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Best cordless drill 2021: Drill drivers, hammer drills and SDS drills to DIY at will and for less this Black Friday

Jodie Dewberry
26 Nov 2021
best cordless drill
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Take the work and pain out of your DIY with the top cordless drills

No home toolbox is complete without a cordless drill. 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 four 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.

Save over £30 on the Bosch UniversalImpact 18V cordless drill

The Bosch UniversalImpact 18V was our choice for the best combi-drill under £100 in the list below, and now it's even cheaper at £63 during the Black Friday sales. It can do it all from driving screws into softwood timber to putting rawlplugs in brick. If you only want one drill, this is the drill to get.
Amazon
Was £94
Now £63

Save 30% on the Terratek 13Pc 18V cordless drill this Black Friday

Our best low-cost cordless drill, the Terratek 13Pc 18V, has just got even more affordable on Amazon, with £17 off. It comes packed with 13 different tool bits, meaning that you'll never struggle to do basic DIY tasks or build flatpack furniture again. Even if you're not an avid drill user, it's perfect for keeping about the home in case of emergencies and at this bargain price, you can't go wrong.
Amazon
RRP: £49
Now £32

Lowest EVER price for Black+Decker 18V Cordless 2-Gear Combi Hammer Drill

Our favourite low-cost drill driver, the Black+Decker 18V 2-Gear Combi Hammer Drill, is even cheaper this Black Friday with 20% off. Coming with six drill bits, six screwdriver bits and a bit adaptor, you've got everything to get to work right out of the box - and for a steal at £40.
Amazon
Was £50
Now £40

Best cordless drill: At a glance

  • The best combi drill under £100: Bosch PSB 1800 Combi Drill | Buy now
  • The best budget drill driver: Terratek 13 Piece 18V Cordless Drill Kit | Buy now
  • The best budget hammer drill: Black+Decker Combi Hammer Drill | Buy now
  • The best impact driver under £100: Ryobi One+ Impact Driver | Buy now
  • The best SDS Rotary Hammer: DeWalt 18V XR Lithium-Ion SDS | Buy now
  • The best lightweight drill-driver: Bosch EasyDrill 1200 | Buy now
  • The best combi drill for some serious DIY: Makita DHP458Z | Buy now
  • The best combi drill for masonry and more: Worx WX354 Slammer | Buy now
  • The best all-in-one-drill set: Makita CLX202AJ Combi and Impact Driver | Buy now

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 guide hole for screws with a traditional drill, and have to swap between drill and driver bits as a result, an impact driver will do the job on its own due to its extra power.

Combi drill: If you need to drill into tougher materials such as metal or concrete, and also drive screws, your first port of call is 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 hammers, 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.

READ NEXT: The best shed to keep your garden tools safe

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% there 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, then 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 £37, 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 £210, but if your needs are a little more modest you can easily get away with spending around £80 to £120.

READ NEXT: The best cordless screwdriver

The best cordless drills to buy

1. Bosch UniversalImpact 18V: The best combi drill under £100

Price: £97 | Buy now from Amazon

If 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. If you’ve got the budget, this is a superb 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.

2. Terratek 13 Piece 18V Cordless Drill Driver: The best of the low-cost drill drivers

Price: £37 | Buy now from Amazon

If 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, then 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 stand-alone 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.

3. Black + Decker 18 V Cordless 2-Gear Combi Hammer Drill: The best budget hammer drill

Price: £48 (one battery), £92 (two batteries) | Buy now from Amazon

The 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 21,000 BPM hammer drilling speed (though for the most heavy-duty tasks, we’d recommend going with the DeWalt rotary hammer drill below).

The lightweight drill has 10 different torque settings, and a two-gear variable speed (max 1,400 RPM), 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 Lithium Ion, 1.5Ah; Maximum speed: 1,400rpm; Torque settings: 10; Maximum torque: 40Nm; Maximum drilling capacity (wood, brick, steel): 25mm, 10mm, 10mm.

4. Bosch EasyDrill 1200: The best lightweight drill-driver

Price: £69 | Buy now from Amazon

This Bosch drill-driver keeps things lightweight and simple, with 15 torque settings, a streamlined design and a battery that fits inside the handle. It’ll comfortably work in spaces where other drills can be a bit of a struggle. Yet it’s an incredibly efficient little drill, punching effortlessly through wood and even putting in a good show on brickwork, although you’ll need to apply some pressure and the going’s rather slow. We were worried that the keyless chuck wouldn’t get a decent hold on drill bits, but in practice it held firm with little slippage. The motor doesn’t give up easily whether it's drilling or driving in screws, either.

There’s no impact action here or anything fancy, but with this one simplicity is a strength. The bundled case and battery charger are also a step up from those on cheaper drill-drivers, and the battery takes around an hour and a half to charge fully or just over an hour for an 80% quick charge. It’ll last you through three or four hours of work as well. You might not want the EasyDrill as your only drill, but it’s a great tool for odd jobs around the home and garden.

Key specs – Weight: 1kg; Batteries: 1 x 12V Li-ion, 1.5Ah; Maximum speed: 1,650rpm; Torque settings: 15; Maximum torque: 20Nm; Maximum drilling capacity (wood, brick, steel): 20mm, 6mm, 6mm.

5. Makita DHP458Z: The best combi drill for some serious DIY

Price: £89 | Buy now from Amazon

The 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’ll 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.

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

Price: £180 | Buy now from Very

We love a power tool with a tough, macho 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.

Buy now from Very


7. Makita CLX202AJ 10.8 V CXT Combi and Impact Driver: The best all-in-one drill set

Price: £195 | Buy now from Amazon

This handy kit from Makita doesn't come cheap, but it does come with both an impact driver and a combi drill, so you'll have the tool you need for every situation you're likely to come across. They're not the most powerful drills on the market, but they're more than you need for most household and DIY tasks, and great value for money. Unlike other drill sets, which 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 (HP33D Combi Drill) – Weight: 1kg; Batteries supplied: 1 x 12V Max Li-ion, 2Ah; Maximum speed: 1,500rpm; Torque settings: 18; Maximum torque: 24Nm; 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 Plus Body Only Rotary Hammer Drill: The best SDS rotary hammer around £200

Price: £208 (body only) | Buy now from Amazon

If 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.

9. Ryobi One+ Cordless 18V Impact Driver: The best impact driver under £100

Price: £90 | Buy now from Argos 

It’s easy to head straight to the big names and overlook the lesser-known brands when you’re in the market for a new power tool, but Ryobi proves that shouldn’t always be the case. It may not be as well known as other drill manufacturers, but its One+ Impact Driver is hard to beat and offers some very stiff competition to the usual go-to models.

The Ryobi One+ isn’t the cheapest or prettiest of the bunch – making it easy to pass over – but this little machine is a lot more powerful than it looks. It’s so powerful, in fact, that you’ll need to buy good-quality impact-ready bits. It also comes with the kind of extras you probably didn’t realise you needed, including an ergonomic design, GripZone handle and three LED lights to light up your work area.

Key specs – Weight: 1.7kg; Batteries supplied: 18V Li-ion, 2Ah not supplied; Maximum speed: 1,800rpm; Torque settings: n/a; Maximum torque: 50Nm; Maximum drilling capacity (wood, brick, steel): 38mm, 13mm, 13mm.

Buy now from Argos