The 9 Best Cordless Drills of 2023, According To Testing

With unmatched power that lasts all day long, the Milwaukee M18 Fuel is the best pick for pro-level users.

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Best Cordless Drills of 2023

Better Homes and Gardens / Brian Kopinski

Whether brushless or brushed, 18 volts or 12, the best cordless drills deliver powerful torque that will supply you with all the drive you’ll need for efficient driving and drilling. Over the last few generations, cordless drills have come a long way, and today’s cordless drills usually feature long lasting battery packs, variable clutches that will keep you from botching drywall jobs, and LED lights that supply you with the visibility you need to get the job done. 

To find the best cordless drills, six testers tried out different styles in our testing lab in Des Moines, Iowa. Over the course of two days, we put 33 cordless drills to the test using a pre-determined methodology. Testers scored each cordless drill in five categories: performance, power, ease of use, features, and value. We also consulted Jesse Newell, a contractor at Montcalm Construction, for additional insight. 

Overall, the best cordless drill is the Milwaukee M18 Fuel. Testers noted that it was easy to use and they appreciated that the battery pack was still at full charge even after going through multiple tests.

Best Overall

Milwaukee M18 FUEL 2904-22 Hammer Drill/Driver Set

4.9
Milwaukee M18 FUEL 2904-22 Hammer Drill/Driver Set

Home Depot

Why You Should Get It: The battery had a full charge even after going through testing. Our tester also felt that it was easy to use. 

Keep in Mind: Testers noted that the clutch had some trouble engaging with small screws.

Overall, the Milwaukee M18 Fuel 2904-22 is the best cordless drill, whether you’re working in a construction setting or on advanced DIY projects. This hammer drill features a contemporary brushless motor and has a long-lasting battery you’re sure to appreciate. 

As you might expect from a hammer drill, the M18 is heavy, at about 5 pounds. However, our tester noted that they found it to have particularly good ergonomics and balance, which made the drill comfortable to use for long sessions in spite of its significant weight. 

Our tester was impressed with the M18’s battery pack, which remained fully charged after 50 minutes of intensive use. Their only frustration with the drill came from its clutch, which failed to engage on small screws with softer materials—an issue that could prove problematic with drywall jobs, where the papery surface’s tension contributes to the drywall’s structural integrity. Still, they noted this isn’t what they’d be buying such a heavy duty drill for. 

Price at time of publish: $299

Product Details: Voltage: 18/20 volt | Brushed or Brushless Motor: Brushless | Battery: 5 amp-hour battery | Chuck Size: 1/2 inch | Weight: 4 pounds and 13 ounces

Milwaukee M12 Fuel 3403-22 Drill Driver / Kit

Better Homes & Gardens / Dera Burreson

Best Budget

Ridgid R86001K Cordless Drill / Driver Kit

4.5
Ridgid R86001K Cordless Drill / Driver Kit

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: The light-duty drill is compact enough for small spaces. There’s also an LED light that’s bright enough for crawl spaces and tricky corners.

Keep in Mind: Our tester found that this drill stalled when using bits around the 1 1/2-inch range.

The Ridgid R86001K Cordless Drill/Driver Kit is the best cordless drill for DIYers looking for value and performance. The light-duty drill is compact and features an LED light that makes it easy to finish projects in small, hard-to-reach spots.

Our tester found that this compact brushed motor drill was successful at driving lag screws and drilling holes of all sizes. However, when our tester drilled 2.5-inch deep holes into concrete, the drill did take some time, as it only completed five holes in about a minute.

Our tester noted that the drill began to stall out with bits at 1 1/2 inches. With that being said, the Ridged has sufficient torque for drilling pilot holes, driving smaller fasteners, and digging out some harder materials, so it’s a good choice for putting together furniture or installing hardware around the home.

The Ridgid R86001K comes with an efficient carrying case and sports a bright LED light that impressed our tester with its illumination and coverage. When it came to ergonomics, our tester found that the drill was comfortable for long-term use as well.

Price at time of publish: $129

Product Details: Voltage: 18/20 volt | Brushed or Brushless Motor: Brushed | Battery: 2 amp-hour battery | Chuck Size: 1/2 inch | Weight: 3 pounds and 8 ounces

Ridgid R86001K Cordless Drill / Driver Kit

Better Homes & Gardens / Dera Burreson

Best Splurge

DEWALT MAX XR DCD800E2 20-Volt Drill/Driver Kit

4.8
DeWalt XR DCD800E2 Cordless Compact Drill/Driver

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: With a premium brushless motor, two included batteries, and an adjustable LED 

light that can double as a flashlight.

