Top 12 Cordless Drills – Choosing the Best Cordless Drill


Your cordless drill is the MVP of your workshop or toolbox. It’s an extremely versatile team player that can be used to do everything from remodeling your master bath to putting together an endless stream of bookshelves. As handy as they are on the whole, all cordless drills are not created equal. Learn more about which multifaceted make and model is the best cordless drill for you with this comprehensive guide.

How We Chose Our Ratings

In researching and compiling our list of the 12 best cordless drills and drill/driver kits, we based our ratings on the following criteria:

  • Battery life and size
  • Handling and maneuverability
  • Power
  • Speed
  • Chuck size
  • Length and weight
  • Extra features, such as work lights, belt clips, dual-voltage chargers and additional bits
  • Price

The cordless drill marketplace is more than a bit crowded (pun not intended — OK, slightly intended). Each of the drills in this guide earned top marks in all or most of the categories above.

Top 12 Cordless Drills for 2018

1. DeWalt DCD771C2

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Tight spots are zero trouble with this lightweight drill from DeWalt. Its compact body design and ergonomic handle make it comfortable and exceedingly easy to maneuver. Don’t let its small size fool you, though: there’s a lot of power underneath that bumblebee-bright veneer.

Its motor produces 300 unit watts, and its high-speed transmission features two speeds: 0 to 450 and 1,500 rpm. The DeWalt DCD771C2 retails for $79.99 and sports a 1/2-inch chuck. It comes with two 20-volt, 1.3-amp batteries, a charger, a contractor bag and a three-year limited warranty.

2. Makita FD07R1

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At the heart of this general-use drill kit is a comfortable, compact 12-volt cordless drill that weighs a lithe 2.3 pounds. Its motor is brushless, and you know what that means: more power for less energy. It runs coolly and efficiently, and its slide-style battery means the kit’s drills and impact driver can stand on their own for fumble-free pickups and set downs.

The included batteries also sport a helpful, built-in LED charge-level indicator light so you’ll always know how much juice you have left. Measuring just over six inches in length and featuring a 3/8-inch chuck, the Makita FD07R1 reaches a maximum speed of 1,500 rpm. This drill and driver kit retails for $160 and includes two 12-volt max CXT batteries, a charger and a tool case. It also features a three-year limited warranty on the drill, battery and charger.

3. Genesis GCD18BK

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The Genesis GCD18BK is an affordable, feature-filled drill kit that comes packed with 13 different drill bits. At the center of it all is a cordless drill with a 3/8-inch chuck, an electric brake, a versatile 16-position clutch and a built-in LED work light and bubble level.

Its ergonomic handle is designed for maximum comfort and maneuverability, and a magnetic bit tray is included, too, so you’ll really have to work at misplacing your bits and screws with this drill at your side. It retails for around $40 and also includes a charger, a storage case and a two-year warranty.

4. Milwaukee 2705-22

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The 18-volt Milwaukee 2705-22 packs a huge punch in a relatively small package. With a maximum speed of 2,000 rpm, it’s a monster of productivity. At just over seven inches long and 3.3 pounds, it’s touted as the most compact drill in its class, too.

That potent combination of size and speed, combined with its energy-saving Powerstate brushless motor and 1/2-inch ratcheting single-sleeve metal chuck, means it’s built for both maximum endurance and total maneuverability.

What really sets this drill kit apart from the rest of the pack is its smartphone connectivity, which allows you to set and save customized drill settings and provides suggested setups for a variety of materials and fasteners. It also lets you track the drill’s location, so you know where and how tools are being used at your job site.

The Milwaukee 2705-22 isn’t from the future; it just feels like it is. It retails for $350 and comes with two 18-volt extended-capacity battery packs, a dual-voltage charger (12-volt and 18-volt), a side handle, a bit holder, a belt clip and a carrying case.

