10 Best Cordless Drills

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Cordless drills keep getting smaller and lighter with each new model, while still providing more power for the end user as well. In 2014 many more new models were released by manufacturers with the focus being 18-volt lithium-ion drills. Many companies also introduced brushless motors which provide more power, longer life, and longer run time. Below we review the top 10 best cordless drills. Keep in mind that many of the tool companies offer a full size and a compact 18v version and this list combines both. We recommend the full size models for professionals and the compact version for homeowners and DIYers.

Do you need some more buying advice or tips? Then check out our Cordless Drill Buying Guide.


DeWalt DCD990M2 20V Max XR Lithium Ion Brushless Premium 3-Speed Drill/Driver Kit

DeWalt’s DCD990M2 is their newest premium brushless 20v Max which scores the top mark on our list as the best cordless drill for professionals. Available for $270, this thing has everything you can ask for in a model that weighs in at 4.6 pounds. It has plenty of torque with 650 UWO (or approximately 708 in-lbs) and 3 speeds with a max RPM of 2000. Perhaps what we like best though is the super long run time from the combined brushless motor and the 4.0 Ah XR li-ion battery pack.

We highly recommend the DCD990M2, however, if you don’t use your tools for a living you might to look into a cheaper, more compact model.

Visit the Official Site for the DeWalt DCD990M2.


Milwaukee 2603-22 M18 FUEL 18-Volt Brushless 1/2-inch Drill Driver

The 2603-22 is Milwaukee’s newest high performance brushless Li-Ion 18v drill/driver in their M18 FUEL series of cordless tools. We love this drill and rated it tied for the best of this list with a 9.6. Professionals this one is for you. For the occasional user there are cheaper choices.

The best part of this cordless drill is the power. It provides torque of 725 in-lbs which is more than enough to handle the toughest tasks on any job-site. It has 2 speed ranges with a max RPM of 1850. It also has all the amenities you want for the serious professional like the auxiliary handle, bright LED light, all metal ratcheting chuck, and 3.0 Ah rated batteries.

The only downsides are the weight and price. At 4.9 pounds, it is over a pound heavier than compact models and with a pricetag of about $279 it is almost $100 more than many compact versions.

Visit the Official Site for the Milwaukee 2603-22.


Bosch DDH181X-01 18V Brute Tough Drill Driver w/ Active Response Technology

The Bosch DDH181X-01 is built strong to handle the toughest worksite conditions. This $279 model features a durashield housing, all metal gearbox, and advanced motor and battery protection systems to prevent overloading and overheating. It also has Bosch’s brand new Active Response Technology which reduces dangerous torque reactions by detecting sudden movements and cutting off the motor. Weighing in at 4.75 lbs this unit has 708 in-lbs of torque with a max speed of 1700 RPM. It also comes with 2 4.0 Ah li-ion batteries for longer run times.

The only thing lacking is a brushless motor, but overall this is a solid model for any professional.

Visit the Official Site for the Bosch DDH181X-01.


Makita XFD03 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless 1/2-inch Driver-Drill Kit

Coming in as the most powerful cordless drill in out top 10 with the most torque, 750 in-lbs, is the $300 Makita XFD03. The XFD03 is Makita’s newest LXT 18-volt version which also weighs the most of any model featured at 5 pounds. It has 3.0Ah li-ion batteries that recharge in just 30 minutes – quicker than any other brand of that size.

As for negatives this model does not have a brushless motor and is also the most expensive on the list. Therefore, if you are just a casual user and don’t need that class-leading torque you might want to find a cheaper option.

Visit the Official Site for the Makita XFD03.


Hitachi DS18DBL 18-Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Brushless Driver Drill

The DS18DL is Hitachi’s first 18v cordless drill with a brushless motor. This is the lightest drill, weighing 4.4 pounds, of our Top 10 that features 3.0Ah batteries as opposed to the slimmer 1.5Ah batteries found on compact models. It has 593 in-lbs of torque and features Hitachi’s lifetime warranty on the tool itself (but not the batteries which have a 2 year warranty).

There really are not too many negatives with this unit. Although at $297 it is expensive and offers a bit less power then other similar priced models. Overall this one is a good compromise of performance, weight, and price that we would recommend for not only professionals, but also for homeowners tackling serious projects.

Visit the Official Site for the Hitachi DS18DBL.


Bosch DDS182-02 18V EC Brushless Compact Tough 1/2-inch Drill/Driver Kit

Perhaps the best value and compromise between price and performance is the Bosch DDS182-02 priced at $199. This brushless 18v cordless drill is lightweight at just 3.5 pounds and provides long run-time on its 2.0 Ah li-ion batteries that recharge in 35 minutes. It doesn’t have the most torque at just 442 in-lbs, but it is still enough to tackle almost any job.

