Reviews You Can Rely On

The 7 Best Drills of 2024

We put the best cordless drills to the test from DeWalt, Milwaukee, Kobalt, Bosch, Ridgid, and others
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Best Drill Review (We continuously buy and test cordless drills to keep our review up to date with the latest models hitting the market.)
We continuously buy and test cordless drills to keep our review up to date with the latest models hitting the market.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman
By Austin Palmer, Matt Spencer, and David Wise  ⋅  Jun 10, 2024

The Best Drills for 2024


After researching over 100 different models, we bought the 23 best drills on the market today and tested them side-by-side to find out which tool came out on top. During our comprehensive testing process, we drilled over 500 holes and drove in more than a thousand screws, all to help you find the right tool to meet your needs and budget so you can finally tackle that DIY project. We pushed these tools to their torque and battery limits with enormous lag screws and giant hole saws. We also compared their ease of use before deciding on the award winners. Check out our review to see which drill we crowned best of the best, which is the most budget-friendly option, and which we found to be the most versatile.

Here at GearLab, we conduct the most extensive testing available on a wide variety of the best tools, including the best impact drivers, top handsaws, best chainsaws, and best circular saws. When it's time to clean up the mess in your shop, take a look at our favorite cordless wet dry vacuums. We've also done an impressive shoot-out of the best pressure washers to help you decide which one is right for your needs.

Editor's Note: We updated our this review on June 10, 2024, to provide more insight into buying advice for drills.

Top 23 Drills - Test Results

Displaying 1 - 5 of 23
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Awards Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award   Top Pick Award 
Price $189 List
$184.75 at Amazon
$169 List
$159.98 at Amazon
$99 List
$67.00 at Amazon
$179 List
$179.00 at Amazon
$170 List
$193.66 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Great for driving fasteners, heavy-duty, efficient use of battery lifeGreat performance, metal ratcheting chuck, includes hard case, includes bit holder with a standard/Phillips head bitFantastic drilling and driving performance, good 2 Ah battery lifeGreat at driving fasteners, short length, good battery lifeExcellent drilling performance, tons of driving power, decently convenient
Cons Heavy, takes some force to swap batteriesHeavy, flimsy bit holderOn the heavier side, slower battery charging, light shuts off after ten secondsStruggled with the larger hole sawSo-so battery life, somewhat pricey
Bottom Line If you are looking for a top-tier drill to go with your existing Milwaukee batteries, this is your best betA powerful drill that is up to almost any task thrown at itA solid drill that would be a welcome to addition to your Ryobi tool armyThis drill scored quite well across the board, though it is a bit on the heavy sideOne of the best drills we have seen, though it is held back by under-performing in battery life
Rating Categories Milwaukee M18 Fuel... Kobalt XTR 24-volt... Ryobi ONE+ HP 18V B... Makita 18V LXT Brus... DeWalt 20V Max Comp...
Drilling (35%)
9.6
9.4
9.3
6.5
9.5
Driving (35%)
10.0
9.4
8.8
10.0
9.4
Battery Life (20%)
9.8
8.4
6.8
9.8
4.4
Convenience (10%)
6.2
6.2
6.6
5.8
5.8
Specs Milwaukee M18 Fuel... Kobalt XTR 24-volt... Ryobi ONE+ HP 18V B... Makita 18V LXT Brus... DeWalt 20V Max Comp...
Measured Weight 4.06 lb 4.09 lb 3.77 lb 4.48 lb 3.26 lb
Measured Charge Time 25 min 85 min 63 min 23 min 65 min
Measured Length 7" 7" 7-3/16" 7" 7-1/4"
Measured Number of Settings 14 22 24 21 15
Included Battery Pack(s) Tested with 2.0 Ah 4 Ah
Tested with 2.0 Ah (not included with kit)
2.0 Ah Tested with 2.0 Ah 1.5 Ah
Max Chuck 1/2" 1/2" 1/2" 1/2" 1/2"
Battery Voltage 18V 24V 18V 20V 20V
Drill Model Tested 2803-20 KXDD 124B-03 PBLDD01 XFD14Z DCD777
Box Model (Kit) Tested Tested tool-only, no kit KXDD 1424A-03 PBLDD01K Tested tool-only, no kit DCD777C2
Five Inch Hole Saw Test Timing 15 seconds 17 seconds 20 seconds 17 seconds 17 seconds
Lag Screw Test (What is Left to From Driving) 0.00 in 0.00 in 0.25 in 0.00 in 0.00 in
Manufacturer Stated RPM Low: 0 - 550
High: 0 - 2000
Low: 0 - 550
High: 0 - 2000
Low: 0 - 500
High: 0 - 2100
Low: 0 - 550
High: 0 - 2100
Low: 0 - 500
High: 0 - 1750
Manufacturer Peak Torque 1,200 in-lbs 1,200 in-lbs 750 in-lbs 1,250 in-lbs 340 UWO
Battery Indicator Location Battery Battery Battery Battery N/A
LED Location Above the battery Above the battery Above the battery Above the trigger Above the trigger
Included Belt Clip Yes Yes No Yes No


