What Makes The Best Cordless Drill?

best cordless drill

This page is about finding the best and highest rated cordless drill for your exact needs. Not every single person needs the exact same type of cordless drill, as it depends on exactly what you will be using the drill for, how often you will use it, and how much your available budget is to buy one. That is why I believe you need to see a list of the best drills available, that are of course cordless, and find out how well they are rated by other people and what price point you should expect to pay for one.

Below I have created my own comparison guide, along with a table that you can sort, because I simply couldn’t find one out there that did this job. Hopefully you should be able to see at a glance, what the top ten cordless drills are in the market at the moment. If you don’t have time to read through this detailed review, then we would recommend the  DEWALT DC970K-2 18-Volt Drill/Driver Kit as the best cordless drill that offers great value for money and works great in a variety of different tasks. At just under $100, you get a very high quality drill that works really well.

There are a number of considerations to be made before making the decision on which cordless drill to buy. To help make life that little bit easier, we have compiled below what we would call our ultimate guide to the top 10 cordless drills on the market, which hopefully you will find very useful.

Explanation of the table – I have included a table below with the following headings:

  • Name of the drill
  • Picture of the drill
  • The size and power of the battery
  • The battery type
  • The speed of the drill
  • Does the drill have gear selection for torque?
  • Does it have a work light?
  • The rating as left by actual buyers on Amazon and rated out of a maximum score of 5 (the higher the better)
  • The price points change all the time so we have used a guide to help you:

$ = less than $50
$$ = $51-100
$$$ = $101-150
$$$$ = $151-200

Top 10 Cordless Drill Reviews

The best cordless drills reviewed and rated. Please note that ratings can change on a regular basis. Always check before making any purchase.
NameImageBattery SizeBattery TypeVariable SpeedGearsWork LightRatingPrice Point
Makita LXFD01 CW Compact DrillMakita LXPH01CW18VLithium-IonDualNoYes4.4$140
Porter Cable PCCK600LBPORTER-CABLE PCCK600LB20VLithium-Ion (2 batteries)DualNoYes4.7$$$
DEWALT DC970KDEWALT DC970K18V (2-pack)NiCADDualNoYes4.6$$
Black & Decker LDX120CBlack & Decker LDX120C20VLithium-IonVariableYesYes4.5$$
Bosch DDB180-02Bosch DDB180-0218VLithium-Ion (2 batteries)VariableYesYes4.5$$$
DEWALT DCD771C2DEWALT DCD771C220VLithium-IonDualNoYes4.5$$$
Black & Decker LDX172CBlack & Decker LDX172C7.2VLithium-IonDualNoNo4.4$
DEWALT DCD760KLDEWALT DCD760KL18V (2-pack)Lithium-IonDualYesYes4.3$$$$
Genesis GCD18BKGenesis GCD18BK18VNiCADVariableYesYes4.1$
Kawasaki 840110Kawasaki 84011019.2VNiCAD (2 batteries)DualYesNo3.4$$

Cordless Drills by Brand

We have included a buying guide below. However some people do prefer to shop by brand. if you are someone who likes to do that, then below we have listed the top brands that sell cordless drills and accessories. There are quite a lot of these and we have conducted reviews on the top 10 drills for each brand. So if you prefer just to look at the top 10 by brand then please click on any of the links below and you will be taken to a separate page where we have reviewed these.

Why Buy A Cordless Drill?

There are just two simple choices really when it comes to how your drill is powered and that is either corded or cordless. With a corded drill you will always have to be near a power source where you can plug it in. With a cordless drill, it runs off a battery pack, and as long as that is charged, then you can use it anywhere. To be honest most people who are doing different projects around the home can simply use the corded type of drill, and never have to worry about charging batteries, or them running out of charge.

Cordless drills are ideal for people who:

  • Need to have a portable drill that they can take everywhere
  • Like to have full freedom of movement
  • Don’t like the ideas of electric cables dangling around when working
  • Does some outdoor work

Those are the main reasons, but the main disadvantage as that they will run out of battery charge. That means you will either need to have a spare battery at the ready, or stop work, while your battery gets charged. So in our opinion, these are the main things you should consider before deciding whether you need a cordless or a corded drill.

best cordless drill

Which Type of Cordless Drill Do You Need?

Not many people ask this question and yet we think it is the most important question of all. There are so many different types of these types of drills, that it is extremely important to fully understand what is available, and why you should pick one over another. Let’s have a look at what is available first, and then hopefully it will all start to make a great deal more sense. Every cordless drill should have the following three basic components:

  1. The drill
  2. A battery pack
  3. A Battery Charger

That may sound obvious but please note some manufacturers sell what is called a “bare drill.” That means it is sold without a battery or charger which you then have to buy as a separate item. The reason they do this is that their battery pack can be used with other power tools in their range of cordless products, such as a cordless screwdriver, an impact wrench or a saw. Just be aware of that when buying as that involves additional cost.

Here is a good video that will give you more information on what to look out for.

