Best cordless drills for home DIY projects

A full guide to help DIYers choose the best cordless drills for their home projects.

best cordless drills for DIY

by Chris Williams and Lily Anderson |
Updated on

A house feels somewhat incomplete without a drill. It’s like not having cutlery or a toilet. You need cutlery to eat; you need a toilet to do your business. Likewise, you need a drill for your DIY projects.

But choosing a drill – the right drill – is a minefield for the inexperienced. They all look the same but with different prices, so which ones are good and which ones are garbage? We have answered this question here and recommended the best DIY drills on the market. We’ve also answered several FAQs about cordless drills.

FAQs: What features matter in a cordless drill?

Best cordless drills: woman using cordless drill to put up furniture
©Photo: Getty Images

Torque: The more torque the better. It makes all drilling and screwdriving jobs easier and faster. It’s as simple as that.

Motor: This is crucial and largely comes down to brand. Established manufacturers such as Bosch, Ryobi, Worx, Draper, Einhell, DeWalt (to name a few) have cemented reputations for reliability and quality. Cheap unheard of brands available exclusively on Amazon certainly do not. They may be cheap but are so for a reason: they’re terrible.

Brushless is also an important factor. It refers to the type of motor a power tool has. A regular power tool motor uses carbon blocks called brushes. They conduct electrical current to drive the tool. It’s a good system but over time brushes wear out and need replacing. Brushless motors instead use electromagnets. In addition to not having brushes, brushless motors are more efficient, compact, and powerful. Therefore, if you are the kind of person to use your drill a lot, consider brushless.

Drill type: There are a few. Drill drivers can drive screws and drill holes in wood, metal and plastic. Combi drills add the ability to drill into masonry. Impact and rotary hammer drills are the bigger units you want for drilling proper-sized holes into concrete – good for bigger renovations.

Chuck size: The chuck is the end section of the drill that holds the bits. You will find they mostly come in 10mm or 13mm sizes. The former will be fine for most DIY jobs but if you want to drill bigger holes, say larger than about 20mm, get a drill with a 13mm chuck.

Brand cordless range: Batteries for cordless tools are normally interchangeable with other cordless tools in that brands range - Bosch’s Power For All and Worx’s PowerShare ranges, for example. When considering a drill, think about the other cordless tools in that brand’s range and whether it has the tools you want, or are likely to want in future. Buying batteries and chargers essentially commits you to a brand because switching is very expensive.

The best cordless drills for DIY

cordless drill drilling into wood
©Photo: Getty Images

Editor's pick

A high-quality, value for money, versatile, and lightweight drill aimed squarely at the DIY user. Boschu2019s Green range of tools has always been a favourite and the Universal Impact 18V drill continues that trend.

This unit bears a two-speed gearbox and 20 torque settings allowing more control and has useful touches such as the work light. It is part of the Bosch Power For All 18V range.

Specifications
Type Combi drill
Voltage 18V
Torque 34Nm
Weight 1.3kg
Chuck size 10mm
Brushless No
Max wood 30mm
Max steel 10mm
Max masonry 10mm
Max concrete No
Warranty 2 years, 3 years with registration

Best heavy duty DIY drill

Worx occupies a space somewhere between DIY and trade level. Its WX354 Slammer has a fantastic name. It also packs a huge amount of torque thanks to its brushless motor. Unlike most drills of this type, it can drill into concrete. Itu2019s bigger and heavier than the Bosch but it is very comfortable and performance between the two isnu2019t comparable.

At the price it is, the Slammer is also amazing value, given that it comes in a full kit with two batteries and charger in a hard case. We recommend the Slammer to those who want a serious DIY drill happy to tackle the big jobs, but can’t justify the price of a trade-level tool.

Specifications
Type Combi drill
Voltage 18V
Torque 60Nm
Weight 1.7kg
Chuck size 13mm
Brushless Yes
Max wood 40mm
Max steel 13mm
Max masonry 16mm
Max concrete 10mm concrete/13mm reinforced
Warranty 1 year trade; 3 years DIY with registration

Best budget cordless drill

If you want a drill for putting up the odd shelf, putting together flat-pack furniture, and other light-duty projects, this is your best bet. This drill from Black+Decker offers a reasonable 40Nm of torque, which via its two-speed gearbox, translates into effective performance. It has a 10mm chuck and can handle drilling into wood up to 25mm and steel or masonry up to 10mm. It comes with a small 1.5Ah li-ion battery that is light but does not give a large run time. The inclusion of a hard case is excellent. Read our full guide to sub-£100 cordless drills.

