Best Cordless Drills For Contractors 2018

professional hammer drill

Many contractors all over the USA use cordless drills every single day. Finding the best,most reliable and durable one is clearly a very important thing to do. Equally as important is that it represents good value for money.

For me however, and when I worked as a contractor, I simply needed the cordless drill to be able to do all of the jobs. There is nothing quite as frustrating as not having the right tool for the job.

best-cordless-drills-for-contractors

As you can see from the picture above, the number of contractors in the USA, was rapidly approaching the ten million mark in 2017. You can then just imagine the number of tools that must be bought each and every day by small and large contractors.

Pretty close to the top of that list will be ensuring that they get the best cordless drills, that are available on the market today.

In this article I want to cover the top 5 FAQ that you should ask if you are a contractor? I hope you find this information useful. At the end of this article I have made my top 5 cordless drill/driver recommendations, that cover a range of price points.

A good drill is the cornerstone of construction and repairs. Whether you’re Mr. Fix-It on the weekends or a building pro, you need a quality cordless drill. Credits: The 8 Best Cordless Drills| HiConsumption

Question 1 – Is The Battery Important in a Cordless Drill?

According to Ask the Builder

I discovered a few magic ingredients that are making the new cordless power tools faster and more powerful than corded tools. Not only are lithium-ion batteries better than ever, but the motors inside the best tools have better parts and are better engineered.  Credits: Ask the Builder: Cordless tool power depends on battery – The Spokesman Review

I agree 100% with the information shown above. Even in the last two years there have been dramatic changes to the standard of the batteries used in all cord less tools.

The days of the Nicad are almost behind us and they have now been replaced with the Li-on breed. The main difference in these two battery types is length of life. I don’t want to bore you with the scientific reasons behind this, but essentially it has to do with what is termed the “charging memory.”

The bottom line is that Li-on batteries are just far better.

The second thing you should look for in a battery is the power. Having worked in the construction industry for years, there is no way that a 12V one will do your job.

That is fine for odd jobs around the house, but now when working on a job or project. For years the standard was 18V, but that has now shifted up to 20 volt batteries.

After power comes how long the charge will last in a battery and finally how long it takes to charge one. Something else worth considering is can you use the battery in other power tools as that can save you a shed load of money? Most contractors will know the benefits of buying bare tools, and having a couple of appropriate batteries and a fast charger.

Question 2 – Is the Drill Going to Be Durable?

If you have been in the contracting or construction industry for any length of time, then you will know the amount of abuse your drill is going to take.

I don’t just mean the amount of work we will expect it to do, but just the way it will be brought around from job to job. It will be in all types of weather conditions, dusty conditions, in the wet, chucked into the back of a van etc.

That means it has got to be tough and durable and built to last. Apart from my circular saw, my drill probably takes the most abuse, so just make sure that the one you get is suitable for the inevitable abuse that it is going to get.

You will always want to buy something with a solid warranty, and always make sure to register your drill online as soon as you buy it.

Question 3 – Will it do The Job?

In my opinion there is simply nothing worse than buying any tool, including a drill, and then discover that it does not have enough power.

That will always come down to the battery size, the RPM and the torque. This is really what you pay for when it comes to buying the best type of drills for contractors.

If you are working on simply home projects then most drills will handle the basic tasks. However in the day to day working on a big job, you need a drill and bits, that get the work done quickly and with accuracy.

Question 4 – Will It Work In Tight Places?

I think this question is easy to overlook. I found that the normal day to day routine when on the job, is that access is not normally a big problem. There are times though that you have to work in some really confined spaces.

Think of kitchen cabinets or closets and you will get my drift. In those times you just want to be able to get your drill into a small space and get the job done.

Many of the larger heavy duty ones will not do that, and almost always you have to get a smaller one to do the job. Thankfully they now have smaller or more compact drills that allow you into these confined areas, but you don’t lose any of the power thanks to 20 volt batteries and good torque.

Question 5 – Will Your Drill Feel Good In Your Hand?

The manufacturers call this ergonomic design. I don’t particularly care what name they give to it. For me it is all about how it fits into your hand, and if it has a nice balance to it. I think you can just tell when you pick a drill up if it feels tough, looks good and fits nicely into your hand.

You just get a sense of it being right. Hopefully that makes sense to you.

Top 5 Cordless Drills for Contractors

Just below I have selected what we believe to be 5 of the best cordless drills for contractors. We have listed those by popularity, value for money and by the highest buyer rated on the market.

