Finding the best cordless drill for your needs can seem daunting when walking down the power tool aisle at the local home center or opening your web browser to shop online. An endless array of options in different colors and sizes confuses what should otherwise be a simple process.
Add in the fact that there is no standardized way that tool brands must test and advertise their tools, and it’s understandable why finding the best drill isn’t always easy.
That’s where we come in. We rigorously and independently lab-test all drills in our tool fleet in a standardized manner, simplifying the buying process so you can focus on building and creating, not spending hours researching spec sheets and relying upon advertiser claims.
Below, we highlight the class-leading power drills that secured a spot on our best cordless drills shortlist. Be sure to also check out the full reviews for each drill and our global drill test rankings for all lab test results and editorial commentary.
We recommend purchasing a drill that includes a hammer drill functionality in most scenarios. Nearly all drills come in a standard drill and hammer drill version. A hammer drill’s added versatility is handy and typically only costs $10 to $20 more. There are select instances when a brand’s hammer drill version meaningfully increases the footprint and weight, in which case a non-hammering version may be more suitable.
Best cordless drills
- Milwaukee M18 Fuel 2904-20 Hammer Drill
- Dewalt 20V Max XR DCD805 Hammer Drill
- Dewalt 20V Max XR DCD800
- Milwaukee M12 Fuel 3404-20 Hammer Drill
- Dewalt 20V Atomic DCD799 Hammer Drill
- Milwaukee M18 2801-20
- Dewalt 12V Xtreme DCD706 Hammer Drill
- Ryobi 18V One+ PSBHM01 Hammer Drill
Milwaukee M18 Fuel 2904-20
4.67 / 5 ⭐️’s
Includes (2) M18 Red Lithium XC 5Ah battery
The Milwaukee M18 Fuel 2904-20 Hammer Drill is the best cordless drill in our test fleet for performance in the most demanding tasks. It offers all the essential features you’d expect in a flagship power drill, including blazing-fast drilling and driving speeds, solid build quality, and an extended warranty.
Impressively, the 2904-20 sustains high RPMs under a heavy load, as evidenced in our drilling speed tests with the drill launching chips from the stacked 2×6 lumber. In hammer mode, the 2904-20 impacts at 33,000.0 blows per minute (BPM). This exceptionally high BPM explains why the hammering mode meaningfully improved drilling speeds in our testing compared to running the same test in the standard drill action mode.
The 2904-20 is equally impressive at driving big lag bolts and various other structural screws, resulting in one of our test fleet’s fastest results.
For a drill with this much power, safety features should be included to reduce the risk of wrist injuries when binding up. The 2904-20 includes a high-quality auxiliary arm and Autostop kickback control technology. Milwaukee’s Autostop algorithmic technology quickly stops the drill once binding, and we found it works well in practice to avoid wrist injuries.
As with any power tool, it’s not without its downsides. Notably, the 2904-20 has a large footprint and is heavy, though the same can be said for all powerful hammer drills.
The combined performance and feature set make it ideal for use on the job site or for prosumers who appreciate a high-end drill’s speed and power advantages.
Dewalt 20V Max XR DCD805
4.25 / 5 ⭐️’s
Includes (2) Max XR 20V 2Ah battery
Consider the Dewalt 20V Max XR DCD805 Hammer Drill if you want a flagship drill from team yellow.
Let’s get one essential point out of the way first: The DCD805 easily matches the Milwaukee 2904-20 performance under load, helping the DCD805 take the crown as the best 20V cordless drill. Choosing between the two isn’t a matter of picking the one that is fractions of a second faster in our speed and RPM tests.
Both offer flagship performance at the upper range of their limits and include auxiliary arms in the box. The DCD805 doesn’t provide a kickback control feature or an auxiliary arm in the box.
However, the DCD805 is considerably lighter when kitted with a 2.0Ah or 5.0Ah battery. The weight difference is noticeable in repetitive tasks, leading to fewer instances of hand fatigue and improved portability.
