Best Cordless Drill Cordless Drill Reviews & Impact Drivers

Best Cordless Drill Head to Head Review


If you think testing 30+ impact drivers makes for a fun shootout, testing 50+ cordless drills is even better! To figure out who makes the best cordless drill, we looked at everything from performance and features to ergonomics and value.

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Best Cordless Drill: 18V Heavy-Duty

DeWalt DCD997 20V XR Brushless Hammer Drill Driver

In terms of sheer power, DeWalt’s DCD997 delivered more torque than any tool except the four-speed Hilti. The tool also includes Tool Connect and the chuck spins at a high speed—getting your work done quickly. DeWalt also managed to make the lightest tool in the Heavy-Duty lineup and toed the line in nearly every category we tested.

Also Highly Rated

Hilti SF 10W-A22 Drill Driver with ATC

Ridgid R8611506 18V Octane Brushless Hammer Drill

Best Cordless Drill: 18V Medium-Duty

Kobalt KDD524B-03 24V Brushless Drill Driver

Topping the Medium-Duty torque charts and finishing in second in speed and efficiency, Kobalt’s 24V Brushless Drill Driver rose up to take the crown in this class. It scored solidly across the board and put a 6-point gap on second place.

Also Highly Rated

Bosch GSR18V-755CN 18V Brushless Drill Driver

Milwaukee 2706 Gen 3 M18 Fuel Drill Driver with One-Key

Skil HD529501 20V Max Brushless Hammer Drill Driver

Best Cordless Drill: 18V Compact

Metabo HPT DS18DBFL2 18V Brushless Drill Driver

Best Cordless Drill

Metabo HPT scored a win in the Compact class with their DS18DBFL2. This largely had to do with impressive torque results that put a huge gap between it and everyone else in the Compact class. It also held its own in speed and efficiency, earning a solid value rating to round out its overall score.

Also Highly Rated

DeWalt DCD797 20V Max XR Brushless Compact Hammer Drill Driver with Tool Connect

Best Cordless Drill: 18V Heavy-Duty Hammer Drill

DeWalt DCD997 20V Max Brushless Hammer Drill Driver with Tool Connect

DeWalt Tool Connect Hammer Drill Review DCD997

As we indicated earlier, the DeWalt’s DCD997 simply dominated with its raw power. It put out greater torque than models claiming up to 1300 inch-pounds. DeWalt also followed through with a high top speed for getting the job done quickly. Finally, Tool Connect delivers lots of options for tool tracking and inventory. Our only real complaint had to do with how big this tool sits. Of course, if that bothers you, the Heavy-Duty class is probably too much for your needs.

Also Highly Rated

Ridgid R8611506 18V Octane Brushless Hammer Drill Driver

Makita XPH07 18V LXT Brushless Hammer Drill Driver

Best Cordless Drill: 18V Medium-Duty Hammer Drill

Kobalt 24V Brushless Hammer Drill Driver

Kobalt leads the Medium-Duty class with torque that can compete with the Heavy-Duty hammer drills. It maintained a high score for speed and efficiency while overcoming its higher weight and larger footprint with a first-place tie for value.

Best Cordless Drill

Also Highly Rated

Bosch GSB18V-755CN 18V Brushless Hammer Drill Driver

Milwaukee 2806 M18 Fuel Brushless Hammer Drill Driver with One-Key

Skil HD529501 Brushless Hammer Drill Driver

Best Cordless Drill: 18V Compact Hammer Drill

Metabo HPT DV18DBFL2 18V Brushless Hammer Drill Driver

Our own Tom Gaige claimed this Compact hammer drill tool as his favorite in the group before others started tallying the results. In the end, Metabo HPT ended up claiming its first Pro Tool Reviews shootout win since it changed its name from Hitachi. It ranked number one in torque by a wide margin without a lot of weight or a huge footprint. It only lacks in the area of features—but who doesn’t enjoy a drill that simply works!

Best Cordless Drill

Also Highly Rated

DeWalt DCD797 20V Max XR Brushless Compact Hammer Drill with Tool Connect

Best Cordless Drill: 12V

Bosch PS32 12V Max EC Brushless Drill

The Bosch PS32 takes the 12V creed to heart—start with a lightweight, compact design and build from there. As both the lightest and most compact drill, its performance still remains on par with what we expect from a Pro-level tool. You won’t find a much better blend of everything you hope to get from the best 12V cordless drill than the Bosch PS32!

