Best Cordless Drill for 2024 – 13 Tools Tested

best cordless drill reviews

Our team spent hundreds of man-hours testing the best cordless drills to find a battery-powered drill for professionals, tradesmen, and even serious DIYers. Using extensive hands-on objective testing, we rated and ranked 13 of the most popular cordless tools to see who stood out. All 12V, 18V (20V), and 36V (40V) models went through our in-house shop testing rigs, and we ranked them using our special sauce.

I’ve tested so many cordless drills over the years that I’ve lost count. At one point, the Pro Tool Reviews shop was filled with 50 drills for an epic head-to-head tool comparison. We nearly lost our video editor over that one, but we also learned a lot. For this article, I’m focusing on the top brands and brought back 13 top contenders for a fresh round of competitive testing. The goal? Determine which flagship model is the best cordless drill of 2024.

Our Top Picks for Best Cordless Drill

Best cordless drill overall - Milwaukee M18 Fuel 2904

Milwaukee M18 Fuel Hammer Drill (Gen 4) 2904

  • Speeds: 0 – 500/2100 RPM
  • Max Hammer Rate: 33,000 BPM
  • Max Torque: 1,400 in-lbs
  • Length: 7.1 inches

After tallying up the results, Milwaukee takes home three significant accolades, including our pick as the best cordless drill overall, best lightweight, and best compact. There’s some push and pull here, though. The only area Milwaukee ranked first in was length. However, it’s the holistic look that makes the 2904 so compelling.

First of all, there are lighter drills in the DIY and Prosumer categories, but Milwaukee does take the top spot for Professional models. The trade-off here is that it’s with a 5.0Ah battery. If you want Milwaukee’s top performance, you need to switch over to the 6.0Ah High Output or Forge batteries, and they both bump up the weight.

Considering Milwaukee’s lowest ranking was 5th with a 5.0Ah battery and 4th with a High Output pack, it’s a contender in performance, though. Features such as the kickback control that’s new to this model, plus the massive width of Milwaukee’s M18 platform, and a solid 5-year warranty help solidify the 2904 as our top selection.

This model is also available with One-Key as model 2906.

Reasons to Buy

  • Very-compact
  • Lightweight
  • Consistent power
  • Kickback control
  • One of the widest tool platforms
  • Solid 5-year warranty

Consider Another Model if…

  • You’re on a budget
  • You absolutely want the most power

Hands-on Testing Results

5.0Ah Battery
(vs Primary Batteries Only)
6.0Ah High Output Battery
(vs ALL Batteries)
Soft Torque539 in-lbs (2nd place)593 in-lbs (2nd place)
Spade Bit3.36 sec (5th place)2.62 sec (3rd place)
Self-Feed Bit2.59 sec (3rd place)2.21 sec (3rd place)
Concrete Bit3.74 sec (3rd place)3.38 sec (4th place)
Editor’s Note: We tested these tools with primary (kit) batteries as well as premium/advanced batteries. Click here for more information.
Most powerful cordless drill Flex 24V Brushless Hammer Drill with Turbo

Flex 24V Brushless Hammer Drill with Turbo FX1271T

  • Speeds: 0 – 700/2500 RPM
  • Max Hammer Rate: 32,000 BPM
  • Max Torque: 1,400 in-lbs
  • Length: 7.3 inches

Flex launched its 24V line with this hammer drill and it continues to be a top-performing model several years in. Its high speed and high torque ratings showed in our testing where it earned the highest overall performance rating. There’s a caveat, though. That’s with using the 6.0Ah Stacked Lithium battery. If you’re a Pro, going with the Stacked Lithium kit is without a doubt the way to go.

It’s not just about speed and torque for Flex. This is a full-featured drill that includes kickback control and the ability to turn the Turbo mode off when you’d like more control.

When you take away Flex’s Stacked Lithium advantage, Bosch’s GSB18V-1330CN is your next best bet. Technically, the Core18V 6.3Ah battery we tested with is an advanced battery, but it’s so common on today’s Bosch cordless tools that it’s effectively the standard pack.

Reasons to Buy

  • Most powerful drill we’ve tested to date
  • Kickback control
  • Optional Turbo mode
  • Lifetime warranty w/registration

Consider Another Model if…

  • You want a lightweight drill
  • You want the most power on a standard (not premium) battery

Hands-on Testing Results

5.0Ah Core18V Battery
(vs Primary Batteries Only)
6.0Ah Stacked Lithium Battery
(vs ALL Batteries)
Soft Torque425 in-lbs (6th place)549 in-lbs (3rd place)
Spade Bit2.82 sec (3rd place)2.44 sec (2nd place)
Self-Feed Bit4.74 sec (6th place)2.47 sec (5th place)
Concrete Bit3.44 sec (2nd place)2.55 sec (1st place)
Best hammer drill for concrete Metabo

Metabo 18V Brushless Hammer Drill SB 18 LTX-3 BL Q I

  • Speeds: 0 – 450/2000/4000 RPM
  • Max Hammer Rate: 38,000 BPM
  • Max Torque: 1,151 in-lbs
  • Length: 9.8 inches

Metabo’s SB 18 LTX-3 BL Q I continues to carry the torch as the best hammer drill for concrete drilling in our tests. Its 4000 RPM top speed plays a big part in that.

