Makita XFD131 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Drill
Black + Decker LD120VA 20V Lithium-Ion Cordless Drill
Milwaukee 2696-24 M18 Cordless Compact Drill
If you love your DIY, then today’s product guide is worth sticking around to read as we’re reviewing the best cordless drills. The ones that will help you to work a whole lot smarter, not harder, and have that new internal or external project you’ve been putting off completed in next to no time. When it comes to investing in your next portable power tool, especially when that tool in question is a battery powered drill, there are three key considerations; Torque, Speed, and Power. You will require all three if you really want to get those jobs professionally completed. In today’s comprehensive review, we’re covering off 10 of the best cordless power drills available as well as answering all the most important questions about how to get the very best out of your hand drill and what other features and benefits to be on the lookout for. So let’s get started and kick things off with our Best Choice product.
The Best Cordless Drill
The LXT Brushless cordless drill from Makita is a part of their extensive 18V Lithium-Ion collection of cordless power tools for fast and easy batter interchange. The brand market range as one system with over 200 solutions. With a 1/2 inch driver and its compact and ergonomic design, it’s the ideal drill for a versatile range of jobs and delivers superior power to rate ratio. With a rubberized soft grip handle, it’s comfortable to use.
It combines maximum torque with a brushless motor and features a mechanical 2-speed transmission with either a 0-500 RPM range or a 1-1900 RPM setting. Perfect for the Pro as well as the enthusiastic amateur DIY’er, it delivers plenty of drilling power from one charge meaning more productivity. It’s relatively lightweight at 3.8 lbs including the battery which helps to reduce operator fatigue plus there are built-in dual LED lights which contribute to illuminating your workspace better. The metal gears and housing are all protected which adds to the durability of this Makita XFD131 LXT. Additionally featuring Extreme Protection Technology, all the parts are sealed and protected from water, dust, and debris. Make sure you also check our guide to the best stud finders.
Mechanical 2-speed transmission
Brushless motor delivers 440 lbs of max torque power
Optimized battery delivers up to 50% longer run time per charge
Compact and ergonomic design with rubberized soft grip handle
All metal gears and gear housing for increased durability
- Weight7.15 pounds
Minimal on-tool bit storage
Our next cordless drill machine comes from Dewalt and is the DCD7902 20V MAX XR. It’s efficient and powerful yet still reasonably affordable and light-weight to operate. With a compact and ergonomic design, it can tackle tight spaces and corners, and it makes a great portable drill for all kinds of personal as well as professional projects. The handle has a comfortable grip which helps to minimize user fatigue. It’s another brushless style motor which means that it’s efficient and friction free so works harder and delivers solid, reliable results.
Containing a powerful lithium-ion battery, it has an enviable continuous run time, upwards of 2.0 amp-hours which is almost 50% more than non-brush competitors. It only takes about 35 minutes to complete a full battery recharge which is pretty impressive stuff. This Dewalt DCD790D2 MAX runs at up to 2000 RPM add has a max power of 360 UWO. Included with your purchase is a tool kit box, and LED light for extra illumination in dark spaces as well as a belt hook. It also comes with an extended three-year limited warranty, so you have no problems on that score
Brushless motor delivers up to 57% more run time than brushed
Compact and lightweight design fits into tight spots
Ergonomic comfort grip handle for good balance and control
LED light for visibility in dark spaces
High-speed transmission delivers two-speed settings
- Weight8.4 pounds
Fast to charge
Long lasting battery
No screws or drill bits included
The next battery powered drill we’re reviewing is the Worx WX176L Switch drive which has dual functionality and a 2-speed motor for precise electronic torque control. With the Worx cordless drill and driver, you can get more done, faster, thanks to rotating dual chucks that enable you to hold multiple bit pairings. Other invaluable features include a built-in LED light to increase visibility in low light working conditions as well as a light-weight and compact design which make this drill a pleasure to work with. It only weighs 3 lbs which is quite a feat considering all of the onboard functionality.
Besides being an impressive 20V, it also has 12 torque control settings, 2 variable speeds, and 2 1/4 inch chunks that can rotate 180-degrees clockwise and counterclockwise. It’s part of the Worx Power Share Platform which means that you can use the same 20V battery pack with their whole family of power tools which save you time and money. As the brand marketing message says, “share batteries, save money!” Money that you can put to good use on more power tools perhaps?
