Best Cordless Drills of 2020

Updated
Categories Drills
Cordless drills are so convenient and they perform as well as corded drills. 

Sometimes you need a cordless drill, period. It used to be that corded drills were more reliable and had greater power.

Cordless drills were seen as a hobby tool and for small jobs around the home. Not any more.

We take you on a tour of the best cordless drills to see how good they really are.


Why Buy a Cordless Drill?

Cordless drills offer you more freedom to roam. If you are a construction worker, it isn’t feasible to trail power cords everywhere, so a cordless drill is safer and more convenient. In the home or workshop, a cordless drill enables you to take the tool to the job.

And if you happen to be working outdoors, you can get the work done quickly without needing to plug in. When you are setting up a corded drill, you have to unwind the power cable, decide if you need an extension cord and find the nearest plug. It’s just too much hassle.

Cordless drills, by contrast, lift out of the case, you snap in the battery, and away you go.

Are Cordless Drills as Good as Corded Drills?

It used to be that cordless drills couldn’t match corded drills for power and torque. When they were first introduced, they only operated on 9.6 volts, and as anyone who knows tools will tell you, the power of cordless drills comes from the voltage.

Thankfully, cordless drills have caught up with their corded cousins and can now operate up to 18 volts. This means that the old idea that corded drills are more powerful is now a myth. It’s the reason why you will see cordless drills on construction sites far more readily than the corded versions.

With the advent of battery operated drills came advancements in design. Cordless drills weigh more than corded drills thanks to the battery, which sits at the base of the handle. T-bar handles give the user a better grip and help to centralize the pressure directly behind the bit.

How Do I Choose a Cordless Drill?

There are some things you should look for if you are in the market for a cordless drill.

Clutch

The clutch sits behind the chuck and disengages the drill’s drive shaft when the right level of resistance gets reached. You can hear it working when you hear a clicking noise. This means the motor is still running, but the bit has stopped turning to protect the motor from burning out.

It also stops screws and fixings from stripping when you are using the drill as a driver. The majority of corded drills don’t have a clutch.

Speed

Inexpensive drills have one fixed speed of about 800 RPM. If you can, look for a drill with two-speed settings, namely, 300 RPM and 800 RPM. This allows you to select the speed setting to suit the job.

If you use the drill for driving, the lower setting is better, and if you drill a lot of holes, the higher setting is the one to choose. If the material you drill requires more power, find a model that offers 1000 plus RPM.

Quick Note

Having a variable speed trigger enables you to adjust the speed automatically by the pressure you apply to the trigger.

Handle and Grip

Modern handles are ergonomically designed with soft-grip and T-bars. The handle is crucial because it balances the drill and gives you a comfortable experience. It also helps to direct the pressure you apply to the bit.

Batteries

Essentially, there are three types of batteries for cordless drills. Nickel Cadmium (NiCad) is the oldest form of battery technology and was used in the first cordless drills. Lithium-ion batteries are the most common varieties used in battery-operated drills today. They are more efficient and hold their charge for longer.

The newest battery technology comes in the form of Nickel-Metal-Hydride (NiMH) batteries. They are smaller, lighter and run for longer. Also, they pose less of a threat to the environment when sent to the landfill because they don’t contain cadmium, which is highly toxic.

Chargers

Most cordless drills come with a charger. Depending on your particular charger model, you should expect your battery to charge anywhere from 15 minutes to a couple of hours. Faster isn’t always better because it can cause extreme heat, which can damage the battery. Look for heat protection chargers that have sensors to regulate this problem.

If you are a contractor, faster charging will be a major plus point, while there is less need to speed-charge at home.

Voltage

Most drills have 18 volts, and with cordless drills, the voltage dictates the power. In the United States, it is more common to see 20 volts rather than 18 volts. The two are essentially the same. 18 volts is a nominal measurement, while 20 volts is the maximum.


The Best Corded Drills of 2020

With such a vast array of drills on offer, we give you our list of the 10 best cordless drills and what they are best suited to.

1. DeWALT 20V Max Brushless Drill Driver Set

Best Brushless Cordless Drill

DEWALT 20V MAX Cordless Drill / Driver Kit, Compact, Brushless (DCD777C2)
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DeWALT features heavily in this list and rightly so. They are one of the foremost power tool manufacturers in the world, and they are a homegrown success story. Brushless motors are a match made in heaven.

They extend the runtime of your battery by up to 30 percent thanks to the ultra-efficient motor. It comes with a keyless chuck, an LED light for better visibility, and a no-load speed of between 500 RPM and 1,750 RPM.

