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The 9 Best Drills For Home Projects

Affordable and versatile, a quality driver/drill is a key part of any DIYer's toolkit. Here are the best drills for home use.

Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Ratings and prices are accurate and items are in stock as of time of publication.

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Rows of drills in a commercial storesergeyryzhov/Getty Images

Buying a Drill

For many DIYers, the most-used tool in their collection is a dependable drill. These versatile tools can be used for everything from hanging things on the wall to assembling a deck.

A pure drill puts holes in things, but most DIYers opt for a combination driver/drill that also functions as a power screwdriver. Here are some of the key things to keep in mind while shopping for a drill.

  • Function. Some drills have specialty functions, such as a hammer drill or impact driver. We’ll go into each of these below, but for most homeowners we recommend a variable-speed driver/drill equally capable of creating holes and sinking screws.
  • Price. Drills come in a wide price range. Homeowners and hobbyists can meet their needs without breaking the bank.
  • Chuck size and style. A chuck is the part of the drill that clamps the bit in place. The chuck size indicates the largest diameter drill bit you can use. Most around-the-house tasks can be done with a 3/8-in. chuck, while drills with a 1/2-in. chuck can tackle more demanding tasks. Chucks are tightened by hand (keyless chucks) or with a specialized tool (keyed chucks). Keyed chucks allow secure connections, but keyless chucks are much more convenient.
  • Weight. With most drills running between three-and-a-half to five pounds, the difference between a lightweight and heavy-duty drill can seem small. But that extra pound or two makes a huge difference when you’re perched on a ladder and working overhead. For cordless drills, consider the weight with the battery, not just the drill itself.
  • Power. This is the “oomph” factor — how much power the drill delivers to the material you’re working on. Many drills have multiple clutch settings that function much like the clutch in a car, allowing you to fine-tune the amount of torque behind the rotational movement. (You don’t want the same amount of force when driving a screw into a picture frame as when drilling a hole in steel.) Some drills also have a high/low speed setting, to give even more control over the rotational speed of the drill bit.
  • Motor style. Power tools are described as brushed or brushless. The differences are an entire topic on their own. Broadly speaking, brushed motors have a physical contact that brushless motors don’t. This additional contact means brushed motors generate more heat and require maintenance when the brush wears down. Motor style also encompasses build-quality issues, such as whether the gear housing is metal or plastic.
  • Power source. Drills are corded or battery powered. Corded drills draw different amperages, while batteries vary in storage and power delivered.
  • Bonus features. Items like a task light, smartphone monitor, detachable side handle or metal gear casings are nice to have, but not essential to the core function of the drill.
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Black And Decker Bdcdd12c 12 Volt Max Lithium Ion Cordless 38 Drill With Batteryvia homedepot.com

Best Lightweight Drill for Home Use

The cordless Black+Decker BDCDD12C weighs in at less than three pounds, even with the battery. It offers a keyless 3/8-in. chuck and ships with a single battery and charger.

The brushed motor means it will be noisier and wear out faster than a brushless model. But for the price and convenience, it’s a good deal. And if weight is a major factor for you, it’s worth adding to your short list.

There are other lightweight drills out there. Bosch makes a nice 12V drill that’s even lighter, but it costs around five times as much. On the whole, the Black+Decker BDCDD12C nicely balances price and weight for household tasks.

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The Warrior 18v Cordless 38inch Drill Driver Kitvia harborfreight.com

Best Budget Cordless Drill for Home Use

If you absolutely want an inexpensive cordless drill, check out the Warrior 18V Cordless Drill/Driver kit from Harbor Freight. It comes with all the essentials: variable speed, multiple torque settings, 3/8-in. keyless chuck, battery and charger included, all for around $30.

It’s a great choice for simple tasks around the house, letting you learn how to use a driver/drill without making a major investment. It may not feel as balanced in the hand as a high-end tool, but it’s a budget-friendly entry point for light DIY.

The Warrior 12V model is even cheaper, retailing below $20. But the boost in battery life and power makes the 18V a better value for only a few more dollars.

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Ryobi D43k 5.5 Amp Corded 38 Inch Variable Speed Compact Drill With Bagvia homedepot.com

Best Budget Corded Drill for Home Use

The corded Ryobi D43K provides high-end quality at entry-level pricing. For about $40, this 5.5-Amp drill comes with variable speed and a lock feature to allow continuous drilling without using the trigger.

One of the advantages of a corded tool is often greater power, allowing you to tackle bigger projects. But the 3/8-in. chuck limits the bit size this tool can handle, creating something of a bottleneck. But this drill comes with Ryobi’s three-year warranty, and the keyless chuck is a nice convenience.

