There used to be a time when, if you wanted power you needed to use a corded drill, and if you wanted mobility and versatility you would bring in a cordless, but only after you would have done the more difficult part with a corded drill. Nowadays advancements in battery technology have made it possible for an entire range of cordless drills to use different gears so that you can now drive and drill with the same device. The problem, of course, is knowing how to choose those newer devices and a simple answer here would be to look for ion-lithium batteries and drills that have at least 2 gears. Make sure not mistake gears for power ratios, because they are very different indeed. However, even by following these rules, we have found that some drills are more powerful than others, and also some are more mobile and versatile than others. So we have come up with the following list of our top 5 choices on the market, and have also put together in depth reviews for those products, that you can find by scrolling down past the list itself.
1. Makita XPH012 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Drill
Despite the market seeming to favor DeWalt, which you will find on our number 2 spot, our first choice is the Makita XPH012 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Drill. It has several features that place it on equal footing with the corded drills, the most significant of which being its maximum torque rating of 480 inches/pound. It is also one of the lightest cordless drills you are going to find, at just 4 pounds. The other great thing that we were looking to see on our number 1 choice is the fact that it has a power setting that allows you to change the maximum rotations per minute, so that it will either go from 0 to 400 RPM depending on the load, or from 0 to 1500 RPM. Also there is the fact that the Makita drill also has a hammer function so that, with the proper drill bit, it can go through cement or even stone. For the money you get the drill, one 18V battery, a charger for that battery and very nice carrying case. The charger and the fact that you have a lithium-ion battery also means that you can keep the battery in the charger indefinitely, and just take it out when you need it.
2. DeWalt DC970K-2 18-Volt Compact Drill
We have already mentioned that most people prefer the DeWalt DC970K-2 18-Volt Compact Drill to the Makita we have already reviewed, but as for us, we simply could not get ourselves to think of it as the best. For one, it weighs significantly more, 5.2 pounds, which is an increase in weight of more than 25% over the Makita. It also delivers less power at just 380 inches per pound, although it is able to deliver all that power through its 2 gear setting either at 0 to 450 RPM or at 0 to 1500 RPM. Taking all of this into consideration the DeWalt DC970K-2 18-Volt Compact Drill is still a pretty powerful drill, and a very versatile one considering that it too has a hammer drill function. It really boils down to whether you prefer and trust DeWalt products over Makita ones or not, and we simply do not, which explains our choice.
3. Hitachi DS18DGL 18-Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Drill
For a long while we actually debated whether the Hitachi DS18DGL 18-Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Drill should be our number 2 choice and demote the DeWalt to the number 3 spot. The Hitachi has several very significant advantages, like the fact that it delivers 400 inches per pound of power, and, more importantly the tool itself comes with a life time warranty. Unfortunately it does not have a hammer function, which we would have been very impressed to see protected by a life time warranty, so we had to leave the Hitachi for the third place. Still, considering that it is also somewhat more affordable than the DeWalt, we consider it a very challenging competitor for the number 2 position, and we can see many DeWalt and even Makita customers choosing to go with the Hitachi, simply because of that life time warranty.
4. Stalwart 18V Cordless Drill Set
Now that we have given you our top 3 choices, and we really, dearly, and honestly recommend that you take your pick from among them, we do have 2 more alternatives that are for the budget conscious ones among you. The Stalwart 18V Cordless Drill Set has the advantage of being a kit, so, for the money, you not only get a stalwart drill, but also an almost infinite set of drill bits, screw driver heads and adapters. They are all of inferior quality and the drill function is somewhat weak in the knees, but they will get the job done, and, with proper care and attention, you may get to use this drill for many years to come. The battery itself though is not lithium-ion, and instead uses an older technology, so you should make sure to always charge it fully when storing it away.
5. Genesis GCD18BK 18v Cordless Drill Kit
If you are not hung up on the literally dozens of heads that the Stalwart kit comes with, there is a more affordable alternative in the Genesis GCD18BK 18v Cordless Drill Kit. Granted, Genesis is not a big brand name when it comes to drills, but we found the drill to be plenty powerful and quite light. It does not compare in any way to the DeWalt or its stronger alternatives, but it is almost 3 times as cheap. It also comes with a couple of drill heads, and, in all honesty, for most jobs those are the only heads that you will need anyway. There is also the fact that the Genesis GCD18BK 18v Cordless Drill Kit comes with a 2 year warranty on the tool itself, and, when we take into consideration the obvious quality of the workmanship, we would rate the Genesis as a better drill than the Stalwart, but we decided to leave it for the final position, simply because it does not have a comprehensive head set.