Why We Love It

Interchangeable Battery

DeWALT calls it their 20V family. It means that when you are done using the drill, the battery slots into a host of other power tools.

Brushless Motor

Brushless motors are so efficient that they increase the battery runtime of your drill by 30 percent. It also means that they need less maintenance.

2 Batteries

This set comes complete with two lithium-ion batteries. While you are working, the other battery is always on hand should the power drain, and it keeps you working for longer.

Keep In Mind

Small Battery Capacity

While this set comes with two batteries, they are the smallest batteries in the DeWALT range. So, you are going to run out of juice rapidly unless you upgrade.

Expensive Battery Replacement

DeWALT is making their money selling you replacement batteries. And boy, do they charge for these things. Expect to pay more for two replacement batteries than the entire cost of the drill kit.

Additional Specs

Weight2.6 pounds
Brushless/BrushedBrushless
Key/Keyless chuckKeyless
Dimensions (inches)12.5 x 3.75 x 9.81
Max RPM1,750
Price$$
Warranty3-year limited

2. Bosch Power Tools Drill Kit PS31-2A

Best Compact Cordless Drill

Bosch Power Tools Drill Kit - PS31-2A - 12V, 3/8 Inch, Two Speed Driver, Cordless Drill Set - Includes Two Lithium Ion Batteries, 12V Charger, Screwdriver Bits & Soft Carrying Bag
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Bosch always features in these review lists because they make quality power tools. This drill driver is compact and weighs just over 2 pounds without the battery. It is professionally graded to provide a maximum of 1,300 RPM and it has an adjustable torque setting to cater to different tasks.

Bosch boasts that this drill is 22 percent more compact, 15 percent faster and delivers 25 percent more torque compared to similar drills.

Why We Love It

Compact

This drill is the ideal choice for working in small spaces. It also means it is easier to handle and puts your hands and wrists under less strain with prolonged use.

Fuel Indicator

Typically, the first sign that your battery is failing is when you notice a drop in the performance of the drill. Bosch has fitted this model with an indicator level to show how much juice is left in the battery.

Price

This drill is considerably cheaper than the DeWALT drill, making it a great deal for not a lot of money.

Keep In Mind

12 Volts

While Bosch gets the most out of the power available, the voltage is still low. And as we have said before, the voltage tells you how powerful the motor is.

Battery Removal

It seems that Bosch has made the slot for the battery so snug that unless you have Herculean strength, it is near impossible to remove.

Additional Specs

Weight2.14 pounds
Brushless/BrushedBrushless
Key/Keyless chuckKeyless
Dimensions (inches)12.5 x 3.75 x 9.81
Max RPM1,300
Price$$
Warranty3-year limited plus 2-year battery warranty

3. DeWALT 20V Max Cordless Drill Combo Kit

Best Cordless Drill Driver Combo

DEWALT 20V MAX Cordless Drill Combo Kit, 2-Tool (DCK240C2)
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It’s DeWALT again! This kit includes an impact driver and a cordless drill. So, no matter what you are tackling, it can handle it. It also comes with two lithium-ion batteries, so you need never run out of juice.

The impact driver has a 0.25-inch hex chuck, and the drill has a 0.50-inch universal chuck. This kit offers one-handed loading for ease and convenience, and the drill produces a maximum of 1,500 RPM.

Why We Love It

2 for the Price of 1

This combo kit comes with an impact driver and a drill driver. So, no matter what the task, you will have the tool to tackle it.

Impact Driver

The power of an impact driver increases the types of material you can work with. It means that drilling through concrete and masonry are all within your capabilities.

Price

As mentioned, this kit contains an impact driver, a drill driver, 2 batteries and a charger. And it all comes in a handy carry bag. For the price, this is incredible value for money.

Keep In Mind

Small Capacity Batteries

These lithium-ion batteries are the smallest capacity in the range at 1.3 amp-hours (Ah). It restricts you to the length of projects you can work on because the batteries will drain quickly.

Expensive Replacement Batteries

DeWALT does sell upgraded batteries that offer a longer runtime but expect to pay more than the price of the drill combo set.

