The Complete Cordless Drill Buying Guide

cordless drill buying guide

Cordless drills are becoming more popular these days since they can become a huge time saver as a DIY, and as a professional contractor this is a power tool you can't do without, a cordless drill is a must-have tool. Most people are delighted to have a cordless drills due to their high degree of versatility and extraordinary power they tend to offer. Also, these machines save you the burden of dragging the cord around the house or job site. 

Most individuals think that looking for a new power drill is not going to be a big deal –  it is just a power drill right? Well, there are tons of cordless drills available on the market today, "why don’t you just pick one", you might think. That is how most people will approach this. But one thing you should be aware of is that it is not quite that simple to choose the right power tool. There are lots of similarities and some differences between the manufacturers and models which means sorting through all the information can be quite overwhelming – especially if you’re a newbie.

To make the your life easier, we have tested and written quite a few cordless drills reviews articles such as the DEWALT DCD771C2 Cordless Drill Review, to help you figure it all out. We have then compiled them all together in one place to provide you with the complete best cordless drill for your money review  so you can figure it all out and make an informed decision.

In this complete cordless drill buying guide, we will provide you with all the information you need to know the ins and outs about cordless drills including the features, factors to consider, how to choose a drill that is perfect for you, and FAQs. Without further ado, let’s dig a little deeper in our complete cordless drill buying guide.  

Cordless and Corded Drills

Before rushing into our buying guide, let’s first see the type of drill power available out there. One of the most significant factors you need to consider when buying a power tool is the type of device you want. There are typically two types of power drills: cordless drills and corded drills. The question is; which is one is the best?

Corded drills: obviously, this kind of tool features a cord/cable, but corded drills are known to provide more power, and its motor can take more abuse. Corded drills are mostly preferred by professional contractors since they are uniquely designed to withstand heavy-duty applications such as drilling into concrete or mixing mud. If you intend to invest in corded drills, you should have a reliable power outlet securely fitted outside your house or on your job site.

Corded drills are typically measured in Amps. The more amps, the more power – meaning that if you have a steady power supply, then you can be assured of more excellent run time. Corded drills are considered to provide more power and are incredibly more lightweight than the cordless models with similar capabilities. Additionally, when you start working, you won't be interrupted to charge the battery, although the cord tends to restrict your mobility. You will need an extension cord if the work area tends to be further away from the power outlet.

Cordless drills: Cordless drills are the most popular power tools in the drilling industry, and have received so many positive reviews across the globe. With a cordless drill, you can go anywhere, and the best part is that you do not have to worry about a power source since they are battery powered. Nowadays, a cordless drill is a must-have tool for homeowners and professional contractors. Everything has been upgraded including the battery life, power, and motors. We will be looking into them in detail in this buying guide.

Cordless drills provide high mobility allowing you to work in big areas deprived of the discomfort caused by the cord. Although you will need to recharge the battery periodically. So, it is better off having a spare battery with you so you can keep working while the other battery is recharging.

Drill Types

The drills are then split into three categories:

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    Combi Drill
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    Drill Driver
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    Impact Driver

In this buying guide, we have outlined some of the power tools available in each category, and some of their best features you will need to consider.

Combi drills

Combi drills are an excellent option if you have a big project which involves lots of drilling and driving. These power tools are capable of drilling holes into wood and metal within the shortest amount of time possible. Also, you can use combi drills to drive screws. The impressive part is that these tools can be used to drill holes into masonry and concrete via the hammer function provided.

These tools typically feature two-speed transmission, although you will find a few with three operating speeds. It has the low speed for high torque tasks like screw driving, and a higher gear for standard applications like drilling metal or wood.

In this category, some of the combi drills we recommend are:

Makita XPH102 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless 1/2-Inches Hammer Driver-Drill Kit (3.0Ah) – it is ranked as #1 on Amazon’s best-selling list of power hammer drills, at the time of writing. It’s one of the excellent power tools worth considering. This unit comes equipped with a four-pole motor providing up to 480 inches per pound of peak torque. Also, it has two-speed transmission: at low gear, it delivers 1,900 RPM, and at high speed, it provides 28,500 BPM within just a matter of seconds. Additionally, it has a high runtime and extended battery life. This power tool features an 18V 3.0Ah battery, which can last for around 3 hours depending on the kind of work you are doing.

Drill/driver

These are the most common power tools available on the market today. A compact drill/driver is typically fitted with two-speed settings as well as multiple torque settings. Besides two speed settings, these power tools also feature a forward/reverse function, an adjustment clutch, and variable speed. The forward/reverse function is beneficial when drilling screws. The adjustment clutch allows you to set the torque for various drilling and driving applications easily.