There are some trade-offs to consider, though. This is a beefy drill and the largest we tested. For many applications, that won’t be a bother, but if you’re used to working in tight spaces, you’ll want to look at something else.

Another consideration is that this model is great at low- to medium-load applications but more middle-of-the-road as the load gets heavy. It’s certainly capable of doing almost any job you’d ask of your hammer drill, but there are better ones if you frequently dive into heavy-load jobs.

Still, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a hammer drill that enjoys the high level of quality Metabo packs into their flagship hammer drill.

Reasons to Buy

  • Fastest drill we’ve tested to date
  • Highest concrete drilling speed
  • Excellent build quality
  • Optional torque multiplier

Consider Another Model if…

  • You want the most possible power
  • A brand available at big box stores is important
  • You want a compact drill

Hands-on Testing Results

8.0Ah LiHD Battery
(vs Primary Batteries Only)
8.0Ah LiHD Battery
(vs ALL Batteries)
Soft Torque430 in-lbs (4th place)430 in-lbs (7th place)
Spade Bit2.20 sec (1st place)2.20 sec (1st place)
Self-Feed Bit6.68 sec (9th place)6.68 sec (12th place)
Concrete Bit2.60 sec (1st place)2.60 sec (2nd place)
Ryobi 18v HP Hammer Best DIY Drill

Ryobi 18V One+ HP Brushless Hammer Drill PBLHM101

  • Speeds: 0 – 500/2,100 RPM
  • Max Hammer Rate: 31,000 BPM
  • Max Torque: 750 in-lbs
  • Length: 7.5 inches

As the HP Brushless lineup rolled out for Ryobi, one of the big things we noticed was how much smaller many of the tools are. That’s the case for their flagship hammer drill sitting at a mid-range 7.5 inches long and well under 5 pounds with a battery. It’s a significant change for a brand that used to be on the bigger, heavier side of the conversation.

Boasting the lowest-rated torque of the group (Craftsman is likely lower, but reports UWO instead), its results weren’t surprising. The drill had no trouble completing our tests, though, and it is easier to handle than some of the larger, heavier models we tested.

Competing in the DIY/Prosumer class, it’s a very good choice based on its performance and design. What makes it more compelling than its competitors is that Ryobi now has more than 300 products that all work on any 18V One+ battery. Chances are, if you need it Ryobi has it. And if they don’t, most likely no one else in the Prosumer class does, either.

Reasons to Buy

  • Fastest drill we’ve tested to date
  • Highest concrete drilling speed
  • Excellent build quality
  • Optional torque multiplier

Consider Another Model if…

  • You want the most possible power
  • You want a brand available at big box stores
  • You want a compact drill

Hands-on Testing Results

4.0Ah High-Performance Battery
(vs Primary Batteries)
4.0Ah High-Performance Battery
(vs ALL Batteries)
Soft Torque266 in-lbs (11th place)266 in-lbs (14th place)
Spade Bit3.92 sec (11th place)3.92 sec (14th place)
Self-Feed Bit6.93 sec (12th place)6.93 sec (15th place)
Concrete Bit4.16 sec (6th place)4.16 sec (9th place)

Our Process and the Nitty-Gritty

Why You Can Trust Pro Tool Reviews

Pro Tool Reviews has tested and evaluated cordless power tools since 2008. We understand the key features to look for — including the differences that affect users in the field. We’ve been around to see advances in brushless motor development, the injury reduction of kickback control, and how smart connectivity is changing the way Pros work.

In short, you can trust Pro Tool Reviews because tools are what we do. When I recommend a drill for you, it’s because it’s the one I would buy. My primary motivation is to recommend what I genuinely believe is the best in each category based on more than 15 years of experience and being involved in the power tool industry every day. If you choose to buy something I recommend, I hope that it works exactly the way you expect on your next project.

Other Brands We Tested

Bosch 18V Profactor Brushless Hammer Drill GSB18V-1330CN

Bosch 18V Profactor Brushless Hammer Drill GSB18V-1330CN
  • Speeds: 0 – 550/2,200 RPM
  • Max Hammer Rate: 30,000 BPM
  • Max Torque: 1,300 in-lbs
  • Length: 8.3 inches
  • Weight: 4.2 lbs bare, 5.9 lbs with a Core18V 6.3Ah battery

Hands-on Testing Results

6.3Ah Core18V Battery
(vs Primary Batteries Only)
6.3Ah Core18V Battery
(vs ALL Batteries)
Soft Torque514 in-lbs (3rd place)514 in-lbs (5th place)
Spade Bit3.39 sec (6th place tie)3.39 sec (9th place)
Self-Feed Bit2.18 sec (2nd place)2.18 sec (2nd place)
Concrete Bit3.78 sec (4th place)3.78 sec (7th place)

Bosch proved its flagship hammer drill to be a solid all-around performer. Its strong performance got better as the load increased, and it was certainly no slouch in the low and medium-load tests. From a performance perspective, there’s no reason to shy away from it, and current Bosch users shouldn’t feel like they need to switch brands.

