Updated: June 8, 2015
Cordless Drill Reviews:Seems like cordless tools are all the rage these days. Cordless saws, cordless drills, and cordless blowers. All these devices are powered by rechargeable battery packs, which means you need to have a charged battery to use them, which means they generally have less power that their corded brethren, which means you will likely need to buy replacement batteries in a few years. What they do bring to the table is convenience. No need for an electrical outlet, no need to worry about cords getting in the way, no need for extension cords or constantly plugging and unplugging as you move around a work site. The top brands are Makita, Black & Decker, DeWalt, Skil, Panasonic, Hitachi, and Milwaukee. Expect to spend at least $50 and upwards of $175 for the better driver-drill combo/kits. The top selling model is the Makita BDF452HW 18-Volt Compact Lithium-Ion Driver Drill Kit on Amazon.com.
Buying Guide - If you are a do-it-yourselfer (DIY) looking for a deal, consider a corded, normal drill. These are usually cheaper and more powerful, and often lighter in weight, than the battery powered cordless drills. If the cord doesn't bother you, go for the corded electric drill everytime. What to look for in a cordless drill? The first thing advertised is power, which is measured by the voltage of the battery. An 18v cordless drill is more powerful than a 9v cordless drill. Power means the ability to drill bigger holes faster, the ability to drive in heavier screws through thicker wood, etc. The voltage measure the strength of the drill. Look for at least a dual speed drill, as driving screws requires much less speed and power than drilling a hole, and chances are, if you are like most users, you'll probably use your power drill as a screw driver about 70% of the time. Some hardware reviewers suggest buying cordless drills with 14v or more these days. While not a bad suggestion, if you find a cordless drill with 12v or 9v that meets your needs (maybe light work around the house every few months), don't be turned off by its lower power rating. With a less powerful battery comes less weight, making the drill easier to hold and use. Consumer Reports does regular reviews on cordless drills and they rate them for ease of use, powerful, speed, run time, charge time, handling, noise at ear, and weight. We found that the CR head to head tests were the most thoroughly done. Other tool sites do more in depth reviews on particular models but rarely have the head to head comparisons that allow you to make an informed buying decision. We suggest that you browse the top selling cordless drills online here.
Best Cordless Drills:RECOMMENDED - At the higher end of the spectrum is the Panasonic EY6432GQKW 15.6-Volt, 1/2" Cordless Hyperformance Drill. At almost $200, this is more professional tool than basic homeowner toy. It comes with 2 3.5amp batteries for longer run time (55 minutes to charge) and cranks out 390 in/lbs of torque. It's 1/2" keyless chuck (the part that connects to the drill bit) handles larger capacity bits, giving you more flexibility. This is a relatively compact drill, allowing you to work in tighter space, and giving it a nice even weight in your hand (light weight at that, too). Great drill for plumbers, carpenters and other professionals. You'll read nothing but good reviews on this one.
Another leading power tool company, Makita, offers the 6347DWDE 18-Volt Cordless Driver-Drill Kit. With 18 volts of cranking power, this is one of the most powerful cordless drills you can buy. With rebates the prices comes in close to $129 - a very good bargain on this caliber of tool. Battery charging is fast, and you can easily get many hours of work out of it. A great choice if you are looking to save a little money but still want a top of the line drill.
Dewalt makes the DC759KA Heavy-Duty 1/2" 18V Cordless Compact Drill/Driver Kit, also coming in at just under $200. It is lightweight at 5.2lbs, has dual speeds, and full 18v power of 450 in/lb of torque. Comes with 2 batteries and on board bit storage. These get exceptional reviews as hard working professional tools as well, with long lasting batteries and good durable cases.
All of these cordless drill manufacturers also make lower end drills meant for the more casual home user. However, different models made by the SAME manufacturer will not always be of equal quality or durability. A general rule of thumb is to buy the best tool you an afford - they usually last longer, perform better, and are more reliable. That being said, if you know you will only use your drill for light, occasional around the house projects, you may be very well served by a $35 simple cordless drill, even if it means you have to replace it every 4 years.