So, when selecting a drill driver, we suggest you take note of the peak torque settings as this affects the sort of materials and surfaces you can efficiently drill or drive screws into.

What is the best cordless drill driver? In this category, we have picked the Dewalt drill/driver, you can read the detailed review which will help you make an informed decision:

Dewalt DCD771C2 20V MAX Cordless Lithium-Ion 1/2-Inch Compact Drill Driver Kit – this power tool is considered one of the best drill drivers out there. It comes fitted with a 20Volt MAX lithium-ion battery, capable of delivering up to 300 unit watts out of power. The kit comes included with two 20volt lithium-ion batteries - that is twice the use – use one to work on your drilling task whereas the other is recharging, so you will never have to stop working.

Also, it comes with two-speed settings: at low gear, it delivers 0-450 RPM, and under a no-load condition, it provides 1,500 RPM in seconds. It has 16 clutch settings for various driving and driving applications. Also, this cordless drill features a forward/reverse button for maximum control.

Impact Drivers

Impact drivers are also prevalent among electricians and DIY. This power tool typically comes equipped with a hex chuck – this is a quick-release style mechanism which tends to differ from other chucks available on drill drivers and combi drills. The hex chuck tends to take the screwdriver bits as the impact driver is designed to drive screws into tight or confined areas. Additionally, you can undertake many drilling tasks with the right bit equipped. An impact driver is all about the peak torque, coupled with high impact levels.

Here is an impact drivers we highly recommend and our full review will definitely help you make an informed decision.

Metabo 18V LT Quick Drill/Driver 2.0Ah – it comes fitted with an Ultra-M 2.0Ah battery pack which offers extended runtime and a two-stage gearbox. This impact driver has a two-speed transmission: at low gear, it provides 0-450RPM, and at high speed, it delivers 0-1,300RPM. Also, it fcomes with a maximum torque of 48Nm. This unit has a 1/ 4-inch hexagon recessed spindle.

Another impact driver worth considering is the PORTER-CABLE PCCK604L2 20V Max Lithium-Ion 2-Tool Combo Kit.

Features To Look For In A Cordless Drill

Astonishing Battery Power and Long Runtimes

These days, almost all cordless drills run on lithium-ion (Li-On) batteries. The benefit of these batteries is that they’re rechargeable and provide significantly more power than the conventional batteries. They are capable of powering drills with motors which need 450 watts or even more. The 18-volt cordless drills tend to provide more torque and speed than the smaller 12volt models. Also, lithium batteries tend to offer extended runtimes and can hold the charge for quite a long time; some drills are capable of keeping their charge for up to 18 months, such as the BLACK & DECKER LDX120PK 20-Volt MAX Lithium-Ion Drill and Project Kit.

lithium-ion battery

Variable RPMs

RMP stands for Revolutions Per Minutes – it is the measure of the speed of the cordless drill. Cordless drills feature variable speed settings which offer you full control of your drill. Most drills usually have two-speed transmission, which enables you to set the speed from 0-400 or 0-1300. For instance, the Milwaukee 2407-22 M12 3/8 Drill Driver Kit offers 0-400RPM at low gear and 0-1,500RPM at high speed.

Adequate Torque

Torque is the measure of the drill power, and it is typically measured in inches. If you intend to use the power tool to carry out masonry tasks or drill quite tricky woodworking, then you will need a lot of torque to get the job done. Small and less powerful tools are ideal for small tasks such as lighter woodworking, while heavy-duty boasts of having 450+ inches per pound of torque. For example, the Milwaukee 2407-22 M12 also delivers 850 in.lbs of maximum torque.

Chuck Size

Another important feature to consider is the chuck size. Most cordless drills sport a 1/2-inches chuck, but there are some which have a 3/8-inches chuck. The size of the chuck tells you the upper limit for the shank size of the bits the drill can hold – bigger bits tends to have broader shanks, so, you need to be careful when looking for the right drill bits. Additionally, the chuck size tracks the power and capability of the drill – more powerful drills tend to have a larger chuck. 

Comfortable Handling

A good cordless drill should be compact and lightweight to maneuver easily into tight spots, with a grip which feels comfortable in your hand to avoid blisters.

A Decent Warranty

Warranty is an essential feature to take into consideration when buying a cordless drill. Most cordless drills come backed by a three-year, five-year, or even a for life warranty. Although you will find some tools with a two-year warranty. Make sure that the warranty covers the drill/driver as well as the battery because they are often the first part that tends to get damaged.

Included Kit Accessories

Almost all cordless drills come including a full accessory kit, which contains everything you want to get started. The components you will find included in the kit: cordless drill/driver, battery, charger, and other necessary tools like bits or screws. Although you will find some packages which don’t include a battery and the charger such as the Ryobi P208 One+.

