The best cordless drills

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  • No home is complete without a good drill for hanging pictures, fixing wobbly shelves, or helping out with a kitchen renovation.
  • A cordless drill allows for easy movement around the house without the need for an outlet nearby.
  • The DeWalt 20V MAX Cordless Compact Drill/Driver is our top choice because it’s fairly priced, easy to use, and powerful.

Even if you’re not an avid DIY fan, it’s good to have a drill at home to help hang pictures or shelves and perform other small tasks more easily. Using a power tool can save you lots of time and can prevent hand and wrist aches versus using a screwdriver to sink screws. And for drilling holes, there’s really no viable alternative to using a drill. 

First off, let’s clarify something that confuses many people: when someone talks about a drill, they usually mean a drill/diver. The same tool can create holes when outfitted with a drill bit or sink screws when it has a screwdriver bit. The term drill is used as shorthand, but all of the tools on our list are suitable for drilling holes and for driving in screws.

When choosing the best drill, there’s always the budget to consider, but you don’t have to spend big to get a drill that’s suitable for most household projects or even for a good deal of commercial-grade work. 

We’ve included a compact, lightweight drill suitable for use in confined spaces or for working overhead. And we found numerous drills that have variable speed control, easy chuck adjustment, and plenty of power. And as they’re all cordless, you can get your work done anywhere, anytime with no need for access to a power outlet.

Here are the best cordless drills:

Prices and links are current as of 12/18/2020. We also updated formatting.

The best overall

dewalt

The DeWalt 20V MAX Cordless Compact Drill/Driver is a reliable, well-rounded tool that’s suitable for minor home repairs, DIY projects, or a professional worksite.

Pros: Suitable for wide range of tasks, comprehensive speed and torque control, good price point

Cons: Batteries drain too quickly

The DeWalt 20V MAX Cordless Compact Drill/Driver is a perfect everyman’s tool. It’s priced in range for most budgets, it will last for years even with regular use, and it’s suitable for most drilling and driving projects that are likely to arise in your average household.

With the right bit, this drill can power down through lumber, concrete, sheet metal, and more. It can be set to operate in two different speed ranges, with the option for speeds between zero and 450 revolutions per minute, which is perfect for precision drilling, or at up to 1,500 RPM, which will help you make short work of even tougher materials like masonry.

The drill’s 16 clutch settings help you control the amount of force you bring to bear, helping prevent accidental damage to surfaces or hardware. Also, the drill comes with two 20-volt battery packs, a charger, and a bag that’s perfect for transport and storage. 

This DeWalt drill stands out thanks to being both powerful and lightweight. While ideal for home use, it’s even suitable for professional use.

The DeWalt brand is also known for its solid products. Personally, after buying a DeWalt measuring tape more than a decade ago, I have never bought another measuring tape, because the thing still works perfectly. My DeWalt drill, unfortunately, got lost in the shuffle of a major renovation project. However, as soon as the other drill I got as a stopgap fails me, I’ll probably go right back to DeWalt.

The best on a budget

b&d

The Black+Decker LDX120C Cordless Drill costs half the price of many cordless drills with similar capabilities, but it’s still reasonably powerful.

Pros: Great low price, moderate weight and size, variable speed control

Cons: Underpowered for some materials

The most affordable drill we recommend is the Black+Decker LDX120C Cordless Drill. Most cordless drills that cost less than this one are so cheap in quality that you’ll either get a tool that’s not suitable for the tasks at hand or that will break quickly. Or worse, it will be both underpowered and lacking in durability. While the Black + Decker drill we recommend is budget-friendly, it’s not a cheap tool.

This drill/driver has an 11-position clutch, offering plenty of torque control for most applications. Its maximum RPM speed of 650 is notably lower than you get with many tools, but that’s a suitable rotation for most DIY projects. A built-in LED light helps to illuminate your working space whenever the trigger is depressed, while the drill’s modest 3.25-pound weight minimizes strain and fatigue even if said workspace is overhead.

While it’s probably not the right choice for the professional framer who needs to sink thousands of screws through 2 by 12s, this is definitely the right tool for a discerning but budget-conscious amateur carpenter or hobbyist.

The best for masonry

makita

If you need to drill into stone, concrete, brick, or other masonry, the Makita XPH102 Hammer Driver-Drill is a commercial-grade powerhouse that comes at a great price.

Pros: Makes short work of stone and concrete, high RPM and BPM, fast-charging battery

Cons: Occasional smoky smell from motor

Like all drill/drivers, a hammer drill is a tool that spins a bit around super fast, boring holes or sinking screws as needed. But unlike a standard drill, a hammer drill incorporates a rapid back and forth thrusting motion while its bit revolves. This hammering action helps to pulverize hard materials, like concrete, stone, brick, and mortar, so you can more quickly and easily drill into such surfaces. 

First off, this is a reliable, durable tool that’s yours for a more than fair price. It is rugged enough for professional use and is sealed to resist damage from dust and water, both common factors on a worksite. 

The Makita XPH102 can whirl at up to 1,900 revolutions per minute, which is a great deal faster than most of the tools on our list. But perhaps even more impressive than the RPMs are the BPMs, or blows per minute. This hammer drill can pound out an astonishing 28,500 small but effective taps per minute, greatly easing the process of drilling into literally rock-solid materials.

And finally, while many 18-volt Lithium-Ion batteries take several hours to reach a full charge, the 3.0Ah battery you get with this drill charges to capacity in just 30 minutes, so you can spend more time working, less time waiting.

The best compact

bosch drill

The Bosch PS31-2A 12-Volt Drill/Driver weighs barely over 2 pounds, but it can handle just about every home drilling or driving project with ease.

Pros: Compact and lightweight, long battery life, precise and reliable

Cons: Lower RPM than most cordless drills

The Bosch PS31-2A 12-Volt Drill/Driver weighs just 2.14 pounds. That’s a full 33% less than the next lightest weight tool on our list. You can use this drill for hours on end, whether you’re working overhead on the rafters or bent underneath the kitchen sink, and your arms and hands will never get tired. And thanks to its compact size, even when you are working in a cramped area like under the sink or in a crawlspace, you will be able to maneuver the drill about as needed.

With that small size does come some loss of power, of course. This drill’s maximum RPM rating of 1,300 is lower than that of most drills, and its maximum torque output of 265 inch-pounds is on the lower side, too. But here’s the thing: Most DIY repairs and projects don’t need more speed or power than that.

For drilling into wood, drywall, thin sheet metal (like air ducts), or various composite materials, this tool is more than adequate. It’s perfectly capable when it comes to sinking screws, too. Its 20 clutch settings help you avoid damaging hardware, while a bright light helps illuminate your work area. A power gauge on the side of the tool lets you know how much battery life you have left.

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