5. Makita XFD061

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The Makita XFD061 is versatile and efficient — not just because its dual speed motor tops out at a swift 1,500 rpm, but also because of its electronically controlled brushless motor, which matches rpm to torque. This state-of-the-art design delivers massive amounts of power without throttling the drill’s battery.

It also increases the runtime per charge by nearly 50 percent and, by getting rid of carbon brushes, increases the drill’s longevity by letting it run cooler. It sports a 1/2-inch keyless metal chuck, a built-in LED work light and a rubber, soft-grip handle.

Extreme Protection Technology resists dust and water. Retailing for around $99, this drill is the more powerful cousin to the Makita FD07R1 listed above, and it comes with an 18-volt battery, a charger, a carrying bag and a three-year limited warranty.

6. Worx WX176L

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What’s better than a 1/4-inch hex quick-change chuck? Two 1/4-inch hex quick-change chucks. The Worx WX176L‘s rotating dual chucks let you switch from drill to driver with the push of a button. This International Design Excellence Award-winning innovation saves valuable time on the job: you don’t need to swap tools or bits as you go.

This compact, dual-speed cordless drill also features electronic torque control to prevent stripped screws and overdriving, as well as a built-in LED light to illuminate your workspace in any conditions. Retailing for $99.99, this picture of productivity also includes a pair of 20-volt batteries and comes with both a 30-day money back guarantee and a three-year warranty.

7. Ryobi P208

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If you want a cordless drill that’s full of features and won’t bust your bank account, the Ryobi P208 might be for you. This lean, lime green machine features a dual-speed gearbox and a super-versatile 24-position clutch. Built-in LED lights to keep your work space bright, while a magnetic tray helps you keep track of bits and screws.

With a 1/2-inch chuck and a top speed of 600 rpm, it retails for around $40 and includes a three-year warranty. That’s for the drill only, though. For world drilling domination, the Ryobi P208 requires an 18-volt battery, which is sold separately.

8. Black and Decker LDX120C

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Tired of stripping and overdriving screws? The Black and Decker LDX120C features an 11-position clutch designed to help you break the habit instead of screws and building materials. This drill is small, light and equipped with an LED work light to make sure you always have a fantastic view, no matter where you’re working or what time of day (or night) it is.

Perfect for drilling through wood, metal or plastic, this drill features a 3/8-inch chuck, maxes out at 650 rpm and is powered by a 20-volt battery that can hold a charge for up to 18 months, so it’s ready to go whenever you are. It retails for $49.99, which also includes an LCS20 charger, a double-ended bit and a two-year warranty.

9. DeWalt DCD791B

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The DeWalt DCD791B‘s brushless motor is what makes it stand out in a crowd. (The bright yellow body doesn’t hurt, either.) By reducing friction, it can adjust the amount of juice needed from the battery. This conservation of power means a 57 percent longer runtime for the battery and a longer life for your drill.

Its lightweight, 3.4-pound design ensures easy operation, and its high-speed transmission is capable of hitting speeds up to 2,000 rpm. A 1/2-inch chuck means it’s compatible with a wide array of drill bits, and a triple-mode LED work light means you’ll never have to call it a day — unless you want to, of course.

The DCD791B retails for $119.99 and comes with a three-year warranty. The catch? That’s for the drill only. It’s an exceptional value, provided you already own a compatible 20-volt battery and charger.

10. Bosch PS31-2A

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When you want a lightweight cordless drill, but you don’t want to sacrifice professional-grade power, you want this durable drill from Bosch. Weighing in at 2.14 pounds, it features a 3/8-inch, single-sleeve, three-jaw chuck and a 12-volt battery, and reaches a top speed of 1,300 rpm.

It sports 20 clutch settings and a built-in LED work light so it’s always the right drill for the job. With its best-in-class performance-to-size ratio and monster torque, it’s a steal at just $129. The Bosch PS31-2A comes packaged with two batteries, a BC330 charger, two screwdriver bits, a carrying bag, a 30-day money back guarantee and a one-year warranty.

