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Best cordless drills 2024: Power through wood, masonry and metal with the top cordless combi, hammer and impact driver drills from £30

A selection of the best cordless drills against a blue background

From daily DIY to bigger projects, these are our favourite cordless drill drivers, hammer drills, impact drivers and SDS drills for the job

No home toolbox is complete without one of the best cordless drills. They’re endlessly useful, whether you’re assembling flat-pack furniture, making basic repairs, mounting a TV or putting up new blinds or curtains. It’s the convenience that makes them so useful. You can easily get to places where a bigger mains-powered drill won’t fit, and you can get to work without any worries about the cable or finding a socket. Need to put together some decking or a raised bed in the garden? The cordless drill is your new best friend.

Of course, picking the right one isn’t easy. Not only is there a huge range of drills on the market, but they break down into five different types, all of which have their own strengths, weaknesses and uses. What’s more, not all have the same power, and it’s hugely annoying to discover that, when you need it, your drill’s just not tough enough to get the job done. If you want some tips on where to start and what to look for, check out our buying guide below.

Best cordless drill: At a glance

Best combi drillBosch UniversalImpact 18V (~£65)Check price at Tooled-Up
Best budget drill driverTerratek 13 Piece 18V Cordless Drill Kit (~£30)Check price at Amazon
Best heavy duty combi drillMakita DHP458Z (~£80)Check price at Amazon
Best drill setMakita CLX228AJ (~£175)Check price at Amazon

How to choose the best cordless drill for you

What type of drill should I buy?

There are quite a few different types of drill out there, most of which look pretty similar to the untrained eye. Below, you’ll find a quick summary of the main types and how they differ from each other.

Drill driver: If you want a no-frills drill you can use for a variety of tasks around the home, consider a drill driver. The most common type of drill, these can be used to drill holes in everything from walls to wood to masonry, and drive screws, too. They’re lighter than the more powerful drills below, which makes them more manoeuvrable for awkward-to-reach jobs. They will struggle with tougher jobs, however, as they don’t have the powerful motors or high-torque designs of the other tools below.

Impact driver: These might look like a standard drill, but impact drivers are specifically designed to drive screws, not drill holes – they use a combination of huge spinning torque and percussive blows against the back of the driver bits to power screws into the toughest surfaces. They’re traditionally much more compact than the other tools here, and since there’s no back-and-forth motion (unlike hammer and SDS drills), they’re also less hard on the wrists.

They normally use hex-shank driver bits, and while you can theoretically use specific impact-ready drill bits (standard drill bits may break due to the combination of rotation and concussive force), this isn’t what they’re designed for, and they’re not as suited to millimetre-precise jobs. Driving screws is their forte. Where you might need to drill a hole for screws with a traditional drill, then swap between drill and driver bits, you can get away with a smaller pilot hole then use the impact driver to drive the screw in. On softer wood or where there’s less precision needed, you might even be able to get away without the pilot hole. This can seriously save you time and effort when you’re working on a major project.

Combi drill: If you need to drill into tougher materials such as metal or concrete, and also drive screws, your first port of call should be a combi drill. These cope with basic everyday drilling and screwdriving tasks, but often offer improved torque for more demanding jobs and also add a basic hammer function that can break through harder materials. They’re pricier than standard drill drivers and not as powerful as a high-end hammer or SDS rotary hammer, though.

Hammer drill: These use a more powerful forwards and backwards hammering action in combination with the spinning drill bit to strike through the toughest masonry or stone. That power results in a bigger, bulkier drill that’s more capable than combi drills, but they also tend to cost more than their basic counterparts. However, they’re generally not as powerful as the SDS drills below, are much noisier and don’t often have the capability to be used in a hammer-only mode with chisel bits.

SDS drill: Also known as SDS rotary hammers, these are normally bulkier and heavier than standard hammer drills, but are designed for more heavy-duty DIY jobs where power is paramount. The SDS-specific drill and driver bits have small indentations at the rear where they slot into the drill (no chuck key is required so this takes seconds), and ball bearings in the SDS chuck hold them securely in place while hammering the bit back and forth.

