Best Cordless Drill Reviews of 2021
DEWALT DCD791D2 Brushless Compact Drill/Driver Kit
Best for the pros
High-performance cordless drill delivers industrial-grade capabilities and extended runtime.
1 DEWALT DCD791D2 Review
Powered by an XR 20V Max lithium-ion battery and equipped with a brushless motor, the DEWALT DCD791D2 is the best cordless drill on the market.
The battery and motor combined enhance the unit’s capacity and runtime with up to 57%, while the lightweight and compact design allows easy maneuvering in tight spaces.
Industrial performance is guaranteed by the reliable transmission which delivers a maximum speed of 2,000 RPM, while the half-inch ratcheting chuck ensures a superior bit gripping.
Like most cordless drills, this machine has both drilling and driving capabilities and comes as part of a kit comprising two batteries and a charger.
Powerful and well-balanced, the DEWALT DCD791D2 is a great choice for professionals.
Dewalt DCD771C2 Cordless Compact Drill Driver Kit
Best value for money
Perfect for both contractors and DIYers, this cordless drill packs sufficient power for most applications.
2 Dewalt DCD771C2 Review
Less powerful than our best-in-class pick but packing many of its features, the Dewalt DCD771C2 appeals to both professionals and homeowners due to its more attractive price point.
This unit also delivers high-performance thanks to the reliable transmission that spins the chuck up to 1,500 RPM. Despite the slightly lower speed, this cordless drill can still complete a wide range of applications.
Power is provided by the 20V Max lithium-ion battery which is interchangeable, and the kit comes with two batteries for extended runtime.
Ergonomic and easy to handle, the unit is easy to control and slim enough to use in tight spaces. Powerful, powered by a reliable battery and capable of handling most jobs, the Dewalt DCD771C2 is one of the best cordless drills for the money.
DEWALT DCK283D2 20V MAX XR Cordless Drill Combo Kit
Best cordless drill and impact driver kit
This combo is an excellent choice for contractors and construction work.
3 DEWALT DCK283D2 Review
Building or renovating homes often require a bit more power than a cordless drill can offer, and that’s where an impact driver steps in. So, if you need both tools, the DEWALT DCK283D2 combo could fit the bill.
Both tools are powered by 20V MAX batteries you can use with other power tools in the class. The cordless drill included is very similar to our best in class, while the impact driver brings that extra punch that allows you to drive screws with little effort, even in masonry.
Designed to last, both tools come with durable brushless motors, are easy to operate, and very well balanced. No doubt, an excellent bargain.
BLACK+DECKER LD120VA 20V MAX Cordless Drill / Driver
A wallet-friendly alternative
This inexpensive cordless drill is perfect for homeowners and light-duty workshop use.
4 BLACK+DECKER LD120VA Review
Whether you need a cordless drill for occasional use at home or light-duty use in your workshop, the BLACK+DECKER LD120VA could be the best one for you. Its speed might be a far cry from our best in class, but at 650 revolutions per minute, it’s still enough to drill or drive screws through wood, thin metal, and plastic.
Similar to our other options, this tool is powered by a 20V lithium-ion battery and comes with 30 accessories, including nut drivers and screwing bits.
We wouldn’t expect it to last for a lifetime, but it is lightweight and does what it’s supposed to do brilliantly—a good choice for anyone on a budget.
1. Why invest in a cordless drill?
Since the emergence of the newest types of batteries, cordless drills have become more popular than the corded drills among both professionals and DIYers. Their main advantage is the mobility, while today’s batteries offer both power and decent run time.
But a cordless drill can serve many more purposes than just drilling holes. Here are the most common alternative uses:
- Replace the traditional screwdriver
- Drill pilot holes to minimize wood splits when inserting screws
- Stirring paint
- Cutting holes in different materials
2. What type of cordless drill do you need?
There are two types of cordless drills, drill/drivers and combination drills.