Best Drill Kit Overall


Kobalt XTR 24-volt 1/2-in Keyless Brushless Cordless Drill KXDD 1424A-03


89
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Drilling 9.4
  • Driving 9.4
  • Battery Life 8.4
  • Convenience 6.2
Battery Type: 24V, Lithium-Ion | Maximum Chuck Size: ½"
REASONS TO BUY
Great drilling and driving performance
Metal ratcheting chuck
Great battery life
Includes bit holder
REASONS TO AVOID
Bit holder is flimsy
Heavier than most
SPECIFICATIONS
Measured Charge Time 85 min
Measured Weight  4.09 lb
Measured Length 7"
Measured Number of Settings  22
Included Battery Pack(s) 4 Ah
Tested with 2.0 Ah (not included with kit)
If you're in search of a cordless drill driver and battery combo that can do it all, and you don't already have a preferred tool brand, then we strongly urge you to consider the Kobalt XTR 24-volt 1/2-in. Our testers noted that it ''excels at heavy-duty tasks,'' delivers ample drilling and driving force, and includes a battery and charger at a price point that other brands charge for a bare tool.

In addition to great performance and a budget-friendly price for a complete kit, the batteries offer a lot of life before needing to be recharged. Also worth noting is that there are many Kobalt 24V battery-compatible tools for when you are looking at expanding the capabilities of your workspace or garage shop. While the Kobalt XTR 24-volt is a top recommendation, it is a little heavier and bulkier than other top models. The DeWalt 20V Max Compact DCD777C2 cuts almost a pound off in comparison but still performed valiantly in our tests. The drawback is that the weight is carried in the battery, so the Dewalt scored lower in our battery life testing.

Read more: Kobalt XTR 24-volt 1/2-in Keyless Brushless Cordless Drill review

A strong option for buyers building out a set of power tools.
Credit: Austin Palmer

Best Tool Only Drill


Milwaukee M18 Fuel 1/2" Drill Driver


94
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Drilling 9.6
  • Driving 10.0
  • Battery Life 9.8
  • Convenience 6.2
Battery Type: 18V, Lithium-Ion | Maximum Chuck Size: ½"
REASONS TO BUY
Tons of drilling and driving power
Heavy-duty
Great battery performance
REASONS TO AVOID
Expensive
Heavier than average
SPECIFICATIONS
Measured Charge Time 25 min
Measured Weight  4.06 lb
Measured Length 7"
Measured Number of Settings  14
Included Battery Pack(s) Tested with 2.0 Ah
If you're on the hunt for a heavy-duty cordless tool and are looking for a tool-only option, then the Milwaukee M18 FUEL is a prime candidate. It is great for heavy-duty applications, offering more than enough drilling and driving power for just about every task imaginable. Our testers felt “much more comfortable the whole way through” on the driving tests when compared to others. Lending confidence and consistency throughout your work day. The battery is also efficient as it bores more holes and drives in more screws than other models using the same-capacity battery.

The Milwaukee M18 FUEL is noticeably heavy, weighing quite a bit more than other contenders. It also lands on the pricier end of the spectrum. Those who don't plan on using a drill regularly or might not require the drilling and driving power for heavy-duty applications may find other options more suitable for their budget. While the M18 FUEL is the best model we tested from a pure performance perspective, the tool alone costs nearly as much as the entire Kobalt XTR 24-volt kit, which offers comparable performance while including a battery and charger, and maybe the better option for those just starting to build out a power tool set.

Read more: Milwaukee M18 FUEL 1/2" Drill Driver review

This is a heavy-duty drill and a great performer all-around.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Best Bang for Your Buck


Craftsman V20 1/2-In. Drill/Driver Kit CMCD700C1


60
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Drilling 6.6
  • Driving 6.2
  • Battery Life 4.4
  • Convenience 6.0
Battery Type: 20V, Lithium | Maximum Chuck Size: ½"
REASONS TO BUY
Solid drilling power
Offers plenty of control for setting fasteners
REASONS TO AVOID
Mediocre battery life test
Not huge fans of the integrated LED
SPECIFICATIONS
Measured Charge Time 58 min
Measured Weight  3.44 lb
Measured Length 8-1/4"
Measured Number of Settings  23
Included Battery Pack(s) 1.3 Ah
This tool is one of the less expensive options out there but holds its own against tools that cost quite a bit more. The Craftsman V20 1/2-In Drill/Driver did surprisingly well in some of our toughest tests, boring holes up to 5" in diameter without issue and offering plenty of control when it came to setting countersunk fasteners to the appropriate depth. Our test team claims “It isn't overly heavy and would be a great complement to the occasional DIYer or a homeowner's toolbox.

The Craftsman V20 1/2-In Drill/Driver isn't our top recommendation if you are shopping on a budget and looking to use this tool as the foundation for your eventual cordless tool collection. We don't think the library of compatible tools is as popular or readily available as other battery systems, and it's overall much smaller as well. Combined with the fact that you usually only get a single battery, we suggest investing a bit more if you plan to procure more cordless versions of your favorite tools in the future. Despite that, we were overall impressed with the performance of the Craftsman given its affordable nature and would readily recommend it if you're planning to buy only a drill. Of course, if the craftsman is still a little outside of your budget, you might consider the even more affordable Black+Decker 20V Max Drill/Driver LDX120C. The Black+Decker also features a compact design with a 20V boost to match. Although it follows in the shadow of the Craftsman, we think this is still a solid option for beginners that slashes the price in half compared to most others in this lineup. We can't deny those numbers!