Keep in Mind: The clutch wasn't sensitive enough for lightweight screws and may be too powerful for regular household use.

If you’re looking to invest, the best cordless drill is this pick by Dewalt. The drill comes with two batteries, a charger, and a carrying case, so you’ll have everything you need to power it and keep track of all of its accessories. Our tester appreciated the drill’s light, which can be positioned and pointed to illuminate whatever project you’re working on.

During testing, the Dewalt XR drilled 2.5-inch holes into concrete at about 6.5 seconds per hole, which speaks to the significant overall power of this drill. Our tester found that it was powerful enough to drive a half-inch lag into the wood without a pilot hole, and noted the drill had no trouble with any screw or bit they tried. Its chuck was also successful at grasping and driving both large and fine bits.

We found that the clutch wasn't sensitive enough for smaller screws, offering more power than necessary for detailed jobs. However, this is made up for somewhat by the sensitivity of the trigger, which they found easy to feather between different speeds when working with small screws.

Price at time of publish: $269

Product Details: Voltage: 18/20 volt | Brushed or Brushless Motor: Brushless | Battery: DCBP034 Dewalt powerstack batteries | Chuck Size: 1/2 inch | Weight: 3 pounds and 10 ounces

DeWalt XR DCD800E2 Cordless Compact Drill / Driver

Better Homes & Gardens / Dera Burreson

Best Battery

Milwaukee M12 Fuel 3403-22 Drill/Driver Kit

4.6
Drill/Driver Kit

Milwaukee

Why You Should Get It: Our tester appreciated that it was a compact and powerful option. 

Keep in Mind: The thick, triangular handle may be difficult for some people to grip.

Two battery packs are better than one, especially when they’re designed and weighted for different uses. That’s what makes this Milwaukee pick one of the best cordless drills worth considering. The M12’s 2-amp battery gives the drill a smaller and lighter profile that’s easy to fit into small spaces, while the 4-amp battery gives you all the power you could need for mixing, and holds out for the finish line.

“It's nice to have the lighter ones, especially if you're doing a lot of drilling, because it's a lot of extra weight on your wrist,” says Newell. 

The M12 isn’t all about its batteries, however. The 12-volt drill drives screws with an authority that’s similar to what you’d expect from an 18/20 volt. According to our tester, the drill delivers so much force that you could end up spraining your wrist if it stops suddenly.

Our tester found that lags and 1-inch holes were not an issue. They also noted that the drill was even capable of 1.5-inch holes with a spade bit, though it did stall on occasion. Testers were overall impressed with the drill’s performance, especially since it has such a compact size. 

The chuck was particularly well calibrated, grasping even the smallest bit without trouble. However, like many other drills we tested, the drill’s clutch did run into some trouble with tiny brass screws and occasionally broke them or drove them too far.

During testing, it was noted that the drill’s triangular handle was comfortable for our tester to use, however they did speculate that the thick, triangular shape may not work for everyone. Otherwise, our tester felt that the responsive trigger, LED lighting, and an easy-to-use switch for speeds made this pick user-friendly. 

Price at time of publish: $169

Product Details: Voltage: 12 volts | Brushed or Brushless Motor: Brushless | Battery: 2 amp-hour battery and 4 amp-hour battery | Chuck Size: 1/2 inch | Weight: 2 pounds and 8 ounces

Milwaukee M12 Fuel 3403-22 Drill Driver / Kit

Better Homes & Gardens / Dera Burreson

Best Lightweight

Bosch PS31 12 Volt Max 3/8 in. Cordless Drill/Driver Kit

4.6
Bosch PS31-2A 12-Volt Max Lithium-Ion 3/8-Inch 2-Speed Drill/Driver Kit with 2 Batteries, Charger and Case

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: It comes with two batteries and features a responsive clutch that works well with driving smaller screws.

Keep in Mind: The drill stalled frequently on tougher substances and heavier gauge bits.

The Bosch PS31-2A is the best cordless drill if you prefer a lightweight option. The cordless drill is just over 2 pounds, which could be easier for some to use. 

Our tester found that the PS31-2A delivers decent power and excellent precision. The combination makes it a great choice for driving screws, especially since it has a clutch that's sensitive to setting screws at the correct depth. 

Due to the 3/8-inch chuck, the driver is incompatible with some larger bits. However, it makes up for that with a responsive clutch that our tester felt worked perfectly. It’s a feature that stands out, as many of the more powerful drills that were tested were less responsive when using light gauge screws and had a tendency to drive them too far.

According to our tester, a built-in LED light, a carrying case, and a trigger that’s sensitive to feathering make the PS31-2A one of the best cordless drills. Plus, our tester found the triangular handle to be comfortable, even if it may be a little too large for some users. 