The downside is that this is a larger, heavier hammer drill compared to the others. Keep in mind that Bosch’s 18V line is robust, and there are more compact models you can grab as a supplement when you’re working on lighter-duty days.

Three key features help Bosch stand out from the competition. It’s one of the few that has kickback protection. You can also turn it into a smart tool by adding the Connected Module. It’s also the only model in our test group that includes an electronic angle detection function to help you drill and drive straighter.

DeWalt 20V Max FlexVolt Advantage Brushless Hammer Drill DCD999

DeWalt 20V Max FlexVolt Advantage Brushless Hammer Drill DCD999
  • Speeds: 0 – 450/1,300/2,000 RPM (0 – 500/1,500/2,250 RPM in hammer drilling mode)
  • Max Hammer Rate: 38,250 BPM
  • Max Power: 1,219 UWO
  • Length: 8.4 inches
  • Weight: 3.6 lbs bare, 4.9 lbs with a 5.0Ah battery, 5.9 lbs with a 6.0Ah FlexVolt battery

Hands-on Testing Results

5.0Ah Battery
(vs Primary Batteries Only)
6.0Ah FlexVolt Battery
(vs ALL Batteries)
Soft Torque380 in-lbs (8th place)468 in-lbs (6th place)
Spade Bit3.39 sec (6th place tie)2.73 sec (5th place)
Self-Feed Bit3.58 sec (5th place)2.31 sec (4th place)
Concrete Bit4.18 sec (7th place)2.85 sec (3rd place)

If you’re shopping at the top of DeWalt’s drill lineup, there are four models to wade through. You won’t go wrong with the DCD996, DCD997, DCD998, or the highest performer, the DCD999. Similar in size and weight, it’s all about what battery you’re primarily going to use (and if you want Tool Connect for the DCD997).

To get the highest performance from the FlexVolt Advantage, you need to use a FlexVolt battery, and that significantly increases both the size and weight. It also has good performance when you’re using a standard 5.0Ah battery. However, it’s like having two different tools because of how much the FlexVolt battery boosts performance—something you can see in our test results.

With a 6.0Ah FlexVolt battery, this drill pushes close to 6 pounds. Moreover, it’s one of the longer models, so it’s not ideal for tight spaces. DeWalt has a wide range of drills to choose from, so you can always pick up a compact supplement when you need it.

When you need top-tier performance, the DCD999 has it. Plus, its 3-mode gearbox has an all-important middle gear for when high speed isn’t quite enough. But you don’t want to drop into low gear. Also, keep in mind that this drill operates at higher speeds in all three gears when you’re in hammer drilling mode.

Hilti Nuron 22V Brushless Drill Driver SF 10W-22 ATC

Hilti Nuron 22V Brushless Drill Driver SF 10W-22 ATC
  • Speeds: 0 – 300/560/1,300/2,230 RPM
  • Max Hammer Rate: NA
  • Max Torque: 1,062 in-lbs
  • Length: 9.5 inches
  • Weight: 4.8 lbs bare, 7.7 lbs with a 7.9Ah battery

Hands-on Testing Results

7.9Ah Battery
(vs Primary Batteries Only)
7.9Ah Battery
(vs ALL Batteries)
Soft Torque697 in-lbs (1st place)697 in-lbs (1st place)
Spade Bit2.91 sec (4th place)2.91 sec (7th place)
Self-Feed Bit2.83 sec (4th place)2.83 sec (7th place)
Concrete Bit5.51 sec (13th place) *5.51 sec (16th place)*
* This model does not have a hammer mode like the other drills.

We know that people use their cordless drills to mix frequently, but Hilti was the first brand we saw intentionally build a cordless drill for this purpose while maintaining the full capabilities of other drill drivers. The 4-mode SF 10W-22 ATC has a low-speed mixing gear that delivered more torque than anything else we tested came close to. Hilti’s addition of ATC kickback control is particularly helpful with that much torque on board.

When standard drilling and driving tasks are on the docket, the top three gears take over and there’s plenty of speed and power on the top end.

As we saw from the previous cordless lineup, Hilti does not include a hammer drilling mode on this model, so we certainly can’t fault its performance in our concrete drilling tests. If you want a drill driver that includes a hammer drilling mode, Hilti’s SF 6H-22 is your best bet on the Nuron platform. With Hilti’s expertise in the concrete industry, the next logical step up from there for concrete drilling is into the cordless rotary hammers.

As an extremely powerful drill, this is another model that’s on the heavy side, especially with the 2P 7.9Ah battery. However, you can shave some weight with the 1P 4.0Ah pack. It’s also the second longest in our tests. But, like other brands, there are more compact models you can add as a supplement when space is tight.

