Best Cordless Drill of 2021
$117.39 at Amazon
$156.99 at Amazon
$64.00 at Amazon
$86.49 at Amazon
$158.95 at Amazon
|Pros||Good driving power, solid all-around performance, less expensive than premium products||Great drilling and driving power, solid runtime||Great value, solid drilling and driving performance||Great at drilling, recharges quickly||Great drilling performance, compact|
|Cons||So-so with the spade bit, slow to charge||Pricey, on the heavier side||So-so battery life, could be more convenient||So-so runtime, struggled to drive in large fasteners||Lackluster battery life, expensive|
|Bottom Line||If you are willing to sacrifice a little drilling power to save some cash, then the PCCK607LB is a solid choice||The Ridgid R86009K did good, not great, across the board, making its top-tier price a bit hard to swallow||Earning the Best Buy award, the Ryobi P252 is a great option for anyone who wants to take on basic DIY or woodworking projects without breaking the bank||Finishing in the middle of the group overall, the Bosch did alright in our tests but it is far from our favorite||The M12 Fuel packs a surprising amount of power into a compact package|
|Rating Categories||PORTER-CABLE...||Ridgid R86009K||Ryobi P252||Bosch GSR18V-190B22||Milwaukee M12 FUEL|
|Included Battery (20%)|
|Specs||PORTER-CABLE...||Ridgid R86009K||Ryobi P252||Bosch GSR18V-190B22||Milwaukee M12 FUEL|
|Battery Capacity (Included)||1.5 Ah||1.5 Ah||1.3 Ah||1.5 Ah||2 Ah and 4Ah|
|Drill Model Tested||PCCK607||R86009||P208B||GSR18V-190||2503-20|
|Box Model (Kit) Tested||PCCK607LB||R86009K||P1811||GSR18V-190B22||2503-22|
|RPM||Low: 0 - 450
High: 0 - 1800
|Low: 0 - 500
High: 0 - 2000
|Low: 0 - 400
High: 0 - 1600
|Low: 0 - 450
High: 0 - 1700
|Low: 0 - 450
High: 0 - 1700
|Peak Torque||270 in-lbs||700 in-lbs||N/A||480 in-lbs||325 in-lbs|
|Measured Length||7"||7"||8-1/8"||7 -3/4"||6-5/8"|
|Measured Weight||3 pounds
|2 pounds 11.4 oz
(w/ 2 Ah battery)
|Measured Charge Time||85 minutes||53 minutes||56 minutes||45 minutes||40 minutes|
|Battery Indicator Location||Drill||Battery||N/A||N/A||Drill|
|LED Location||Above the battery||Above the battery||Above the battery||Above the battery||Above the trigger|
|Included Belt Clip||Yes||Yes||No||No||Yes|
Best Overall Cordless Drill
Kobalt KDD 1424A-03
Voltage makes a difference in performance with these products, and the Kobalt illustrates that point by earning the top score out of the entire group. This cordless drill did exceptionally well across the bulk of our tests and killed it in some of the more challenging ones, like drilling through a 5" solid-core door. The tool is also great for driving fasteners; it did not struggle at all with larger lag bolts. Its battery life is excellent, so it can continue to drill holes and drive screws long after other products have called it quits.
Unfortunately, this top-notch performance is accompanied by a hefty price tag. The Kobalt is one of the more expensive cordless drills of the group. Even with its higher price, it only includes a single battery. This can be frustrating if it dies in the middle of a project because you are forced to stop for over an hour to let it recharge. It is one of the heavier drills, and swapping batteries can be a bit difficult. Even so, it is our top recommendation for anyone who wants a powerful cordless drill that can tackle any project you throw at it.
Read Full Review: Kobalt KDD 1424A-03
Best 12-Volt Drill
Milwaukee M12 FUEL
Though it is at a disadvantage with its lower voltage, this 12-volt drill packed a surprising punch and did well in our tests. It performed well in our drilling test, powering through the steel sheets and operating the 5" hole saw without much struggle. It did a great job of driving screws in and is solidly convenient to use. This compact drill includes two different size batteries, so depending on your needs you can maximize its runtime or its portability.
