The Best Cordless Drill Options And Buyer’s Guide For 2021

Whether you’re a construction professional or an average homeowner, best cordless drill may be the most versatile and practical power tool you’ll ever purchase. Cordless drills can help you quickly accomplish a long list of common tasks, from hanging pictures and assembling furniture to creating pilot holes and establishing space through which to run wiring or plumbing.

With the expanded settings on some of the newest models, you can even use the drill to tackle jobs involving concrete and masonry. Best of all, their cordless nature means you can use them almost anywhere without having to worry about the availability of electrical power. 

With dozens of cordless drills currently on the market, finding the right model to meet your needs can require extensive and time-consuming research. Fortunately, we’ve saved you the trouble by compiling this list of the top-performing cordless drill in a variety of categories.

We’ve also included a comprehensive cordless drill buyer’s guide to help you compare and contrast key features on competing models. Read on for everything you need to know to buy the cordless drill of your dreams. 

Best 20V Cordless Drill

DeWalt DCD997 Cordless Premium Hammer Drill ($157, tool only)

best cordless drillThe DCD997 Cordless Premium Hammer Drill features Bluetooth connectivity and the companion DeWalt Tool Connect mobile app, which enables users to register, track and manage the drill as well as any other DeWalt tools in their inventory.

In addition to the convenient “Last Seen” feature, which helps you keep track of any tools you loan to neighbors or employees, the app sends diagnostic information and other data regarding battery cell life, temperature, number of trigger pulls and the length of time the tool has been in operation. 

Technology aside, the DeWalt DCD997 Cordless Premium Hammer Drill delivers unparalleled performance for both professionals and DIY enthusiasts. The brushless motor extends runtime by up to 75 percent to handle big jobs, and the ergonomic handle provides both control and comfort to reduce fatigue and ensure accuracy and efficiency. 

Features and Specifications

  • Battery Type: Lithium Ion 
  • Chuck Size: ½-inch
  • Max RPM: 2,000 
  • Weight: 4.6 pounds
  • Warranty: 3 years

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Best 18V Cordless Drill

Ridgid R8611506 18V Octane Brushless Hammer Drill ($139, tool only)

best cordless drillWith an affordable price tag and impressive performance metrics, the Ridgid R8611506 18V Octane Brushless Hammer Drill is easily the best value in the 18V category. The drill produces serious torque without being bulky or heavy.

Advanced onboard electronics enable the tool to automatically manage its operation, with the tool and the battery working together to determine when to funnel maximum power to the motor to complete a demanding task without sacrificing quality.

With more than 100 torque settings, the micro-clutch delivers both precision and accuracy, and the mode selection feature paves the way for a smooth transition between drilling, driving and hammer functions. The tool also comes with an industry-leading lifetime warranty, with Ridgid guaranteeing part replacements and service at no cost for the life of the tool.

Features and Specifications

  • Battery Type: Lithium Ion 
  • Chuck Size: ½-inch
  • Max RPM: 2,000 
  • Weight: 5.5 pounds
  • Warranty: Lifetime (with registration)

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Best Cordless Hammer Drill

Bosch GSB18V-535CB15 18V EC Brushless Hammer Drill/Driver ($159, battery included)

best cordless drillWith a long list of advanced features, the Bosch 18V EC Brushless Hammer Drill/Driver is a surprisingly good value. The $159 price tag includes the long-running Compact CORE18V battery, which keeps the tool light while delivering peak performance.

The hammer drill/driver includes KickBack Control to allow the user to manage its pro-level torque, while a precision clutch with 20+1 settings ensures accuracy. With integrated Bluetooth technology, users can connect the tool to Bosch’s Tool Module to optimize settings and receive useful feedback.  

Features and Specifications

  • Battery Type: Lithium Ion 
  • Chuck Size: ½-inch
  • Clutch Settings: 11 
  • Max RPM: 1,900 
  • Weight: 2.7 pounds
  • Warranty: 3 years

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Best High-Torque Cordless Drill

Hilti SF 10W-A22 Drill Driver ($209, tool only)

best cordless drillHilti’s professional-grade SF 10W-A22 ATC Cordless Hammer Drill/Driver provides the ideal blend of performance, durability and safety, with an innovative Active Torque Control feature that protects the user in case of over-rotation from a stuck bit.