Kobalt 24V XTR Brushless Hammer Drill KXHD 1424A-03

Kobalt XTR Hammer Drill
  • Speeds: 0 – 550/2,000 RPM
  • Max Hammer Rate: 32,000 BPM
  • Max Torque: 1,200 in-lbs
  • Length: 7.6 inches
  • Weight: 3.2 lbs bare, 4.9 lbs with a 4.0Ah Ultimate Output battery

Hands-on Testing Results

4.0Ah Ultimate Output Battery
(vs Primary Batteries Only)
4.0Ah Ultimate Output Battery
(vs ALL Batteries)
Soft Torque317 in-lbs (10th place)317 in-lbs (13th place)
Spade Bit3.67 sec (8th place)3.67 sec (11th place)
Self-Feed Bit7.30 sec (13th place)7.30 sec (16th place)
Concrete Bit4.54 sec (9th place)4.54 sec (12th place)

Kobalt’s XTR hammer drill was a big step forward for the Lowe’s exclusive brand. In addition to higher performance, it also gave us kickback control—a luxury most value-focused brands didn’t have at the time.

While this model didn’t light up our tests the way some of the other drills did, it proved itself to be capable of handling all our tasks without pushing close to its limits. Both the weight and size are reasonable, and it’s hard to argue with the price.

Makita 40V max XGT Brushless Hammer Drill GPH01

Makita 40V max XGT Brushless GPH01
  • Speeds: 0 – 650/2,600 RPM
  • Max Hammer Rate: 39,000 BPM
  • Max Torque: 1,250 in-lbs
  • Length: 7.2 inches
  • Weight: 3.7 lbs bare, 5.3 lbs with a 2.5Ah battery

Hands-on Testing Results

2.5Ah Battery
(vs Primary Batteries Only)
2.5Ah Battery
(vs ALL Batteries)
Soft Torque428 in-lbs (5th place)428 in-lbs (8th place)
Spade Bit2.64 sec (2nd place)2.64 sec (4th place)
Self-Feed Bit2.12 sec (1st place)2.12 sec (1st place)
Concrete Bit4.22 sec (8th place)4.22 sec (11th place)

Makita ended up with a mixed bag of results. It delivered excellent power and speed. And it got even better as the load increased. Nonetheless, its ranking in concrete drilling was a bit of a head-scratcher, with speed and blow rate ratings that should have been higher up the list. However we ran multiple tests and used averages to help us identify issues and outliers, and the numbers were consistent.

Like Hilti, Makita runs deep in concrete tools. As such, if drilling in concrete is one of your primary tasks, one of Makita’s cordless rotary hammers should be on your list. For that reason, the lower concrete drilling results don’t dissuade me from recommending this model with enthusiasm.

What you can’t tell from our test results is how smooth this drill is. Ergonomically, it’s excellent with a shape that’s comfortable to hold. Plus, the size is compact for its performance level, and the weight is lower than you’d expect from a 40V max battery system.

As for features, Makita includes kickback control on this model. For those of you who are more OCD in driving mode, there are 41, yes 41, electronic clutch settings in low speed and 21 settings in high gear. Having that many settings and electronically controlling them are characteristics you won’t find on other drills we tested.

If you’re thinking about jumping on Makita’s 40V max XGT system (or you’re already on it), the GPH01 is just one of many tools that will confirm you’re making a great choice.

Ridgid 18V Brushless High-Torque Hammer Drill R861152

Ridgid 18V Cordless Hammer Drill Review R861152
  • Speeds: 0 – 550/2,000 RPM
  • Max Hammer Rate: 32,000 BPM
  • Max Torque: 1,250 in-lbs
  • Length: 7.3 inches
  • Weight: 3.4 lbs bare, 5.0 lbs with a 4.0Ah Max Output battery

Hands-on Testing Results

4.0Ah Max Output Battery
(vs Primary Batteries Only)
4.0Ah Max Output Battery
(vs ALL Batteries)
Soft Torque218 in-lbs (12th place) *218 in-lbs (15th place)*
Spade Bit4.27 sec (12th place)4.27 sec (15th place)
Self-Feed Bit6.42 sec (8th place)6.42 sec (11th place)
Concrete Bit5.32 sec (10th place)5.32 sec (13th place)
* After retesting and getting similar results, we believe Ridgid’s brushless motor protection kicked in earlier than the other drills in this test, and that it is not representative of its actual real-world performance.

Ridgid’s most recent brushless drills have been a breath of fresh air since leaving the Octane line behind. Even with the High-Torque R861152 model, it’s much more compact and lighter than we’ve been used to from Ridgid, making for a more pleasant user experience.

The results were not what we were hoping for, though the drill had no trouble completing our tests in the slightest. However, we suspect that stepping up to the 6.0Ah Max Output battery will help it step up.

