It used to be that cordless drills were underpowered and heavy, but with lithium batteries standard now they are a great way to remove the hassle and hard work from a range of home improvement jobs. There are so many different products out there with many slightly changed models coming out all the time that the choice can be overwhelming. Which is the best? And what’s a good value price point?
All of these products both drill holes and drive screws, so another common name for name is 'drill drivers', although some of the ones listed here do also do impact driving.
We have listed products that come with the batteries included, however many are compatible with the batteries used for other products from the same manufacturer and there are tool-only purchase options. If you have compatible batteries already that should be a factor you consider to save money as a lot of the cost is the batteries.
If you are searching the web looking for the best cordless drill, you will find various cordless drill reviews and lists, however most of them are focused on American or UK consumers. Fortunately for you, we’ve done all the hard work in Australian reseach and have compiled a list of some of the best cordless drill products that you can purchase right here in Australia.
After we list our top eight cordless models we also list a bonus couple of corded options too, because all pros know that it is great to have a corded backup.
Drills vs Impact driver
An impact driver acts like a typical drill when drilling a hole or pushing a screw. The key difference is that when an impact driver senses resistance, it produces greater power in short bursts. This gets through screw driving more quickly.
Impact drivers can produce more torque than drills, and direct the torque in quick bursts - up to 50 times a second. Impact drivers get their name from these bursts or “impacts”. They also rotate their bits in a two-steps-forward-one-step-back pattern, to drive screws more effectively than normal drill drivers with much less of the slip and spin that damages screws.
Despite the extra torque, impact driver tools are normally lighter and smaller than drill drivers, although they are not as versatile, they will perform many of the same functions.
The downside of the impact driver is that it can be risky as you can never be quite sure when it’s going to sense resistance and kick in with extra torque, this makes it less ideal for precise jobs with very particular screw lengths.
To see them both in action check out this video:
What is chuck size and what size chuck do I need?
When selecting a drill driver, you will come across the term 'chuck size'. This refers to the maximum shank diameter the chuck will take, the larger your chuck size, the larger shank diameter it will accept. Drill chucks only come in two sizes:
- 10mm (3/8 inch)
- 13mm (1/2 inch)
If you want to drill holes larger than 20mm in diameter or drill into materials such as metal, then you might want to purchase a drill with a 13mm chuck in order to fit larger bits.
Best Overall Cordless Drill - The Bosch PSB 18 LI-2
Bosch has been the winner of the readers Digest most Trusted DIY Power Tools brand in Australia from 2013 through to 2019 so it's not really a surprise the Bosch PSR 18 LI-2 tops our list.
It is a highly powerful premium cordless 2-speed lithium ion cordless drill, perfect for any drilling work or screw driving work. Anyone will love the PSR 18 because of its reliable performance, as well as its excellent weight to power ratio. These things combined give it incredible handling and control.
This type of drill is known as a 'combi' or multifunction drill, because it also features an impact drilling mode.
The charger has been designed so that the drill can be charged while the battery is still connected up. This allows one to save time. The drill also features no self discharge or memory effect. The two 18V 2.5 Ah batteries have a long life span and run for a long time and they take only an hour to charge with the included 3.0 Ah Charger
Like the other drills in Bosch’s modern range, this features the Syneon chip that manages power transfer between the battery pack and the gearbox, delivering power exactly where you need it.
While we feature some 12V models later in this guide that are designed for sustained overhead use, at 1.5KG with the battery in this is still a light option with great 18V power.
Bosch have made it very easy to change between accessories with their keyless chuck which includes autolock. As per many modern drills it is possible to use this product with ease in the dark, thanks to an integrated lamp which uses LEDs.
At nearly $250 this is not the cheapest drill on this list, but being a combi tool you won't need a separate impact driver for most DIY jobs.
With a maximum Torque of 54Nm the Bosch PSB 18 LI-2 can drill up to 35 mm into wood and 13 mm into metal.
