The 7 Best Cordless Drills of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

The DeWalt Atomic 20V Max* is our top pick because it’s a compact yet versatile drill.

We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more.

Best Cordless Drills of 2023

Real Simple / Dera Burreson

If you’re the type of person who likes to attempt DIY home repairs, then it’s essential to have an effective cordless drill. Not only are these drills powerful and fast-acting, but they’re also extremely versatile, as they can be used for tasks ranging from hanging pictures to installing fans and everything in between. 

“A cordless drill offers high mobility,” says Brian Shaunfield, Lowe’s store manager serving Charlotte, NC. “They are perfect for projects in hard-to-reach spaces or jobs where you may not have easy access to a power outlet.” Additionally, he says, “cordless drills are also small and compact, making them easy to use over longer periods of time.” 

To find the best cordless drills on the market, we tested 33 options in our Lab, evaluating them based on qualities like performance, ease of use, battery life, and more. We also got expert insight from Shaunfield on what to look for when shopping for cordless drills—including what makes each feature stand out.

Best Overall Cordless Drill

DeWalt Atomic 20V Max* Brushless Compact 1/2 in. Drill/Driver Kit

DEWALT Atomic MAX DCD708C2 20-Volt Drill/Driver


Who it’s for: People who want a precise, comfortable drill that can handle screws of all sizes.

Who it isn’t for: People who want a heavy-weight drill.

This model from DeWalt is the best cordless drill we tested. It’s a lightweight and ultra-precise drill that still has enough power to handle larger jobs. We especially appreciate its versatility: No matter what kind of hole you’re trying to make and what you’re drilling into, this tool will do the trick. It can easily drive and sink screws of all sizes—even especially large lag screws—so you can rely on it for anything. 

Additionally, the keyless chuck impressively gripped all sizes of the bits that we tested without issue. Plus, the drill’s light build gives it a smooth balance and effortless trigger engagement. There’s also a handy LED light to help you see clearly as you work.

This pick helpfully comes with a bag to store all of its parts, and the battery pack is easily removable and installable as needed. Overall, this cordless drill is a comfortable, easy-to-use tool that ends up being a great value for the price. We think it’s a must-have for anyone looking to complete DIY projects around the house.

Price at time of publish: $135

Product Details:

  • Voltage: 20
  • Max RPM: 1650
  • Chuck Size: .5 inches
  • Settings: Not listed
  • Weight: 2.4 pounds
DeWalt Atomic 20V Max* Brushless Compact 1/2 in. Drill/Driver Kit

Real Simple / Dera Burreson

Best Budget Cordless Drill

Skil Pwrcore 12 Brushless 12V 1/2 Inch Cordless Drill Driver Kit

Skil PWR CORE DL529002 12-Volt Cordless Drill


Who it’s for: People who want a low-priced, compact drill to use for light or infrequent projects.

Who it isn’t for: People who want to use their drill for major tasks.

If you’re looking to keep your tool costs low, consider this budget-friendly cordless drill from Skil. It may not be the most powerful or heavy-duty cordless drill on the market, but it still has plenty to offer. It’s a durable, easy-to-control drill that comes in a compact size, and in our testing, we found that it has a long battery life and charges quickly. 

This cordless drill has a 1/2-inch chuck bit—unusual for drills of this voltage—that securely held all the bits and drivers throughout our testing. While this model works well for light projects, we found that it’s not quite as effective on bigger holes and might stall sometimes, making it best suited for the occasional quick job. Even though it doesn’t include a storage bag, we appreciate that it comes with a battery and a charger at its already low price, so you won’t need to buy those separately. All in all, this pick is ideal for homeowners and renters alike who need an affordable cordless drill for occasional use. 

Price at time of publish: $107

Product Details:

  • Voltage: 12
  • Max RPM: 1700
  • Chuck Size: .5 inches
  • Settings: 18
  • Weight: 1.3 pounds
SKIL PWR CORE 12-volt 1/2-in Brushless Cordless Drill

Real Simple / Dera Burreson

Best Splurge Cordless Drill

Makita 18V LXT Lithium Ion Brushless Cordless 1/2" Driver Drill Kit

Makita LXT XFD14T 18-Volt Drill/Driver Kit


Who it’s for: People who are willing to spend more on a high-quality drill to use for serious work.

Who it isn’t for: People who want a lightweight and compact drill.

