Finding the best cordless power drill to fit your needs. We will discuss the pros, cons, and what we at Tool King look for in a tool. So many options are available in the market today for cordless power drills. When looking for a drill finding it’s main use case should be the main deciding factor. Often times most DIYERS and professionals get the biggest, and most expensive drill with the mentality it will do it all. While this is true to an extent nothing beats having the right power drill.
I have picked out some of the best drills currently available for examples in this article. I based them on performance, price and durability. The right tool isn’t always the most expensive one and on the other hand sometimes you get what you pay for.
Things To Consider
Some key factors to consider while searching for a new cordless drill are size, power, and function. Researching will give a better idea of what tool is right for you. Tools are an investment and anytime an investment is made all options should be considered. Adding to this by investment I don’t mean just monetary, likely this new tool will be apart of your collection for many years. So making sure the drill performs all key functions needed is paramount.
Function and value are two other major things to consider when looking at a new tool. Do you need to spend $300 on a drill? Do you need 12V of power or 20V? Do you want to drill in one ecosystem (e.g. Milwaukee, DeWalt, Makita)? These are some questions you should ask yourself. Finding the drill that meets your needs closely, while shrinking the gap between function and value.
The current market for drills is gigantic. Fully loaded with unlimited combinations of power, versatility, adaptability, and value.
The Cordless Eco-system
For years I purchased many power tools that were not the same brand or utilized the same batteries. This was a huge mistake and waste of money on my part. I had over 10 different batteries that only worked in their specific tool. When you have batteries laying with varying amounts of charge money is wasted. Lithium ion batteries for example when stored fully charged the life-cycle of the battery dwindles. Essentially I had money just burning away on my shelf not being utilized.
Having multiple tools that except the same battery is a great way to negate this. Not only does it save you money on quantity of batteries it also saves from buying specific batteries for each tool. Three or four batteries that fit in multiple tools keeps cost of ownership down greatly. Not to mention the time savings from trying to locate which battery you need and what charger it takes.
DeWalt, Milwaukee, Makita, and Black & Decker are all examples of companies that have great power tool Eco-systems. One battery handles saws, drills, screwdrivers, flashlights, and a multitude of other tools. Milwaukee for example has 180 tools that fit their 18V battery packs. I don’t mind sometimes having to pay a little more on a tool if it means I can use the same batteries I already own.
Forward thinking on which tools you will purchase in the future should help you decide which Eco-system is right for you. Saving money on batteries and having less chargers sitting on my bench is a positive thing for me. Sometimes I do need a specific tool that’s not in my main Eco-system. In most cases this is a specialty tool such as a pipe bender. This is unfortunate but it does happen.
Size does matter when it comes to cordless drills. Not every job requires the biggest and most powerful tool available. Think about repeatedly lifting and holding up a 20 oz pop bottle vs a gallon milk jug. I can lift and hold a 20 oz much easier and for longer periods than a gallon jug. Some jobs take hours to complete so having a drill that fits you well speeds up productivity. Smaller more compact options give the benefit of fitting into tighter spaces(between wall stubs, inside cupboards). Having a drill fit into the work-space and being light in weight really makes life easier. When I’m doing tasks I want to use the most comfortable, light weight, and compact drill.
Decide which jobs your new drill will perform the most. For example drilling holes in 2×4 boards, drywall, and screwing on cabinet doors won’t require a giant 18V drill with hammering. On the other hand some jobs require great amounts of power. However needing great power doesn’t mean 18V is the only option. Newer 12V drills can out power older 18V & 20V options.
The advancing in drill technology over the years has granted powerful and versatile 12V options. For example the Milwaukee M12 2504 is a 12V hammer drill that’s incredibly compact and doesn’t sacrifice power. This drill has a 1/2″ chuck it’s 6.6″ long, 2.1″ wide, and 7.8″ tall. Weighing in at a mere 2.3 pounds. This is an excellent example of power, versatility, and value. This tool will drill through 2×4, 4×4, and 6×6 boards with ease. Add in the hammering functionality allows for drilling into concrete, and the screwdriver setting for screwing. This is what I mean when I say function and value. This tool hits both points exceptionally well and really is the total package.
Bigger options available if you want full power while both weight and size don’t matter. Options like the Milwaukee M18 2804 fuel and the DeWalt 20v Max DCD991P2 fit the bill. The Milwaukee weighs 3.2 pounds, while the DeWalt DCD991p2 weighs in at 4.6 pounds. Neither Milwaukee nor DeWalt list the official dimensions of either tools. Both tools feature a 1/2″ chuck and 3 drilling speeds. Along with hammer mode for masonry, adjustable clutch for fasteners, and a work light. As you can see the more compact tools have a greatly reduced weight. I will say it again don’t be swayed by the small compact size, these smaller drills are powerful.
How Much Power
My younger self always went for the highest voltage drill I could get my hands on. I stayed with this mentality for many years until I got my hands on an M12 from Milwaukee. This tool changed my whole perception of size and weight. When working on long projects or using a tool for a full work shift weight and size are huge factors. Especially when working overhead or needing to reach from a ladder.
I couldn’t believe the power that came from a tool that was less than half the size, and weight of the 18V DeWalt I lugged around for years. I was so determined to see if it had the same torque as my trusty DeWalt. Hooking both drills together by their chucks to a length of hexagon bar was my only way of testing this. The results were the 12V over-powered the 18V, to be fair the 18V was 5 years older. From that point on I decided to use a 12V Milwaukee as my daily driver.
This article might seem like I’m trying to convince you to go 12V over 18V/20V. All voltages of tools are great and required for their respective purposes. However I want to enlighten others that just because the tool is 12V DOES NOT mean it can’t handle big tasks.
How Do They Stack Up
Don’t Kneel To Brand Loyalty
Don’t put on the blinders just yet we have a few points to touch on. After speaking about the lower cost of ownership by getting tools in their respective Eco-systems. Make sure you the tool you get is the best value. By value I mean how much does the tool cost, what is the quality, and will it meet your expectations. For a long time I was a DeWalt user and advocate. My reasons were pretty uneducated. DeWalt was the well known yellow brand everyone used. If it was good enough for professionals, I simply must have only DeWalt power tools. Don’t get my wrong DeWalt makes great tools. Just keep your options open because other manufacturers have met or exceeded the old DeWalt standards.
On a side not about warranties with these two major brands. DeWalt warranty is 3 years limited warranty, with a 1 year free service, and 90 day money back guarantee. Milwaukee drills come with a 5 year warranty only granted to the original purchaser. Neither of these brands are going to let you down, they are both a solid choice in my book.