Best Cheap Cordless Drills

The cheap cordless drills on our curated list, based on drill reviews, are easy to handle, dependable, and suitable for most jobs around the house.

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.

We Looked At

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.

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.)

Our Picks

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.

  • 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.

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

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.

  • Well balanced and easy to use.

  • Strong battery life.

  • 2 speeds.

  • LED work light.

  • Comes with 2 batteries, screwdriving bit, and bag.

  • Several reviewers say it wore out in a year or so with steady use.

  • Not quite enough power for every task.

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.

  • 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.

  • Uncomfortable grip, some users report.

  • Optional bit holder attaches to an awkward spot on the drill and catches on clothing, reviews say.

Worx WX176L

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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Porter-Cable PCC601LB

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.

  • 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.

  • Handle is uncomfortable, users report.

  • Trigger can be a little too touchy, reviews say.

Ryobi HJP004

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.

  • 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.

  • Power is sufficient only for light duty.

  • Drilling through thick wood is a struggle.

  • Comes with only 1 battery.

Other Products We Reviewed

Ryobi HJP002K

Ryobi HJP002K Review

This cheap cordless drill claims fans among casual users as well as professionals. Ryobi 12V HJP002K reviews posted on Home Depot laud its well-balanced and light weight, compact size, power, and battery capacity. It holds its own when used to assemble ping pong tables, trim out construction jobs, and drill holes in ceilings. Users posting reviews report the battery lasts for days on a single charge and recharges within 45 minutes. It's also durable; one user reports no negative effects even when dropped from 10 feet. We did come across two minor gripes: A few Ryobi 12V HJP002K reviews express a preference for a tad more torque, and a couple of users say the chuck occasionally doesn't clamp down tightly. But overall, users like its gusto, responsive trigger, and sensitive clutch.

The Ryobi 12V HJP002K (starting at $79, Amazon) sports a 3/8" keyless chuck, 24 clutch settings, ergonomic handle, and magnetic holder for screws and bits. Its variable speed reaches up to 600 rpm and it weighs less than two pounds. The tool comes with two 12-volt lithium-ion batteries, a 45-minute charger, and a storage bag.

A Home Depot exclusive, the Ryobi 12V HJP002K would be a good investment for anyone undertaking basic drilling and driving tasks. Ryobi 12V HJP002K reviews enthusiastically recommend this model for light-duty projects, noting that it's easy to work with and handily fits into tight spaces.

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Craftsman 17310 Review

The Craftsman 17310 19.2V cordless drill packs a wallop for a relatively cheap price. In Craftsman 17310 19.2V reviews on Sears, users compliment its power and torque and feel in the hand (although some say the six-pound weight wears on you after a while). The drill can be used for a wide variety of tasks, from mixing drywall mud (with a paddle attachment) for a remodeling job to delicate work on a computer to odd jobs around the house and garden. Some users even admit to dropping the drill but with no ill effect. Reviews also tout the LED light, which shines on the impact area, and the staying power and fast recharge of the lithium-ion battery; a few reviews, however, report a disappointingly short run for a fully charged battery (after tightening screws on eight chairs, for example). Still, one mechanic writes in a Craftsman 17310 19.2V review that this drill is at least as good as higher-priced models sold by specialty vendors.

The Craftsman 17310 19.2V (starting at $100, Amazon) keyless chuck takes bits up to 1/2 inch and drills holes and drives screws at speeds up to 440 rpm and 1,600 rpm; it boasts 24 clutch positions. It comes with one multi-chemistry charger that works for both lithium-ion and Ni-CAD batteries so you can switch them out if one loses its juice in the midst of a job. The drill is packaged with one lithium-ion battery and two screwdriver bits.

Buyers generally seem satisfied with this cordless drill. It wins our vote for the near professional-level features, good performance, and value pricing.

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For the average homeowner who dabbles in do-it-yourself projects, this compact 12-volt drill may be just the thing. Porter-Cable PCL120DDC-2 12V reviews are few in number but those we found are strongly positive. On Lowe's, users tell of putting up shelves, making small holes in wood, and completing other light jobs with ease. In reviews on Amazon, this cheap drill is favorably compared to higher-cost competitors and praised for its power and hold on the bits. Cordless Drill Reviews ranks it in the top half of the 12-volt class for speed and the top fifth for power, but says it's less efficient in terms of the power-to-weight ratio than the average. Users' reports indicate that it falters somewhat with long screws or when matched against metal surfaces, but not enough to put them off this model.

