When you’re doing jobs for yourself around your home and garden you’ll need some basic tools and safety equipment, and one of the most useful is the drill. Probably the most fundamental power tool in the DIYers arsenal, whether you’re making a wooden planter, putting up a garden trellis or hanging a floral basket, a drill will never be far away.

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A drill is an essential tool for creating holes in materials like wood, metal, or brick, to accommodate screws and other types of fittings. There are two main types of drill - drill drivers and hammer drills, also known as combination or combi drills.
A drill driver creates holes and then on a different setting drives fittings into them. Essentially, you can drill into anything with a drill driver, except for brick or stone, which needs a hammering action.
A drill with a hammer action can make holes in particularly hard materials like masonry and simply put, when the drill spins the drill bit around, a hammer mechanism inside hits the bit to help break through hard surfaces. They perform a combination of drilling, screwing, and hammering actions, hence the name combination or combi drill, but note the names hammer and combi drills are interchangeable.

To help you choose the right cordless drill for your needs, we put a range of cordless drill driver and combi drills to the test.


If you want to get stuck into some spring projects, check out our guide on the best drill bits, best screwdriver sets, best multi tools and how to choose the best cordless tools, then put them to good work with our guide to making a wooden planter.
If you’re looking for more cordless tools see our reviews of the best electric screwdrivers, best cordless lawn mowers, best leaf blowers and hedge trimmers. To save some money on your favourite tools, take a look at the best Black Friday tool deals we've found for you.


Best Buy cordless drills at a glance


Our expertise

We tested a range of cordless drills, using them to drill holes and drive in screws into different materials, to help you find the right one for your garden DIY needs. Each has a detailed list of pros and cons for clarity and has been rated according to assembly and storage, ease of use, performance, and value for money. Every drill in our round up has scored a minimum of 3.5 out of five stars, so you can buy with confidence.


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In every review we award the outstanding products our coveted Best Buy award. To see these and the others we recommend, browse our pick of the best cordless drills below:

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Best cordless drills in 2023

Makita DHP482JX14 50th Anniversary 18V Combi Drill Kit

RRP: £200

Our rating: 4.5/5

2048-1365-gw-best-power-drills-Makita-DHP482JX15-50th-Anniversary-18V-Combi-Drill-Kit (1)

Pros

  • Very powerful
  • Two large 5.0 Ah batteries
  • Stackable storage box
  • Battery shaped accessory kit

Cons

  • High price for casual DIYers
  • Plastic-sleeved chuck

Japanese tool firm Makita have created a well-balanced and incredibly comfortable combi drill kit that produces a serious amount of power where it’s needed. The ergonomics are brilliant and thanks to an expanse of grippy black TPE material on the handle, we found it comfortable when drilling holes and driving even long screws, even if the plastic-sleeved chuck is more liable to getting scuffed. The drill puts out a massive 62 Nm of torque, and the variable speed trigger can spin the drill up to 1,900 rpm, although it uses a brushed motor which isn’t overly efficient. Packed with user-favourite features like the belt hanger hook and powerful dual LED work light, it’s an extremely handy piece of kit to own. It could be out of the price range of a casual weekend DIYer, but you do get an awful lot for your money. The two 5.0 Ah batteries alone make this kit worth buying. We awarded this a BBC Gardeners' World Magazine Best Buy for the best professional cordless combi drill.


Mac Allister Solo MDD18-Li-2 Brushed Cordless Drill Driver

RRP: £65

Our rating: 4.3/5

  • Buy now from B&Q (£65), Ebay (£119.97)
2048-1365-gw-best-power-drills-Mac-Allister-Solo-MDD18-Li-2-Brushed-Cordless-Drill-Driver

Pros

  • Two 2.0 Ah batteries included
  • Smart carry case
  • Comfortable and quiet operation
  • Great value for money

Cons

  • Not suitable for drilling into brick
  • Small 10 mm plastic chuck

In-house brand for DIY giants B&Q, the Mac Allister is a familiar sight to UK DIYers. The MDD-18 drill driver is nice and light, and the basic grip shape is surprisingly comfortable to hold on to. The maximum drill speed of 1,500 rpm isn’t class leading, but it’s enough for most jobs. The brightly coloured charge level indicator is a nice touch as well, with a traffic light system to tell you when the batteries are low and it comes in a soft case with handy elastic holders to keep everything stowed safely. The only thing that lets the drill down is the small chuck size- at just 10 mm wide you’re limited to smaller drill bits. We awarded this a BBC Gardeners' World Magazine Best Buy for the best budget cordless drill.