Otherwise, the two drills are similar and equally well built, though Dewalt offers a shorter three-year tool warranty.
Choosing between the two may come down to brand allegiance and the preferred battery platform.
Dewalt 20V Max XR DCD800
3.91 / 5 ⭐️’s
Includes (2) Max XR 20V 2Ah battery
The Dewalt 20V Max XR DCD800 is the sister drill of the Dewalt DCD805, and it offers the same flagship performance, though the DCD800 doesn’t include a hammer drill.
We typically recommend buying hammer drills in the flagship drill category since most models cost negligibly more than their non-hammering counterparts, offer more drilling versatility, and aren’t much heavier or bulkier. However, the DCD800 bucks that trend with a smaller footprint than its hammer drill sister.
The DCD800 is exceptionally compact for a powerful 18V drill with a shorter tip-to-tail length that helps it fit sufficiently well into tight areas. It also sheds some weight. Both improved design features are possible since a hammering mechanism isn’t stuffed into the head.
Choosing between the two Dewalt models ultimately comes down to whether you need the versatility of an added hammer drill feature and if the improved footprint and weight matter.
Milwaukee M12 Fuel 3404-20
4.45 / 5 ⭐️’s
Includes (1) M12 Red Lithium XC 4Ah, (1) M12 Red Lithium CP 2Ah battery
The Milwaukee M12 Fuel 3404-20 offers unmatched performance in the 12V class. While it won’t take the speed and torque crown from more powerful 18V power drills, the 3404-20 is incredibly powerful compared to the competition.
It blew away the 12V test fleet class in our drilling speed and driving speed tests, which are designed in a standardized manner to test each drill’s upper range. The 3404-20 is the only 12V model in our test fleet that completed driving large structural screws without dropping to the low setting for more torque.
Performance aside, the 3404-20 uses the same design language as some of the best Milwaukee impact drivers. The all-important tip-to-tail length is short, helping it squeeze well into tight corners and other restricted spaces. The 3404-20 is also incredibly light in its bare form and when kitted with a battery, eliminating the risk of hand fatigue in all but the most repetitive and prolonged jobs.
One downside is that the hammer drill isn’t highly effective since the BPM is comparably low. We expect upwards of a 20.0% speed improvement when drilling stacked 2x6s in the hammer drill mode. The 3404-20’s hammer drill improved drilling speed by a lackluster 10.9%. This performance would be more of a detractor if it wasn’t already a fast 12V drill.
Combining all the features, pros, and cons, the 3404-20 is perfectly balanced for use around the home. It’s also surprisingly affordable, which is rare for Milwaukee’s flagship Fuel-branded tools. Woodworkers needing a drill to reach tight corners, such as inside drawer boxes, will find the 3404-20 can’t be beaten. It is also excellent for professionals who need a dedicated light to medium-duty drill to complement their more powerful 18V drill.
Dewalt 20V Atomic DCD799
4.02 / 5 ⭐️’s
Includes (2) Max 12V 3Ah battery
The Dewalt 20V Atomic DCD799 Hammer Drill balances performance, size, weight, and price, making it most suitable for homeowners and woodworkers who want a mid-tier drill that performs well.
Dewalt’s Atomic tools are designed to be compact and powerful, all of which define the DCD799. It is one of the most compact 18V hammer drills we’ve seen, helping it squeeze well into tight areas for an 18V drill and reducing its weight.
Notably, the comparably small footprint and lower weight don’t come at the expense of lackluster drilling performance. The DCD799 drills reasonably fast at the top of its range, and the hammer drill improves drilling speeds by 19.2%, on par with the speed improvement we expect from an efficient hammering functionality.
The primary downside is that the chuck’s plastic sleeve housing isn’t as premium as flagship hammer drills that opt for knurled metal, though the chuck is effective and frustration-free. The DCD799 also doesn’t have the same muscle as other high-end drills. It’ll finish demanding drilling and driving tasks, as we experienced throughout testing. It just doesn’t do so blazingly fast.
