A cordless drill is one of the most useful tools to have around the house, even for those who shy away from DIY projects. It comes in handy when hanging pictures, installing curtain rods, adding shelving to a closet -- basically any job that requires a hole or a screw. Today's budget cordless drills are small and lightweight, and easily substitute for an old-school manual screwdriver. Cheapism.com bored into expert and user reviews to find high-performing models priced well under $150.

See full Buying Guide

Our Top Pick

Dewalt DCD771C2
Our Picks
Dewalt DCD771C2

Pros:

  • Sufficient torque for just about every task.
  • Batteries recharge quickly, in about 30 minutes.
  • 2 speeds.
  • LED work light.
  • Comes with 2 batteries and a bag.
  • No. 1 best seller on Amazon with an average of 4.6 stars from more than 2,600 reviews.
  • 3-year limited warranty plus 1 year of free service and a 90-day money-back guarantee.

Cons:

  • Some users report that the chuck gets loose when the trigger is released, causing the bit to fall out.

Takeaway: Dewalt enjoys an excellent reputation for power tools, and the DCD771C2 cordless drill is no exception. It's solid yet lightweight, and its raw power earns kudos from users. This 20-volt model is big on overall value.

Bosch DDB181-02

Bosch DDB181-02 Review

Pros:

  • Well balanced and easy to use.
  • Strong battery life.
  • 2 speeds.
  • LED work light.
  • Comes with 2 batteries, screwdriving bit, and bag.

Cons:

  • Several reviewers say it wore out in a year or so with steady use.
  • Not quite enough power for every task.

Takeaway: Reviewers like the compact, lightweight design of the 18-volt Bosch DDB181-02, which is small enough to use inside a computer case. The long-running battery also merits praise. It's a solid choice for DIY and light professional projects.

Bosch PS32-02

Pros:

  • Impressive performance, especially considering the compact and lightweight design.
  • Impressive battery life; 1-hour recharge.
  • Auto-lock chuck, battery-charge indicator, LED light, and belt hook.
  • Comes with 2 batteries and a case.

Cons:

  • Uncomfortable grip, some users report.
  • Optional bit holder attaches to an awkward spot on the drill and catches on clothing, reviews say.

Takeaway: The 12-volt Bosch PS32-02 costs quite a bit more than most drills we looked at, but it packs a lot of power in a very small package and its performance doesn't falter. Users laud the torque, battery, and light weight.

Worx WX176L

Worx WX176L Review

Pros:

  • Enough power for household tasks.
  • Award-winning design accommodates 2 bits at a time and switches from drill to driver with a push of a button.
  • 2 speeds.
  • LED work light.
  • Comes with 2 batteries, 2 drill bits, and 1 screwdriver bit.
  • Batteries fit other Worx DIY power and yard tools.

Cons:

  • Removing the battery can be tricky, according to online reviews.
  • Bits occasionally slip out of the chuck.
  • Not enough torque, some users say.
  • No battery-level indicator.

Takeaway: The 20-volt Worx WX176L is the most innovative drill on our list, with its dual-chuck design. Reviewers laud this convenience, saying it makes the drill a snap to use. It isn't as powerful as many of the other drills we picked, but a vast majority of users give it an enthusiastic thumbs-up.

Black & Decker LDX120C

Black & Decker LDX120C Review

Pros:

  • Very budget-friendly price.
  • Suitable for simple home tasks.
  • Battery recharges in less than 2 hours and holds a charge for up to 18 months.
  • Built-in LED work light.
  • Comes with a double-ended bit.

Cons:

  • Torque is not sufficient for heavier jobs.
  • Only 1 speed and fewer clutch settings than the competition.
  • Tightening the chuck can be a challenge.
  • Comes with only 1 battery.

Takeaway: The 20-volt Black & Decker LDX120C isn't especially powerful, but the long battery life and low price make this model a decent choice for infrequent use. Lightweight and straightforward, this drill is easy for non-DIY types to master.

Porter-Cable PCC601LB

Porter-Cable PCC601LB Review

Pros:

  • Works well for small and large projects, according to reviews.
  • Battery recharges quickly.
  • 2 speeds.
  • Built-in battery-level indicator and LED work light.
  • Comes with 2 batteries, screwdriving bit, and a bag for storage and transport.
  • 3-year limited warranty plus 1 year of free service and a 90-day money-back guarantee.

Cons:

  • Handle is uncomfortable, users report.
  • Trigger can be a little too touchy, reviews say.