Price at time of publish: $124

Product Details:  Voltage: 12 volt | Brushed or Brushless Motor: Brushed | Battery: 1.3 amp-hour | Chuck Size: 3/8 inch | Weight: 2 pounds and 1 ounce

Bosch PS31-2A Cordless Drill

Better Homes & Gardens / Dera Burreson

Best Accessories

DEWALT Xtreme 5-in-1 DCD703F1 12-Volt Cordless Drill

4.6
DEWALT Xtreme 5-in-1 DCD703F1 12-Volt Cordless Drill

Lowes

Why You Should Get It: It comes with four different attachments, so you can choose which one suits the project you’re doing best. 

Keep In Mind: It’s not ideal for heavy-duty jobs.

The Dewalt Xtreme 5-in-1 DCD703F1 is the best cordless drill if you have a variety of projects you’re working on. The drill comes with four attachments, so you can transition from one task to the next with ease. Plus, it features a handy bag that consolidates these accessories for storage.

The cordless drill comes with a hex right angle attachment, a hex quick release offset accessory, a hex quick release add-on, and a ratcheting chuck attachment. Each can be mounted onto the head at 360 degrees.

The Xtreme 5-in-1 is handy, that’s for sure, but it’s also powerful. While its 10.8/12-volt power won’t match an 18-volt style, its brushless motor still does an excellent job at driving screws and drilling. Our tester found the drill to be effective at drilling up to 1 1/2-inch spades, and seating 5/8-inch fasteners, both of which made the Dewalt stall. You won’t want to pick this drill for drilling into concrete, but it’s a great pick for driving standard screws. 

With an LED light that fires on when the trigger is pulled, a comfy grip, and a balanced profile, it’s a well-made drill that our tester found to be an excellent pick both as a primary drill for homeowners that get deep into DIY projects and pros who need versatility.

Price at time of publish: $189

Product Details: Voltage: 10.8/12 volt | Brushed or Brushless Motor: Brushless | Battery: 2 amp-hour battery | Chuck Size: 3/8 inch | Weight: 2 pounds and 9 ounces

DeWalt Xtreme 5-in-1 DCD703F1 Cordless Drill

Better Homes & Gardens / Dera Burreson

Best Compact

Bosch GSR18V-190B22 18-Volt Cordless Drill

4.6
Bosch GSR18V-190B22 18-Volt Cordless Drill

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: This drill has an extra sensitive clutch that ensures you won’t overdrive a screw. It also comes with two batteries.

Keep In Mind: This model stalled on tougher jobs with a spade bit.

The Bosch GSR18V-190B22 is a highly sensitive compact drill that still packs an 18/20 volt brushed motor. Delivering many of the details you’d expect in a standard size, this compact is distinguished by its clutch, which our tester found to be sensitive enough to drive screws into lightweight materials with no issue.

The drill is ideal for installing thin fasteners into drywall without punching through the surface or for drilling into plywood, thanks to its good balance of sensitivity and power.

We found that the GSR18V had no trouble driving any of the hardware during testing and could sink even larger lags without stalling. The drill only began stalling with the spade bit, but we found we were still able to get through the 2 x 4 regardless. It did a middling job drilling into concrete, where it took about five seconds on each 2.5-inch hole.

As far as ergonomics, the drill is comfy to hold and use. It’s somewhat weighty for its size, but we found the weight to be well-balanced and stable.

The GSR18V also ships with two lithium-ion batteries, making it a versatile pick that you can use all day. With its remarkably sensitive clutch, two batteries, and 18-volt power in a compact pick, it offers all the performance a DIY builder could need and might do a good enough job for some contractors. Among compact drills, it’s the best cordless drill for power.

Price at time of publish: $126

Product Details: Voltage: 18/20 volt | Brushed or Brushless Motor: Brushed | Battery: Two 1.5 amp-hour batteries | Chuck Size: 1/2 inch | Weight: 3 pounds and 8 ounces

Bosch GSR18V-190B22 18V Compact 1/2" Drill / Driver Kit

Better Homes & Gardens / Dera Burreson

Best Heavy Duty

DEWALT XR DCD996P2 20-Volt Hammer Drill

4.8
DEWALT XR DCD996P2 20-Volt Hammer Drill

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: This is a true hammer drill that has no trouble digging into cement and wood, making it a good fit for contractors and construction workers, and can go all day.

Keep In Mind: This 18/20 volt has so much power that it overpowers the clutch at some speeds and may require feathering for delicate work.