These drills come in three main types: two-mode, three-mode and three-mode with an interchangeable chuck. Two-mode models only allow you to choose between rotary-only and combined rotary/hammer action, whereas three-mode models also add the option of hammer-only action, which makes it possible to use them with chisel-type attachments for demolition duties.

How long do the batteries last?

The biggest disadvantage of using a cordless drill is that it needs to be charged before you can get to work. The good news is that most cordless drills now use lithium-ion batteries, which hold their charge well, even when not in use, and can be recharged at any time. Each battery has a voltage (usually 12V, 18V or 24V), along with a capacity in Ah (Amp-hours). The more Amp-hours on the same voltage, the longer your battery should (theoretically) last.

You’ll generally find that a full charge takes between one and three hours, with some batteries and chargers having a fast charge feature that gets you 80% within an hour. Once charged, you should be good to go for a couple of hours of drilling. However, that depends on how many holes you drill, the speed and torque settings you use, the size of the bit and the material you’re drilling into – as well as whether you use a hammer or impact action, as this runs down the battery faster than straight rotary use.

If battery life is a concern, most drills have a changeable battery rather than something built-in, so you can always have a spare to hand. What’s more, most manufacturers now have their own interchangeable battery system, meaning you can share batteries across a range of different power tools or garden tools, providing they work on the same voltage and you stick to the same brand or standard.

What else should I look out for?

Most drills will handle simple jobs like creating pilot holes in woodwork, driving in a screw or creating a hole for a Rawlplug in brickwork or a stud wall. Once you’re dealing with concrete lintels above windows, heavy-duty blockwork or thick metal, you really need something with a bit more beef. When comparing drills, take a look at the specs and look at the max torque specifications and any stated maximum bit sizes for drilling into masonry or steel. Some jobs may actually demand a standard electric drill, which can take larger bits and will have more power to get them through, say, a double-layer brick wall.

We’d also recommend budgeting for some decent bits. Most cordless drills come with a double-headed screwdriver bit and a few models come in a kit with a selection of bits thrown in. However, the quality of these will vary, especially from cheaper manufacturers, and you may be better off splashing out on a separate pack of bits for wood, steel or masonry, or even individual bits. Sometimes these can be expensive, but you’ll be surprised how much easier a decent bit makes it to get a nice, clean hole in a wall.

How much do I need to spend?

The cheapest cordless drill driver in our roundup will set you back as little as £34, but you should expect to pay more for combi drills with more features, as well as drills designed to tackle heavy-duty DIY jobs. As such, the most expensive option you’ll see here is the DeWalt 18V Rotary Hammer Drill for around £183, but if your needs are a little more modest you can easily get away with spending around £80 to £120.

How we test electric drills

We test electric drills by fitting them with various bits and then using them to drill a number of different-sized holes in softwood planks and posts, brickwork, and hard concrete slabs, in order to get an idea of how well the drills will cope with common household and garden tasks.

We check how easy it is to insert and remove the bits, and how easy it is to switch between reverse and forward gears. We also check any hammer or screwdriver modes to see what kind of difference they make – we drive a 5mm x 50mm screw directly into softwood to test a drill’s screwdriving ability. Finally, we test the bundled battery and charger to see how long it takes to get a full recharge from flat.

READ NEXT: Best drill bit

1. Bosch UniversalDrill 18V: Best drill-driver

Price when reviewed: £50 (tool only) | Check price at Tooled-Upbest cordless drill Bosch UniversalDrill

While it’s not up to handling the toughest DIY tasks, Bosch’s basic UniversalDrill is a good all-rounder, tackling most projects with little fuss or undue noise; we measured the sound output when drilling into contract at a very reasonable 72dB.

The two-speed planetary gearbox combined with 20 torque settings gives you plenty of control when drilling into softwood, brick or plastic. You can use the lower gear for screws and larger bits, or the second gear for speedy drilling at smaller diameters.

