battery powered drill, is an electric drill that gets its power from a battery pack, rather than having to be plugged into an electrical outlet. The best cordless drill will have LED lights to illuminate the area you are drilling, rubberized handles for easier handling, and enhanced protection against dust and water.
Cordless drills are often mistaken for cordless screwdrivers. The two tools have the same form factor, and to a degree, can be used interchangeably. There are, however, some fundamental differences between the two.
Cordless screwdrivers are typically designed only for inserting and extracting screws and are great for small projects. Cordless drills, on the other hand, are higher powered, will have many available attachments, and can be used for all kinds of different projects (Source).
There are two main types of cordless drills: standard drills and hammer drills. Standard drills are great for drilling holes and driving screws into woods, metals and plastics. Hammer drills perform the same function but also feature a hammer that rocks the drill bit back and forth, to allow drilling into masonries such as brick, stone, and concrete (Source).
Cordless drills vary widely in both price and functionality, so finding the right one can be a somewhat difficult task. Before buying a cordless drill, you should consider the battery voltage, price, speed, and battery type. It’s also important to consider whether or not the cordless drill has a warranty, and how long it will last on a single charge.
In this review, we take a thorough look at all the top-rated cordless drills. All of the cordless drills in this review will drill through multiple materials with ease, whether you are working on a job site, or you just occasionally need to use one at home.
How Much Do Cordless Drills Cost?
Table of Contents
- 1 How Much Do Cordless Drills Cost?
- 2 1. Makita XFD10R – The Best Cordless Drill for the Money
- 3 2. DEWALT DCD790D2 – Best 20V Cordless Drill
- 4 3. Bosch DDS182-02 – Most Compact Cordless Drill
- 5 4. Milwaukee 2703-22 M18 – Best Commercial Cordless Drill
- 6 5. Rockwell RK1807K2 – Best Cordless Drill for Home Use
- 7 6. Kobalt 1424A-03 – Best Cordless Drill Under $200
- 8 7. Ryobi P1811 – Best Cordless Drill Under $150
- 9 8. DEWALT DCD980L2 – A Truly Top Rated Cordless Drill
- 10 9. PORTER-CABLE PCCK600LB – Best Cordless Drill Under $100
- 11 10. Hitachi DS18DSAL – Affordable Two-In-One Cordless Drill
- 12 1. Power Drill Specifications
- 13 2. Types of Cordless Drills
- 14 3. What About Brushless Drills?
- 15 4. How Much Torque Do I Need?
- 16 5. What is the Difference Between 20V Max and 20V Max XR?
- 17 Ready to Buy The Right Cordless Drill For Your Next Project?
Cordless drills vary greatly in pricing, depending on the intended use. Most cordless drills cost between $70-350, depending on the brand or model you choose.
For Example, the RYOBI 18-Volt ONE+ Lithium-Ion Cordless Drill is priced just around $70, while the DEWALT 20-Volt MAX XR Lithium-Ion Cordless will cost you around $200.
Depending on the model you buy, most cordless drills nowadays come with some accessories; battery, charger, and a bag or a hard case to carry it.
Comparing the Best Cordless Drills for 2020
1. Makita XFD10R – The Best Cordless Drill for the Money
To begin with, the XFD10R delivers a decent amount of torque for a cordless drill. In this regard, the 4-pole motor used in this drill can produce about 480 in lbs of torque. Just like many other Makita products, the XFD10R features a transmission system, a 2-speed transmission system.
As a result, the drill allows you to regulate the speed of your drill, in accordance with the 2 settings. The lower setting, for example, limits the bit speed to between 0 and 600 RPM. The upper setting, on the other hand, allows the drill to operate at a speed of between 0 and 1,900 RPM.
Damage to power tools by water or dust is something to worry about when buying a cordless drill. However, this is not a problem for the XFD10R. This drill uses extreme protection technology (XPT) to protect it from damage.
In addition to this protection, the drill also features an in-built dual-LED light. This light may be used to enhance the visibility of the surface you are working on, especially if you are working under low light conditions.
Why the Makita XFD10R Is Our Top Choice
This Makita drill runs on an 18V Lithium-Ion battery and is compact in size, with a 1/2″ chunk. In addition to superior ergonomics, this product is designed to deliver optimal performance. As a matter of fact, this new model is about 25 percent faster than its predecessor.
