We've tested so many cordless drills that we literally lost count. From filling our workshop with 50 bits at a time to testing new models, we are constantly exposed to the latest models. Choosing the best cordless drill for you comes down to your top priorities: performance, durability, price, value, weight, size, and more!
Even though we've tested a ton of workouts (and I wonder what the actual weights for all the workouts add up to…), not everyone gets the trophy. To make our final list, a drill has to stand out from the competition. We still recommend other models, they just aren't in the group we call the best.
Best Cordless Drill Overall
Milwaukee M18 Fuel Impact Drill Generation 4
Milwaukee's M18 Fuel hammer earns our recommendation as the best cordless drill overall with improvements to its 4th generation model. Performance came across in all three main categories. It handles 200 inch-pounds of torque, now 1400 inch-pounds. The top speed of 2100 RPM has been increased by 100 RPM and the hammer frequency has been increased by 1000 BPM at 33000 BPM.
There's more than that. Generation 4 also includes recoil control for the first time. Most importantly, the Milwaukee has improved while maintaining its compact 6.9-inch head length with a negligible increase in weight. In fact, this model also earns our top choice as the best lightweight drill for heavy-duty use.
If you don't need the hammer drill capability, look for the model 2903 drill driver version.
Price; $199.00 bare, $299.00 kit including two 5.0Ah batteries and a charger
Best Cordless Drill Performance
Flex 24V Max Hammer Drill with Turbo
The Flex 24V Max Hammer Drill with Turbo Mode spent two years as our top recommendation and is only narrowly behind the Milwaukee this year. It's still the top performer overall, though. With a top speed of 2500 RPM and a maximum torque of 1400 in-lbs, its real-world performance impressively handles light and heavy duty tasks with confidence.
It's a compact option at just 7.1 inches long, however, it has a noticeably heavier operating weight than some competitors.
What's more, the kit comes with two batteries, a charger, and a hard case for just $199.00. That's $50 less than last year's price, and if you register by December 31, 2023, you get a lifetime warranty. For professionals, you won't find a better value.
Price: $199.00 for 5.0Ah and 2.5Ah batteries and charger
The best 18V cordless drill is the best 20V cordless drill
When it comes to creme de la creme, are you looking for the best 18V cordless drill or the best 20V cordless drill? Yes!
18V tools have the same voltage as 20V tools. They both run on a 5-cell battery system that combine to produce 20V max when they're fully charged, and go to 18V nominal after you've used them a bit. Learn more details here.
That said, some brands do have more leverage. Hilti's 22V, Kobalt's 24V and Flex's 24V are all 6-core systems. They run at 24 volts maximum and 21.6 nominal. Whether they design the tool for longer runtimes or more power, the extra unit does offer advantages.
We are also seeing a resurgence in higher voltage systems. For example, Makita's 40V max XGT is a 10-cell system operating at 40 max voltage and 36 nominal voltage.
Best 18V/20V Max Cordless Drill
DeWalt 20V Max Power Detected Impact Drill DCD998
Milwaukee and Flex take our top two spots, but we've covered them and we're making room for another great pick. DeWalt has three main high-performance drills, and which one is best for you depends on how you like to work and the batteries you use. If you are someone who uses 20V Max 5.0Ah all day long, then DCD996 is the best choice for you. If you don't mind some extra weight, the FlexVolt Advantage DCD999 takes your game to the next level when you're using a FlexVolt battery, but will be perfectly happy with any 20V Max battery pack.
However, we prefer the Power Detect DCD998. It's excellent with a 5.0Ah battery, and if you get an 8.0Ah battery or higher, it kicks up to a higher level of performance. Even if it doesn't hit the same power levels as the FlexVolt Advantage, you don't need DeWalt's state-of-the-art battery to run it.
Price: $329.00 with 8.0Ah battery and charger
Metabo 18V Cordless Hammer Drill SB 18 LTX-3 BL QI
If we leave everything else aside and look at concrete drilling performance, the best cordless hammer drill is the SB 18 LTX-3 BL QI from Metabo. The top spins at 3800 RPM and it drills in 1/4" and 1/2" concrete. It's a bigger, heavier model, and it's not cheap, but it's well made and its LiHD battery pack is one of the best on the market.