Overall users all seem to love this model and we would highly recommend it for homeowners and DIYers.

Visit the Official Site for the Bosch DDS182-02.


Milwaukee 2603-22CT M18 FUEL 18V Compact Lithium-Ion Drill Driver

This drill is very similar to the 2603-22, but it is Milwaukee’s compact version. It has 1.5 Ah batteries and a little bit less torque at 650 in-lbs. That results in a half pound of saved weight at 4.4 lbs.

Although there are cordless drills that have more torque and some that are lighter, this model is a good compromise between the two. We would recommend it more for professionals, especially with a price tag of $229 and up.

Visit the Official Site for the Milwaukee 2603-22CT.


DeWalt DCD790D2 20-Volt Li-Ion Cordless Brushless Compact Drill

The $199 DeWalt DCD790D2 is DeWalt’s latest compact 20-volt max brushless offering. It features 360 UWO (or approximately 450 in-lbs) of torque and a max speed of 2000 RPMs. It is powered by a 2.0Ah li-ion XR battery which recharges in 35 minutes. That provides plenty of run-time on this compact lightweight unit that weight just 3.5 lbs.

This is another model we would not hesitate to recommend to anyone from professionals to homeowners.

Visit the Official Site for the DeWalt DCD790D2.


RIDGID R86008K Fuego 18-Volt Compact Drill/Driver

This one actually surprised us with its performance. Ridgid really stepped up their game to take on the more well-known manufacturers. It features a solid, but unspectacular, 535 in-lbs of torque. It feels really comfortable in your hand and scored high grades from users at the Home Depot who give it 4.4 out of 5 stars. The R86008K also has the best warranty of any cordless drill on this list – a full lifetime guarantee provided that you register your specific Ridged product.

It is listed as a compact drill with 1.5 Ah li-ion batteries, but it comes in a little bit heavier compared to other brands comparable models at 4.3 lbs.

With a price of $149, overall we feel that this one would make a fine choice for home owners and DIYers or even for professionals as well.

Visit the Official Site for the Ridgid R86008K.


Makita LXFD01CW 18-Volt Compact Lithium-Ion 1/2-Inch Driver-Drill

This is Makita’s compact 18v cordless drill in their LXT line of tools. It is the lightest one on this list at just 3.3 pounds. One thing we really like about this unit is the charge time. It only takes 15 minutes to recharge the battery so even though it comes with 1.5Ah batteries, you don’t have to worry about run time

It has 480 in-lbs of torque and a max RPM of 1500 which while good is not great.

Costing about $149, this is a cordless drill we would recommend for anyone to tackle all but the most demanding jobs.

Visit the Official Site for the Makita LXFD01CW.

Cordless Drill Buying Guide / Advice / Tips

Cordless drills can be used on a wide variety of tasks from hanging pictures to building decks. It is important to know what projects you want your tool to be able to handle. Are you mainly going to be doing basic household tasks or do you plan on tackling serious construction? While keeping this in mind, when shopping for cordless drills there the three main factors you should consider are battery, torque and weight.

The battery is the most important criteria since it supplies the power for the tool. Cordless drills come in different voltages ranging from 7.2v up to as much as 36 volts. The most popular is 18v and is a good compromise for homeowners and people who use their power tools for a living. The best battery composition is lithium-ion, or Li-Ion for short. Stay away from older NiCd or NiMH battery technology since they take longer to charge and won’t last as long through many recharging cycles. The amount of run-time is measured in amp-hours, or Ah. You will normally see either 3Ah battery packs which are longer lasting but bulkier or 1.5Ah packs which don’t last as long but are more compact. Most models you buy come with two batteries and a charger so one can be charging while you are using the other one.

Torque is simply the measure of the amount of twisting force the drill applies in inch-pounds. The higher the torque, the better the drill can handle tough tasks. Other factors related to torque are the number of clutch settings and the speed in RPM’s. The clutch setting along with the different speed settings allow you to control the drilling / driving at the correct pace.

Weight is obviously important because you want something that is easy to use and these things can get heavy through constant use. Generally a lighter model is also smaller in size which makes it easier to get into tougher spots. Manufacturers usually offer a standard or high performance model which is heavier, but has the most torque and Ah and a compact model which is smaller and lighter, but has less torque and less Ah.

Some other features you might want to look for include a fuel guage, work light, an auxiliary handle, and warranty length of both tool and batteries. Also remember that many brands now offer kits with multiple cordless tools that all use the same batteries.

In summary we recommend an 18v Li-Ion model. You have to decide how much the other factors matter to accomplish the tasks you need to do.

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