The four speed options match RPMs to the task for maximum productivity. Hilti’s 22V CPC lithium-ion batteries feature an LED indicator so you’ll always know how much longer you can work before it’s time to recharge. All-metal gears and a high-efficiency motor ensure reliability and durability, and the 20-year warranty is the icing on the cake.  

Features and Specifications

  • Battery Type: Lithium Ion 
  • Chuck Size: ½-inch
  • Max RPM: 2,100 
  • Weight: 4.1 pounds
  • Warranty: 20 years

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Best High-Speed Cordless Drill

Metabo HPT SB 18 LTX-3 BL Q I Cordless Hammer Drill ($399, includes battery)

best cordless drillEquipped with Metabo’s proprietary brushless motor with Ultra-M technology, this cordless hammer drill maximizes performance while optimizing energy use for a long, productive life. The tool holder and bits offer simple, quick changes so you can jump from application to application in record time.

Precision-stop electronic torque control allows for enhanced precision, with a collar that expands up to 43 millimeters for increased versatility. The die-cast aluminum gear housing is designed to dispel heat and stand up to years of use in tough conditions, working in tandem with an LiHD battery pack that generates minimal temperature increases for extended life. 

Features and Specifications

  • Battery Type: Lithium Ion 
  • Chuck Size: 1/4-inch
  • Max RPM: 3,800 
  • Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Warranty: 20 years

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Best Professional Cordless Drill

Milwaukee M18 FUEL ½-Inch Hammer Drill with ONE-KEY ($199, tool only)

best cordless drillDelivering 1,200 inch-pounds of torque, the M18 FUEL ½-Inch Hammer Drill with ONE-KEY leads its class in terms of power, reaching speeds of up to two times those of its competitors under heavy load. At just under seven inches long, this ultra-compact tool fits easily into tight spaces, generating up to 2,000 RPM via the POWERSTATE brushless motor.

Its industry-leading all-metal ratcheting chuck combines maximum bit strength with durable corrosion resistance. ONE-KEY compatibility gives user the option to customize, track and manage the tool through Bluetooth technology, and the advanced anti-kickback mechanism helps prevent unwanted shutdowns. 

Features and Specifications

  • Battery Type: Lithium Ion 
  • Chuck Size: 1/2-inch
  • Max RPM: 2,000 
  • Weight: 4.6 pounds
  • Warranty: 5 years

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Best Cordless Drill for Home Use

Metabo HPT DS18DBFL2 18V Brushless Driver Drill ($159, includes battery)

best cordless drillThe Metabo HPT DS18DBFL2 18V Brushless Driver Drill performs equally well with wood, plastic, aluminum and mild steel, with 22 torque settings and a drill mode making it an incredibly versatile tool for residential applications. Metabo HPT has nearly perfected brushless motor technology, allowing more power to reach the motor by minimizing energy loss from heat and friction.

Its Hitachi-designed 18V lithium-ion slide batteries reduce the tool’s overall weight while maintaining full power, and an ergonomic, balanced design ensures comfort during extended use. The on-tool battery indicator allows the user to monitor power levels to avoid unnecessary downtime, while the onboard LED light illuminates dim work spaces. 

Features and Specifications

  • Battery Type: Lithium Ion 
  • Chuck Size: 1/2-inch
  • Max RPM: 1,800 
  • Weight: 3.5 pounds
  • Warranty: Lifetime

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Best Lightweight Cordless Drill

Bosch PS32 12V Max EC Brushless Drill ($140, includes battery)

best cordless drillWeighing in at just two pounds and measuring just 6.5 inches long, this compact workhorse is ideal for overhead applications or tasks in tight spaces. The EC brushless motor produces an impressive with a high-torque setting for driving and a high-speed setting for drilling, along with 20+1 clutch settings for maximum versatility.

The comfortable, soft-grip handle makes the Bosch PS32 a pleasure to use, with an LED light to keep you working in dark areas. Thanks to its smooth motor and precise gearing, this drill is equipped to take on almost any task, drilling through wood and driving screws through heavy-duty materials with ease. 

