There are so many different cordless drills on the market these days and that makes it sometimes very difficult to determine which one will be best for you. To be honest, there probably is no such thing as the “best cordless drill”. Why? Well, because there are so many different reasons for using a drill so the best drill really depends on the job involved.
The best thing that we can do to help you is give you a bit of a comparison guide and let you determine which one will best suit your needs. Are you looking for something to do small job like hanging pictures and other household tasks or maybe you are looking for something more heavy duty for your contracting business.
What Is A Cordless Drill?
Well, it is normally quite hard for many in making a distinction especially when it comes to a cordless drill vs impact driver. The impact driver is basically essential in dealing with driving applications in materials such as wood, metal and plastic. A cordless drill on the other hand is a rotary tool that can be used for drilling of holes as well as driving fasteners, which is greatly determined by the bit accessory that it employs. They come in various sizes as well as power capacities, which is largely determined by the voltage rating. A higher cordless drill voltage means a more rotational torque power that the drill can generate. The running power is found in the battery voltage measurement. Most of them are powered by use of Lithium-ion batteries with a voltage capacity 12-18 volts. The cordless drill screwdriver is a feature that is vital for all your driving operations. The weight and vibration generated by an operating drill can be tiring to the arms, which is why they are feature a compact as well as lightweight design. Selecting the right drill will largely depend on the nature of the work, whether it is a light or heavy duty task.
Cordless drills are available in a wide variety of different configurations, voltages, battery types and everything in between.
Common voltages available in cordless drills on the market currently:
- 7.2 Volts
- 12 Volts
- 14.4 Volts
- 18 Volts
- 15.6 Volts
- 20 Volts
There are other voltages available but I would put the above as some of the most common – especially for regular household duties.
Common battery types:
- NiCd (nickel-cadmium) – these are generally less expensive than lithium ion but they tend to not last as long and can discharge themselves while not in use.
- Lithium-ion – far more superior but more expensive. the other thing that is cool about these batteries is that they keep their power right up until they are dead – so in other words, you won’t have a problem where the drill slowly loses power – it either works 100% or not at all. they can also hold a charge for years when not in use – good for times when you don’t use the drill a lot but you want it to be ready for when you do need it.
Using A Cordless Drill
What to Look for in a Cordless Drill
So your looking to buy your first cordless drill or upgrade to a model with more power. Either way it’s important to find the right model for you. Knowing what to look for in a cordless drill will help you with making a smarter buying decision. There are all types of cordless drills, so choosing the right one based on your projects will save you money and provide you with the best tool for the job. The performance of a cordless drill can be determined by asking the following questions.
1. What kind of power does the drill provide?
The power of a cordless drill is dependent upon the battery’s voltage. With higher voltage the drill is able to produce more torque-spinning strength. Torque-spinning strength is critical in overcoming resistance when boring holes. With new advancements in battery technology, top-end voltage has increased up to 24 volts. It’s important to understand the tradeoff for higher voltage batteries. Typically, the higher voltage models weigh more than a lower voltage model. Does the need for more power outweigh the difference in weight? Again, this depends upon the projects you will be doing with the cordless drill. For light maintenance and repair, such as drilling holes for drywall anchors or removing and replacing door hinges; you’re better off with a small lightweight cordless drill with a 6v or 7.2v battery. For typical repair and remodeling like replacing deck railings or drilling pilot holes and driving screws into hardwood or plywood then you should look for a cordless drill in the range of 9.6v to 12v. Finally, heavy duty construction including drilling into masonry walls or installing decking is going to need a lot more power. Look for a drill with a minimum of 14.4v, but you might have better results with a 18v or 20v model.
2. How comfortable is the drill in my hand?
A corded drill typically comes with a pistol style grip, meaning the handle sets behind the motor. This can cause the drill to be top heavy, but at the same time this allows you to put more pressure higher up for heavy duty drilling and driving screws. On a cordless drill, the battery sits underneath the weight and bulk of the motor, which provides better overall balance. To accommodate the battery, the base of the cordless drill is flared. This flare also helps with preventing hand slippage. Heavier duty cordless drills/drivers come with a T-handle for added leverage. Many of the newer cordless drill models come with an ergonomic comfort grip to provide ideal balance and tool control.
