What every best Cordless Drills has:
- Adequate power.
- Long run time.
- Fast recharging.
Doug Mahoney, a former carpenter and seasoned tool reviewer, tests 12-volt and 18-volt cordless drills for DIY use. After searching reviews to find the best-rated tools under $100, he spends two days testing the top 16 drills, sinking over 1,660 3-inch drywall screws and drilling 345 1-inch holes. He considers performance and handling, along with how much they can do on a charge, to name his top picks for both general use and tougher jobs.
Pro Tool Reviews subjects eleven 18-volt cordless impact drivers to a series of tests. Testers measure performance by driving a series of different types of screws into plywood. They also measure how much heat each tool builds up during testing to gauge its reliability. Each tool receives an overall ranking, plus separate rankings for performance, temperature control, ergonomics, and value. You can also find numerous other single-tool reviews and multi-tool roundups at this site.
Testers at Popular Mechanics subject 10 cordless drills, all with lithium-ion batteries, to a triathlon test designed to measure real-world performance. They start by boring 24 holes with a 1-inch spade bit, then drive 12 2-inch lag screws into pilot holes in a pressure-treated beam, and finish by driving 3-inch drywall screws until the battery gives out. The write-up gives pros and cons for each drill, based on performance, features, and ease of use.
ConsumerReports.org tests, rates and ranks 52 cordless drills and tool kits, including models for general use and light use, cordless screwdrivers, and cordless impact drivers. Testers drive four screws through a 4x4 pine beam with the same battery to test speed and power, then use a dynamometer to test run time under light and heavy loads. Each drill gets an overall rating based on speed, power, run time, charging time, handling, and noise.
This review from Popular Mechanics evaluates five cordless impact drivers. Although the editors have clearly tested these models hands-on, they don't give any details about their testing methods. Instead, they just briefly sum up pros and cons for each model and give it a rating on a five-star scale.
This roundup features the top cordless drills in the $150-and-under range – a price that Koehler says can get you "entry-level Pro performance" and essential professional-quality features. All the drills are rated at 18 volts or better, and some offer brushless motors and hammer drill mode. The article compares pros, cons, and specs, but there's not much detail about testing methods. However, there are links to longer reviews for two of the drills.
Popular Mechanics tests nine 12-volt impact drivers by driving lag screws into a 4 x 4 board until the power gives out -- a good test of both battery life and total power. Each model gets a rating from one to five stars and a summary of what the testers liked and disliked about it, including power, handling, features, and ease of use. Though this test is a little older, the review is still helpful.
In another older but still relevant review, Pro Tool Reviews puts nine 12-volt cordless impact drivers through a battery of tests. Testers measure runtime and torque by driving a series of screws into plywood. Then they check cold-weather performance by checking the tools after 14 hours in a freezer. The site names a top performer and a runner-up, as well as listing pros and cons for each pick.
Popular Mechanics tests six 20-volt electric drill drivers (some of which are now discontinued). Testers bored 1-inch holes in Douglas fir 2-by-8s and drove 3-inch lag screws into pine 4-by-4s, then left all the drills in an unheated garage for several days and checked their performance again. Each drill gets a star rating and a summary of likes and dislikes. Berendsohn says all the test drills "met or exceeded our expectations for performance and value."
Lowes.com sells about 65 cordless drills and 25 cordless impact drivers from popular brands like Worx, Hitachi, DeWalt, and Porter-Cable. It's easy to sort the reviews to find top-rated products, but difficult to identify them, since the site doesn't list model numbers on the main page. Many of the individual reviews are picked up from the manufacturers' sites.
Amazon.com sells cordless drills, impact drivers, and combo kits from several major brands, and some top models have hundreds of reviews from users. We found three drills with high overall ratings from 1,000 users or more. Cordless screwdrivers, impact drivers, and combo kits are covered on separate pages; we found six highly rated models with over 500 reviews. All reviews appear to be unique to the site.
HomeDepot.com sells nearly 500 cordless drills on its website, and separate pages offer nearly 125 cordless impact drivers and over 150 combo kits with both tools. Across all the pages, we found several products with strong overall feedback from 250 users or more. Most of the individual reviews are quite short, but they include ratings for quality and value along with an overall star rating. As at Lowes.com, some reviews come from the manufacturers' web sites.
Sears is the only retailer that sells Craftsman brand cordless tools, and most of the top-rated products here are from that brand. We found four cordless drills, one cordless impact driver, and two combo kits here with ratings of at least 4.5 stars overall from 150 users or more, and most of them are Craftsman products. Sears also sells many other national brands, including Bosch, DeWalt, and Makita, but they don't get as many reviews.
Retail site NorthernTool.com is a good place to see owners' ratings and reviews of pro-level cordless drills, impact drivers and combo kits across a wide range of prices and sizes, including subcompact models. However, it doesn't have as wide a selection as some other sites, and only a few models receive high ratings from 100 users or more.