11. Ridgid R860052

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The Ridgid R860052 is one of the most comfortable drills on this list, thanks to its micro-textured hex grip. It features two-speed settings, maxing out at 1,500 rpm, and has a 24-position clutch so it’s ready for any project and overdriving screws is never an issue.

It’s lightweight, compact and compatible with all Ridgid 18-volt batteries. At $40, it’s an affordable, durable no-frills drill with tough, all-metal gears. The fact that it comes with a lifetime service agreement is hard to beat, too.

12. DeWalt DCD991P2

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This is a heavy-duty drill for heavy-duty jobs. It boasts extraordinary bit grip thanks to its 1/2-inch ratcheting nitro-carburized metal chuck and features three-speed settings. It’s all-metal high-speed transmission’s highest setting tops out at 2,000 rpm, and its motor produces a whopping 820 UWO.

The DeWalt DCD991P2‘s best feature might be its brushless motor, though, which produces up to 57 percent more running time thanks to the energy it conserves. All this power comes at a hefty price tag; the kit retails for around $279.99 and includes two DCB205 20-volt batteries, a charger, a belt hook, a 360-degree side handle, a kit box and a three-year limited warranty.

Buyer’s Guide

To Kit or Not To Kit

If you’re just starting to build your arsenal of tools, you might consider buying a drill kit instead of just a drill. In addition to your cordless drill, a drill kit usually contains a pair of 18-volt batteries, as well as a charger, which means you’ll be getting a heavy-duty cordless drill with a versatile 1/2-inch chuck. A tool bag or case is usually standard, too. Some drill kits also include an array of other power tools, such as a circular saw and an impact driver.

Drills without bundled batteries or chargers are often referred to as “bare.” These are an attractive, highly affordable option if you already have several power tools and interchangeable batteries, and only need the tool, not two more batteries and another charger to misplace.

Chuck Size Matters

Chucks come in three main sizes: ½ inch, 3/8 inch, and ¼ inch. A drill’s power is closely related to its chuck size. The same goes for what that drill can do. In short, the bigger the chuck, the more powerful the drill. Big specialty bits, such as a grout paddle bit, for example, are often wider and require a larger chuck size.

A drill with a 1/2-inch chuck can handle practically any bit you throw its way. Predictably, these heavy-duty drills tend to be more expensive than their peers. They’re also heavier; all that power has to come from somewhere, and a drill with a 1/2-inch chuck will generally require an 18-volt to 24-volt battery.

If specialty bits and professional projects aren’t your style, and you plan to stick mostly to screws, a drill with a 3/8-inch chuck might be your best bet. These mid-range drills are powered by 12-volt batteries, making them a nimbler and (usually) less expensive alternative.

Last but not least, drills with a 1/4-inch chuck size are geared toward an especially light workload: think furniture assembly or hanging plant hooks. Since they feature the smallest chuck size, they can only accept 1/4-inch bits, which further limits their use.

Battery Size Matters, Too

Knowing how chuck size and battery ranges are related is important, but it’s also useful to consider how individual batteries stack up against one another. Volts are an expression of a battery’s power. Simply put, more volts equal more power, although it’s important to remember that all battery manufacturers don’t make identical batteries.

One brand’s 20-volt battery may be stronger than another’s, for example. Amps correlate with runtime. The more amps, the longer your drill will run on one charge. Before you run out and stock up on all the biggest, baddest batteries you can find, bear in mind that the bigger the battery, the heavier it’ll be. Unless your name’s John Cena, that’s an important consideration for a portable tool.

Do a Few Reps

As tempting as it may be to order your next cordless drill online, it’s a good idea to handle your cordless drill contenders in the store first and get a feel for each one’s grip, trigger and, most of all, weight. The more power you add, the heavier that drill gets — especially when you’re holding it above your head for extended periods of time to install a light fixture or finally add that hanging salami organizer to the family pantry.

Janice Friedman

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