3. What kind of clutch settings does the drill provide?
An adjustable clutch is one of the best features of a cordless drill. Located just behind the chuck, the number of clutch settings is varied depending upon the drill with the better drills having as many as 24 clutch settings. Why is the clutch important? The clutch gives you control from overdriving a screw once it is snug or stripping the screw entirely. The way a clutch works is that it disengages the driveshaft of the drill once a preset level of resistance is reached. This results in the motor continuing to turn but the screwdriver bit stops spinning. The lower numbers on the clutch are for small screws while the larger numbers are for larger screws. Also, most clutches have a drill setting for a full power setting.
4. What’s the speed of the drill?
Typically most cordless drills come with at least two speed control settings ranging from 300 rpm to 800 rpm (revolutions per minute). Some of the less expensive cordless drills do not have a speed control setting. The low speed is for driving screws while the higher speed is for drilling holes. If you are doing more hole-drilling than screw driving then you should look for a drill with a top-end speed of 1000+ rpm’s.
5. What kind of battery does the drill use?
This is an area where you get what you pay for. The industry uses three different types of batteries, Nickel-metal-hydride (NiMH), Nickel-cadmium (Nicad), and Lithium-ion (Li-ion). When purchasing a cordless drill that comes with a battery, the manufacturer provides a charger that can usually recharge a battery in less than 15 minutes.
What Makes The Best Cordless Drill For You?
Now this is a good question! The first question should actually be – what do you intend on using it for? What kind of budget do you have? How often do you think you will be using it?
When we created this post, it gave us a chance to take a look at a whole lot of different cordless drills available so we just had to pick our favorites out of the bunch. Take a look at these ten that we picked for what we would want to choose for a number of different reasons.
1. Ingersoll Rand D5140-K2 1/2-Inch Cordless Drill Driver, Charger, 2 Li-ion Batteries and Case Kit
Performance and durability built into every detail. Introducing the new Ingersoll Rand D5140 1/2-Inch 20V Drill/Driver. Designed specifically for professionals who require hard-working, long-lasting, multipurpose tools, the D5140 has performance and durability built into every detail.
- Performance: Delivering 700 in-lb of torque, the D5140 has the power to make your jobs faster and easier
- Durability: All-metal single-sleeve ratcheting and locking chuck with carbide jaws allow for easy one-handed use and strong bit retention
- Versatility: Adjustable side handle offers control for heavy-duty drilling
- Two Battery Kit: Includes Bare tool, 20V li-ion 3.0 Ah batteries, IQV20 Charger, Blow–molded case
2. Milwaukee 2603-22 XC M18 Fuel Brushless 1/2-Inch Drill/Driver 18v 4.0aH
Milwaukee Electric Tool 2603-22 M18 18VDrill/Driver Kit features a Power state Brushless Motor that Delivers Up To 725 IN/LB Of Torque, Onboard Fuel Gauge Helps Monitor The Charge More accurately So There Is Less Downtime On The Job, Red Link Plus Intelligence, all Metal Ratcheting Locking Chuck Provides Maximum Grip, Bit Retention and Durability, Includes Two M18 Red Lithium XC 4.0 Extended Capacity Battery Packs, M18 and M12 Multi-Voltage Charger and Carrying Case.
- Plastic / Metal
- POWERSTATE Brushless Motor: Delivers up to 725 in lbs of torque with maximum sustained torque to complete the toughest of applications
- REDLITHIUM Battery Technology: Superior pack construction, electronics,and performance deliver more work per charge and more work over pack life than any battery on the market
- REDLINK PLUS Intelligence: Provides optimized performance and overload protection using total system communication between tool, battery and charger.
3. DEWALT DCD791D2 20V MAX XR Li-Ion 0.5″ 2.0Ah Brushless Compact Drill/Driver Kit
The DEWALT DCD791D2 20V MAX XR Li-Ion 1/2″ Compact Drill/Driver Kit (2.0Ah) features a DEWALT brushless motor which delivers up to 57% more run time over brushed. The XR Li-Ion batteries with fuel gauge provide 33% more capacity over standard packs. This unit is compact (6.9″ front to back), and lightweight (3.4 lb.), designed to fit into tight areas. A high speed transmission with 2-speed settings (0-550/0-2,000 RPM) delivers up to 30% faster application speeds, with an ergonomic comfort grip handle that provides ideal balance & tool control. The metal 1/2″ ratcheting chuck allows for superior bit gripping strength. This drill also offers a 3-Mode LED that provides lighting in dark or confined spaces (up to 20X brighter than previous model), with a LED spotlight mode that features 20 minute shutoff function allowing for extended work time in dark or confined spaces.