Our lag screw test proved that this drill lacked the power of the higher voltage models. It could drive in the larger lag screws, but with some difficulty. The M12 includes an additional extra-large battery but is expensive for a 12-volt model. If you like the compact nature of a 12-volt drill but still want the power to handle more challenging drilling tasks, then the M12 FUEL is the perfect choice for you.
Read Full Review: Milwaukee M12 FUEL
Best Bang for The Buck
We think it'd be hard to go wrong with the Ryobi P252 if you are hoping to get the most bang for your buck out of a cordless drill. This model performed very well in the most critical tests while priced at a fraction of the top drills' cost. This tool did a respectable job with the toughest drilling tasks and drove large lag screws in without too much trouble.
Even though this drill performed well in the challenging drilling tasks, we don't believe it's the best purchase if you're going to be using it daily to drive in large lag bolts or with giant hole saws. To keep the price down, this drill is sparse in features, so there is no battery indicator or belt clip. However, it is surprising how many projects around the home or garage that the Ryobi P252 can crush. Another perk of the low price point on this drill is that you can buy an extra battery or more tools with the money saved.
Read Full Review: Ryobi P252
Great Value if You Only Buy a Drill
This tool is one of the least expensive options out there but holds its own against the more costly tools. The Craftsman did surprisingly well in some of our toughest tests, handling the 5" hole saw without issue and offering plenty of control when it came to setting countersunk fasteners to the appropriate depth. It isn't overly heavy and would be a great addition to the occasional DIYers or a homeowner's toolbox.
However, if you are shopping on a budget and looking to use this drill as the foundation for your eventual cordless tool collection, the Craftsman isn't our top recommendation. Overall it is a much smaller drill, and we don't think the library of compatible tools is as popular or readily available as other battery systems. Combined with the fact that you only get a single battery, we'd suggest investing in a different drill if you plan to purchase more cordless tools in the future. Despite that, we were impressed with the Craftsman's performance, given its affordable nature. If you only want to buy a drill, we would definitely recommend it.
Read Full Review: Craftsman CMCD700C1
Best 12-Volt Value Option
If you are on a budget and like the pistol grip style and compact size of a 12-volt drill, then the Bosch PS31-2A is a fantastic option for you. This drill is an excellent option for the average homeowner — someone who might want to undertake a fair number of DIY or home improvement projects but isn't going to be doing any major renovations. This pint-sized model packs plenty of punch and did quite well in our drilling and driving evaluations, all while being one of the more convenient tools to operate. This handy cordless tool is lightweight, ergonomic, and a great addition to any DIYers arsenal.
Unfortunately, the Bosch PS31-2A can't quite compare to the top-tier, higher voltage tools with drilling and driving performance. The 12-volt Bosch struggled to drive the ½" lag screw in and struggled when getting the 5" hole saw to its full depth. The battery life of the Bosch PS31-2A is also somewhat lackluster. However, it is a compact option that is a good bargain and easily capable of handling light-duty tasks.
Read Full Review: Bosch PS31-2A
Great for Tight Budgets
If you are on a limited budget and shopping for a new drill for light-duty DIY projects around the house, we recommend the BLACK+DECKER LDX120C. This tool costs significantly less than the top models and has more than enough power for most tasks, all in a compact form factor that is easy to stash in a drawer. Overall, it is lightweight and very user-friendly, making it the perfect option for beginners or entry-level DIYers.
However, the LDX120C is severely deficient when in terms of drilling or driving power and pales compared to the top-tier products. When it came to using larger hole saws or driving in big bolts, we were thoroughly unimpressed with its performance. We aren't sure we would recommend using this drill for these types of tasks if you want to prolong its life. The BLACK+DECKER's battery delivered an uninspiring performance in our battery life tests, and we thought it seemed less durable than other drills overall. Although it's not the best for heavy-duty applications, it's our top recommendation if you are looking for a bare-bones drill on a limited budget.
