A handheld drill can be an excellent tool that can put you in control of your own space at home.
Rather than relying on overpriced professionals coming in for every little thing that you need to get done, you can just take matters into your own hands and save yourself a lot of money in the process. Investing in a power drill is great, but it would be even better if you opt for the cordless variety.
It can get rather tiresome for you to drag around a cable with your drill. Limited mobility, logistical hassles, and other issues make cables relatively obsolete nowadays. This has contributed to the rise of cordless power drills, and many of the top drills offered by the best brands come cordless by default.
The brushless motor has revolutionized the world of handheld drills, so you should try your best to find one. Such motors are less prone to overheating because they reduce friction, allowing you to get more value for your money. A long-lasting purchase is always ideal, and a brushless motor also helps by reducing the need for frequent maintenance and repairs. An added advantage of brushless motors is that they help extend battery life by frequently adjusting power usage instead of drawing a consistent amount from the power source.
- Chuck Size
Bigger chuck sizes can be great for projects that require heavy screws and materials. However, they can also be tough to handle, and most DIY projects don’t require them. A quarter-inch chuck is adequate for basic home DIY projects, but they can be limiting if you ever need to take things up a notch. That’s why we recommend buying a handheld drill with a 3/8th inch chuck because it provides the best of both worlds. It gives you enough wiggle room to up the ante should your DIY project require it, but it doesn’t make your chuck unmanageably large and incapable of handling small screws and delicate work.
Since your main goal is to buy a handheld drill, it would be best to buy something compact and lightweight. You will do much of your drilling work overhead, so a heavy drill can cause muscle fatigue and shorten your sessions. Lighter drills might not provide as much power as larger ones, but they’re useful for handheld work because they don’t tire you out. Handheld drills are mostly used in relatively small-scale DIY projects, so buying something bulky and heavy wouldn’t be that useful.
Lithium ion batteries are the most cutting edge power sources for your cordless drill, so you need to make sure your prospective purchase has one. Other features such as a battery indicator can also come in handy because they let you time your battery’s charges accordingly. Be careful not to get too large of a battery, though, because this would make your drill too heavy.
7 Best Handheld Cordless Power Drills
Here are the top seven handheld cordless power drills according to our research:
|DEWALT 20V MAX Cordless Drill / Driver Kit, Compact, 1/2-Inch (DCD771C2)||Check Price|
|Metabo - 18V Brushless 3-Speed Hammer Drill/Driver Kit 2X 5.5Ah Lihd (602357620 18 LTX-3 BL Q I 5Hammer Drill/Driver||Check Price|
|Makita CX300RB 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Sub-Compact Brushless Cordless 3-Pc. Combo Kit (2.0Ah), Black||Check Price|
|Top||BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Cordless Drill / Driver, 3/8-Inch (LDX120C)||Check Price|
|Bosch GSR12V-300B22 12V Max EC Brushless 3/8 In. Drill/Driver Kit||No Results|
Read on further for an in-depth review of each drill set.
1. DeWalt 20V MAX Cordless Drill
It should come as no surprise to many that a DeWalt offering tops our list. DeWalt’s cordless drills are second to none, and this product with its 20 volt maximum offers so much power that you would be hard pressed to find a job that you can’t complete with it.
The illumination from the LEDs is also a huge plus point since it can help improve visibility while you work, and the surprising thing is that the bright lights and high power rating don’t impact battery life at all. On top of all of this, DeWalt’s cordless drill is pretty affordable if you look at how high quality it is.
Nothing is perfect of course, and this drill from DeWalt does have an overheating problem that can cause issues in certain situations. This problem can be avoided with responsible drill operation though, so it shouldn’t be too much of a factor for buyers.
- Enough power for heavy duty jobs
- Bright LED light
- Long lasting, fast charging batteries
- Affordable despite high quality
- Sometimes overheats
2. Metabo SB 18 LTX-3 BL Q I
Metabo often gets dealt the short shrift by cordless drill reviewers, but we have found the brand’s offerings to be on par with some of the more famous companies out there. The 3000+ RPM you get with this drill pretty much blows all the competition out of the water. It also checks multiple other boxes by offering a long lasting battery that doesn’t take too long to charge along with its chuck which is compatible with a wide range of bits and is easy to use.
Such high praise might make you wonder why this cordless drill didn’t get the top spot, but at the end of the day Metabo’s handle design leaves much to be desired. It can be a little uncomfortable to grip, and this discomfort can also be felt with the rather sticky gear changes. Still, this cordless drill is one of the best in the market and it certainly offers something unique with its remarkable RPM.
- Incredibly high RPM
- Versatile chuck
- Torque multiplier
- Excellent battery
- Awkward side handle design
- Difficult gear changing
3. Makita CX300RB 18V LXT
Power is important, but Makita also acknowledges the importance of portability. The CX300RB is quite powerful despite its easy handling and compact nature, and it offers three different speed settings for maximum control. A lot of emphasis has been placed on practicality here, with the bright LEDs being some of the best in the market right now.
