We have tested so many cordless drills that we’ve literally lost count. From filling our shop with 50 drills at one time to testing new models as they come out, we constantly have our hands on the latest models. Choosing the best cordless drill for you depends on your highest priorities: performance, durability, price, value, weight, size, and the list goes on!
Even though we’ve tested a TON of drills (I wonder what the actual weight of all of them adds up to…), not everyone gets a trophy. To make our final list, the drill has to stand out from its competition. There are other models we still recommend, they’re just not in this group that we call the best.
Last update: May 1, 2023.
Table of contents
- Best Cordless Drill Overall
- Best Cordless Drill Performance
- The Best 18V Cordless Drill is the Best 20V Cordless Drill
- Best 18V/20V Max Cordless Drill
- Best Cordless Hammer Drill
- Best 12V Compact Cordless Drill
- Best Cordless Drill For the Money
- Best Budget Cordless Drill for Home Use
- More Cordless Drill Recommendations From Brands We Trust
- Cordless Drill Buying Guide – What We Look For
- Why Cordless Drills?
- Why You Can Trust Pro Tool Reviews
Best Cordless Drill Overall
Milwaukee’s M18 Fuel hammer drill earns our recommendation as the best cordless drill overall thanks to improvements in its 4th generation model. The performance picks up some ground across all three major categories. It picks up 200 in-lbs of torque, now sitting at 1400 in-lbs. The 2100 RPM top speed is an increase of 100 RPM and the hammer rate is 1000 BPM higher at 33000 BPM.
That’s not all that’s new. The 4th generation also includes kickback control for the first time. Most importantly, Milwaukee makes its improvement while maintaining its compact 6.9-inch head length and with only a negligible increase in weight. In fact, this model earned our top pick as the best lightweight drill for heavy-duty use as well.
Want even more? Milwaukee’s One-Key customized controls, tracking, inventory management, and security features are on the 2906 model. If you don’t need the hammer drill function, look for the drill driver version as model 2903.
Price; $199.00 bare, $299.00 kit with two 5.0Ah batteries and a charger
Best Cordless Drill Performance
The Flex 24V Max Hammer Drill with Turbo Mode spent two years as our top recommendation and only narrowly finished behind Milwaukee this year. It’s still the top overall performer, though. With a top speed of 2500 RPM and torque maxing out at 1400 in-lbs, its real-world performance completes both light and heavy tasks with impressive confidence.
It’s a compact option at just 7.1 inches long, however, its working weight is noticeably heavier than some of its competitors.
Here’s the kicker—the kit comes with two batteries, a charger, and a hard case for just $199.00. That’s $50 off last year’s price and you can get a lifetime warranty if you register by 12/31/2023. For Pros, you’re not going to find a better value.
Price: $199.00 kit with 5.0Ah and 2.5Ah batteries and a charger
The Best 18V Cordless Drill is the Best 20V Cordless Drill
When it comes to the creme de la creme, are you looking for the best 18V cordless drill or the best 20V cordless drill? Yes!
18V tools and 20V tools have the same voltage. They both operate on 5-cell systems that combine to make 20V max when they’re at a full charge state and settle into an 18V nominal state once you use them a bit. Learn more about the specifics here.
That said, there are some brands that really do have more power. Hilti’s 22V, Kobalt’s 24V, and Flex’s 24V are all 6-cell systems. They run at 24 maximum volts and 21.6 nominal volts. Whether they design the tool for more runtime or more power, the extra cell really does offer an advantage.
We’re also seeing a resurgence in higher voltage systems. For example, Makita’s 40V max XGT is a 10-cell system, operating at 40 maximum volts and 36 nominal volts.
Best 18V/20V Max Cordless Drill
Milwaukee and Flex take up our top two spots, but we’ve already talked about them and we’re making room for another outstanding option. DeWalt has three major high-performance drills and which one is the best for you depends on how you like to work and which batteries you use. If you’re a 20V Max 5.0Ah all-day everyday kind of person, the DCD996 is your best bet. If you don’t mind some extra weight, the FlexVolt Advantage DCD999 takes your game to a new level when you use a FlexVolt battery but is perfectly happy with any 20V Max pack.
However, it’s the Power Detect DCD998 that we prefer. Excellent with a 5.0Ah battery, it steps up to a higher performance level if you use an 8.0Ah battery or higher. Even though it doesn’t quite reach the same power level as the FlexVolt Advantage, you don’t need DeWalt’s most advanced batteries to run it.
Price: $329.00 kit with an 8.0Ah battery and charger
Best Cordless Hammer Drill
If we take away everything else and just look at concrete drilling performance, the best cordless hammer drill is Metabo’s SB 18 LTX-3 BL Q I. With 3800 RPM on the top end, it smokes the competition with both 1/4-inch and 1/2-inch concrete bits. It’s a larger, heavier model and it doesn’t come cheap, but it’s well-built and its LiHD battery packs are some of the best available.