It’s comfortable to hold, with minimal vibration, and though it’s not the lightest or smallest drill on test, it’s well balanced for use one-handed. It uses the same Power For All batteries as most of Bosch’s DIY power tools and garden implements, and it takes around 90 minutes to charge the 1.5Ah battery using the basic charger in the kit.

In tests, the UniversalDrill 18V passed most of our trials with ease, but struggled when it came to drilling through solid concrete or driving thicker screws straight into timber; that’s where you’ll need to reach for a beefier hammer or impact drill.

As long as that’s not a problem, the only reason not to get this drill is that the UniversalImpact (see below) often sells at roughly the same price point, and adds a little versatility through its built-in impact driver.

Key specs– Weight: 1.2kg; Batteries supplied: 1 x 18V Power For All, 1.5Ah; Maximum speed: 1,450rpm; Torque settings: 20+1; Maximum torque: 40Nm; Maximum drilling capacity (wood, brick, steel): 30mm, 10mm, 10mm

Check price at Tooled-Up

2. Bosch UniversalImpact 18V: Best combi drill under £100

Price when reviewed: £65 (tool only) | Check price at TooledUpIf you only want to buy one drill, this is the one that just about does it all. Its two-speed gearbox, 20 torque settings and impact mode mean it’s ready to take on anything from driving screws straight into softwood timber to putting Rawlplug holes in brick, and the only area where it struggled in our tests was tough concrete – and even there it did the job eventually. It’s easy to use, with a clever keyless chuck design that gives you a good lock on your screwdriver or drill bit, and the settings ring and pressure-sensitive trigger give you plenty of control.

The UniversalImpact uses Bosch’s standard 18V Power-4-All batteries, and they take roughly an hour to charge – and even half an hour will get you up and running for a simple job. And while it’s a little heavier than some lightweight combi drills, it’s got the oomph to tackle a wider range of tasks. Widely available for well under £100, this is a great all-rounder.

Key specs – Weight: 1.3kg; Batteries: 1 x 18V li-ion, 1.5Ah; Maximum speed: 1,450rpm; Torque settings: 20; Maximum torque: 34Nm; Maximum drilling capacity (wood, brick, steel): 30mm, 10mm, 10mm

Check price at TooledUp

3. Terratek 13 Piece 18V Cordless Drill Driver: Best of the low-cost drill drivers

Price when reviewed: From £30 | Check price at AmazonIf you’re looking for a cheap drill to throw into the toolbox and have on standby for a quick DIY project or your next flat-pack furniture assembly task, this low-cost kit is worth a look. It comes with six drill bits, six screwdriver bits and a bit adaptor, so you’re ready to go right out of the box, and while the accessories aren’t as good as standalone kits or products, they’re good enough to tackle basic household needs and light repairs.

Of course, there are areas where it falls down next to the pricier models. It’s not powerful enough to do much work in metal or brickwork, and its speeds are more those of a decent electric screwdriver than those of a serious combi drill. Most importantly, the lithium-ion battery takes three to five hours to charge and with an 800mAh capacity isn’t going to last as long. Still, it’s lightweight, pretty versatile and hard to miss if left around the house. For this price, it’s hard to grumble.

Key specs – Weight: 1kg; Batteries: 1 x 18V li-ion, 800mAh; Maximum speed: 650rpm; Torque settings: 16; Maximum torque: Not stated; Maximum drilling capacity (wood, brick, steel): 20mm, 8mm, 8mm

4. Black + Decker 18 V Cordless 2-Gear Combi Hammer Drill: Best budget hammer drill

Price when reviewed: £50 | Check price at B&QThe Black + Decker 18V combi drill is a great all-rounder for tackling a variety of household jobs, and is also tough enough to handle light masonry and metalwork, thanks to a 21,000BPM hammer drilling speed (although for the most heavy-duty tasks, we’d recommend going with the DeWalt rotary hammer drill below).

The lightweight drill has ten different torque settings and a two-gear variable speed (max 1,400rpm), allowing you to prioritise control and precision or speed depending on the job. According to Black + Decker, the 18V lithium-ion battery holds over 80% of its charge over 90 days and is also interchangeable with the brand’s range of other 18V tools.

