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For many people, a cordless drill is their introduction to the world of power tools, or even the only power tool they need or own. A good cordless drill is undeniably handy for many household projects, letting you easily tackle DIY tasks on the spot, regardless of whether there’s a nearby outlet.
Most owners use their drill for fairly simple tasks, such as driving screws into the wall to hold pictures or mirrors, assembling furniture, or tightening up loose screws on furniture or fencing. Others, however, rely on their drill for bigger jobs, such as building a deck or creating holes in concrete or metal. If you fall into the first group, power and chuck size aren't major issues, but if you want a drill for heavy-duty tasks, you'll be happiest with a powerful drill that has a 1/2-inch chuck, which is the part of the drill that holds the bit in place.
However you intend to use it, there’s a cordless drill that suits your preferences, whether you’re trying to watch your budget, only want the best, need a drill that’s lightweight, or want a drill kit that includes extra tools.
Below, we provide the best cordless drill options for a wide range of DIY needs.
What to Look for in a Cordless Drill
Most cordless drills today use lithium-ion cells that are lighter than older nickel cadmium batteries and hold a charge longer, cutting down on annoying pauses to recharge your drill. Some higher-end drills include two batteries, so one can be charging while the other is in use.
The heaviest-duty cordless drills today have either 18-volt or 20-volt batteries, which provide enough oomph to drill through even the hardest materials. However, that extra power means extra weight, which can be tough on your hands, wrists, and arms. If you’re only planning on using your drill for simple tasks, such as screwing furniture together or hanging pictures, 12 volts or less is sufficient, and the drill will weigh less.
The drill’s chuck is the three-pronged clamp at the front of the drill that holds the bits in place. As a general rule, the more powerful the drill, the larger the chuck. You’ll typically find that the heaviest-duty drills have a 1/2-inch chuck, which is large enough to accept the big bits used for drilling into metal or stone.
For most DIYers, however, a drill with a 3/8-inch chuck is sufficient. This is large enough to hold good sized bits, but not so large that the drill is unwieldy. Drills intended for only lightweight jobs often have 1/4-inch chucks.
Many cordless drills today have keyless chucks, meaning you can change bits without needing a “key” or extra tool; just a twist of your hand will release or tighten the bit.
The drill’s clutch sets the amount of torque, which is a measure of the power with which the bit spins. Lower-end or lightweight cordless drills often have just one or two clutch settings, but higher-end or powerful drills typically have over 20 settings, letting you fine-tune the amount of torque while you work. This is especially important when drilling into very hard materials such as stone or metal.
Here are the best cordless drills on the market.
Best Overall: PORTER-CABLE PCC601LB 20V Max 1/2-Inch Lithium Ion Drill/Driver
Voltage: 20-volt | Chuck Size: ½-inch | Chuck Settings: 23 | Max. RPM: 1,500 | Max. Torque: 283 inch-pounds
Includes two batteries
Not variable speed
If you need a cordless drill with plenty of power and great features, the PORTER-CABLE PCC601LB is worth your attention. This 20-volt tool has a top speed of 1,500 rpm, and a reasonably compact size at about 3.5 pounds and a little over 8 inches long.
The PORTER-CABLE has a 23-stage clutch, a 1/2-inch chuck, and an integrated LED job light to illuminate those hard-to-see screws. It comes with two rechargeable batteries and a soft-sided carrying bag, which might be better than a hard case for users who have limited storage space. This drill feels sturdy and well-balanced, and has enough torque for most common jobs, such as anchoring heavy objects on the wall. Note, however, that PORTER-CABLE, like a few other manufacturers, doesn’t use the more common inch-pounds to measure torque, but instead, states the drill’s torque in units watts out (UWO), which is a more complex measurement of power.
The drill has a three-year warranty.