DeWalt DCD795D2-GB 18V XR Brushless Hammer Drill Driver

RRP: £155

Our rating: 4.3/5

2048-1365-gw-best-power-drills-DeWalt DCD795D2-GB-18V-XR-Brushless-Hammer-Drill-Driver (1)

Pros:

  • Two 2.0 Ah batteries included
  • Tough hard case included
  • Powerful brushless motor
  • Magnetic drill bit holder

Cons:

  • Noisy operation
  • Expensive for casual DIYers

Celebrating 100 years of service in 2023, US tool manufacturers DeWalt are well known in the drill market and the DCD795 is an incredibly well-balanced and comfortable drill to use. We awarded it a BBC Gardeners' World Magazine Best Buy for the best cordless hammer drill for comfort. There’s plenty of metal used in its construction, which makes it feel like a premium, professional grade tool and the ergonomic grip shape fits perfectly in the hand, making for easy drilling and driving, even for long periods. The capable brushless motor produces an impressive 60 Nm of torque and a maximum drilling speed of 2,000 rpm. The work light is powerful enough to illuminate dark corners and stays on for 20 seconds after letting go of the trigger, even though it’s stuck down at the bottom of the grip. You get a pair of batteries, a belt hanging hook, stackable TSTAK hard case, and DeWalt’s handy magnetic bit holder. It’s quite expensive, but it’s a lot of drill for the money.


WORX WX370 20 Volt Cordless Impact Drill

RRP: £99.99

Our rating: 4.3/5

2048-1365-gw-best-power-drills-Worx_WX370 (1)

Pros:

  • Excellent value for money
  • Two 2.0 Ah PowerShare batteries
  • Sturdy plastic carry case
  • Generous 30-piece accessory kit

Cons:

  • No power level indicator
  • LED work light doesn’t stay on
  • Fiddly mode selector ring

The first impression of the WORX WX370 is that it feels like a solid and well-balanced piece of kit. The grip shape, although basic, is comfortable and means that the 50 Nm put out by the brushed motor is easy to hang on to. And with up to 1,600 rpm in 2nd gear, it’s fast enough for most drilling jobs around the home and garden. It also comes with a pair of 2.0 Ah batteries and a hard plastic carry case to keep things organised. You get the all-important belt hanging hook, and to get you started, WORX have included a generous 30-piece toolkit. It comes in a canvas tool roll and contains a decent selection of screw and nut driver bits as well as masonry, metal and wood drill bits. This isn’t the most powerful drill that WORX produce, but this comprehensive set is a great cordless drill kit. We awarded this a BBC Gardeners' World Magazine Best Buy for the best cordless combi drill with accessories.


Ryobi R18DD3 Cordless Drill Driver Starter Kit

RRP: £133.99

Our rating: 4.3/5

2048-1365-gw-best-power-drills-Ryobi-R18DD3-Cordless-Drill-Driver-Starter-Kit (1) (1)

Pros:

  • Rugged all metal chuck
  • Ergonomic grip shape
  • Quiet, brushless motor
  • Handy soft carry case

Cons:

  • Not suitable for drilling into brick
  • Only one 2.0 Ah battery included
  • Huge battery

This handy drill driver comes from Japanese firm Ryobi. Something that Ryobi do well is the universal nature of their batteries. You can use the same one to run over 100 different tools, but they’re big, which makes this drill a bit bulky but it is incredibly comfortable thanks to rubberised moulding and the ergonomic handle design. The brushless motor delivers a high drilling speed of 1,800 rpm, and with 50 Nm of torque, there’s enough power as well. There’s a handy holder for a double ended screwdriver bit on the bottom of the grip, but the work light is stuck down there too, and it doesn’t stay on once you let go of the trigger. Ryobi do include a pair of vital safety glasses with the kit though, which is a nice touch. We awarded this a BBC Gardeners' World Magazine Best Buy for the best drill driver.


