Reviews You Can Rely On

Kobalt 24-volt Max 1/2-in Brushless Drill KDD 1424A-03 Review

The highest scorer in our group, this is a heavy-duty drill that can keep up with all your toughest projects
Kobalt 24-volt Max 1/2-in Brushless Drill KDD 1424A-03
Credit: Jenna Ammerman
Editors' Choice Award
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:   $139 List | $129.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Powerful, great battery life, fantastic integrated worklight
Cons:  Expensive, only includes a single battery
Manufacturer:   Kobalt
By David Wise and Austin Palmer  ⋅  Nov 10, 2021
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
91
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 16
  • Drilling - 35% 10
  • Driving - 35% 9
  • Battery Life - 20% 9
  • Convenience - 10% 6

Our Verdict

Earning the top score out of any cordless drill that we have tested to date, the Kobalt 24-volt Max 1/2-in Brushless Drill KDD 1424A-03 is our top recommendation for anyone who wants the top tool of them all when it comes to these products. This drill is exceptionally heavy-duty and powerful, handling even our most difficult drilling and driving tests with ease. This drill has an unmatched battery life and tons of integrated lighting so you can see what you are drilling or driving even in darker conditions. This drill is a bit on the pricey side --especially when you consider that it only includes a single battery — but we think it is the clear choice for the professional or serious DIYer who wants the absolute best.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price $139 List
$129.99 at Amazon
$140 List$79 List
$59.00 at Amazon
$130 List
$89.00 at Amazon
$60 List
$39.00 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
91
93
60
54
35
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Powerful, great battery life, fantastic integrated worklightGreat for driving fasteners, heavy-duty, efficient use of battery lifeImpressive drilling power, strong steel drilling performance, good control, great priceSmall, great value for 12V, convenient to useInexpensive, lightweight
Cons Expensive, only includes a single batteryHeavy, takes some force to swap batteriesOnly includes a single batter, so-so battery life in our testsSo-so driving power, average battery lifeWeak, minimal features
Bottom Line The highest scorer in our group, this is a heavy-duty drill that can keep up with all your toughest projectsIf you are looking for a top-tier drill to go with your existing Milwaukee batteries, this is your best betA decent drill for DIY projects that won't deplete your savingsIf you want a 12-volt drill that can handle all your weekend warrior DIY projects without blowing your budget, this is your best choiceAn okay drill for basic household tasks and assembly projects at a great price
Rating Categories Kobalt 24-volt Max... Milwaukee M18 Fuel... Craftsman V20 1/2-I... Bosch 12V Max Drill... Black+Decker 20V Ma...
Drilling (35%)
10.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
4.0
Driving (35%)
9.0
10.0
6.0
5.0
3.0
Battery Life (20%)
9.0
10.0
4.0
4.0
3.0
Convenience (10%)
6.0
6.0
6.0
7.0
4.0
Specs Kobalt 24-volt Max... Milwaukee M18 Fuel... Craftsman V20 1/2-I... Bosch 12V Max Drill... Black+Decker 20V Ma...
Battery Capacity (Included) 2 Ah Tested w/ 2 Ah 1.3 Ah 2 Ah 1.5 Ah
Battery Voltage 24V 18V 20V 12V 20V
Max Chuck 1/2" 1/2" 1/2" 3/8" 3/8"
Battery Chemistry Lithium-Ion Lithium-Ion Lithium-Ion Lithium-Ion Lithium-Ion
Drill Model Tested KDD 524B-03 2803-20 CMCD700 PS31 LDX120C
Box Model (Kit) Tested 672823 Tested tool-only, no kit CMCD700C1 PS31-2A LDX120C
RPM Low: 0 - 550
High: 0 - 2000
Low: 0 - 550
High: 0 - 2000
Low: 0 - 450
High: 0 - 1500
Low: 0 - 350
High: 0 -1300
0 - 650
Peak Torque (manu) 650 in-lbs 1,200 in-lbs 280 UWO 256 in-lbs N/A
Measured Length 7-3/8" 7" 8-1/4" 6-5/8" 7"
Measured Weight 3 pounds
15.2 oz
4 pounds 1 ounce 3 pounds 7 ounces 2 pounds
2.7 ounces
2 pounds
10.8 ounces
Measured Charge Time 75 minutes 25 minutes 58 minutes 85 minutes 210 minutes
Battery Indicator Location Battery Battery Battery Drill N/A
LED Location Above the battery Above the battery Above the trigger Above the trigger Above the trigger
Included Belt Clip Yes Yes No No No

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Kobalt finished at the top of the group, narrowly outperforming the DeWalt DCD777C2. The Kobalt had a higher list price than the DCD777C2, but we have often found it on sale for less. Both of these drills perform almost identically in our drilling and driving tests and are about the same in terms of convenience features, but the Kobalt nabbed the top spot by having a significantly better performance in our battery tests.

Performance Comparison


The Kobalt KDD 1424A-03.
The Kobalt KDD 1424A-03.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Drilling


Obviously, drilling performance is a critical aspect of the overall performance of a cordless drill, accounting for 35% of its total score. For this test, we based the scores on how easily each drill did with a 5" hole saw, a 1" paddle bit, and standard twist drills. The Kobalt did phenomenally well.


