It is once again time to tackle a question so many readers and power tool users are asking: I’m looking for a new cordless drill, what do you recommend? In the past couple of Best Cordless Drills roundups, Milwaukee took was the top pick in multiple categories.
As with the other recommendations posts, these are based on my preferences and what I feel are the best cordless drills and drivers from among those I have tested and used. Since cordless drills and hammer drills often share most of the same parts and features, most if not all of these recommendations could apply to hammer drills as well. Since many of my recommendations are for brushless models, be sure to check out my post on the benefits of brushless power tool motors to help bring you up to speed.
This is one of my favorite drills, and is perhaps the most recommendable for anyone looking for top-notch performance. If you want the latest and greatest, check out Bosch’s brushless drill and driver lineup.
When you need to drill large holes, and many of them, and you want to do it safely, you might want to step up to the new Milwaukee M18 Fuel Hole Hawg, which is said to deliver corded-like performance. The DCD790 grew on me, and there’s new competition in the compact high performance drill arena. This model offers good performance and runtime, but it lacks some of the premium features of Milwaukee’s Fuel drills. Compared to Milwaukee’s M18 brushed motor drill (2606), the 2701 delivers comparable torque (500 in-lbs) in a smaller package.
Last holiday season, many retailers were selling the DDB181-02 (2) battery kit for just $99, which was an incredibly bargain.
In a head-to-head between the Dewalt 20V Max DCD990 and Milwaukee M18 Fuel 2603, I prefer the Milwaukee. Ingersoll Rand’s 12V cordless tools made it into my top 5 favorite new tools of 2013 list because they are great performers and meticulously designed. IR’s new drill, as well as their other cordless tools, are powerful and specially designed for automotive users.
As with the D1130, I would go so far to say the D5140 could also be an excellent model for industrial settings. The PS31 continues to be a great value, and it is sometimes available as part of discounted Bosch L-Boxx tool box bundles around Father’s Day and winter holiday shopping seasons.
The 2407 is a solid performer and also serves as inexpensive entry into Milwaukee’s M12 cordless power tool lineup.
If both Bosch and Milwaukee’s 12V-class brushed motor compact drill driver kits were priced at $99, my recommendation would be for the Milwaukee. Ryobi and Craftsman both continue to offer decent cordless drills, but you have to be careful as to which one you buy. I considered doing that, but it gets murky when you differentiate tools like that, not to mention longer.
Makita isn’t on this list, and if Metabo is comparable to Makita then why should Metabo be on this list?
Anyways, I thought it would be an interesting consideration because the Metabo came out on top of the latest shootout performed by Oz Tool Talk, and maybe because I just bought one too and need to feel good about my purchase.
If I could only have access to two cordless drills, I would pick the IR 12V and Bosch 18V with anti-kickback tech. I was watching AusToolTalk on youtube and they recommended the Metabo As the best of the brushless drill and the Makita as the second best. Also, I totally agree that the safety of the Bosch that cuts power when it binds should be an important factor in choosing a powerful drill. The XPH07 has potential as an extreme torque model, as already mentioned in the post, but it also has a very awkwardly sized auxiliary handle. Maybe I’ll try again to get my hands on one for the 2016 revision, to see if a couple hours of use could change my mind. In addition to the new tools, Bostitch will be coming out with a limited line of power tool accessories, such as drill bits, screwdriver bits, and saw blades.
Black & Decker power tools are aimed at homeowners and DIYers, Dewalt power tools are aimed at professional users, Stanley FatMax power tools are apparently aimed at Walmart shoppers, and Porter Cable tools have been marketed as being below Dewalt as professional-grade affordable tools.
Public opinion about Porter Cable has differed in recent years, with a lot of professional users having lost respect for the brand.
I have a few bostitch branded tools but none of them are power tools, I have some of their hammers and bubble levels which I consider nice and made well. I think this brand proliferation is a natural extension of brand lock-in, especially by Home Depot. That would be fine if the different brands all somehow just happened to be able to use the same battery packs even if not a feature that was advertised. I though the idea was for companies to have as few strong brands as possible look at GM before they reorganized. I think it makes each brand strong for an impending sell-off of brands under the sbd umbrella.
I agree, why not just sell their homeowner grade power tools under black and decker and stanley?
