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. The guys over at Tools in Action have been busy testing Makita’s new brushless hammer drill. Yes, they were using a high-speed gear, and yes they probably should have stopped pushing the drill as soon as it started smoking.
It is possible that TIA tested a defective model, or the tool was designed with under-sensitive overload protection, but it is more likely that they just pushed the tool beyond its limits until it destroyed itself. The sophisticated circuitry needed to properly drive a brushless motor would normally have overload protection baked into the design, but it’s not there by default. I’d amost guess something must be wrong with it, unless they have different designers working now.
My current Craftsman drill will cut out from time to time with the Lithium batter, but has yet to do it with the NiCad.
Why do I say lower cost you might ask, Makita comes in and sells us on 10+ kits for a lower price, gives us a lot of batteries for making the switch then 6 months later the stuff is broken and batteries are not working.

The hammer drill does seem to come with a generous amount of protective oil coating, at least it smells like it and is visible in and around the chuck area of the tool. No way this would happen during normal use, but I have also pushed tools so hard that they smoke up a little. One other point, if anything swayed me more in my recent purchase over the competitive models (DeWalt, Milwaukee, Ridgid, Bosch), it was the batteries. I have just got this drill and the second time I used it the exact same happened I was using a 22mm self feed spade bit on around the 4th hole this happened I bought it online I wasnt aware of the star system mentioned above ill cjeck when I get home the drill still works and was fine using a 25mm standard flat bit should I send it back?
22mm seems a bit large to be used with a compact hammer drill, and self-feed bits add to the strain. If in your shoes I *might* swap the tool for a replacement to see if it performs any differently. The Quanum Aquaholic is the ultimate Deep V Racing Boat offering high speed, excellent handling and killer good looks.
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They sure are Personally I like the look of the cat better, there's more room in the hull and supposedly they run faster. If anything the Litehawk one is from the same supplier, but I doubt HK copied Litehawk since they're such small company. 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? It is technically possible for the motor to draw more current than it can handle without drawing more than the battery can safely deliver. They were testing it along with a couple of other drills, and after pushing it hard they were extremely surprised that it was smoking while still turning, or rather trying to turn.
Either this particular test sample is defective, or the circuitry is nonexistent or not sensitive enough.

I wouldn’t use a Dewalt cordless tool because of the negative experiences I have had in the past.
I also think the guy’s comment about white smoke being protective oil cooking off bears further research. The motor is being pushed so hard and run so hot that it burns off the wires’ coatings. Makita overload protection is a bit weak as it kicks in later that most other companies brands plus some older packs and tools don’t have any.
For other companies, brushless ready means just making some nominal provisions for battery and motor installation and letting the aftermarket develop the upgrades necessary to make it survive. The full-color display combines with the free Traxxas Link™ App to deliver an intuitive, high-definition, full-color graphical user interface that unlocks the mysteries of optimizing your radio system for ultimate vehicle control.
The vibrant race inspired paint scheme and expertly applied decals are sure to turn heads wherever you go!
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However I already have a cat and I flip the darn thing over all the time (it is a monster though, half the size of these new boats with twice the motor ). I added trim tabs and halved the battery size, now the extreme torque is the only thing I am fighting, but I have a set of 4 2-blade props on the way, ranging from 28mm to 35mm (which should be better than a great big 3 blade prop). 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. After doing so, they found that if you push the Makita drill too far, it will cry plumes of grey smoke. Finally, the guy who said the testers were using the wrong speed for the job, and running it to failure, may have something.
Burn off too much and the wires will essentially short-circuit, leading to complete motor failure. Traxxas Link also opens the door to telemetry capability when you add optional sensors to your model. Milwaukee’s cordless drills have impressed me less and the batteries on my drill lose all their charge fast when the drill binds.
Ironically the biggest complaint I had with my early Makita cordless tools was the overload protection was a bit too trigger happy. When the drill appeared to have no more juice I held trigger and attempted to turn drill for the last couple of turns. We heard the call for more power so E-Revo was tested tough for durability with brutal 6S LiPo power and intense custom wound brushless motors.For the uninitiated, this extreme 65+mph motor and battery combination is ordinarily a predictable recipe for a box full of twisted and mangled parts. It was just a crude circuit breaker (some had an auto reset, while others had a pushbutton manual reset), but it got the job done.
I then reached for the makita impact which I should have turned to first and it did the job perfectly. I bought a set of 18V LiIon tools (impactor and a drill) recently, and neither have any sort of overload protection. The aluminum motor can is machined to act as a massive heatsink, high-grade bearings deliver maximum efficiency, and high-strength Neodymium magnets give E-Revo Brushless Edition outrageous torque.

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