Again, low battery downtimes are reduced drastically with this model. It simply charges really fast. With this cordless drill, the manufacturer tried to curb operational fatigue for its users. As such, the XFD10R is lightweight and easy to control. Additionally, it features a rubberized soft grip.
2. DEWALT DCD790D2 – Best 20V Cordless Drill
The DCD790D2 is fitted with a 15 clutch setting. This makes the drill even more versatile as you can fine-tune the torque you would like the tool to produce, depending on the material you are working on. Running on a 20V lithium-ion battery, the DCD790D2 is a comparatively powerful cordless tool, capable of running at 2,000 RPM. However, the lowest clutch setting limits the speed of the drill to between 0 and 600 RPM.
With regards to versatility, the DEWALT DCD790D2 may also be used as a screwdriver. For this purpose, you will have to set its speed to the lowest setting. The upper-speed setting on the drill is best suited for more demanding tasks, such as drilling holes through wood. While most power drills with the same charge last less than 39 minutes on a fully-charged battery, the DCD790D2 can run for about 43 minutes on a fully-charged battery.
The popularity of this cordless drill among users may be attributed to its variable clutch settings. This feature makes it possible for the drill to be used for various tasks. Anything from the lightweight repair tasks, to the comparatively heavy-duty tasks.
3. Bosch DDS182-02 – Most Compact Cordless Drill
Packed with an 18V Lithium-ion battery, the drill charges fast and offer an impressive runtime (can last for up to 54 minutes on a fully-charged battery). The comparatively long runtime offered by the DDS182-02 may be attributed to the 20 clutch setting, along with the high-capacity battery.
In this regard, the cordless drill can operate at a maximum speed of 1,700 RPM and produce about 442 in-lb of torque. Although its speed is relatively low, the Bosch DDS182-02 drill is renowned for its impressive performance and durability. It is also one of the most versatile tools in this review because it couples as a screwdriver when operated at the low-speed setting.
The 20 clutch setting may not be much for some users, but it is adequate for most DIY projects you may be interested in. This feature allows you to control the torque produced by your cordless drill. Thanks to this, you’ll avoid snapping off the fastener heads or over drilling the material you are working on. As a result, this variable clutch setting makes it easier to control your drill.
Further Reviewing the Bosch DDS182-02
Similar to the cordless drills reviewed above, the DDS182-02 features an impressive ergonomic design. The precise handling and control associated with this drill is a result of the proper distribution of weight. Also, the heft below and above the grip. You can also use the too under low light conditions. This is due to the in-built LED light that illuminates the material you are working on.
Bosch (the manufacturer of this cordless drill) stands behind its products as a guarantee of quality and performance. The DCD790D2 is no exception; the company offers a one-year warranty on this power drill. The warranty covers any defects resulting from the materials used to make the drill or poor workmanship. As such, you can rest assured that you are buying a quality product.
4. Milwaukee 2703-22 M18 – Best Commercial Cordless Drill
The drill is fitted with a powerful brushless motor that is capable of producing 725 in-lbs of torque. The fact that the motor is brushless implies that the drill runs at optimal performance and can last for a long period.
A power drill this powerful can actually carry out almost any task, including the comparatively heavy-duty commercial tasks. This product has also benefited from the innovative REDLINK PLUS technology by the manufacturer.
This technology is aimed at improving the efficiency of the unit. To achieve this, the technology facilitates an efficient transfer of energy between the charger, battery, and the drill itself. This being the case, it is very unlikely for this drill to get overworked, which extends its durability.
The M18 features a compact and lightweight ergonomic design, featuring a 1/2 “chuck. This contributes to commendable weight distribution on the handle of the Milwaukee 2703-22 M18. As a result, it is one of the best commercial cordless drills out there, with regards to ease of handling.
You will also love the fact that the unit comes with two M18 REDLITHIUM™ XC batteries. This is in a bit to reduce downtimes and maximize its running life.
5. Rockwell RK1807K2 – Best Cordless Drill for Home Use
Additionally, the chunk on this drill is a single sleeve ratcheting type of chunk. This being the case, it offers a tough and firm grip that is meant to reduce slippage or even accidents while you are using the drill. Want to work extra hours, but do not have lights in your workshop? The RK2852K2 has an inbuilt LED light that will illuminate the material you are drilling.
Featuring a multiple torque setting, the Rockwell RK2852K2 cordless drill can produce up to 531 in-lbs of torque and operate at speeds of up to 2,000 RPM. The motor and battery in a cordless drill are other components that saw the RK2852K2 included in this guide.