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Dewalt 20 Volt Max 12 Inch Brushless Cordless Drillvia lowes.com

Best Value Cordless Drill for Home Use

A step up from the budget level brings us to a much nicer tool. The DeWalt 20V Max driver/drill offers the best overall balance between price and performance for basic home use.

The brushless motor gives it a longer run time on a single charge and a longer lifespan overall. It comes with a 1/2-in. chuck, allowing you to tackle jobs that require larger bits. Speaking of bigger jobs, this DeWalt comes with two batteries and a charger, so you can charge the other battery while you’re working. A three-year warranty covers the drill and the batteries.

Note: DeWalt also offers a 20V XR model that resembles the 20V Max. The XR has additional features but costs about twice as much. For average small home projects, it’s not worth the extra money.

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Metabo D13vf Hpt Keyed Corded Drillvia lowes.com

Best Value Corded Drill for Home Use

Metabo (formerly known as Hitatchi) offers good value with its D13VF Corded Drill, a sturdy tool with a 1/2-in. keyed chuck. The aluminum gear housing takes a beating and also helps dissipates heat.

This variable-speed drill comes with a removable side handle to support it while you’re working. Note that this model does not have a torque clutch; it’s meant for drilling holes, not setting screws. It’s covered by Metabo’s five-year warranty.

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Milwaukee M18 18 Volt Lithium Ion Brushless Cordless Compact Drillvia homedepot.com

Best Step-Up Cordless Drill for Home Use

If you’re ready to move up one more level, take a look at the Milwaukee M18 Compact Driver/Drill. With a 1/2-in. chuck and a brushless motor, this drill packs a lot of power into a compact package; it weighs in at just under 3-1/2 lbs. with the battery.

It comes with an 18-step clutch and two-tier speed switch to help you control all that power, delivering only as much as you need for the task at hand.

Note: The link above is to the tool only. You must purchase a charger and batteries separately, or use the charger and batteries from another M18 tool. Because it’s part of the M18 cordless collection, there are more than 200 tools with interchangeable batteries.

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Dewalt Dwd215g 12 10 Amp Keyless Electric Drill With Mid Handle Gripvia homedepot.com

Best Step-Up Corded Drill for Home Use

This DeWalt DWD215G packs enough punch to appeal to pros, and offers several things that make it appealing for home users as well.

The 10-Amp motor is definitely pro-grade, but features such as a 1/2-in. keyless chuck keep it homeowner-friendly. The locking side handle rotates 360 degrees, allowing the most helpful placement in any situation. DeWalt claims the patented motor design generates 50 percent more power while also providing overload protection.

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Ryobi D620h 6.2 Amp Corded 58 Variable Speed Hammer Drillvia homedepot.com

Best Hammer Drill for Home Use

A hammer drill combines the circular spin of a standard drill with a strong forward strike. These drills are great for drilling into concrete or brick, and can shave massive amounts of time off a project.

Some hammer drills cost several hundred dollars. But if you only need break it out once or twice a year, save your money and pick up a Ryobi D620H.

This 5/8-in. chuck, variable-speed hammer drill comes with a six-foot cord, depth gauge, side handle, and chuck key. Weighing in at five pounds, it can move between hammer or drill operation with the flip of a switch, and the trigger’s lock feature reduces hand fatigue.

Backed by Ryobi’s three-year warranty, the D620H ships with an auxiliary handle, depth stop rod, chuck key and lanyard. If you’re going to tackle a project with more than a dozen holes to drill in masonry, look for a model with higher amperage and power. But for most home projects, this should be fine.

Note: Yes, this drill features a larger chuck than the 1/2-in. models we mentioned earlier. Hammer drills frequently have larger chucks than standard drill/drivers because it’s common to need larger bits when drilling into masonry. They’re also less likely to have keyless chucks because the impact from the hammer strikes can be rough on the chuck.

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Rigid 18v Subcompact Brushless Cordless Impact Driver Kit With 20 AH Batteryvia homedepot.com

Best Impact Driver for Home Use

While a hammer drill pushes the drill bit forward like a hammer on a nail, an impact driver adds additional bursts of torque to the rotation of the driver head. A hammer drill is the right choice for drilling through difficult material. But an impact driver like the Ridgid 18V R86039B is better for faster, easier setting of screws or bolts.

This impact driver delivers a great deal of force with each rotation, making large projects a breeze. It ships with a single lithium-ion battery and charger, along with a storage bag. The service agreement provides free parts and service for life.

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Dan Stout
Ohio-based freelance writer and author Dan Stout is a former residential remodeler, commercial site supervisor and maintenance manager. He’s worked on nearly all aspects of building and DIY including project planning and permitting, plumbing, basic electric, drywall, carpentry, tiling, painting and more. He also publishes noir fantasy thrillers, including The Carter Series, from Penguin imprint DAW Books.