Price: $379.99 kit with two 5.5Ah batteries
Best 12V Compact Cordless Drill
You have several quality options when it comes to the best 12V cordless drill and Milwaukee’s 3rd generation M12 Fuel 3404 makes it to the top of our list. Gen 2 (2504) was very good, but the 3404 is on another level. It drops a little bit of speed to top out at 1550 RPM and 22500 BPM, but sports 400 in-lbs of torque—a level you wouldn’t expect from a 12V battery.
This model gets even more compact, dropping to a head length of 5.9 inches and even losing some weight compared to the previous generation.
Price: $149.00 bare, $179.00 kit with a 2.0Ah battery, 5.0Ah battery, and charger
Best Cordless Drill For the Money
When it comes to getting the best cordless drill value, we often look to the Prosumer class—drills that perform close to premium levels but at a lower price. There are trade-offs, of course. They might not be as compact or have as nice a fit and finish, but they get the job done well and are a big step up from your average DIY model.
There are some higher-performing cordless drills in the same class, but Skil’s HD6293B-10 kit is a pretty sweet deal at $99.99. It’s a 2-speed model with 1800 RPM on the top end and 450 in-lbs of torque coming from its brushless motor. Sweeting the deal, the 2.0Ah battery doubles as a USB power source and the kit comes with an upgraded PWRJump charger. As far as value goes, it’s awfully tough to beat.
There’s also a hammer drill version that’s $129.99 for the kit.
Price: $99.99 with a 2.0Ah battery and charger
Best Budget Cordless Drill for Home Use
Ryobi 18V One+ 3/8-Inch Drill Driver
Despite inflation, there are quite a few excellent cordless under $100. If you’re looking for something under $50, that’s a bit tougher to find. Ryobi has your back, though and you can get the PDD209K cordless drill with a battery and charger for just under $40.
While it’s obviously not going to compete with higher-priced models, its 600 RPM and 135 in-lbs of torque are just fine for hanging pictures, assembling furniture, fixing cabinets, and other light-duty household projects.
Home Depot has this marked as a Special Buy (it’s normally $59.97), so pick it up while you still can.
Price: $39.97 with a 1.5AH battery and charger
More Cordless Drill Recommendations From Brands We Trust
Thanks to advanced battery and brushless motor technology, Bosch is joining the high-torque cordless drill group and its highest-performing model is the GBS 18V-1330C hammer drill. 2200 RPM in high gear and 1330 in-lbs of torque in low gear set the stage while 30000 BPM helps you power through concrete drilling. Sweetening the deal, there’s kickback control, an innovative leveling feature, and it’s ready for a Connected Module if you want to add smart capabilities.
All that performance is packed into a well-built housing that’s pretty beefy. The bare tool weighs 4.6 pounds and measures 8.0 inches across the head. Still, for your heavy-duty drilling and driving, this is a full-featured option that’s a serious contender for the best overall and offers excellent value.
If you don’t need the hammer drill function, grab the GSR 18V-1330C instead.
Price: $149.00 bare, $249.00 with an 8.0Ah battery and charger
Even though it’s been around for a while, Craftsman’s CMCD721 is still the top-performing hammer drill. Its brushless motor delivers 2100 RPM and 400 unit watts out of power (read more about UWO vs torque here) to go with a comfortable, lightweight design. Plus, they’re assembled in the USA using global materials by folks in South Carolina.
Don’t need the hammer drill mode? Grab the CMCD720 for the same performance in a drill driver instead.
Price: $179.00 kit with two 2.0Ah batteries
If you’re on the hunt for a drill to use around the house for your DIY projects, Greenworks has a 24V brushless model worth considering. It’s a 2-speed model with 1450 RPM on the top end and 310 in-lbs of torque. It’s a reasonably lightweight model and has batteries that double as a USB power supply 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.
Price: $129.00 with two 1.5Ah batteries and a charger
HART came out with a solid DIY focus and has steadily moved into the Prosumer class with higher performance options. At the top of its drill lineup, the HPHD25B hammer drill boasts 2100 RPM and 31000 BPM in high gear. Dropping to low gear accesses 650 in-lbs of torque, giving most DIYers and hobbyists all the performance they need for a wide range of projects, including concrete drilling. While it’s not as compact or light as some models, it’s an excellent choice for folks who want mid-range power.
Price: $148.00 with a 2.0Ah battery and charger
With Hilti shifting over to the Nuron platform, the tools are smarter than ever. As we expect, they’re also solidly built with the performance you need on commercial and industrial jobsites. Of the options currently available, the SF 6H-22 hammer drill is the way to go.
As part of Hilti’s mid-level Power Class, you get a balance of size, weight, and performance. 752 in-lbs of max torque and 2000 RPMs of top speed are plenty for the majority of your drilling and driving needs.
For fans of the 4-speed Hilti SF 10W-A22, there’s an Ultimate Class Nuron model in the works. We don’t have exact numbers yet, but expect it to at least match the performance and make the shift to a brushless motor.