Read more: Craftsman V20 1/2-In. Drill/Driver Kit CMCD700C1 review

The Craftsman V20 offers good performance at a budget-friendly price.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

A Great Drill for Tight Budgets


Black+Decker 20V Max Drill/Driver LDX120C


35
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Drilling 4.1
  • Driving 3.2
  • Battery Life 2.6
  • Convenience 4.6
Battery Type: 20V, Lithium-Ion | Maximum Chuck Size: 3/8"
REASONS TO BUY
Cheap
Convenient
Fine for light-duty work
REASONS TO AVOID
Not very powerful
Short battery life
SPECIFICATIONS
Measured Charge Time 210 min
Measured Weight  2.68 lb
Measured Length 7"
Measured Number of Settings  10
Included Battery Pack(s) 1.5 Ah
If you have a limited budget and you're only looking to do light-duty DIY projects around your home, check out the Black+Decker 20V Max Drill/Driver LDX120C. This tool costs significantly less than the top models and has more than enough power for most tasks, all in a compact form that is easy to stash in a drawer. It's lightweight and easy to handle, making it the perfect option for beginners or entry-level DIYers, and it is very convenient and user-friendly.

In terms of drilling and driving power, the Black+Decker 20V Max Drill/Driver LDX120C is severely deficient and pales in comparison to premium models. We found the performance highly unimpressive when using larger hole saws and driving in big bolts. If prolonging its life is important, we can't say we recommend using this model for either of these types of tasks. The battery delivered an uninspiring performance during our battery life tests, and we felt it was less durable than other drills overall. While it is not the best for heavy-duty applications, it is our top recommendation if you want a bare-bones drill on a tight budget. If you can increase your budget just a bit, then take a look at the better, but still affordable Craftsman V20 1/2-In. Drill/Driver Kit CMCD700C1.

Read more: Black+Decker 20V Max Drill/Driver LDX120C review

While we found other models to be stronger and perform better, none of them can match the incredibly affordable price point of this capable drill.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Best 12 Volt Option a Budget


Bosch 12V Max Drill/Driver Kit PS31-2A


48
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Drilling 5.8
  • Driving 4.5
  • Battery Life 3.2
  • Convenience 5.8
Battery Type: 12V, Lithium-Ion | Maximum Chuck Size: 3/8"
REASONS TO BUY
Great value
Solid drilling performance
Compact
REASONS TO AVOID
Mediocre battery life
No belt clip
SPECIFICATIONS
Measured Charge Time 85 min
Measured Weight  2.17 lb
Measured Length 6-5/8"
Measured Number of Settings  20
Included Battery Pack(s) 2.0 Ah
If you are shopping on a budget and like the pistol grip style and compact size of a 12-volt drill, then the Bosch 12V Max Drill/Driver Kit PS31-2A is a fantastic option for you. This model is a great option for the average homeowner who might want to undertake some DIY or home improvement projects but isn't doing any major renovations. This pint-sized device packs plenty of punch, doing quite well in our drilling and driving evaluations, all while being one of the more convenient tools to operate. This handy cordless is lightweight, ergonomic, and a great addition to any DIYer's arsenal. Being smaller and lighter, this tool fits nicely into tight and dark spaces that larger tools cannot access, and it doesn't take up as much space on a tool bench.

Unfortunately, the Bosch PS31-2A can't quite compare to the drilling and driving performance of the top-tier, higher voltage tools. The 12-volt Bosch struggled to drive the ½" lag screw in and complained when getting the 5" hole saw to its full depth. Our testers noted it “would get hot after drilling the second hole” during our one-inch spade bit testing as well, reminding us that this device is designed for more moderate projects. The battery life here is also somewhat lackluster. While other 12-volt models, including the majority of the more recently tested 5-in-1 drills, outperform the Bosch overall, we found the price of the Bosch to be enticing, making this Bosch a good bargain for a tool that is more than capable of handling light-duty tasks and house projects. If you can step up your budget while searching for a 12-volt drill driver, then we recommend you look at the superior DeWalt 20V Max Compact Drill/Driver Kit DCD771C2. The Dewalt is an oldie but goodie. The 771C2 has latched onto the market for the past few years, earning not only a high count in online reviews but also positives to match. We recently brought back this model into our review because everyone loves it so much for its great drilling power and flawless driving abilities.