If you’re working on heavy-duty projects, the best cordless drill is the Dewalt XR DCD996P2. This 18/20 volt brushless drill can drill through asphalt and wood alike. Plus, it has a decent touch with placing fasteners even if its torque can prove too much for its clutch.

A proper hammer drill, the XR drilled into concrete remarkably quickly, drilling five holes in only 20 seconds. Our tester found the drill capable of boring through wood and driving fasteners reliably well, even splitting a board when a 5/8-inch lag bottomed out. 

It’s worth noting that our tester found that this high power meant that the drill often drove smaller hardware too far into surfaces before the clutch engaged—at least at lower speeds—and that the clutch did a better job activating at medium and high speeds. Altogether, they found that the drill had too much power for the clutch to activate when using the smallest of screws and required feathering to be able to get the job done. Thankfully, the drill’s trigger is highly responsive and is fully capable of sensitive feathering work.

The Dewalt XR comes with two batteries and is built for all day use as you can charge one battery while you drill with the next.

Price at time of publish: $299

Product Details: Voltage: 18/20 volt | Brushed or Brushless Motor: Brushless | Battery: Two 5 amp-hour batteries | Chuck Size: 1/2 inch | Weight: 4 pounds and 14 ounces

DEWALT XR DCD996P2 Brushless Cordless Hammer Drill

Better Homes & Gardens / Dera Burreson

Best for Homeowners

DEWALT Atomic MAX DCD708C2 20-Volt Drill/Driver

4.8
DEWALT Atomic MAX DCD708C2 20-Volt Drill/Driver

Toolbarn

Why You Should Get It: This subcompact drill features a sensitive clutch that will ensure you place fasteners safely every time without damaging surfaces.

Keep in Mind: The batteries have less power than some other styles.

This subcompact style from Dewalt is the best cordless drill for homeowners because it offers good power, a sensitive clutch, two included batteries, and a comfortable design.

At 18/20 volts, this drill delivers power that can go head to head with drills twice its price. Our tester found that it had no trouble with fasteners and bits of all make, from small to large, and while it did take longer drilling into concrete than many hammer drills, our tester didn’t report any problematic stalling. 

While its brushless motor delivers ample power, the Atomic is also sensitive, with a clutch that activates on even the smallest hardware and prevents the drill from sinking screws too deeply. 

At 3 pounds, the Atomic is a little heavy. However, this weight is well-balanced with comfortable ergonomics. The battery lock mechanism is easy to use, as is the chuck, which opens and closes smoothly and grips bits of all types.

The batteries provide 1.3 amp hours each, which is less than some other options. However, our tester found the Atomic to be a good value overall, citing that it was easy to use, versatile, and worked well.

Price at time of publish: $169

Product Details: Voltage: 18/20 volt | Brushed or Brushless Motor: Brushless | Battery: Two 1.3 amp-hour batteries | Chuck Size: 1/2 inch | Weight: 3 pounds

The Bottom Line

Overall, the best cordless drill is the Milwaukee M18 Fuel 2904-22. This cordless drill, which is ideal for heavy-duty projects, had a long-lasting battery that kept a full charge even after undergoing testing. 

What to Know About Cordless Drills Before Shopping

Brushed and Brushless Motors

When it comes to the best cordless drills, there are brushless and brushed motors. Brushed motors apply all of their force all of the time, while brushless motors adapt their force to the job at hand. 

Brushless motors use electromagnets within their rotor that are monitored by sensors. By applying the amount of force necessary, they are able to save battery charge. However, they’re not only an energy-saving device, they also deliver more force than classic brushed motors. Brushless motors often require fewer repairs. 

Voltage

In regards to the best cordless drills, voltage refers to power. Drills in the 10.8/12-volt category do a great job with lighter-weight jobs and will generally do fine with sinking fasteners and drilling pilot holes. Many of these lighter-weight drills are still capable of driving spade bits into concrete but will often stall on the most rigorous work.

Drills that are 18/20-volt, on the other hand, are usually the best cordless drills for drilling into concrete with little trouble, quickly and efficiently sinking lags and screws of all types. The smaller size of a 12-volt drill often makes it highly appealing for work that requires dexterity.

“It'll fit in tighter spaces and in a smaller pouch; storage-wise it's a lot better... there are so many positive things in a 12-volt, it just won't last as long and won't give you as much power,” says Newell.

It’s also important to remember that 18/20-volt drills are the same as 20-volt drills in real voltage. In this case, 20 volts represents peak voltage.

Battery

When it comes to a cordless drill, the battery life is an important detail to keep in mind. Otherwise, you may end up with an option that won’t last you through the projects you’re working on. Newell generally uses a 3- or 4-amp option, though he noted that options with smaller amp numbers do tend to be lighter. 

