Checked and updated on February 26, 2021 by Aaron Barnett
The best cordless drill is brushless, this means that the motor operates at a higher RMP and consumes less battery power than if the drill didn’t have this technology. Make sure two quick-charge batteries are included so that you can always work while your other battery is on the charger. Also, make sure to have a solid carrying case for all your bits.
Impact drivers are a lighter weight alternative for driving screws and they also pack more power than a drill with a hammering function, although this isn’t good for drilling holes its saves your wrist from twisting when driving in screws. Both tools work together really well and will save a lot of wear-and-tear on your cordless drill. You also won’t need to waste time changing a drill bit to a drill driver back-and-forth all the time. You can simply set up both tools with a different bit ready to go for the job you are doing.
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Cordless drills are power tools that use batteries instead of an electrical mains power source. In terms of features and functions, they are pretty much indistinguishable from electric drills.
They are the most common power tool for home workshops and DIY settings and have even become more popular than electric drills in professional construction and job sites due to their convenience and portability.
Early cordless drill models were under-powered and ill-suited for the demands of heavy-duty usage. Mostly used in home workshops for occasional light drilling jobs, the first cordless drills to hit the market were aimed squarely at the DIY crowd.
Nowadays, however, many handheld cordless drills provide similar power and performance capabilities as the best electric-powered models, making them excellent choices for professional applications.
Cordless drills are commonly used to drill screw or bolt holes into wood, metal, or masonry. They can also be used to remove screws and pound bolts into place by fitting the drill mechanism with an impact driver.
Some kits come with both a cordless drill and an impact driver, although some cordless drills combine a hammer pounding action that makes it easier to drill through masonry.
The best cordless drills have clutches that allow you to drive screws into different materials without causing damage to the surface. There are even right-angle drills that make it easier to drive screws when working in tight spaces.
Most modern cordless drills use lithium-ion batteries that hold the charge longer than traditional nickel-cadmium batteries. Lithium-ion batteries also have longer run times and charge much more quickly than their nickel-cadmium counterparts.
Now, lithium-ion batteries typically range from 18 volts to 24, 28, and even 36 volts, compared to the 7.2-volt battery packs used in early models of cordless drills.
Cordless drills are useful for anyone who needs to drive screws or bolts into wood, metal, or masonry. They are typically used by electricians, mason workers, builders, woodworkers, carpenters, and home DIY’ers.
Features to consider
Before you buy a cordless drill…
Understand what’s durable.
Cordless drills are typically subjected to a great deal of stress and hard usage. Drills, in general, get a lot more wear-and-tear than any other tool in your workshop.
If you are an electrician, you should be able to expect your cordless drill to last hopefully about two years; five years or more for a builder. If it’s just for DIY use, a cordless drill should last a lifetime really.
Pick the best drill brand.
The best drills are made by Makita, DeWalt, Bosch, and Milwaukee. Ryobi also makes some good models, although they are better suited for the DIY market.
Drills made by the ‘big name’ manufacturers tend to be more expensive, but they also provide better performance and more power, and they will last longer.
If a cordless drill is your first cordless power tool choice, you want to pick a good brand to stick with so you can interchange the batteries with all of your cordless tools.
Pay the right price.
Even high-quality cordless drills aren’t very expensive these days. You could get a lower-spec model from Makita or DeWalt for not much more than you would spend for a top-of-the-line model from Ryobi.
It is always more practical to spend a little more on a quality tool that will last a long time and that you can use for more than occasional DIY jobs.
Which drill brand should you choose?
Makita, DeWalt, and Milwaukee, are all world-class manufacturers that produce high-quality power tools. You pretty much can’t go wrong whichever brand you go for, but you might be better off with one or the other depending on your specific application and how you like to work.
Makita and DeWalt make a range of drills that are also affordably priced for serious and casual DIY use, and still professional applications.
The cheaper range of Makita and DeWalt drills is actually a similar price to brands like Ryobi and Skil, however, you can get a better tool brand and build.
The drawbacks of a cheaper Makita or DeWalt tool compared to there top of range options, will be smaller batteries, and the casing will be a little less durable for heavy use, and the accidental drop, they will also have less power and be slower for heavy drilling jobs. But still great for DIY use, and even light-weight trade jobs.
Makita tools will generally give you longer battery life, while DeWalt tools will give you strength and power for even the toughest jobs. Most Milwaukee drills provide similar power and performance as DeWalt drills, but with slightly less control over the torque.
DeWalt vs. Milwaukee drills?