The Porter-Cable PCL120DDC-2 (starting at $90, Amazon) is a two-speed 12V drill with a variable speed trigger that maxes out at 315 rpm and 1,200 rpm. It features a keyless 3/8" chuck, 20 clutch settings, and an LED work light. It comes with two lithium-ion batteries that are rated at 1.3 Ah, a 30-minute charger, one screw bit, a belt hook, and a storage case. The specs say it weighs 2.4 pounds.

Based on the Porter-Cable PCL120DDC-2 reviews that we read, this product offers a good balance among performance, features, and price. Homeowners, hobbyists, and even a few professionals needing to quickly drill a hole or drive a screw will be pleased with the results.

The Ryobi 18V P815 Cordless Compact Drill (starting at $150, Amazon) keeps the cost down and much of its customer base happy. Experts at Cordless Drill Reviews laud its light weight, fast speed, below-average price, and good durability but say its power and battery life don't compare as favorably to others in its class. Users are not deterred. According to Ryobi 18V P815 reviews at Home Depot, this drill has the power and torque to take on a wide variety of tasks: drilling holes for mounting bookshelves, spot cleaning carpets in a car with a brush attachment, or boring small holes in the ground. Reviews say it holds its charge well, recharges quickly, and is well-designed in terms of balance and weight. Both men and women take to this drill, and one review reports that the man of the house uses it for outdoor jobs while the woman of the house has dibs on it for inside jobs. Nonetheless, a few users gripe in Ryobi P815 reviews about limited run times for the battery and difficulty getting smooth, low speeds.

The Ryobi P815 kit includes two 12-volt lithium-ion batteries and a 60-minute dual-chemistry charger, the latter component a big plus in the eyes of several users because it lets you charge up and use either a lithium-ion or Ni-CAD battery. It also comes with a tool bag and sports a 1/2" keyless chuck, 24-position clutch, and variable speed trigger that gets you up to 1,600 rpm. If you already have batteries and a charger lying around, you can opt for the Ryobi 18V P202, which is the same drill minus the accessories, and sells for about $60.

A good all-purpose drill, the Ryobi P815 is also a good value buy.

Skil cordless drills are the lesser cousins of the well-regarded Bosch line. Owned by the same company, Skil and Bosch drills diverge in price and some would say quality, as well. In a comparative review of 12 cordless drill brands, J.D. Power and Associates ranks Skil alongside Black & Decker with a score of two out of five for overall satisfaction. Skil 12V 2240-01 reviews are OK, but not overly enthusiastic. Users posting reviews on Lowe's, for example, say it's helpful around the house. Reviews at Amazon echo that assessment, adding that there's ample power and it suffices as an entry-level drill. More than one user, however, insists there's not enough power to drive screws into a wall stud. Others gripe about needing several hours to recharge the NiCAD battery and about the absence of a back-up battery in the kit.

The Skil 12V 2240-01 (starting at $51, Amazon) features a 3/8" keyless chuck, 15 clutch positions, variable speed trigger, and maximum speed of 700 rpm. It comes with one double-ended bit, a carry bag, one 12V NiCAD battery and one charger. If you're concerned about running out of juice in the midst of a job and want the insurance of a second battery, a few extra dollars will buy you the Skill 12V 2240-02, which includes two batteries.

Although cheap enough, we're not sold on the Skil 2240-01 due to mediocre reviews and its older-technology NiCAD battery. Lithium-ion batteries are the big new thing in cordless drills and deliver superior performance at prices that still sit comfortably within the cheap range. You're better off looking in that direction.

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PowerGlide 2186955 Review

According to Power Glide 19.2V cordless drill reviews, this model is easy to use -- when it works. Some posts on Ace Hardware say this drill is nicely balanced and sufficiently powerful, but others assert it's heavy and low on the power meter. But the biggest barbs are aimed at its overall quality. Reviews report problems like chargers that melt the batteries, overheat, or leak and batteries that don't hold their charge or prematurely give out all together. One user commenting in reviews on Amazon reports that the charger was useless after eight months and a replacement unit couldn't get the drill moving again, either. Note, though, that we read several Power Glide 19.2V reviews griping about having to buy a whole new kit -- drill, battery, and charger -- when one component failed because they're not sold separately.

The 19.2V Power Glide (starting at $41, Amazon) features variable speed up to 900 rmp, a 17-position clutch, and 3/8" keyless chuck. The set includes one NiCAD battery, a charger that takes three to five hours to juice up the battery, a carrying case, and a 13-piece accessory kit filled with screwdriver and drill bits and a screwdriver bit adapter.