The Kobalt makes quick work of the 16 gauge steel with the 1/2"...
The Kobalt makes quick work of the 16 gauge steel with the 1/2" twist bit.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Almost all of the drills we tested do a decent job at drilling through wood with twist drills, so we upped the difficulty a bit and tasked each drill with drilling through a 16 ga. steel sheet with both a ¼" and ½" twist drill, noting the difficulty and time it took for each drill to make it through. The Kobalt didn't show the hint of a struggle with the ¼" drill, punching through the steel plate in about 1.5 seconds. It locked up for a brief moment with the ½" drill but still made it through in 3-4 seconds.

The 24-volts of power allow the Kobalt to make easy work of thin...
The 24-volts of power allow the Kobalt to make easy work of thin steel.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Next, we moved on to the 1" spade bit. For this assessment, we drilled dozens and dozens of holes in standard dimensional 2x12's. The Kobalt delivered an absolutely beastly performance, never once catching or stalling. All of the holes were drilled extremely quickly, even leaving the drill in its higher speed, lower torque gear for the entire test — many drills needed to be downshifted to their lower gear once they caught or stalled to finish drilling the hole.

The Kobalt doesn't need to be downshifted to make it through with...
The Kobalt doesn't need to be downshifted to make it through with the 1" spade bit.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

For our last drilling test, we truly pushed these tools to their limits, tasking them with drilling a 5" hole saw through a solid core door.

The solid core door was no match for this drill.
The solid core door was no match for this drill.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The Kobalt again thoroughly impressed us, ripping through the door like it was butter and finishing the hole in around 17 seconds.

The Kobalt has impressive driving power.
The Kobalt has impressive driving power.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Driving


Matching our drilling metric in terms of overall significance, our driving metric encompasses the other most common task that most people will use these tool for: driving fasteners. To assess the driving force of each of these tools, we drove in hundreds of typical wood screws, as well as some massive lag bolts, awarding points based on how quickly and easily they dealt with these fasteners. The Kobalt again delivered an exceptional performance.


The Kobalt did very well when it came to driving in wood screws, but it couldn't quite maintain the top position. It drives in screws quickly and powerfully, setting the countersunk head flush with ease — most of the time. While it did only happen a few times out of the enormous number of screws we drove in, the Kobalt did falter when it came to fully set the head.

The lag screw barely slowed down this drill.
The lag screw barely slowed down this drill.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

However, the Kobalt did redeem itself a bit when it came to driving in the monster 5" long, ½" lag bolt. We used a standard 2x4 and 4x4 for this test, drilled a pilot hole, then set the Kobalt to work on the lag screw. It had no trouble at all, driving it into its full depth.

This drill utilizes the 2 button release method. It is effective but...
This drill utilizes the 2 button release method. It is effective but not our favorite.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Battery Life


Moving beyond the drilling and driving performance of this cordless drill, we moved on to rating and scoring the thing that makes the Kobalt cordless: its included batteries. For this metric, responsible for 20% of the final score, we tested the battery life on a full charge, as well as the time to recharge the battery. The Kobalt again did very well. We tested this tool with a 2 Ah battery.


To test out battery life, we used the Kobalt to drive in 16 normal screws and drill 3 holes with the 1" spade bit, repeating this cycle until the drill died. This tool died in the middle of the 11th cycle, solidly outpacing the next closest drill, which only made it through 7 before quitting.

However, this exceptional performance in the battery life test was tempered slightly by the Kobalt being a little slow to recharge and only including a single battery. The lack of an extra battery is a bit of a bummer, as that means your project is put on hold when the battery dies, compared to other models where you can swap to your reserve and keep going. You could always buy an extra battery separately, but they can be a bit pricey. The Kobalt isn't the slowest to recharge, but it still took over an hour — 75 minutes — to completely recharge a fully depleted battery.

Most cordless drills use a keyless chuck, the Kobalt is no exception.
Most cordless drills use a keyless chuck, the Kobalt is no exception.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Convenience


Our last round of tests focused on the little things that make these tools easier and more enjoyable to use. Responsible for the last 10% of the total, this metric looked at the quality of the integrated work light, the weight, max chuck size, and different operating modes available, as well as the ease of swapping batteries, if there is a battery level indicator, and if the drill has a belt clip. The Kobalt KDD1424A-03 finished with a decent performance, earning a 6 out of 10.


The Kobalt has a solid integrated light, providing plenty of illumination for your work surface. The light stays on for about 10 seconds.

The Kobalt has excellent lighting.
The Kobalt has excellent lighting.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

This drill has a belt clip, but it is a bit on the heavy side, weighing in at close to four pounds. It has a high and low gear, with a chuck that has a maximum opening of ½".

The Kobalt has many clutch settings to help you reign in its power.
The Kobalt has many clutch settings to help you reign in its power.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

It is fairly easy to swap the batteries and we found the built-in battery meter to be a very handy feature.

Value


While the Kobalt is a fantastic drill, you are paying for all that power and it isn't the best value option out there if you are shopping on a budget and don't need professional-grade power.

Conclusion


Finishing at the top of the group overall and delivering an unchallenged performance in many of our tests, it is easy to see why the Kobalt 24-volt Max 1/2-in Brushless Drill KDD 1424A-03 earned our favor. This drill packs a punch, handling our toughest drilling and driving tasks with ease, all while having an unparalleled performance in our battery life test. It might be a bit more tool than a casual DIYer or weekend warrior needs, but it is our top recommendation if you want the absolute best of the best when it comes to these products.

David Wise and Austin Palmer

Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.

GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.

Learn More