Craftsman V20 Brushless Hammer Drill CMCD721

Craftsman V20 Brushless Hammer Drill CMCD721
  • Speeds: 0 – 600/2,100 RPM
  • Max Hammer Rate: 35,700 BPM
  • Max Power: 400 UWO
  • Length: 7.9 inches
  • Weight: 2.7 lbs bare, 4.1 lbs with a 4.0Ah battery

Hands-on Testing Results

4.0Ah Battery
(vs Primary Batteries Only)
4.0Ah Battery
(vs ALL Batteries)
Soft Torque213 in-lbs (13rd place)213 in-lbs (16th place)
Spade Bit9.96 sec (13th place)9.96 sec (16th place)
Self-Feed Bit6.73 sec (10th place)6.73 sec (13th place)
Concrete Bit4.78 sec (10th place)4.78 sec (13th place)

Craftsman’s big win is that it’s the lightest drill we tested. That’s significant for those of you looking for a quality DIY/Prosumer option. While its overall performance was the lowest for that group, keep it in context. It was able to complete our tests without feeling strained. That said, there are plenty of other drills we didn’t bring in that would have struggled or failed to complete some of the runs.

Hercules 24V Brushless Hammer Drill HCB92B

Hercules 24V Brushless Hammer Drill HCB92B
  • Speeds: 0 – 550/2,000 RPM
  • Max Hammer Rate: 32,000 BPM
  • Max Torque: 1,200 in-lbs
  • Length: 7.2 inches
  • Weight: 3.3 lbs bare, 5.2 lbs with a 5.0Ah battery

Hands-on Testing Results

5.0Ah Battery
(vs Primary Batteries Only)
5.0Ah Battery
(vs ALL Batteries)
Soft Torque395 in-lbs (7th place)395 in-lbs (10th place)
Spade Bit3.78 sec (9th place)3.78 sec (12th place)
Self-Feed Bit6.89 sec (11th place)6.89 sec (14th place)
Concrete Bit4.06 sec (5th place)4.06 sec (8th place)

Harbor Freight made bold claims about the performance of its latest Hercules hammer drill. To its credit, it did outperform the others in the DIY/Prosumer class. Targeting Milwaukee’s Gen 4 M18 Fuel hammer drill as a comparison in its marketing, it failed to beat that model in any of the tests and was significantly far behind with the soft torque and self-feed bit. However, it was within sight of the other two.

Compared to the other flagship drills in our test, Hercules does a nice job keeping the weight and size on the lower side of the scale.

We haven’t used this drill enough to make a recommendation on its long-term reliability. However, Harbor Freight now offers a 5-year warranty that’s sure to raise eyebrows. Nevertheless, Harbor Freight lists it as a professional hammer drill. I’m not convinced it’s ready for that designation. But, for DIY use, it’s an attractive option.

Skil PWRCore 20 Brushless Hammer Drill HD5295-1A

Skil PWRCore20 Heavy-Duty Brushless Hammer Drill Concrete Drill
Note: Shortly after testing the Skil HD5295 it was replaced by the HD529402. We’re still including it in the results because it was the top-performing drill in the DIY/Prosumer class and still points to Skil as a quality choice.
  • Speeds: 0 – 500/2,000 RPM
  • Max Hammer Rate: 32,000 BPM
  • Max Torque: 859 in-lbs
  • Length: 7.6 inches
  • Weight: 3.3 lbs bare, 4.8 lbs with a 4.0Ah battery

Hands-on Testing Results

4.0Ah Battery
(vs Primary Batteries Only)
4.0Ah Battery
(vs ALL Batteries)
Soft Torque347 in-lbs (9th place)347 in-lbs (12th place)
Spade Bit3.87 sec (10th place)3.87 sec (13th place)
Self-Feed Bit6.04 sec (7th place)6.04 sec (10th place)
Concrete Bit4.91 sec (11th place)4.91 sec (14th place)

Skil sets itself apart in the Prosumer and DIY class by outperforming its competitors from Ryobi and Craftsman. While not the most compact or lightest of the three, it’s still very reasonable in both departments.

Two features also jump out that push Skil over the top. The battery includes a USB port for charging your devices. It’s a super-handy value add that you can take advantage of at home or on the road.

Skil also packs their kit with a PWRJump charger. It gives a super-fast initial charge from 0% to 25% so you can wrap up projects you’re close to finishing. Then it charges at a rapid rate to 80% before tapering off to complete the job. It gets you back in the game quicker and doesn’t hurt the overall life of your battery.

More Cordless Drills We Recommend

Not every drill we’ve used went through our full suite of flagship testing. However, after putting them to use, they’re certainly worth your consideration.

Greenworks 24V Brushless Drill Driver

  • Speeds: 0 – 380/1,450 RPM
  • Max Torque: 310 in-lbs
  • Bare Weight: 2.3 pounds

If you’re looking for a drill to use around the house for DIY projects, Greenworks has a 24V brushless model worth considering. It’s a 2-speed model with 1,450 RPM on the top end and 310 in-lbs of torque. This model is reasonably lightweight. Furthermore, it has batteries that double as USB power supplies to charge your devices on the go.

Thinking about going with battery power for your lawn care tools (or maybe you already have)? These tools work with the same batteries Greenworks uses in its 24V and 2 x 24V outdoor power equipment.