In terms of power and performance, DeWalt and Milwaukee drills are pretty much neck-and-neck. The 18-volt models of both brands put out the same amount of power, but the Milwaukee generally have higher RPM versus the DeWalt’s.
Electricians generally prefer Milwaukee drills for this reason, while most builders tend to go for DeWalt or Makita.
What is the best DeWalt cordless drill? You really can’t go wrong with the DCD996 20V MAX 1/2 inch hammer drill, which comes as part of the DeWalt DCK299P2 20V Brushless Cordless Drill and Impact Driver Kit reviewed below.
The DCD996 has a three-speed setting and is capable of peaking at 2000 RPM. It also has an all-metal transmission that allows for faster speeds and more efficient run-time.
Makita vs. Dewalt cordless drill?
Makita cordless tools are generally lighter than their DeWalt equivalents. This could be an important factor if you regularly have to use your drill for long periods.
DeWalt drills are usually more powerful than the Makita equivalent, but they do tend to drain the batteries more quickly. Makita tools usually run for longer periods and take less time to charge as well.
On the plus side, you generally have more battery options with a DeWalt toolset. 20-volt DeWalt batteries will work with all of the company’s 20-volt tools and 20-volt chargers. If you purchase a 20-volt DeWalt battery, you could use it in more than 100 other tools and devices.
Why get a cordless drill and impact driver kit?
Impact drivers provide more grunt and power compared to cordless drills they are better tools to use for driving screws, although they are not that great for drilling holes.
Impact drivers use a hammering function as they drive screws, when using a drill the drill can resist and twist as it drives in screws, however with impact drivers this is not the case. The hammering function compensates for that resistance and twisting of the tool in use. On top of that impact, drivers have more power and are smaller and lighter to use. The drawback is they can be loud.
Impact drivers are perfect for driving large hex and Perlin screws quickly and where they mostly shine, you can also use a socket set attachment to drive small to medium-sized bolts, but for big-sized bolts, an impact wrench is better.
For tradespeople having both an impact driver and a drill is a must I would say my Makita impact driver is the most used tool I use on the building site, even more so than a hammer or nail gun.
Having both the tools helps with time efficiency as you can set up the cordless drill to pre-drill holes with the right drill bit, and have the impact driver set up with a driver bit like square drive. This avoids the need to frequently change bits in your drill.
It can be better value to get both a drill and impact driver in the same kit from the beginning, so if you want an impact driver here is my recommendation. From there you can
Choosing the best cordless drill and impact driver kit.
The Makita XT267T brushless drill set provides pretty much everything you need to drill holes, drive screws, and punch through hard, dense materials.
A cordless drill and impact driver set, combines two brushless-motor tools that allow you to drill and drive through practically anything, and to fasten workpieces together as well.
The ½” hammer driver-drill produces up to 2,100 in.lbs. of torque, which makes it easy to work punching through tough wood, metal, and even masonry. The impact driver puts out even more torque at 3,600 in. lbs. in a compact and efficient design.
The tools run at 18 volts off 5.0Ah lithium-ion batteries, which charge pretty quickly considering their capacities.
On the other hand, the DeWalt DCK299P2 combo kit also contains a hammer drill and an impact driver, each running at 20 volts off a 5.0Ah battery. The DCD996 hammer drill has a ½” diameter and three-speed settings, topping out at 2000 RPM.
The all-metal transmission efficiently transfers energy from the motor to the tooltip, making it run at optimal performance while increasing run times. You also get a pounding action that ranges from zero to 38,250 BPM, enabling you to punch through even dense masonry.
The DCF887 impact driver measures ¼”, and spins even faster at a maximum of 3250 RPM, with a range of zero to 3,600 impacts per minute
What is the most powerful cordless drill?
There are many powerful cordless drills available on the market, but few come close to the DeWalt DCD996.
Part of the DeWalt DCK299P2 20V Brushless Cordless Drill and Impact Driver Kit, the DCD996 is a cordless hammer drill with three-speed settings. It is capable of spinning at a top RPM of 2000 and features an all-metal transmission that improves performance for demanding tasks.
The DCD996 also has a longer run-time than models with similar specifications. And if you have to drill through hard materials or masonry, the hammer drilling action maxes out at an impressive 38,250 BPM.
Even with all its power, the DCD996 is pretty compact and lightweight, weighing in at only 4.7 pounds.
What is the best cordless drill for homeowners?
If you are looking for a cordless drill strictly for home use, you can get excellent value for your money with a smaller DeWalt or Makita drill.
Both companies make affordable models that don’t cost much more than DIY models, and you can continue using them if you find you have more use for a drill than you initially thought.