Best Cordless Drill

Also Highly Rated

Metabo BS 12 BL Q 12V Max Brushless Drill

Ridgid R82005 12V Drill Driver

Skil DL529001 12V Max Brushless Drill

Makita FD07

Best Cordless Drill: Budget Class

Skil HD529301 20V Max Brushless Drill Driver

Skil’s DH529301 is everything you want from a drill targetting DIYers: compact and lightweight with high enough performance to get the job done well at an affordable price. Spoiler alert: Skil’s brushless drill line is so good, it swept all three Budget classes!

Best Budget Cordless Drill

Class By Class Results

Best 18V Cordless Drill

Best 18V Cordless Hammer Drill

Best 12V Cordless Drill

Best Budget Cordless Drill

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How We Tested

Speed Testing Under Load

To see how fast each drill could work, we put them through a series of increasing loads. We measured the RPM at a specific point in each test to see how fast it could drill under each full load and see how much of its no-load speed it maintained.

The higher the RPMs a drill maintains, the faster the bit moves through the material. On the other hand, the closer a drill is to its no-load speed, the more efficiently it’s working and the lower the strain on the motor. A balance of both gives you optimal performance and motor life, and we use both to calculate our scores.

We use glued up multiple layers of OSB subfloor (oriented strand board) for testing. OSB provides greater consistency than dimensional lumber like 2x material. Each final rating is based on an average of at least 3 samples. Outliers are dismissed and replaced with additional samples.

For concrete testing, we used 4000 PSI concrete mix that has been fully cured for several months. Since drilling in concrete is a function of both RPM and hammering, we take the average time it takes to drill a 1/4″ concrete bit 3″ deep rather than just measuring RPMs.

Each class has a different amount of muscle, and you shouldn’t expect a compact drill to do what a heavy-duty one can. Here’s how we break it up by class.

18V Heavy-Duty

  • Best 18v cordless drill1/2″ Milwaukee Shockwave Titanium Twist Bit*
  • 1″ Bosch Daredevil High-Speed Auger Bit
  • 2-9/16″ Milwaukee SwitchBlade Self-Feed Bit

18V Medium-Duty

  • 1/2″ Milwaukee Shockwave Titanium Twist Bit*
  • 1″ Bosch Daredevil High-Speed Auger Bit
  • 2-9/16″ Milwaukee SwitchBlade Self-Feed Bit

18V Compact

  • 1/2″ Milwaukee Shockwave Titanium Twist Bit*
  • 3/4″ Bosch Daredevil High-Speed Auger Bit
  • 1-1/2″ Milwaukee SwitchBlade Self-Feed Bit

18V Hammer Drill

  • 1/2″ Milwaukee Shockwave Titanium Twist Bit*
  • 1″ Bosch Daredevil High-Speed Auger Bit
  • 2-9/16″ Milwaukee SwitchBlade Self-Feed Bit
  • 1/4″ Bosch Daredevil Multi-Purpose Bit

12V

  • 1/2″ Milwaukee Shockwave Titanium Twist Bit
  • 3/4″ Bosch Daredevil High-Speed Auger Bit

DIY Prosumer

  • 1/2″ Milwaukee Shockwave Titanium Twist Bit
  • 3/4″ Bosch Daredevil High-Speed Auger Bit
  • 1-1/2″ Milwaukee SwitchBlade Self-Feed Bit
  • 1/4″ Bosch Daredevil Multi-Purpose Bit (hammer drills only)

DIY Homeowner

  • 1/2″ Milwaukee Shockwave Titanium Twist Bit

One thing we realized quickly is that there is very little difference between the twist bit speeds and auger bits speeds for most of these classes—sometimes just a few RPM. For the 18V classes, we only used the auger bit speeds in the scoring.

Each bit is different, so the point that we take the measurement varies. Here’s how that breaks down:

  • Twist bits: RPM when the final 1/2″ of fluted bit enters the wood
  • Auger bits: RPM when the final 1/2″ of fluted bit enters the wood
  • Self-feed bits: RPM when the top of the cup is flush with the wood surface
  • Concrete bits: Total time it takes to drill 3″ deep in cured concrete

Special Thanks

Many thanks go out to Bosch and Milwaukee for providing the accessories to make this shootout happen for you. There’s a reason we selected the accessories we did and why we think you should give them a shot on your next job.