No 1 Recommendation – Best Cordless Drill for a Contractor – Dewalt DCD771C2

If I had to pick just one cordless drill for a contractor it would be this one. I just like the Dewalt brand and although they are being challenged now by the brand red Milwaukee, and even by some of the Makita range, I still think Dewalt is way ahead of them.

This one for me pretty much has everything that I would be looking for in a drill. It has a powerful 20 volt battery that pumps out 300 watts of power which is plenty for the bigger jobs.

It has a 1/2″ ratcheting chuck, and I have to say it feels great in your hand. It weighs around 3.5 lbs and I find this a comfortable weight to use.

You get two batteries so never any need to worry about not having a charged battery when you need it and it comes in the classic Dewalt contractor’s bag. It also has twin speed and can kick up to around 1500 rpm.


The main reason I picked this one is that it has a great price point of around $100. To get a tough durable drill for that money with the Dewalt brand is a really good deal in my opinion. The Dewalt DCD771C2 ticks all the right boxes.

Overall online buyers rate this contractor cordless drill at 92% buyer satisfaction. There are around 3,000 online buyer reviews available on this product, and that should tell you that this one sells really well.

No 2 Recommendation – Dewalt DC970K-2 18 Volt Cordless Drill

This one has an RRP of around $99, but you can usually find this one cheaper online. It is a huge best seller for the Dewalt brand, and contractors clearly rate this one highly.

You get the drill, two batteries, a charger and the contractor bag, that keeps it altogether. It has a dual speed range (0-450 and 0-1,500) so as you ca do both driving and drilling.

It has a 1/2″ single sleeve less chuck, with a high performance motor. The batteries are NICad and that is what makes this drill cheaper than the one above.


It is however a more affordable drill, and also a good general purpose one. It is a good choice for any contractor starting out, who needs to keep a close eye on their budget. The Dewalt DC970K-2 sells a lot, and has done so for the last 3-4 years.

This one has even more online buyer reviews with over 5,000 reviews available online. Like the first Dewalt drill on my list this one also gets an average buyer satisfaction rating of 92%.

No 3 Recommendation – Makita CX200RB Cordless 2 Piece Combo Set

This combo of cordless drill and impact driver is the highest rated on the market at the moment. It does however come with a hefty price tag of around $460. That said we have found this at around half the price online.

At this lower price, and if you can afford it, then I would have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending this to you. Contractors rate this drill and impact driver with a 96% buyer satisfaction rating.

It doesn’t get much better than that. The drill driver weighs just 2.8 lbs and the impact driver just 2.6 lbs, but boy do they pack some power.


Both tools use brushless motors and that means there is little chance of the motor ever burning out. Both use an 18 volt Lithium-Ion battery which also comes with a rapid charger.

This is an impressive contractor kit but I do understand that the higher price point will put a lot of potential buyers off making the purchase.

No 4 Recommendation – Bosch 18-Volt Compact Tough Drill/Driver Kit DDB181-02

This 18 volt option from the Bosch brand also gets very solid and high buyer satisfaction ratings from online buyers. As of the time of writing this article that rating was 88%. Although not as high as the others on this list, it is still a good rating and it is at a decent price point


This is a nice compact drill weighing under 3 lbs in weight. That makes it a good choice for many contractors who have to have a drill in their hand for many hours in the day. This drill, despite its small size and weight, still delivers up to 350 lbs of torque, so plenty of drilling and driving power.

It also has variable speed, 2 speed transmission and includes an LED worklight. There is certainly plenty to like about this most compact of drills.

No 5 Recommendation – Milwaukee 2796-22 Fuel 18-Volt

This is one of the Milwaukee red branded drills that I mentioned earlier. Many contractors do like to use this brand of tools. The one I am recommending here is a combination kit with a drill and an impact driver. It uses 18 volt batteries (Li-Ion) and also has the popular and longer lasting brushless motor.


Online buyers have rated this kit at 88% buyer satisfaction, and that rating remains very solid. Personally I am a Dewalt fan, but for those of you who prefer Milwaukee, then this one is certainly worth a look.

This kit is packed with power and also has long lasting batteries.

Contractor Cordless Drill Summary

So that sums up, what we here believe to be the top 5 cordless drills for contractors. I do like the Dewalt brand and whwn you have worked on as many sites as I have, you will find that most builders, construction workers and people in the trade like this brand as well.

Some have made the move to Makita or Milwaukee and these are also two well known and respected tool brands as well. At the end of the day you always get what you pay for.

Enda McLarnon
 

Enda McLarnon is now retired and is now enjoying writing about his love of power tools. All types of these tools are now available and they make working on projects and DIY jobs around the home a great deal of fun