Read more: Bosch 12V Max Drill/Driver Kit PS31-2A review

drill - the bosch running through our extensive drilling test.
The Bosch running through our extensive drilling test.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Best Drill For DeWalt Users


DeWalt 20V Max Compact Brushless Drill/Driver DCD777C2


81
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Drilling 9.5
  • Driving 9.4
  • Battery Life 4.4
  • Convenience 5.8
Battery Type: 20V, Lithium-Ion | Maximum Chuck Size: 1/2"
REASONS TO BUY
Great value
Strong drilling and driving performance
Compact
REASONS TO AVOID
Older style battery
Mediocre Battery Life
SPECIFICATIONS
Measured Charge Time 65 min
Measured Weight  3.26 lb
Measured Length 7-1/4"
Measured Number of Settings  15
Included Battery Pack(s) 1.5 Ah
The DeWalt 20V Max Compact Brushless Drill/Driver DCD777C2 is a complete DeWalt kit that includes two older DeWalt style 1.5AH batteries and chargers, while newer kits include 2 AH batteries. The tool itself is very capable of a wide range of both light and heavy-duty tasks, and is a great way to acquire a drill driver and additional batteries that will fit a wide range of cordless DeWalt tools. It had a flawless time in our three inch screw test, as our testers were elated with “no problems tightening up even with the screw flush.” It is a good value for current DeWalt tool owners and worth considering for new tool buyers, homeowners, or those setting up a garage workshop.

While we liked the DeWalt 20V Max DCD777C2, it didn't perform as well with included batteries as other models using 2.0 AH batteries. As such, we'd encourage those who aren't already invested in the DeWalt family of tools to consider other newer options or other brands altogether. The Kobalt XTR 24-volt kit is one of those options that provides great performance, a 2 AH battery, compatibility with a wide range of Kobalt brand tools, and is also a great value for those starting out.

Read more: DeWalt 20V Max Compact Brushless Drill Driver DCD777C2 review

drill - a solid offering, especially in a complete kit, but we suggest using...
A solid offering, especially in a complete kit, but we suggest using newer 2 amp hour batteries
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Best Compact 5-in-1 Drill


Dewalt Xtreme 12V 5-In-1 Drill Driver Kit DCD703F1


63
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Drilling 7.7
  • Driving 5.8
  • Battery Life 3.6
  • Convenience 8.2
Battery Type: 12V, Lithium-Ion | Maximum Chuck Size: ⅜"
REASONS TO BUY
Solid overall performance
Compact
Convenient
REASONS TO AVOID
Less battery life than 18 and 20v
SPECIFICATIONS
Measured Charge Time 55 min
Measured Weight  2.09 lb
Measured Length No attachment: 4-7/8"
With 3/8" chuck: 6-1/2"
Measured Number of Settings  15
Included Battery Pack(s) 2.0 Ah
The Dewalt Xtreme 12V 5-In-1 Drill Driver Kit highlights the benefits of its reduced weight and compact dimensions, all while delivering a level of power and performance that rivals drills with higher voltage ratings. Our testers felt it was “effortless compared to the other 5-in-1s.” This drill is an ideal choice for tasks performed overhead or in cramped environments, such as attics or crawlspaces. When used in combination with various attachments, it allows for significant adjustments in drilling angles and positions, greatly enhancing convenience when working in tight or obstructed spaces.

Although the Dewalt Xtreme 12V 5-In-1 Drill Driver Kit proved to be a great drill driver, it isn't without some shortcomings. The kit only includes one battery, as opposed to the two that are typically included by competitor brands. We also found that attachments can be a little finicky to line up and attach, and while this is a 12-volt model, it would be nice to see a chuck size up to a half inch as is seen on more powerful models, as opposed to the ⅜ inch chuck. Minor criticisms aside, if a 12-volt system meets your requirements for power, performance, and battery life, then you'll be more than satisfied with this compact and capable model. For a step up in performance from DeWalt, we suggest you look at the DeWalt 20V Max Compact Drill/Driver Kit DCD771C2.

Read more: Dewalt Xtreme 12V 5-In-1 Drill Driver Kit review

The versatile and stackable attachments are occasionally finnicky, but usually quick to attach and release.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Compare Products

select up to 5 products to compare
Score Product Price
94
Milwaukee M18 Fuel 1/2" Drill Driver
Best Tool Only Drill
$189
Editors' Choice Award
89
Kobalt XTR 24-volt 1/2-in Keyless Brushless Cordless Drill KXDD 1424A-03
Best Drill Kit Overall
$169
Editors' Choice Award
84
Ryobi ONE+ HP 18V Brushless Cordless Kit
$99
83
Makita 18V LXT Brushless Cordless 1/2" Driver-Drill XFD14Z
$179
81
DeWalt 20V Max Compact Brushless Drill/Driver DCD777C2
Best Drill For DeWalt Users
$170
Top Pick Award
78
Milwaukee M18 Compact 1/2" Drill Driver Kit 2606
$180
77
DeWalt Atomic 20V Max Brushless Compact 1/2 In. Drill/Driver Kit DCD708C2
$160
76
Ridgid 18V Brushless Cordless Sub Compact 1/2 in. Drill/Driver R8701
$100
76
DeWalt 20V Max Compact Drill/Driver Kit DCD771C2
$160
70
Porter-Cable 20V Max 1/2 In. Drill/Driver Kit PCCK607LB
$139
68
Bosch 18V Compact Brushless 1/2 In. Drill/Driver Kit GSR18V-400B12
$99
63
Dewalt Xtreme 12V 5-In-1 Drill Driver Kit DCD703F1
Best Compact 5-in-1 Drill
$189
Top Pick Award
60
Craftsman V20 1/2-In. Drill/Driver Kit CMCD700C1
Best Bang for Your Buck
$79
Best Buy Award
58
Ridgid R86001
$120
58
DeWalt Extreme 12V Max DCD701F2
$150
52
Bosch 12V Flexiclick 5-in-1 Drill Driver System GSR12V-300FCB22
$229
50
Milwaukee M12 Fuel Installation Drill Driver Kit 2505-22
$199
48
Bosch 12V Max Drill/Driver Kit PS31-2A
Best 12 Volt Option a Budget
$130
Best Buy Award
35
Black+Decker 20V Max Drill/Driver LDX120C
A Great Drill for Tight Budgets
$70
Best Buy Award
34
Workpro 20V Drill Driver Set
$60
33
DeWalt 12V Max 3/8 In. Drill Driver Kit DCD710S2
$149
29
Avid Power 20V Max ACD316
$50
17
Black+Decker 12V Max Drill/Driver BDCDD12C
$40