For shoppers who are willing to spend a bit more on their tools, we recommend this cordless drill kit from Makita. It’s a sizable and super-powerful drill that’s suitable for serious work, making it ideal for heavy-duty or professional use. This drill features a two-speed transmission and a self-ratcheting chuck so you can grip it with ease despite its significant heft, as well as an LED light. But the real perk of this cordless drill is its power, which is enough to bore large holes at high speed with ease. In our testing, we also found that it has a very responsive trigger that makes it easy to change the speeds. 

Just keep in mind that this tool doesn’t have a hammer drill mode. Additionally, while the handle is very comfortable to hold, the entire drill is heavy enough to wear you out after all-day use. But if you’re looking for a serious drill, you’ll be happy with this one—especially since it comes with two batteries, a charger, a belt clip, an auxiliary handle, and a bag with plenty of pockets to store everything.

Price at time of publish: $309

Product Details:

  • Voltage: 18
  • Max RPM: 2100
  • Chuck Size: .5 inches
  • Settings: Not listed
  • Weight: 5.7 pounds
Makita 18V LXT Lithium Ion Brushless Cordless 1/2" Driver Drill Kit

Real Simple / Dera Burreson

Best Lightweight Cordless Drill

Bosch PS31 12 Volt Max 3/8 in. Cordless Drill/Driver Kit

Bosch PS31-2A 12-Volt Max Lithium-Ion 3/8-Inch 2-Speed Drill/Driver Kit with 2 Batteries, Charger and Case


Who it’s for: People who want a powerful drill that’s easy to hold for hours on end.

Who it isn’t for: People who want a drill that never stalls and charges quickly.

If you have small hands or know you’ll be using your drill for hours on end, consider a more lightweight option like this one from Bosch. It’s an easy-to-carry drill that you won’t get tired of holding, and it has two speed settings and a high torque so you can tackle numerous projects with ease. Despite its small size, this cordless drill still delivered an impressive performance in our tests. 

Throughout our testing process, we found that this drill drives screws easily at the right depth. It does stall a bit with larger bits and at higher speeds, but you can quickly toggle between the two options to make it work. The cordless drill’s trigger is easy to feather when you need a soft touch, too. This tool comes with LED lights, a canvas storage bag, and two batteries (although keep in mind that recharging the batteries takes a bit of time). At the end of the day, we think this is a great lightweight cordless drill for general household use with few limitations. 

Price at time of publish: $139

Product Details:

  • Voltage: 12
  • Max RPM: 1300
  • Chuck Size: .4 inches
  • Settings: 20
  • Weight: 2.5 pounds
Bosch 12-Volt Max 3/8-in Cordless Drill

Real Simple / Dera Burreson

Best Cordless Drill for Occasional Use

Ridgid 18V 1/2 in. Drill/Driver Kit

Ridgid R86001K Cordless Drill / Driver Kit


Who it’s for: People who want a reliable, simple drill to use every now and then.

Who it isn’t for: People who want a drill with lots of features and an ergonomic design.

Not planning on using your cordless drill very often? Then check out an option like this one from Bosch, which we found to be ideal for light and infrequent use. It’s a fairly compact, easy-to-use drill that may not have tons of bells and whistles, but works quite well as a simple, reliable tool with two speed options and a powerful motor.

In our testing, we found that this drill performed well at drilling holes of all sizes. It felt like a well-balanced tool, and it was easy to tighten when small bits fell out. We love this cordless drill’s LED light—it’s strong and illuminates exactly where you need it. Plus, the battery, charger, and storage case are included in the purchase. 

On the downside, the drill can stall when working on bigger holes, and the design isn’t as ergonomic as some other options out there (the battery release is widely set and the power switch is hard to move). Still, it’s a solid, low-priced drill that’s great for basic purposes.

Price at time of publish: $114

Product Details:

  • Voltage: 18
  • Max RPM: 1800
  • Chuck Size: .4 inches
  • Settings: Not listed
  • Weight: 2.6 pounds
Ridgid 18V Cordless 1/2 in. Drill/Driver Kit

Real Simple / Dera Burreson

Best Heavy-Duty Cordless Drill

Milwaukee M18 Fuel 1/2-in. Hammer Drill/Driver Kit

Milwaukee M18 FUEL 2904-22 Hammer Drill/Driver Set

Home Depot

Who it’s for: People who want a drill that can handle serious DIY projects and has many great features.