Price: $379.99, includes two 5.5Ah batteries
Best 12V Compact Cordless Drill
Milwaukee M12 Fuel Impact Drill Generation 3
When it comes to the best 12V cordless drill, you have several quality options, and Milwaukee's 3rd generation M12 Fuel 3404 makes it our top choice. The Gen 2 (2504) was very good, but the 3404 is a step up. It slows down slightly to a top speed of 1550 RPM and 22500 BPM, but produces 400 in-lbs of torque — something a 12V battery can't do.
This model has become even more compact, with the head length down to 5.9 inches, and it even sheds some weight compared to the previous generation.
Price: $149.00 bare, $179.00 kit with 2.0Ah battery, 5.0Ah battery and charger
best value cordless drill
Skil PWRCore 20 Compact Brushless Cordless Drill
When it comes to getting the best value in cordless drills, we usually look at the Prosumer category — drills that approach premium levels of performance but cost less. Of course, there are trade-offs. They might not be as compact, or as fit and finished, but they're well made and a big step up from the average DIY model.
There are some higher-performance cordless drills in this class, but Skil's HD6293B-10 kit is a steal at $99.99. This is a 2 speed model with a top speed of 1800 RPM and a brushless motor providing 450 in-lbs of torque. Happily, the 2.0Ah battery doubles as a USB power source, and the kit comes with an upgraded PWRJump charger. For value, it's hard to beat.
There's also a hammer drill version available in a kit for $129.99.
Price: $99.99 with 2.0Ah battery and charger
The best budget cordless drill for home use
Ryobi 18V One+ 3/8" Cordless Drill
Despite inflation, there are still plenty of great cordless phones under $100. If you're looking for something under $50, it's a little hard to find. Ryobi has your back, though, and you can get the PDD209K cordless drill with battery and charger for under $40.
While it obviously won't compete with pricier models, its 600 RPM and 135 in-lbs of torque are great for hanging pictures, assembling furniture, securing cabinets, and other light household projects.
Home Depot is marking it on sale (usually $59.97), so pick it up while it's still possible.
Price: $39.97 with 1.5AH battery and charger
More cordless drill recommendations from brands we trust
Best Bosch Cordless Drill – 18V ProFactor GSB 18V-1330C
Thanks to advanced battery and brushless motor technology, Bosch has added a high-torque cordless drill set with its highest-performing model, the GBS 18V-1330C Hammer Drill. 2200 RPM in high range and 1330 in-lbs of torque in low range set the stage, while 30,000 BPM helps you power through concrete. To sweeten the deal, there's kickback control, an innovative leveling function, and it's ready for connection mods should you want to add smart features.
All this performance is packaged in a very strong well-built case. The bare tool weighs 4.6 pounds and measures 8.0 inches across the head. Still, for your heavy-duty drilling and driving, it's a feature-packed option that's a strong contender for best overall and offers excellent value.
If you don't need the hammer drill capability, use the GSR 18V-1330C instead.
Price: $149.00 bare metal, $249.00 with 8.0Ah battery and charger
Best Craftsman Cordless Drill – V20 Brushless CMCD721
Even though it's been around for a while, Craftsman's CMCD721 is still the best performing hammer drill. Its brushless motor delivers 2100 RPM and 400 unit watts of power (read more about UWO and torque here) paired with a comfortable, lightweight design. Plus, they're assembled in the USA by folks in South Carolina using global materials.
Don't need hammer drill mode? Use the CMCD720 instead to get the same performance in the rig.
Price: $179.00 kit with two 2.0Ah batteries
Best Greenworks Cordless Drill – 24V Brushless Drill Driver
If you're looking for a power drill to use around the house for your DIY projects, Greenworks has a 24V brushless model worth considering. This is a 2 speed model with a top speed of 1450 RPM and 310 in-lbs of torque. It's a fairly lightweight model, and the battery doubles as a USB power source to charge your devices on the go.
