The Best Drill

The Best Drill

Our pick

DeWalt DCD701F2 Xtreme 12V Max Brushless 3/8 in. Drill/Driver Kit

DeWalt DCD701F2 Xtreme 12V Max Brushless 3/8 in. Drill/Driver Kit

Small, manageable, and plenty of power

The DeWalt is the most comfortable drill we’ve ever held, and it’s loaded with convenience features. It has enough strength and stamina to easily handle common home jobs.

Buying Options

Buy from Amazon

*At the time of publishing, the price was $105.

The DeWalt DCD701F2 12-volt drill combines power, comfort, and convenience in a way that none of the other tested drills do. In our tests, it bored 30 1-inch holes through a 2-by-10 on a single battery charge—results that show it can handle just about anything within the four walls of a home, and even the occasional foray into more aggressive work such as a small deck repair. The DeWalt 12-volt’s power is on a par with that of some of the other drills we looked at, but it particularly excels in ergonomics and convenience features. The molded handle seems to account for every curve and bulge of the hand, making this drill the most comfortable we’ve ever held. The battery is designed so that the drill can stand upright when not in use (other drills need to be placed on their side), and the LED is positioned such that it illuminates the drill front better than most. The DCD701F2 also comes with a nice belt hook, and the battery gauge is on each battery rather than on the tool, so you can check batteries without having to insert them into the drill.

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Runner-up

Bosch PS31-2A 12V Max 3/8 In. Drill/Driver Kit

Bosch PS31-2A 12V Max 3/8 In. Drill/Driver Kit

Powerful but not as nice to hold

The Bosch has similar power but is clunkier to hold, and the little touches, such as the LED, aren’t as nice as the DeWalt’s.

Buying Options

$100 from Amazon

If the DeWalt 12-volt is overpriced or unavailable, we also like the Bosch PS31-2A 12V Max 3/8 In. Drill/Driver Kit. This 12-volt Bosch couldn’t drill as many 1-inch holes as the DeWalt in our tests, but it still has more than enough power for general home tasks. In our own measurements, we found it to be about 5 ounces lighter than the DeWalt 12-volt, but it feels heavier because the balance isn’t as good. The Bosch battery slides up into the handle, making the grip fatter and not as contoured as the DeWalt’s. The LED also doesn’t illuminate as well. This drill was our pick for years, and it has always been a solid performer. We were willing to overlook its minor inconveniences before, but the more recently released DeWalt solves almost all of them.

Upgrade pick

DeWalt DCD791D2 20V Max XR Li-Ion Brushless Compact Drill/Driver Kit

DeWalt DCD791D2 20V Max XR Li-Ion Brushless Compact Drill/Driver Kit

For faster work on tougher jobs

The DeWalt 20-volt handles demanding work better than the smaller, 12-volt drills, yet it retains the great ergonomics and other features that set DeWalt’s 12-volt apart.

Buying Options

$195* from Amazon

*At the time of publishing, the price was $180.

If you take on projects that require drilling lots of holes and sinking long screws, we recommend stepping up to the DeWalt DCD791D2 20V Max XR Li-Ion Brushless Compact Drill/Driver Kit. This is a larger, 20-volt drill, but it shares all of the most important characteristics of the smaller, 12-volt DeWalt: It’s very powerful and extremely comfortable to hold and use, and the little convenience features, such as the belt hook and the case, are spot-on. Compared with our 12-volt pick, this larger drill completes tougher jobs much faster, doing the same work in less than half the time, with a battery that lasts longer as well. For around-the-house tasks, that added speed and power are often unnecessary. But for more production-oriented work, such as putting down decking or building a garden shed, they make a noticeable difference.

Also great

Milwaukee 2801-22CT M18 1/2 in. Compact Brushless Drill/Driver Kit

Milwaukee 2801-22CT M18 1/2 in. Compact Brushless Drill/Driver Kit

Another powerful, bigger option

Nearly identical to the 20-volt DeWalt (with minor compromises), this model is recommended if you see it at a lower price, or if you already use Milwaukee’s cordless tools.

Buying Options

$200* from Amazon
$200 from Home Depot

*At the time of publishing, the price was $190.

If the DeWalt 20-volt drill is not available, we also like the Milwaukee 2801-22CT M18 1/2 in. Compact Brushless Drill/Driver Kit. It’s very similar to the DeWalt in power, ergonomics, and overall design. The negatives: It has only a single setting light that turns on and off with the drill, and the case has hardly any room for drill or driver bits. Those are minor points at best, however, so if you’re already invested in Milwaukee’s cordless tools, or if you find this drill at a lower price than the DeWalt, go for it.

Everything we recommend

Our pick

DeWalt DCD701F2 Xtreme 12V Max Brushless 3/8 in. Drill/Driver Kit

DeWalt DCD701F2 Xtreme 12V Max Brushless 3/8 in. Drill/Driver Kit

Small, manageable, and plenty of power

The DeWalt is the most comfortable drill we’ve ever held, and it’s loaded with convenience features. It has enough strength and stamina to easily handle common home jobs.

Buying Options

Buy from Amazon

*At the time of publishing, the price was $105.

Runner-up

Bosch PS31-2A 12V Max 3/8 In. Drill/Driver Kit

Bosch PS31-2A 12V Max 3/8 In. Drill/Driver Kit

Powerful but not as nice to hold

The Bosch has similar power but is clunkier to hold, and the little touches, such as the LED, aren’t as nice as the DeWalt’s.

Buying Options

$100 from Amazon

Upgrade pick

DeWalt DCD791D2 20V Max XR Li-Ion Brushless Compact Drill/Driver Kit

DeWalt DCD791D2 20V Max XR Li-Ion Brushless Compact Drill/Driver Kit

For faster work on tougher jobs

The DeWalt 20-volt handles demanding work better than the smaller, 12-volt drills, yet it retains the great ergonomics and other features that set DeWalt’s 12-volt apart.

Buying Options

$195* from Amazon

*At the time of publishing, the price was $180.

Also great

Milwaukee 2801-22CT M18 1/2 in. Compact Brushless Drill/Driver Kit

Milwaukee 2801-22CT M18 1/2 in. Compact Brushless Drill/Driver Kit

Another powerful, bigger option

Nearly identical to the 20-volt DeWalt (with minor compromises), this model is recommended if you see it at a lower price, or if you already use Milwaukee’s cordless tools.

Buying Options

$200* from Amazon
$200 from Home Depot

*At the time of publishing, the price was $190.

Source: NY Times – Wirecutter

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