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The 3 Best Cordless Drills

By Tiana Crump

For more convenience and portability when you’re working around the house, yard, and beyond, you’ll need one of the best cordless drills on hand. These lightweight, battery-operated drills provide greater flexibility than standard corded ones — and if you find the right option, it’ll offer the power most jobs require, too. Since they rely on batteries for power, these might not be the best choice for really big jobs, but for everything from hanging a picture to building a platform, it’s usually plenty to get the job done. Plus, you don’t have to worry about whether you’re close to an outlet or if you might have a long extension cord.

There are hundreds of different models you can get, so when you’re trying to choose the best cordless drill for your next project, there are a few things you should consider. The first is the voltage. For small home repairs and assembling Ikea furniture, a 12-volt drill or less will suffice. If you’re working on a building or bigger renovation project, you will likely need to drill through aluminum and other tough materials, so you’ll probably prefer a more powerful, but larger, 18-volt drill.

Make sure to also select a drill that holds up charge after charge. Older models with batteries that died after one or two years often had NiCad batteries (which are cheaper than lithium ion), and are also heavier and limited to about 1,000 charges.

To help you find the perfect tool for your projects, here’s my list of the best cordless drills. Reviewers agree that these drills have the voltage and battery life to make your renovations and other projects a breeze.

1. The Best Overall Cordless Drill For Most People

The Bosch 12V Max two-speed pocket driver kit is a great all-around drill for minor home repairs, assembling furniture, and more. It weighs less than 2 pounds and is little more than the size of a dollar bill, making it super easy to wield and hold. With its slim pistol-grip and short head, you can easily tackle household projects in tough-to-reach corners. Despite its size, though, this drill packs plenty of power with 265 inch-pounds of torque. It includes two long-lasting lithium-ion batteries, a charger that only takes 30 minutes, and a soft-sided case. However, you'll need to buy your bits separately.

There are also two speeds with a variable speed trigger: one for screwing, the other for drilling. This cordless drill also features a built-in LED light.

What fans say: “I am a professional home inspector, and have been for over 24 years. I carry a screw gun to take off the covers on breaker panes, and other small chores. I have had several different ones over the years. This is absolutely the best, plenty of torque, long battery life and the light is a handy touch. This is a tiny little thing for its power."

2. The Best Heavy-Duty Cordless Drill

For bigger jobs, the Hitachi 18V cordless brushless driver drill is worth considering. At 3.5 pounds, it's heavier than the 12V model, but the two 18-volt lithium-ion batteries provide plenty of drilling power for home renovation projects including drilling through mild steel, aluminum, and ceramic tile. It only takes 45 minutes to charge this cordless drill, and you get 620 inch-pounds of torque. The battery indicator helps make sure you don't run out of juice mid-project. This set includes a case and a single Phillips bit, so you'll likely want to buy a separate set.

What fans say: “Hitachi powered hand tools (corded and not) were the primary tools I used to build my current house and they were up to the challenge... every single one of them. As a result of that experience, I bought this cordless drill driver... This driver rocks just like my impact driver and it is small, lightweight, and torquey as all getout. Great quality and performance."

3. The Best Budget-Friendly Option

If you’re looking for an under-$50 option, this Black + Decker lithium-ion drill is it. This is a best-seller with more than 4,000 positive reviews because it's strong enough to drill through wood at an incredible price.

It’s a great starter drill with 115 inch-pounds of torque — enough to tackle small projects around the house and yard. That said, it is heavier than the first choice at more than 3 pounds (so it's more likely to cause arm fatigue after extended use), and it's not as strong. Still, it has nice extras like an LED light for easier vision and comes with a single double-ended bit. However, there's no case.

What fans say: “Very powerful little drill. Have used this to build a large deck. I've driven over 2000 screws with it. Surprisingly it drove SureLOK 6" bolts with no problem, even though my old corded drill didn't have enough torque. It lasts over a half hour of continuous use on a single battery.”

Also Great: A Cordless Screwdriver For Small Jobs

If you're just looking for a tool that'll make it easier to assemble Ikea furniture, hang up pictures, and finish other small around-the-house projects, save yourself the bucks and consider a cordless screwdriver rather than a drill.

This handy unit weighs just over a pound and has a 4-volt lithium-ion battery and a three-position pivoting handle for easy maneuvering. It also has a built-in flashlight. The set comes with two screw-driving bits, a charger, and batteries, but no case. For less than $20, it’s a great affordable alternative.

What fans say: “I got this to fix IKEA furniture and it did the job. Long battery life.”

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