Published on April 20th, 2013 | by John0
Best Cordless Drill For Your Money in 2014
The following four cordless drill models span the range of most people’s needs, from small and light to big and tough. The best cordless drills sort themselves out by chuck size (the maximum diameter of a bit in the drill) and power: lightweight, 3/8-inch chuck, ½-inch chuck, and hammer drills.
Not every job requires a cordless drill so large you have to rest it on your shoulder. The Little Pink Drill is the best cordless drill designed for smaller hands and light duty. Its case may be powder-puff pink, but inside it is still a substantial 18-volt nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cad) battery-powered drill.
This is not a drill meant for heavy, continuous use. It is marketed for women who want to fill out their home toolbox for this-and-that repairs, such as installing curtain rods, reattaching seat bottoms on chairs, or tightening pot handles in the kitchen. It can also work well for craft work.
Weighing just a touch over three pounds, the Little Pink Drill has a one-year warranty, comes in a case with seven power screwdriver bits and seven drill bits, and two Ni-Cad batteries with a charger.
Frankly, if a woman is serious about her woodcraft or home maintenance, she likely will not care what color the tool is as long as it feels comfortable and gets the job done. The Little Pink Drill is externally cute, but is the best cordless drill in this niche inside its pink body.
Men may consider buying the Little Pink Drill as a way to deter other workers from “borrowing” their tools at the jobsite. Suitable as a secondary drill, it can also serve as a go-to screw gun with its 16 torque settings and reversible screwdriver bit.
Most homeowners and woodworkers use a drill with a 3/8-inch chuck. The best cordless drill in this category: the Bosch PS31-2A. This is a 12-volt drill and driver that weighs only two pounds. Its seven-inch body length can get into tight spots easily.
Over My Head
The Bosch PS31-2A’s light weight and compact size make overhead work—such as in drop ceilings or attaching gutter screws on your home’s exterior–easy on your arms. The compact size helps make this the best cordless drill for getting into spaces between joists for installing electrical boxes, for example, or drilling holes for cabling. The bit and the drill will not add to more than 14 inches, giving you wiggle room.
The 3/8-inch single sleeve chuck means you will not lose a chuck key; it has a variable-speed trigger and two speed options, from 0 to 350 rotations per minute (rpm) and from 0 to 1,300 rpm. Bosch says this two-step speed feature provides twice any competitor’s speed for screw driving and drilling. It delivers these speeds with 265 inch-pounds of torque, more than enough to push a ½” brad bit through hardwood.
The Bosch PS31-2A also has an LED light to illuminate the exact spot you are drilling, 20+1 clutch settings for driving, comfortable locking clips, and a fuel gauge for the battery.
Bosch’s Electronic Cell Protection (ECP) helps keep the tool running for years, and running longer at each application. The Bosch warranty provides a three-year protection plan: full replacement of the drill in the first year, replacement of the battery for two years, and free repair in years two and three.
You get the L-BOXX, the drill/driver, two batteries, an L-BOXX, an L-BOXX-1A with a 13-piece accessory tray, and the battery charger.
When you get serious about your repairs, building and remodeling, you need the mass and power of a ½-inch chuck drill. The Festool T 12+3 Li-Ion Cordless Drill Set is the best cordless drill in this size. Interchangeable chucks set this drill apart. Offset drilling and driving? There’s a chuck for that. Right-angle drilling? There’s a chuck for that. The Festool T 12+3 has, in fact, four separate chucks, with a fifth sold separately:
- ½-inch keyless drill chuck
- Offset drill chuck
- Right-angle chuck
- Centrotec chuck (shaves half a pound off operating weight)
- Depth-stop chuck (sold separately, but handy for pilot holes and the like)
Festool designed the drill/driver to operate without a chuck as a ¼-inch hex driver. This shaves even more depth off the tool and you can reach into tight spaces for repetitive work, so long as you are using hexagonal shank bits.
Weight a Minute
The Festool weighs just over three pounds. There is a soft grip to reduce hand fatigue, but at half again the weight of the 3/8-inch drill, this best cordless drill in its category leaves no doubt at day’s end that you and the drill worked hard.
All the controls for speed and settings are located for easy switching between drilling and driving bolts or screws. The clutch is particularly well thought out. When dialed below 10, drill speed is reduced.
The electronic clutch gives an audible signal to let you know the clutch is engaged. In drill mode the tool automatically overrides the clutch, saving wear and tear and providing maximum torque: 300 inch-pounds in steel or 220 inch-pounds in wood. The brushless motor produces less heat and less motor wear than brush motors.
Festool has a motto, “Faster, Easier and Smarter,” and this tool is evidence of that philosophy. The interchangeable FastFix chucks alone show great tool design. The offset chuck, though, is positively brilliant: you can reach tight spots in carcasses and not worry about tool bulk forcing an oblique angle on the screw while still delivering a lot of torque for attaching drawer slides.
You Get It
When you order the Festool T 12+3 you get two lithium ion batteries, the charger, the drill/driver, offset chuck, ½-inch chuck, right-angle chuck, the Centrotec starter set and the Systainer case.
A hammer drill is a powerful way to drill and drive with real punching force. This is great for masonry drilling, but also makes drilling with Forstner bits or auger bits easy. One of the best cordless drills here is Milwaukee’s 2611 Hammer Drill.
Milwaukee’s hammer drill delivers 650 inch-pounds of torque and an astounding range of 0 to 28,000 blows per minute (bpm). It features a ½-inch chuck that easily handles bit auger bits for drilling in studs for running wiring, Forstner bits and hole saws for installing door hardware, and masonry bits to bite into concrete or block.
The drills’ 18-volt lithium-ion XC high capacity battery provides enough power to work at least half a workday before switching out to the second battery. A battery fuel gauge helps you keep track of battery life. An onboard LED light helps you see your target.
Get a Grip
Milwaukee put a carbide-jawed ratcheting metal chuck on the hammer drill. The side handle can be attached on the left or right; the pistol grip helps you hold the 9 ¼-inch-long hammer drill. At slightly over five pounds, this big drill takes full advantage of composite plastic housing to shed weight.
What You Get
The carrying case holds the hammer drill, side handle, two 18-volt rechargeable batteries and the charger.