There are DIY-specific models made by Ryobi and Black and Decker, But an older Pro model will give you a better tool life and durability for close to the same price.
The 18-volt Makita XFD10R is an excellent choice, giving you a good balance of performance and power in a compact and ergonomic design. It also charges pretty quickly, so you don’t have to wait around for it to charge before getting back into action.
The drill itself is an 18-volt model with a ½” diameter drill bit powered by a fast-charging lithium-ion battery. Packing more than enough power for most DIY jobs, the XFD10R is a compact and ergonomic unit that puts out a maximum torque of 480 in. lbs. via its 4-pole motor.
This efficient design allows for a 25% faster performance than the XFD10R’s predecessor. The XFD10R also has a two-speed transmission made entirely of metal, which cranks out a peak RPM of 1900.
It also utilizes Extreme Protection Technology (XPT) that keeps it running flawlessly even under harsh operating conditions. Making this is the best value drill for DIY’ers as it’s built for trade use, but is the same price as DIY models.
Do you really need a brushless drill?
They are also much more low-maintenance than their brushed counterparts because there are no brushes that need to be replaced when they wear out.
The brushless design also results in a more powerful motor in all cordless power tools, although a brushless motor really stands out when using impact drivers to drive large-sized hex screws, the difference is a struggling tool VS a tool that drives in hex or purlin screws fast and efficiently. The extra grunt of a brushless motor won’t really make much of a difference when you’re using your tool for small screws and standard drilling jobs.
Brushless drills are a little more expensive than models with brushed motors. But they are worth it if you don’t mind the slightly higher price tag. And the practical choice for all hammer and impact driver drills.
Which brand is better; Ryobi 0r DeWalt?
Ryobi is another reputable power tool manufacturer with a reputation for quality tools, although most Ryobi tools are intended for the DIY market.
If you don’t plan on doing a lot of drilling, you might be able to get by with a top-of-the-line Ryobi. But if you are at all serious about drilling–even for DIY applications–it is always better to go for a power drill intended for the trade or professional market.
DeWalt and Makita have excellent models that aren’t that much more expensive than higher-priced Ryobi cordless tools, and you can use them for DIY work as well as more demanding applications.
Tips for using a cordless drill
Cordless drills are some of the easiest power tools to use. Pretty much anyone can use them to drill holes even without any previous experience. But knowing how to use cordless drills properly will help ensure safe operation and consistent results every time.
It’s a good idea to create a mark at the spot where you want your hole, especially if you are using a large drill bit. Larger bits tend to wander across the work surface when you start drilling, resulting in improperly positioned holes.
You learn more about how to cut a circle using a cordless drill in my guide.
You could avoid this by marking off the correct spot and then creating an indention for the drill bit
To make holes that are clean all the way through, consider placing a scrap piece of wood under the work-piece. This will prevent the drill bit from tearing out the other side of the work-piece when it drills through the wood.
You can make straight holes by placing a square perpendicular to the work-piece. Try to keep the drill aligned with the square while you are pushing in the bit.
If you need to drill to a specific depth, place a piece of tape to mark off the proper woodworkers on your bit.
Drilling pilot holes can help you avoid splitting or cracking a top board. If you will be driving nails into the workpiece, drill a hole that is slightly smaller than the nail’s diameter. If you are using screws to secure the top board, make your pilot holes slightly larger than the screw’s diameter.
For precision work, like arts and crafts, you can sometimes use an engraver with a drill bit, make sure there is a narrow handle though, or you could opt for a manual hand drill.
Cordless drill comparison
|DeWalt DCK299P2||Makita XT267T||Makita XFD10R|
|Weight:||4.7 lbs.||3.3 lbs.||3.3 lbs.|
|RPM:||0-3,250||0-550 & 0-2,100||0-600 & 0-1,900|
|Torque:||1,825 in.lbs.||1,500 in.lbs.||480 in.lbs.|
The Makita XT267T Cordless Drill and Impact Driver Kit has everything you need to drill and punch through practically any type of material. The ½” hammer driver-drill puts out as much as 1,090 in. lbs. of torque, which should be sufficient for even the toughest woods, metal, or masonry.
The DeWalt DCK299P2 kit is equally impressive, with the DCD996 cordless hammer drill easily pounding through most workpieces with a peak speed of 2,000 RPM and a pounding action that maxes out at 38,250 BPM.
And for a great all-around DIY performer, you can’t go wrong with the Makita XFD10R, which provides a maximum torque of 480 in. lbs. and 25% faster performance in a compact and lightweight design.
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My name is Aaron, and welcome to Bangingtoolbox.
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