Specifications
Type Combi drill
Voltage 18V
Torque 40Nm
Weight 2.2kg
Chuck size 10mm
Brushless No
Max wood 25mm
Max steel 10mm
Max masonry 10mm
Max concrete No
Warranty 2 years

Best small drill

Milwaukee is a trade brand that is at the cutting edge of cordless power tools. Its 18V range is overkill for DIY jobs but its 12V range offers performance in a remarkably small package. With one of the two large-capacity 6.0Ah batteries, the FPD-602X only weighs 1.5kg, yet is capable of drilling decent-sized holes, including into masonry.

But it’s the quality that you really pay for. The Powerstate motor monitors battery cells to maintain battery health; Redlink Plus optimises performance when the tool is under load and protects against overload; and Milwaukee’s Red Lithium-Ion battery packs are arguably the best out there – fade-free and long lasting. Like the Worx Slammer, this is for the serious DIYers.

Specifications
Type Combi drill
Voltage 12V
Torque 44Nm
Weight 1.5kg
Chuck size 13mm
Brushless Yes
Max wood 35mm
Max steel 13mm
Max masonry 13mm
Max concrete No
Warranty 3 years trade with registration

Best for concrete

This is a different kind of drill. Instead of standard drill bits it uses a system called SDS Plus. It is a quick-fit system for the larger hammer drills. The SDS bits fit into a spring-loaded chuck. The DeWalt rotary hammer drill here is brushless, powerful, and robust.

DeWalt is a trade brand and its gear is meant for the building site. But when it comes to heavier equipment, it pays to get proper gear because heavy jobs demand heavy duty and it’s a waste of time trying to skimp on price when you just want something to do the job properly.

The DCH263 is ideal for big renovation projects with drill, impact, and chisel modes. The 5.0Ah batteries give good run time and the return you get for investing in DeWalt pays off in features such as the Active Vibration Control.

Specifications
Type Rotary hammer drill
Voltage 18V
Torque N/A
Weight 3.3kg
Chuck size SDS+
Brushless Yes
Max wood 30mm
Max steel 13mm
Max masonry 28mm
Max concrete 28mm
Warranty 1 year trade, 3 years with registration

Best 2-Piece Kit

Two-piece sets offer value for those that need multiple tools. The Draper kit here includes an impact driver in addition to the combi drill. The impact driver is the perfect weapon for driving lots of screws and fasteners in quick succession.

The batteries are 3.0Ah and 4.0Ah units that will give good run time and the tool bag is water repellent so you can leave it practically wherever the job is without concern. Draper has a good reputation for quality and value and this kit reflects that.

Specifications
Type Combi drill and impact driver
Voltage 18V
Torque 60Nm
Weight 1.7kg
Chuck size 13mm
Brushless Yes
Max wood 35mm
Max steel 13mm
Max masonry 13mm
Max concrete No
Warranty 2 years

Tips

Before buying a drill, think carefully about what you want it for. If all you need is a drill for putting up a shelf or other light tasks, there is no point buying the Worx Slammer. The Black+Decker drill will suit you fine.

Conversely, don’t be tight if you need something to put in the hard yards. If you haven’t worked it out already, it is far cheaper in the long run to spend a bit more upfront for a quality tool designed exactly for the job in hand.

Speaking of the job in hand, make sure that you use the drill within its parameters of ability. Don’t overstress your drill. Doing so is taking the shortcut to tool failure.

When using a drill let the drill do the work. Press with your hand that is on the grip – do not place your other hand over the rear of the drill and push harder. The rear of the drill is where the drill expels hot air. Covering it leads to overheating and damage.

When not using your drill, disconnect the battery. Leaving batteries connected to drills while not in use still drains them and you may return to a flat battery next time.

Get yourself some quality drill bits. Luckily, we have a guide on that topic too. Though, our overall pick is the Bosch set below. It's a great starter kit with all the essential bits you need:

Best drill bit set
Bosch X-Line 34-Piece Screwdriver And Drill Bit Set
Price: $33.00

Read next:

The best pressure washers for home use

The best multi tool for DIY

The best cordless screwdrivers

Lily Anderson is a writer at Bauer Media, where she reviews products for titles such as Heat, Closer, What's The Best and Mother&Baby.

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