We all know that when it comes to the cordless variants of our favourite and most used power tools, the result can be a little lacklustre.
Of course, that’s to be expected when we’re making the switch from electrical outlet powered tools to the lower voltage and low wattage battery options. However, with major advancements in power output, electrical efficiency and longevity from batteries, the experience is getting quite close.
That in mind, it can be tough to know which cordless drills to look for when there are thousands to choose from. There are a myriad of different use cases for these tools and some are designed better for some than others.
To make things a little easier, we’ve done hours of online research to compile everything from the feature set to user experience as well as reviews of these products in the real world to make your choice a little easier.
All of these cordless drills are excellent for their ideal users, and we’re confident in saying that investing in any of the models on our list will offer up some incredible results for you at work, or in your own DIY shed.
The 18V Cordless Drill Of Our Choice
Before we get into our review and considerations, we do want to mention that for those looking for an 18V cordless drill as opposed to a 24V option, your best bet is the DeWalt DCD997 20V XR.
As you’ll already know 18V and 20V are typically the same and that means you’ll be free to use this drill through an 18V outlet or source.
This drill is one of the most responsive and torquiest in its class and that means you’re in good hands when things do get a little tough and you need that extra kick. You’ll be able to rely on the lower voltage and the reduced cell count to still give you a good experience here.
Plus, as DeWalt are some of the best makers of power tools out there, you can rely on their solid warranties and customer service should anything go wrong.
The 20V Cordless Drills Of Our Choice
In line with the 18V above, which is also technically a 20V machine too, the models we’re choosing are the DeWalt DCD997 and the Ridgid R8611506 as both of these models are long-lasting and also relatively powerful.
On both of these options you’ll find that the chucks spin at exceedingly high speeds and so you’re not wasting any time on a slow drill — something that’s a killer if you’re roofing or fixing wall panelling to studs and noggings.
One of the best perks with these drills are the speed modes you’re going to be able to make use of which essentially give you the power to adapt and change based on what work you’re doing.
As for the portability and ease of use, which is a big consideration in the cordless drill arena, the DeWalt model is coming in as the lightest tool in the entire list below and we’re happy to recommend this to everyone who is more partial to choosing a rather lightweight cordless drill.
To add, the DeWalt may be light, but it’s also one of the more powerful on our list when it comes to pure torque and drill speeds. That in mind, if you’re looking for lightweight with no compromise then this is something you’ll certainly need to consider.
To the 18V models again, and if you’re looking for a drill that is advertised and designed to work with 18V alone, you can opt for the aforementioned R8611506 18V Octane Brushless Hammer Drill by Ridgid.
This model also offers a tonne of power along with a great speed selection, though it isn’t too heavy or bulky to move around which is always a plus.
You’ll find a great LED light around the chuck here too for some added support when drilling in lower light, or just when things get a little hard to see.
To end, this model is only $139 making it one of the more affordable drills out there, either cordless or not.
Understanding the Best Brushless Cordless Drills
If you’ve been in the industry for a long while, you’ll know that around a decade ago the brushless drills were somewhat of a rarity. So much so that the term ‘brushless’ became a marketing term for the drills to better sell them.
Though, fast forward to today, and you’ll find that just about all cordless drills feature brushless motors due to their increased efficiency and just general better experience overall.
Keep in mind that even though not all models of cordless drill come with a brushless motor, you will find that a vast majority of models come with this as standard.
Getting into what the brushless models are, these are essentially manufacturer changes which allowed the cordless drills on offer today to output a tonne more power and be a lot more responsive than previous models. They also use a lot less electricity to run and you’ll find that they’re a little lighter too.
Much like modern cars, these brushless cordless drills essentially communicate with the battery packs included in the design to better regulate power use and get the most power from the battery — without wasting power. They better regulate speed and battery consumption and provide a better experience.
To end, the brushless motor designs have essentially transformed the cordless drill products and made the experience using these models a whole lot better for everyone, and you’re getting a longer-lasting tool with better torque because of this.
Our Top Choice Cordless Hammer Drill — the Makita XPH07T
To get into our reviews of all the best cordless drills for 2021 we are kicking things off with the Makita XPH07T and for a good reason.