Considering battery power for your lawn care tools (or maybe you already have one)? These tools use the same batteries that Greenworks uses in their 24V and 2 x 24V Outdoor Power Units.
Price: $129.00 with two 1.5Ah batteries and a charger
Best HART Cordless Drill – 20V Brushless HPHD25B
HART came out with a firm DIY focus and steadily moved into the prosumer category with higher performance options. In its line of drills, the HPHD25B hammer drill has a speed of 2100 RPM and 31000 BPM in high gear. Drop down to low and get 650 inch-pounds of torque, giving most DIYers and hobbyists all the performance they need for a variety of projects, including concrete drilling. While it's not as compact or lightweight as some models, it's an excellent choice for anyone who wants mid-range power.
Price: $148.00 with 2.0Ah battery and charger
Best Hilti Cordless Drill – 22V Nuron SF 6H-22
With Hilti's move to the Nuron platform, these tools are smarter than ever. As we've come to expect, they're also tough and durable, with the performance you'll need on commercial and industrial job sites. Of the options currently available, the SF 6H-22 hammer drill is the best choice.
As part of Hilti's mid-level Power Class, you get a balance of size, weight and performance. 752 in-lbs of maximum torque and 2000 RPM top speed are more than enough for most of your drilling and driving needs.
For fans of the 4-speed Hilti SF 10W-A22, there is an Ultimate Class Nuron model in the works. We don't have exact numbers yet, but hopefully it will at least match the performance and move to brushless motors.
Price: Starting at $199.00 (bare metal)
Best Kobalt Cordless Drill – 24V XTR 1424A-03
Kobalt has moved to advanced impact drills with the launch of its XTR line of products. Highlighting high performance and value, the KXHD 1424A-03 is more compact than Kobalt's previous flagship model. It also boasts an impressive 1200 in-lbs of torque, a 2000 RPM top end, and includes kickback control. At under $200, the kit is an enticing option for serious DIYers and budget-conscious professionals.
Price: $199.00 kit with 4.0Ah Ultimate Output battery
Best Makita Cordless Drill – 40V XGT GPH01
Makita has brought its 40V max XGT hammer drill to the game, and it's a great choice. The GPH01 is compact at only 7.1 inches long. Still, it has 1250 inch-pounds of torque, paired with a top speed of 2600 RPM, and runs very smoothly. Additionally, it has recoil control for added safety measures as well as an electronic clutch for torque control. The 40V max battery is only slightly larger than the 5.0Ah 18V LXT battery pack. This makes the transition to the higher performance levels of the XGT easier.
The number one field is crowded this year, and there's no doubt that Makita's GPH01 should be on your list for what you think is the best cordless drill overall.
If you are interested in the 18V LXT XPH14 Impact Drill, click here to see this review.
Price: $224.00 bare, $424.00 kit, includes two 2.5Ah batteries and a charger
Best Metabo HPT Cordless Drill – 36V Brushless DV36DA
Metabo HPT's 36V MultiVolt Hammer Drill has the advantage of using a 36V battery that also works with its 18V tools. Also, you can add an AC adapter if you want wired power as an option. As a member of the high torque class, you get 1220 inch-pounds of work in low range and a brisk 2100 RPM/31500 BPM in high range.
Add to that solid ergonomics, safe kickback control, and a lifetime warranty, and you've got an impact drill that will perform well for professional contractors.
Price: $189.00 bare, $289.00 kit with two 4.0Ah batteries and a charger
Best Ridgid Cordless Drill – 18V Brushless R861152
Ridgid's latest generation of rigs start out with subcompact models and then mid-range models, but they lack a true high-performance model to keep up with the competition. That has changed, the 18V Burhsless High Torque Hammer Drill is paired with a max output battery producing 2000 RPM and 32000 BPM on top and up to 1250 in-lbs of torque.