Features and Specifications

  • Battery Type: Lithium Ion 
  • Chuck Size: 3/8-inch
  • Max RPM: 1,300 
  • Weight: 2 pounds
  • Warranty: 3 years

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Best Budget Cordless Drill for Professional Use

Kobalt XTR 24-Volt Max 1/2-Inch Brushless Cordless Drill ($186, includes battery)

best cordless drillAs part of Kobalt’s most powerful line of power tools to date, the Kobalt XTR 24-Volt Max ½-Inch Brushless Cordless Drill delivers up to 50 percent more power than leading competitors to tackle the most demanding tasks. Its compact design enables it to function at maximum capacity, even in tight spaces, even as the brushless motor produces up to 1,200 inch-pounds of torque.

Anti-kickback technology keeps you in control in virtually any setting. Additional features include a two-speed gear box with variable-speed trigger and 24-position clutch and a built-in LED work light. 

Features and Specifications

  • Battery Type: Lithium Ion 
  • Chuck Size: 1/2-inch
  • Max RPM: 2,000 
  • Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Warranty: 5 years

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Best Budget Cordless Drill for Residential Use

SKIL DL529302 20V Max Compact Brushless Drill Driver ($133, includes battery)

best cordless drillThe DL529302 20V Max Compact Brushless Drill Driver is SKIL’s most technologically advanced cordless drill yet, featuring a PWR CORE 20 2.0Ah lithium battery with a PWR ASSIST USB Port and PWR JUMP Charger.

The digital brushless motor maximizes efficiency and performance for a long, durable life, and the industry-leading battery technology cools cells internally to extend runtime by up to 25 percent.

The onboard USB port lets you keep your devices charged, and the blazing-fast speed of the PWR JUMP charger gets you back to work in 5 minutes and requires just 30 minutes to restore the battery to full power.

You can quickly toggle between high and low speed settings for fastening and drilling tasks, and the ½-inch single-sleeve keyless metal chuck makes bit changes a breeze. 

Features and Specifications

  • Battery Type: Lithium Ion 
  • Chuck Size: 1/2-inch
  • Max RPM: 1,800 
  • Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Warranty: 5 years

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Cordless Drill Buyer’s Guide

As you’re shopping for your new cordless drill, you’ll need to consider the following factors as you compare different models. Depending on how you expect to use your drill, the importance of each feature may vary, but all should have some influence on your final decision. 

Motor

When it comes to estimating a cordless drill’s overall power, the voltage rating is a useful metric, especially for side-by-side comparisons of different models. For light duty jobs, a 12-volt drill delivers sufficient power while remaining lightweight and compact. If you’ll be working with tougher materials that call for longer fasteners and larger bits, go with an 18-volt or 20-volt drill to ensure you have enough muscle to complete common tasks. 

The drill’s speed also impacts the effectiveness of its operation, so a model’s maximum RPM should factor into your decision. Look for a model with at least 1,500 RPM, especially if you’ll be using it for professional-grade jobs. Many of the latest models use brushless motors, which are capable of reaching high speeds without significant increases in temperature or electricity, so they’re more efficient and durable in the long run. 

Clutch

Having an adjustable clutch significantly enhances a drill’s versatility, especially in high-power applications. Drills with two-speed switches enable you to adjust RPM to match the job at hand, so you can quickly increase speed for drilling holes and drop it back for more delicate tasks like driving fasteners.

Some drills even include as many as 20 speeds to provide extremely precise control over torque, which can be beneficial for working with small fasteners and lightweight material. The more clutch adjustment options the drill provides, the more you’ll be able to do with it. 

Battery

Battery life is a key consideration in deciding on which cordless drill model to purchase. Cordless drills typically use either nickel-cadmium batteries or lithium-ion batteries, with the latter being the preferable option in almost every metric. While nickel-cadmium batteries are slightly cheaper than lithium-ion batteries, they don’t hold a charge nearly as well as their lithium-ion competitors and can lose all power within a few weeks of nonuse.

As the newer technology, lithium-ion batteries are more compact and lightweight than their predecessors, and they offer faster charging, better runtimes and longer life as well. As most manufacturers have converted their tools to lithium-ion technology, you’re unlikely to see many drills for sale using nickel-cadmium batteries, but if you do, you’d be wise to pass them by. 

