When you're doing the odd DIY job around the house, a cordless drill will probably be the second thing you reach for.
Just kidding. Safety first, beer pong, and power hour later.
But what if you're all business around the house, and ready to sink screws and punch holes into the nearest piece of lumber?
We'll be breaking down the 5 best options for both pros and homeowners analyzing three key determining factors based on build quality, performance, and price.
- Practical variable speed trigger that allows you to fully control the RPM of the drill.
- Powerful high RPM super quick drill that operates very smoothly and efficiently.
- Superbly manufactured clutch with zero play which will deliver outstanding accuracy.
- This drill has the ability to drill through dense materials even with larger paddle bits fitted.
Best Cordless Drill Reviews
1. DEWALT DCD708C2 Atomic 20V Max Brushless Drill Driver
The DeWalt DCD708C2 Atomic 20V cordless driver has been designed to be utilized by DIY homeowners and professional tradesmen with its high-torque brushless motor part of DeWalt's new Atomic range.
The first thing you'll notice about the DeWalt DCD708C2 is how superbly balanced this compact drill is. The weight distribution and sturdy feel to the drill leaves a lasting impression and could be a huge benefit for those working in confined spaces or at heights.
This drill operates with all of DeWalt's 20V MAX lithium-ion batteries and can even be upgraded to DeWalt's FLEXVOLT battery technology that provides exceptional battery life. It also happens to come with a charger with a USB output, which makes it even more convenient in some situations.
There are 15 clutch settings with a manual clutch that provides great control with smaller tedious tasks that allow you to really dial in in terms of adjustability. If you've got a remodeling job or are planning on constructing a new decking, the kind of control this power tool offers would be very ideal.
The torque is a bit on the lower side compared to other 20V cordless drills, but for a super lightweight and compact drill driver, it's still more than sufficient for the majority of DIY jobs and contracting works most folks will encounter.
Another thing you'll no doubt be amazed about while operating this compact and impressive little power tool is the 1/2-inch chuck that has zero wobble while drilling, even at higher RPM speeds.
In the past, the DeWalt range in regard to cordless drills has had a bit of a reputation with this minor but unfortunate issue. But thankfully, the DeWalt DCD708C2 surpassed apparent fault with their new model.
As expected, the DeWalt DCD708C2 has a 2-speed gearbox that can be easily adjusted with a flick of a switch. The DCD708C2 can deliver up to 1650 RPM thanks to the powerful brushless compact motor that powers this little yellow beast.
The design of the DeWalt DCD708C2 is easy on the eyes and also very comfortable in hand even after prolonged use. The rubber-coated handle reduces fatigue and helps facilitate a firm grip.
Also helpful is the LED work light positioned at the base of the drill, which is always nice to have in poor lighting conditions or one of those dark corners of the house.
What's to like about the DEWALT DCD708C2 Atomic 20V Max Brushless Cordless Drill Driver
Dewalt's new Atomic range is overall pretty impressive. But where exactly does the DCD708C2 excel? With the brushless motor that Dewalt has assembled with this very compact drill driver, it makes for a fantastic lightweight tool with an abundance of battery capacity.
What's not to like about the DEWALT DCD708C2 Atomic 20V Max Brushless Cordless Drill Driver
While the DEWALT DCD708C2 Atomic 20V Cordless Drill Driver is a powerful compact tool, it does lack some of the extra deuces that other 20V drills produce. This is a great drill driver for most use cases, but if you're attempting to do seriously heavy-duty construction work, you will want to at least upgrade the battery from the limited capacity slim-pack.
2. Makita XFD11R1B 18V LXT Brushless Cordless Driver Drill
Not sure about you, but when I think of Makita Tools, I think of quality and precision. While perfection isn't ever really achievable in any realm, Makita certainly seems to be striving to attain it. With their XFD11R1B model, they've definitely pulled out all the stops attempting to create the perfect drill driver.
But have Makita Tools OCD tendencies and obsession with manufacturing the ultimate power tool come to fruition?
Well, let's uncover everything that makes the Makita XFD11R1B 18V Cordless Drill Driver a worthy addition to their impressive range of power tools and an ideal option for your future robust ventures around the house or deep in the field.