Two significant, though not decisive, drawbacks pull Makita’s cordless drill down a couple pegs. Firstly, we would have really liked to see a better battery being offered at this price point. The second issue is that the drill clips are rather loose. These drill clips are a bonus feature of the drill, but the fact that they are loose can cause certain dangerous situations so we feel like it bears mentioning. Call us nitpicky, but we think that even bonus features should be held to a high standard.
- Lightweight yet powerful
- Versatile speed settings
- Twin LEDs provide plenty of illumination
- Loose drill clips
- Battery doesn’t last long at maximum power
4. Black & Decker 20V MAX Cordless Drill
Most serious hobbyists think pretty highly of Black & Decker cordless drills and this product is no exception. It has all the Black & Decker hallmarks including an incredibly light and compact design as well as a low price point that makes it accessible for the more budget conscious crowd. The battery lasts appreciably long too which is a welcome change from older offerings from Black & Decker which often fell short in this regard.
The negatives are also pretty characteristic of Black & Decker, much like the positives. People that are well versed with Black & Decker products would be wary of them being insufficient for heavier tasks, and the same downside applies here. We also felt like the chuck was a bit iffy, since it takes some effort to get it at just the right level of tightness.
- Very lightweight
- Battery lasts a long time
- Affordable option
- Chuck is either too loose or too tight
- A little too light for certain uses
5. Bosch GSR12V-300 Cordless Drill Driver
If you want something cheap that is suitable for a few basic tasks, this offering from Bosch should have you covered. While it doesn’t really measure up to the higher ranked cordless drills on our list, Bosch’s GSR12V-300 does offer a light design perfect for jobs that require portability and fast movement. Bosch has also improved on previous designs with its new rubber grip which makes slippage virtually impossible, and we also like how soft the trigger is without it being overly sensitive.
Bear in mind that this cordless drill will only work for small tasks around the house, and since this isn’t the highest quality product currently available you will have to deal with a notoriously tricky chuck. A bit of practice should make the chuck easier to deal with although the same can’t be said for the battery life. American buyers will have to make do with a 2.0Ah battery which honestly baffles us since this same drill comes with 3.0Ah batteries in Europe.
- Light, compact and portable
- Comfortable rubber grip prevents slipping
- Easy trigger
- Only suitable for small tasks
- Poor quality chuck
- Battery life could be better
- Hilti SFD 2
Finding a handheld power drill on a low budget can be hard, but the SFD 2 from Hilti is an exception. This handheld drill provides excellent control with a maximum speed of 1,500 rotations per minute, coupled with 15-speed settings to choose from. The firm and precise clutch is another excellent feature, allowing you to screw in lightweight screws without damaging the material they’re being placed in.
The combination of speed and clutch control already makes this drill a worthwhile buy, but the bright LED on the base is the cherry on top. Its illumination can make it easier to work in the dark, although we would have liked a bit of front-facing illumination as well. One drawback of this drill is that it’s only made for light work because of its small chuck and the lack of high torque, which is understandable given the low price.
- Excellent maximum speed of 1,500/min
- Versatile clutch offers precision and control
- Bright base LED
- Quarter inch chuck makes it unsuitable for heavy tasks
- Lacks high torque setting
- RIDGID R9780
Ridgid is not as widely known as DeWalt or other big name brands, but the manufacturer still provides some drills worth mentioning. The R9780 is a great drill with some unique features, the most prominent being its spring-loaded nail ejector. This helps you clear jams more easily and facilitates faster nail loading when time is of the essence.
This is also a pretty powerful drill, capable of delivering up to 1,800 pounds of torque at any given moment. Its rotation is also quite fast, reaching speeds of around 1,750 rotations per minute. However, while the drill is quite light overall, its heavy battery pack makes the weight distribution uneven. Also, the battery might start to lose its ability to hold charge after a while.
- Spring ejection feature saves time
- Offers up to 1,800lbs of torque
- Lightweight and compact, perfect for extended drilling sessions
- Bottom heavy design due to battery
- Battery might degrade in quality over time
Q. What does volts mean in drills?
A. Your cordless drill’s voltage refers to how much power it can derive from the battery pack. An 18-volt drill is more powerful than a 12-volt drill, for example. However, the kind of battery the drill has matters too. Lithium-ion batteries are more effective, so a 12-volt drill with such a battery might be more powerful than a 15-volt drill with an alternative battery type.
Q. How much torque should my drill have?
A. You can do light-duty work with a relatively low amount of torque. About 500 pounds should cut it, but it might be inconvenient if this is your maximum torque level. Most drills should offer up to 1,000 pounds of torque at least; otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to use them for anything but the most basic tasks.
Q. When will I need a new drill?
A. Most drills should last at least two to three years provided you take care of them. Hence, if your current cordless drill is more than three years old, it might be a good idea to buy a new one.