Milwaukee Shockwave Titanium Twist Drill Bits

Milwaukee’s Shockwave Titanium drill bits last up to 3 times longer than comparable black oxide bits. Their 135º tips resist walking when you start to drill and their variable flute width ejects metal and wood shavings better. They even come with a 1/4″ hex shank so you can use them in your favorite Milwaukee drill or impact driver.

Best Cordless Drill

Read our review!

Bosch Daredevil High-Speed Auger Bits

Bosch Daredevil High-Speed Auger Bits are ridiculously efficient and drill super-fast. In fact, they’re specifically engineered to use in high-speed with your cordless drill. The magic is in the decreased pitch of the tips that don’t bind up in the middle of drilling. And when you hit a nail, the reinforced tip lasts twice as long as other auger bits. The bottom line is that you get faster drilling and more holes per charge on your cordless drill.

Best Cordless Drill

Milwaukee SwitchBlade Self-Feed Bits

Milwaukee SwitchBlade Self-Feed Bits drill up to 10x faster than standard hole saws and the self-feeding tip means you just need to control the drill instead of worrying about how much force to put on it. Best of all, you can replace the cutting edges when they dull rather than replacing the entire bit. That helps reduce your cost over the long haul.

Best Cordless Drill

Bosch Daredevil MultiPurpose Drill Bits

Bosch Daredevil MultiPurpose Bits use a tungsten carbide tip to drill through anything – wood, metal, PVC, concrete, stone, masonry, and more! While many multi-use bits or tools have to compromise, these bits are incredibly fast drilling, especially in concrete. With 9x longer life in multi-material uses over other bits, you’ll want to keep a set in your toolbox to cover anything the job throws at you.

Best Cordless Drill

Discover more!

Torque Testing

We test soft torque by chucking each drill up to a rig that uses the front spring from a Ford Ranger to provide resistance. We let it drive as far as it will go on one trigger pull. Once the drill stops, we attach a Gearwrench 85079 digital torque wrench. We then back the socket off by 90º.

Next, we measure how much torque it takes to get the socket back to the position the drill stopped. By attaching a magnetic torpedo level to the torque wrench, we ensure that we move the socket exactly 90º backward and forward.

Best Cordless Drill

We attempted multiple ways of testing hard torque, but we could not achieve consistent and repeatable results on the torque testing rig we used for the impact driver shootout.

Weight

Using a digital scale, we weigh each drill as a bare tool and with the most appropriate battery that comes available in a kit. Heavy-Duty and Medium-Duty 18V drills (including hammer drills) use an advanced high-capacity battery for their full weight. Compact 18V, 12V, and DIY are weighed with a compact battery.

Footprint

Using a digital caliper, we measure the head length and tool height without a battery installed.

Grip

The comfort of each drill’s grip is subjective based on size and does not affect the score. We hold and use the tool with a bare hand to see if there are any uncomfortable seams or other oddities that might affect every user regardless of preferences.

Feature Set

In general, here are the features we look for on each drill:

  • Brushless or brushed motor
  • Number of standard modes
  • Smart controls
  • Smart tracking/inventory
  • Clutch design
  • Drill/driver/hammer drill selection design
  • LED light design
  • Chuck size/type
  • Belt hook
  • Unique features

Value

Value is more than just the price of the tool. We consider the whole picture of what you get for the price you pay, including the performance, feature set, ergonomics, warranty, bare tool price, and kit price.

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 while hammer modes let us drill smaller holes in concrete and masonry. In short, cordless drills let us drill and drive in most any material without the need for a cord.

Why You Can Trust Pro Tool Reviews

At Pro Tool Reviews, we have our finger on the pulse of the tool industry. We’ve been in business since 2008 covering tools, writing reviews, and reporting on industry news in the commercial and residential construction industry.

Each year, we bring in and review more than 350 individual products. Additionally, our team will put our hands on hundreds of other tools at media events and trade shows throughout the year.

We consult with innovators in the technology and design of tools to gain a broader grasp of where these products fit and how they work.

We also work with more than two dozen professional contractors around the United States and Canada who review products for us on their job sites and consult on testing design, categories, and weighting.

We’ll provide more than 500 pieces of new content this year absolutely free for our readers—including objective evaluations of individual tools and products.

The end result is a testing design you can trust because of the editorial, scientific, and real-world professional experience we collectively utilize every time we pick up and test a tool.

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Don

Can you tell which battery you used on each tool?

Steve Shirtliff
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Ronnie Cowen

Matt Lippincott
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You boys really outdid yourselves here….well done. I’m glad to see some variance in the outcome, especially 12v class.