It’s hard to look at the XFD11R1B and not be instantly dazzled by the all-black design that screams four-letter curse words in the face of delicate snowflakes. But apart from the manly looking design of the drill, it also harnesses a colossal amount of max torque at 350 in. lbs, which is exceptional for a sub-compact drill.
The dual-speed transmission pumps out 500 RPM on the low end, and for driving at greater speeds on the higher end, the XFD11R1B produces 1,700 RPM to tackle a vast range of applications. This really will enable you to work on a diverse assortment of materials with little to no obstacles due to the stellar performance specs the XFD11R1B possesses, thanks to Makita's terrific brushless compact motor.
Another important feature with the XFD11R1B is the relatively high capacity lithium-ion 2.0Ah battery. The battery's efficiency has been maximized with the assistance of Makita's power management system that has reportedly increased the drill's runtime by up to 50% while under load.
What's also something to marvel at about the XFD11R1B is the fact that the drill operates with damn near zero run-out. This has been achieved by refining the assembly and construction of the chuck with the XFD11R1B.
It has now been engineered to the highest standards, which is something that Makita needed to improve on in previous models and has done so brilliantly with the XFD11R1B model.
The finish to the XFD11R1B is nicely done by Makita, and this model utilizes built-in theft deterrence that makes it much harder for the drill to be tampered with. The fire graded plastic molded blacked-out material that houses the XFD11R1B protects the drill from heat damage and potential cracking under extreme heat conditions.
Last but not least, what's worth noting about the XFD11R1B is the very compact and ergonomic design that makes this 18V drill feel like a candy bar in your hand. The drill weighs 5.73 lbs with the 2.0Ah battery attached and is just 6-3/8" long with some strapping rubberized material attached to the handle for added comfort.
What's to like about the Makita XFD11R1B 18V Brushless Cordless Driver Drill
Setting aside the awesome looking design and all other features, what sets the XFD11R1B aside is perhaps the 1/2" chuck, and that is of purely exceptional quality. You simply don't find 1/2" chucks on compact cordless drills like this anymore because the engineering cost associated with manufacturing this component is rather steep.
What's not to like about the Makita XFD11R1B 18V Brushless Cordless Driver Drill
While there really isn't much to complain about with the XFD11R1B, the one grievance one might have with this kit is that it only comes with one 2.0Ah battery. If you need two batteries to rotate like most people, you're going to have to fork out for another.
3. Bosch GSB18V-535CB15 18V EC Brushless Cordless Drill Driver
Bosch Power Tools generally charge more for their tools and the level of craftsmanship associated with their entire range. Whether we're talking about band saws, circular saws, angle grinders, or an impact driver, Bosch seems to apply the same degree of detail to all of their products, and the Bosch GSB18V-535CB15 looks to be cut from the same cloth.
The Bosch GSB18V-535CB15 offers first-class performance with outstanding durability. Bosch really has put together a dependable package with the GSB18V-535CB15 drill driver set that shines among other competing brand name drills with their 18V CORE18V Li-ion battery.
But apart from the noted performance, durability, and battery longevity, what's really to love about the Bosch GSB18V-535CB15 drill driver?
Besides the stout EC brushless motor that powers the GSB18V-535CB15, the drill also features a powerful next-gen hammer drill option for drilling through concrete. With the Bosch 1/2” metal chuck that incorporates a Precision Clutch component with 20+1 settings that activates an optical sensor within the clutch that maximizes grip and accuracy while operating the GSB18V-535CB15.
The Bosch GSB18V-535CB15 boasts a monumental amount of torque, punching out 535 in-lbs, and can reach up to a whopping 1,900 RPM at full flight. On the low end, the drill can go to around 600 RPM for effectively driving screws without stripping them. That said, you can always make use of the drill's variable-speed trigger to easily control the driver speed as it's super responsive.
Add in KickBack Control, which helps regulate the torque of the drill to minimize potential wrist strain, and you've got yourself a pure beast of a tool that would still be considered a smooth operator.
The overall engineering quality and finish build quality is really something to admire with the GSB18V-535CB15. Bosch has added a Bluetooth connectivity feature to the drill that allows you to monitor feedback from the drill with their app to further enhance the control options and power management system.