Milwaukee M18 2801-20
3.90 / 5 ⭐️’s
Includes (1) M18 Red Lithium CP 2Ah battery
Consider the Milwaukee M18 2801-20 to get into the coveted Milwaukee ecosystem at a competitive price. There aren’t many Milwaukee drills at this price point, but the limited choice is acceptable when reviewing the 2801-20’s performance and build quality.
The 2801-20 shined most in our weight and driving speed tests. It’s one of the lightest 18V drills in our test fleet, closely approaching the bare weight of more compact 12V drills.
The weight is all the more impressive when considering the aforementioned driving speed performance. In our testing, the 2801-20 finished big structural screws and lag bolts at the top of its range reasonably fast, averaging 3.8 seconds per GRK RSS fastener. For context, the fastest and strongest drills average approximately 2.0 to 2.5 seconds.
The 2801-20’s build quality also surpasses comparably-priced alternatives. The knurled metal chuck sleeve feels premium, and the chuck locks onto drill bits for frustration-free operation.
But you will want to look elsewhere if you frequently drill cement and other masonry since the 2801-20 doesn’t include a hammer drill functionality.
Dewalt 12V Xtreme DCD706
4.16 / 5 ⭐️’s
Includes (2) Max 12V 2Ah battery
The Dewalt 12V Xtreme DCD706 Hammer Drill is a solid pick for DIYer and woodworker versatility. It hangs easily off a jeans pocket or practically disappears in a sturdy tool belt thanks to the incredibly low weight.
It also casts a thin shadow viewed from the front or behind and is moderately short from tip to tail. This footprint helps it drill easily under obstructed top edges, such as shelves, and in tight areas.
However, the DCD706 drills and drives slowly at the top of its range, though the hammering functionality adds versatility and speed when drilling masonry and thick lumber. Like some other drills in the 12V class, the DCD706 finishes demanding tasks, but you’ll have to drop to the low setting for additional torque output.
Also consider that the DCD706 has a 3/8-inch chuck that doesn’t accept some standard larger-size drill bits, though the best drill bits with a 1/4-inch hex shank solve some of these problems.
Ryobi 18V One+ PSBHM01
3.55 / 5 ⭐️’s
Includes (1) One+ 18V 1.5Ah battery
The Ryobi 18V One+ PSBHM01 Hammer Drill is perfect if most 12V drills are underpowered for your needs but you still want a compact and lightweight drill for a budget price. The PSBHM01 balances these performance, size, and price characteristics better than most competing models in our test fleet, making it ideal for price-conscious homeowners.
The PSBHM01 will tackle demanding drilling and driving tasks in a pinch but didn’t deliver impressive speed results in our lab tests. It doesn’t have the muscle to sustain high RPMs under heavy loads. But dropping a gear to the low setting finishes most tasks, such as boring 1/2 inch and wider holes and when driving lag bolts.
Otherwise, the PSBHM01 efficiently finishes everyday tasks around the home, mainly consisting of drilling and driving in the middle of its range and lower. Plus, it includes a brushless motor, beating out many cheap competitors that opt for dated brushed motors that are less efficient.
The Milwaukee M18 Fuel 2903-20 is powerful and well-built. However, it doesn’t include a hammer drill, like the Milwaukee 2904-20, which we recommend opting for when deciding on the best 18V cordless drill for your needs.
The Makita 18V LXT XPH14Z Hammer Drill is the best Makita drill for team blue fans wanting contractor-grade performance. However, the Dewalt DCD805 and Milwaukee 2904-20 picked on this list offer slightly better drilling and driving performance in a lighter and more svelte footprint.
The Makita 18V LXT XPH12Z Hammer Drill offers mid-tier performance. However, it is bulkier, heavier, and more costly than competing drills from other brands.
Dewalt’s Atomic lineup fantastically balances performance and size, including the Dewalt 20V Atomic DCD709 Hammer Drill. Our Dewalt Atomic pick, the DCD799, is a newer generation of the same drill with improved performance and a shorter tip-to-tail length. The DCD709 is a solid alternative to save some money compared to the DCD799.
