7 Best Ryobi Cordless Drills in 2021

Ryobi cordless drill

Nobody does hardware like the Japanese, which is why Ryobi has attained such renown in the DIY world. They have a fine selection of cordless drills that you could look into. You might be tempted to focus on German or American manufacturers, but ignoring the significant advantages of buying Japanese would be a huge disservice to your DIY mentality. Ryobi has plenty of great cordless drills that you can use.

That said, this is a company that many might not familiar with. If this is the case for you, then worry not for we are here to tell you all that you need to know! We have gone through Ryobi’s extensive catalog and picked the top 5 drills that you could end up buying from them. We’ve also taken the liberty of providing an educational buying guide, as well as answering some of the more common questions people have in mind about Ryobi and cordless drills in general.

Top 5 Ryobi Cordless Drills

1. Ryobi P1813 One+

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t’s tough to compete with a cordless drill as incredible as this one. Ryobi has gotten pretty much everything right here, although one might wonder whether the price could have been a bit lower. The drill is most definitely worth the price though, offering you a massive 750 pounds of torque that stays relatively stable even if your voltage fluctuates thanks to the built in stabilizer. If you notice the drill bit suddenly slowing down, don’t worry since this is just the stabilizer at work. The 4 amp battery is a thing of beauty that lasts ages, but the true advantage here is the fast charging time. It doesn’t take more than 30 minutes for the batteries to fully charge. As if all of that wasn’t enough, this cordless drill has some useful accessories too such as the magnetic tray which you can put spare nuts and bolts in as well as a handy belt clip.


  • 750 pounds of torque
  • Very long lasting 4 amp battery
  • 30 minute charging time
  • Magnetic bit platform, durable belt clip
  • Voltage stabilizer built in


  • Very pricey

2. Ryobi P252

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We can talk all day about power and torque, but this is a cordless drill that transcends such petty concerns. You know that you are getting a powerful drill after all, so the add-ons might be more of a factor here. For starters, you get a magnetic base tray similar to the one you would get in the phenomenal P1813. You get a belt clip too, although it’s a little flimsy so you might not want to rely on it too much. This cordless drill also has a fantastic grip that somehow feels like it’s made for your hand. A very surprising benefit of this drill is the LED light which is bright enough to illuminate most work spaces. Be careful of the trigger, though, as it tends to be sticky on occasion.


  • Magnetic base tray
  • 24 position clutch
  • Powerful LED light
  • Excellent ergonomic grip


  • Belt clip is rather flimsy
  • Trigger sometimes sticks

3. Ryobi P215

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Ryobi’s P215 drill has the perfect example of a versatile chuck. Half an inch makes this chuck compatible with most if not all useful drill bits, and it contributes to the excellent torque this drill can provide. It’s hard to think of a situation where you would need more than 500 pounds of torque, which means that this drill can be used in a very wide range of applications. The excellent battery life is also a major plus point, one that can help make this a more useful tool for you to have. This cordless drill also comes with dual speed which is a nice touch, although it’s surprising how uncomfortable the grip can be. Ryobi usually makes really good grips so this must be an outlier. While the grip can be forgiven, the motor should definitely have been more stable since it tends to overheat quickly after extended use. Regardless this is a pretty great cordless drill with more than enough torque and a powerful enough battery for general usage.


  • Half inch chuck is very useful
  • Excellent torque for the price
  • Long battery life
  • Dual speed


  • Motor tends to overheat
  • Grip could be more comfortable

4. Ryobi P209

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18 volts is generally considered the bare minimum for a truly versatile cordless drill. The P209 from Ryobi is perhaps the most affordable 18V cordless drill that the market has to offer. This is a pretty versatile drill too, with its dual speed proving useful in a variety of situations. This is also another lightweight drill, although you wouldn’t get quite as much durability as you might have been hoping for. It’s relatively powerful though, enough for all basic tasks and some heavy duty tasks as well. While the lack of durability can be limiting, its other features make up for it. The keyless chuck might be a deal breaker though. It’s almost impossible to use without using two hands, and in some cases you might even need to use pliers which would be extremely inconvenient.


  • Best 18V for budget shopper
  • Lightweight, easy to use
  • Dual speed provides versatility


  • Very tight keyless chuck, difficult to remove
  • Lacks adequate durability

5. Ryobi HJP004L

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Sometimes you just want a simple drill that you can use for light work around the house. This cordless drill is perfect for that sort of thing. The biggest benefit of this drill is that it’s so portable. Even your kid can use it, though you might want to be around to supervise! For a lightweight drill, this Ryobi product has quite a bit of durability to it. Rough use won’t do all that much harm here. You also get a good grip which is nice since many lightweight drills don’t focus on such things

At the end of the day, though, this is a 12 volt drill which means that there’s a hard limit to what you can do with it. The battery life is pretty low too which further limits its usage.


  • Excellent portability
  • Relatively durable
  • Good grip


  • Low battery life
  • 12 volts only enough for light use
  1. Ryobi P1817

Anything you buy from Ryobi will be quite reliable, and the P1817 is no different. It comes with a gearbox that lets you switch to two different speed settings. The low setting lets you achieve up to 450 RPM, and the high-speed setting increases that limit to 1,750. That’s great for situations where you want to keep RPMs low to avoid damaging your wall.