Who it isn’t for: People who want a simple, low-priced drill that’s lightweight and compact.

For a seriously powerful drill that you can use for the toughest projects, look no further than the Milwaukee M18 Fuel. It’s a pro-level drill that can tackle any material and hole. Despite its heavy-duty power, this drill is still relatively compact and comfortable to hold—another reason it’s a standout option on our list.

One of the best things about this drill is its ratcheting chuck, which we found to be durable and easy to use. There’s also the extra-long battery life, LED light, belt clip (for ambidextrous use), and even built-in safety features that prevent over-rotation and overheating as you work. The drill comes with a case and charger, too, as well as an extra battery and auxiliary handle to be used for high torque situations and large bits.

This is a fairly pricey drill, and because of its many features, it’s probably not the best pick for the average person. But if you’re a major DIY-er and doing high-stakes projects, we think it’s worth every penny.

Price at time of publish: $300

Product Details:

  • Voltage: 18
  • Max RPM: 2100
  • Chuck Size: .5 inches
  • Settings: Not listed
  • Weight: 4.9 pounds
Milwaukee Tools M18 FUEL 1/2" Hammer Drill/Driver Kit

Real Simple / Dera Burreson

Best Cordless Drill With Accessories

DeWalt Xtreme 12V Max* Brushless Cordless 5-in-1 Drill/Driver Kit

DEWALT Xtreme 5-in-1 DCD703F1 12-Volt Cordless Drill


Who it’s for: People who want a versatile, compact drill that comes with everything you’d need.

Who it isn’t for: People who want a drill that doesn’t stall when making bigger holes.

If you don’t want to have to buy accessories separately, opt for a cordless drill that comes with many of its own, like the DeWalt Xtreme. This pick comes with a battery, charger, belt hook, storage bag, and four different chucks (standard, offset, right angle, and driver bit), which means you’ll be able to drive and drill in awkward areas. 

This cordless drill is compact and lightweight, designed to reach tight spaces with ease, and the additional chucks make it an especially versatile option since it can access spaces from all different angles. The power is significant for a drill of this voltage, and while the drill isn’t the best at handling large spade bits, it works well for holes of sizes less than one inch. The drill also has an LED light, two speed settings, and a comfortable rubber overgrip on the handle, among other features.

While this drill isn’t perfect due to its stalling with the bigger holes, it’s still a great purchase for anyone who is looking for one that comes with handy accessories.

Price at time of publish: $219

Product Details:

  • Voltage: 12
  • Max RPM: 1500
  • Chuck Size: .4 inches
  • Settings: 15
  • Weight: 1.6 pounds
DEWALT Xtreme 5-In-1 12-volt Max 3/8-in Brushless Cordless Drill

Real Simple / Dera Burreson

Final Verdict

The DeWalt Atomic 20V Max* Brushless Compact 1/2 in. Drill/Driver Kit is our top pick, thanks to its lightweight feel, precise aim, and reasonable price. It’s a drill you can rely on for everyday projects time and time again.

Our Testing Process

To come up with these recommendations, we tested 33 cordless drills in our Lab. First, we weighed each drill with the battery pack installed and evaluated how it felt in our hands. We noted whether it felt balanced or not and if the handle was too thick or thin to comfortably hold. 

After evaluating the ergonomics of each model, we moved on to test the torque, aka its maximum power output. This test involved drilling into a piece of wood and evaluating whether the cordless drill stalled at all or powered through the surface. Next, we used drill bits to drill holes in wood, noting whether there were any features that improved or impaired the drill’s performance. We also evaluated how easy it was to adjust the speed by gently adjusting the trigger. Then, we tested each cordless drill on concrete, evaluating how long it took to drill five holes. We made sure to note if the drill felt appropriate for this task or if it was geared more toward light use. 

In addition to the above tests, we also evaluated the batteries and chargers of the drills we tested. Does the charger have a built-in fan to prevent overheating? Are the charging indicator lights easy to understand? Is the charging cord long enough? These are all questions that we kept in mind while reviewing each cordless drill’s battery. Finally, we considered whether the drill came with any means of storage, such as a case or bag. If so, we made sure that everything fit properly and considered any additional features (like space for extra accessories and included drill or driver bits).