Ingersoll Rand IQV20 Cordless Drill D5241

  • Speeds: 0 – 500/1,800 RPM
  • Max Blow Rate: 28,000 BPM
  • Max Torque: 1,100 in-lbs
  • Head Length: 7.8 inches
  • Bare Weight: 3.5 pounds

Ingersoll Rand brings their focus on extreme reliability into the cordless drill sector with a couple of options. Our favorite is the D5241 hammer drill. This model’s gearing steps down the speed a little while stepping up the torque to 1100 in-lbs. While the numbers may not seem quite as eye-popping as some models, the durability of the build is what sets Ingersoll Rand’s design apart.

Metabo HPT 36V Brushless DV36DA

  • Speeds: 0 – 500/2,100 RPM
  • Max Blow Rate: 31,500 BPM
  • Max Torque: 1,220 in-lbs
  • Head Length: 8.1 inches
  • Bare Weight: 4.5 pounds

Metabo HPT’s 36V MultiVolt hammer drill has the advantage of using a 36V battery that also works with their 18V tools. Plus, you can add an AC adapter if you’d like to have corded power as an option. As a member of the high-torque class, you get 1,220 in-lbs to work with in low gear and a quick 2,100 RPM/31,500 BPM in high gear.

Add in solid ergonomics, the safety of kickback control, and a lifetime warranty, and you get a hammer drill that’s a solid performer for professional contractors.

Skil PWRCore 20 Brushless Compact Hammer Drill HD6294B-10

  • Speeds: 0 – 500/1,800 RPM
  • Max Blow Rate: 27,000 BPM
  • Max Torque: 450 in-lbs
  • Head Length: 6.6 inches
  • Bare Weight: 2.0 pounds

Even though Skil’s PWRCore 20 Brushless Compact Hammer Drill isn’t in the same class as the other drills in our tests above, it’s worth serious consideration. It has a compact, lightweight design, yet still has the power to complete the majority of weekend projects and DIY repairs around your home. And if you don’t need the hammer drilling mode, the drill driver version (DL6293B-10) is even more compact and has a price tag under $100.

Best Cordless Drill Numbers to Know

Battery Selection

There’s no way to ensure every drill has the same capacity battery. We’re dealing with multiple voltages and there are more advanced battery packs on the market to consider as well. We did the best we could to keep every model working with a 2P pack. For most brands, that’s somewhere in the 4.0Ah to 6.0Ah range. Here are the batteries we tested:

ModelPrimary BatterySecondary Battery
Bosch GSB18V-1330CNCore 18V 6.3Ah
Craftsman CMCD7214.0Ah
DeWalt DCD9995.0Ah
FlexVolt 6.0Ah
Flex FX12715.0Ah
Stacked Lithium 6.0Ah
Hercules HCB92B5.0Ah
Hilti SF 10W-22 ATC7.9Ah
Kobalt KXHD 1424A-03Ultimate Output 4.0Ah
Makita GPH012.5Ah
Metabo SB 18 LTX-3 BL Q ILiHD 8.0Ah
Milwaukee 29045.0Ah
High Output 6.0Ah
Ridgid R861152Max Output 4.0Ah
Ryobi PBLHM101High-Performance 4.0Ah
Skil HD5295-1A4.0Ah
Editor’s Note: We recharged each battery to full capacity before beginning each test.


Weight is straightforward but important. Indeed, the lower the weight, the less fatiguing it is to use the drill, especially on overhead applications. Here are the weights we measured, starting with the lowest weight using the primary battery and going up from there:

ModelBare WeightWeight with
Primary Battery
Weight with
Advanced Battery
Craftsman CMCD7212.7 lbs4.1 lbs
Ryobi PBLHM1013.0 lbs4.6 lbs
Skil HD5295-1A3.3 lbs4.8 lbs
Kobalt KXHD 1424A-033.2 lbs4.9 lbs
Milwaukee 29043.2 lbs4.9 lbs5.7 lbs
DeWalt DCD9993.6 lbs4.9 lbs5.9 lbs
Ridgid R8611523.4lbs5.0lbs
Hercules HCB92B3.3 lbs5.2 lbs
Makita GPH013.7 lbs5.3 lbs
Bosch GSB18V-1330CN4.2 lbs5.9 lbs
Flex FX12713.8 lbs5.9 lbs6.1 lbs
Metabo SB 18 LTX-3 BL Q I3.9 lbs6.1 lbs
Hilti SF 10W-22 ATC4.8 lbs7.7 lbs


Lighter weight and a smaller size tend to hand-in-hand. Models that swap out plastic components for more durable metal ones can beef up in a hurry, so it’s no guarantee. A more compact cordless drill gives you the advantage of working in tighter spaces.

ModelHead Length
Milwaukee 29047.1 in
Hercules HCB92B7.2 in
Makita GPH017.2 in
Flex FX12717.3 in
Ridgid R8611527.3 in
Ryobi PBLHM1017.5 in
Kobalt KXHD 1424A-037.6 in
Skil HD5295-1A7.6 in
Craftsman CMCD7217.9 in
Bosch GSB18V-1330CN8.3 in
DeWalt DCD9998.4 in
Hilti SF 10W-22 ATC9.5 in
Metabo SB 18 LTX-3 BL Q I9.8 in


To get a general idea of a drill’s performance, the speed offers an idea of how fast you can drill while the torque is an indicator of how strong it is. For hammer drills, the hammer rate (or blow rate) tells you how fast the chipping action is while using hammer mode.