This was the model that exceeded all of our expectations when it came to working with masonry and concrete materials. As you may already know, these material require a fair bit of kick from a cordless drill to be impacted properly, and the Makita did an excellent job here — time and time again.
Getting into the technicals, the Makita pushed through with more than 1,000 pounds of torque per inch here, which is outstanding and something that’s relatively unheard of in most other cordless hammer drills.
Adding to the torque, the Makita was also one of the more responsive and faster models out there when it came to keeping up the speed when the pressure was increased. Either due to the battery pack or the intelligently designed bit on the end of this drill, there was little slowdown when force was increased and because of this, it’s taking out the top spot on our list.
You’ll also find that with added force the motor and the battery pack talk to one another seamlessly here – and in testing when force was increased, so was power output to compensate with little to no ‘lag.’
To end, this was one of the drills that was rather compact and affordable too, which means if you’re looking for sheer power and portability — along with a low cost — the Makita XPH07T is something you should certainly consider.
Our Top Choice High Torque Cordless Drill — the Hilti SF 10W-A22 Drill Driver
Coming in a similar vein to the Makita above, the Hilti SF 10W-A22 Drill Driver is the drill we’ve chosen as the model for those of our readers looking for sheer power.
The motor in here is, for lack of a better word, a beast, and it’s going to get you a stellar 15 torque increments and four speeds, and that means you’re able to carefully control an adapt the drill’s speed to be exactly what you want.
We understand that not everyone needs high speed and major force from their drills at all times, and with the added speed controls here, you’re in good hands.
As was tested, the Hilti SF 10W-A22 Drill Driver also worked well at low speeds and also offered a lot of slow and controlled power when other duties and tasks were required. You could essentially slowly drill through masonry and concrete without issue, though also increase speed when needed.
With that in mind, the four speeds and 15 increments here earned this drill a top spot on our list and because of its heavy-duty focus we’re making this drill the best cordless drill for 2021 when it comes to sheer torque and power.
Getting a lot done in a little amount of time is certainly a possibility here.
Our Top Choice High-Speed Cordless Drill — the Metabo SB 18 LTX-3 BL
When it comes to our readers with a lot of repetitive drilling duties, this is the one for you.
If you’re stuck on a roof doing up screws and looking to get down as soon as possible, then this is the winner for you. The excellent Metabo SB 18 LTX-3 BL is the winner when it comes to pure RPM in that you’ll have access to more than 3,000RPM here and that means a screw is done up in a second flat.
That in mind, some of the next contenders for this category were more than 1,000RPM slower than the Metabo SB 18 LTX-3 BL, so you’re certainly not going to find anything better than this!
One good point to note is that the RPM here and the power needed to supply it doesn’t falter when working with masonry or concrete either. You can drill into concrete in just a couple of seconds, and go down 3 to 4 inches without any trouble.
We’d also like to add that there is an interchangeable chuck here as well, along with an ideally designed three-speed gear system as well. This will ensure you’re getting plenty of control and power, along with the freedom to adapt and change this when you need to.
One final feature or added product to keep in mind is that there is a torque multiplier on offer here too, which can beef up torque output by 3 times if needed.
All of that said, the Metabo SB 18 LTX-3 BL is by far our absolute standout cordless dress when it comes to pure speed and getting a whole lot done in as little time as possible. You’ll be increasing your efficiency at work and getting jobs done a whole lot quicker with the Metabo SB 18 LTX-3 BL.
Selecting a Cordless Drill For Your Occupation
To break down our list a little more, we’ve decided to delve into the best use case and best industries for each of our specific drills.
We know that not all tradespeople and DIYers use their drills for the same tasks, and this means that a perfect model for some is going to cause issues for someone else. That in mind, manufacturers of these excellent cordless drills have also taken specific industries in mind and tuned their products to better suit those in each of these fields.
That said, below we have outlined all of our winning cordless drills based on where and how you like to work. Take a look.
Our Top Choice Professional Cordless Drill
When it comes to the workplace, and getting a reliable cordless drill that’s going to work all day long without issue, you’re going to want to turn to the Milwaukee 2806-20 18V.