- Cordless drill/drivers: Are designed to drill holes and drive screws, and almost all cordless drills can perform both operations. This type is the most common among homeowners and can be used for multiple applications, from hanging shelves and hooks to woodworking. However, they can’t handle particularly hard materials, like masonry.
- Cordless combinationdrills: Also called hammer drills, they have the same functions of the drill/drivers as well as a hammer-drilling mode which allows drilling holes into masonry materials. These machines combine the rotating motion with the hammer action, and to do this they use more power than the standard drill/drivers, which typically means a shorter runtime.
3. Cordless drill battery
Almost all cordless drills available on the market come with lithium-ion batteries, although you can still find nickel-cadmium batteries on the older models. Regardless of the technology involved, you must check the voltage and ampere-hours (Ah) to assess the battery’s performance.
The voltage is the first rating to check, as it offers a clear indication of the machine’s power and torque. However, not all batteries can generate the same power despite having the same voltage, mostly because manufacturers express the voltage of their batteries at no load, which typically means a lower nominal value.
The ampere-hours rating determines the battery’s capacity and runtime, with a higher Ah rating typically meaning a longer runtime.
How to choose the right voltage
Power is expressed in watts and is easy to calculate multiplying the power tool’s amperes by its voltage. But cordless drill manufacturers rarely disclose the amperage of their tools, which is different than the Ah rating above. This means assessing wattage is often impossible, so you’ll have to figure out which is the best cordless drill for you based on voltage alone.
The voltage of the cordless drill is typically printed on the battery and usually varies between 6 and 36 volts.
The easiest way to assess the right voltage is by considering your needs.
- Light duty applications, such as drilling or cutting holes and driving screws into softer materials like wood, plastic, and drywall require lower power, and a voltage up to 18 volts is usually sufficient.
- Heavy-duty applications that involve drilling or driving screws through harder materials including hardwood, ceramic, and metals, require higher power and a battery of at least 18 volts.
4. Cordless drill speed
The speed of the cordless drill, measured in revolutions per minute (RPM), determines how fast the chuck can spin and ultimately determines the tool’s capability of handling heavier duty applications.
Most cordless drills come with speeds up to 2,000 RPM, and they can have either a one or two-speed settings.
One vs. two-speed settings
- Cordless drills with a single speed setting typically operate in the 0-750 RPM range and are ideal for light-duty applications. These cordless drills are cheaper than the models with two-speed settings and are popular among homeowners.
- Cordless drills with two-speed settings allow you to switch from lower to higher torque depending on the application. The lower speed setting can reach 500 RPM, while the upper-speed setting often exceeds 1,500 RPM, and these machines are popular among hobbyists and professionals who need the tool for heavy-duty applications.
Choosing the right speed
Lower speeds generate higher torque and are used for drilling harder materials like metal and masonry, but also for driving screws. Higher speeds are used for drilling through softer materials, including wood, drywall, and plastic.
You will typically need:
A speed of about
For drilling through
Hard metals (high carbon steel alloys, cast iron)
Bronze and brass
Wood and soft metals (aluminum)
5. Torque and torque settings
The torque determines the rotary turning force of the chuck measured in pound-inch (in-lbs). It is commonly believed that a higher torque defines a higher-grade tool, but before choosing the highest torque you must also consider safety.
A too powerful drill can overpower your strength, causing you to lose control over the machine. Most low-speed drilling and screw driving applications don’t require a torque over 600 in-lbs., and the best cordless drills don’t exceed 650 in-lbs. torque.
A cordless drill’s clutch is a device similar to the transmission clutch of a vehicle and allows the user to control the amount of torque applied for various drilling and driving applications.
Clutches have multiple settings that vary from low to high torque.
- Low torque settings: Allow for higher speed applications, such as driving screws in wood or drywall.
- High torque settings: Provide a greater power during lower speed applications, such as driving screws in metal.
Most clutches have a marked drilling setting which must be selected when using the tool for drilling.
6. Chuck size
The chuck size determines the diameter of the drill bits compatible with the tool. Cordless drills have either 3/8-inch (10mm) or 1/2-inch (13mm) chucks.
