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Which cordless drill is best?

If you only have one powered tool in your collection, it should be a cordless drill. The top cordless drills are affordable, durable and accomplish various tasks, from mixing paint to assembling a deck.

For people who want to go above and beyond and get the best of the best, the DeWalt 20-Volt MAX XR Cordless Brushless Hammer Drill/Impact Combo Kit is a highly recommended option. It comes with a drill/driver and an impact driver, batteries, a charger and more. A tool such as this, along with appreciable skills, can provide the solid foundation needed for a profitable side hustle in weekend repairs.

What to know before you buy a cordless drill

A cordless drill is a highly versatile tool

The average person looks at a cordless drill and thinks, “I could make a hole with that.” But the tool can do a lot more. You can use a cordless drill to drive anything, whether wood screws or hex bolts. With the right attachment, you can mix paint, remove rust, sand rounded edges and even remove a cork from a wine bottle, just drive a screw partially into the cork and carefully pull it out.

How to drill with a cordless drill

First, cover the area where you will drill with a piece of painter’s tape — this will help protect the wood from splintering and keep the bit from sliding. It is essential to measure two (or more) times to make sure the location is perfect, and use a center punch to mark the spot where you wish to drill. If your drill has a bubble level, use it; if not, make sure you hold the drill so the hole will be straight. Start slow and increase the speed as you progress. If you are drilling a deep hole, remove the drill and blow the bit clean every inch or so. If you are drilling through the wood, you must take care as you get to the end not to split the wood on the other side. For the cleanest hole, stop drilling when just the tip of the drill bit comes through the bottom. Then, flip the board over and drill from the opposite side to create a clean hole.

What to look for in a quality cordless drill

Variety of speeds

The slower speeds of a cordless drill let you drive screws with greater torque. Conversely, higher speeds are best for drilling. To be versatile, a cordless drill needs at least two speed settings: low and high.

Variable clutch

The clutch disengages the transmission when a specified torque is reached. Having a variable clutch lets the user set when this happens, so you do not strip any screws or damage fragile surfaces, such as drywall.

Chuck size

The chuck holds the drill bit in place. The most common chuck size is 3/8-inch. A .5-inch chuck size is for heavy-duty jobs.

Comfortable grip

A cordless drill should be comfortable to hold and lightweight. The less ergonomic and heavier a model is, the more quickly you will fatigue. If you do not stop drilling when you become fatigued, the risk of having an accident will increase.


You won’t always be drilling in a well-lit area. For this reason, a model that features an LED is best.


It will be hard to find a cordless drill that comes with a set of bits. However, purchasing a model that includes a battery, a charger and a carry bag is fairly common.

How much you can expect to spend on a cordless drill

You can purchase a light-duty cordless drill for as little as $39. At this price, the drill might not be suitable for all applications. At the high end, you can spend $300 or more for a kit that includes multiple drills, batteries, a charger and a case. On average, $100-$160 is a good price for a reliable cordless drill.

Cordless drill FAQ

Why does my drill smell like it is burning?

A. While a burning smell may be normal for some models when they are new, in general, this is a red flag that your drill needs attention. A burning smell can be a sign that your drill is overheating. This can come from forcing it to drill faster by pressing on it. It can also happen if the air vents are clogged or the bit is dull. Sometimes, the smell may be from a faulty battery or plastic parts that are melting. If your drill isn’t brand new, and you detect a burning smell, stop using the tool immediately, determine the source of the smell and have the drill repaired.

What is the best way to get the longest life from my cordless drill?

A. The best way to get the longest life out of a cordless drill is to handle the tool with care, wipe it down after every use and store it in a clean, dry location.

What’s the best cordless drill to buy?

Top cordless drill

DeWalt 20V MAX XR Cordless Drill Combo Kit

DeWalt 20-Volt MAX XR Cordless Drill Combo Kit

What you need to know: This comprehensive kit comes with everything you need except the bits.

What you’ll love: This set includes a drill/driver, an impact driver, two batteries, a charger and a carry bag. Both tools feature brushless operation for durability and come with a three-year limited warranty.

What you should consider: The bag that comes with this kit has no pockets, making it slightly less suitable for storing additional batteries or smaller items, such as bits and the charger. But this is a minor issue.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Top cordless drill for the money

Black Decker 20V MAX Lithium Ion Cordless 3 8 Inch Drill

Black and Decker 20-Volt MAX Lithium-Ion Cordless 3/8-Inch Drill

What you need to know: If the value is at the top of your priority list, this model gives you high performance at a low price.

What you’ll love: This Black and Decker drill is a lightweight model with a compact design that makes it easy to complete various tasks. It has an 11-position clutch to prevent stripping and an LED light so you can work in any environment. Purchase includes drill, battery, charger and a double-ended bit.

What you should consider: This drill is best for light-duty work.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Worth checking out

Ryobi HP108L Compact Cordless Drill

Ryobi HP108L Compact Cordless Drill

What you need to know: If you are looking for a light-duty drill to assist you in minor home repairs, this is a solid choice.

What you’ll love: There is a fuel gauge on this drill, so you always know exactly how much power you have left. The textured grip gives you increased holding power, even in less than ideal conditions, and it has a variable speed trigger that gives you complete control while operating.

What you should consider: The battery is not removable on this model. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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