Finding the right cordless drill for your DIY projects can be overwhelming but buying the right one comes down to research and patience. There are a number of different models from different manufacturers and many of them have improved in quality and performance in recent years.
Whatever your skill level is, a good cordless drill will help you with basic home improvement tasks — whether you're hanging a baby gate or building a bookcase. After a while, you'll find that a drill makes the work easier than a screw driver. We’ve put together a guide that will help you make the decision to handle the odd jobs around the house.
7 Drills That Can Get the Job Done
Today’s cordless drills are a lot more efficient than they used to be and they pack more of a punch than ever. Built to work in tandem with lithium-ion batteries, many cordless drill models hold their charge longer when they are not in use but the best model will always come down to weight, power and torque. Check out some of the best models below to get a feel for your needs.
1. Editor's Pick: Bosch PS32-02 12-Volt Cordless Drill
- Weight: 2 lbs.
- EC Brushless Motor
- Two-Speed Transmission
The Bosch PS32 is one of the lightest cordless drills you can buy and it packs a real punch too. It’s a go-to model for many DIY professionals and can dig its way through drywall, concrete and even brick. With its long-lasting EC brushless motor, two-speed transmission and its clutch settings, the Bosch cordless drill has been designed to handle most driving and drilling applications. The kit comes complete with two included 12-volt batteries and a charger. The slim pistol-grip makes it easy to handle it at different angles and it includes a built-in LED light and bit storage. It also comes with two 2-amp-hour batteries and five drill bits.
2. DeWalt 20-Volt Max Compact Lithium-Ion Cordless Drill
- 3-year limited warranty
- 14 torque settings
- Weight: 3.5 lbs.
If you're looking for a well-rounded cordless drill that you don't have to wrangle with, The DeWalt is a steady option that can handle all of your DIY projects. While you might need to buy an additional battery pack — this one only comes with one — it is a 4.0Ah XR Li-ion battery, which is one of the strongest batteries you can have for a model like this; it will last a while. The DeWalt cordless drill has 14 torque settings and a powerful hammer function for tougher jobs for concrete, steel or brick materials and surfaces. Word to the wise: you need to be careful when clicking the first gear because it’s quicker than other models. Trust us, it jumps. If you’re driving thicker screws, you’ll need to slowly rev up and make sure the screw is securely in place or you could be risking mild injury. Remember, safety first!
3. Makita XFD131 18-Volt Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Drill
- Four-speed motor
- Three-year warranty
- Built with “Assist-Mode”
The Makita is a great one for general use. It’s lightweight and can handle drywall, wood and even concrete. It packs a serious punch and has a brushless motor with an 18-volt battery to give it that extra oomph. The motor helps it deliver up 50% more work per charge. For the pro user, this means more drilling and driving power, greater productivity, and fewer trips up and down the scaffolding or ladder to get to the battery charger. Another added bonus is that the kit comes with two batteries and a rapid charger, which tops off an empty battery in an hour.
4. Craftsman V20 Cordless Drill
- Two-speed ranges
- Weight: 9.5 lbs.
- LED lights
For a model that’s under $200, this is a great, powerful model to get your DIY projects complete. The Craftsman has two speed ranges: zero to 600 rpm is perfect for precision drilling, and up to 2,100 rpm will make quick work when you're drilling holes into wood and drywall. The 1/4 in. Impact driver has a maximum torque rating of 1,450-in-lbs. for driving. It’s a combo drill that will help you with your bookcases, kitchen tables, cribs and so much more.
5. Kobalt 2-Tool 24-Volt Max Lithium Ion (Li-ion) Cordless Drill
- Torque: 1,550-in-lbs.
- Two variable speed ranges of 0-500 and 0-1,850-RPM
- Combo-drill feature
This 1/2-in hammer drill with brushless motor delivers up to 650-in-lbs of torque and offers extended life and runtime. This combo drill also has built-in LED work lights on both tools allow accurate results, even when working in dimly lit spaces. No job is too big or too small for this Kobalt power tool combo kit. The kit comes complete with a drill/driver, impact driver, 1.5-Ah battery and a 45-watt charger.