Dual chuck platform for endless combinations of drill and driver bits
Compact and lightweight design which is easy to control
2-speed gear system for all drilling and driving applications
Precision control electronic torque
Comes with 2 x 20V max Lithium batteries and is Power Share Platform compatible
- Weight2.9 pounds
Built-in LED light
12 torque control settings
Easy to control
Power Share Platform
Rotating dual chucks
No belt clip or hooks
We couldn’t possibly write any review that involves high-quality tools without something from the German brand, Bosch getting a mention. They are after all one of the worlds most renowned suppliers of power tools, famous for their efficiency, quality, and reliability. The Bosch PS31 12V cordless drill is no exception, and while it may be small, it’s reasonably priced and delivers a good performance. Popular with both amateur home DIY enthusiasts and professional contractors alike, it’s lightweight, has two-speed settings, comes with scrabble and long-lasting batteries plus it benefits from high torque too.
Weighing just 2.4 lbs, it is small and compact and possibly one of the lightest battery drills in this category and with a head length of just 7,” it’s perfect for getting into tight spots and difficult to reach angles. We already mentioned those 2-speed settings, but it also comes equipped with 20_1 clutch settings and has a max torque of 265 in-lb. There are single-sleeve 3/8-inch chuck and a convenient LED light to illuminate trouble spots. Constructed from Durashield ( a blend of Nylon and ABS) it’s durable and can even serve a drop of up to 12 feet. It’s easy to operate, comfortable to hold and comes with 2 long-lasting lithium-ion batteries.
2 Speeds for great power
20+1 clutch settings for torque precision
Integrated LED light improves visibility
Resilient chassis built with Durashield housing
Streamlined and compact design perfect for tight spaces
- Weight3 pounds
Variable speed and torque
Built-in LED light
Our next cordless drill driver is our Best Value choice and comes from Black and Decker, another brand synonymous with high-quality power tools for all those DIY jobs. The LDV120VA really packs a powerful punch considering it has a sub $100 price point. It’s ideal for working on all kinds of materials from wood to metal and plastic and features a soft comfort grip handle which is easy to hold and operate. Included with your purchase from Black + Decker are 30 additional accessories which include everything from drill bits and screwdriver bits to nut drivers and magnetic bit tip holder. It’s exactly the kind of versatile battery drill that you need to have in your toolbox.
Besides all the above great features, it also has a 24 position clutch that provides precision control as well as a powerful 330 in.lbs of torque. The compact and lightweight design make it perfect for use in small and hard to reach tight spots, and it further features a 3/8-inch keyless check for quick and easy changing of all those different sized screw and driver bits. If you’re looking to pick up an affordable, versatile and reliable everyday portable drill, then the Black + Decker LD120VA is a smart choice.
Ideal tool for everyday drilling and screwing in wood, metal, and plastic
Comfortable to use with a soft-grip handle
Powerful lithium-ion battery holds a charge for 18 months
Full accessory kit included with 30 bits and pieces
24 position adjustable clutch
- Weight3.97 pounds
Lightweight and portable
Comfortable to hold
Only comes with the one battery
We’re taking a look at the Hitachi DS18DGL cordless drill set next which has plenty of speed, torque as well as all the settings you are likely to need for a multitude of jobs around the home. It’s also compact and lightweight so it can go where full-sized drills just can’t reach. Ergonomically designed, it reduces operator fatigue and has a slim and well-balanced grip that feels comfortable in your hand. There are also LED lights built in so that you can continue to work in dimly lit areas and it’s also equipped with a 1/2-inch keyless chuck so that bit replacement can even be done one-handed if necessary.
When it comes to power, it delivers 400 in. Lbs of maximum torque and has a two-speed gear setting allowing you to select either 450 RPM or 1250 RPM simply by increasing pressure on the trigger. There are also 22 clutch settings that can be adjusted according to your various needs and requirements. It offers precision control and also comes with Hitachi’s Reactive Force Control signature technology, with built-in sensors that detect when the drill is jammed or binder and automatically switch off the motor. This is a great safety feature which really helps to set this Hitachi DS18DGL apart from the competition.
