Best Cordless Drills for $100 or Less

CR’s expert picks from Craftsman, DeWalt, Hilti, and More

One of the best inexpensive cordless drills.
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If you want a cordless drill to hang some shelves or fix a wobbly door hinge, there’s no reason to spend more than $100.

At Consumer Reports we’ve tested dozens of cordless drills, using a machine called a dynamometer to help us calculate run time, power, and speed. And though we find that the very best drills tend to be the most expensive, for most folks a lesser drill will be just fine. 

“The trick is to know when and where to compromise,” says John Banta, who oversees CR’s drill testing.

Banta’s first tip if you’re on a tight budget is to choose a drill that rates highly in our speed and/or power tests but maybe not as well for run time.

“For any drill that comes with two batteries, as many do, run time isn’t critical because you can always charge one battery while you’re using the other,” he says. An inexpensive drill that scores well in power and speed tests can do most of the same tasks as a pricier model, just for a shorter period of time between battery charges.

If you’re new to the world of cordless drills, our buying guide is a great place to start. Or you can jump to our comprehensive ratings of 35 models.

Here are five of the best cordless drills from our ratings, listed in alphabetical order, that typically retail for $100 or less.

Type: Heavy-Duty
Craftsman CMCD710C1
Craftsman CMCD710C1

    Craftsman CMCD710C1

    CR’s take: This simple model from Craftsman is quick to drill holes and drive screws, and it’s powerful enough for most tasks. It comes with only a single battery, but you should be able to complete moderate projects, such as building a bookcase, on a single charge. 

    Type: General-Use
    DeWalt DCD701F2
    DeWalt DCD701F2

      DeWalt DCD701F2

      CR’s take: This DeWalt cordless drill offers a lot of power and speed for the money. It comes with two lithium-ion batteries and a charger, plus it includes a generous three-year warranty. It also has nice little extras, including an integrated LED work light and a belt hook. It’s lightweight, about 2.5 pounds, and is quieter than most cordless drills.

      Type: Light-Duty
      Hilti SFD 2-A
      Hilti SFD 2-A

        Hilti SFD 2-A

        CR’s take: This drill has a fixed, ¼-inch chuck, which isn’t a problem if you’re not drilling large holes. It’s pretty average when it comes to run time, but that’s okay because it comes with two batteries, so you can always keep one charging while you work. A built-in LED light helps you see what you’re doing, and the drill’s modest 2.2-pound weight makes it easy to wield. It comes with a 20-year warranty, which goes far beyond the usual three years for cordless drills.

        Type: Heavy-Duty
        Skil DL529303
        Skil DL529303

          Skil DL529303

          CR’s take: This 20-volt Skil does fast work of drilling holes and driving fasteners. It’s also light and comfortable to hold, and weighs a little over 3 pounds. It comes with only one Li-ion battery but charges up very quickly, and it has an LED work light and a belt hook. This model comes with a generous five-year warranty.

          Type: Light-Duty
          Worx WX176L
          Worx WX176L

            Worx WX176L

            CR’s take: This unique drill falls in our light-duty category because of the limitations of its fixed ¼-inch chuck. But it blurs the lines because it’s powered by a 20-volt battery, which would otherwise place it in the heavy-duty class. It’s a one-off design with two chucks, allowing you to load two bits at once and easily switch from drilling to driving by rotating the wheel at the business end of the tool. The dual chuck might be more of a liability than an asset for some. The mechanism makes the tool a little unwieldy and difficult to maneuver in tight spaces—say, inside a sink cabinet—which might be why you’d want a light-duty drill in the first place.

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            Cordless Drills Rated
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            Perry Santanachote

            A multidimensional background in lifestyle journalism, recipe development, and anthropology impels me to bring a human element to the coverage of home kitchen appliances. When I'm not researching dishwashers and blenders or poring over market reports, I'm likely immersed in a juicy crossword puzzle or trying (and failing) to love exercise. Find me on Facebook