drill - here&#039;s a look at one of our testing boards with the full-spread of...
Here's a look at one of our testing boards with the full-spread of the bits we used in our drilling and driving tests.
Credit: Matt Lighthart

How We Test Drills


To test and review drills, we bought all of the tools from major retailers at standard prices — just like you. At GearLab, we never ask for or accept any free products from companies, ensuring that our reviews aren't compromised by any financial incentives. We put these tools to the test in controlled side-by-side evaluations and used them for various home renovation projects. We also did an exhaustive battery test to see just how many holes we could make, or screws you could drive, with each device before they ran out of juice. Finally, we scored each power tool's ergonomics, comfort, and convenience features. In addition to our own extensive experience with these products, we also consulted with other contractors and professionals, as well as other dedicated DIYers, to get their opinions on picking out the drills that had the most potential and designing our scoring and testing plan. Check out our full in-depth testing process here.

Over the years, we've purchased more than 40 cordless drills for testing. We put each model through multiple and repeated performance analyses to rate drilling, driving, battery life, and more. In total, each drill goes through more than 46 individual tests. 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 over 1000 screws — everything from standard #9 wood screws to hulking ½" lag bolts. The most critical metric is drilling, comprising 35% of the overall score. This metric is made up of drilling with a 5" hole saw (50% of total metric score), 1" spade bit (30% of score), and 16 ga Steel with twist bits (20% of total).

Our drill testing is divided into four rating metrics:
  • Drilling tests (35% of total score weighting)
  • Driving tests (35% weighting)
  • Battery Life tests (20% weighting)
  • Convenience tests (10% weighting)

Why Trust GearLab


Our testing team consists of Austin Palmer, David Wise, and Matt Spencer. Austin has extensive experience using tools in both an industrial and DIY setting, having worked on an oil rig and undertaking extensive renovations on his own home. David has formal training 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 has apprenticed and assisted his dad on various job sites- a general contractor for over 30 years. Matt is currently studying engineering and has worked on GearLab projects such as pressure washers and other outdoor tools.



How to Choose the Best Drill For You


Whether you have a big home project coming up or need to find the perfect drill for the job site, we've got you covered. We've come up with four key buying considerations, including features, drill type, and budget, to help find the best drill for you.

What Type of Work Do You Do?


For those eager to get a start on their next project but want to find the right drill for the job, consider the appropriate size and power of potential drills. Some folks may only need a drill for small tasks, such as drilling holes for pictures and shelves, while others are doing extensive work on decks and steel. Battery voltage coincides with power, so the higher the voltage, the more power a drill will have. For smaller tasks and more compact operation drills, under 12V will suffice; for more intensive drilling and heavy-duty jobs, 18V or higher is recommended. Chuck sizes are another variable to consider with your usage. The most common sizes are 3/8" and 1/2", where the smaller chuck size can tackle common tasks around the house, and the larger is intended for heavier applications.

drill - a good first step to finding the right drill comes down to the type...
A good first step to finding the right drill comes down to the type of work you have planned or typically feel comfortable with.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

What Features to Look For?


Features such as a reverse switch and different speed ranges can be especially useful for longer jobs and consistent use. Other features, such as a keyless chuck, help accommodate different-sized bits quickly and easily. This is a subtle contrast on paper, but it makes a big difference in application when switching back and forth between drill and driver bits repeatedly. If the product is not keyless, it requires a tool to tighten or loosen. Most drills on the market today are keyless, but we suggest double-checking to avoid this inconvenience.

The clutch sets the torque level you require for your project. To help you not strip a screw or drive too far into the material you're working with, a variable clutch is the answer. The grip is another important aspect of a good drill that helps with proper hand pressure and accurate bit placement. A side handle is an added reassurance for those tougher jobs that require more effort from you. A good light can also help make things easier and safer, especially when working in small areas where overhead lights can't cut it.