Key specs – Weight: 1.2kg; Batteries: 1 x 18V li-ion, 1.5Ah; Maximum speed: 1,400rpm; Torque settings: 10; Maximum torque: 40Nm; Maximum drilling capacity (wood, brick, steel): 25mm, 10mm, 10mm

Check price at B&Q

5. Makita DHP458Z: Best combi drill for some serious DIY

Price when reviewed: £80 (tool only) | Check price at PowerToolWorldThe DHP458Z gives you more power and some pro-level features at a price that’s still pretty reasonable, although you’ll need to factor in an extra £100 or so for a compatible battery and charger. Still, you can use both with any other Makita kit you own and it’s hard to grumble with the results. It will speed through softwood and hardwood and work through brick in seconds, and even our top challenge – concrete – didn’t hold it off for long. Just make sure you’ve got some earplugs or defenders as this one can get pretty loud.

You’ve got screwdriver, drill and hammer settings, along with an extra grip that slides onto the tool and clamps into place in four different positions, giving you a bit more hold when the hammer action’s doing its work. What’s more, there’s a rod that slides into the grip and can be set to prevent you drilling in too far. The keyless chuck is extremely efficient at holding even slender bits, with a firm locking option that grips them tight, and while this is a relatively heavy tool it’s well balanced and feels incredibly robust. Busy with a major project? This drill’s ready to take on anything you’ve got.

Key specs – Weight: 2kg; Batteries: 18V li-ion, 2Ah (not supplied); Maximum speed: 2,000rpm; Torque settings: 21; Maximum torque: 88Nm; Maximum drilling capacity (wood, brick, steel): 76mm, 16mm, 13mm

Check price at PowerToolWorld

6. Worx WX354 Slammer: Best combi drill for masonry and more

Price when reviewed: £120 | Check price at Worx We love a power tool with a tough name, and the Slammer lives up to its billing. While it hasn’t got the size or heft of the DeWalt or the Makita DHP458Z, it punches above its weight with a hammer action that will happily put holes into brick or concrete. Used on wood, it makes everything effortless and there’s enough grunt to drive in chunky screws without any pilot holes if you’re not too fussed about a super-neat result. There’s a lot of power, but also plenty of control.

And while it seems a little on the pricey side, it comes complete with two 20V batteries and a charger, with the latter charging the battery within an hour, or to 75% in half an hour with fast charging. You can also share your batteries with other tools in the Worx range. If you’re looking for a combi drill with a little extra firepower, this one is an excellent choice.

Key specs – Weight: 1.7kg; Batteries supplied: 2 x 10V li-ion, 2Ah; Maximum speed: 2,000rpm; Torque settings: 18; Maximum torque: 60Nm; Maximum drilling capacity (wood, brick, steel): 40mm, 16mm, 13mm

Check price at Worx

7. Makita CLX228AJ: Best all-in-one drill set

Price when reviewed: £175 | Check price at Amazonbest cordless drill Makita CLX228AJ

This value-packed kit from Makita gives you an impact driver, combi drill, batteries and charger in a single case, making sure you have the tool you need for most DIY projects, unless you need to bore large holes through brick or concrete walls.

The HP333D combi drill isn’t the most powerful out there, but it happily drilled through wood and concrete in our tests without a problem, though not without an ear-splitting racket.

Meanwhile the T110D Impact Driver makes short work of driving chunky 5mm and even 8mm screws into softwood. Where other drill sets compromise quality for quantity, the Makita set gives you both without cutting any corners.

Both tools are built solidly and come with an LED light to make them easy to work in the darkest and smallest corners. Aside from that, you won’t find any bells or whistles – but if you’re looking for a reliable set of drills to cover all bases, this Makita twin pack should give you everything you need.