This is our top choice if you need something that’s going to be a companion day in and day out for months or years on end without causing your fingers or hands any issues, nor will it die on you too early.
When we decided upon this category, it was vital to include two main factors — comfort or ergonomics and the reliability of the drill.
The Milwaukee 2806-20 18V became our winner here in that it offers a tonne of power, a reliable motor and battery and a design that you could hang on to for hours a day without having any issues with your fingers or hands. It is comfortable to use, offers up a tonne of power and isn’t going to simply stop working any time soon.
When it comes to value for money, you can also nab this cordless drill in a set which also comes with some added 5.0Ah batteries.
All that in mind, if you are someone who uses their drill at work all day either in the shed or out on site, we highly suggest investing in this model if you can.
Our Top Choice Electricians Cordless Drill
For our electrician readers, there is a pretty food chance you’re going to be undertaking workflows that are somewhat repetitive here and there.
That in mind, we were sure to select cordless drills that offered the chance to either customise or pre-set specific settings for routine use of the drill. For example, if you’re looking to tone down your drill and not have it accidentally damage or ‘overdo’ it on a specific task you’re able to do this.
The top pick for our electricians was the Milwaukee One-Key model which essentially gives you all of the specifics tools and settings that an electrician would need.
On top of this, there are a myriad of added features, add-ons and accessories available on the Milwaukee website for electricians looking to get the most out of their drill.
Our Top Choice Plumber Cordless Drill
When it comes to projects at home or just getting some work done in the plumbing, there’s little that comes close to the Milwaukee 2806-20 18V model that we mentioned above.
It’s the one that we see most of our plumber readers happily using in that it offers a great size and weight for the power that you’re going to see here. Unlike most tradespeople who will often be at a single site, plumbers will need a cordless drill that’s going to be able to follow them wherever they go, and that’s where the compact and lightweight Milwaukee 2806-20 18V comes into play.
On top of this, we’re also happy to say that after care and warranty claims are seamless here and that’s great for just about everyone, not only plumbers.
To add, when tools break down or when they need a service, you’re able to have these services covered by your warranty and by choosing to invest in a Milwaukee.
Our Top Choice DIYer Cordless Drill
For the times when you just want to stick at home to fix things or have some fun in the hobby shop, there is a drill we’d certainly suggest invest in.
Our readers who enjoy working on their own projects away from the shop, we’re going to suggest the Metabo HPT DS18DBFL2 18V brushless drill down to the fact that it’s affordable, powerful and durable enough to live in the toolshed at home.
It’s going to be the option that could be used interchangeable as a professional’s drill, though it does remain affordable and paired back enough to be left at home.
Some of our favourite features coming into play here are the powerful torque, the compact and lightweight design, the awesome balance of speed and torque but also the control you’re able to get from the motor. This control also means you’re more able to work on those rather delicate woodworking and masonry projects without worrying about damaging anything.
That in mind, this is still a rather no-frills drill which means you’re getting something that isn’t confusing to use either.
In the end, for value and DIY use, this is by far the winning choice for us and we’re sure you will enjoy getting your DIY on at home with the Metabo HPT DS18DBFL2 18V brushless drill.
Our Top Choice Contractor Cordless Drill
To the sole trader drills or the contractor drills, we know that you’ll want something that is as easy as possible to throw in a ute or a truck and take to worksites. There’s nothing worse than having to lug a tonne of tools and materials around that are all heavy, and so we’re suggesting one of the more compact models here.
The winning drill for us here was the Bosch PS32 12V Max EC down to the fact that it weighed just 890 grams and still packs quite a punch.
You’re getting just about all the power you’ll need, and with a 12V motor you can effectively charge this from a car or truck’s battery without issue.
We’re happy to say that this model is also able to offer enough performance and torque for those who need to use it in professional settings, however, a more attuned model might be the best if you’re looking to use this drill for a long while.
In all, the drill is going to be a great lightweight and easily portable companion for the contractor or sole trader looking to get a little drilling or screwing up of materials done, though nothing overly complex or strenuous.