Chuck Type

As the piece that secures the bit within the drill, the chuck is an essential component of any cordless drill. Chucks come in several common designs, each with slightly different attributes and applications.  

  • Keyless chucks: The majority of cordless drills use keyless chucks, which incorporate three or more metal “fingers” to hold the bit in place. As the name suggests, keyless chucks can be tightened by hand with no need for a special tool, and because they are compatible with virtually any bit, they’re indispensable for basic drilling and driving applications. However, the minimum and maximum keyless chuck size the drill can accept will vary from model to model. 
  • Hex chucks: With their quick-connect design, hex chucks have the advantage of being extremely easy to change. Hex chucks are specifically designed to work with hexagonal bits, which are the optimal choice for driving long screws or completing other tasks that increate stress on the bit. Hex chucks distribute their grip across six sides, making them extremely effective in keeping the bit in place and the screw’s shape intact. Hex chucks are most frequently used on impact drivers and other cordless drill driver models, but because they’re only compatible with hexagonal bits, you will still need a drill that accepts keyless chucks for some jobs. A few models offer the functionality of both hex and keyless chucks. 
  • Specialized chucks: Some applications, such as offset and right-angle drilling, are best completed with specialty chucks intended specifically for those jobs. These chucks are most commonly used in cabinetry and installation tasks in which standard drills may be unable to access the fasteners. 

Material Type

Different material types and thicknesses necessitate different drill types. For drilling and driving small holes in wood, a 12-volt drill is ideal. For drilling deep holes or working with a hole saw or spade bit, you’ll need a drill with more power, such as an 18-volt or 20-volt model. These drills can also be used with materials like acrylic and drywall. 

For metalworking, you’ll need the most powerful drill you can get your hands on, as well as carbide-tipped bits that won’t dull quickly. A cordless drill may suffice for lightweight metals, but heavy-duty applications will likely require a metal drill press. 

If you’ll be working with masonry, a cordless hammer drill should get the job done, although a spinning masonry bit can make the process of boring into concrete, brick and stone much easier. You can also invest in bits designed specifically for working with tile, glass and other delicate materials. 

Weight

By nature, cordless drills tend to be relatively lightweight tools, since they’re designed to be portable and easy to use in tight spaces and on overhead tasks. Most models will range from 2 to 5 pounds, although larger batteries and increased motor power can add ounces or even pounds to the drill’s total weight. In addition to the drill’s net weight, its weight distribution can impact how heavy it feels and how quickly your hand and arm become fatigued, so if possible, test your top contenders in person before making your final selection. 

Grip

Grip also plays a major role in how comfortable a drill is to use, especially for extended periods and heavy-duty jobs. As you’re testing drills for weight, consider how it feels in your hand, how much vibration is transferred to your body and how easy it is to control. Grip is largely a matter of personal preference—some users prefer a soft grip, while others like a firm handle—so the more models you can test in person, the more likely you are to find a tool that you’ll actually enjoy using. 

Size

Size does matter, at least if you expect to use your drill in tight or awkward spaces on a regular basis. The more compact your drill is, the more places you’ll be able to use it, so look for a balance of power and size. 

Value

Value extends well beyond the initial price tag of the drill. Many cordless drills don’t automatically come with a battery or charger, so be sure to factor in those costs when comparing models. Value also includes quality of construction, warranty length and coverage and any maintenance costs you may incur over the life of the tool. Checking the online reviews for the models you’re considering can give you a sense of how well each one performs over time as well as a snapshot of the customer service each brand provides.  

Other Features 

There are dozens of other features and considerations that may influence your final choice of a cordless drill, including: 

  • Motor type (brushless or brushed)
  • Number of included mode options
  • Smart controls, tracking and other features
  • Clutch design
  • Onboard LED light quality and functionality
  • Belt hook and other portability features

Final Thoughts

Though it likely won’t be the most expensive purchase you’ll ever make, buying a cordless drill may be one of the most important ones, at least when it comes to power tools. With its versatility and convenience, you’ll rely on your cordless drill hundreds—perhaps thousands—of times in the years to come. By incorporating the information in the guide above as you make your selection, you can ensure it’s an investment you won’t regret.

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