Key specs (HP333D Combi Drill) – Weight: 1kg; Batteries supplied: 1 x 12V Max Li-ion, 2Ah; Maximum speed: 1,700rpm; Torque settings: 20; Maximum torque: 30Nm; Maximum drilling capacity (wood, brick, steel): 21mm, 8mm, 10mm

Key specs (T110D Impact Driver) – Weight: 1kg; Batteries supplied: 1 x 12V Max Li-ion, 2Ah; Maximum speed: 2,600rpm; Torque settings: N/A; Maximum torque: 110Nm; Maximum drilling capacity (wood, brick, steel): N/A

8. DeWalt 18V XR Lithium-Ion SDS: Best SDS rotary hammer around £200

Price when reviewed: £200 | Check price at ToolstationDeWalt 18V XR Lithium-ion SDS plus drillIf you’re planning to work with metal, wood or masonry, you’ll need a drill with enough torque to break through the toughest of surfaces. This DeWalt model is surprisingly powerful for its size: despite weighing in at just 3kg, it packs all the power of a corded SDS+ model into a lightweight, portable piece of kit.

If you’ll be using your new drill fairly regularly and are able to cough up a little more, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better tool than the DeWalt hammer drill. It isn’t one for the occasional DIY-er, but regular users will appreciate the drill’s low vibration levels, which will make long drilling sessions easier on the arm. It also comes with a handy hammer-only mode – a feature you won’t find on cheaper models.

Key specs – Weight: 3.1kg; Batteries supplied: 18V li-ion, 4Ah not supplied; Maximum speed: 4,500rpm; Torque settings: N/A; Maximum torque: N/A; Maximum drilling capacity (wood, brick, steel): 26mm, 24mm, 13mm

Check price at Toolstation

9. Ryobi One+ R18IDBL: Best cordless impact driver

Price when reviewed: £120 | Check price at AmazonRyobi’s brushless impact driver delivers huge amounts of torque – up to 270Nm – meaning it can drive a screw through decking with barely any effort, or loosen the most troublesome stuck bolts. The variable speed trigger and three power levels give you plenty of control. It even has a specialised DeckDrive mode that slows down the speed as the screw head gets level with the surface of the timber, avoiding any nasty splits. If you’ve got a big garden landscaping project to complete, this tool will save you time and work.

The one downside with all this power is that, once fitted with a 2.5mAh, 18V battery, you’re looking at a weight of 1.54kg, so it’s going to be tougher on an outstretched arm than the lighter combi drills or Makita’s T110D. Just bear in mind, too, that you’ll need to budget for a battery and charger if you haven’t already invested in Ryobi’s One+ system. The R18IDBL is more of a specialist than the other cordless drills on test, but it’s streets ahead for driving screws.

Key specs – Weight: 1.54kg; Batteries supplied: 18V li-ion, 2.5mAh not supplied; Maximum speed: 3,000rpm; Torque settings: N/A; Maximum torque: 270Nm; Maximum drilling capacity (wood, brick, steel): N/A

10. Bosch AdvancedImpactDrive 18: Best value cordless impact driver

Price when reviewed: £115 | Check price at Amazonbest cordless drill Bosch AdvancedImpact Drive

While it can’t quite match the power of the Ryobi One+ R18IDBL, the Bosch AdvancedImpactDrive 18 makes a great alternative, throwing in a 1.5Ah Power For All battery and charger for less than the Ryobi costs as a bare tool.

There’s still plenty of torque on tap here, and we had no issues even driving meaty 8mm screws into softwood. The action’s smooth and the driver doesn’t jump around much during use, and it’s easy to control the speed by reducing pressure on the trigger.

With its lightweight and compact body, this is a great tool for major projects or working in tight spaces, and while the unusual chuck feels a little loose at first, it does a solid job of holding the bit while in operation. It’s also highly effective at removing screws, provided the screw itself isn’t too soft or rusty, in which case it’s all too easy to tear through the head and leave nothing to grip with.

Still, that’s the inevitable downside of having this much torque to play with, and the AdvancedImpactDrive 18 will drive and remove screws that your average drill-drive or combi driver just won’t handle.

Key specs – Weight: 0.9kg; Batteries supplied: 1 x 18V Power For All, 1.5Ah; Maximum speed: 2,600rpm; Torque settings: N/A; Maximum torque: 130Nm; Maximum drilling capacity (wood, brick, steel): N/A

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