Another thing we loved about this product was its high torque capacity. Offering an impressive 1,800 pounds of torque at the highest setting, this product is more than adequate for heavy-duty DIY work. The versatile chuck is a bonus because it makes bit changes a breeze. However, we felt that the lack of a brushless motor limited this product’s potential. It’s prone to sparks caused by the brushes in the motor.


  • Dual speed gearbox provides extra RPM control
  • Can handle extremely heavy duty tasks thanks to high torque
  • Convenient chuck facilitates fast bit changes


  • Lacks a brushless motor


  1. Ryobi ZRP214

The first thing you might notice about the ZRP214 from Ryobi is its unique design. It comes with a detachable side handle that’s perfect for keeping your hand steady and avoiding slips and injuries. Also, this product comes with a handy depth gauge that improves your drilling accuracy, and the combination of these two features makes this a great product for newbies that don’t have a steady hand yet.

The chuck has its pros and cons, though. It’s durable and keyless, a great pairing, but it only comes in a ½ inch size. That’s a tad large for DIY use at home, and the surprising thing is that this drill is limited to just 600 pounds of torque. We feel that a more versatile chuck size and added torque could have made this product a lot better.


  • Unique side handle offers more stability while drilling
  • Depth gauge helps accomplish fine and delicate work
  • Highly durable keyless metal chuck


  • ½ inch chuck might be too large for at home use
  • Only offers up to 600 pounds of torque

If you want to take a look at how Ryobi drills perform against its strongest competitor check out our article, Ryobi vs Dewalt Cordless Drill: Which one should you choose?

How to Choose the Best Ryobi Cordless Drill

Here are some factors you should look out for when choosing a Ryobi cordless drill to ensure you spend your money wisely.

Pay Attention to Voltage

There’s not much you can do with a cordless drill that doesn’t offer the right voltage. Optimal voltage depends a lot on what kind of work you are trying to do, though. Some people can get by with a 12 volt drill, and at times even an 8 volt drill could do the trick especially when it comes to lighter tasks that you need to get done around the house. It doesn’t hurt to have a bit more juice at your disposal, though. A minimum of 15 volts should be preferred, since this would give you a bit of wiggle room any case any heavier duty tasks need to be taken care of. More is less in the world of cordless drills after all.

Prefer Easily Removable Chucks

Certain drills might be great in every way but their chuck would need a special tool to remove. While you might have certain preferences in this regard, it’s fair to say that a difficult to remove chuck is almost never worth it. It just wastes too much time. If you value getting things done quickly, you would definitely not be satisfied by such an annoying chuck. Easy removal chucks are commonplace now, and you can take them off by hand. It should ideally be this simple for you to change between different drill bits, especially if you have a large scale project that requires different kinds of drilling to be done at different times. An easily removable chuck won’t just save you time, it will save you energy as well, energy that would be better spent on the task at hand.

Variable Speed Is Always Superior

Again, this depends on how much of a pro you are as well as what tasks you were thinking of getting done. Generally speaking, though, it helps to have variable speed. One speed probably won’t be enough for anything but a very specific set of tasks. Variable speed gives you the option to adjust speed according to your needs. This is a great feature to have, and it usually doesn’t cost a whole lot more either which makes it all the more worth it at the end of the day.

Optimize Drill Chuck Size

You can use different drill bits based on the project you are undertaking which can give you a lot of versatility. However, you can’t change the size of your chuck. This needs to be optimized from the get go. Many people make the mistake of going for the largest chuck, thinking that this would have the most versatility. The truth is actually the exact opposite though. Overly large chucks can cause difficulties since you would face trouble finding drill bits that are compatible. Match your chuck to the drill bits you already own, or to the ones that you are buying alongside the cordless drill.


What Does a Melting Smell Mean?

Sometimes when you are using your cordless drill, you might notice a smell like plastic burning. If this occurs, you should stop using your drill immediately. It is a sign that you are stressing the motor which is causing the drill to heat up. Excess heat starts to melt the drill from the inside. While only the varnish will be impacted at first, this can certainly do a lot of damage to your tool. Improper use is what most often leads to this burning smell. While you shouldn’t drill after noticing such a smell, keep your drill running regardless. This would activate the fans which would cool the motor down.

How Can I Avoid Damaging My Drill?

Overloading your drill is a very real danger, one that you should avoid at any cost. You can avoid this by doing a few simple things like using more than one pilot drill so that no single pilot has to suffer unnecessary load. Lubricants can also be useful here since they can keep everything running smoothly. A frequent cause for overload is blunt tools. If you are trying to cut into something, make sure that the tool you are using is sharp otherwise your cordless drill will have to work extra hard to get the cutting done which can instantly overload your drill and cause a lot of damage.

What Should I Do if My Drill Stops Working?

Everything has a life expectancy, but if your drill stops working sooner than you had expected then this might a sign of a factory defect. Firstly, never buy a cordless drill that doesn’t have an extended warranty. If you have made the right decision here, the next step should be pretty simple. Just call up Ryobi or walk into their store and let them know that a problem has occurred. If the problem was on their end, you would be able to get your drill fixed for free. They might even send you a brand new cordless drill if the problem is too serious to fix!

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