Although, with all the fancy high-tech features and supreme engineered construction the GSB18V-535CB15 possesses, really does come at a cost. And that's the actual cost of GSB18V-535CB15; it is expensive. But then again, this is a tool perhaps best-suited for serious contractors, plumbers, and electricians.
Unless you're doing some serious remodeling jobs or have a decent amount of disposable cash that needs burning, other cost-effective drills won't have your wife pestering you about a questionable credit card charge.
Another thing that stands out once you pull this drill out of its cardboard box is the hard case that Bosch has crafted for the GSB18V-535CB15. The case is roomy and built solidly, which will provide brilliant protection when housing the drill, batteries, and charger. The case is also designed to be adapted with their stacking system that allows you to store and organize your tools within the Bosch L-RACK.
Apart from the remarkable drill itself, the kit comes with two compact CORE18V li-ion batteries, an 18V Charger, an impact bit set, and the hard carry case.
What's to like about the Bosch GSB18V-535CB15 18V EC Brushless Cordless Drill Driver
What's most impressive about the GSB18V-535CB15 is not the amazing engineering feats or spellbinding technology that Bosch has employed with their latest model. It is the fact that Bosch managed to manufacture a drill driver with a burly brushless motor, a thunderous hammer drill feature, and all while weighing just 2.5 Lbs.
What's not to like about the Bosch GSB18V-535CB15 18V EC Brushless Cordless Drill Driver
This kit doesn’t come with everything you need to get started, but if you want more than one battery, you're going to have to upgrade. While these batteries have a sterling runtime under load, having two batteries to rotate is very favorable.
4. PORTER-CABLE PCCK607LB 20V MAX Cordless Drill Driver
Porter-Cable might not be the biggest household name among DIY enthusiasts or even with professional tradesmen. Still, for anyone familiar with their tool range, they know that they produce some of the best cordless drills at incredibly affordable prices.
When you're searching for a cordless drill for your day job or weekend DIY work, you want something with all the basics, plus a bunch of bells and whistles for good measure.
And that's where the Porter-Cable PCCK607LB weighs in on this list of the best cordless drills, and more to the point, one of the best cordless drills at a low-cost price point.
This Porter-Cable PCCK607LB is a feature-packed battery drill that lives up to its spec sheet. This rather compact drill driver isn't the smallest or lightest tool on the list as it tips the scale at 3.3 lbs. Not super heavy, but again, not the lightest drill either.
A 1.5Ah 20V battery powers it, and the kit comes with two plus a compact and very portable charger. It has a good runtime even with the 1.5Ah 20V battery equip, and a completely flat battery is ready to go with a full charge in around 35mins.
If you're not planning on later upgrading the batteries with this kit, it's best to constantly rotate the two batteries on a charge while working, as the 1.5Ah batteries draw some current with this brushless compact drill.
The 1/2” keyless chuck is very sure-handed in bit retention. The chuck is made out of high-grade metal material and has a decent locking mechanism that exhibits very little displacement while spinning under load at high speeds.
With the performance and statistics this drill punches out, you'll likely be pleasantly surprised with the dual-speed transmission with a max output of 1,800 RPM. Porter-Cable PCCK607LB is powered by a brushless motor that efficiently provides 50% more runtime, while the powerful motor generates 370 MWO of power to effectively combat heavy-duty construction type jobs.
The drill is also exceedingly functional and practical to operate daily and includes a handy little belt hook. Drills with this simple feature make working from a ladder or a roof area much easier as you can hook your expensive tool and safely work with both hands.
Of course, this drill wouldn’t be much to speak of if not for the design features. The ergonomic soft-grip handle makes this drill a joy to hold for extended periods, and the LED light provides outstanding illumination. This is a huge benefit with the PCCK607LB, especially compared to Porter-Cable's previous models that had a disturbing shadow effect due to the LED light's poor positioning on the drill.
What's to like about the PORTER-CABLE PCCK607LB 20V MAX Cordless Drill Driver
The Porter-Cable PCCK607LB is probably one of the most aesthetically pleasing cordless drills you'll find on the market. The color combination and overall design of the drill are pretty cool, and unboxing this thing is a real kicker. With the Porter-Cable PCCK607LB, you'll be able to work on a wide range of projects and materials safely and comfortably while looking dapper.
What's not to like about the PORTER-CABLE PCCK607LB 20V MAX Cordless Drill Driver
The 1.5Ah lithium-ion battery that powers this drill might require an upgrade to the 4.0Ah battery if you're on larger job sites conducting serious construction work. That, or get used to carrying two batteries and swapping them out.
5. SKIL PWRCore DL529303 Brushless 20V Drill Driver
One thing you'll immediately love about the SKIL PWRCore DL529303 is how compact and lightweight design of the drill is. It's certainly one of the lighter models you'll find on the market, and that's very evident once in-hand.
The SKIL PWRCore DL529303 is a very capable drill driver. It produces a good amount of torque and can operate at variable speeds with some decent RPM outputs on both speed settings. SKIL has produced a very DIY budget-friendly brushless drill driver that is ready to use out-of-the-box, which is also a viable option for professional contractors.
The SKIL PWRCore DL529303 runs on a 2.0Ah 20V battery and an added bonus that SKIL offers with their PWRAssist USB charger. The PWRAssist USB feature could be highly beneficial if you just need a quick boost when your battery is running low, and you don't have your charger.
We tested the PWRAssist USB with a power bank on a near-flat battery, and it back to being functional with around 2 bar after 15mins.
With a maximum speed of 1,800 RPM and 450 in-lbs. of torque, this is a powerful yet compact and lightweight drill that weighs only 3 lbs with the 2.0Ah 20V battery connected. With these kinds of performance stats, this drill is more than just a DIY drill driver option and is capable of holding up heavy-duty construction work.
With 17+1 drill clutch settings, the SKIL PWRCore DL529303 will have no problem penetrating tough materials with the right drill bits. The soft-grip handle makes the drill even easier to work with, as it further reduces fatigue. It also makes the SKIL PWRCore DL529303 ideal in many overhead drilling projects.
Apart from the solid feature of the SKIL PWRCore DL529303 harnesses, it also includes a double-ended bit, a belt hook clip, one 2.0Ah battery with excellent battery life, and a 5-year limited warranty.
What's to like about the SKIL PWRCore DL529303 Brushless 20V Drill Driver
Considering how impressive this drill driver grades overall, especially considering its affordability, the SKIL PWRCore DL529303 also includes many optional accessories that enhance the drill's flexibility, like the PWRAssist USB feature. SKIL PWRCore DL529303 is one of the best multi-purpose compact drills for homeowners, amateur woodworkers, and even pros, as you'll be able to drill holes and drive screws with ease.
What's not to like about the SKIL PWRCore DL529303 Brushless 20V Drill Driver
While the SKIL PWRCore DL529303 has both great speed and torque on the paper, it is a little on the lower end of the scale compared to some of the top tier models when it comes to speed under load.
Best Cordless Drill Buyer's Guide
How to Choose a Cordless Drill
Choosing a cordless drill depends on many factors besides ease of use and reading specs. If you want to find the best cordless drill for your projects or line of work, always consider the important features.
These include chuck size, brand, torque, RPM, battery runtime, weight, accessories, and other features that could help you work faster and safer, such as a work light or a high-end venting system that prevents overheating.
When choosing a cordless drill, you also need to learn how to match the tool to the job. There are so many models available on the market today; it can be easy to purchase a tool you need. However, with so many options, it can also be hard to narrow down those choices.
If you are looking for a cordless drill for home use, you probably intend to perform smaller and lighter repairs and maintenance. Start by reviewing the different brands and types of cordless drills.
Take special note of their weight and balance. You can then try out vertical and horizontal drilling positions to see how comfortable the tool feels in your hand. For this, you may want to visit a home improvement store or even read the reviews you find online.
Also, take note of the features. Is it easy to change the clutch settings and operate the chuck?
You can classify cordless drills in any number of ways. Some choose to classify them by design, size, battery capacity, applications, and additional features. However, three of the most common designations are as follows:
Compact drills are small, light, and very easy to use. They are ideal for light woodworking projects and small home remodeling projects. A high-end compact cordless drill may supply up to 400 in-lbs. of torque.
