Whether you’re a construction pro or a weekend warrior, cordless drills are essential for your toolkit. But when choosing a cordless drill, it’s important to consider factors such as power, speed, durability, weight, battery life and cost. And you’ll also be faced with choosing your drill’s volts. Pro tip: If you just want to hang a few pictures, a 12-volt drill will do, but for light construction, you should up your voltage. Whatever specs you need, finding the best cordless drill just became a lot easier with our ezpert-recommended list.
Be sure to use caution when working on home projects, especially for extended periods. People with physically demanding careers know how taxing an eight-hour day can be physically, but a study warns it may do mental damage, too. Researchers found people with high levels of physical stress at work perform worse on memory tests later in life. Plus, their brain scans also show reduced activity in the hippocampus, which is responsible for memory. If you’re burnt out from work, maybe take the night off from being the on-duty handyman at home to avoid burnout.
Also, despite carpal tunnel syndrome having a reputation of afflicting office workers, a study found laborers actually suffer from the condition more often. Researchers with the Henry Ford Health System say doctors typically see more carpal tunnel cases among construction workers and other manufacturing employees. Jobs that require lifting, gripping and forceful wrist motions can really take a toll and cause the onset of carpal tunnel. Having the right drill in your toolkit can definitely impact your work efficiency and avoid injury.
So, if you’re looking for a way to make projects easier and faster, the cordless drill is second to none. But take a trip to the hardware store, and you’ll see a lot of brands available, each with different capacities and features, making for a buying experience that’s neither easy nor fast. That’s why we searched for the five best cordless drills, according to 12 experts’ consensus. Hopefully this simplifies the drill buying process! Let us know in the comments below if you have a favorite that didn’t make the list.
The List: Best Cordless Drills, According To Experts
Bob Vila recommends this drill: “DeWalt’s 20V MAX cordless drill/driver comes from one of the most respected names in professional power tools. It offers superb quality and excellent performance at an affordable price. At around 3.5 pounds, the DeWalt drill is of moderate weight and is well balanced. The ½-inch clutch indicates its impressive power and versatility. An LED light brightens dark corners. The 16 clutch settings allowed us to tweak the torque power for different screw-driving tasks.”
“For as small as it is, our tester found that this DeWalt drill driver still packs quite a punch. On top of that, they also found that the battery life is better than they anticipated and that it continues to deliver great performance, even at higher torque levels. Furthermore, it’s lightweight and balanced, making it a perfect option for ladder work, and it comes with an integrated LED that helps with getting into darker spots. If you need just one drill for all your household DIY, you can’t go wrong with this one,” Gear Patrol raves.
The Strategist says this drill can do it all: “If you’re looking to tackle just about any project around the house, this DeWalt 20V MAX drill is versatile and dependable. DeWalt’s batteries work across its platform of tools, meaning if you are just starting to build your toolbox, these 20V batteries will work with DeWalt’s cordless saws and other tools, too. This drill has variable LED lights, battery indicators, and a compact size.”
Woodsmith talks up the features and uses: “A 20V cordless drill that features an adjustable speed system for better precision. It features a 3/8-inch bit system and a keyless chuck. Moreover, the 20V motor delivers a maximum speed of 650RPM; the speed can be adjusted as well. The drill comes packed with a lithium-ion battery. The best part? The clutch on this drill features 11 different adjustable positions, providing precise and accurate movement to drill into metal, wood, cement, or plastic!”
And Garden Gate thinks this is a great choice for home projects: “The Black and Decker 20V cordless drill has garnered some serious sales over the years, and though it might not be considered a ‘Pro’ tool, we feel like there is a place for drills that pride themselves in serving homeowners who just need a drill around the house. This battery-powered cordless drill appeals to homeowners with loftier goals in mind, such as making furniture repairs or installing a TV mount.”
“Black+Decker’s ⅜-inch 20-Volt Max cordless drill comes with a 30-piece accessory set, including drill and screwdriver bits, plus nut drivers — a great value to get you started on almost any project. Custom speed options and 24 clutch positions help protect your project’s hardware. The lithium ion battery holds a charge for months, so the drill is always ready for you to use. Its heft and slightly larger size, plus higher torque, makes it suitable for larger projects,” Good Housekeeping writes.
“What’s lightweight, compact in size, and yet full of enough power to handle just about any drilling or driving task? The DeWalt Atomic MAX, which has a 20-volt battery, 1/2-inch chuck, two speed settings with a maximum of 1,650 rpm, and 340 unit watts out of torque (the amount of force with which the drill turns the bit). This compact drill measures 6.3 inches in length and weighs only 2.4 pounds including the battery, but it’s no weakling. In our tests, this drill/driver proved capable of drilling holes of any size, as well as sinking screws of any size, without problems,” The Spruce claims.
Insider highly recommends this drill for your tool bag, too: “The DeWalt 20-Volt Max Hammer Driver-Drill’s 15 clutch positions, two speed options, and hammer-drill setting make it one of the most functional drills you can buy. When the hammer-drill setting is engaged, the DeWalt ‘hammers’ as it drills, using a repetitive concussive blow like a jackhammer. Imagine you’re hitting the back of the drill with a hammer, like a chisel, as you’re drilling. That’s the effect the hammer drill setting has and why it’s so beneficial when you’re trying to drill into tough material like brick and masonry. The DeWalt packs so much power into such a small package.”
Bob Vila was impressed with this tool’s durability. “We tested the DeWalt hammer drill on concrete and were impressed by its torque and power. We drilled more than a half a dozen holes without the hammer drill bogging down or the battery lagging. Our hands and wrists gave out before the hammer drill did.”
Pro Tool Reviews put this drill to the test: “The Flex 24V Max Hammer Drill with Turbo Mode earned a final rating of 9.8 to stand at the top of the charts. It finished in the top 3 of every test we ran, but it’s still compact at just 7.1 inches long. At $249 for the kit including two batteries and backed by a 5-year warranty, its value proposition is also very attractive.”
And according to Consumer Reports, “This 24-volt offering from Flex features a half-inch chuck and a 5.0 amp-hour battery, providing long run times. At nearly 6 pounds, it’s heavier than nearly all of the competition, but it offers unmatched performance. It aces many of our tests while still costing less than many other models in its class.”
CNET thinks this drill is worth the splurge: “Although it’s the most expensive 18-volt drill, this Milwaukee drill has tons of drilling power. It crushed the competition in our high-torque tests, completing 20% more bored holes than the second-place finisher. At 500 inch-pounds, no other drill has a higher maximum torque rating. It has one of the better warranties, with five years for the tool itself, and two years for the battery. This cordless drill kit includes an M18 compact half-inch drill driver and two M18 lithium-ion batteries. It includes a hard carrying case and two 1.5-aH batteries. Its charger supports both M18 and M12 batteries.”
“This cordless and handheld tool offers two different speeds that can be adjusted extremely easily and are powered by a built-in 4 pole motor. This motor is capable of giving you 1460 inch pounds of ‘max torque’ even though the entire piece, with its battery included, weighs under three pounds. The battery that powers the drill is one of the best features of the whole thing due to its quick charging nature. This battery can reach a full charge in less than 25 minutes, which is rather fast indeed,” DIYs.com writes.
Bob Vila raves about this tool’s heavy-duty performance that resembles the power of a corded model. “We could choose between drilling, driving, or hammer functions from the multifunction collar. The 14-setting clutch gave us the ability to select just the right sensitivity when we switched between large fasteners in hardwood and smaller fasteners in pine. And, the ½-inch chuck reflects the tool’s versatility and battery power.”
We hope you found the best drill for you on this list. If you’ve got another recommendation, feel free to let us and everyone else know in the comments!
- Bob Vila
- Gear Patrol
- The Strategist
- Garden Gate
- Good Housekeeping
- The Spruce
- Pro Tool Reviews
- Consumer Reports
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