Powered by lithium-ion battery technology
Powerful torque with 22 settings
Fitted with an illuminated LED light
1/2-inch keyless ratcheting chuck for quick drill bit replacement
Two-speed gear setting for ultimate precision and control
- Weight3.7 pounds
Reactive force control
Built-in LED light
Slim and lightweight design
Compact and ergonomic
Adjustable clutch settings
Comfortable to use and operate
Battery has a short lifespan
The Rockwell RK2852K2 Brushless drill certainly looks the part and while it’s is super compact, it also packs quite a punch with that 20V lithium-ion battery which can be fully charged in just one hour and has a 2.0 Ah capacity. It comes with both a 1/2 inch and a 1/4 inch drill and features a 1/2 inch single sleeve ratcheting chuck. The brushless motor helps to deliver even power distribution while reducing heat and friction for efficient performance. Being brushless also means that it has up to 50% more power than standard drills.
The Rockwell RK2852K2 certainly is neat and compact and can easily be stored away in a small box. Being lightweight it’s also perfect for getting into hard to reach and tight, cramped spaces. Other convenient features of this cordless brushless drill include an LED light which can be easily activated with a light touch and helps deliver more target illumination where you might need it most. With a maximum speed of 2900 RPM, it can also be used effectively on almost all surfaces, including concrete.
Brushless motor for up to 50% more efficiency
1/2 inch single sleeve ratcheting chuck
LED light for illuminating work spaces
Manufacturer offers batteries for life guarantee
Compact and lightweight design for smooth operation in tight spaces
- Weight3.5 pounds
Fast to charge
Long lasting battery
No belt clip
The latest cordless drill from Kobalt has had a voltage update so that it’s now packing 24V and has been given a brushless motor for even more efficiency. Compared to the original 18V Kobalt which was a popular drill before this one came along, it’s one inch shorter but has 165 in-lbs of extra torque which mean 25% more driving and drilling power. With two operating modes, 550 as well as 2000 RPM’s and one single 2Ah battery, it really does deliver highly on performance. It may have one of the slowest battery charge times but it sure does run well plus there is a 4-LED charge level indicator on-board so that you always know when it’s time to give your Kobalt 24V a re-charge.
Like many of the other best cordless drills we’ve already reviewed the Kobalt comes with an LED to light up that work area and it also features a 1/2 inch all-metal chuck for durability. There’s a 23 position clutch too so that you can adjust and optimize the settings. It’s an impressive drill and can even handle heavy-duty jobs without any problems.
Two-speed settings of 0-500 and 2000 RPM
1/2 inch keyless all metal chuck with 23 positions
Comes with a built-in LED to illuminate work areas
24V powerful brushless motor with 650 in-lbs of torque
Come with 5-year limited manufacturers warranty
- Weight7.94 pounds
Multi clutch positions
Battery is slow to charge
Our next review isn’t just for a cordless compact drill, it’s for a whole combo tool kit from Milwaukee with one of the hero products being their M18 cordless 1/2 inch hammer drill driver. Featuring a 4-pole frameless motor, it delivers 550 in-lbs of peak torque as well as two variable speeds, 0-450 and 0-1700 RPM. The entire collection is unmistakably Milwaukee in that bright red design, and the system is powered by the company’s patented Red Lithium-Ion technology. Besides the cordless drill, you also receive Milwaukee’s M18 Sawzal Recip Saw, their M18 1/4 inch Hx Impact Driver as well as the M18 Works Light which comes with a foldaway hook for hand free use as well as a 135-degree rotating head.
Also included with this compressive professional style kit, is a branded contractor bag to carry and store all your essential Milwaukee power tools to your next project site, not one but two high capacity extended Red Lithium batteries as well as Multi-Voltage Charger. They really have thought of everything when pulling together this combo kit. Overall you’re also getting exceptional torque, power as well as long-running times too from all your essential work tools. There won’t be a DIY project that you can’t tackle with the Milwaukee 4-Tool Combo Kit in your arsenal.
Compact design allows you to work in tight spots
4-Pole Frameless motor with rare earth magnets for durability
All metal gear case and chuck for maximum impact and shock resistance
Features Redlink intelligence which delivers advanced overload tool protection
4-tool combo kit powered be RED Lithium patented battery technology
- Weight21.6 pounds
Innovative motor design
Log run time
Redlink overload intelligence protection
Expensive but then you do get 4 tools
We’re finishing up today’s best cordless drill review with an attractive and super affordable little number from Ryobi which is another brushless model and is their Ryobi 18V cordless 1/2 inch drill. The brushless motor is vital as this extends the tool life compared with a brushed version. It comes with a 2-speed gear as we as a 24 position adjustable torque clutch. There’s an LED light to illuminate your workspace and belt clip mounts on both sides of the drill for your convenience. The handle is ergonomically designed with a comfortable and grippy micro textured zone.
