6 Best Cordless Drills of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

Cordless drills aren't just for the pros. Adding one to your toolbox will make everything from home maintenance to DIY projects easier and quicker than ever before.

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Updated on January 17, 2024
10 Drills From Popular Brands on a Workbench

Comparing 10 Cordless Drills From Popular Brands

To find the best drill, 10 cordless drills from popular brands like DeWalt, Makita, Milwaukee, Bosch, Ryobi, RIDGID, Craftsman and more were tested and reviewed. Some drills are smaller and easier to use while others and larger and immensely more powerful than others.

Photo by: Kamron Sanders

Kamron Sanders

Our Top Picks for Cordless Drills

A cordless drill is undoubtedly the handiest power tool anyone can buy. Whether you’re hanging curtains, assembling flat-pack furniture, mounting a TV, building a playset or even framing a deck, a drill will make the project go smoother and quicker. Plus, with little to no learning curve, anyone, from amateur homeowners to professional contractors, can pick up a quality cordless drill and become a pro in no time.

Below, we've chosen our top cordless drills according to testing and explained what to consider when shopping for a cordless drill. After drilling over 500 holes and driving over 2,000 screws, we've determined which cordless drills are the best.

How We Tested

To find the best cordless drill, we compared 10 different options with positive customer reviews from various brands. Each drill was tested for power, speed, size, value, ease of operation, run time and overall capability. We also took into consideration the included accessories and special features.

Multiple Drills With Large Spade Bits

Using 10 Cordless Drills to Drill Large Holes for Testing

To test how powerful each drill was and see how long the batteries would last during a demanding task, each cordless drill was fitted with a large spade bit, then used to drill 1-1/2 inches of wood. This strenuous test proved easy for some drills, while serving as a challenge for others.

Photo by: Kamron Sanders

Kamron Sanders

To test each drill's drilling capabilities, we outfitted each drill with a brand new DIABLO 1-1/4 in. x 6 in. SPEEDemon High-Speed Steel Spade Drill Bit, which is an incredibly demanding bit no matter what size drill you put it in. With a full battery charge, we then drilled through 2x6 lumber until each drill died, noting how many holes they were able to complete on one battery charge. We also measured how long it took each drill to drill five 1-1/4” holes back-to-back on average to determine the speed of each drill, then used this number to calculate the actual run time.

Note: The drills tested feature different voltages and batteries with varying capacities. Additionally, many of the brands make larger batteries that can be purchased, which should improve the battery life of the drill. We simply tested each drill with its included battery.

Driving Multiple Screws Into a Board With Multiple Drills

Driving 2,000 Screws to See Which Cordless Drill is Best

To test 10 different cordless drills for power and run time, each drill was used to drive 200 screws into stacked 2x6 lumber. The drill's batteries were then measured to see how much life was left in them, which would indicated just how many more screws the drills could run.

Photo by: Kamron Sanders

Kamron Sanders

To test each drill's driving abilities, we charged the batteries once more, noting how long each battery took to charge from 0% to 100%. We then used the drills to perform a screw-driving test, which measured how much battery was left after driving 200 DECKMATE 3-inch screws into stacked 2x6 lumber using a T25 bit. If a drill were to die before reaching 200 screws, we noted how many screws it was able to drive before dying. After driving 200 screws, we checked the battery meters to see how much charge was left, then compared this with the manufacturer’s specs to estimate how many more screws each drill could drive.

Drilling Large Fasteners With Two Drills

Drill Speed and Torque Comparison Test

To test how powerful each drill was, they were used to drive large GRK fasteners into a 2x6 board on its edge without pre-drilling any holes. This was a demanding test that separated the bad drills from the great drills.

Photo by: Kamron Sanders

Kamron Sanders

To further test the power and speed of the drills, we turned a 2x6 on its edge and used each drill to drive a GRK 5/16” x 5-1/8” fastener with no pre-drilling. We measured how long it took each drill to drive the large fastener and noted if they struggled to complete the task.

We then used the best performers on the prior test to complete several other tasks that would show the drill’s performance in real-world scenarios. We removed a door to shim the hinges, mounted a curtain rod, drilled a mortise for a deadbolt, mounted a heavy mirror with a wooden medicine cabinet, changed lawnmower blades on a 60-inch commercial lawnmower deck and adjusted a kitchen cabinet door. These unstructured tests helped us compare the functionality of features like LED lights and belt clips while getting a good feel for each drill's ergonomics and comfort during use.