Takeaway: The 20-volt Porter-Cable PCC601LB is good for nearly any task thrown at it, from repairing fencing to building a metal shed. This powerful drill is tough enough for professional use but compact enough for DIYers. Quick recharge and dual speeds make it user-friendly, although the ergonomics garner some complaints.

Ryobi HJP004

Ryobi HJP004 Review

Pros:

  • Okay for everyday jobs, reviewers say.
  • Reliable battery.
  • Compact design that suits smaller work areas.
  • Built-in bit holder, double-ended bit, and LED light.

Cons:

  • Power is sufficient only for light duty.
  • Drilling through thick wood is a struggle.
  • Comes with only 1 battery.

Takeaway: The Ryobi HJP004 is inexpensive and sports some nice features, but don't expect it to tackle tougher jobs. Many reviewers say this 12-volt drill is inadequate for all but the least demanding tasks, and a higher top speed would be a big improvement; 600 RPM is the max.

Buying Guide

Choosing a Cordless Drill

A cordless drill is one of the most useful tools to have around the house, even for those who shy away from DIY projects. It comes in handy when hanging pictures, installing curtain rods, adding shelving to a closet -- basically any job that requires a hole or a screw. Today's budget cordless drills are small and lightweight, and easily substitute for an old-school manual screwdriver. Cheapism.com bored into expert and user reviews to find high-performing models priced well under $150.

Cordless Drill Brands.

There are many good brands to choose from at the DIY end of the cordless drills market. Black & Decker and Ryobi are well-known makers of consumer drills and stand alongside others including Dewalt, Bosch, Worx, and Porter-Cable. Dewalt, Bosch, and Porter-Cable cater to professional users, as well. High-end Milwaukee and Makita drills enjoy a strong following among professionals.

Expensive vs. Cheap Cordless Drills.

How much to spend on this particular tool largely depends on how it will be used. Bigger holes or fasteners need bigger bits, which require more torque -- in other words, a more powerful drill. Entry-level cordless drills offer plenty of value and rival more expensive models in terms of power and function but may not be quite as durable. Mid-tier cordless drills with more oomph can tackle heavier-duty jobs and may come bundled with extra features, like a rotary hammer and deluxe case. Top-end cordless drills meant for the professional class easily hit the high triple digits and beyond. These power tools can bore through concrete and may come with a host of accessories. Some are designed for specific tasks, like right-angle or underwater drilling.

Consumers consistently report a high rate of satisfaction with cheap cordless drills they've purchased regardless of manufacturer, according to drill reviews. The good quality of the models available in the Cheapism price range makes it hard to choose the best of the bunch. Ultimately, we settled on three that are notable for their power and batteries: the 20-volt Dewalt DCD771C2 (starting at $99), the compact 12-volt Bosch PS32-02 (starting at $141), and the beefier 18-volt Bosch DDB181-02 (starting at $99).

On our second tier of top picks, we placed three more 20-volt drills: the very affordable Black & Decker LDX120C (starting at $50); the Worx WX176L (starting $73), which holds two bits at once; and the compact Porter-Cable PCC601LB (starting at $89), which has enough oomph to please professionals. One drill we're not sold on, despite its low price, is the 12-volt Ryobi HJP004 (starting at $50). Users consider it underpowered for all but the least demanding tasks.

Two other drills caught our attention but didn't quite make the cut. The Ryobi One+ P1811 (starting at $99) belongs to the brand's One+ family of cordless tools, which share the same battery platform. The P1811 isn't the most powerful drill out there, but it has enough juice to handle most in-home jobs. Then there's the Black & Decker BDCDHP220SB-2 (starting at $89), which is more powerful than most models on our list but dinged in reviews for taking too long to recharge and not always keeping a tight grip on drill bits.

These drills are often sold as a package that includes at least one battery and a charger. A carrying case and additional bits make frequent appearances. Some models also sport a built-in LED work light and a belt holder. These extras are much appreciated by users but not essential to the drill's performance.

Cordless Drill Reviews: What We Considered

Our assessments of cheap cordless drills are largely based on customer reviews on retail sites such as Amazon, Walmart, Home Depot, and Lowe's. We also took account of expert reviews from specialty sites such as Pro Tool Reviews and general product review sites such as TopTenReviews. To earn a high rating from these sources, a drill generally must be powerful enough for basic home tasks. It should provide enough settings to drill through just about any material a dabbler or DIY enthusiast would work with and drive screws without stripping them. The drill also should be comfortable in the hand while running and last a few years, at least.

Power and Performance.

