The 10 Best Cordless Drills

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This wiki has been updated 31 times since it was first published in May of 2015. Whether you're a professional construction worker or a home DIYer, one of these versatile cordless drills can help you bore through just about any material you can think of, while also giving you the freedom to take them with you wherever you go. With powerful torque, ergonomic grips, and variable speed options, you'll be more than prepared to handle any job you encounter. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Makita CX200RB

2. Bosch GSR12V

3. Milwaukee 2804-22

Editor's Notes

February 05, 2021:

A good quality cordless drill is an essential tool for construction workers and tradespeople alike, and makes a useful addition to any home tool kit. A less powerful model such as the Black & Decker LD120VA or the Pink Power PP182 should still be competent enough for most tasks around the home such as hanging shelves or doors or putting furniture together. However, those who need to use them on a daily basis should consider a more hard-wearing option such as the Makita CX200RB.

In this update, we added two new options to the ranking. Firstly, we switched the Milwaukee XC M18 with the Milwaukee 2804-22, which features a longer-lasting battery with a reduced charge time, and now boasts 1,200 inch-pounds of torque. It also comes with a second battery and a lockable hard case. The Bosch GSR12V was also included because, although it has less power than most on the list, it is very compact at six inches in length and weighs just 1.6 pounds, making it ideal for overhead work or for use in restrictive areas.

June 04, 2019:

The Makita CX200RB is our top choice, as it packs enough punch to be suitable for contractors while still being manageable for the DIYer. It's also one of the more rugged options listed here, giving you plenty of bang for your buck.

The Black & Decker LD120VA was the last model to make our list, and it did so just barely. It's not terribly powerful, which is a big strike against it; however, that also makes it suitable for finesse work around the house. It's worth having around for that reason alone, but you may want to keep another, stronger drill handy as well.

There are two models on this list that come with impact drivers: the Porter Cable PCCK602L2 and the aforementioned Makita. This certainly provides additional value, but for the purposes of ranking on this list only the qualities of the drills were considered. That said, both drivers appear to be fine tools in their own right.

4. Positec Worx WX176L

5. Porter Cable PCCK602L2

6. Ridgid Fuego R86008

7. Ingersoll D5140-K2

8. DeWalt DCD780C2

9. Pink Power PP182

10. Black & Decker LD120VA

How Do I Choose The Right Cordless Drill For Me?

Anyone who operates a cordless drill on a day-to-day basis should pursue a model that comes with two or more batteries.

Whether you're looking for a cordless drill that's straightforward or a drill that's intricately-designed, the good news is that there is a wide variety of choice on the market. Several of these drills come with built-in features for handling one-of-a-kind jobs.

Assuming, for example, that you do a lot of drilling in hard-to-reach places, you'll want a cordless drill that is relatively lightweight (five to ten pounds) so you can wield it at wide angles. In addition, you'll want a drill that features a one-touch work light, so you can see what you're doing even if you're in a poorly-lit area or a space that is completely dark.

If you're drilling into resistant surfaces, you'll want a cordless drill that features a detachable side handle for stability along with several gears for maximizing torque. If you're dealing with really difficult surfaces, you may want to seek out a drill that comes with a hammer setting for pumping into the bit as a means of driving deep screws home.

Anyone who operates a cordless drill on a day-to-day basis should pursue a model that comes with two or more batteries. Lithium-ion batteries are the industry standard because they are durable, long-lasting, and because they possess twice the energy of many similarly-sized batteries made from nickel cadmium.

The Myriad Advantages of Owning a Cordless Drill

Let's start with some basics. Owning a cordless drill means not having to plug in, which enables you to drill anywhere at any time. In addition, the majority of cordless drills are light enough that you can holster them along a tool belt. This allows you to handle simple jobs, like tightening a loose screw on the fly.

Cordless drills conserve electricity by allowing you to drill outdoors or in hard-to-reach places without trailing a chain of extension cords behind them.

Cordless drills conserve electricity by allowing you to drill outdoors or in hard-to-reach places without trailing a chain of extension cords behind them. They are ideal for any workplace in that they eliminate the risk of employees tripping over wires.

Cordless drills have a higher power rating (on average) than their plugged-in counterparts. Most of these drills come with multiple batteries, which means that you can carry a spare and still keep a battery on the charger.

Obviously, a cordless drill is portable enough that you can store it in a trunk or carry it with you on a bike. This might come in handy if you're a municipal worker or if you happen to be canvassing an area with signs.

Cordless drills are the future, which means that manufacturers tend to place a lot more emphasis on adding features to a cordless drill than they would to a traditional one. A lot of today's cordless drills are built with progressive features, whereas traditional drills tend to be a lot less advanced.

A Brief History of The Drill

The earliest, most rudimentary drills go back 40,000 years and were based upon the same principle of applying pressure via a rotating point that a modern drill is based on today.

Bow drills (featuring a mechanical bow and a shaft) were invented around 8,000 BCE. Core drills were invented five centuries later by the Ancient Egyptians, and pump drills were invented around 1,000 BCE by the Chinese.

Nickel cadmium remained the most efficient power source until lithium-ion batteries came along during the 1980's.

The Ancient Romans are credited with inventing the auger, a crossbar drill that grew to feature a hip-length shaft for boring major holes into a surface. Certain augers were designed with a crossbar wide enough that two men could wind the handle, thereby rendering it easier to penetrate a blunt exterior or solid ground.

An auger eventually evolved to feature the world's first brace-and-bit system. The brace (in brace-and-bit) referred to a U-shaped handle that made it easier for Roman artisans to crank while boring an attached drill bit down.

Electric motors revolutionized the drill when they were introduced during the 1880's. The first handheld motorized drill was patented in 1895. It was self-sufficient and capable of completing an extremely taxing job at the touch of a button. Motorized drills opened the door for several other innovations, including the ability to remove an embedded screw via a reverse mode.

Cordless drills were introduced during the 1960's, with early models being powered via nickel cadmium batteries. Nickel cadmium remained the most efficient power source until lithium-ion batteries came along during the 1980's.

Three decades forward, and cordless drills continue to evolve. A lot of today's models come with innovative features including hammer action, high-powered torque, and an auto-fitting barrel for securing bits inside the jaw.

Chris Gillespie
Last updated by Chris Gillespie

Starting his career in the building industry, Chris built and managed a plumbing and heating company in northern England. After 13 years, seeking a more fulfilling lifestyle, he moved to southeast Asia, eventually settling in Vietnam, where he teaches writing and comprehension at a number of international universities. Drawing on his previous experience, and his passion for kitesurfing and windsurfing, Chris is knowledgeable in all things water related both recreationally and within the construction industry.

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