More on the Rockwell RK1807K2 Drill
The battery is actually one of the things that set this drill apart from its competitors; it comes with Free-Batteries-for-Life warranty batteries. This is to say that the manufacturer will gladly replace the battery in your RK2852K2 for free if it becomes weak. Or, if it fails to function as expected or dies.
If the battery in your unit is not functioning as it should, call the manufacturer and it will be replaced for free. This will be done regardless of how many times it has been replaced before.
Additionally, the manufacturer also offers a 10-year warranty on the motor. Such offers are just a guarantee that you are getting nothing short of the best quality when you buy this drill. The 20V batteries, along with the brushless motor fitted on this tool offer a seamless performance and are very durable.
6. Kobalt 1424A-03 – Best Cordless Drill Under $200
If you are looking for a high-quality drill that is priced below $200 but offers features initially found in high-end power drills, the Kobalt 1424A-03 is a great choice.
As compared to the Kobalt 20V model, the new Kobalt 24V is shorter by an inch. Additionally, the new model features brushless technology, which has resulted in an increase in torque by about 25 percent.
This actually sets this cordless drill form its competition; it is actually one of the most powerful cordless drills within this price range today. The current model can produce about 550 in-lbs of torque and operate at a maximum speed of 2,000 RPMs. Such a performance is rare within this price range.
The drill features a 4-LED indicator that shows you the battery level when you are charging the battery. This way, you can tell once the battery in your 1424A-03 drill is fully charged. The manufacturer used a 1/2-inch chuck. The all-metal, chuck ratchets well and snugs on the bit shanks securely.
7. Ryobi P1811 – Best Cordless Drill Under $150
With regard to the operational speed, this Ryobi drill is fitted with a 2-transmission system. The low-speed setting restricts the device to a speed of between 0 and 440 RPM. The high-speed setting allows the drill to operate at speeds of up to 1,600 RPM. This is commendable for a cordless drill priced below $150. In its low-speed setting, the P1811 Ryobi drill may also be used as a screwdriver.
In addition to the selective speeds, this drill also allows you to choose between 23 clutch settings. Again, these are many clutch settings for an affordable cordless drill.
With such a high number of clutch settings to choose from, you can imagine how easy it is to control the torque produced by the Ryobi P1811. However, the maximum torque produced by this tool is relatively low. This implies that the P1811 may only be used for lightweight drilling tasks.
As opposed to the other cordless drills reviewed in this guide, the P1811 can use both lithium-ion and nickel-cadmium batteries. In an effort to reduce downtimes, the product comes with two batteries. As such, you can leave one charging as you use the other one in your drill. Based on various test results, the P1811 can run for about 45 minutes on a fully-charged battery.
8. DEWALT DCD980L2 – A Truly Top Rated Cordless Drill
As for the speed, the drill is equipped with a highly effective 3-speed metal transmission system. As such, you can regulate the speed of your cordless drill, depending on the material you are working on or the scope of the task you are trying to accomplish with your drill.
In this case, the low-speed level limits the speeds to between 0 and 575 RPM. The middle-speed level restricts the speed of the drill to between 0 and 1,350 RPM. The high-speed level allows the drill to operate at speeds of up to 2,000RPM.
Additionally, the drill also features a variable clutch setting that offers 22 settings. As such, you are not only able to regulate the speed; you can also regulate the amount of torque produced by this power drill. As you can see, the DCD980L2 offers features similar to those offered by the comparatively expensive cordless drills.
Featuring a ½ “ ratcheting chuck, this drill is a true business-end tool. This chuck is both solid and easy to secure in place. Another convenient feature you will love about this tool is the bright LED light. You may use this to enhance visibility when using your drill on low-light conditions.
9. PORTER-CABLE PCCK600LB – Best Cordless Drill Under $100
This is in an effort to reduce operational fatigue on the part of the user. To further enhance its performance, the drill is equipped with a 2-speed transmission, with a maximum speed of 1,600 RPM. It is this variable speed and torque that makes the tool ideal for an array of tasks.
Another fascinating feature you will love about this drill is the battery itself. The PCCK600LB uses the recent innovative lithium-ion battery platform by the manufacturer. As a result, the unit delivers long-lasting power.
This being the case, you can concentrate on finishing your task, rather than worrying about when the battery may give in. As mentioned earlier, a cordless drill is just as good as its battery. In this regard, the PORTER-CABLE PCCK600LB cordless drill is a reliable tool.