Read Full Review: BLACK+DECKER LDX120C
Why You Should Trust Us
At TechGearLab, we will never ask for or accept any free products from companies for our reviews to ensure that you can have total faith that financial incentives don't compromise our opinions. To test and review drills, we buy all the products we test from major retailers at standard prices — just like you would! Our cordless drill testing team consists of Austin Palmer and David Wise. Austin has extensive experience using tools in both an industrial and DIY setting . He has worked on an oil rig and has undertaken extensive renovations on his own home. David worked as a mechanical engineer and has used cordless drills on all sorts of projects , ranging from deepwater surveying robots to Formula SAE race cars. He also apprenticed and assisted his dad, a general contractor with over 30 years of experience, on various job sites.In addition to our own experience with these products, we also consulted with other contractors, professionals, and dedicated DIYers. We used their opinions to design our scoring and testing plan and to pick out the drills that had the most potential. We put these tools to the test in both controlled side-by-side evaluations, and we used them for various home renovation projects we undertook throughout the testing period. We drilled hundreds of holes in both metal and wood with these tools, using everything from standard twist drills to paddle bits and giant hole saws. We drove in well over 1000 screws — everything from standard #9 wood screws to hulking ½" lag bolts. We also did an exhaustive battery test to see just how many holes you could drill or screws you could drive with each drill before it ran out of juice. Finally, to finish out the tests, we rated and scored the ergonomics, comfort, and convenience features of each power tool.
Related: How We Tested Cordless Drills
Analysis and Test Results
To see which cordless drill is the best, we researched and compared customer reviews and manufacturer's specifications of all the top tools around then bought the most compelling to test side-by-side. We rated and scored these tools in tons of different tests, grouping them into four weighted rating metrics — drilling, driving, battery life, and convenience — with our results discussed below.
Related: Buying Advice for Cordless Drills
If you are on a budget and shopping for a new drill, you will notice a pretty direct correlation between the cost of the tool and its performance. This does not mean you should get discouraged if you are on a tight budget — many people don't need the drilling or driving performance that the premium products offer. Even some of the cheapest drills in our test offer enough power for homeowners who don't have a ton of DIY aspirations. The BLACK+DECKER LDX120C is an excellent choice for anyone on a tight budget and is our top recommendation for an inexpensive but quality drill. If you do a reasonable number of DIY and home improvement projects but still want to save some cash, you should consider the Ryobi P252, the Craftsman CMCD700C1, or the Bosch PS31-2A. These drills cost a bit more but offer a much better overall performance than the LDX120C. If you are a serious DIYer or use tools on a professional level, then you are going to want to be shopping in the highest echelon of these tools — the Kobalt and the Milwaukee M12 FUEL are our favorites.
The first thing we tested — and pretty much the first thing that comes to mind when you think of cordless drills — is how well they did at drilling holes. This metric, which accounts for 35% of each tool's total score, is based on how well each product did when drilling holes with a paddle bit, drilling through steel, and using a giant hole saw. Specifically, we used a ¼" and ½" twist drill in each tool to make holes in the equivalent of a 16 ga. steel sheet, a 1" spade bit to drill tons and tons of holes in a standard 2x12 (wood), and saw how each drill handled a 5" hole saw in a solid-core door. We looked at how long it took each tool to accomplish each drilling task and how much it struggled while doing so and scored accordingly.
Delivering top-notch performance and tying for the top spot when it comes to drilling holes, both the Kobalt KDD 1424A-03 and the DEWALT DCD777C2 earned a 10 out of 10 for drillin' like a villain. These drills crushed it with our hole saw test, powering through the door like a hot knife through butter in less than 20 seconds. We didn't even have to shift into the lower gear.
Both of these drills also did very well with the 1" spade bit, though the Kobalt drilled a little faster than the DEWALT DCD777C2. The DEWALT also struggled somewhat in its higher gear, while the Kobalt had no issues. Both of these powerhouse tools punched through the steel plate exceptionally quickly, each taking only 1-2 seconds with the ¼" drill and 3-4 seconds with the ½" drill.
Following suit, the Milwaukee M18 and the DEWALT ATOMIC earned a 9 out of 10 for their impressive drilling performance. The Milwaukee M18 did just as well as the DCD7772 at drilling holes with the paddle bit, but it took a bit longer than the top drills to get to the full depth of the hole saw. The top drills did it in about 17 seconds, whereas it took the Milwaukee M18 30-35 seconds to drill to the same depth. It easily drilled through the steel plates with the twist drills, but again it took just a couple of seconds more than the top DEWALT and the Kobalt.