Best for Home DIY: BLACK+DECKER 20V Drill/Driver
Voltage: 20-volt | Chuck Size: 3/8-inch | Chuck Settings: 11 | Max. RPM: 650 | Max. Torque: 115 inch-pounds
Compact and lightweight
Not for very heavy-duty tasks
It’s reliable, powerful, and perfect for any size job around the house. The BLACK+DECKER 20V Drill/Driver includes model number LDX120C cordless drill, which is compact, lightweight, and ideal for home DIY projects in tight spaces. An 11-position clutch prevents the stripping of screws and provides precise power where you need it, while the integrated LED light at the front of the drill lights the way in dark spaces.
The LDX120C gives 115 pounds of torque and 650 rpm for drilling quickly and neatly through drywall, metal, plastic, and wood—this cordless drill may be small, but it has the power of a larger, heavier model, and the ergonomic handle and lightweight design make the drill easy on your wrists. The drill is affordable enough to make a great addition to any DIYers tool kit, and it has a two-year warranty.
Best for Versatility: Worx WX176L 20-Volt Switchdriver
Voltage: 20 volts | Chuck Size: ¼-inch | Chuck Settings: 12 | Max. RPM: 1,500 | Max. Torque: 265 inch-pounds
Holds two bits at the same time
Not for very heavy-duty tasks
Not variable speed
Forget about stopping to switch drill bits midway through your project; with the Worx 20-Volt Switchdriver, all you need to do is push a button and rotate the dual heads to whichever of the two bits you’d like to use. What a great way to simplify common tasks like drilling a pilot hole and then driving in a screw. And with its 20-volt Power Share battery, the tool has plenty of power and reasonably long battery life to accomplish most simple tasks around the house.
The drill has two ¼-inch chucks, and you don’t need any tools to install or swap out whatever bits you’d like to use. There are 12 torque settings, and two speeds: low is 0 to 400 rpm and high is 0 to 1,500 rpm. Automatic torque control helps prevent annoying stripping of screws or damage to the surface you are working on. There’s even a built-in LED worklight which comes in handy when working in dim conditions, such as underneath a sink.
You get the drill, charger, battery, one 2-inch screwdriver bit, and two HSS drill bits.
Best Compact: Bosch PS31 12 Volt Max 3/8 in. Cordless Drill/Driver Kit
Voltage: 12-volt | Chuck Size: 3/8-inch | Chuck Settings: 21 | Max. RPM: 1,300 | Max. Torque: 265 inch-pounds
Difficult to change battery
If you want a cordless drill that packs as much power as many much larger drills, yet is still small enough to easily tote around your property, check out the Bosch PS31-2A. Although it's a 12-volt model, it has plenty of speed, with a maximum of 1,300 rpm, and with 265 inch-pounds of torque, it has plenty of power as well. The drill weighs just over 2 pounds and has a 7-inch head, making it small and lightweight enough to take anywhere you need it.
There are features galore on this Bosch drill, including a 21-stage clutch, variable speed trigger, 3/8-inch chuck, soft-grip handle, integrated LED work light, and a side-mounted battery gauge that helps users figure out how much longer they can work before it’s time for a recharge. The drill kit includes two batteries and a soft-sided carrying case. The Bosch battery has an exceptional run time, often outperforming even much larger 18-volt drills.
The warranty is three years for the drill and two years for the batteries.
Best High-End: DEWALT Cordless Drill Combo Kit
Voltage: 20-volt | Chuck Size: 1/2-inch | Chuck Settings: 22 | Max. RPM: 2,000 | Max. Torque: 535 uwo
Five quality tools
Includes two batteries
If you take DIY projects seriously, and intend to use your cordless drill extensively for a wide range of tasks, you’ll appreciate the extra tools included with the DEWALT DCK590L2 Five-Tool Combo Kit. It includes a powerful cordless hammer drill, reciprocating saw, impact driver, circular saw, and LED work light. All of the tools are 20-volt models that run on the same rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. Two batteries and a carrying case are also included.
