Best Cordless Drills of 2021

Consumer Reports puts models from top brands, including DeWalt, Makita, Milwaukee, and more, through their paces

A Consumer Reports tester using a cordless drill to drive fasteners onto a dynamometer device
Photo: Brian Finke
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Shopping for a new cordless drill can be overwhelming. For starters, any given manufacturer may offer dozens of drills. Put them all together and you’re choosing among hundreds of options. (Then you might wonder, as you shop, whether you should get a brushless drill.)

If you haven’t bought a new cordless drill in the past decade, you’ll notice that they’ve gotten much lighter and more energy-efficient, thanks to advancements in lithium-ion battery technology.

“A more recent trend we’re seeing is interchangeable batteries that work among a brand’s entire suite of power tools,” says Courtney Pennicooke, CR's market analyst for cordless drills. “So you can use the same batteries for your drillchainsaw, and string trimmer. You can adjust the voltage to match the project you’re working on and save money by buying bare tools to complete your set.”

If drill performance is your priority, we’ve got you. We narrowed down the field to 47 of the most widely available models and ran them through a series of tests in our cordless drill lab, where we test on a dynamometer device that measures torque under different loads. We translate those readings into scores for power, speed, and run time.

Ten of our top cordless drills are listed here in alphabetical order. For more details on drill types, see our cordless drills buying guide, or jump right to our comprehensive ratings of cordless drills. 

Bosch PS32-02
Bosch PS32-02

    Bosch PS32-02

    CR’s take: This 12-volt drill is one of only three models with a brushless motor in the general-use category. That means the Bosch PS32-02 can deliver a tad more power than if it used a traditional “brushed” motor. It also means it will run longer on a charge and probably have a longer life span. The Bosch is highly rated for handling, too, because it weighs only 2 pounds, less than half the weight of a number of heavy-duty drills we tested. The slim pistol-grip profile makes it easy to wield but also prevents it from standing upright when not in use. The compact size lets you maneuver the drill into the most awkward of positions and accommodates a built-in LED light and bit storage.

    What’s included: Two 2-amp-hour batteries, five bits, a belt hook, a soft-sided case, and a three-year warranty.

    DeWalt DCD701F2
    DeWalt DCD701F2

      DeWalt DCD701F2

      CR’s take: This 12-volt general-use drill is light enough that you won’t tire when swapping out an overhead light fixture but forceful enough to bore holes in hardwood without bogging down—that’s what you get with a brushless motor. The DeWalt DCD701F2 ranks at the top for its power and speed scores, and its price earns it a CR Best Buy badge of honor.

       

      What’s included: Two 2-amp-hour batteries, a belt hook, a built-in LED light, a soft-sided case, and a three-year warranty.

      DeWalt DCD991P2
      DeWalt DCD991P2

        DeWalt DCD991P2

        CR’s take: This 20-volt heavy-duty brushless DeWalt DCD991P2 is one of our best performers, snagging top ratings for power, speed, and run time. But the hefty 5-amp-hour battery that produces all that power makes this drill heavy, unbalanced, and a bit awkward to handle. Weighing in at 4.7 pounds, it’s at least 1 pound heavier than most other heavy-duty drills and more than double the weight of some 12-volt models we test. Unlike most drills in our ratings, this one is equipped with three speed settings, providing a handy middle option for drilling into soft metals such as aluminum, when the slow speed required for steel isn’t enough and the fast speed for wood is too much.

        What’s included: Two 5-amp-hour batteries, a belt hook, an LED light, a hard-sided case, and a three-year warranty.

        Hilti SFD 2-A
        Hilti SFD 2-A

          Hilti SFD 2-A

          CR’s take: This unique Hilti SFD 2-A drill falls in our light-duty category because of the limitations of its fixed, ¼-inch chuck. That’s not a problem, though, if you’re not drilling large holes. Plus, it goes for half the price of many cordless drills with similar capabilities while still proving to be reasonably powerful. A built-in LED light helps illuminate your workspace, and the drill’s modest 2.2-pound weight minimizes strain and fatigue.

          What’s included: Two 2.6-amp-hour batteries, a belt hook, an LED light, a soft-sided case, and a 20-year warranty, which goes far beyond the standard three years for cordless drills.

          Kobalt (Lowe's) KXDD 1424A-03
          Kobalt (Lowe's) KXDD 1424A-03

            Kobalt (Lowe's) KXDD 1424A-03

            CR’s take: This dynamo can drill fast, garnering a top rating for speed. Its performance and great price earn this compact Kobalt KXDD 1424A-03 a CR Best Buy designation. The 24-volt heavy-duty brushless drill packs the power of drills costing twice as much, just keep in mind that it comes with a single battery instead of two, so you'll need to buy an extra or pause projects while you charge the battery.

             

            What’s included: One 2-amp-hour battery, a belt hook, an LED light, and a five-year warranty.

            Makita FD07R1
            Makita FD07R1

              Makita FD07R1

              CR’s take: This general-use Makita is the third brushless model in our general-use category. It weighs just over 2 pounds and stands barely 6 inches tall. Despite its slim profile, the Makita FD07R1 aced our power test and packs a serious punch, making it a solid alternative to some of the larger 18- and 20-volt models. It doesn’t rate as well as some others for run time, but the kit comes with two batteries and a rapid charger, which tops off an empty battery in an impressive 60 minutes.

              What’s included: Two 2-amp-hour batteries, a belt hook, an LED light, a hard-sided case, and a three-year warranty.

              Makita XFD12R
              Makita XFD12R

                Makita XFD12R

                CR’s take: This 18-volt heavy-duty brushless Makita XFD12R will drill plenty of holes fast. (It aced our speed test.) It also has the quickest battery charge time by far. The charger juices up a dead battery in a mere 30 minutes; most others in this category take about an hour. Also noteworthy is the drill’s form factor: A compact and well-balanced design makes it easy to handle while still maintaining the ability to tackle tough jobs. This Makita will perform well enough to serve as a tackle-any-task option for the average homeowner.


                What’s included: Two 2-amp-hour batteries, a belt hook, an LED light, a hard-sided case, and a three-year warranty.

                Milwaukee 2503-22
                Milwaukee 2503-22

                  Milwaukee 2503-22

                  CR’s take: If you're looking for a lighter drill that packs the power of a full-sized model, the Milwaukee 2503-22 offers the power, speed, and run time of models that are significantly bigger and heavier—it weighs only 3.2 pounds. It earns top marks for handling, in part because of the pistol grip and slim battery profile. 


                  What’s included: Two 2-amp-hour batteries, a belt hook, an LED light, a hard-sided case, and a five-year warranty.

                  Milwaukee 2805-22
                  Milwaukee 2805-22

                    Milwaukee 2805-22

                    CR’s take: Milwaukee is a favorite brand among contractors for a reason—it makes powerful tools with pros in mind. The Milwaukee 2805-22 drill is no exception. It has an astonishing amount of power, it drives fasteners quickly, and it offers great run time, thanks in part to massive 4-amp-hour batteries that are included. The trade-off is weight—at 4.8 pounds, it's among the heaviest models here, making it best for serious users.

                     

                    What’s included: Two 4-amp-hour batteries, a belt hook, an LED light, an auxiliary handle, a plastic case, and a five-year warranty.

                    Ryobi P1815
                    Ryobi P1815

                      Ryobi P1815

                      CR’s take: For drilling into wood, drywall, or various composite materials, the brushless Ryobi P1815 is more than adequate. It’s also one of the few high-scoring heavy-duty models under $200 in our ratings. It’s great for sinking screws, too, with 24 clutch settings to help you avoid damaging fasteners or other hardware. And while many 18-volt batteries take hours to reach a full charge, the 2-amp-hour battery on this drill takes a better-than-average 70 minutes. 

                      What’s included: Two 2-amp-hour batteries, a belt hook, an LED light, a soft-sided storage bag, and a three-year warranty.

                      47
                      Cordless Drills Rated
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                      Paul Hope

                      As a classically trained chef and an enthusiastic DIYer, I've always valued having the best tool for a job—whether the task at hand is dicing onions for mirepoix or hanging drywall. When I'm not writing about home products, I can be found putting them to the test, often with help from my two young children, in the 1860s townhouse I'm restoring in my free time.