The DEWALT ATOMIC matched the performance of the Kobalt and the DEWALT DCD777C2 at drilling through steel with the pair of twist drills. Without any struggle at all, it quickly made holes. It also made short work of the 2x12 with the 1" spade bit, only stalling for a moment right as it punched through the wood.
However, the DEWALT ATOMIC couldn't quite match the ease at which the Kobalt drilled into the solid door with a 5" diameter hole saw. The DEWALT ATOMIC performed very inconsistently during this test, boring into the door effortlessly in one trial and then binding up and taking almost twice as long in others. We aren't sure what caused this inconsistency, but it happened often enough for us to be mildly concerned.
Next, the Ridgid R86009K, the DEWALT DCD771C2, and the Bosch GSR18V-190B22 all earned an 8 out of 10 for their great performance in our drilling tests. Of these three, the Ridgid did the best at the hole saw, performing comparably to the Milwaukee M18. Neither the DEWALT nor the Bosch struggled with the big hole saw and drilled smoothly, but they took about 10 seconds longer than the Ridgid and the Milwaukee M18.
The best of this trio with the spade bit was the DEWALT DCD771C2, taking only slightly longer than the Kobalt to punch through the board. We never had to shift into the lower gear with this DEWALT unless we were drilling through particularly stubborn sections of wood, such as a big knot.
The Bosch GSR18V struggled significantly with the paddle bit in its high gear setting but did a good job when we shifted to the higher torque ratio of its slow speed gear. This does mean that it takes a bit longer than the tools that could handle the task in their high gear, but it still successfully drilled the 1" holes. The Milwaukee M18 delivered a slightly stronger performance than the Ridgid with the paddle bit, but we found it prone to stall in the higher gear. Though it took quite a bit of convincing on our part, we were eventually able to drill all the way through without downshifting.
All three of these drills finished out with a strong showing when it came to drilling through steel. The Ridgid was slightly faster than the Bosch, followed by the DEWALT. However, all three drilled ¼" holes in the metal sheet in less than three seconds, and the ½" holes took less than nine seconds.
Each meriting a 7 out of 10 were the PORTER-CABLE PCCK607LB, the Ryobi P252, the Craftsman CMCD700C1, and the Milwaukee M12 FUEL. These tools all did a fine job at drilling through the metal, taking less than two seconds with the ¼" drill, and less than 10 seconds with the ½" drill. However, when it came to using the spade bit and the 5" hole saw, all of these drills performed considerably worse than the top ones. These three could all drill with the spade bit, but we had to downshift to their lower gears, and it was apparent that they were slightly struggling. In this test, the Ryobi P252 had a slight edge over the M12, the Craftsman CMCD700C1, and the Porter-Cable.
The M12 and the PORTER-CABLE took under a minute to reach the maximum depth with the 5" hole saw and appeared to have an easier time than the P252 or the Craftsman. The P252 and Craftsman kept pace with them for the most part but began to struggle and stall towards the end. They still managed to drill the full depth, but it took a little longer than the M12 and the PCCK607LB.
The 12-volt Bosch PS31-2A and the Makita XFD10R came next, each earning a 6 out of 10 for their slightly above average performance at drilling holes. The Makita did well with the twist drills in steel and the 1" spade bit, holding its own with the top tools. However, it did terrible with the hole saw. We would start with a fully charged battery, and after only 20-30 seconds of use, it would immediately die. This continued to happen multiple times with different batteries. We even reached out to the manufacturer to see if we had somehow gotten a dud set of batteries, but the issue never got resolved. Only once with the Makita in low gear did we successfully make it through the door, but to get to that point, it took a lot of tries with the batteries dying rapidly in every other one.
The Bosch PS31-2A made it through the steel sheets successfully, but it showed signs of struggle. The Bosch performed comparably with the paddle bit in the dimensional lumber, but we could feel the drill's body becoming hot after just two holes. It didn't get as warm when drilling a 5" hole in a solid door with a hole saw, but it took longer than many other drills to reach its full depth.
Performance dropped with the remaining drills, with the BLACK+DECKER LDX120C and the KIMO 13809S both earning a 4 out of 10. The BLACK+DECKER LDX120C didn't love drilling through the metal, and using the spade bit with it was a real struggle, but it did eventually poke through. The LDX120C also solidly struggled with the hole saw and began to smell quite bad and overheat while it was drilling. However, after a full 90 seconds went by, it eventually did make it through. This operation wasn't kind to this drill, and we weren't sure if it would have lasted much longer if we had tried to continue the test.