It’s easy for more seasoned tool users to scoff at entry-level and DIYer tool brands, but they continue to be quite popular with their targeted users. Over the years we bought quite a number of Bostitch pneumatic tools – where (along with staplers) the brand seemingly built its reputation. Porter Cable reps have indicated that the 18V line will NOT be phased out, as the tools have sold extremely well at Lowes stores.


I don’t know about the newer ridgid cordless tools, but in 08, my coworker bought the best kit they had. Technically, they now have 6 power tool brands, if you consider how Porter Cable’s 18V and 20V Max Li systems are quite different, as are some of their corded tools.
I think the key is not to let yourself become wedded to one particular brand of power tool, unless that brand is the best available for whatever tool you’re trying to buy. The problem is that all these brands have specialties, like Bostitch with their fasteners and staplers, but they all try to diversify and bank on the name.
But for many professional users, having to deal with multiple battery platforms can create slowdowns or other issues at jobsites. I believe that Black & Decker invented the portable electric drill around the time doughboys were going off to fight in the trenches of France in WWI (1917). Price can sometimes be an indicator of quality, but it is just as true that pricing can also skew opinions. Having tested Porter Cable’s 20V drill and impact driver, I can say that they are NOT in the same league as Milwaukee, Bosch, or Makita cordless products.
A side-by-side comparison is sometimes difficult to do for the average Joe – but as you say the bells and whistles are often only put on the flagship brand. I have limited experience with most of these brands, most of my tools are DeWalt and as a previous commenter mentioned, it will likely stay that way for battery platform reasons.
The obvious purpose of a softball hitting drill is to help a batter develop a more productive swing. If you want to suggest a particular model for next year’s consideration, please let me know in comments. Simply put, brushless tools typically offer a balance of more power and longer runtime compared to tools with brushed motors. When you’d done checking out the recommendations below, also take a look at out our recent Best Cordless Drills Under $100 Guide! A Super Hole Hawg, designed for plumber’s needs and for boring larger holes, is in the works for this year. 1090 in-lbs is wrist-wrenching torque, but the Makita drill lacks any sort of protection device aside from an awkwardly long auxiliary handle. That way, the tool stops before the drill could counter-rotate enough to create a dangerous situation. The Hole Hawg provides a more controllable geometry, but the DDH181X also serves as a driver for fastening applications. The test sample was late, and I also didn’t think the roundup needed another category for best compact cordless drill. This is a solid performing model that has all the makings of a great drill – a comfortable and ergonomic grip and a great power-to-size (and weight) ratio.
Both are very capable cordless drills, but I favor the Dewalt’s ergonomics a hair better. The grip just isn’t as contoured as I have grown accustomed to, but it does taper a little from the gearbox towards the battery. Its price is higher now, but maybe it will drop back down for Father’s Day and the next winter holiday season. At the least, I find Milwaukee’s overall ergonomics to be much better, especially when the auxiliary handle has to be attached. Even the 20V D5140 cordless drill kit’s hardshell case is tailored for automotive professionals. One of the hinges has a spring-loaded pin that allows the entire lid to be removed so that you could put the whole shebang right into a toolbox or cabinet drawer! Yes, it’s larger than many cordless drills designed for the construction tool industry.
Although Bosch has been expanding their 12V tool lineup, Milwaukee’s is far stronger. I personally love that Bosch holds so many places here, I’ve been a big Bosch fan for a long time.
Some are popular because they’re the cool tool to have, others because they are simply top performers.
They have some interesting innovations going on, but it took a lot of effort for anyone at Metabo to answer my questions.
If you don’t include at least the makita a big player (metabo is less mainstream in non-Europen markets) then the test though still usefull, is giving a very incomplete picture. Testing of torque and battery life puts their latest products, which I don’t have (yet), at or near the top of the list.
Would you prefer if I pandered to you and lauded the XPH07 over other drills just because it can deliver more torque according to on-paper specs?
Perhaps this means that an upgraded 20V Max lineup of cordless tools is already planned and in the works.
Walmart has for a long time taken a firm anti-union position, which doesn’t sit well with a lot of unionized tradesmen. Porter Cable sees Ryobi as their main competition, which doesn’t really help things in my opinion. According to early information, the Bostitch power tools are contractor-grade and affordably priced, but the same has been said about Porter Cable’s new 20V Max cordless tools and recent corded products.
This is what a lot of users believe Porter Cable did when Black & Decker FireStorm tools were discontinued a few years back. Imagine a world where you could use a Dewalt drill with a Porter Cable battery and Bostitch charger. I am not a fan of Bostitch hand tools at all, although my experience with them has been limited to a handful of products, but apparently they’ve been selling well enough for SBD to put Bostitch branding on a new line of power tools as well.