Price: Starting at $199.00 (bare tool)
Kobalt made the move to an advanced hammer drill with the launch of their XTR lineup. Highlighted by high performance at a great value, the KXHD 1424A-03 is more compact than Kobalt’s previous flagship model. It also boasts an impressive 1200 in-lbs of torque, 2000 RPM on the top end, and includes kickback control. With a kit price under $200, it’s a tempting option for serious DIYers and budget-minded Pros.
Price: $199.00 kit with 4.0Ah Ultimate Output battery
Makita brings its 40V max XGT hammer drill to the competition and it’s a good one. The GPH01 is compact at just 7.1 inches long. Still, it packs 1250 in-lbs of torque and pairs that with a top speed of 2600 RPM and notably smooth operation. Plus, it has kickback control to add a measure of safety as well as an electronic clutch for controlling torque. The 40V max battery is only slightly larger than a 5.0Ah 18V LXT pack. That makes the transition to XGT’s higher performance levels easier.
The field at the top is crowded this year, and without question, Makita’s GPH01 should be on your list as you consider the best overall cordless drills.
If you’re interested in the 18V LXT XPH14 hammer drill, click here for that review.
Price: $224.00 bare, $424.00 kit with two 2.5Ah batteries and a charger
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 1220 in-lbs to work with in low gear and a quick 2100 RPM/31500 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.
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 drills started with a sub-compact model and then a mid-range option, but they were missing a true high-performance model to keep pace with the competition. That’s changed and the 18V Burhsless High Torque hammer drill pairs with Max Output batteries to produce 2000 RPM and 32000 BPM on the top end and up to 1250 in-lbs of torque.
There weren’t a ton of surprises in our testing, but there were with this model. Ridgid consistently produced high rankings and upset some premium names. If you’re looking for a cordless drill that punches above its class for professional or DIY work, this is a good one.
Remember to register your purchase to take advantage of Ridgid’s Lifetime Service Agreement which includes battery coverage. That price tag isn’t a mistake—that’s a 2-battery kit and a high-performance hammer drill for $199.99. Home Depot has it marked as a Special Buy, so grab it while you can.
Price: $149.00 bare, $199.99 with two 4.0Ah Max Output batteries and a charger
Ryobi made a huge leap forward with the introduction of their 18V One+ HP Brushless line. It started with legitimately compact tools and then moved into higher performance with stronger, yet more compact tools than the previous generation.
Our top choice for Ryobi is the 18V One+ HP Brushless hammer drill (PBLHM101). With 750 in-lbs of torque in low gear and 2100 RPM/31000 BPM on the top end, it’s a strong contender as the best cordless drill in the Prosumer class.
$129.00 bare, $179.00 with a 4.0Ah High Performance battery and charger
Editor’s Note: Think you know everything? Our How to Use a Drill article might still manage to show you a thing or two.
Cordless Drill Buying Guide – What We Look For
Performance is our number one priority when we test drills. After all, if the tool can’t do the job you need it to, it’s useless to you!
We test in multiple materials to see how a drill’s performance changes as it moves from light-duty to heavy-duty tasks. While we do tests to find each drill’s practical limits, not every drill is capable of doing every job. You won’t find us testing 12V drills with a 2 9/16-inch self-feed bit.
Size and Weight
Most of the time, the more compact and lighter the drill, the better. It helps you work in tighter spaces with less fatigue. For the most part, we want to use the smallest, lightest drill we can that still gets the job done.
There’s something to be said for a drill that just feels right in your hands. Balancing the weight certainly comes into play. However, most of us find that certain brands’ handles fit better in our hands than others. Try picking up a few different ones next time you’re in a home improvement store. See what works best for you.
Features to Look For
There are a lot of features to consider. Not all of them are necessary, but they can make getting the job complete easier, less fatiguing, or safer. Here’s what we 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
- Brushless motor: longer runtime, better performance, and longer motor life
- Interchangeable chucks: switching to a specialized chuck can get you out of a sticky situation
- All-metal chuck: better durablity
- 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 your climbing a ladder
Price and Value
Most of us have some sort of budget we’re working with when buying a cordless drill. Staying under budget while getting the most bang for your buck is key.
That’s not all that goes into it, though. Consider what other tools are compatible with the same batteries. A deep line ensures you can easily add more tools without having to buy a different battery and charger.
Warranty plays a big part as well. Some are as short as a year (or even shorter, but we typically don’t recommend those). Others stretch out to 5 years—and still others offer a lifetime guarantee. Also, keep in mind how you’re going to get service after the sale if you need to use the warranty. Having a convenient service center close by can save you the cost of mailing in a tool.
Finally, consider where you’re going to get new batteries or expand your tool collection. It’s convenient to shop online, but being able to walk into the store and grab what you need when you need it is a big deal. If you’re a Pro, keep in mind the dealer relationship. Whether you’re in a situation where the dealer comes to you or you go to the dealer, having someone that’s willing to help you out when you get in a jam can save you time and money.
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.
Why You Can Trust Pro Tool Reviews
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