The KIMO 13809S performed well at drilling through the steel sheets. It punched through with the ¼" drill in a mere 1.5 seconds and only took around 10 seconds to complete the task with the ½" drill. However, we did have to drop down to the lower gear for both tests since it kept stalling in the higher gear.
Unfortunately, the KIMO struggled with the 1" spade bit and the large hole saw. It successfully made it through the boards with the spade bit but would periodically get hung up and stall. This drill couldn't get the hole saw to its full depth, only making it about ¾ of the way through before we called it quits.
The WORKPRO and the DEWALT DCD710S2 followed, each earning a 3 out of 10. The WORKPRO did a decent job drilling through the steel sheet — better than the DEWALT, which struggled with the ½" twist bit. However, the DCD710S2 performed much better with the spade bit, powering through the wood, though slowly and with sounds of strain. The WORKPRO could only drill about ⅛" into the wood with the paddle bit and got extremely hot, with its exhaust air almost getting warm enough to burn you.
The DCD710S2 also outperformed the WORKPRO with the 5" hole saw. It stopped just shy of getting the hole saw to its maximum depth after about two and a half minutes. However, it did overheat and needed a pause halfway through the test. This was a marked improvement over the WORKPRO's performance, which began to smell horrible and start smoking. It caused us to abandon the test and grab a fire extinguisher, just in case!
The BDCDD12C by BLACK+DECKER merited a 1 out of 10 for the worst results we have seen to date in our drilling tests. It barely made it through the wood and the steel sheet with the ¼ and ½" twist drills and overheated and stalled with the spade bit and hole saw, failing to complete either hole.
Our next series of evaluations focused on how well each of these cordless tools performed at driving in fasteners. These assessments were given equal weight to our drilling tests, accounting for another 35% of the final score for each tool. Scores were based on the results of two different tests: wood screws and lag screws. We compared how quickly and easily each cordless tool drove in wood screws to a pair of stacked dimensional lumber boards, checking if they could countersink the heads flush. We also attempted to drive in a monster lag screw — ½" diameter, 5" long — completely, starting with the appropriate pilot hole.
When it came to driving in screws, the DEWALT DCD771C2 was the one tool that thoroughly distinguished itself from the rest. This drill did exceptionally well in both tests in this metric, earning a 10 out of 10 for its top-notch performance. The DEWALT DCD771C2 did a great job driving in the screws to their full depth without any difficulties, even the giant lag screw. It also offered plenty of control to set the countersunk heads to their proper depth.
Closely following the DEWALT DCD771C2's excellent performance, a group of drills all tied for the runner-up position. The Kobalt KDD 1424A, the DEWALT DCD777C2, and the Milwaukee M18 each earned a 9 out of 10 for their driving efforts. Of these three, the Kobalt took the lead when it came to driving in lag bolts, matching the performance of the DCD7771C2. However, the Kobalt isn't as proficient as the DCD7771C2, the DEWALT DCD771C2, or the Milwaukee M18 at driving standard screws. For the most part, it drives the screws in quickly and easily, but if the hole isn't pre-drilled, it occasionally struggles to set the countersinks — an issue that none of the other ones struggled with. It always managed to set them eventually; it just took a tad bit longer every so often.
The DEWALT DCD777C2 didn't struggle at all at setting the countersinks. It's fast and strong at driving in standard screws while still feeling very controlled. It also didn't struggle with the lag bolts a bit. It's just slightly slower than the Kobalt or the DEWALT DCD771C2. When it comes to driving in a lag bolt, the Milwaukee M18 is almost identical to the DEWALT DCD777C2, but it's slightly inferior with standard screws. It's solid and doesn't struggle while driving, but it isn't the fastest. However, it won't lock up at all if you stop and restart while the screw is only partially driven in.
Next, the PORTER-CABLE PCCK607LB and the DEWALT ATOMIC DCD708C2 received an 8 out of 10. They struggled a noticeable amount more than the top-tier products in some of our drive tests. The PCCK607LB does a great job of driving in screws, with plenty of power to drive them in fast. It also packs enough punch that you can slow it down and gently control how deep you want to set the countersink. The PORTER-CABLE, however, did struggle when it came to driving in the larger bolt. It managed to set it to its full depth, but it stalled out towards the end and protested for the last ⅛" or so.