All the models we researched have sufficient power for basic home projects; only a couple are powerful enough to conquer more demanding tasks, like drilling through thick, hard wood. Generally the higher the battery voltage, the more powerful the drill (at least in principle). If the goal is drilling a medium-size hole, driving lots of little screws into material like drywall, or putting together a piece of mail-order furniture, a small 12-volt cordless drill should do the trick. For a task like building a deck or a treehouse, an 18- or even 20-volt battery is called for.

Higher voltage drills generally produce more torque, the amount of force the drill can apply when turning the bit through an object or driving a screw. Not all manufacturers list the maximum torque, measured in inch-pounds. Instead, some specify power output in unit watts out (UWO), which combines the speed of the drill with the amount of torque (force). Either way, the higher the number, the faster the drill does its job.

Keep in mind that the maximum torque isn't appropriate for every task, however. The entry-level cordless drills we researched have at least 11 clutch settings for fine-tuning the torque, and the best ones have around 20 or more. The denser the material being drilled, the more power is needed. Most drills also have two speeds -- a high speed up to 1,600 RPMs and a lower speed that often tops out around 650 RPMs.

Chuck.

The chuck is the clamp at the end of the drill that holds and rotates the bits. The size of the chuck determines the maximum size bit that can be used (without an adapter, that is). A half-inch chuck is the most popular, and generally found on more powerful, heavy-duty drills, although three-eighths is not unusual in the budget segment. We also picked one quarter-inch drill meant for lighter duty, the Worx WX176L, with its innovative two-chuck design. Most drills today are keyless, which means the operator can open and close the chuck with their free hand or, depending on the model, with the handle trigger.

Battery.

Today's cordless drills have lithium ion batteries, which are much lighter than the NiCAD and NiMH batteries used in older models yet still provide loads of juice. Relatively long work sessions require a battery that lasts. The discharge time depends on several factors, including the efficiency of the motor, whether the drilling is constant or intermittent, and the material the drill is battling. Under certain conditions, a drill can go days or weeks on one charge.

The battery is the most common source of complaints about our picks (e.g., it takes too long to recharge or drains too quickly), but these grievances are the exception rather than the rule. Users of the drills we recommend generally report the battery life to be satisfactory, if not outright impressive. The best insurance against running out of power at a crucial moment is having a backup. For several models we researched, an extra battery is part of the deal. (Remember to keep it fully charged.)

Durability.

Cordless drills are pretty durable products, based on the expert and consumer reviews we read, as are the batteries. There are always exceptions, of course, and how long the tool lasts depends to some extent on frequency of use and the type of jobs it's tasked with. Few non-professionals use a drill daily, so for most people, any of our picks should last quite a while. The budget drills we researched come with limited warranties of up to three years. Dewalt and Porter-Cable throw in a year of free service and a 90-day money-back guarantee.

Features Comparison

Sort by:
Review Score:
Product Title
Battery
Chuck Size
Power/Torque
Clutch Positions
Maximum Speed (on low/high)
Extra Battery
Warranty
Product Title
Battery
Chuck Size
Power/Torque
Clutch Positions
Maximum Speed (on low/high)
Extra Battery
Warranty

Dewalt DCD771C2

$99
20-volt
1/2 inch
300 UWO
16
450/1,500 RPM
Yes
3 years + 1 year free service + 90-day money-back guarantee

Bosch DDB181-02

$99
18-volt
1/2 inch
350 in. lbs
20 + 1
400/1,300 RPM
Yes
1 year

Bosch PS32-02

$141
12-volt
3/8 inch
265 in. lbs.
20 + 1
400/1,300 RPM
Yes
1 year

Porter-Cable PCC601LB

$89
20-volt
1/2 inch
283 UWO
23
350/1,500 RPM
Yes
3 years + 1 year free service + 90-day money-back guarantee

Black & Decker LDX120C

$50
20-volt
3/8 inch
115 in. lbs.
11
650 RPM
No
2 years

Worx WX176L

$73
20-volt
1/4 inch
265 in. lbs.
11 + 1
400/1,500 RPM
Yes
3 years + 30-day guarantee

Ryobi HJP004

$50
12-volt
3/8 inch
N/A
22
600 RPM
No
3 years

Black & Decker BDCDHP220SB-2

$89
20-volt
1/2 inch
412 in. lbs.
24
350/1,500 RPM
No
2 years

Ryobi One+ P1811

$99
18-volt
1/2 inch
N/A
24
440/1,600 RPM
Yes
3 years