While you shop, pay attention to the amp hour rating as it represents the amps that a battery can provide across an hour. The higher the amp number, the more power the drill will provide for a longer amount of time. 

In general, different amp hour batteries shouldn’t affect power output too much. However, higher amp hour batteries can give a drill an edge when drilling into concrete or stirring cement mix.

Chuck Size

A drill’s chuck holds the bits for the drill. All of the drills on our list feature a 1/2-inch or 3/8-inch chuck size. Drills with 3/8-inch chucks hold the majority of bit sizes without trouble; 1/2-inch chucks are compatible with larger heavy-duty bits. Some light drills also feature 1/4-inch chucks which will only be compatible with smaller bits.

Weight

Weight is a major factor in any power tool, and drills are no different. However, sometimes when you’re looking for the best cordless drill, more weight isn’t a bad thing. Some of the higher torque drills are so powerful that they can jump when they’re digging into a surface, and more weight can give you the stability you need to control the drill. 

At the same time, higher weight drills can wear out your arm as you use them throughout the day. Many of the heavy duty drills come with large battery packs, if you’re looking for a lighter-weight drill, look for one with a smaller battery pack.

Other Cordless Drills We Tested 

Black & Decker BDCDD12C

Overall, our testers found that the Black & Decker BDCDD12C was lightweight, comfortable, and easy to use. It’s best for making small or medium-sized holes, so it was noted that it’s not ideal for heavy-duty jobs. Our testers also found that it lost charge quickly and was slow to recharge. 

Makita FD09R1

The Makita FD09R1 is the best cordless drill to consider if you need to drill smaller screws. Though it was lightweight and easy to use, our testers found that it didn’t hold the bits well and they would have preferred that the built-in LED light was more centered. 

Ryobi ONE+ PDD209K

The Ryobi ONE+ PDD209K only features one speed, so testers noted that it’s ideal for someone doing lightweight projects or isn’t using it very often. Though they found that the controls worked well, it was noted that the chuck would not lock well and several bits came loose. 

Our Testing Process

To find the best cordless drills, six testers tried out different styles in our testing lab in Des Moines, Iowa. Over the course of two days, we put 33 cordless drills to the test using a pre-determined methodology. Testers scored each cordless drill in five categories: performance, power, ease of use, features, and value. The testers did not know the prices of each drill while testing. 

To determine each cordless drill’s performance rating, testers examined if the drill was able to drill holes of any size without any issues. A drill’s rating decreased if it was slow or struggled with certain sizes. Power was measured by whether or not it could drive and seat the largest tested screws without stalling. 

When it came to ease of use, the rating was based on whether or not the drill could grip all the bits, as well as how easy it was to tighten or loosen it. Testers also took into consideration how well the clutch limited the amount of torque, as well as how easy it was to install and remove the battery. 

In terms of features, our testers took into consideration if the drill and its accessories could be stored in the provided bag or case. They also noted any included accessories, as well as if there was an LED light. 

Once testing concluded, testers were given the price of the product and determined value based on whether or not they felt the price was appropriate given testing results. They also took into consideration if they’d buy the cordless drill themselves as well as recommend it to a friend.

Your Questions, Answered

How much does a cordless drill cost?

Most of the cordless drills on this list cost between $100 and $300 dollars. Outliers can cost more, and some cordless drills cost less, however we think the best cordless drills for most people generally fall within the $100-$300 price range.

What size cordless drill do I need?

For most people, the best cordless drills are compact, normal, or hammer drills that are between 10.8/12 volts and 18/20 volts. Hammer drills include a hammering mechanism and are generally larger than standard and compact sizes. Remember that your drill’s battery pack can often add significant size and weight. Eighteen/20 volt drills are often compatible with large 4 or 5-amp-hour batteries. Lower amp-hour battery packs are often smaller and can replace larger battery packs if you find that your drill is too bulky.

Who We Are

Gabriel Morgan is a writer for Better Homes and Gardens. He writes about outdoor gear, goods for the home and garden, and technology. This article includes research garnered from the testing of 34 different cordless drills by our team in Des Moines Iowa. He supplemented this information with personal research on cordless drills and their mechanisms. He also consulted Jesse Newell, a contractor at Montcalm Construction.

What Is BHG Recommends?

Next to all of the products on this list, you may have noticed our BHG Recommends seal of approval. Products that earn the seal have been put through rigorous testing to make sure they're worth a spot in your home. We buy most of the products we test ourselves, but occasionally we are provided samples by companies if buying isn't an option. In these cases, we use the same testing criteria we use to test the purchased products.

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