The ATOMIC did a phenomenal job at driving in the standard wood screws, performing equivalently to the top models overall. It drives in the screws exceptionally quickly and can easily set the countersunk heads flush or below the dimensional lumber's surface. It offers a ton of control to set the heads to the right depth, but it does take a bit of time to get used to it — it's so powerful that we consistently over-drove the screws the first few times we used it.
Unfortunately, when it came to the giant lag screw, the Atomic struggled and delivered some thoroughly lackluster results. It would get off to a good start with the screw but stall out for the last inch. With lots of stopping and starting, we could get it to drive to the full depth, but by the time we got to the end of it, the drill motor gave off a concerning, unpleasant smell.
Up next were the Ridgid and Ryobi P252, both meriting a 7 out of 10 for their rather rousing performance at installing screws. The Ryobi P252 drives normal-sized wood screws about the same as the PORTER-CABLE, but it is just a little bit slower. The Ryobi P252 also has sufficient power to set the countersunk head in a controlled way without overdriving — you need to go full power with some of the weaker drills, which makes it hard to control how deep the head ends up.
The Ridgid didn't struggle when it came to fully seat the countersunk wood screws, but we don't think you have quite as much control as some other models. Occasionally a screw will end up deeper than planned because to set the screws, you practically need to be at full power. Both the P252 and the Ridgid fared comparably with the ½" lag screw test. This pair of drills both fully set the bolt but struggled a bit towards the end and stalled out a few times — almost the same experience as the ATOMIC.
The Milwaukee M12 FUEL and the Craftsman CMCD700C1 were next, both earning a 6 out of 10. The M12 FUEL did the best of the 12-volt cordless drills in this metric, holding its own against the higher voltage drills when it came to driving standard screws and matching their speed, and easily setting the countersinks in a controlled manner. It could also drive many more screws in succession without heating up more than any other 12-volt model would. Unfortunately, its lack of power was a bit evident in the lag screw test. It just barely drove it to its full depth — stalling out even more than the Ridgid or the Ryobi P252.
The Craftsman CMCD700C1 did just a little better than the M12 FUEL with the smaller screws, driving them in slightly faster. However, it lacked the torque to fully seat the lag screw, leaving a little more than a half-inch of the bolt above the surface. No matter what we tried, we couldn't coax it to finish.
Both Bosch drills followed, with the Bosch PS31-2A and the GSR18V-190B22 earning a 5 out of 10. We were surprised that they performed almost identically even though they have different voltages. Both stalled out with about an inch to go with the lag and did a good — not great — job setting standard screws. If the resistance increases, both of these drills tend to stall out, but both can drive the screw to the full depth.
Following the pair of Bosch drills were the Makita XFD10R and the DEWALT DCD710S2, which earned a 4 out of 10. The Makita did an excellent job at driving standard screws, matching the top drills' performance overall — the DEWALT DCD771C2 and the DEWALT DCD777C2. It did, however, struggle with the lag bolt. Initially, it drove the bolt in with more force than the Ridgid or the Ryobi P252, but the battery continued to inexplicably die on us — similar to the hole saw test.
The DCD710S2 gets close with the lag screw, but it stalls out with a little over an inch to go and can't successfully drive the bolt into its full depth. It's fairly fast at driving in normal-sized screws, but it does complain and struggle when it comes to setting the countersink and can take a bit more time than other drills.
The BLACK+DECKER LDX120C, the KIMO 13809S, and the WORKPRO came next, each earning a 3 out of 10 for their less than stellar screw driving performance. The WORKPRO was just barely able to set the countersunk head of a screw flush, and that was if we only drove in a single screw and gave it a chance to rest. When we drove in multiple screws one after another, the performance significantly fell with this drill, even failing to come close to driving them to their full depth. It also couldn't drive in the lag screw, leaving it over an inch above the surface of the board when it gave up. The LDX120C did even worse with the lag screws, quitting when there was close to two inches of screw left to drive. However, it could effectively drive in the normal wood screws and set the heads flush without too much issue, albeit very slowly.