Lastly, we name a few bonus extras we've learned over the years of exhaustive testing. They're not dealbreakers, but something to note if you think it might help for your specific purposes. A built-in level is a nice perk for beginner DIYers, giving you reassurance when putting up those shelves or other household items. A magnetic screw holder provides storage right at the source. We know that over the years, small bits can tend to travel and get lost. This added storage area ensures you will have what you need when you're ready for it. To round everything off, a nice bag or case can help to further keep everything together, especially when you start to build your arsenal and begin accumulating more batteries and bits.

drill - a shining light in dark work areas can not only help you complete...
A shining light in dark work areas can not only help you complete the job but also make it safer.
Credit: Austin Palmer

Is Battery Life Important to You?


A drill with adequate battery life and fast charging can be especially useful for folks on job sites and extended drill use. Also, consider options that offer multiple batteries as a way to quickly swap between recharges. It's worth noting that larger batteries will also increase the weight of your drill and decrease its portability. Finding a balance between battery life and size/weight is a good goal for the majority of weekend DIYers and home project undertakers.

drill - battery life is an essential aspect of a quality drill.
Battery life is an essential aspect of a quality drill.
Credit: Matt Lighthart

Does Brushless Matter?


You may notice some drills advertised as brushless. Put simply, a brushless drill uses electrical circuits instead of physical carbon brushes to control the current of the motor. The advantages of a brushless drill include less friction resulting in higher torque and longer battery and motor life. If you use your drill every day, then a brushless drill may be worth the extra price, but if you only need a drill for occasional use, then a brushed drill will be plenty sufficient.

drill - a brushless drill is a wise idea for heavy-duty use.
A brushless drill is a wise idea for heavy-duty use.
Credit: Matt Lighthart

Analysis and Test Results


To see which model is the best of the best, we researched and compared 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.


Value


If you are shopping for a new drill on a budget, you will notice a pretty direct correlation between the cost of the tool and its performance. However, this doesn't mean you should start to despair if you are on a tight budget because many people don't need the drilling or driving performance that the premium products offer. Even some of the cheapest models in our test offer enough power for homeowners without a ton of DIY aspirations. The Black+Decker LDX120C is our top recommendation for searching for a drill without spending a ton. If you do a reasonable number of DIY and home improvement projects but still want to save some cash, then you should consider the Craftsman CMCD700C1 or the Bosch PS31-2A. These models cost a bit more but offer better overall performance than the LDX120C. If you are a serious DIYer or use tools in a professional capacity, you will want to be shopping in the higher echelon of these tools. The Milwaukee M18 FUEL is a favorite, and when used frequently, its performance advantages outshine the upfront costs. In the compact 12v 5-in1 sector of the drill driver market, we found the Dewalt Xtreme 12V 5-In-1 Drill Driver Kit to offer extreme convenience and great performance at a reasonably affordable price.

drill - 1&quot; spade bit testing with the m12 fuel.
1" spade bit testing with the M12 Fuel.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Drilling


This metric is based on how each product fared when drilling holes with a paddle bit, drilling through steel, and using a 5-inch hole saw. Specifically, we used a ¼" and ½" twist drill in each tool to make holes in the equivalent of a 16 gauge steel sheet, a 1-inch spade bit to make tons and tons of holes in a standard 2x12 (wood), and saw how each model handled a 5-inch hole saw in a solid-core door. To award points, we looked at how long it took each tool to accomplish each drilling task and how much it struggled while doing so.


The Milwaukee M18 FUEL 1/2" Drill Driver outperformed the competition, but with some seriously strong competitors, the margin was narrow. The M18 FUEL proved its ability to easily and swiftly drill 5-inch holes with a hole saw, 1-inch holes with a spade bit, and multiple sizes of holes in sheet steel, with the majority of work performed on the high-speed low torque setting.

Multiple models tested in a 5 inch hole saw test.
Credit: Austin Palmer

The DeWalt DCD777C2 also delivered top-notch drilling performance right behind the Milwaukee M18 FUEL 1/2" Drill Driver. It delivered fast results in our hole saw test, powering through the door like a hot knife through butter. We didn't even have to shift into the lower gear.


A newly tested model, the Kobalt XTR 24-volt 1/2-in Keyless Brushless Cordless Drill KXDD 1424A-03 followed suit with an almost equally impressive performance exhibited by the DeWalt 20V Max Compact Brushless, although it required more use of a low-speed high torque setting and did not perform all the tasks as swiftly.

drill - some models made swift work of a 5-inch hole in a solid door, while...
Some models made swift work of a 5-inch hole in a solid door, while others really struggled to complete the job.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The Ryobi ONE+ HP 18V made quick work with the hole saw, chomping through the door faster than most other models in our review with a measured time of 20 seconds. When we used this model to make 1" holes with a spade bit into a 2 x 12 board, we found that it hardly struggles and drills very quickly provided that you are in the appropriate gear setting. When we used twist bits, the PBLDD01 was quick and easy with the ¼" size with a measured time of 1 second but slowed down to 4 or 5 seconds with a ½" bit.

drill - the ryobi had no problem cutting a hole in a wooden door during our...
The Ryobi had no problem cutting a hole in a wooden door during our testing process.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Our team also saw really strong performances from both the Ridgid 18V Brushless Cordless Sub Compact 1/2 in. Drill/Driver R8701 and the Milwaukee M18 Compact 1/2" Drill Driver Kit 2606. Both models excelled in our drilling challenges and proved there respective abilities to complete difficult drilling tasks.