While 450 in-lbs. of torque is considered okay, some impact drills can double that amount of torque. In terms of speed, impact drills can also exceed 20,000 RPM. Even at the lowest settings, they could still be in the 6,000 RPM range, which might be too fast for lightweight work.
Hammer drills are popular in medium-difficulty tasks. They can be used for light concrete drilling, but they probably lack the power required for construction work. A good speed rating for a hammer drill is around 3,000 RPM.
Depending on who you ask, manufacturers, retailers, or professionals, there are more ways to categorize cordless drills. Another popular way to sort them is by application or the type of job they’re suited for.
As such, you may run into general-use, light-duty, or heavy-duty designations for some cordless drills. With this type of classification, multiple features are taken into account, such as chuck size, battery power, hammering properties, etc.
- Heavy Duty Drills: Usually have an 18 to a 24-volt battery) gives them the power needed to boreholes and drive in long fasteners. They are also outfitted with ½-inch chucks, so they can use almost any drill bit, including those bits you need for drilling into brick or concrete. It allows you to accomplish those heavy-duty tasks you have. For this reason, they also tend to be heavier and on the more expensive side.
- General Use Drills: These drills typically have 3/8 inch chuck models and are often powered by a 12-volt battery. They can bore holes into wood easily and drive screws on a single charge. You can also keep one of the batteries charging while it is in use and then switch the batteries out as needed.
- Light Duty Drills: Light-duty drills are best suited for smaller jobs you may have around the home. These smaller tasks include changing out light fixtures, assembling furniture, or even drilling into some drywall. The batteries range in size between a 12-volt and 20 volts. They tend to have smaller motors, which also limit their use. They also feature a fixed, ¼-inch socket that will only accept ¼-inch hex bits.
It’s not always the case, but brands tend to matter a lot when discussing power tools of any kind. For example, Bosch, Makita, Black+Decker, DeWalt, Milwaukee – these are some of the most recognizable manufacturers of power tools.
Each and every one of them has a wide selection of corded and cordless drills for any budget that can handle just about anything you throw at them. That being said, it’s not always a good idea to get caught up in the mythos of a popular brand.
This is especially true if you’re more concerned about saving money than getting the absolute best cordless drill for the job. However, one other reason to consider getting a cordless drill from a reputable manufacturer is often the battery.
As is the case with most cordless power tools, cordless drill manufacturers use voltage to imply the power of the drills – power is the product voltage and current. 12V batteries usually power General-use compact cordless drills. Light-duty drills may use up to 20V, while heavy-duty cordless drills are almost always running on 18 to 24V batteries.
But don’t think that just because you have an 18V cordless drill, and it has tons of great reviews, it’d be the best drill for a particular job. You can judge the best cordless drill in terms of voltage alone.
As mentioned, power also depends on the current, and torque depends on the motor's design and the efficiency of the drive system. You’ll find manufacturers that inflate ratings to make their tool appear more impressive.
The battery capacity dictates the size of the battery. The standard unit is Ah or amp-hour.
Here’s what it means. 1Ah means that the battery can supply 1A continuously for 1 hour. If you draw 2A from the battery, then the run time will drop down by half or to 0.5 hours. If you only draw 0.5A, then it will be good for 2 hours. Easy enough?
Manufacturers usually make the same battery in multiple Ah ratings. You can choose the right capacity/size based on your demand and preferences.
A larger capacity means that the battery is bigger and heavier, which makes the drill bulkier and heavier. If you have to do a lot of overhead drilling and driving, you may prefer a lighter drill.
Besides, the battery capacity may not be important if you have two or more of them. And if you’re talking about Li batteries, the charging times are much lower than other types of batteries.
The chuck is the clamp used to hold the drill bits. Its size usually lets you know two things. First, it allows you to know what type of drill bits can be fitted to the drill. There are two common chuck sizes found in cordless drills: 1/2" and 3/8” chucks.
The larger chuck size will be able to hold broader bits. This is important because it lets you know whether you can work on small or heavy-duty projects. Other information given by the chuck size is in regard to the drill’s power.