Similar option - Bosch PSB 1800 LI-2
The Bosch PSB 1800 LI-2 is very similar to the PSB 18 LI-2. It is still a cordless Hammer Impact Drill and still very competent in regards to impact drilling in metal, wood and masonry. If you take a look at this product, you’ll notice that there are 23 selectable settings for torque adjustment - this allows the optimum power to be used for a wide variety of applications.
The main difference is the lower Maximum Torque of 38Nm, resulting in the Bosch PSB 18 LI-2 being able to drill up to 30 mm into wood and 10 mm into metal.
I couldn't find this product listed online with batteries, but if you have Bosch batteries already you currently pick it up for under $130, check the price on the Bosch PSB 1800 LI-2 without batteries
The Best Brushless Cordless Drill Driver Kit
The STANLEY FATMAXFMC608D2S-XE18V wins the award for the most obscure naming. Jokes aside, this makes use of the latest in brushless motor technology, helping to enhance its performance. The technology means that this particular product can be used for long periods of time, making it fantastic for any kind of long-term work.
It features a 13 mm keyless chuck, as well as two speed transmission. There is a fantastic torque control, with 22 different adjustable positions for consistent screw driving. You can screw into all sorts of varieties of materials, with any number of screw sizes. The product has been designed ergonomically, with a rubber grip for ultimate comfort and usability.
Given this is nearly as expensive as the Bosch PSR 18 LI-2 which has the impact drilling function and is arguably more refined it might not initially seem good value - but what you are paying for is the 13 mm chuck and the brushless motor.
You can purchase this combined with the companion Brushless Impact Driver that uses the same battery system.
The Second Best Brushless Cordless Drill Driver
The WORX WX175 Brushless Drill/Driver is a very close second to the STANLEY above.
Worx have also developed a product which makes use of brushless motor technology. This is tech which improves performance, delivering 50% longer runtime on average. Brushless technology can also provide up to 25% more power with 10 times the amount of motor life time than any other conventional drill.
The WX175 has a heavy duty 13 mm keyless chuck which is made of metal and protected by the safety lock. The clutch can be positioned in over 18 ways, allowing for excellent management of torque.
Why list this and the STANLEY one? Well they are both great products and both around the same price, you should consider either if you already have one or more other power tools that use their batteries and are looking for a model with a brushless motor.
Best Lightweight Cordless Drill (12V)
While a full-size drill-driver will offer more power and higher torque, the attraction to a 12V tool is that you can hold it over your head nearly all day long.
The Bosch 12-Volt Max 3/8-Inch 2-Speed Drill/Driver Kit PS31-2A performs very well overall when you look at how small it is. It is an incredibly lightweight product, weighing in at under 1KG. The weight to performance ratio means that this is an ideal tool for any [electrician] (https://www.experteasy.com.au/electrician) or handyman with a lot of over the head drilling or screw driving tasks to get on with. It can produce 265 in. Pounds of torque, which is impressive for a unit that is so small and powered only by a 12V battery.
The versatility of this product is remarkable and this is helped by its high torque and speed settings - there are two main settings of 0-0350 RPM and 0-1300 RPM. There are over 20 clutch settings, giving users the ability to make precise adjustments of torque for any accurate screw driving or drilling. The Bosch 12-Volt Max can easily tackle a whole range of materials such as wood, drywall and even some metal.
This is certainly a durable product, it comes with two 12V lithium ion batteries to extend running time. You can expect the drill to be running for a number of hours before it needs a recharge.
We like this product so much we have decided to include this international product on our list (all the others ship from Australia). You can check the current price on amazon.com.au and read a full review here.
Just be aware that as this is an interational product - it will come with a USA plug and therefore you will need an adaptor for the charger.
Lightweight Cordless Drill that ships from Australia
While we do prefer the Bosch as it has professional grade power, if you need something small and easy to use you should also consider the Ryobi 12V Cordless Drill Driver, available at bunnings. it is a little cheaper and absolutely fine for most DIY projects, but simply not as light or the same grade as the Bosch PS31-2A.
The Low Price Branded Drill - Black+Decker BDCDC18-XE18V
The Black+Decker BDCDC18-XE18V drill is highly versatile and a great value tool for any DIY enthusiast.