The Milwaukee M12 Fuel 3403-20 is nearly the same drill as our pick, the Milwaukee 3404-20. The critical difference is that the 3404-20 is more versatile with hammer drilling capabilities.
The Milwaukee M18 2607-20 Hammer Drill impresses with solid performance and build quality that is unmatched at its price point. Still, the Milwaukee 2801-20 picked on our list is better for most people with its shorter tip-to-tail length and lighter weight. Opt for the 2607-20 if you need a budget-priced hammer drill in the Milwaukee ecosystem.
The Ryobi 18V One+ PBLHM101 Hammer Drill and Ryobi 18V One+ PBLDD01 are solid budget options for homeowners. However, the Ryobi PSBHM01 picked on this list is better for most people with its more compact footprint, lower weight, and included hammer drill.
Comparing the best drills
We detail below how our best drill picks performed across a range of essential lab tests, including drilling speed, driving speed, weight, and warranty lengths.
Drilling speed is one of the most crucial performance features for heavy-duty drills used on the job site and for demanding tasks around the home. The speed at which a drill can complete our drilling tests reveals the combination of each drill’s torque and RPM output.
However, drilling speed isn’t critical for most homeowners looking for a quality drill to complete most tasks around the home. There are few instances where everyday drilling and driving tasks will push a drill to its limits. Nearly all drills finish these tasks efficiently.
So, while our drilling speed test results should be compared across models considered, this performance is more important for professionals.
The table below includes the total Drilling Time and Average Drilling time in our test of boring five 1/2-inch holes in three stacked 2x6s.
A video of each drill’s performance is included in each drill’s review, and you can check out our drill drilling speed test results to compare performance for all models tested.
|Drill||Drilling Speed Total Time (sec.)||Drilling Speed Avg. Time (sec.)||Global Rank*|
*18 models tested
Many refer to drills as drill drivers, which makes sense when you consider that drills are designed with clutch settings that allow you to customize the torque output for a given driving task, along with drill modes that disengage the clutch for unfettered torque output when drilling or when driving big fasteners.
We run each drill in the test fleet through a standardized driving speed test, which includes driving five GRK RSS fasteners into stacked 2x6s. We record the driving time for each fastener in forward and reverse, not including downtime between finishing each screw.
A video of each drill’s driving performance is included in each review. Check out our drill driving speed test results to compare performance for all models tested.
|Drill||Driving Speed Total Time (sec.)||Driving Speed Avg. Time (sec.)||Global Rank*|
*18 models tested
We measure the weight of each drill on a commercial-grade scale to understand the size, portability, and potential for hand fatigue. We also measure the kitted weight with a battery, most commonly with a 2Ah and 5Ah battery attached.
Weight is critical to understand since heavy drills are hard to use, cause fatigue with prolonged use, and are generally bulky, limiting their portability and tight areas they can fit into. In almost all scenarios, we’ll be biased toward recommending the lightest drill that gets the job done.
But consider that the strongest drills are typically the heaviest with big footprints. This size makes sense for most professionals that demand performance. Weekend warriors and DIYers may be better off focusing on lower-weight options since jobs around the home won’t frequently hit the top performance range for most drills. So, most people in this audience might as well focus on weight to find the most nimble, easy-to-use drill that does the job.
Our individual drill reviews include additional weight details, such as the weight with different Ah-capacity batteries attached. You can also check out our drill weight test results to compare all models tested.
|Drill||Bare Weight (lbs)||Global Rank*|
*18 models tested
We don’t currently test drill durability and longevity in a standardized manner. Instead, reviewing the tool and battery warranties offered provides a glimpse into the build quality and durability of the best cordless power drills.
The warranty length that each manufacturer offers implies how durable their tools are. For example, a budget power tool manufacturer won’t offer an extended warranty if they know their tools will frequently break down before the warranty expires.
Otherwise, manufacturers risk losing profits if they promise longer durability than what can be expected with regular use.