Additional Specs

Weight9.2 pounds
Brushless/BrushedBrushed
Key/Keyless chuckKeyless
Dimensions (inches)15.6 x 6.38 x 9.88
Max RPM1,500
Price$$
Warranty3-year limited

4. KIMO Cordless Drill/Driver Kit

Best Cordless Drill for Woodworking

Cordless Drill Driver Kit - 20V Max Impact Drill Set w/Lithium-Ion Battery & Charger, 350 In-lb Torque, 3/8'' Keyless Chuck, 21+1+1 Clutch, Variable Speed, Built-in LED Drilling Wall Brick Wood Metal
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KIMO may not be a name most of you are familiar with, but this drill has it all. It has a low purchase price, making it the ideal option for novices, it has 21+1+1 torque settings, so it can cater to hard and softwood, and an LED for working in darker environments. .

It also has a variable speed trigger, a keyless chuck and forward and reverse settings. The maximum RPM is 1,350 and it produces 350 inches to pounds of torque. This is an all-rounder, but when you are working with wood you know this drill can cope.

It even comes with a 46-piece accessory kit, so whatever the task, you are sure to have an attachment that suits.

Why We Love It

Competitive Price

This drill could have competed in so many categories, including the best beginner drill. It isn’t the cheapest drill to feature, but for overall value, it is hard to beat.

Lots of Accessories

It comes with a 46-piece accessory kit, which includes brad point drill bits, twist bits and an array of driver bits.

Great Clutch Settings

This drill has 21+1+1 clutch settings to ensure that you never strip or shear screws and fixings. It protects the drill motor by ensuring it doesn’t burn out.

Keep In Mind

Cheaply Made

The components and materials used to create this drill are not the highest quality. It won’t last as long as some of the more expensive brands.

Weak Hammer Drill

When you finish your woodwork project, sometimes you need to use the drill for other tasks. It has a hammer setting but don’t expect great results. Many have reported that the hammer action is weak.

Additional Specs

Weight5.24 pounds
Brushless/BrushedBrushed
Key/Keyless chuckKeyless
Dimensions (inches)7 x 5 x 7
Max RPM1,350
Price$
Warranty2-year

5. Makita XFD061 Compact Brushless Drill

Best Cordless Drill for Metal

Makita XFD061 18V LXT Lithium-Ion COMPACT Brushless Cordless 1/2' Driver-Drill Kit (3.0Ah)
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This is the first Makita to make the list. It doesn’t have the impact that the DeWALT impact driver has, but then again, when drilling through metal, it is better to take the process slowly and build up speed.

This drill has a keyless chuck, and it generates 530 inches to pounds of torque. It comes with a carry-case and a 3Ah battery.

Why We Love It

Brushless Motor

Brushless motors increase the running capacity of the battery by up to 50 percent. It means you get a longer run time and more use between charges. It also protects the lifespan of the battery, because it reduces the need to keep charging.

3Ah Battery

It beats some of the other batteries because this one will keep going for 3 hours solid. You should get a day’s work on one charge.

All-Metal Gears

When you are working with metal, you need a drill that is robust. This Makita has all-metal gears and housing to protect it from the rigors of the job-site environment.

Keep In Mind

Price

Makita makes quality tools and that is reflected in the price. You rarely see a budget option in the Makita range.

Delivery Issues

A lot of customers complain about the quality of the boxes on delivery. Some have had damaged packages and some have even been opened.

Additional Specs

Weight3.8 pounds
Brushless/BrushedBrushless
Key/Keyless chuckKeyless
Dimensions (inches)6.4 x 14.9 x 10.8
Max RPM1,550
Price$$$
Warranty3-year

6. Black and Decker 20VCordless Drill

Best Cordless Drill for Home Use

BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Cordless Drill / Driver with 30-Piece Accessories (LD120VA)
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What Black and Decker don’t know about drills is not worth knowing. They invented the world’s first portable hand-drill. This model is excellent value for money and even comes with a 30-piece accessory set. That’s why we voted this the ideal cordless drill for use in the home.

This is a general-use drill and is best suited to drilling through wood, plastic and metal. The lithium-ion battery stays charged for 18 months, so even though the drill is stored away, it holds the charge for when you need it.

Why We Love It

Price

This could so easily have been our budget choice. The low cost makes this an ideal drill to keep handy for in-house emergencies and repair jobs.

30 Accessories

You never need to fret that you don’t have the right size attachment with this set. Again, it reinforces the notion that this is a perfect choice for the home environment.

Battery

Once charged, this lithium-ion battery will hold its charge for 18 months. So, when you pull out the drill and want to get started on a job, you will still have enough juice at your disposal.

Keep In Mind

Low Power

This is a low power drill designed for lighter duties. It only generates 750 RPM, so don’t think this is going to be the answer to all your drilling needs.

Additional Specs

Weight4.74 pounds
Brushless/BrushedBrushed
Key/Keyless chuckKeyless
Dimensions (inches)8.94 x 4 x 7.75
Max RPM750
Price$
Warranty2-year

7. DeWALT 20V Max XR Hammer Drill

Best Cordless Drill for Concrete

DEWALT 20V MAX XR Hammer Drill, Brushless, 3-Speed, Tool Only (DCD996B)
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If you want a drill with impact, look no further than this DeWALT drill. It generates a massive 38,250 beats per minute to chew through the most hardened concrete. DeWALT claims this drill is 82 percent more powerful than comparable drills, and the brushless motor increases the runtime of the battery by up to 57 percent.

For added durability, the 3-speed transmission is constructed from metal. Couple that with the carbide inserts in the chuck for extra grip, and you have all the makings of a drill that likes a challenge.

Why We Love It

Brushless Motor

The brushless motor increases the productivity of the drill and extends the runtime of the battery by up to 57 percent.

The Chuck

The chuck has carbide-coated inserts that ensure the drill bit has maximum grip. This is ideal for drilling through robust material when you need the grip.

Power

When you are drilling through concrete, all you need to know about is the beats per minute. This is the number of times the drill bit strikes the surface of the material to create impact. This drill has 38,250 BPM.

Keep In Mind

Battery and Charger Separate

DeWALT sells this drill as a bare tool, which means you don’t get the charger or the battery included with the price.

Expensive

After you’ve bought the drill, you can double the purchase cost because you have to buy the battery and charger separately.

Additional Specs

Weight4 pounds
Brushless/BrushedBrushless
Key/Keyless chuckKeyless
Dimensions (inches)4 x 10 x 8
Max RPM2,250
Price$$$
Warranty3-year limited

8. Ultra Steel 20V Cordless Drill Driver

Best Budget Cordless Drill

Ultra Steel 20V 1.3Ah Lithium-Ion 3/8” Cordless Drill Driver, 2-Speed, 17+1 Position, LED Light, Keyless Chuck, 1-Year Warranty, Battery W/Charger Included (AQ75020G)
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Not everyone is looking for a top-of-the-range drill. Sometimes the budget dictates the choice. This Ultra Steel drill is so cheap you almost wonder how they manage to sell it at this price.

It has a keyless chuck, a 2-speed gearbox, a lightweight design and a variable speed trigger. For a budget drill, it still generates 1,350 RPM, so it is no slouch. This is the perfect drill to keep handy around the home for general-purposes.

Why We Love It

Price

You would buy this drill for the price. It is such good value that you could get 6 of these for the cost of the DeWALT drills.

1,350 RPM

Unlike some budget drills, this model still generates a respectable performance. At 1,350 revolutions per minute, it should be powerful enough to tackle most home environment projects.

Keep In Mind

12 Volts

This drill is not the most powerful on the list. Just remember that 12 volts is less than the standard 18 to 20 volts, and as we’ve said many times, more volts add up to higher power.

Chinese-Made

There is always a strong chance that a drill this cheap is going to be made in China. It keeps the costs down, and the components are cheaply manufactured.

Additional Specs

Weight3.74 pounds
Brushless/BrushedBrushed
Key/Keyless chuckKeyless
Dimensions (inches)7.68 x 2.92 x 8.39
Max RPM1,350
Price$
Warranty1-year

9. Black and Decker 20V Cordless Drill Driver Tool Set

Best Cordless Drill for Beginners

BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Drill & Home Tool Kit, 68 Piece (LDX120PK),Black/Orange
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This is the second time Black and Decker has appeared on the list. What they do really well is produce quality drills at an affordable price, so this is the ideal choice for a beginner drill. What makes this even better is the accessory set it comes with.

You get an instant toolset containing 68 pieces, including a hammer, an array of pliers and wrenches, and much more.

If you are a novice, you could do a lot worse than choose this as your first drill.

Why We Love It

Price

With all the accessories, it’s a miracle that Black and Decker can sell this drill set and still make money.

Accessories

This set includes everything you would need to start you on the path of DIY. That’s why it was our beginner choice.

11-Position Clutch

The clutch prevents stripping, the motor overheating and burning out and overdriving screws.

Keep In Mind

Low Power

As with all budget drills, they are better suited to general-purpose use around the home. They are not the sort of drill you would find on a construction site.

Additional Specs

Weight4 pounds
Brushless/BrushedBrushed
Key/Keyless chuckKeyless
Dimensions (inches)19.5 x 3.63 x 13.63
Max RPM750
Price$
Warranty2-year limited

10. Milwaukee 2606-22CT M18 Drill Driver

Best High-Torque Cordless Drill

Milwaukee 2606-22CT M18 Cordless Drill/Driver Kit, 18 V
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This Milwaukee cordless drill packs a punch. The maximum RPM of this drill is 1,800.

It also produces a massive 500 in-pounds of torque, making it the perfect tool for impacting concrete and other harder materials.

It has a 0.50-inch metal chuck and a built-in light for better visibility. It also charges in 30 minutes, which is super-quick. You need never run out of juice again.

Why We Love It

High-Torque

This drill is powerful, making it the perfect tool for high-torque applications. Sometimes you need slow and steady drilling, especially for metals and concrete. 500 in-pounds of torque is more than enough!

2 Batteries

Having two batteries is better than having one. You will always have a charged spare to keep you on the job, and when the first one dies, simply swap them over.

30-Minute Charge Time

30 minutes is a super-quick charge time. Some of the cheaper drills take 3 to 4 hours, but this cordless drill can recharge while you are having a coffee break.

Keep In Mind

Heavy

This drill is heavier than some on the list and could lead to wrist and hand fatigue.

Imported

Even though Milwaukee is a superior American brand, this drill is manufactured in China. This is only important if you like to buy American goods.

Additional Specs

Weight9.02 pounds
Brushless/BrushedBrushed
Key/Keyless chuckKeyless
Dimensions (inches)13.58 x 14.8 x 4.72
Max RPM1,800
Price$$
Warranty5-year limited

Cordless Drill Comparison Chart

ProductBestWeightBrushless/BrushedDimensions (inches)Max RPMWarranty
DeWALT 20V Max Brushless Drill/DriverBrushless2.6 lbsBrushless12.5 x 3.75 x 9.811,7503-year limited
Bosch Power Tools Drill Kit PS31-2ACompact2.14 lbsBrushless12.5 x 3.75 x 9.811,3003-year limited
DeWALT 20V Max Cordless Drill Combo KitDrill Driver9.2 lbsBrushed15.6 x 6.38 x 9.881,5003-year limited
KIMO Cordless Drill/Driver KitWoodworking5.24 lbsBrushed7 x 5 x 71,3502-year
Makita XFD061 Compact Brushless DrillMetal3.8 lbsBrushless6.4 x 14.9 x 10.81,5503-year
Black and Decker 20VCordless DrillHome Use4.74 lbsBrushed8.94 x 4 x 7.757502-year
DeWALT 20V Max XR Hammer DrillConcrete4 lbsBrushless4 x 10 x 82,2503-year limited
Ultra Steel 20V Cordless Drill DriverBudget Drill3.74 lbsBrushed7.68 x 2.92 x 8.391,3501-year
Black and Decker 20V Cordless Drill Driver Tool SetBeginners4 lbsBrushed19.5 x 3.63 x 13.637502-year limited
Milwaukee 2606-22CT M18 Drill DriverHigh-Torque9.02 lbsBrushed13.58 x 14.8 x 4.721,8005-year limited
Jump to the Full Cordless Drill Reviews

What Is the Best Battery for Cordless Drills?

The best battery, by far, is the lithium-ion battery. It is the most efficient and the best at holding a charge for longer. Lithium-ion batteries are safe and robust, which means they can run through many charging cycles before they wear out. For these reasons, they are also the most commonly used.

Nickel-Metal-Hydride (NiMH) batteries have taken a while for markets to catch up and accept this technology as the gold standard, so for now, lithium-ion is still the king and the best battery for your cordless drill.

Are Cordless Drill Batteries Interchangeable?

It depends on the brand. DeWALT produces a battery that interchanges between its range of cordless power tools, so in that sense, they are. DeWALT is not alone in this. Other brands produce cordless tool ranges to accommodate one battery.

However, you cannot mix the battery and the brands. That same DeWALT battery will not fit a Makita drill and vice versa, so they are not interchangeable in that sense.


What Have We Learned?

We now know that cordless drills can perform to the same level as corded drills. We also know that cordless drills are affordable.

Most of the drills on this list come with two batteries and fast chargers that will keep your drill powered no matter what. Give cordless drills a try. What have you got to lose? Once you go cordless, you will never go back.

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About the Author

Mark Weir

Mark spent 24 years working in real estate, so he knows his way around a home. He also worked with contractors and experts, advising them on issues of planning, investments, and renovations. Mark is no stranger to hands-on experience, having renovated his own home and many properties for resale. He likes nothing better than seeing a project through to completion.
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