What about the design? Although this is one of the cheapest cordless drills you can buy today, it is packed with an array of convenience and functional features. For instance, the drill features a lightweight (about 3.5 pounds), ergonomic design.
This makes it easy to handle and control. Again, the tool was specifically designed to fit into small spaces, such as crannies and nooks, where drilling is needed.
10. Hitachi DS18DSAL – Affordable Two-In-One Cordless Drill
As a matter of fact, this is one of the best 18-volt ductless drills today. One of the striking aspects of this drill is its outer design. It features a soft, easy to grip handle that distributes the entire weight evenly on the handle. This coupled with the lightweight nature of the product make it easy to handle.
When it comes to power, the DS18DSAL does not disappoint either. Although it is a small and easy to handle drill, it delivers an impressive amount of power, up to 460 in-lbs of torque. Additionally, it is easy to carry around; it comes with a case and loop case that you can use to carry the drill around.
As for the battery, the drill will give you mixed reactions. While the battery charges really fast, it does not retain charge for a long time. However, you will love the battery level gauge fitted at the base of the charger. This accurate gauge will let you know the battery level at any given time.
When working in low light conditions, such as when drilling a hole in your attic, the LED light built into this drill will come in handy. As such, you will not need a torch or bulb in such a condition; just switch on the bright LED light on your Hitachi DS18DSAL and get to work.
Things You Must Know Before Buying a Cordless Power Drill
Buying a cordless power drill is going to cost you a considerable amount of money. As such, it is not advisable to rush while shopping for one.
Instead, you should take time to compare the available makes and models, based on the various aspects discussed below, before making your final pick.
Most of the experts in the industry will tell you that you should buy a unit that is powerful and has a reliable battery. Sure, it should be powerful, but how powerful should your drill be?
Just as is the case with any other power tool, the cost is a key consideration. However, you do not want to end up buying a powerful unit that is too expensive or a cheap one that does not meet your needs. As such, the right cordless power drill for your needs is a rather relative subject.
While this is a comparatively difficult decision to make, the following cordless power drill shopping considerations will point you in the right direction:
1. Power Drill Specifications
Basically, drills under different price ranges have varying features and specs that affect the performance of the drills in several ways. If you are shopping for the right drill, you first need to learn the various terms used to describe their capabilities.
In this regard, these are some of the most important drill specs that you need to consider when shopping for a cordless drill:
For the cordless power drills, the chunk is the clamp that is used to secure the rotating bit (top choices here) in place. The size of this component will determine the size of bits that may be used on your preferred drill choice.
While the commonest chunk sizes are only 3/8 inch and 1/2 inch, your choice should be influenced by the intended use of the drill. For instance, the 3/8 inch chunk size is best suited for heavy-duty work.
Power in cordless power drills is measured in Volts and most drills today have a rating of between 2 Volts and 24 Volts. While higher voltage means more power to overcome resistance, it is also associated with increased weight. For instance, most 12-Volt drills weigh about 3.5 pounds while some 24-volt drills weigh between 7 and 10 pounds.
Type of Battery
The type of battery in your preferred drill is an important consideration because any cordless power drill is just as good as its battery. Most of these appliances today come with either lithium ion or nickel cadmium batteries.
The Nickel-cadmium type of batteries is considered to be more long-lasting, durable and comparatively inexpensive.
In this regard, some nickel-cadmium batteries that come with cordless drills may be charged more than 1,000 times before they are replaced. However, these batteries need to be recharged more frequently.
Lithium-ion batteries are actually the preferred option for cordless drills today. This may be attributed to the fact that these batteries have a higher energy density and are comparatively lighter.
However, Lithium-ion batteries are comparatively expensive. Regardless of your battery choice, it is advisable to buy a second battery pack. This way, you will have one charging while you are using the other one on the drill.
The speed of any drill is expressed as the number of revolutions it can achieve in a minute (RPM). Most of the cheaper cordless drill options operate at a single speed, which is mostly about 300 RPM. Such drills are suitable for light tasks, such as screwing in nails.
The more expensive cordless drill options have a speed of between 1,200 and 1,500 RPM. Some of the high-end cordless drills also offer variable control, which allows you to alter the speed of the bit on your drill. (We also reviewed choices of the greatest drill bits for wood.)
The clutch is the component that will disengage the drive shaft on your drill if the drill reaches a certain resistance. When engaging, the cutch usually produces a clicking sound. The main function of the clutch in a cordless drill is to prevent the motor from overworking.