Keep in mind that the speed is based on having no load on the tool. Once you start drilling or driving, the motor has to work hard to keep the speed up. Drills with stronger motors and more efficient energy transfer can outperform models with higher specifications—which is why we test.

ModelMax SpeedsHammer RateMax Torque
Bosch GSB18V-1330CN550/2200 RPM30,000 BPM1300 in-lbs
Craftsman CMCD721600/2100 RPM35,700 BPM400 UWO**
DeWalt DCD999450/1300/2000 RPM*38,250 BPM1219 UWO**
Flex FX1271700/2500 RPM32,000 BPM1400 in-lbs
Hercules HCB92B550/2000 RPM32,000 BPM1200 in-lbs
Hilti SF 10W-22 ATC300/560/1300/2230 RPMNA1062 in-lbs
Kobalt KXHD 1424A-03550/2000 RPM32,000 BPM1200 in-lbs
Makita GPH01650/2600 RPM39,000 BPM1250 in-lbs
Metabo SB 18 LTX-3 BL Q I500/2050/3800 RPM32,300 BPM1062 in-lbs
Milwaukee 2904500/2100 RPM33,000 BPM1400 in-lbs
Ridgid R861152550/2000 RPM32,000 BPM1250 in-lbs
Ryobi PBLHM101500/2100 RPM31,000 BPM750 in-lbs
Skil HD5295-1A550/2000 RPM32,000 BPM859 in-lbs
* DeWalt’s DCD999 runs at higher 500/1500/2250 RPM speeds when in hammer drilling mode.
** Note that DeWalt and Craftsman spec the power of their drill in unit watts out rather than in-lbs of torque.

How We Tested with Full Results

Soft Torque Test

There’s no great to test maximum torque on a drill—trust me, we’ve built several rigs trying. What we finally settled on is using an in-line torque meter between the drill and nutsetter to measure the maximum torque as we drive a large lag screw into stacked OSB.

It’s a tough test designed to force each drill to stop while measuring the top torque it produces. However, there’s a flaw. Modern brushless motors are designed to sense when things aren’t quite right and shut down to protect themselves. Our test isn’t capable of measuring the full hard-stop torque that’s in the specifications, but it does give us an idea of how much torque the motor is willing to provide in a soft-stop setting.

ModelMeasured Soft Torque
Using the Primary Battery
Hilti SF 10W-22 ATC697 in-lbs
Milwaukee 2904539 in-lbs
Bosch GSB18V-1330CN514 in-lbs
Metabo SB 18 LTX-3 BL Q I430 in-lbs
Makita GPH01428 in-lbs
Flex FX1271425 in-lbs
Hercules HCB92B395 in-lbs
DeWalt DCD999380 in-lbs
Skil HD5295-1A347 in-lbs
Kobalt KXHD 1424A-03317 in-lbs
Ryobi PBLHM101266 in-lbs
Ridgid R861152 *218 in-lbs
Craftsman CMCD721213 in-lbs
*After retesting and getting similar results, we believe Ridgid’s brushless motor protection kicked in earlier than the other drills in this test and is not necessarily representative of its real-world performance.
ModelMeasured Soft Torque Using
an Advanced Battery
Milwaukee 2904 (HO 6.0Ah)591 in-lbs
Flex FX1271 (SL 6.0Ah)549 in-lbs
DeWalt DCD999 (FV 6.0Ah)468 in-lbs

Spade Bit Test

In the first of our timed tests, we used a 1-inch self-feeding spade bit to drill through 4 inches of stacked glued USB subfloor to test the medium-load capacities of each drill. We started the test at high speed. If a drill was unable to complete the test, we dropped it into low gear. The result is an average of three successful runs without a bind-up.

ModelAverage Speed w/Primary Battery
Metabo SB 18 LTX-3 BL Q I2.20 sec
Makita GPH012.64 sec
Flex FX12712.82 sec
Hilti SF 10W-22 ATC2.91 sec
Milwaukee 29043.36 sec
Bosch GSB18V-1330CN3.39 sec
DeWalt DCD9993.39 sec
Kobalt KXHD 1424A-033.67 sec
Hercules HCB92B3.78 sec
Skil HD5295-1A3.87 sec
Ryobi PBLHM1013.92 sec
Ridgid R8611524.27 sec
Craftsman CMCD7219.96 sec
ModelAverage Speed w/Advanced Battery
Flex FX1271 (SL 6.0Ah)2.44 sec
Milwaukee 2904 (HO 6.0Ah)2.62 sec
DeWalt DCD999 (FV 6.0Ah)2.73 sec

Self-Feed Bit Test

To push the drills into a heavy-load rough-in application, we used a 2 9/16-inch self-feed bit to punch through 2x studs. The best drills were able to complete the test in high gear. Some that didn’t but had the advantage of 3 or more gear settings settled into a mid-range gear, while others had to complete the test in low gear. The results are the averages of three successful runs without bind-ups.