6. Milwaukee 2701-20 18-Volt Brushless Drill/Driver
- Torque: 500-in-lbs.
- Weight: 2.79 lbs.
- Made from lightweight plastic
The Milwaukee Brushless Motor Cordless Drill is one of the lightest drills you can buy and it has the power to handle a variety of materials, including steel. It delivers more battery life than the average model with its REDLINK battery system. Providing control and balance for your wrist, it allows you to work well in tight spaces, especially if you’re putting up a corner shelf or hanging a plant. This compact drill delivers 500-in-lbs. of torque and 0-450/0-1,800 RPM, for a wide range of drilling and fastening applications as well.
7. Hitachi Powertools 18-Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Drill
- Weight: 3 lbs.
- Lithium ion battery
- 2-Year Warranty
This cordless drill offers lithium ion battery technology without breaking the bank. The drill is extremely well-balanced and comfortable for extended use. With 400-in-lbs. of torque, this drill can power through any tough job with ease. The Hitachi DS18DGL features a 22+1 stage clutch with 22 torque settings and a drill mode for precision and control. Great for the job site and your home, it has a two-speed gear setting to match the appropriate speed to the application.
What to Consider When Buying a Cordless Drill
Voltage, weight, power and torque — these are the features you’ll want to look for when you're looking for a good cordless drill. The more power and torque you have to work with, the more you can do with it, especially if you’re planning to drill through materials such as steel, concrete or brick. The ideal drill can help you work smarter instead of harder. Once you have determined what your needs are, you’ll be on your way to either building that special item for a family member or friend, or something that will be a total failure and possibly get you in trouble with your significant other.
The Difference Between a Brushed Motor and a Brushless Motor Cordless Drill
When you’re buying a cordless drill, it’s important to understand the difference between a brushed motor drill and a brushless motor drill. A brushless cordless drill doesn’t have any physical connections or wiring between its moving parts. Meanwhile, brushed motors have brushes and commutators that require physical connections to operate. With a brushless motor, there are circuit boards that control the spinning functions as you power up your drill. Brushless motors create less friction, have more power and typically last longer. They might be a little more expensive but they're worth it in the long run.
Cordless Drill FAQs
Is a Cordless Drill with a Brushless Motor Worth it?
Yes. You’ll get a better torque value with brushless motor models than a brushed design. There’s no friction to take away from the motor’s torque so you’ll be able to get as much power as you need. Not only does it have more power but it also has a longer running time.
How Long Do Brushless Motors Last?
Brushless motors can last for tens of thousands of hours whereas a brushed motor is limited to 1,000 to 3,000 hours on average. There are a number of reasons for this but the main one is due to the wear on the bearings over time.
Can I Use a Cordless Drill in the Rain?
There are a very few reasons you should ever have to do this but generally speaking, you don’t want to use a cordless drill in the rain. Understandably, it can happen if you’re on a construction site or somewhere outdoors near your home, but it’s best to keep it away from water as it could do harm to the battery and the drill overall.
What Is a Drill Chuck?
A chuck is a specialized type of clamp used to hold an object with radial symmetry, especially a cylinder. Many jawed chucks on cordless drills are keyless; you can tighten and loosen the chuck by force-of-hand alone.
What Does Chuck Capacity Mean?
The capacity or size of a chuck refers to the maximum size of drill bit that it can hold. A brace that has a chuck with a 13mm (1/2″) capacity can secure a drill bit with a maximum shank size of 13mm (1/2″).
Start Shopping Today!
Whatever the project, a cordless drill will help you get it done. The best cordless drills have power, torque and enough battery life to handle even the most difficult of jobs. If you're using it at home, or if you're using it for a construction project, there are a variety of different models to help you complete your project. Check out the models we've listed above as well as our sidebar for additional deals on cordless drills.
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