The KIMO 13809S performed very similarly to the LDX120C, leaving the lag screw about 2 inches above the wood's surface when it couldn't drive it in any further. Though it struggled to drive the screw through a knot, it could also sink the standard screws to their full depth but occasionally wouldn't countersink them properly.
With a 2 out of 10, the BLACK+DECKER BDCDD12C once again scored at the back of the entire group. This 12-volt drill struggled exceptionally in our ½" lag screw test, stopping about 2.5" short of completely setting the screw. However, it did a little better than the WORKPRO at driving in normal screws, setting the heads a little easier even though it sounds quite unhappy.
After assessing drilling and driving performance, we next ranked and compared the battery's performance of each of these cordless tools. This is a fairly critical metric — hence the "cordless" part of cordless drills. We tested each drill side-by-side, alternating between driving in 16 screws and drilling three 1" holes through a 2x12 with the spade bit until each product died. We awarded points based on the number of sets completed. Other things we took into account were the number of batteries included and how long it took each one to recharge.
When it comes to batteries, the drill that stood out from the rest was the Kobalt KDD 1424A, which earned an 8 out of 10. By far, the Kobalt did the best, only falling five screws short of making it through 11 cycles of this. It also only took an average amount of time — 75 minutes — to recharge its 2 Ah battery. Take note that this drill only comes with a single battery, so you might want to consider purchasing an additional battery if you want to have a charger backup.
The DEWALT ATOMIC followed the Kobalt, earning a 7 out of 10. Before dying, this drill made it through a respectable 7 full cycles and 12 screws into the 8th. The kit we got includes two 1.5 Ah batteries that also recharge rather quickly. A completely dead battery took 68 minutes to fully recharge in our test.
The PORTER-CABLE PCCK607LB, the Ridgid R86009K, the KIMO 13809S, and the Bosch GSR18V followed, each receiving a 6 out of 10. Lasting the longest was the Ridgid, making it through just over six cycles, followed by the PORTER-CABLE, only falling short of six cycles by a single screw. The Bosch GSR18V finished exactly five. However, out of the group, the Bosch is the fastest to charge, taking about 45 minutes. The Ridgid only took a little longer — about 53 minutes — but the PORTER-CABLE is on the slow side, taking 85 minutes to charge. Surprisingly, all three of these drills have 1.5 Ah batteries. All these recharge times are somewhat negated, however, because these drills each come with two batteries.
The KIMO 13809S did decently well in the cycle test, almost making it through 7 complete cycles, falling a single 1" hole short of finishing the 7th set. It only includes a single 2.0 amp-hour battery and takes around 75 minutes to recharge.
The DEWALT DCD777C2, the Milwaukee M18, and the Ryobi P252 are average when it comes to battery life, earning a 5 out of 10. These drills also include two batteries, with the Milwaukee M18 and the DEWALT DCD777C2 both having 1.5 Ah systems, while the Ryobi P252 has a 1.3 Ah system. Finishing just over five cycles, the DEWALT DCD777C2 performed the best in the battery life test. The Milwaukee M18 closely followed, then came the Ryobi P252, which finished just under five.
Of these three, the Milwaukee is the fastest to charge, taking just over 30 minutes. However, the Ryobi P252 and the DEWALT DCD777C2 are much slower, taking closer to an hour.
Next, the DEWALT DCD771C2, the M12 FUEL, the Bosch PS21-2A, the Craftsman CMCD700C1 and the Makita XFD10R all merited a 4 out of 10. These drills all include a pair of batteries except for the Craftsman CMCD700C1, which only came with a single battery. Additionally, the M12 FUEL includes both a 2 Ah and a 4 Ah battery. For this test, we used the 2 Ah battery with the M12, as it more closely compares to the other products, but you could expect it to last roughly twice as long when using the larger battery. The Makita was the fastest to charge of this group, taking less than 30 minutes, followed by the M12, which took around 40 minutes. The DEWALT and Craftsman are next, each taking just around an hour, while the Bosch takes even longer — about an hour and a half.