The best of the rest

Although some models didn’t quite achieve a BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine Best Buy award, they still have great features that make them worth recommending. Browse our pick of the best of the rest on test.


Einhell TE-CD 18/2 Li-I +22 Cordless Impact Drill

RRP: £104.95

Our rating: 4.3/5

2048-1365-gw-best-power-drills-Einhell-Cordless-Impact-Drill (5)

Pros:

  • All-metal chuck
  • Strong hammer action
  • Versatile tool case

Cons:

  • Bulky battery shape
  • Single 2.5 Ah battery

The German brand Einhell have been making tools since 1964, and their Power X-Change technology means that a single 18 V battery will work in more than 200 different products. The TE-CD is a good cordless hammer drills for DIYers, thanks to its comfortable grip shape and rugged build quality. The brushed motor creates a reasonable 44 Nm of torque and can spin drill bits up to 1,250 rpm and it comes with a single 2.5 Ah battery with a charge level indicator on it. A bright LED work light sits down at the bottom of the grip and the hard plastic case that the drill comes in is a handy extra as well. Rather than moulded plastic inside, it’s filled with soft foam so you can add your own accessories and drill bits to suit your needs. To get you started, there’s a practical accessory kit with user-friendly colour coded screwdriver bits included.


Hyundai HY2176 Cordless Impact Drill Driver

RRP: £89.99

Our rating: 4/5

2048-1365-gw-best-power-drills-Hyundai-HY2176-Cordless-Impact-Drill-Driver (1)

Pros:

  • Robust all-metal chuck
  • Handy soft carry case
  • 13-piece accessory kit included

Cons:

  • Single 2.0 Ah battery included
  • A bit front heavy

South Korean industrial heavyweights Hyundai are well known in the UK for their cars, but their 20 V Max cordless impact drill is a powerful drill for the money. Great for DIYers on a budget, you get the all-important hammer mode for drilling into brick or stone, and even a small accessory kit to get you started. There’s plenty of rubber on the ergonomic grip, but it’s on the small side if you have large hands. The drill puts out an impressive 50 Nm of torque and spins up to 1,700 rpm in second gear. The bright work light might be stuck down on the bottom of the handle, but it stays on for five seconds after you let go of the trigger.



Bosch UniversalImpact 18V-60 Cordless Combi Drill

RRP: £200

Our rating: 3.8/5

2048-1365-gw-best-power-drills-Bosch-UniversalImpact-18V-60-Cordless-Combi-Drill (3)

Pros:

  • Rugged all metal chuck
  • Brushless motor
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Hard plastic carry case

Cons:

  • Expensive for a DIY level Bosch tool
  • Only one 2.0 Ah battery included
  • Noisy compared to the competition

The UniversalImpact 18V-60 comes from Bosch’s “green” line of DIY level tools and this light but capable brushless combi drill feels like a neat package. It has a compact design, and the controls are easy to work out. There’s grippy black rubber on the handle, but it’s only on the back side for some reason, so it slips around in the hand a bit too much, especially when starting a new hole. As for specs, this drill can spin up to 1,900 rpm and produces an impressive 60 Nm of torque. The single LED work light is bright enough, but as it’s placed way down on the bottom of the drill it can’t light up small nooks and crannies. The light does stay on for a few seconds after releasing the trigger though, which is always useful.


JCB Drill Driver JCB-18DD-2XB-A

RRP: £94.99

Our rating: 3.8/5

Buy now from The Power Site (£119), Amazon (£94.99), Zoro Tools (bare) (£53.99)

2048-1365-gw-best-power-drills-JCB-Drill-Driver-JCB-18DD-2XB-A (1) (1)

Pros:

  • Sturdy all metal chuck
  • Comfortable handle
  • Belt hanging hook
  • Accessory kit included

Cons:

  • No case included
  • Not suitable for drilling into brick
  • Only one 2.0 Ah battery included

The 21-18DD is a capable drill driver that delivers a decent level of functionality without breaking the bank. It boasts a comfortable and grippy overmolded handle, rugged stylings, and is reasonably well balanced, if a little heavy. The brushed motor can spin up to 1,600 rpm and you get a reasonable level of torque at 45 Nm. The small accessory kit includes a selection of drill and driver bits to get you going as well. The LED work light is in the right place at the top of the handle, but it only runs when you pull the trigger.