Once our testing was complete, we rated each cordless drill for its performance, power, ease of use, features, and overall value. 

An individual using a drill

Real Simple / Dera Burreson

How to Shop for Cordless Drills Like a Pro


The voltage of cordless drills typically falls between 12 to 18 volts, and most options are enough “to meet most homeowners’ work needs,” says Shaunfield. People trying to do heavy-duty projects might want to opt for drills with a higher voltage, but “keep in mind that more voltage means the tool has a bigger, heavier battery,” he adds, making it more difficult to hold over longer periods of time. It’s also worth noting that a 20-volt battery is the same as an 18-volt battery.

Chuck Size

A drill’s chuck size refers to the maximum size of the bit that can be inserted into the drill. Sizes usually vary from around 3/8-inch to 1/2-inch, and the higher the number, the more versatile the drill will be since it means it can handle bits of all different sizes. Be prepared to pay more for a drill with a 1/2-inch chuck size, though.

An individual assembling a drill

Real Simple / Dera Burreson


Revolutions per minute (RPM), aka how fast the chuck can turn, is also an important factor to consider when shopping for cordless drills. Speeds typically range from 500 to 2000 RPM, and tools with higher RPMs are generally more expensive due to their extra power and efficiency.


Cordless drills can have up to 20 clutch settings, which are used to set the clutch to a certain torque range. The higher the number, the more torque you’ll get and the bigger fastener you can use, letting you better control the depth of the fastener you’re driving. You’ll want to be able to adjust easily between clutch settings, since you’ll use different ones for different projects and needs.


“As a cordless drill battery needs recharging periodically, you should compare the runtimes of batteries—or how long they'll be effective during use—by looking at amp-hour ratings,” says Shaunfield. “More amp-hours and more volts provide longer runtime.” Consider how often you plan on using your drill and how many hours on end you’ll need it in action when deciding which amp-hour rating is right for you.

A drill with a tool kit

Real Simple / Dera Burreson

More Cordless Drills to Consider

Ryobi 18V ONE+ HP Brushless Cordless 1/2 in. Drill/Driver Kit: This 18-volt drill has a lot going for it, including a powerful motor, an all-metal chuck, two batteries, and a comfortable grip, but we found that it stalls occasionally and drains power fast. 

Bosch 18V Compact 1/2 In. Drill/Driver Kit: Another 18-volt option, this low-priced drill has plenty of power and a “very sensitive” clutch, said our testers, allowing them to “drive screws flush without over-driving.” Still, it’s fairly basic overall (there’s no LED light or belt clip, for instance), and pretty heavy to hold. All in all, “this drill would be up for some larger tasks around the house, but maybe more than you need for hanging some pictures,” said our testers.

Questions You Might Ask

Is a brushed or brushless motor better?

That depends on your needs, according to Shaunfield. “A brushless motor offers better runtime with a lower vibration, which reduces fatigue,” he says. “They are also more powerful, require less maintenance, and have greater durability. 

Brushed motors “are typically more affordable but are less responsive and require a higher maintenance cost” in addition to usually being heavier and louder, Shaunfield adds.

What are the differences between a cordless drill and an electric screwdriver?

The main difference between the two is power, says Shaunfield. “Cordless drills tend to have higher-voltage batteries than electric screwdrivers, delivering greater levels of torque at higher speeds,” he says. “This means that cordless drills will allow you to drive larger screws into heavier-duty materials, like hardwoods and plastics.”

Take Our Word for It

This article was written by Rachel Simon, a writer for Real Simple, Better Homes & Gardens, The New York Times, and many other publications. To come up with this list, we tested 33 cordless drills in our Lab and evaluated each for factors such as battery life, performance, ease of use, and more. For expert insight, Rachel spoke to Brian Shaunfield, store manager at Lowe’s serving Charlotte, NC.

What Is Real Simple Selects?

Next to each product on this list, you may have noticed a Real Simple Selects seal of approval. Any product appearing alongside that seal has been vetted by our team—put through tests and graded on its performance to earn a spot on our list. Although we buy most of the products we test, sometimes we do get samples from companies if purchasing a product ourselves isn’t an option. All products go through the same rigorous process, whether they are purchased or sent by the company.

Love our recommendations? Check out more products that have earned the Real Simple Selects, from humidifiers to cordless vacuums.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles