As a homeowner there are always new projects to take care of around the house. Many of them require making holes or installing screws to get the task done right. That’s where finding the best compact cordless drill can save the day.
It’s no surprise that cordless drills have become such a popular tool to own. They offer a variety of uses, save time and make it easier to update your home. Knowing this, we decided to take a look at the best drills out there to help others find the right tool for their needs.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites:
Dewalt DCD771C2 20V Cordless Compact Drill
BLACK+DECKER LDX120C Cordless Drill
Makita XFD131 18V Driver-Drill Kit
DEWALT DCD777C2 Brushless Compact Drill [Editor's Choice]
Avid Power 20V MAX Lithium Ion Cordless Drill
WORX WX178L 20V Compact Drill
List of 6 Best Compact Cordless Drill Reviews 2020
1. Dewalt DCD771C2 20V Cordless Drill Driver Kit
Dewalt has been well known since 1923 for providing excellent tools to the market, and their current compact drills remain true to that reputation. The DCD771C2 is an entry in the 20 volt class of cordless drills.
That voltage, provided by the long lasting lithium ion battery means that the drill will stay strong for long periods of time before needing recharged.
The 3.6 pound drill is lightweight enough to be used for the length of the battery without being overly burdensome to hold.
This drill is packaged with two batteries though, so you can keep working almost indefinitely by swapping the batteries in and out of the charger as soon as one is drained.
The two speed transmission delivers control up to 450 rpm or 1,500 rpm. This ensures the right speed is always capable of being achieved to drill or screw into what you need accurately. This drill also has a ½ inch chuck ratcheting chuck. It will hold the most of the largest bits available as tightly as you could ever need.
While this isn’t the strongest drill on the market, it delivers plenty of torque (370 inch pounds) for most home and DIY projects. For someone that needs a stronger drill for more difficult surfaces, or is using the drill on a professional basis, it may be slightly lacking. For everyone else that just needs a reliable and durable drill for home projects, this is a tough product to beat.
2. BLACK+DECKER LDX120C Cordless Drill/Driver
In 1910, Black and Decker was founded as a machine shop, and over the years became a household name in tool production. In 2010 the company merged with Stanley Works to become Stanley Black and Decker. Stanley also owns Dewalt, making Black and Decker their sister company.
The LDX120C is a two speed drill, having a low speed high torque setting and a higher speed setting to more swiftly drill through softer materials. This drill works great in wood, plastic and metal surfaces to drill holes or insert screws.
The keyless chuck makes it easy to change out bits swiftly without hassle. Being able to change bits quickly can make any project easier to complete. The drill also has 11 different torque settings to better match the needs you have for your project.
The handle is made with an ergonomic design, and fitted with rubber grips so that it’s easier to hold. The drill is fairly lightweight as well, being only 3.4 pounds. Making use of a 20V lithium battery gives long lasting power as well, keeping the drill operational at full strength for extensive periods of time.
The biggest shortcoming for this drill is that even on the high speed setting it’s rather slow compared to other products. Clocking in at only 650 rpm makes this the slowest drill we reviewed. Another point of contention we had was that drill seems less durable than others.
3. Makita XFD131 18V Driver-Drill Kit — Budget Pick
Makita has its origins in Japan starting in 1915 as an electric motor manufacturing company. As times changed, so did the focus of the company, as in 1958 the company began making its first line of power tools. Since then Makita has been a strong contender in the industry.
The XFD131is a nice, compact drill. It weighs 3.9 pounds, making it the heaviest drill we reviewed, but with none of them weighing over four pounds, that really isn’t much of a detraction.
One of the aspects of this drill that is different from some of the others, is that it also has a hammer driver setting.
That means that as the drill rotates, it can also make a vibrating impact into the surface as well. This impact pushes the drill harder into the surface to make drilling holes faster and more efficient.
With a top speed of 1,900 rpm this drill was clearly the fastest out those that we reviewed. That speed and the added strength of being a hammer driver makes this the most powerful drill on this list.
The way that this drill achieves that amount of power has to do with the design of the motor. Classic drills are made with a motor that has copper brushes within that conduct the electricity across the motor to turn it. Brushless motors are built so that they don’t need the brushes, making them more efficient and powerful at the same time.
4. DEWALT DCD777C2 20V Best Compact Drill Driver – Top Pick
This is Dewalt’s brushless motor entry in this category. It’s also the lightest compact drill that we reviewed, making it one of the most powerful tools to come in a small package that we’ve encountered.
This truly proves that it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog that makes all the difference.
As with the DCD771 model we reviewed, this drill is built with a keyless ratcheting chuck to ensure a tight grip on bits, while still being easy and quick to change out.
Along with that are many of the other aspects you’ve come to expect from a Dewalt tool, such as the built in LED light, dust and moisture protection for durability and multi-speed transmission.
The power of this drill was only outshined by one other entry that we reviewed, coming in with 1,750 rpm at max speed. The 20V lithium batteries last much longer than previous version nickel-cadmium batteries, and this product comes with two batteries in one package. Also because this is a brushless motor driven drill, the efficiency keeps the battery lasting nearly a third longer than DCD771.
It was difficult to find anything to criticize about this drill, but we did come across a bit of wobble in the chuck while we were using it. It took some extra tightening of the chuck here at the outset when changing bits, but once in operation it worked exactly as expected.
5. Avid Power 20V MAX Lithium Ion Cordless Drill Review
Continuing our review of the best cordless drill for homeowner on the market we encountered this entry from Avid Power. Avid Power is a fairly recently registered brand, only appearing on the market in 2018, and the tools they make don’t have much history to base much opinion on, so as we looked at this product it was our first experience with one of their products.
This drill also has a hammer drive setting, which is an additional option not seen in most of those that we reviewed. Having the hammer drive option in such a compact drill adds value as it really does make work faster when being used on dense materials. Along with that, the drill has a two speed transmission with 16 variable clutch settings. This makes sure the right power, torque and speed are set for every individual project.
Along with the drill, there is an expansive set of accessories included, 43 pieces to be exact. Drill bits, driver bits, a flexible hex drill shaft, carrying bag and more all came in the package with this drill.
The biggest issue we had with this product is that the battery is stamped 20V and the manual also says 20V, but the product information we were given claimed it was a 20V battery. While we aren’t certain what impact this may have on your decision, the battery life did seem to be shorter than what we expected due to the reduced voltage. However the power described did feel accurate, as it did achieve the speeds we thought it should during test runs.
Another issue we felt needed to be mentioned is that the quality of the materials used are a bit on the cheap side, making us question the longevity and durability of the drill.
6.WORX WX178L 20V Compact Cordless LED Ai Drill — Review
Worx is a Chinese manufacturer, with a headquarters for North America based in North Carolina, that started up in 2004. The drill we reviewed here likewise hasn’t been on the market for very long and not many people have weighed in on their experiences with the drill yet.
The big features for this tool are the artificial inteligence (Ai, as the company refers to it) assistance for the clutch, an automatic screw stop and a pulsing impact function.
While these functions performed well, there was definitely a feel that as a user, we lost some of the control we are used to with the drills. When testing the performance, the tasks were completed admirably, but the drill is lacking in power compared to what we would have liked. There is no variation in the transmission, it’s a one speed drill that only musters about 800 rpm.
What to Look Before Choosing the best cordless drill for homeowner ?
While the information above is a good starting point to use in beginning to select a new drill, there are some things that you should consider to make certain you get the right tool for what you need.
Power and Weight
Before these compact cordless drills started being manufactured, it was fairly common to encounter drills that weighed up to 10 pounds with their battery. Advancements in battery and motor technology have reduced that weight by leaps and bounds, getting drills like these down to under four pounds without losing any of the strength. Be sure you’re getting as much power as you need for the projects you’ll be using the drill for, otherwise you’ll be heading back to the hardware store for an upgrade before the battery of the drill you first chose has been drained once.
The next thing to be sure you’ve checked out is what the chuck can hold, and how it holds it. While all of the above models are keyless chucks, you may prefer the tighter grasp of a keyed chuck to ensure your bits don’t come loose. It’s also very important to know if the bits you intend to use will fit, as drills with less than a ½ inch chuck may not be able to hold what you need.
The clutch in a cordless drill is usually set by the selector wheel behind the chuck. When the clutch is set higher, it will allow the use of more torque before it disengages the chuck from spinning. This is to prevent the drill from stripping screw heads or breaking smaller bits while drilling. The lower the setting, the sooner it will disengage, so knowing what to expect for resistance from the material you’re drilling into is the key to knowing what level to set the clutch at to prevent issues with screws or bits.
The better the drill is, the more variation it will have when it comes to speed. If you plan on using the drill for installing screws, then you want to have a lower speed. This is another way to help prevent damage to the screw as it’s drilled in. When you’re using bits to drill holes, you want more rpm for a faster speed to clear material out more easily. This is why having multiple speed transmissions is so common, as this provides one drill to effectively handle a broader range of work.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the best compact cordless drill driver?
That would be the DeWalt DCD771C2 20V Cordless Drill Driver Kit. This drill offers a high-power voltage, 20V, that allows continued performance for more extended periods. Its light weight enables you to work longer without straining the arm from the continued gripping. The double speed transmission enhancing completion of tasks.
2. Are brushless drills better than brushed?
Brushless drills are an enhancement of the traditional brush drill thus a better choice. With no friction between brushes, they are more energy-efficient, hence increased battery durability. They are also light weight, more responsive and easier to maintain. Additionally, the lack of brushes increases their speed making them more powerful.
3. Which cordless drill has the best Chuck?
A chuck is an apparatus that keeps cutting tools and drills fasted on a spindle. Currently, the DEWALT DC970K-2 18-Volt Compact Cordless Drill is believed to have the best chuck. Although the chuck made from plastic, its keyless design allows you the flexibility of interchanging between fastening tips and bits.
4. How do I choose a cordless drill?
First, determining the nature of work you need to undertake and match the tool to the job. The power and speed of the drill with regards to voltage for greater spinning strength and resistance. Additionally, the batteries’ chemical composition since it affects durability and level of toxicity on the environment.
5. Should I buy a cordless drill or impact driver?
Either of the two tools is a good buy in its own right. A cordless drill is great as it allows you to better drilling and boring than the impact driver. On the other hand, the impact driver works faster and can drill in longer and fatter screws much easily.
6. Can I use an impact driver as a drill?
Yes, an impact driver can be used for drilling but only when doing small holes on soft wood where a standard drill is not readily available and when there is need to work on a tight space with more precision. It should only be done using the correct drill bit.
For the best compact drill when it comes to all around performance from what we reviewed, take a long look at the Dewalt DCD777C2. This modern, top of the line product had all of the things we look for first in a drill, and it performed all the tests we ran it through with no issues.
While it was the best all around tool, the others performed admirably for the tasks they are most suited for, so it’s best to check them all out for yourself to see what would best finish your next project.