Our Top Choice Low Budget Cordless Drill
To end our list of Australia’s best cordless drills for the year we have a budget-friendly model that’s going to give you the freedom to work without breaking the bank.
Keep in mind that this is our professional budget-friendly option, so there’s no low-end, unreliable or tacky models coming into play here. You’re getting the Kobalt KDD524B-03 24V drill recommended to you by us, and that means you’re getting more power and efficiency than you’ll likely ever need, along with a design that’s lightweight and easy to hang on to for a long time.
On top of this, reviews and testing have placed this as one of the fastest drills out there, so getting a lot done in a short period of time won’t be too much of an issue here either. If you’re looking to speed up your workflow and get home a little faster then this is the model for you.
The voltage here is rated at 24V though the nominal is 21.6V and that means you’re going to get a lot of use out of the 6-cell batteries on offer here. You will be able to use this for a while before it goes flat, and the added packs mean it’s easy to get back to work without waiting for a charge.
There is an XTR range coming to the scene by Kobalt, though these are little more expensive.
With all of that said, if you’re looking for a cordless drill that’s going to offer affordability along with a lot of power, then this is the one to beat.
A Few Things to Consider
All of those incredible cordless drills out of the way, we have a few things for you to consider when it comes to choosing a drill of your own.
If you haven’t found a winning cordless drill on our list above, we ask that you take a look at some of the considerations we outline below and use these to guide you to choosing a drill that’s going to work best for you.
You’ll always want to keep in mind your own use case, budget and how you like to work in order to get the best drill. If long battery life and sustained use is important to you, for example, place this as one of your primary deciding factors and go from there.
The Speed Under Load
Off the top, one of the more important things to consider is whether your drills can sustain their power output under load.
Sure it is one thing to be able to rev the drill in the air when not pressing it into anything, though you’re going to want to see a lot of power still on offer when you’re actually forcing your drill bit into a material like concrete or masonry.
You’re able to find some of this information out online but looking at the maintained RPMs a drill offers when actually drilling. It’s good to look for the higher RPMs here and invest in something that offers a good level of power.
Sometimes hardware stores will also give you the chance to check these metrics too, so be sure to ask when you can. You may be able to test drill a plank of wood or concrete slab or sheet prior to making your purchase to ensure the speed and RPMs hold up under load.
The Total Weight
A second key consideration is looking at the weight of your cordless drill and working on determining if this is something you’ll be happy to hold on to for hours on end, or routinely during the day.
For some perspective, the more voltage a drill has, the heavier it usually is down to the fact the battery packs will generally be bigger. That in mind, you can see that Heavy and Medium Duty drills also offer different weights, and so make sure to consider these too,
Another exceedingly important factor to consider is what the drill actually feels like when you’re holding it.
We suggest being on the look out for the more ergonomic drills in that these are going to be designed in a way that makes it easy for you to hold on to them for a long while without cramping or generally getting sore.
To add, make sure there aren’t any odd seams or a casing that features grooves or screws that stick out. These are going to become rather painful over time and make it an annoyance to hang on to your drill for too long.
To end our list of considerations you should also include the value of the drill and what it brings to your workflow.
Of course, don’t pay more than you have to, though if you can find a drill that speeds up your day’s workflows and makes you better at your work than you are on to a winner. There isn’t much point to spending more time drilling and screwing things in for no reason, and so consider whether the drill you’re choosing can reduce this time for you or not.
A second thing to note when it comes to value is checking all of the tools and add-ons that either come with the drill, or can be purchased later. It’s always good to know that you are able to get more out of a product down the line and rely on it to add value to your work as it ages, rather than take value away.
Why Choose a Cordless Drill
As we’re sure you can tell from our reviews and suggestions above, cordless drills have come a long way over the past decade and now make for good contenders to their powered options.
In fact, you’re likely to have a better experience with a cordless now than a powered option, and they’re simply always on hand and ready to go. If you want to hang a picture frame, add a new sheet of drywall or get to work on a worksite without a connection to electricity, you’re able to do this without any issues.
To end, a cordless drill offers unmatched portability and can easily add a tonne of versatility to your workflow either on site, at home or in your backyard’s hobby shop without a whole tonne of upfront investment.