Photo Courtesy Amazon
What We Like
  1. Incredible power
  2. Long battery life
  3. Adjustable, bright LED
  4. Ergonomic handle
  5. Fast charging
What We Don't Like
  1. Expensive
  2. The included bag could be better

The DeWalt DCD800 20V test impressed us on every single front. It’s incredibly powerful, feels great in the hand and nothing we threw at it would slow it down. We mean it — while other drills struggled through the driving test and were bogged down by the demanding drill test, the DeWalt didn’t break a sweat. It flew through the drilling test, drilling 54 holes before its 1.7 Ah 20V battery died. Not once did it get warm or slow down. During the screw-driving test, it quickly drove 200 3-inch screws and still had 2/3 bars illuminated on the battery meter with no sign of slowing down.

The LED light was miles better than any other drill we tested. First, it was the only light with a three-way adjustable position, allowing you to aim it directly upward at the bit, straight forward or in between. Second, it was the only multifunctional LED light, featuring an “off” position, a standard position and a “20-min.” position, which brightens the light significantly and keeps it shining for 20 full minutes. This was very helpful for projects like changing lawnmower blades and adjusting the cabinet door because we could set the drill to the side as a work light and adjust the brightness and position to illuminate the area.

Lastly, this DeWalt drill was the most comfortable, balanced drill to hold throughout all the testing. The ergonomics of the handle are far better engineered than the competition, making it easy to hold for any hand size. We looked for bad things to say about the DeWalt DCD800 and had difficulty finding any with the drill itself. However, the included bag could be bigger and better (we would’ve liked to have seen a hard case), and it isn’t the cheapest drill on the list.

  1. Voltage 20V
  2. Amp Hours 1.7 Ah
  3. Max Chuck Size 1/2 inches
  4. Weight 3.5 pounds
Photo Courtesy The Home Depot
What We Like
  1. Compact size
  2. Comfortable handle
  3. Great power
What We Don't Like
  1. Battery is bulky
  2. LED is basic

In the number two spot is the Milwaukee 3601-20 M18 18V. Much like our top pick, we have mostly positive things to say about this drill. First, while many drills look and feel like cheap plastic, the M18 looks and feels like a high-quality product. It’s an extremely powerful 18V drill that would've topped this list if not for the DeWalt DCD800. While the M18 shares nearly every attribute we liked about the DeWalt, the DeWalt simply outperformed it in the drilling and driving test. Plus, we were disappointed in the basic LED and wide battery, which detracted from the drill's sleek, compact frame.

  1. Voltage 18V
  2. Amp Hours 2 Ah
  3. Max Chuck Size 1/2 inches
  4. Weight 3.2 pounds
Photo Courtesy The Home Depot
What We Like
  1. Great price
  2. Lightweight
  3. Long battery life
What We Don't Like
  1. Bag and charger felt cheap
  2. Battery is bulky
  3. Slow drilling and driving

The RIDGID R87012K is, by far, the best value of all the drills tested. We were shocked to see its reasonable price after seeing how it performed in the tests. In the drilling test, the RIDGID completed more holes than the Dewalt DCD800 at 63 holes, though it did take notably longer to do so. After driving 200 screws, the 2 Ah 18V battery still had 2/4 bars illuminated on the meter, leading us to believe it could easily drive another 100-200 screws.

  1. Voltage 18V
  2. Amp Hours 2 Ah
  3. Max Chuck Size 1/2 inches
  4. Weight 2.94 pounts
Photo Courtesy Amazon
What We Like
  1. Thin, ergonomic handle
  2. Lightweight
  3. Great power for its class
What We Don't Like
  1. LED could be better
  2. Slow drilling and driving
  3. Limited to 3/8-inch chuck

The DeWalt DCD701F2 12V MAX is the ultimate lightweight drill. Out of all the smaller-sized 12V drills tested, this was our favorite. Much like its 20V big brother at the top of our list, the DeWalt 12V is powerful and extremely ergonomic and outperformed every drill in its class. In fact, it’s hard to tell the two DeWalt’s apart until you set them side by side and see just how much smaller the 12V is. At under 2-1/2 lbs., we’re grabbing this drill for any task that doesn’t require the power of a larger 18V or 20V drill. However, even with a 12V power source, this drill proved that it could compete with the big guys. In the drilling test, it was able to drill 34 1-1/4” holes, only 20 less than the larger DeWalt. In the screw-driving test, it drove 204 3-inch screws. This kind of power is more than enough to last through most real-world projects. If you don’t need the power of a larger drill, you can’t go wrong with the DeWalt 12V. Plus, its smaller frame and weight made it a dream to hold in every scenario. Much like the DeWalt 20V, the small DeWalt’s ergonomic handle was incomparably better and more comfortable than its direct competition.