It is possible to drill both into metal and wood with ease, plus plastic can be tackled too. Everything is lightweight and compact, however, power is never compromised. There are 10 different torque settings allowing for a very flexible nature. It is easy to use this drill at night, because there is an additional LED light which provides sufficient illumination when there is no daylight.
With a maximum Torque of 30Nm, it can drill up to 25 mm into wood, 10 mm into metal and of course it can be used to easily drive screws.
The Cordless Drill and Impact Driver Value Pack
Baumr is a bit better known in Europe and not a completely unknown brand in Australia, they are expanding here and you should be able to find replacement batteries for the Baumr-AG Alpha 200 Series 3-Piece 20V Lithium Combo.
This value pack comes with with a Cordless Drill, Impact Driver, Charger, 2 x Batteries, Torch and a bag for around $180 at the time of writing. Check current price
The lightweight and ergonomic design will help any DIY enthusiast to perform at ease. It features moulded handles with thermoplastic rubber to give a very smooth and easy-going edge. The drill comes with two 20V lithium ion batteries and a charger. The units perform efficiently and you can use them at night because there is an LED work light attached. There is a quick change 10mm keyless chuck.
Other Budget Options
There are a bunch of relatively unknown brands on amazon offering cheap drills, one of them the CACOOP CCD20001LBB looks a half decent drill and comes with more accessories than the black and decker and unlike most of the unknow brands it actually has some decent reviews, however it is unlikely to last as long as the other options here and with these unknown brands good luck finding a replacement battery when it runs out!
Corded vs Cordless Electric Drills
When it comes to electric drills, carpenters, handymen and other tradies utilise both cordless and corded models. While they both more or less does the same thing, each are best to use for certain reasons. They key difference is power vs convenience, cordless drills are much more convenient for certain work and in places where a power outlet may be tricky to find, while corded drills provide more power. Having one of each type at your disposal gives you the best of both worlds, most professional tradies carry a corded as well as a cordless.
Bonus section - Corded Drills
While the focus of this article is on cordless drills, for the reason above we have decided to include a couple of corded electric drills.
The Great Value Corded Hammer Drill
The WORX WX317 600W 13mm offers 600 W of power, allowing one to easily tackle a wide variety of jobs around the home. It is very easy to change drill bits as there is a 13 mm keyless chuck. This drill features a wide variety of different speed settings, allowing precision and control when needed.
You can find an adjustable side handle, depth stop, as well as both reverse and forward rotation to provide additional control. If you are needing to continuously use the drill, there is a handy lock on switch to turn on continuous operation.
It's not as refined as the Bosch below, but you can't argue with the price.
The Best Multifunction Corded Hammer Drill
We really like the Bosch Hammer Impact Drill UniversalImpact 700 because of the very reliable and powerful performance of the motor which delivers around 700 watts of power. With this kind of wattage, it is very easy to complete all sorts of applications such as metal work and concrete.
It has three function modes: screw-driving, drilling and impact drilling, which you can easy and quickly change using the function switch. It also has speed pre-selection and control using setting wheel so you can always gear it precisely for the material you are working with.
It also allows you to easily change bits thanks to the Press + Lock chuck system allowing you to lock the spindle to lock at the touch of a button. . It has been beautifully designed, featuring an adjustable ergonomic handle and an auxiliary handle to provide additional control with a whole lot less fatigue. We think that it is a product that allows you to precisely control drilling with ease.
The verdict on Cordless drills
You should now have the tools at hand (pun intended) to make your choice, as mentioned above, don't rule out a corded option depending on the nature of the work.
Which would I choose if I need to buy from new? I use my tools fairly often so the Bosch PSR 18 LI has the build quality, power and combo functionallity that I would be looking for to be sure that any DIY jobs, big or small would be well within the drill’s capabilities. Alternatively I would go for the STANLEY FATMAX combined with their impact drill.
For a lightweight option for overhead drilling the Bosch PS31-2A is hard to beat for quality.
If you disagree with our research and recommendations or find something new that looks better, please let us know in the comments.