Generally speaking, a tool warranty of three-plus years is exceptional. Battery warranties lasting two to three years are best-in-class.
|Drill||Tool Warranty (years)||Battery Warranty (years)|
|Milwaukee 2904-20||5||2-3 (depends on model)|
|Milwaukee 3404-20||5||2-3 (depends on model)|
|Milwaukee 2801-20||5||2-3 (depends on model)|
|Ryobi PSBHM0||3||90 day|
Best cordless drill by usage
Several picks on our list are the best cordless drill for home use, including the Dewalt DCD799, Milwaukee 3404-20, Dewalt DCD706, Milwaukee 2801-20, and Ryobi PSBHM01.
Each of these drills is competitively priced and more balanced than flagship drills that are heavy and bulky and are intended for use on the job site. More compact and lighter drills are ideal for use around the home since they are portable and user-friendly.
Importantly, all of our suggested drills for home use have sufficient muscle to finish demanding drilling and driving tasks in a pinch. However, the 12V models bog down more frequently and require dropping to the low setting for added torque in certain situations.
Professional contractors and construction workers should consider the Dewalt DCD805 and Milwaukee 2904-20 for the best battery-powered drill. Both flagship models offer class-leading power and speed within each brand’s 18V platform. Both come with an auxiliary arm to help reduce the risk of injury.
Some trade workers may also want to carry a dedicated light-duty drill in their tool belts since all three of our above recommendations are heavy and bulky. In this case, the Milwaukee 3403-20 is an easy recommendation with its unmatched performance in such a compact footprint.
The best drill for woodworking depends on the required power output and size constraints. Nearly all woodworking tasks can be completed with a 12V drill, which is an ideal voltage for woodworking since these models tend to be highly compact. Consider the Milwaukee 3404-20 and Dewalt DCD706.
The Dewalt DCD799 and Dewalt DCD800 are good options for a power upgrade in a sufficiently compact footprint for an 18V/20V drill.
The best drills for beginners offer a good balance of weight, size, and performance. Buying a drill that is overly powered can lead to potential injuries if you do not know how to operate a drill correctly.
The Milwaukee 2801-20, Ryobi PSBHM01, and Dewalt DCD706 are all excellent, user-friendly drills.
An 18V hammer drill is necessary for drilling cement and other masonry efficiently. The Milwaukee 2904-20l and Dewalt DCD805 are standout options with high hammering rates and versatility outside drilling masonry.
A rotary SDS hammer drill is a better fit if you frequently drill masonry.
Most powerful cordless drill
We run each drill in our test fleet through rigorous tests to understand how each tool performs at the top of its range. These firsthand results provide a clear picture of what drill takes the podium position as the most powerful drill.
Based on our testing, the four below models are the strongest drills we’ve tested in several driving speed and drilling speed tests. We’ve included several rankings from our lab test highlighting each drill’s speed and power under heavy loads to simplify comparing the most powerful cordless drills.
|Drill||Drilling Speed Rank*||Driving Speed Rank*|
*18 models tested
All of the strongest drill models sustain high RPM output when pushed to their limits. Their brute-force performance was most evident in our drilling speed tests, where each model quickly bored through stacked dimensional lumber and launched chips out of the holes to avoid bogging down.
While the highest torque cordless drills are exceptionally powerful and fast, they might not fit everyone. We suggest reviewing our drilling speed test results, driving speed test results, and our global drill rankings to find the best drill for your needs. Buying one of the best impact drivers may also be savvy for a dedicated driving power tool that is lighter weight and easier to use.
Best drill brand
Dewalt and Milwaukee are the best drill brands for most people. Both offer a range of drills at a wide range of price points in different sizes and performance tiers.
Milwaukee drills are worthy of their widespread admiration among professionals with the combination of build quality and leading performance offered. Milwaukee also offers a five-year best-in-class tool warranty on most of its drills and two or three years on its M12 and M18 Li-Ion batteries, depending on the model.
Dewalt tools are equally popular with trade workers for the performance offered. However, they tend to be less expensive than Milwaukee, making Dewalt drills a better option to save some money.