ModelAverage Speed w/Primary Battery
Makita GPH012.12 sec
Bosch GSB18V-1330CN2.18 sec
Milwaukee 29042.59 sec
Hilti SF 10W-22 ATC2.83 sec
DeWalt DCD9993.58 sec
Flex FX12714.74 sec
Skil HD5295-1A6.04 sec
Ridgid R8611526.42 sec
Metabo SB 18 LTX-3 BL Q I6.68 sec
Craftsman CMCD7216.73 sec
Hercules HCB92B6.89 sec
Ryobi PBLHM1016.93 sec
Kobalt KXHD 1424A-037.30 sec
ModelAverage Speed w/Advanced Battery
Milwaukee 2904 (HO 6.0Ah)2.21 sec
DeWalt DCD999 (FV 6.0Ah)2.31 sec
Flex FX1271 (SL 6.0Ah)2.47 sec

Concrete Bit Test

The final test we ran involved drilling a 3/8-inch concrete bit 3 inches deep into cured 4000 PSI concrete using high gear. We used the hammer drilling mode for each drill except Hilti’s, which only has drilling and driving modes. The result is an average of three successful runs without a bind-up.

ModelAverage Speed
Metabo SB 18 LTX-3 BL Q I2.60 sec
Flex FX12713.44 sec
Milwaukee 29043.74 sec
Bosch GSB18V-1330CN3.78 sec
Hercules HCB92B4.06 sec
Ryobi PBLHM1014.16 sec
DeWalt DCD9994.18 sec
Makita GPH014.22 sec
Kobalt KXHD 1424A-034.54 sec
Craftsman CMCD7214.78 sec
Skil HD5295-1A4.91 sec
Ridgid R8611525.32 sec
Hilti SF 10W-22 ATC *5.51 sec
*Hilti’s model does not have a hammer drilling mode.
ModelAverage Speed w/Advanced Battery
Flex FX1271 (SL 6.0Ah)2.55 sec
DeWalt DCD999 (FV 6.0Ah)2.85 sec
Milwaukee 2904 (HO 6.0Ah)3.38 sec

Best Cordless Drill Brands

Cordless drills are one of the most fundamental tools you can own, and it’s no surprise that there are a dizzying number of brands in the space. The good news is that there are a lot of trustworthy names. The bad news is that it can be difficult to tell which one you should buy if you’re new to the industry. Not to worry—we’ve got your back!

We recommend each of the brands listed below, and we’ve broken them up into the classes where they typically do their best work.


  • Bosch
  • DeWalt
  • Festool
  • Flex
  • Hilti
  • Ingersoll Rand
  • Makita
  • Metabo
  • Metabo HPT
  • Milwaukee

Entry-Level Professional

  • Kobalt
  • Ridgid

Prosumer/Serious DIY

  • Craftsman
  • Masterforce
  • Ryobi
  • Skil


  • Black and Decker
  • Greenworks
  • HART
  • Worx

Think you know everything? Our How to Use a Drill article might still manage to show you a thing or two.

Best Cordless Drill Buying Guide – What We Look For

Performance: Speed, blow rate, and torque give you an idea of how fast and strong a drill or hammer drill will perform. They’re helpful when you’re comparing data during research, and typically the higher the battery, but it’s the motor’s ability to keep the RPMs high under load that separates them.

Size and Weight: Size and weight tend to go hand-in-hand, with larger drills weighing more. Ideally, we want the lightest and most compact tool that still does the job effectively. That keeps the fatigue to a minimum while maximizing access.

Ergonomics: Beyond the size and weight, how the weight is balanced and how the grip feels in your hands brings ergonomics full circle. As you narrow down your choices, there’s something to be said for a tool that feels right in your hands.

Features: As you move up from entry-level cordless drills, you should expect more features that make working more convenient than just performance boosts alone. Here’s what to look for:

  • Multiple speeds: 2 speeds are a must, more is generally better
  • Kickback control: stops the motor if the bit binds up
  • Side handle: absolutely necessary on drills with higher torque
  • Smart controls: helps with inventory management and tracking, some offer customizable controls
  • Interchangeable chucks: switching to a specialized chuck can get you out of a sticky situation
  • All-metal chuck: better durability
  • LED light: nearly every drill has one, but our favorites put the light(s) around the chuck
  • Belt hook: usually reversible, they’re super-helpful when you have materials to carry or you’re climbing a ladder

Why Cordless Drills?

Few power tools are as basic for both professionals and homeowners as cordless drills. At its core, these are hole-making tools. They help us hang pictures, run wiring and plumbing, create pilot holes, and a host of other projects that require a hole in wood, metal, or drywall.

But the best cordless drill does more than that now. Drill clutch settings give us control over screw driving. Hammer modes let us drill smaller holes in concrete and masonry. In short, cordless drills let us drill and drive in almost any material without the need for a cord.

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