- 3/8-inch (10mm) chucks: Can only accommodate drill bits with a maximum shank diameter of 3/8 inches and are suitable for lighter duty applications.
- 1/2-inch (13mm) chucks: Are typically adjustable and can accommodate both 3/8-inch bits and larger bits with a maximum shank diameter up to 1/2 inches.
7. Best drill bits for cordless drills
The drill bits come in a wide range of sizes and types, each of them suitable for specific applications. When choosing the best drill bits, you must consider the size and type of the shank, the size of the drill bit, the material it is made from, and its purpose.
Shank size and type
Determines the drill bit’s compatibility with your tool. As mentioned above, drill bits can have shank diameters up to 1/2 inches. Regarding the shank type, it can be either round or hexagonal.
- Round shank drill bits: Are easier to center in the chuck but the rounded shape makes it difficult for the chuck to provide a good grip.
- Hexagonal (or hex) shank drill bits: Are harder to center accurately but the flat surface allows the chuck to grip the bit securely. Due to this, hex shank drill bits are more popular than the round shank bits.
Best drill bits material
The most common types of drill bits are:
- High-speed steel (HSS): The most common and cheapest drill bits designed for high-speed applications. They are ideal for drilling wood, plastics, and soft metals.
- Black oxide-coated: Are made from metal and coated with a rust-resistant material that improves their durability. They are ideal for drilling soft and hardwood, plastics, and harder metals, such as steel.
- Titanium-coated: Are the upgraded version of the black oxide-coated drill bits and last longer. They are typically employed in the same drilling applications as the black oxide-coated type.
- Cobalt: These drill bits are some of the strongest, and they can drill hard metals and steel. The main advantage of cobalt is the quick heat dissipation and the resistance to abrasion, which improves their strength and lifespan.
- Carbide-tipped: Are the strongest and best drill bits used for the heaviest applications. These drill bits are typically used to drill masonry and hard metals, and they stay sharp for a very long time.
Drill bits purpose comparison
The easiest way to choose the best drill bits is by considering the application. Manufacturers make specific drill bits for wood, metal, masonry, and specialty drill bits for other materials. The most common types include:
Type of drill bit
Drill large holes
Drill straight holes
Drill wide holes
Drill rivet holes
Drill large holes
Drill holes with hammer function engaged
Drill holes in most materials
Besides the common types mentioned in the table above, there are multiple types of specialty drill bits used for drilling glass, tiles, or large holes.
Since almost all cordless drills double as an electric screwdriver, the manufacturers also propose a wide selection of screwdriver bits compatible with most types of screws. Some screwdriver bits come with a standard hex or round shank and can be placed directly in the chuck, while others will require you to use them with an adapter.
8. Other important features
The best cordless drills often come with a range of other features that either improve your user experience or your safety.
- Spotlight: Provides the extra-light you need when working in confined or dark spaces. Some tools have a convenient auto shutoff function for the spotlight, prolonging the runtime.
- Fast recharging: The latest generation batteries can recharge in under an hour, and some of the best models can even recharge in less than 40 minutes.
- Multiple batteries: If you’re aiming for continuous operation, invest in a battery kit that comes with two batteries.
- Ergonomic design: Look for a well-balanced tool that is comfortable to maneuver. A soft grip handle can also improve your comfort.
- Carrying case: Is ideal for storage and transport purposes. Most carrying cases have slots for accessories, so you’ll be able to keep everything in one place.
- Belt hook: Allows you to attach the drill to your belt for hands-free operation.
- Spindle lock: Prevents the chuck from moving when the trigger is released, allowing for a safer change of the drill bits.
- Automatic brake: Stops the chuck instantly when the trigger is released, lowering the risk of injuries.
9. The Best Cordless Drill for the Money
Dewalt DCD771C2 Cordless Compact Drill Driver KitBest value for money
Perfect for both contractors and DIYers, this cordless drill packs sufficient power for most applications.