The three-speed cordless drill in this set packs a powerful punch, with a top speed of 2,000 rpm. It has a 1/2-inch chuck and an all-metal transmission. The impact driver with a 1/4-inch hex chuck is even faster, at 2,800 rpm, and it doesn’t have as much kickback as the drill, meaning less vibration and stress to your hand and wrist. The lightweight saws add a ton of versatility to this kit: the circular saw has a 6.5-inch blade that cuts through 2-by-4s on a 45-degree angle, while the reciprocating saw has a two-position blade clamp that allows you to cut at a variety of angles, including flush. All in all, this combo kit provides enough power, versatility, and reliable performance to please even the most discriminating DIYer. The kit’s tools are covered by a three-year warranty.
Best Heavy-Duty: Makita XPH07TB 18V LXT Hammer Drill Kit
Voltage: 18-volt | Chuck Size: 1/2-inch | Chuck Settings: 21 | Max. RPM: 2,100 | Max. Torque: 1,090 inch-pounds
If you’re just looking for a cordless drill to carry out lightweight tasks like assembling furniture or driving screws into the wall to hold pictures, the Makita XPH07TB 18V LXT Hammer Drill Kit is overkill. But if you need a highly powerful tool that hammers as it drives, and is capable of drilling through just about anything you throw at it, including metal, concrete, hardwood, and masonry, you’ll appreciate the impressive power of this drill.
The 18-volt lithium-ion battery and brushless motor combine to produce up to 1,090 inch-pounds of torque and up to 31,500 blows per minute (bpm)—that’s a lot of power. You also get two variable-speed settings: low is up to 550 rpm and high is up to 2,100 rpm. The brushless motor optimizes battery run time by 50 percent, and once it’s time to recharge, you’ll be back at full power in 40 minutes. Plus, since you get two batteries, you can always have one ready to go; that means no downtime in your busy day. A side handle provides extra control and reduces the risk of injury to your wrist and arm while using the tool.
The drill is covered with a three-year warranty.
Best for Light Jobs: BLACK+DECKER 8-Volt MAX Lithium-Ion Cordless Drill BDCD8C
Voltage: 8-volt | Chuck Size: 3/8-inch | Chuck Settings: One | Max. RPM: 400 | Max. Torque: Not listed
Easy to use
No speed adjustment
Not every job calls for a drill with lots of muscle. If you merely need a power drill to simplify driving screws into drywall or soft wood, want to tighten up loose screws on the dining room chairs, or are assembling IKEA furniture, you’ll find that the BLACK+DECKER 8V Max gets the job done without much fuss or bother.
This compact and lightweight drill–it weighs just a little over 1.5 pounds–has an integrated 8-volt lithium-ion battery, and operates up to 400 rpm. The 3/8-inch keyless chuck makes it easy to switch out drill bits, but be aware that the drill itself only comes with a double-sided screwdriver bit, so you’ll need to purchase a set of drill bits separately if needed. Operating the device is very easy; it has just one speed and the only control you’ll need to deal with is the On/Off switch, so even a beginner to DIY or power tools should feel very comfortable wielding the drill. The BLACK+DECKER 8V Max has a two-year warranty.
Best Budget: Wakyme 12.6V Cordless Drill Driver Kit 0821
Voltage: 12.6-volt | Chuck Size: 3/8-inch | Chuck Settings: 18 | Max. RPM: 1,500 | Max. Torque: 300 inch-pounds
Includes bit set
Includes two batteries
Not very sturdy
If you’re looking for a cordless drill set with a low price but high performance, look no further than the Wakyme Cordless Drill Set. You won’t spend a lot, but you will get a reliable, sturdy drill with two 12.6-volt lithium-ion batteries, a 3/8-inch keyless chuck, and two variable speed settings: up to 150 rpm on low and up to 1500 rpm on high.