- DEWALT brushless motor which delivers up to 57% more run time
- (2) XR Li-Ion batteries with fuel gauge provide 33% more capacity
- Compact, lightweight design for tight spaces
- High speed transmission with 2-speed settings
- 3-Mode LED lights with a spotlight mode
4. Festool C15 Li-Basic 564617 Cordless Drill
Thanks to Festoon’s new Power Select Program you can build your drill into what you need. The revolutionary EC-TEC brushless motor, combined with all new 5.2 Ah battery packs delivers ample power to tackle a million screws with minimal wear. The compact D-Handle design not only gets you into tight spaces, but improves hand-positioning for better control when it counts, whether in high-torque applications, or situations where accuracy is critical. The incomparable Fast Fix system is supported by keyless, eccentric, depth-stop, right angle and Centrotec system chucks, eliminating the expense of five or more specialized tools, while saving substantial time and wasted material.
- Build your drill into what you need
- The revolutionary EC-TEC brushless motor, combined with all new 5.2 Ah battery packs
- Improves hand-positioning for better control when it counts
- Service All Inclusive – Three year warranty on drill, charger and batteries
5. Bosch DDS181A-02 18V Compact Tough 1/2″ Drill/Driver Kit with SlimPack Batteries
The Bosch DDS181A-02 Lithium-Ion 18-Volt Compact Tough 1/2-Inch Drill/Driver kit is a tool that features Bosch’s innovative canned motor, which provides the drill/driver the same power but at a lighter weight and a more compact design. The tool’s heavy-duty chuck delivers increased robustness, upgraded bit retention and torque transfer. The drill produces powerful performance, with 600 In.-Lbs. of torque and two drilling speeds (0-1,700 rpm for high speed and 0-500 rpm for torque). This cordless drill was engineered with the Bosch Compact Tough design for the shortest head-length in class (7.0-Inches long) and a weight of only 3.5 Lbs. This is a durable and beefy drill that can power through the toughest materials, and it has an Electronic Motor Protection system to protect it from overload. It has an LED for visibility in hard-to-see areas.
- Four pole open frame motor offers more power in a smaller size
- Soft-grip wrapped housing fits comfortably in hand for extended working time
- Ratcheting single sleeve 1/2-Inch chuck for one handed bit changes
- Variable speed trigger provides maximum control
- LED light great for dark or enclosed areas
6. Makita LXFD01CW 18-Volt Compact Lithium-Ion Cordless 1/2-Inch Driver-Drill Kit
The Makita LXFD01CW 18-Volt Compact Lithium-Ion Cordless 1/2-Inch Driver-Drill delivers power, performance, and improved ergonomics in a compact size. The LXFD01CW weighs only 3.3 pounds, and the 18-Volt Compact Lithium-Ion battery reaches a full charge in only 15 minutes on Makita’s ENERGY STAR qualified Rapid Optimum Battery Charger for more work and less downtime.
- Accepts Makita 18V LXT Lithium-Ion 3.0 Ah battery for even longer run time
- Rapid Optimum Charger has a built-in fan to cool the battery for faster, more efficient charging
- Rapid Optimum Charger communicates with the battery’s built-in chip throughout the charging process to optimize battery life by actively controlling current, voltage and temperature
- Makita-built 4-pole motor delivers 480 in.lbs. of Max Torque and 290 in.lbs. of PTI Torque
- Variable 2-speed (0-400 & 0-1,500 RPM) covers a wide range of drilling and driving applications
- Built-in LED light illuminates work area
- Compact and ergonomic design at only 7-9/16″ long and weighs only 3.3 lbs. for reduced operator fatigue
- 3-year limited warranty on tool, battery and charger
7. Panasonic EY6432NQKW 15.6-Volt NiMH 1/2-Inch Cordless Drill/Driver Kit
Raw power: 390in/lb of torque. The 2.8 amp nickel metal hydride battery technology produces 50-percent more run time per charge and is the highest capacity battery on the market today. New features include a laser-welded, fan-cooled motor and lightweight, 1/2-inch keyless chuck. A rubberized grip has been added to reduce operator fatique and improve comfort. Panasonic’s unique, full torque speed control gives you full power at any rpm within the speed range. Dual speed range 65-450/200-1450 with electronic brake and 18-stage clutch provide precision fastening. Kit includes two 2.8 Ah NiMH batteries, Hyperformance drill, high impact plastic carrying case, and 45-minute universal charger (7.2- to 15.6-volt, NiMH or NiCd).