  1. Voltage 12V
  2. Amp Hours 2 Ah
  3. Max Chuck Size 3/8 inches
  4. Weight 2.39 pounds
Photo Courtesy Amazon
What We Like
  1. Inexpensive
  2. Easy to use
What We Don't Like
  1. Very slow drilling and driving
  2. Thick, uncomfortable handle
  3. Lackluster LED
  4. Battery meter is on tool instead of battery

The BOSCH PS31-2A 12V is a no-fuss drill that's perfect for knocking out general home maintenance and light DIY projects. It's not the fastest or most powerful drill on this list, but it's not trying to be and or priced as if it is. If you're looking for comfort and a drill you can use all day, you may want to spring for the DeWalt 12V instead. Because the battery slides up into the handle of the BOSCH, the handle is much thicker than that of the Dewalt 12V, which makes it uncomfortable to hold after prolonged use.

  1. Voltage 12V
  2. Amp Hours 2 Ah
  3. Max Chuck Size 3/8 inches
  4. Weight 2.15 pounds
Photo Courtesy The Home Depot
What We Like
  1. Long battery life
  2. High-quality bag with plenty of room
  3. Included impact driver
  4. Hammer drill functionality
  5. Fully charges in 30 minutes
What We Don't Like
  1. Bulky
  2. Expensive kit
  3. Heavy

The Makita XPH12 isn't messing around. This isn’t your average homeowner-grade drill. It’s a professional, ultra-high-quality drill that’s meant to be used all day long for the most demanding jobs. This Makita kit comes with both an 18V cordless drill/driver and an impact driver, plus two 4.0 Ah batteries and a charger. Everything is stowed in a luxurious, oversized zipper bag with plenty of room and pockets to add tools and accessories inside. In both the drilling and driving test, the Makita simply couldn’t be stopped. It took a staggering 122 1-1/4” holes drilled to kill the massive battery, which was more than double that of the DeWalt 20V. When it came time to perform the screw-driving test, the Makita had 4/4 bars illuminated on the battery meter after driving 200 3-inch screws. We wouldn’t be surprised at all if it had another 300-400 screws in it.

The Makita was also the sole drill to have a hammer drill function. To test this alongside the other drills, we drilled through a concrete block with a masonry bit. While every drill eventually made its way through the concrete block, the Makita’s hammer drill function allowed it to fly through the block as if it were drilling wood.

  1. Voltage 18V
  2. Amp Hours 4 Ah
  3. Max Chuck Size 1/2 inches
  4. Weight 4 pounds
Cordless Drill Handle Thickness Comparison

Different Thicknesses of Cordless Drill Handles

These four different drill offerings from Milwaukee and DeWalt show the vastly different sizes in handles, which effects the comfort level during use. The thicker handles make the handle hard to hold for long-term use, as the hand grows tired faster.

Photo by: Kamron Sanders

Kamron Sanders

What to Consider When Shopping for a Cordless Drill

  • Handle Ergonomics and Comfort: Don't underestimate the impact of a poorly designed drill handle. While it may seem comfortable enough when you pick it up for the first time, the comfort will soon fade once you put it to use. Look for thinner handles with a shape that fits naturally in your hand, especially if you have smaller hands.
  • Voltage and Amp Hours: A cordless drill’s voltage rating directly affects its power. Popular voltage options include 12V, 18V and 20V, though there are other voltages available. The term “amp hours” refers to the battery's longevity and is typically written on the side or bottom of the battery with a number and "Ah".
  • Torque: A drill's torque is the power the motor delivers to the bit. Larger bits and fasteners require immensely more torque than smaller ones, meaning some smaller and weaker drills aren't compatible with larger bits.
  • Speed: Drill speed affects how the drill handles drilling certain materials, certain bits, certain fasteners and more. However, higher speed isn’t necessarily better. In some applications, such as driving small screws, a higher speed can aid in starting the screw and driving the screw faster. But, with an increase in a drill’s speed comes a decrease in its torque. This is why drills are variable speed. It allows you to drop the speed and unlock higher torque.
  • Hammer Drill Function: If you plan to drill masonry, make sure the drill you're considering has a hammer drill function before purchasing. This adds a hammering action while the bit spins, which allows a masonry bit to chip away at the material as it drills.
Makita Hammer Drill Drilling Into a Cinderblock

Drilling Through a Cinderblock With a Makita Hammer Drill

The hammer drill functionality of the Makita cordless drill allows you to effortlessly drill through masonry, such as this cinderblock. The hammer drill operates by chipping away at the cinderblock with a hammering motion as the bit spins to create the small hole.

Photo by: Kamron Sanders

Kamron Sanders

  • Brushed vs Brushless Motor: Brushless motors began as an upgrade and soon made their way into nearly every cordless drill on the market. This is because brushless motors are more efficient, which leads to longer battery life. Additionally, brushless motors tend to be quieter than brushed motors, have better response time, less maintenance and lower heat. On the downside, brushless motors are more expensive than brushed motors.
  • Size and Weight: Size and weight may not seem like the most important specs when shopping cordless drills, but you’ll begin to think otherwise once you begin drilling overhead, in tight corners and hard-to-reach spots. In these scenarios, one extra pound can make a major difference.
A Large Drill Sitting Next to a Small Drill

Comparing Cordless Drill Sizes Between Brands

Placing the Makita cordless drill next to the Bosch cordless drill puts their dramatic size difference on full display. This makes each tool drastically different to use, as the Makita is much heavier than the Bosch drill, but also much more capable of completing demanding drilling and driving tasks.

Photo by: Kamron Sanders

Kamron Sanders

  • Chuck Size: The chuck is the portion of the drill that holds the bit. Thus, a larger chuck can fit a larger shank bit. Buying a drill with a 1/2-inch chuck instead of a 3/8-inch chuck is a crucial decision if you intend to use large drill bits. The larger 1/2-inch chucks can be tightened to fit small bits, so, if in doubt, spring for the larger chuck.
How-To Guide

How to Use a Power Drill

Using a drill doesn't have to be intimidating — use this handy guide to learn about the different parts, how to use it and how to take care of it.

How to Keep a Drill in Good Working Condition

Maintaining a cordless drill is as simple as cleaning it and storing it properly. Follow the tips below for proper cleaning and storage practices for cordless drills:

  • Treat your drill with care. A good, high-power drill feels indestructible, but these tools are meant to be handled with care. Dropping them on hard surfaces, using them as a hammer to knock a stud into place and not cleaning and storing them properly will shorten their lifespan.
  • Blow out the vents. If you’re using your drill regularly, take time to blow out the vent holes with dry compressed air at least once a week. This helps the drill run efficiently and keeps the motor from overheating.
  • Wipe off the drill. If the outside shell gets dirty, clean it with a water-dampened cloth and mild soap, being careful to not get any water inside the drill. Never use chemical solvents to wipe any portion of the drill.
  • Remove the battery pack when not in use. When you're done using your cordless drill, remove the battery and place both the tool and battery inside the provided case or a toolbox. Never store the battery with loose metal items such as screws, nails, paper clips or any other items that could contact the battery terminals and short the battery.
  • Store in a moderate environment. Place the drill in a cool, dry environment away from direct sunlight, excess heat and excess cold.
  • Charge the battery before long-term storage. For long-term drill storage, follow the same storage recommendations as above. Fully charge the battery before storage unless otherwise specified by the manufacturer.

Caring for your cordless drill using the tips and tricks above will guarantee it lasts as long as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who makes the best cordless drills? The best power drills come from top brands like DeWalt, Milwaukee, Ridgid, Makita and Bosch.
  • How much should a cordless drill cost? A quality cordless drill typically costs over $100, though options can be found under $100. Premium options will be closer to $200 and above and will often include multiple batteries, a bag or case and a charger.
  • Is a corded drill more powerful than a cordless drill? Which is better? Many corded drills have higher speed and torque ratings than their cordless counterparts, but this doesn’t equate to them being better. Being tied to an extension cord rather than having the freedom of being cordless is a major disadvantage for most use cases. Plus, today’s cordless drills have ample power for the majority of most user’s needs.
  • What’s the difference between a screwdriver, drill and impact driver? Drills, impact drivers and cordless screwdrivers are often confused due to their similar looks, but these tools all have different functionalities. A drill is made for drilling materials using a drill bit, though most have an adjustable collar for driving fasteners. An impact driver is made for driving fasteners that require a lot of torque. A cordless screwdriver is simply made for driving fasteners that don't require the torque of an impact driver.
EXPERT TOOL TIPS

Impact Driver vs. Drill: What's the Difference?

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