The DeWalt Atomic nearly matched the performance of the aforementioned models at drilling through the steel with the two sizes of twist drills, quickly and easily making holes with little to no struggle at all. It also made short work of the 2x12 with the 1" spade bit, only stalling for a brief moment right as it punched through the wood.

drill - the dewalt atomic easily drilled through dimensional lumber with...
The DeWalt Atomic easily drilled through dimensional lumber with larger twist drills and spade bits.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The Atomic performed very inconsistently during the 5" hole saw test, boring into the door effortlessly in one trial and then binding up and taking almost twice as long in others. We aren't entirely sure what caused this inconsistency, but it happened often enough to be mildly concerning. The DeWalt 20V Max Compact Drill/Driver Kit DCD771C2 deserves a mention for its solid performance as well. This tool made quick work of making ¼" and ½" holes in sheet metal, and wooden materials.

If you're in the market for a compact 12-volt drill, the Dewalt Xtreme 12V 5-In-1 Drill Driver Kit DCD703F1 exhibited impressive results in our drilling tests, especially considering its lighter and more compact design. Its drilling performance rivaled and even outcompeted a few of the less performant higher voltage models we tested, proving it is not only a convenient and compact model but a very capable one also.

A very capable 12-volt makes swift work of 1 inch holes.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The BOSCH 12V Flexiclick 5-In-1 Drill Driver System GSR12V-300FCB22 and the Milwaukee M12 FUEL Installation Drill Driver Kit 2505-22 exhibited decent performances, with the Milwaukee M12 taking the lead, but both are reasonable options for drilling tasks in the compact 12-volt tool sector, even if they aren't up to the tasks that are better handled by more powerful models.

drill - this 12v model works great for a lower-voltage model.
This 12V model works great for a lower-voltage model.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Driving


Our next series of evaluations focused on how well these devices performed at driving in fasteners. These assessments were given equal weight to our drilling tests and scores were based on the results of two different tests: wood screws and lag screws. We compared how quickly and easily each 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 Milwaukee M18 FUEL, DeWalt 20V Max Compact Drill/Driver Kit DCD771C2, and the Makita XFD14Z distinguished themselves from the rest. These devices did exceptionally well in both tests in this metric, earning a perfect score for their top-notch performances. They did a great job driving the screws to their full depth without any difficulties, even the giant lag screw. We also love how these tools offer plenty of control to set the countersunk heads to their proper depth.

drill - this model makes quick work driving in 3&quot; wood screws.
This model makes quick work driving in 3" wood screws.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Both the Kobalt XTR 24-volt 1/2-in Keyless Brushless Cordless Drill KXDD 1424A-03 and the DeWalt 20V Max Compact Brushless Drill/Driver DCD777C2 offered strong driving performances, nearly as good as the top three models.

Better driving power results in a more reliable tool to get hard jobs done.
Credit: Austin Palmer

Neither the DeWalt DCD777C2 or the Kobalt XTR 24-volt struggled at setting 3 inch decking screws, and felt very controlled. Both also handled driving a five inch lag bolt without issues.

The Milwaukee M18 (non-FUEL version) performed nearly as well as the DeWalt DCD777C2 and Kobalt XTR 24v, but is slightly inferior when setting countersunk screws flush to a surface. It didn't struggle while driving, but it isn't the fastest.


The Ryobi ONE+ HP 18V was very fast and easy at driving 3" wood screws. It was easy to get the screwheads flush with the board, and this model had great speed control during this part of our assessment. When we performed the lag test with this model, it was able to drive the screw head about ¼" short of all the way to the board without stopping. With multiple trigger pulls, the PBLD01 was able to drive the lag the rest of the way.

drill - we measured the distance each model left to fully drive down a...
We measured the distance each model left to fully drive down a 5-inch lag screw to show you comparable results.
Credit: Austin Palmer

The Dewalt Xtreme 12V 5-In-1 Drill Driver Kit DCD703F1 did the best of the 12 volt cordless drills in this metric, holding its own against the higher voltage models when driving standard screws, matching their speed, and easily setting the countersinks in a controlled manner. It could also drive many more screws and bore more holes in succession than other 12-volt models.

drill - this drill from craftsman failed to fully seat the lag screw.
This drill from Craftsman failed to fully seat the lag screw.
Credit: Laura Casner

The Craftsman CMCD700C1 did just a little better than the majority of 12 volt models.

This 12-volt model drives screws nearly as well as more powerful higher voltage drill drivers.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The BOSCH 12V Flexiclick 5-In-1 Drill Driver System GSR12V-300FCB22 and the Milwaukee M12 FUEL Installation Drill Driver Kit 2505-22 both exhibited reliable driving performances, but were less impressive than the Dewalt Xtreme 12V 5-In-1 Drill Driver, and really can not perform as well as much stronger 18 volt and 20 volt models — Although the Dewalt Xtreme 12V 5-In-1 did rival the performance of a few higher voltage models.

drill - many drills and many chargers.
Many drills and many chargers.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Battery Life


After assessing drilling and driving performance, we next ranked and compared the battery performance of each of these cordless tools. We tested how efficiently each device used its battery power, alternating between driving in 16 screws and boring three 1" holes through a 2x12 with the spade bit until each product died. We awarded points based on the number of sets completed. We used the included batteries for the test or a comparably-sized battery from the manufacturer if the device was purchased as a tool-only option. We used the standard manufacturer's charger for the charging test to compare charge times.