My cordless drills have always been Dewalt,althou I have owned one porter cable drill iun my life and it was very nice but it was when they made a higher quality product as well. In order to compete in more than one Home Center, B&D has to essentially create brands and product line-ups at will. I know they are standard SBD tool designs with different colored cases nothing is really a new clean sheet design. If they start selling a line of cheap power tools, eventually that could cheapen the perception of their nailers and pneumatics line.
An expansion is planned for later this year, after which the line might see increasing popularity.
That’s a great price, but approaches too close to the DIYer pricing of their 18V NiCd and Li-ion kits, in my honest opinion.
But even in that case, I just can’t see the reasoning behind a Bostitch line of power tools. A lot of tradesmen prefer to buy into a single platform, maybe more if there’s good enough reason, and stick with them. They perform quite well, but they lack some of the bells and whistles the other brands build into their higher-tier products.
For the drill to be effective, it must promote the swing mechanics used by the game’s most productive hitters. Their M18 and M12 Fuel brushless cordless tools are still simply the best offerings from among the major professional-grade brands. There are also no motor brushes to replace down the road, which means lower maintenance needs. Despite these things, the DDS181 is what I use for drilling holes and driving fasteners, at least when I’m not testing out another model. I have never been a fan of Dewalt’s premium 3-speed drills, because they have traditionally been big, bulky, and heavy.
While Milwaukee focused on power and premium features for their M12 Fuel drill, Bosch focused on size and seemingly runtime.
Their brushless drill is lighter still, about a pound lighter than the M18 Fuel, with more torque and way more features like the removable chuck, electronic clutch, impulse mode, accelerometer based light, right angle adapter, etc etc. Someone buying into Makita’s 18V platform will find plenty of good options, but if you’re looking for a new drill and aren’t married to any one platform, other brands’ drills are more compelling. I used a new, out of the box Bosch and broke the anti-wrist-braking technology on the first trigger pull.
I would much rather provide practical recommendations than tell you and brands what they want to hear. Their 18V tools are reasonably good, but are not considered in the same light as Porter Cable’s tools from years back.
It will be interesting to see what pro’s think of these tools once they hit store shelves later in the year. This is just going to cause them to have to shift marketing and design teams around and that seems that could be disruptive to the other brands.
My big quandry is why are most of the kits around the same prices if ones a budget conscious pro grade tool and the other is a pro grade tool for budget conscious users… Or did I just answer my own question? Their MCN150 metal connector nailer was a solid tool that was much more compact and user friendly than what it once had for competition.
Perhaps Bostitch will take this spot and bump up the perception of Porter Cable tools a notch. Here we analyze clips of the top fastpitch home run hitters to show the swing mechanics these great hitters all have in common. Milwaukee’s cordless drills have impressed me less and the batteries on my drill lose all their charge fast when the drill binds.
It looks like their 20V Max cordless tool line expansion is an attempt to change this, but the outcome is uncertain. We used a few of their flooring nailers and liked their SX150-BHF-2 and LHF97125-2 flooring staplers – but I recall that their house wrap stapler (SB150SLBC-1) soon got superseded by a Senco tool and we came to like the Powernail 50P-FLEXRL much better than our older Bostich and Porta-Nail (at one time a Porter Cable brand) flooring nailers. If I recall correctly – our small pneumatic tool inventory (nailers and staplers) was probably equally split between Bostitch and Hitachi tools with a few others (like Makita siding nailers, Senco house wrap staplers, Senco Senclamp staplers, Mangone Pex staplers, Grex and Cadex Pinners, and Powernail flooring nailers) thrown in. Although I like their brands I thought that having b&d Porter cable and dewalt was pushing it then came their Stanley fat max power tools and that became crowded and now Bostitch. My 503 (locomotive style sander) with chain-driven 3×24 belt is 40 years old and still going strong. Keep in mind that Wal-mart might be a sort of launch partner but do you really think its going to stay exclusive there?
I don’t see the point of Bostitch affordable contractor power tools when they already have 2 Porter cable lines. I see one (new old stock) on Amazon selling for over $1200 – and used ones going for over $200. None of the walmarts in my area have Stanley fat max power tools so I wonder if they are regional and Bostitch will fill in the gaps.



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Comments to «Best power drill and driver»

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