Cordless drills used to be laughable compared to corded drills, but in recent years, cordless drills have attained a level of power comparable to their corded counterparts. Cordless drills save you the inconvenience of dragging a cord with you around your house, shop or job site, while retaining a high level of power and a degree of versatility.
However, finding the right drill can be a daunting task. The best cordless drills can operate at high speeds, produce a lot of torque, and have a comfortable design and excellent batteries. Our top-rated cordless drills are the Makita LXFD03, the DeWalt DCD790D2 and the Hitachi DS18DSAL. These three drills combine speed, power, design and battery features in a way that sets them apart from the rest. To learn more, check out our articles on cordless drills.
When you're looking for the right cordless drill, consider the projects or tasks you want to complete. Basic drills are great for assembling furniture or drilling small holes, whereas more advanced drills offer sheer power that can punch holes through tough material without issue. The best cordless drills combine a full set of features, comfortable design, excellent batteries and the customer support you need if anything unexpected happens to the drill.
Speed and torque play a major role in drills and can determine a decent drill from an excellent power tool. Look for a drill that has high RPMs, as higher speeds work better for drilling holes. Additionally, look for one that has at least two speed settings, as you switch between the high speed setting for drilling purposes and the low speed setting for driving screws.
Torque measures a drill's turning force and is the industry standard for measuring a drill's strength. Look for a tool that has a high torque rating, which means it can drill into harder surfaces. The best power drills can operate at high speeds and produce a high level of torque, as this combination makes a tool very versatile. Essentially, with this combination, you can use the tool as a drill or screwdriver for the toughest projects.
Some companies have switched to a new rating system to determine a drill's overall capabilities, which is called power. Power is measured in unit watts out (UWO) and takes into account a drill's speed and torque. According to these companies, the higher UWO ranking a drill has, the faster it can perform a certain function. Companies that use the power system do not release their drills' torque ratings, and there is no way to draw a direct comparison between power and torque, according to the same companies.
Finally, look for a drill that has at least 20 clutch settings, which you use in screwdriver mode to help avoid sinking screws too deep into the material or stripping them altogether. The more clutch settings you have, the more you can dial in a specific amount of force needed to drive the screw to the absolute correct depth.
You want to make sure the drill you purchase is comfortable, lightweight and balanced and offers features to make your job easier in general. Look for a drill that has an ergonomic design, which means it is lightweight and well balanced while you hold it. Whether you are working on a job site or busy with a weekend project, you don't want to carry around a heavy monster that wears you out quickly. You also don't want to feel all of the weight at the top of the drill. Ergonomic drills are lightweight, generally under 5 pounds, and carry the weight both above and below the grip, which is more balanced and comfortable.
Many drills offer LEDs that illuminate the area in front of you. Although this little feature may not seem like much, it certainly comes in handy in low-light areas, such as in a closet or under a sink. Also look for a bit holder that is attached to the tool itself.
Lithium-ion batteries, which these power drills typically use, are lightweight, long-lived and just as powerful as other battery technologies. Battery voltage is an immediate indicator of a drill's overall power. Drills with higher voltages, from about 18 volts, can drill into harder surfaces like metal or even masonry.
Perhaps the most frustrating occurrence with cordless tools is running of juice before a task is completed. Look for a drill that comes with two batteries, as you can charge one while you use the other. Also look at the time it takes a drill to charge batteries, as longer charge rates can be infuriating if and when both batteries run out of juice.
Help & Support
Power tools can be expensive, and you want to protect your investment against any number of things that can happen to damage a tool. Look for a company that offers excellent warranties for its tools, which means it will repair or replace defective items over a long time period. Many companies separate cordless drill warranties into two categories: the drill itself and the batteries. Also look for companies that offer email and telephone support, an online user manual and a FAQs section.
The right tool can make life on a job site or your work on a project much easier. The best cordless drills combine high speeds, a lot of power, a comfortable design, excellent battery features and an outstanding warranty.