To achieve this, the clutch turns the screwdriver bit off when the desired resistance is reached. While this is a standard feature in many drills today, the type of clutch setting offered by different drill models may vary.
For instance, the more expensive drills offer up to 24 different clutch settings. Such settings come in handy when customizing the drill to the material you are working on.
In this regard, lower clutch settings are ideal for small screws while more settings are suited for larger threads. However, you do not need the clutch settings when carrying out simpler basic repair tasks.
Handle and Grip
For a better grip and enhanced control over your power drill, it is advisable to buy a drill that features a soft grip as well as an ergonomic design. A cordless power drill that has a soft grip, T-handle design, for example, will offer you better control and enhanced balance whenever you are using the drill.
2. Types of Cordless Drills
In addition to the conventional drilling tasks, some cordless drills come with additional driving/drilling tools that add to their functionality. Some of the operations you may need to consider, in this regard, include:
These add a pounding action to the operation of a regular drill. This is ideal for drilling holes as a mason. This added force comes in handy when using your drill to make holes in cement or to install dense fixtures like an electrical box. In this regard, these drills often have a switch that allows you to engage and disengage the hummer clutch on your drill at any given time.
These are designed to offer more torque in a direction perpendicular to the bit than conventional cordless drills. As such, you do not have to apply much pressure to the drill so as to accomplish the desired task. Impact drivers are mostly used on heavy-duty tasks, such as loosening lug nuts and large bolts. However, these drills are comparatively loud and require special hexagonal shanks. You might need the best drill press vises for heavy-duty tasks as well.
If you are looking for a drill to use entirely on light tasks, such as screwing light-weight furniture together or drilling nails, you should consider buying a cordless screwdriver. Most of the cordless screwdrivers today are compact in size and lightweight. As a matter of fact, most of them weigh only a pound and can fit into your pockets. You can also consider getting any top-rated ratcheting screwdriver that also gets the job done easily.
3. What About Brushless Drills?
Most drills allow a specific amount of power to be exerted by the motor. However, when your drill is brushless, the motor senses the tension on the bit. Then, the motor adjusts the amount of power it sends based on that tension.
This is an incredible feature of your drill. If you are using your drill for many different purposes, choosing a brushless drill is a fantastic option. One of the best pieces about a brushless drill is that this ultimately saves battery power. If the drill senses less tension than normal, then less of the battery is used. If the drill senses more tension, more of the battery is used, but you are given more power.
4. How Much Torque Do I Need?
If you are purchasing a drill for simple projects or home use, torque should not matter. Even a “cheap” drill will be able to tights screws or create small holes. However, the real need for high torque power comes when you will be drilling holes or screws into metal.
Keep in mind, the best drills come with a dial for their torque to change. In other words, if you are occasionally working with metal in your drilling, you will want to purchase a drill with variable torque. This allows you to set the torque so that you can decide how much torque you need.
Remember, if the speed is high on the drill, you will probably not have as much torque. If you are truly looking for a heavy-duty drill to do tough metalwork, look for a low-speed rating and high torque. The best speed rating for your drill is going to be between 300 and 1200. Again, if you are working on heavy-duty projects, stick to the 300-500 speed range. Otherwise, a higher speed drill will be best.
5. What is the Difference Between 20V Max and 20V Max XR?
20V Max and 20V Max XR refer to a type of battery. A 20V Max battery has 1.5 Amps to it, while a 20V Max XR has 3.0 Amps to it. These are standard-sized batteries that can both be used in the same drill.
The 20V Max XR batteries will last longer than a 20V Max. Additionally, if you use the batteries with a drill without a brush, then the battery will also be able to exert more power to drill, etc.
While we recommend the 20V Max XR battery, either battery will allow you to use your drill sufficiently. However, any battery with a higher amperage will allow you to work longer.
Ready to Buy The Right Cordless Drill For Your Next Project?
Whether you are just making some cosmetic changes to your apartment, home, or office, you are going to need a drill. Choosing a drill will depend on its power, voltage, battery, and the type needed.
The brand is an important factor too, and the models mentioned above are popular brands that are well-known to produce durable power tools too, including other types of drills (e.g. greatest stud and joist drills).
Make sure to choose a cordless drill with the right torque, as some drills may be too powerful for simple tasks and vice versa. A light-duty drill is best suited for lightweight household tasks, such as basic repair tasks.
If you are still confused about which unit to buy, leave us a comment below and we will help you find the best cordless drill for you.