- wo 2.8-amp NiMH battery packs provide 50-percent longer run time
- Delivers 390-inches-per-pound of torque for big applications
- 1/2-inch keyless chuck handles larger bits
- 45-minute charge saves time
- Compact and lightweight for all-day use
8. DEWALT DC970K-2 18-Volt Compact Drill/Driver Kit
DEWALT’s DC970K-2 18-volt drill-driver kit packs a big punch in a small package, with a powerful high-performance motor tucked away inside a compact design that improves user comfort, especially when working in tight spaces over long run times. Ideal for drilling and fastening with a variety of materials such as wood, metal, and plastic for applications like framing, cabinet installation, and HVAC work, the DC970K-2 kit is a great foundation for any professional contractor or DIYer’s power-tool collection.
- Constructed to minimize user fatigue. Dual speed range, 0-450/0-1,500 rpm, delivers optimal performance
- Includes two batteries, one hour charger, double ended screwdriver bit and kit box. Contractor bag
- Compact size fits into the tightest conditions.1/2-inch single sleeve key-less ratcheting chuck for tighter bit grip
- Lightweight design (5.2 pounds) minimizes user fatigue
- High performance motor delivers maximum power of 380 unit watts out. Battery Amp hours – 1.2.
9. PORTER-CABLE PCC601LB 20V Max 1/2-Inch Lithium Ion Drill/Driver
The PORTER-CABLE PCC601LB 20V Max 1/2″ Lithium Ion Drill/Driver features a high performance motor that delivers 283 Units Watts Out. It has a 2 -speed gear box (0-350/0-1500 RPMs) which delivers the power needed to complete tasks with ease. The 1/2″ keyless chuck allows for quick bit changes, and a LED light illuminates and brightens dark work areas. This unit offers a compact size (8.25″ long) and is quite light weight (3.5lbs), which allows this tool to work in tight areas and minimizes user fatique. Also, the 20V Max Lithium Ion batteries with 1.3 amp/hour cells delivers more power and runtime in a smaller package.
- High performance motor delivers 283 Units Watts Out
- 2 speed gear box (0-350/0-1500 RPMs)
- Compact size (8.25″ long) and light weight (3.5lbs)
- 1/2″ Keyless chuck
10. BLACK+DECKER LDX112C 12-Volt MAX Lithium-Ion Drill/Driver with 1 Battery
Black & Decker’s LDX112C 12-volt MAX lithium-ion drill/driver packs a powerful punch in a compact frame thanks to its long-lasting lithium battery, lightweight construction, and ergonomic features that increase comfort and productivity. Ideal for household jobs like building furniture, changing cabinet hardware, or hanging artwork, the LDX112C easily fits in tight spaces and provides enough torque (up to 100 inch-pounds) to handily complete tasks on your honey-do list.
- Lithium-ion battery holds charge longer between use and has longer cycle life
- 11-position clutch provides precise control for drilling into wood, metal, and plastic, and for all screw driving tasks
- Compact and lightweight for less user fatigue and for drilling and screw driving in confined spaces
- Lithium-ion battery holds charge longer between use and has longer cycle life
- 11-position clutch provides precise control for drilling into wood, metal, and plastic, and for all screwdriving tasks
- Compact and lightweight for less user fatigue and for drilling and screwdriving in confined spaces
- Variable speed allows countersinking without damaging material
- Anti-slip soft grip provides comfort when using the drill
Have You Chosen One?
I know that with all the options available, it can be somewhat overwhelming to figure out which drill may be the best one for you and the jobs that you need it for. I hope that this article can help shed a little light on your decision and help you determine what will be the best cordless drill for you.