Powerbase 20v Li-ion Cordless Hammer Drill

RRP: Drill (bare) £40, 20V Battery (£35), Charger (£20)

Our rating: 3.5/5

2048-1365-gw-best-power-drills-Powerbase-20v-Li-ion-Cordless-Hammer-Drill (1)

Pros:

  • Lightweight drill
  • Decent hammer action
  • 2.5 Ah battery is powerful

Cons:

  • Bulky battery
  • Not available as a set
  • Plastic-sleeved chuck

The stable of tools and gardening equipment made by Powerbase, the in-house brand for DIY gurus Homebase, is growing all the time. This handy little tool is useful for DIYers, especially if you’ve already bought into the Powerbase family of tools and gardening equipment that share the same 20V batteries. Sold as a “bare” tool, it can be an affordable way to build up your collection. The grip has a positive and ergonomic shape to it and is comfortable, if a bit small. The brushed motor can make up to 35 Nm of torque, which is enough for light to medium jobs, and has two speeds for fast drilling or slow driving. It’s capable enough for the money but doesn’t come with popular extras like a belt hanging hook or carry case.


How to choose a cordless drill

There are lots of tools out there to choose from, and it’s easy to get blinded by all the facts, figures, and marketing speak that manufacturer’s like to add to their tools. The best cordless drill for you depends on what you’re going to do with it.
If you’re a professional contractor, you’ll need the biggest batteries, a rugged drill to cope with the abuse and accidents that happen on site, and you’ll need huge amounts of power to drill big holes and drive in long screws all day long.
But, if you’re a casual DIYer that needs a basic drill to put together a raised bed, make a compost bay or put up hanging basket brackets, save your money, and get something that’s capable enough for the job without breaking the bank. The highest drilling speeds and impressive accessories are great, but they come at a cost.


Are cordless drills powerful enough?

Whether you’re simply drilling a few narrow holes to put up a trellis or pushing your drill to the limit with a wide hole saw bit, for example to make the entry hole for a bird box, the best cordless drills can now match or even outdo their corded counterparts in terms of power and rpm. As battery technology has improved, the difference between corded and cordless power tools has disappeared. The only disadvantage of cordless power tools is that batteries will inevitably run down and require a recharge. Over time and with use, Lithium Ion batteries will also degrade and need to be replaced, but with light use they’re fine for many years.


Are cordless drills better than corded ones?

If you ever work away from the power grid or want to fix something at the bottom of the garden without dragging your extension cord all the way down there, it’s worth buying a cordless drill. However, if you only ever use a drill at a workbench with power, then even the best cordless drill might be a bit pointless. Cordless drills and their batteries are often more expensive than corded versions, but the price of a modern cordless drill is within the reach of most DIYers. One of the great benefits of a cordless drill is that you’re not tethered to a plug in the wall. Not having to deal with trailing cables is probably worth the extra money in most cases anyway.

The obvious advantage of a corded drill over a cordless one is that they never run out of battery power, but if you buy a kit that includes more than one battery you can change them immediately and carry on working while the other charges up.
If you do a lot of work outdoors and away from a plug socket, a cordless drill is a good choice as long as you have ways to recharge the batteries. And if you choose a brand that produces a wide range of power tools and gardening equipment, you can share the batteries between them.


Do cordless drills only come as a kit?

If you want to get to work straight away, you can buy a starter kit. It usually includes the drill, a battery or two, and a charger, but sometimes they come with a case and even some drill bits and accessories to get you started.
However, there's also the option to buy tools “bare”, or without batteries and a charger. Most power tool brands sell a wide range of other cordless power tools for DIY and gardening, so if you’ve already got batteries and a charger from a brand, buying their drill is an ideal solution to save some money - just remember you can’t mix batteries between different cordless systems or brands. It’s also worth researching what tools a brands sells before you buy to see what you could save money on in the future, if you plan to buy further cordless DIY or gardening tools.

It’s always a good thing to check if you can buy batteries separately, having more than one battery will ensure you’re not stuck waiting for it to charge up before getting back to work.