For such a bargain-priced tool, the drill has a lot of great features: 300 inch-pounds torque, 18 clutch settings, an integrated LED light to illuminate dark workspaces, and a variety of bits, including a tile bit, three two-way screwdrivers, ten driver bits, nine socket wrenches, and a handy storage box to keep everything organized. With two included batteries, and a charger that takes only a couple of hours to bring batteries back to full charge, you’ll be able to tackle your entire project list without a lot of down time. The Wakyme Cordless Drill Set comes with a two-year warranty.
Best Combo Kit: Craftsman V20 Cordless Drill Combo Kit CMCK401D2
Voltage: 20-volt | Chuck Size: 1/2-inch | Chuck Settings: 23 | Max. RPM: 1,500 | Max. Torque: 280 uwo
Four quality tools
Includes two batteries
Some kits missing the tool bag
If your to-do list is long, your DIY ambitions are high, but your shopping time is limited, you’ll appreciate the convenience of a combo kit that includes not one, but four powerful tools that all charge off the same 20-volt lithium-ion charger.
The Craftsman V20 Cordless Drill Combo Kit includes a 20-volt cordless drill with a 1/2-inch chuck and two variable speeds: up to 400 rpm on low and up to 1,500 rpm on high. But that’s not all. You also get a 20-volt cordless impact driver with a 1/4-inch chuck, 1,460 inch-pounds of torque, up to 2,800 rpm, and up to 3,100 bpm for the toughest fastening tasks. Plus, a 20-volt circular saw with a 6.5-inch blade spinning at 4,200 rpm and a pivoting LED task light with 140 lumens to brighten even the darkest workspace.
This might be more power and more components than some DIYers require, but if you enjoy being able to tackle just about any job around your home, you’ll appreciate the reliable, powerful performance of the set, which is covered by a three-year warranty.
Every workshop deserves a cordless drill, and you can’t go wrong with the feature-filled PORTER-CABLE PCC601LB (view at Home Depot). But if all you need is a simple tool without too many frills for basic DIY tasks around the house, the BLACK+DECKER 20V Drill/Driver (view at Amazon) gets the job done at a reasonable price.
Are cordless drills the same as electric screwdrivers?
Although they look quite similar and have overlapping functions, a cordless drill is not the same thing as an electric screwdriver. Electric screwdrivers have only two functions: drive screws in or loosen screws so you can pull them back out again.
Typically, you cannot adjust speed or torque on an electric screwdriver.
Cordless drills, on the other hand, have numerous uses, depending on the bit that’s attached. You can use your drill to drive or loosen screws, and also use it to drill holes, break up grout, stir paint, and grind or sand surfaces.
How long do cordless drills run on a fully charged battery?
Most cordless drills today run on lithium-ion batteries. As a general rule, you can expect a lifespan of roughly 500 charges from these batteries before you’ll need a replacement. As for run-time on an individual charge, that depends on several factors, including the age of the battery, the speed and torque setting of the drill while you work, and the hardness of the material you are drilling into. But as a very rough guideline, battery charge on a cordless drill lasts anywhere between 20 minutes and 2 hours, and it will take anywhere between 15 minutes and 5 hours to recharge the battery, depending on brand and battery age, although most are in the center or towards the lower end of that range.
What is a brushless cordless drill?
When shopping for a cordless drill, you’ll see some models boasting of a “brushless motor.” While the differences between the workings of brushless and brushed motors are rather technical, the most important differences as far as the typical DIYer is concerned is that brushless motors don’t generate friction or heat during use, last longer than brushed motors, require little maintenance, and perform better and more smoothly. While you’ll usually pay a little more for a tool with a brushless motor, it can be well worth the extra money if you use the tool frequently or desire the best performance.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article is edited and updated by Michelle Ullman, the tool expert for The Spruce. She has extensive experience not only in writing about all things related to the home, but also in carrying out various DIY projects, including landscaping, painting, flooring, wallpapering, furniture makeovers, and simple repairs. For this roundup, she considered dozens of cordless drills, evaluating each for basic features, extras, and feedback from customers.