There weren't many surprises in our testing, but this model has. Ridgid consistently ranks high and beats some big names. If you're looking for a cordless drill for professional or DIY work, this is a great choice.
Remember to register your purchase to take advantage of Ridgid's Lifetime Service Agreement, which includes a battery warranty. There's nothing wrong with the price tag—it's a 2-battery kit and a high-performance rotary hammer for $199.99. Home Depot has marked it on sale, so grab it while you can.
Price: $149.00 bare, $199.99 for two 4.0Ah max output batteries and a charger
Best Ryobi Cordless Drill – 18V One+ HP Brushless PBLHM101
Ryobi has taken a giant leap forward with the introduction of its 18V One+ HP brushless product line. It starts with a legitimately compact tool, then moves to higher performance with something more powerful and compact than the previous generation.
Our top pick for Ryobi is the 18V One+ HP Brushless Hammer Drill (PBLHM101). With 750 in-lbs of low-range torque and 2100 RPM/31000 BPM top-end torque, it's a serious contender for the best cordless drill in the Prosumer class.
Bare unit $129.00, 4.0Ah high-performance battery and charger $179.00
Editor's note: You think you know it all? Our how to drill article might still be able to show you a thing or two.
Cordless drill buying guide – what we look for
When we test maneuvers, performance is our number one priority. After all, if the tool doesn't do what you need it to do, then it's useless to you!
We test a variety of materials to see how a rig's performance changes as it goes from light duty to heavy duty. While we test to find out the practical limits of each drill, not every drill is right for every job. You won't find us testing 12V drills with 2 9/16" self-feed drills.
size and weight
Most of the time, the more compact and lightweight the drill, the better. It helps you work in tighter spaces with less fatigue. In most cases, we want to use the smallest, lightest drill possible to get the job done.
There is something to be said for a drill that feels just right in the hand. The counterweight will definitely play a role. However, most of us find that certain brands of handles fit our hands better than others. Next time you're at the home improvement store, try picking up something different. See what works best for you.
features to look for
There are a lot of features to consider. Not all of these are necessary, but they can make getting the job done easier, easier or safer. Here's what we're looking for:
- Multiple speeds: 2 speeds are a must, usually the more the better
- Kickback Control: Stops the motor if the drill bit jams
- Side handles: absolutely necessary for drills with higher torque
- Smart controls: help with inventory management and tracking, some offer customizable controls
- Brushless Motors: Run Longer, Better Performance, Longer Motor Life
- Interchangeable Collets: Swapping to dedicated collets can save you from trouble
- All metal chuck: more durable
- LED Lights: Almost every drill has one, but our favorite has the lights around the chuck
- Leash hooks: usually reversible, they are useful when you need to carry materials or climb ladders
price and value
Most of us have some sort of budget when it comes to buying a cordless drill. Staying within budget while getting the most bang for your buck is key.
That's not all, though. Consider which other tools are compatible with the same battery. The deep line ensures you can easily add more tools without having to buy different batteries and chargers.
Warranty also plays an important role. Some are as short as one year (or even less, but we generally don't recommend these). Others extend to 5 years – and some offer lifetime guarantees. Also, keep in mind how you will get after-sales service if you need to use the warranty. Having a convenient service center nearby can save you the cost of mailing your tools.
Finally, consider where you will get new batteries or expand your tool collection. Shopping online is convenient, but being able to walk into a store and get what you need, when you need it, is a big deal. If you are a professional, remember the dealer relationship. Whether you have a dealer come to you or you go to a dealer, having someone willing to help you when you're in trouble can save you time and money.
Why use a cordless drill?
For professionals and homeowners alike, few power tools are as basic as a cordless drill. Essentially, these are hole punching tools. They help us hang pictures, run wire and plumbing, create pilot holes, and many other projects that require holes to be punched in wood, metal, or drywall.
But the best cordless drills right now can do much more than that. The rig clutch setting gives us control over screw drive. Hammering mode allows us to drill smaller holes in concrete and masonry. In short, cordless drills allow us to drill and drill holes in almost any material without the need for a cord.
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