Typically, drills with larger chuck sizes have more power – the sort of power that will likely break a smaller bit. Therefore, they will drill faster through tough materials such as hardwood, concrete, etc. Of course, you can’t gauge the potential of a cordless drill based on chuck size alone.
Best Cordless Drill FAQ.
How Do You Charge a Cordless Drill Battery Without a Charger?
One of the safest alternatives to using the drill’s charger is to use another battery of the same voltage or a number of batteries connected in series. Here’s what you could do if you’ve misplaced your charger or if you can’t find a replacement.
First, check the voltage of the battery in your drill. Find some appropriate connectors to transfer power from auxiliary batteries to your new battery.
Then, make sure that the batteries you’re using have enough combined voltage to charge your depleted battery. Current flows from higher to lower potential (voltage), so you’ll always need equal or higher voltage.
As an example, eight AA batteries (at 1.5V a piece) should be enough to charge a 12V cordless drill battery when they’re connected in series with two wires and electronic tape. Always connect positive to negative for the AA battery series. Match the polarity only when connecting to the drill’s battery.
How Do You Use a Cordless Drill?
A cordless drill will often be used for two things: drilling holes in various materials or driving screws. It’s important to understand that controlling the variable speed is essential in these tasks.
Jobs that require drilling will use a high-speed RPM range. Jobs that require driving screws use the low-end RPM range.
Short of matching your drill bits and driving bits to whatever it is you’re working on, there’s not much else to know about using a cordless drill, except maybe that low torque drills are not recommended for concrete and thick metal drilling.
How Long Do Cordless Drill Batteries Last?
Since most of the batteries used today in cordless drills are Li-ion batteries and not nickel-cadmium batteries, in theory, they should last a lifetime. But many things can contribute to battery performance or runtime decay.
There’s still an ongoing debate as to whether or not a complete discharge is necessary before recharging. Or if keeping the battery in the charger a few minutes after it reaches 100% is actually helpful.
Either way, everything from how you charge the power drill to how you store it will determine how long the battery will last, as well as the manufacturing process.
But at the end of the day, a Li-ion cordless drill battery should last more than a few years. The good thing about Li batteries is that they usually don’t fail catastrophically. The battery life will get shorter, and you’ll know when to replace the battery.
How Should You Store Cordless Drill Batteries?
Li-ion batteries used in cordless power drill batteries should be stored in a dry environment. This means that leaving them out in the open in most workshops or garages is not a good idea.
Cool temperatures are also recommended. But environmental factors aside, it’s also important to store your battery when it’s at a specific charge if you want to extend its life. Most will agree that storing your drill battery at a minimum charge of 40% is okay if you plan on storing it for a few months.
What Is the Advantage of a Brushless Cordless Drill?
A big advantage to choosing a brushless cordless drill is losing the friction that is often caused by the brushes. The friction can slow things down. A brushless cordless drill has more power and maximum torque and can even reach higher speeds. You can expect up to a 35 percent increase in performance compared with a traditional brushed motor drill.
Why Does a Drill Need a Clutch?
The clutch on a power drill is used to limit the amount of maximum torque that is applied to the fastener. This allows you to drive fasteners to a more consistent depth and set screws with a more specific torque level. The different clutch settings define the different torque levels needed to break the clutch.
Hopefully, by now, you’ve probably reached a similar conclusion to ours after this in-depth review.
While you really can't go wrong with any of the tools we covered here today, the DEWALT DCD708C2 Atomic 20V Cordless Drill Driver has pretty much everything essential to be crowned the best cordless drill of 2021, at least in the budget range.
The DCD708C2 is a highly versatile and compact tool with a considerable amount of torque for its size. It comes with everything right out the box that will let you tackle a whole host of drilling and driving jobs around the house or hard at work on a construction site.
While your final verdict might sway in another drills direction after reading our review regarding which drill should have claimed the top spot, it's hard to deny that all of these drills reviewed aren't winners in their own way.
Determining just how one battery drill may earn the nod of approval over another boils down to both personal preference and past experiences with existing brand names.
All things considered, if you're new to the wide world of power tools and still undecided, that's okay. All of the drills we reviewed here possess outstanding performance and remarkable durability, so you can really just buy what's within your budget and get to drilling.