Best Cordless Drill Brands

Black+Decker

Black and Decker was created back in 1910 and is one of the most leading power tools brands out there today. Black and Decker's cordless drills are geared to the consumer market and come in a wide variety of prices, sizes, weight, and voltages. You can find Black and Decker cordless drills online and in retail stores like Amazon. A good example is the BLACK & DECKER LDX120PK.

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dewalt

Dewalt

Dewalt is one of the top-manufacturers and marketers as far as cordless tools are concerned. Dewalt is well-renowned for producing tools such as saws, wrenches, hammers, and much more, including lithium-ion power tools with the 20volt MAX system. A good example is the Dewalt DCD771C2 20V MAX Cordless drill.

Bosch

Bosch was established in Germany and is increasingly becoming popular among the consumers for its quality design and performance. You can easily find Bosch cordless drills in hardware stores, including Amazon. A good example is the Bosch DDB181-02 cordless drill.

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makita

Makita

Makita was founded back in 1915 in Japan by Mosaburo Makita, initially they sold and fixed transformers, motors, and lightning equipment. Now Makita produces some of the most potent and long-lasting lithium-ion cordless drills, including the Makita XPH102 18V LXT.

Milwaukee

Milwaukee is one of most -leading power tool manufacturers out there today. Milwaukee makes a wide range of impact drivers, cordless drills, and cordless screwdrivers.

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ryobi

Ryobi

Another leading brand in the cordless drill industry is Ryobi. Ryobi cordless drills are made by TTI that also makes the Milwaukee and Ridgid brands. Ridgid cordless drills are exclusive to Home Depot.

FAQs

Here are some of the Frequently Asked Questions:

Which power tool brand is the best?

Well, when it comes to choosing the best power tool brand, it can be daunting. We can’t judge by testing just a few brands of power tools and giving a crown to the brand with the best torque. These characteristics matter, but there is a lot more to take into consideration when searching for the best power tool brand.

Well, according to our research, Makita holds the Top spot in our opinion, and there are thousands of reasons why Makita holds that position. The second best power tool brand is the Dewalt brand we think, followed by Milwaukee, Bosch, Ryobi, and then Porter Cable.

What are the best cordless screwdrivers?

Screwdrivers are one of the most common tools widely used today. Moreover, there are three things you have to remember when purchasing cordless screwdrivers: speed, torque, and power. After hours of research and testing, the Dewalt DW920K is the best cordless screwdriver in our opinion– combining durability, strength, and affordability to create a compelling tool which stands out from its competition. Other best cordless screwdrivers include the Hitachi DB3DL2 and the BLACK+DECKER BDCS20C.

What is the best voltage for a cordless drill?

Basically, you have three choices to choose from: Firstly, 12 volts – best for general small home chores and everyday DIY tasks. These drills have a 3/8-inch chuck. Secondly, 18 to 20 volts – you will need this amount of voltage for heavy DIY jobs like deck building or large scale remodeling. These drills feature a 1/2-inch chuck. Thirdly, 28 volts and more – best for professional contractors, mainly in projects which need concrete drilling.

What is the best impact driver?

Well, the use of impact drivers is becoming more popular each day, although not a lot of individuals prefer using impact drivers over cordless drills. But there are some things which draw in new users each day, and that is their torque and driving power. The best impact driver we recommend is the Makita XDT042 18V LXT – it comes fitted with various parts to be attached to the drill, which makes any fastening process incredibly easy and straightforward.

What is a Combi drill used for?

A combi drill is mainly used to drill holes into wood and metal. Also, it can be used to drive screws and even drill holes into concrete and masonry via it's hammer function. 

How much does a cordless drill cost?

Well, cordless drills retail between $35 and $200 depending on the model that you prefer. Heavy-duty models will cost you more and generally; they tend to have an extended lifespan. However, if you intend to use your cordless drill for simple home tasks, like fixing your desk or cabinet, you can get yourself a lower-end model and face no challenges.

What is considered a quick charging time?

The charging time tends to differ significantly between different cordless drill drivers. The charging time can range from 15 minutes to around five hours. The Metabo 18V LT cordless drill comes with a smart charger for quick charging – which can take approximately 15 to 60 minutes for the battery to be fully charged.

Conclusion

After going through our complete cordless drill buying guide, it’s time to make an informed decision. A cordless drill is an essential tool which you must have as a dedicated DIY or professional contractor. You should find a machine with a lot of power and torque for drilling and drive the screws into a range of materials, a battery pack with plenty of juice, and beneficial features like speed settings and multiple gears.

Remember, you should not focus on the bargain when it comes to purchasing what is going to be one of the most significant parts of your DIY arsenal.

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