Do I need a drill driver or a hammer drill?

Unless you want to make holes in masonry, brick, or stone, you will not need a hammer setting on your drill. The hammer action is designed to break through hard materials and is not used when drilling into wood, plastic, or metal.
What’s the difference between an 18V drill and a 20V drill?
The short answer is… nothing. All 18 Volt batteries can be charged to a maximum of 20 Volts, which is why you sometimes see the term “20 Volt Max” used. Whether they say they’re 18 or 20 Volts, you get the same amount of power output. It’s simply a marketing term used to sell batteries.


What do the terms Voltage and Amperage mean?

The term Voltage means “electromotive force”. It is the potential energy held within the battery that you can call on to make a drill work. Amperage is also known as “current” and is used to measure the flow rate of electricity. The higher the current, the more energy can flow at once.
Ah, or “Ampere hours” are used to display the size and potential energy of a battery. In simple terms, the higher the number, the more power you can call on when you need it. An Amp Hour doesn’t mean that your drill will last for that many hours though, it depends on what you use it for.


Is battery run time important?

Yes. There’s nothing more frustrating than getting half way through a job and running out of power. Making sure your batteries are charged up before working is important, and some drills have features to help you keep an eye on the charge level. The best cordless drills have charge level indicators on them to see how much you have left with the press of a button.


How long will cordless drill batteries last after a full charge?

There are a lot of variables that alter the answer to this question. The capacity of a drill battery is measured in Amp hours, or Ah, and the more Ah you have, the longer the battery will last. With a large battery on board, like a 5.0 Ah one, a cordless drill will make holes or drive screws all day long. And if you have more than one battery, you won’t suffer any downtime for charging either. Other factors that will affect the battery’s useful runtime is how hard you push the tool, the temperature of the batteries, and their age. For example, an old battery will not work well, particularly if it’s cold, and especially if you’re trying to drill large diameter holes in steel.


What is torque?

Usually measured in Newton meters, or “Nm”, torque is the force that a drill generates when turning a drill bit. The higher the Nm, the more force a drill has. A drill with a higher Nm rating will be able to drill wide holes or drive in long screws more easily than a drill with a lower Nm rating.


What size chuck is best?

The chuck is the part at the front of a drill that accepts drill or driver bits. Most drills come with a 13 mm chuck, but there are also 10 mm ones available. Even though most DIYers won’t use bits above 10 mm for most jobs, it’s good to have the extra capacity when it’s needed. The chuck size is often a reflection of a drill’s power. A drill with a lower torque rating will have a smaller 10 mm chuck size so that you can’t put a huge drill bit in it and overload the motor.


Why does my drill have two gears?

Most modern combi drills will have a gear selector on the top, usually with two settings. This is sometimes known as the speed controller. Like the gears on a car, the first setting is for low speed with high torque, and the second setting is for higher speed but with less torque. Low speed is ideal for screws, while high speed is usually best for drilling holes.


Are accessories necessary?

LED work lights, belt hanging hooks, hard cases, magnetic bit holders, and tool rolls filled with drill bits are all nice things to have, but they’re not necessary. You can still drill holes and drive screws without any added extras. However, being able to hang a drill on your belt while you climb a ladder and lighting up a dingy corner can make a job easier and safer to complete.


How we tested cordless drills

We tested a range of cordless drill drivers and combi drills with each used to drill a series of holes and drive a series of screws to see how they fared. They were assessed according to the following criteria with equal marks attributed to each:

  • Ease of use: We looked at how long the batteries would last, whether the controls were well thought out, if it was easy to change drill modes, and how easy it was to change bits.
  • Comfort: Assessed the ergonomics of the drill, whether it was well balanced during use, the overall weight with batteries installed, and the materials used for the handle.
  • Performance: Focused on the speed, torque, impacts per minute in hammer mode, and if it can drill through a range of different materials.
  • Value for money: Looked at whether batteries and a charger are included, as well as a carry case or accessory kit, and if the batteries can be shared with other tools in the brand’s cordless platform.

For more information on our testing process, see How we review


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This Review was last updated in March 2023. We apologise if the price or availability of the reviewed products have changed.

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