This drill looks good on the price front but falls down on performance and features. It's built around the older and less costly NiCAD battery, which is also heavier, takes longer to charge, and doesn't hold a charge as long as newer lithium-ion batteries. In addition, user reviews attesting to problems with the power pack that surface shortly after purchase suggest this is one deal that's really no deal at all.

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Hitachi DS18DVF3 Review

Another budget-priced cordless drill that has its pros and cons is the Hitachi 18V DS18DVF3. Reviews of the Hitachi 18V DS18DVF3 (starting at $116, Amazon) praise its power and 400 in/lb torque but gripe about its power pack and chuck. On Amazon, for example, most users like this drill for its value, comfort, compact size, and drilling punch. Hitachi 18V DS18DVF3 reviews say it works for jobs indoors and out, for home chores and small professional tasks; one woman with carpal tunnel says it's the only 18-volt drill that's light enough to use without strain. On the other hand, we read numerous reviews, particularly on Lowe's, that express disappointment with the staying power of the battery and the tendency of the chuck to slip, which forces you to stop and retighten.

Like some other cheap cordless drills, the Hitachi DS18DVF3 draws its juice from a NiCAD battery rather than the newer-technology lithium-ion battery. Although the battery on the Hitachi DS18DVF3 apparently charges up in little more than half an hour, some users report that well-used and aging batteries drain in as little as 10 minutes. We also noticed that the more critical reviews were posted more recently than the positive reviews.

The Hitachi DS18DVF3 comes packaged with two batteries, a charger that works with other Hitachi tools using NiCAD batteries, a hard-shell case, a flashlight, and seven bits. It features a 1/2" chuck, 22 clutch positions, two speeds (400 rpm and 1200 rpm), a belt hook, and magnetic bit holder.

Mixed reviews concerning the battery's staying power and the chuck's holding power are reasons for caution. There are other cordless drills with the latest battery technology and stronger customer assessments for just about the same price.

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Bosch PS21-2A Review

Bosch is one of the premiere brands in the cordless drills market and this new (2010) compact and lightweight model doesn't disappoint. More driver than drill, the Bosch 12V Pocket Driver PS21-2A (starting at $105, Amazon) is powerful and fast, according to Bosch 12V Pocket Driver PS21-2A reviews. Tool Guyd says this short-nosed driver lives up to its advertising claims and surpasses the performance of its well-received PS20-2A predecessor. It also scores high in users' reviews on Amazon. Users rave about its 1.8-pound weight and 5.6-inch head, noting it slides into a pocket, fits into most any space, and doesn't cause hands to cramp. The battery's staying power draws applause in reviews, as does its ability to drive screws with ease and its precision control. But perfect this cordless tool is not. Users express a desire for a battery gauge, say the universal bit holder is in reality less than universal, and the slight delay after pressing the trigger (when the LED light goes on) takes some getting used to.

The Bosch 12V Pocket Driver PS21-2A features a variable speed trigger and two reversible speeds (0-350 rpm and 0-1,300 rpm), a 1/4" bit holder, and 20 clutch settings. The tool comes packaged with two lithium-ion batteries, a 30-minute charger, and a carrying case.

This model does OK as a drill but really shines as a driver. It boasts enough torque and speed to suit the needs of home hobbyists and DIYers as well as seasoned professionals, including maintenance mechanics. If your project plans call for heavy use of screws, this one's for you.

With more than 400 in-lbs of torque, the 20-volt Black & Decker BDCDHP220SB-2 is a powerful drill and a good choice for nearly any household job. Make sure the batteries are fully charged beforehand, though, as users report it takes quite a while to juice them up.

  • Powerful performance and very good battery life.

  • 2 speeds.

  • LED work light.

  • Lightweight but sturdy.

  • Comes with a bag, screwdriving bit, and built-in bit holder.

  • Unusually long recharge (several hours).

  • Chuck doesn't always stay tight, users warn.

  • Comes with only 1 battery.

Ryobi One+ P1811

Part of Ryobi's One+ series of tools that can share batteries, the user-friendly P1811 is a good choice for DIYers. They jump at the chance to get an 18-volt cordless drill and two batteries for about the same price as replacement batteries alone.

  • Sufficient power for most home tasks.

  • 2 speeds.

  • LED work light.

  • Lightweight and comfortable to hold and operate.

  • Comes with 2 batteries compatible with other Ryobi One+ tools, plus a bag and magnetic holder for bits and screws.

  • Could use more torque, reviewers say.

  • Mixed reviews for battery life.

  • No battery-level indicator.

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.

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