It comes with an 18V battery which is part of Ryobi’s One+ compact lithium-ion power tool series and so can be interchanged and used with other products from their range. The battery charger also features IntelliPort technology which means that when it’s not being used, it conveniently conserves energy to protect the battery cells and maximize the lifespan of your battery pack.
Powerful and long-lasting brushless motor
2-speed gearbox with a 24 position adjustable torque clutch
Improved textured grip zone for comfort as well as optimized handling
LED light and magnetic hardware holder built into the bottom of the tool
Belt clip mounts either side of the drill
- Weight2.65 pounds
Multi clutch position
Chuck can be a little loose
Cordless Drill Buying Guide & FAQ
Features To Look For In Cordless Drills
Brushless vs. Brushed Motor - Generally speaking, brushless motors are more efficient than their brushed counterparts. Brushed motors will typically be more cost effective, have more simplified wiring systems but be less effective, noisier to operate and also a have a shorter lifespan. On the flip side then, brushless motors will have a higher initial cost but be considerably lower maintenance with no brush parts that require replacing, have a long lifespan and be highly efficient. Efficiency is vitally important as it means that the power being generated is better utilized for rotational force and results in decreased loss of heat.
RPM and Torque - You will see cordless gears referred to by their RPM and their Torque. RPM relates to their speed or revolutions per minute whereas torque refers to the twisting power of your drill and is measured in Nm’s or Newton meters. Some of the more sophisticated drills may come with adjustable RPM settings so that you can select the appropriate one for the project and material you are working with. A low speed, for example, it better for driving screws and drilling softer materials whereas a higher rate will be far more efficient when dealing with harder materials.
The same can pretty much be said for the torque setting too and again, it’s advisable to go for a drill that allows you to change the settings to suit your working environment better. Working with brickwork requires a higher torque setting than drilling wood or plasterboard. Depending upon the specific make and model of the drill you’ve purchased it may feature up to 20 different torque settings.
Clutch - A safety clutch is definitely a useful feature worth looking for in your next cordless drill purchase. It will stop the drill and the drill bit from continuing to spin one they’ve hit something.
Drill Bits & Chucks - Most of the best cordless drill sets will also come with a range of interchangeable drill bits. To swap your drill bit, just loosen up the chuck, then remove and exchange your bit for a size appropriate to the task you’re working on and tighten that check back up again. Different sized drills can be useful for working on different types of materials and pretty much most drill sets these days will come with an assortment of the most common and frequently used bits as part of the overall kit.
In terms of the most common chuck sizes, they will be either 10mm (3/8 inch) or 13mm (1/2 inch) with the latter being able to accommodate larger bit sizes.
Battery - The Battery capacity is crucial as it will determine how long you can use your cordless drill for at any one time. Good battery power can make all the difference between an efficient day spent completing a DIY project or a frustrating one where you need to keep stopping and starting. Your drill battery capacity is measured in amp hours (Ah) and the bigger the Ah, the longer it will keep going for. You do need to take into account the type of working you’re doing as tougher jobs working on more solid materials will take up more of your battery’s energy supply. The voltage too is a further important consideration and indicates what power you can expect from your cordless drill. A high voltage means a powerful drill that should deliver on torque strength and be good at overcoming resistance.
We’re covering off the different battery types further below in our FAQ section, so please read on if you’d like to understand the difference between Lithium-ion and Interchangeable style batteries better.
Material to Drill - The types of materials you can drill with your new cordless power tool will be a function of both the machine’s power as well as the material that the physical drill bits in your set are constructed from. For drilling metal, the tips of your bits need to be a non-ferrous metal. Popular choices include aluminum, copper, brass, non-alloy steel, zinc and iron. Titanium coated drill bits, in particular, make a great option. For drilling wood, the best bits will have a log entering tip with two pre-cutting spurs which enables them to drill through wood cleanly. When it comes to concrete and masonry brick, ideally you should use drill bits that have been soldered in tungsten carbide plates.
Types Of Cordless Drills
There are of course all different types of cordless drills that you can choose to invest in depending upon what your main requirements are for using one and also the budget that you have available. You might need to go for a heavy duty one, something that is better suited for general everyday DIY use or perhaps just a light duty drill. Besides Cordless Drill Drivers, you can also purchase Wireless Compact Drills, Impact Drivers as well as Hammer Drills. All have their features and benefits, advantages and disadvantages but basically, it comes down to the power you need for the jobs you will be performing.
Cordless Drill FAQ
Q: What is a Cordless Drill?
A: Cordless drills are one of the most popular and versatile tools which most people are keen to own as part of their home DIY setup. Whether you are doing jobs around the home, in the garden or even on a construction site, the versatility and flexibility to be able to use a drill cordless provide a great deal of mobility and freedom. Most cordless drills still feature all the same features and benefits as their corded counterparts but are overall less bulky and cumbersome and therefore more convenient. A cordless drill works via rechargeable batteries as opposed to an AC mains adaptor but these days that doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice at all in terms of expected power. Usually, that battery power back can be snapped in place and easily remove for recharging.
Q: What is the difference between the Cordless Drill and Hammer Drill?
A: The traditional cordless drill or driver as it’s also known as a favorite tool which has been around for years with various modifications and enhancements being made such as the addition of keyless chucks as well as onboard lights. They’re an affordable, versatile as well as dependable option that will serve you well for a huge variety of jobs around the home, great for both driving screws as well as drilling holes. They come in all shapes and sizes and with a range of voltage options which we’ll go on to discuss next.
A hammer drill looks pretty similar to a cordless drill so it’s easy to see where some of the confusion may arise. Newer models may feature both a regular as well as a hammer setting. A hammer drill does the same job only in a more aggressive, faster and furious way. Imagine if you will that you are drilling and someone is bashing the back of your drill with a heavy hammer to me it more effective! What you’ve got is a hammer drill! It’s louder, and it’s going to vibrate and feel slightly more uncomfortable when you use it. They’re an excellent choice when you need more targeted power, especially if you are dealing with masonry and concrete.
Q: Which Drill Voltage Should I choose? 12V, 18V, 20V, 36V?
A: We talked about the torque power earlier in our key features section, and the voltage is also a significant consideration when it comes to the types of jobs your drill will be better at performing. For light indoor DIY work such as putting up curtain poles or constructing the always popular but frequently frustrating flat pack furniture, then a low-power drill will be perfectly adequate. If the projects you intend working on extending to the garden and might include materials such as concrete and paving slabs then the higher the voltage, the better to handle these heavy materials.
Q: What’s the Difference between NiCad & Lithium Batteries?
A: Most cordless drills these days will come with a Lithium-Ion battery, and these have many benefits as besides being lightweight and powerful, they are also safer for the environment so a popular choice for all these reasons. With a Lithium-Ion battery you also have the convenient option to change whenever you want, no matter no full or empty the battery might actually be. Their other benefit is that they have no self-discharge. What that means is that even if you put your tool away fully charge for a prolonged period, it won’t lose any of that power next time you come to pick it up. Lots of manufacturers of power tools have created their ranges to handily feature interchangeable battery packs so that one battery can work on them all. That’s a great option that can save you money and time, however, just check that the tools you want to share battery sources with also have the same voltage.
Before the new, lighter Lithium-Ion batteries came along, many older style power tools would have featured a NiCad battery, short for Nickel Cadmium. They totally differ in their chemical composition as well as their environmental friendliness. Lithium-Ion, as we’ve already established, are smaller and lighter with virtually no self-discharge but with that comes a more expensive price tag, up to three times higher than their NiCad counterparts. They both deliver the same amount of power, but it’s how they provide it and for how long that also distinguishes them apart. Lithium-Ion batteries make better use of their power overall and today are the preferred choice.
Q: What does Variable Trigger Speed Mean?
A: If your drill features a variable speed trigger, it means that it includes a mechanism which allows you to reverse the direction of the motor and to supply it with variable amounts of power. With a variable speed trigger, the harder you squeeze, the faster the electric motor will spin. You will also be able to operate it using multiple speed settings that are within your drill’s RPM range.