The Makita did the worst of this quartet in our battery life testing, dying after completing three full cycles of drilling three 1" holes and driving in 16 screws. The Bosch did a bit better, dying just before it finished four, while the DCD7771C2 and the M12 completed four full cycles and drove in a few more screws before they depleted. The Craftsman CMCD700C1 only made it through four full cycles but managed to drive in all the screws of the 5th set and start on the 1" holes before giving up.
Next, the WORKPRO and the BLACK+DECKER LDX120C both gave disappointing performances, scoring a 3 out of 10. These drills both come with a single battery and the amount of time it took them to charge was comical — over 200 minutes! Both drills only made it through about 3.5 cycles in our test before dying, so you are going to want to consider purchasing additional batteries with these models.
Once again earning the worst score of the bunch, the BLACK+DECKER BDCDD12C merited a 1 out of 10 for the exceptionally unimpressive performance. This tool only includes a single battery and took an exceptionally long time to recharge. It also failed to make it through two sets of drilling holes and driving screws, even with a handicap. We had to swap the 1" paddle bit for a ½" twist drill since the BLACK+DECKER BDCDD12C lacks the power to even drill a single hole with the 1" spade bit.
For the remaining 10% of each drill's total score, we rated and scored all the features that make these products easier to use, examining everything from the size of the chuck to the ease of swapping batteries.
The PORTER-CABLE and the Ridgid stood out for being chock full of handy features, with both of the tools earning a 7 out of 10. These drills have a maximum chuck size of ½", built-in LEDs, a belt clip, and a battery level indicator, and two different speeds. The PORTER-CABLE is slightly lighter than the Ridgid, but we thought it was less of a hassle to change out the Ridgid's batteries.
A group of drills followed, with the Kobalt, the DEWALT DCD777C2, the DEWALT DCD771C2, the ATOMIC DCD708C2, the Milwaukee M18, the M12 FUEL, the Bosch PS31-2A, the Craftsman CMCD700C1, the KIMO 13809S, and the Makita all earning a 6 out of 10. These all have a chuck that can expand up to ½", except for the Bosch PS31-2A and the KIMO 13809S, which are both limited to ⅜". All of the drills in this group have two different speed/torque operating ratios and an integrated work light that we found to be fairly good, though the KIMO's is definitely on the dimmer side. The light on the Craftsman CMCD700C1 isn't our favorite --similar to the KIMO — but if you're in a pinch, it will work, though supplemental lighting will be appreciated.
The higher voltage models — except for the KIMO 13809S — all are average in weight. The KIMO 13809S and the 12-volt models (Bosch PS31-2A and M12 FUEL) are a little lighter, both weighing in at under three pounds. These drills also have a battery indicator except for the DEWALT models, but only the Kobalt, Makita, the KIMO 13809S, the ATOMIC, and the M12 FUEL have belt clips. It is relatively easy to swap batteries on all of the drills, except the locking tabs can be a bit stubborn and finicky on the M12 FUEL and the Craftsman CMCD700C1.
Ranking about average when it comes to convenience, the Ryobi P252, the Bosch GSR18V, the DEWALT DCD710S2, and the WORKPRO all earned a 5 out of 10. The Ryobi P252 and the Bosch GSR18V both can hold up to a ½ shank in their chucks. The WORKPRO and the DCD710S2 are limited to ⅜", but they both have belt clips — something the Ryobi P252 and Bosch lack.
The WORKPRO is the only one of this group to have a battery indicator, which isn't great, but all four have integrated work lights and two operating speeds. They are all middle-of-the-road when it comes to weight. All drills can swap batteries easily except for the DEWALT DCD710S2, whose release button can be a little difficult to get locked in place to secure the battery.
Earning a 4 out of 10, the pair of BLACK+DECKER drills — the LDX120C and the BDCDD12C — brought up the back of the group. The BLACK+DECKER models both lack a battery indicator and a belt clip, as well as having a chuck that is limited to ⅜" at its max. They only have a single speed, but they do have integrated LED lights and are fairly lightweight. It also isn't the easiest to swap batteries on, though the LDX120C is less of a hassle than the BDCDD12C, which has a similar mechanism as the DCD710S2.
Whether you are a professional looking for a top-tier premium tool or a beginner looking for the bare minimum to get started, we hope that this side-by-side comparison of the top cordless drills currently on the market has helped you find the perfect tool to match both your project requirements and your budget.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer