A cordless drill is one of the home handyman’s best friends. You’re not going to get any serious work done without one and if you’re building your toolset it should be one of your first priorities. It can be a pain to decide, however, since there’s a ton of them on the market and there’s bound to be some duds in there. We chose the Milwaukee 2606-22CT as the clear winner!
We’ve done the research for you in order to bring you five of the best on the market, and then we’ll help you pick the perfect drill to get your projects done no matter what.
The Milwakee 2606-22CT Set is suitable for both experienced and novice handymen, and the additional features are well worth the jump in price.
Our Top Five Cordless Drills
|Name||Top Speed||Charge Time & Battery Coltage|
|Milwaukee 2606-22CT||1800rpm||30 minutes 18V||Check Price|
|DEWALT DCD777C2 20V||1500rpm||60 minutes 20V||Check Price|
|Makita XPH102 18V||1900rpm||22 minutes 18V||Check Price|
|Hitachi DS18DGL 18-Volt||250rpm||40 minutes 18V||Check Price|
|Black & Decker LDX220SBFC||1400rpm||35 minutes 20V||Check Price|
1. Milwaukee 2606-22CT
No one doubts that Milwaukee makes great tools, and the 2606 drill driver is a great addition to their lineage.
This 18V drill boasts some considerable torque and comes in a high-quality plastic and metal casing which is sure to be able to withstand the trials and tribulations of everyday use.
It boasts a fairly impressive 1800 RPMs and a smooth trigger to allow you precise control. Unfortunately there isn’t any speed settings, so you’ll have to get used to the proper pull for the task at hand.
Included in the set you get a second battery as well as the charger, so you can switch out if one dies while you’re on the job. With only a 30 minute charge time you’re definitely not going to have much trouble with maintaining its usage throughout the duration of a project.
In addition to being a solid drill it has a couple of advanced features. The LED light is a bonus, and anyone who’s working in suboptimal lighting conditions will be glad they have it.
There is also the REDRIVE feature, which keeps the drill from overheating while you’re at work.
Pros and Cons
- High RPM
- Great Torque
- Quick charging batteries
- REDRIVE protects your investment
- No bit holder or belt clip
2. Best Build Quality
The DeWalt DCD777C2 is a fantastic piece of work that will impress all but the most jaded handymen. There are no real bells and whistles here, just a powerful tool that will plow through almost anything you might throw it at. The 20V batteries pack a serious punch. Add in a dual stage trigger which can run at 0-400rpm or 0-1500rpm by changing gears in the transmission and you’ve got a serious winner. The handle is extremely well designed as well, outperforming most of the competition by providing hand comfort and never letting your wrist get too far out of alignment with the force of the gun. It’s tight and compact, the drop off from the top to the chuck is minimal which is great for working in tightly enclosed areas of all kinds.
There is one caveat: there are two motors available and the cheaper of the two is definitely, well, cheaper. Brushed motors have a tendency to heat up quite quickly and it’s pretty easy for a novice to burn one out when they’re doing a big job and not paying attention.
The brushless option, on the other hand, is fantastic but also makes it one of the most expensive drills on this list.
If you’re on a tight budget, the brushed motor option is probably the best thing you can buy at anywhere near the same price point, but if you drop the money for the brushless variation you’re sure not to regret it.
Pros and Cons
- Extremely high build quality
- Two options to suit anyone’s budget
- Two speed transmission allowing for fine control
- Amazing amount of power
- Standard charger can take up to an hour
3. Fastest Charging
The Makita XPH102 is another great drill, this one coming in with basically no frills at all. The main draw of modern Makita tools is definitely their batteries. Simply put, nothing charges as fast as a Makita and you’ll be glad for it once you have this one in your hands. Downtime looks to be around twenty to thirty minutes, with the average running at around 22 minutes.
It’s not as powerful as the big boys on this list, it only uses an 18V battery after all, but it’s sufficient for pretty much anything you might want to get done around the house. In addition to that, this tool is made for field use. That means protection from dust and splashes that inevitably occur on any job site, and makes for a rough and ready tool to have around the home. It also has a two speed transmission, driving from 0-600 and 0-1900rpm respectively to allow for fine control. It’s also quite compact, and you’ll find that it has no issues getting into tight spaces.
The Makita XPH102 is ideal for those who don’t want to deal with downtime, and it makes a good buy for those who can be a bit clumsy with their tools as well due to the added protection.
Pros and Cons
- Super quick charging
- Dual speed transmission
- Very tough build
- Lightweight and compact
- Could have more torque
4. Highest Torque
Hitachi may not be the biggest name around, but they have developed something of a reputation over the years. Basically, if you’re going to be driving hard and don’t want to break the bank then you’re going to be impressed with the torque. Observant readers might note that the motor only moves at a maximum of 1250rpm, which seems a bit small in comparison to some of the options out there. It is, but the torque makes up for it in most cases. In addition to that, you’ll get two batteries with it and a quick charger.
It has an LED light at the bottom of the handle. Speaking of the handle, it’s super slim and one of the most well designed around. It comes with a dual-speed transmission and you’ll have plenty of torque options. While this one isn’t really recommended for an amateur, it makes a great upgrade if you’re working with a subpar tool already.
The Hitachi DS18DGL is a high-torque, low RPM drill which is great for plowing through just about anything. Pick it up for heavy duty work if you don’t want to spend a whole lot of money.
Pros and Cons
- High torque
- Dual speed transmission
- LED work light
- Quick charging
- Low RPM
- Fairly Heavy
5. Best Budget Option
Black & Decker LDX220SBFC
Cheap but effective, the Black & Decker LDX220SBFC is a great option for a beginner who just needs to get a couple of products done quickly. It doesn’t supply a super high amount of toque, but the addition of two speed settings is great for a beginner, since it will allow them a finer control over the speed of the drill. In addition to that, it charges quickly and the 20V battery should last for a decent amount of time before it needs recharging. This is definitely a good thing, since the set only comes with a single battery.
The set itself is bare bones, you’ll have to find your own drill bits but it does come with a screwdriver attachment which is sure to be a big help in the beginning. The usual problem with Black & Decker’s modern tools are present, primarily build quality that could best be described as mediocre. It’s really not the right tool for heavy-duty usage.
This one is best for those who are looking to do some lighter work around the house on a tight budget.
Pros and Cons
- Easily Controllable
- Dual-speed settings
- Quick charging
- Low torque
- Middling build quality
What is a Cordless Power Drill?
Cordless power drills are comprised of a basic motor, a battery, and a “chuck” which a bit of many sizes can fit into. Essentially, they’re just a regular drill with a mobile power source.
They range from ridiculously cheap products that could barely put a razor sharp bit through a piece of paper to high amperage models that are made to run for a shorter time while allowing for a tremendous amount of power.
The ones that we have selected to show you are of the general type, middling in power but having batteries which will last for a long time.
What Are the Advantages of a Cordless Drill?
Cordless drills make a trade-off in power and longevity to allow for the maximum amount of maneuverability possible. There’s a reason that every professional tradesman has at least one in their truck or on their tool belt, and its convenience.
Unlike some tools which run for extended periods of time, drills are generally used in short bursts. Infrequent usage means that the batteries last for an exceptional amount of time unless you’re doing something hardcore with them.
By using a cordless instead of a standard power drill you save yourself a lot of time. You won’t have to find a power socket, for one, or deal with a cord.
The early models garnered a bad reputation for power, but as time has worn on and more and more powerful and long-lasting power sources have been developed for them they’ve cemented their place in the trades and in the homes of many people.
What Types of Cordless Drill Are Available?
There aren’t too many types hanging around the shelves.
For the most part, you have the different battery types to pick from and whether or not you’re going to go with a different kind of tool.
Impact drivers are sometimes considered drills, but usually feature a quick-release that holds only hex sized bits instead of a chuck which can bite down on a drill bit.
Cordless drills are sometimes called screwguns, but they aren’t. Screwguns operate in a similar fashion, but usually have a clip which allows you to load multiple screws at once in order to hang drywall or other applications where screws are needed in a hurry.
Corded drills still have their place, particularly when it comes to working with thicker metal. By drawing wall voltage instead of a battery, they can pull an insane amount of amperage through the motor and drive with a force that simply won’t be equaled by a battery-operated drill.
As far as the batteries go there is absolutely no reason not to use a lithium battery. They’re better than any other type, it’s that simple.
What Should I Look for in a Cordless Drill?
There’s quite a bit to keep in mind when you’re picking out a cordless drill. The first thing is to figure out what kind of application you intend to use the drill for, someone who wants to hang plywood has different needs than someone who’s planning on framing with 2x4s for instance.
Power is extremely important, but it’s not a linear matter. Due to the penetration required by a drill, torque is one of the primary operating forces that you need. Higher torque can push a lower RPM bit through tougher materials.
If you were planning on just grabbing the highest RPM available, thinking it was the most powerful, you’d have made a big mistake. High RPMs can actually be a detriment when it comes to cutting through some materials, since the faster a bit moves the more both the motor and the bit heat up.
Torque is the pushing power of the drill.
As a general rule of thumb high rpms and lower torque is wanted for soft materials while high torque and low rpms are what you want for cutting the hard stuff.
For the most part, your main concern here is going to be the recharge time. This is less important for the DIY inclined than it is in the field. As long as you go with lithium batteries you’re probably not going to have anything to worry about.
Run time is hard to estimate for a drill, since they’re not in continuous use during a project. For the most part, a single charge will get you through a day of working on a project that isn’t just repetitively drilling holes.
If recharge times get over around forty minutes and you have a backup, there’s a chance that you might burn out the secondary battery before the first is charged, but it’ll be a rare occasion where this is any kind of concern. Just go with lithium batteries, whatever you do.
The size of the clutch is important, but for most people ½” is the right choice. Any bigger and you’ll be getting into specialized applications which are rarely fulfilled by a cordless drill, and any smaller will have you missing out on a lot of power.
If you decide to go above that, keep in mind that larger clutches are generally on heavier drills, but the motors powering them will inevitably supply you with more torque.
Size and Weight
This one isn’t considered by a lot of people, especially those who aren’t used to using a cordless drill. Lighter and smaller tools are easier to maneuver and work with for extended periods.
If you’re planning on using the drill extensively, then you’ll want to make sure that you can hold it for a long period of time. Compact guns are great for working in small areas as well, such as zipping up the top of a wall board.
Really, these should be one of the first things you look for unless you’re primarily planning on using your drill for metal which will require higher torque and a bigger motor.
The all-important cost factor comes in big for those of us with the DIY bug. Cheaper tools can be fine for occasional use, but if you want to complete a lot of big projects it’s a good idea to make a serious investment.
Your cordless drill is going to see frequent use in most projects. Everything from repairs to construction will require you to use it, so don’t go cheap unless you’re only planning on using your drill once or twice a month.
You’re now equipped with the knowledge to make an educated purchase of one of the most important tools in your arsenal. Use it well and you’ll have an essential piece of kit that’s going to provide you with faithful service for years to come.
Avoid overcomplicating things if you’re unsure, any good cordless drill will serve most people but if you know what you’re getting into right now then getting a specialized drill is undoubtedly the right option. Good luck, and happy projects!