Get a Rapid Charger
Many manufacturers and third parties produce rapid chargers for cordless tool batteries. If you frequently wait for your batteries to charge, consider getting a rapid charger to reduce your charging time.

Both the Milwaukee M18 FUEL and the Makita XFD14Z did exceptionally well in this metric. They completed nine cycles and a partial tenth before the battery was exhausted. We used a two amp-hour battery for both of these models for this test.

drill - we tested the battery life of each product with real-world...
We tested the battery life of each product with real-world applications.
Credit: Laura Casner

We also liked that both of these battery brands charged very quickly, with the Milwaukee taking 25 minutes and the Makita taking 23 minutes. The Kobalt XTR 24-volt 1/2-in Keyless Brushless Cordless Drill KXDD 1424A-03 offered incredible battery life also, however, it doesn't recharge as quickly as the top two models, requiring almost an hour and a half to achieve a full charge.


The DeWalt Atomic made it through a respectable seven full cycles and 12 screws into the 8th before dying. A completely dead battery took 68 minutes to fully recharge in our test. Showing nearly identical results, the Ryobi ONE+ HP 18V completed seven full cycles and 14 screws into the 8th round before running out of juice and could fully charge in 63 minutes.

drill - we liked drills that had good lighting and a belt clip.
We liked drills that had good lighting and a belt clip.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

It is worth mentioning that while the best 12 volts can't compete with the best 18 or 20 volts in terms of battery life, similarly rated 2 amp hour batteries charge relatively quickly in 12 volt models, and many of the compact 12 volt model drill driver kits include two batteries, meaning you will be able to handle most home and DIY tasks with little to no down time.

Batteries that are easy to swap are a sure way to keep you going on projects.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Convenience


The remaining contribution of each model's total score came from convenience. 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, and in the case of compact 5-in-1 models, the ease of changing and versatility of angle changing attachments.


When it comes to convenience, compact 5-in-1 12 volt models are unmatched. Their compact size, lighter weight, and angle changing attachments make working in tight or overhead spaces a breeze. While they may not be as powerful as the 12 or 20 volt models on the market, they can reach places larger more powerful models can not, and in the case of the top performing 12 volt, the Dewalt Xtreme 12V 5-In-1 Drill Driver Kit DCD703F1, they can sometimes rival the performance of more powerful models for shorter durations.

Angle changing heads in compact 5-in-1 models are unparalleled in their ability to work in tight spaces.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

While the Dewalt Xtreme 12V 5-In-1 Drill Driver Kit DCD703F1 proved to be a better drill and driver than both the BOSCH 12V Flexiclick 5-In-1 Drill Driver System GSR12V-300FCB22 and the Milwaukee M12 FUEL Installation Drill Driver Kit 2505-22, all three 5-in-1 12 volt models outshine every other model when it comes to convenience.

In addition to angle changing heads, every model accepts standard ¼ in hex shanks, so you'll have the same feel, and make use of the same bits you may already have for your bulkier higher voltage tools, and use them to reach normally unreachable spaces.

drill - these 1/4 inch hex shanks are pretty standard and convenient across...
These 1/4 inch hex shanks are pretty standard and convenient across most models.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Behind the 5-in-1 models, the Ridgid 18V Brushless Cordless Sub Compact 1/2 in. Drill/Driver R8701 and the Porter-Cable 20V Max 1/2 In. Drill/Driver Kit PCCK607LB stood out for being chock full of handy features. They have a maximum chuck size of ½", built-in LEDs, a belt clip, a battery level indicator, two different speeds, and neither is overly heavy or bulky.

The DeWalt DCD777C2, the Atomic DCD708C2, the Milwaukee M18, the Milwaukee M18 FUEL, the Makita XFD14Z, the Ryobi ONE+ HP 18V and the Craftsman CMCD700C1 all have a chuck that can expand up to ½".

drill - some models only accept bits up to 3/8&quot; in diameter. we&#039;ve noted...
Some models only accept bits up to 3/8" in diameter. We've noted those specs for you to see what limitations these tools have.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The Bosch 12V Max Drill/Driver, DeWalt DCD701F2 Xtreme 12V Max Brushless, and every 5-in-1 12-volt model tested all have chucks that are limited to ⅜". All of the devices in this group have two different speed/torque operating settings and integrated work lights, which are common features on most drills today. However, the light on the Craftsman CMCD700C1 also isn't our favorite — if you're in a pinch, it will work, but supplemental lighting will be appreciated.

drill
Credit: Matt Lighthart

Conclusion


Whether you are a professional looking for a top-tier, best of the best tool or a beginner looking for the bare minimum to get started, we believe this side-by-side comparison of the top drills can help you find the perfect tool to match your project requirements and budget.

Austin Palmer, Matt Spencer, and David Wise