Understanding Battery Packs

The amount of power that you can get from a cordless drill is determined by the size and strength of your battery. These come in a number of different sizes which are:

  • 6 Volt
  • 7.2 Volt
  • 9.6 Volt
  • 12 Volt
  • 18 Volt
  • 19.2 Volt
  • 20 Volt
  • 32 Volt

cordless drill battery pack

The higher the voltage on the battery, then the more power you can have in your drill. In almost all cases, the bigger the battery, the more expensive the drill will be. At the moment the 18 Volt is by far the most popular, but the 20 volt is increasing in popularity. The smaller voltage batteries are typically used by people who have hobbies, and the bigger drill batteries are used by the construction industry and those who take their home improvement seriously.

Types of Battery Packs for Cordless Drills

Not all battery packs are created equally. Some use a technology called Lithium-Ion, some use what is termed NiCAD, and a few use what is called NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride). So what’s the difference in these three?

Lithium Ion Batteries vs NiCAD

Lithium-Ion are smaller in size, more environmentally friendly and low maintenance. They weigh less by around 25-30% and because of the way that they are made, they cost on average about 40% more to make. NiCAD stands for Nickel-Cadmium and their biggest drawback is that they suffer from what is termed a “memory effect.” This simply means that if they are charged and discharged to a similar state of charge several times. then the NiCAD battery remembers this, and the actual real voltage of the battery can drop significantly.

Battery TypeBenefitsDisadvantages
NiCADCheaper to buySuffer from memory effect, not environmentally friendly, heavier and tend not to hold the charge well.
NiMHMiddle of the road between NiCAD and Lithium-Ion. Average price pointThese work well and should be considered as a better option than NiCAD
Lithium-IonSmaller and lighter, no memory effect, high charge capacity and retain charge very well.More expensive

There is a lot of technical information about these comparisons. For us though a Lithium-Ion is a better choice, but you will pay a little extra to have it, and in our opinion, that is a sensible thing to do. Your battery will always work at the proper voltage and will last longer, which in turn will extend the lifespan of your cordless drill.

What Are The Main Considerations When Buying A Cordless Drill

We have now covered the batteries and this is probably the most important consideration to make. If you want a good solid reliable drill then always go for an 18V or a 20V, and preferably with a Lithium-Ion battery pack and charger. We would also strongly recommend having a spare battery, if you are someone who will be a regular user. That way you can always have one fully charged and ready to use at any given point in time.

There are also other important consideration that you should take into account. We shall now cover these below.

Just A Drill?

Do you want this just to work as a drill, or do you also want to use this as a screwdriver? There are now different attachments that you can get for a drill which will make it even more useful for your needs.

Hammer Action

You may have seen this written about drills and it is often a confusing and misunderstood feature. The hammer function on a drill is one that is very useful but not actually necessary to have. Almost always it should only ever be used for drilling through concrete or brick. When this hammer function is selected, then the chuck on your drill develops a pulsing mode, which operates at thousands of pulses per minute, to add greater power that can help penetrate tougher materials. You would never use a hammer function for softer substances like wood. Most cordless drills to come with this as an option though.

Understanding Torque

Torque in a drill is just as important as battery power. The best cordless drills use gears to allow you to adjust the torque to the actual job that you are doing. Torque is simply the amount of twisting power that you can apply to the drill. Some jobs need high speed drilling with a low torque such as drilling through soft wood. Other jobs like putting in a screw need low speed but with a high torque.

Cordless drills  are catching up with corded drills in terms of available gear selection. Most good quality cordless drills will have either a 2 or 3 gear selection. If your drill is going to get a lot of heavy use, make sure you buy one with gears.

Speed Control

Many people do confuse the speed or a drill with torque. They are not exactly the same thing. Good cordless drills should have a feature known as variable speed. This means you can control the speed at which the drill turns at depending on the type of material you are drilling into. The reason you need this is that it allows for the more accurate drilling of holes. This is usually measure in rpm (revolutions per minute)

Here is a link to a drill speed chart that will help understand this better. The key thing to remember is you want some type of variance because that is used for drilling through different materials.

Work Light

Many drills now come with a work light built in to it. This is a really great idea especially when you have to work in poorly lit or confined spaces. When you pull the trigger on the drill, then the light usually comes on and allows you to see that exact area of where you are going to do your work.

cordless drill with work light

cordless drill with work light

 

Now we appreciate that what we have written above is a lot of information to digest, but hopefully you are a lot better informed as to what you need to look for, depending on your exact needs. Just remember the important part when spending your money. Simply buy a good quality drill and understand how often it is going to be used and what is it going to be used for. That way you will never be too far off the mark.

You may notice that we included in last place on the list a cordless drill from Kawasaki. Our advice is to never buy a drill like this as you can see the ratings are low at only 3.4. When you see ratings of 4.5 and higher, then you know that others have bought this, reviewed it and like it a lot. There are many brands in the tool market and generally speaking most of them are very good indeed. Every mow and then you will see a new entrant coming in and they almost always try to compete on price only.

To produce their drills at low prices then something will always have to give. Typically that will mean using plastic instead of metal, reducing the quality of the product or cutting back on some of the important features. Here at Tool And Go, we tend to shy away from those types of products because at the end of the day, you really do get what you pay for.