UK’s best cordless drills tested: Makita, Bosch, Dewalt, Festool, Stanley

These days a cordless drill can have the power to drill through concrete blocks or mix plaster like a paddle mixer and yet still have the finesse and light weight handling for smaller tasks like second fixing (light tasks like kitchen fitting, framing, and so on). They have most of the power of an impact driver too – you’ll notice I often defer screwing to my Makita impact driver but it doesn’t have the same versatility as a cordless drill – so if you’re only looking for one drill to tick all the boxes then you’re in the right place! The advance has been rapid – ten years ago I wouldn’t be making the statement above but after literally using and testing a dozen or mores cordless drills in that time it is almost bog standard for the better models – be it Makita, Dewalt, or Festool (though I wouldn’t be using my Festool for paddle mixing 😀 ). Here’s a look at a ‘cheapish’ cordless drill in action from Makita (less than £50):

Read on below to see the power drills we have picked as the best available in the UK right now.

My best cordless drill picks from twenty years experience and testing:

Best cordless drill overall:

Best cordless drill with SDS hammer drill function:

Best alternative:

Best 18v with a couple of batteries:

Commercial pick: easily the best of the best but serious money

Decent budget pick for the home:

We have reviewed them and highlighted their best features for you.

Testing a cordless drill

 

What you should know before buying a cordless drill

I have to say though, it’s not quite as simple as picking up a cordless, one size fits all, in every situation. For example, if I had kitchens to fit on a daily basis I’d layout the big money on Festool, mainly for the angle drill to fit slim units. For most though, I reckon we can get a decent

Currently available to buy on Amazon at £28.99, this 13 piece cordless drill/driver set offers excellent value for money and is a best-selling product. 
It is powered by an 18V 800 mAh lithium ion battery that fully charges quickly and lasts for about 3-5 hours of working time with no self-discharge. The power delivered by the battery is substantial, and with the right drill/driver bits fitted in, this tool can be used for almost any DIY jobs, whether it be on wood, metal or masonry. 
The pressure trigger controls the speed up to a maximum no load speed of 650rpm, and there 16 torque settings to choose from to help you get the right one for the material you are working on. You can also switch between forward and reverse modes for removing screws.
This Terratek tool is very light, weighing only 2.3 kilograms, and the soft grip feels nice in the hand.
There are 13 attachments that come as part of this set including various screwdriver bits and 6 drill bits. This tool comes with a 2 year guarantee.

  • Fast charging 18V Li-ion battery
  • Variable speed through the pressure trigger
  • Maximum no load speed of 650rpm
  • Lightweight at only 2.3 kilograms
  • Comes with 13 attachments
  • LED work light
  • Forward and reverse functions
  • Good price and a 2 year warranty

Despite its low price, compact dimensions of 30.2 x 22.9 x 9.1 cm, and only weighing less than 2 kilograms, this NoCry power drill/driver is a serious bit of kit.
 The battery is a fast charging 20V li-ion block that can produce up to 30N.m of torque, more than enough for most DIY projects. It can fully charge in the supplied charger in around 45 minutes and there are LED lights to show you your remaining charge level. 
The NoCry 20v drill has two speed settings, 0-400 rpm and 0-1400rpm and also a 21+1 position torque ring, and this gives you a lot of options and control over the power, helping to prevent you damaging what you are working with. There is also a forward and reverse switch on the side.
When working with wood, the maximum drilling capacity is 20mm, and you can make 6mm pilot holes in metal and concrete.
Working in dark areas has been made easier thanks to this drill’s built in LED light, and thanks to its lightweight and insulated grip handle, using this tool for prolonged periods isn’t going to give you any muscle problems.
The makers NoCry offer a 30 day money back guarantee and a limited 4 year warranty.

  • Fast charging 20V battery and charger included
  • Powerful and can produce 30N.m of torque
  • 21+1 position torque ring with clutch
  • LED worklight
  • 2 speed settings 0-400rpm and 0-1400rpm
  • Forward and reverse switch in a handy position on the side
  • Small and lightweight and perfect for DIY projects
  • LED charge display

The Bosch PSB 1800 is a bestselling power drill that has received praise from the vast majority of its customers. It comes with two 18V li-ion batteries that will charge within an hour and produce a top speed of 1350rpm. 
The most innovative thing about this drill though is Bosch’s own ‘Syneon’ chip. This built in chip controls how the battery, gears and motor work together to give you the perfect mix of power and battery life. It also ensures that you are getting optimum power for the task at hand, such as when you’re using the tools hammer drill feature or working on different materials.
You can select from two different gears and 20 pre-selectable torque settings, so it’s incredibly easy to get the drill performing exactly how you want it. 
Changing drill bits is also a synch thanks to the keyless chuck and Bosch auto lock system, and working in dark corners isn’t a problem with the integrated LED light.
Getting the drill into those said corners isn’t a problem either. The Bosch PSB 1800 is compact and weighs in at only 1.3 kilograms. The lack of weight plus the nicely angled handle and decent grip make this drill comfortable to hold and use.

  • 18V li-ion battery charges quickly
  • Top speed of 1350rpm
  • 2 speed gear selection and 20 torque settings
  • ‘Syneon’ chip manages the battery, motor and gears in coordination
  • Integrated LED light
  • Hammer drill setting
  • Compact and lightweight, weighs only 1.3 kg
  • Keyless chuck and auto-lock makes changing drill bits a piece of cake

Coming in a nice storage/carry bag with two batteries and a charger, the Ryobi R18PD31-213S is a good deal for 112 pounds. It sports good, all round build quality and feels strong and sturdy when you hold it.
 Powered by an 18V li-Ion battery that can produce 50N.m of torque you can be sure you have enough power for any home DIY jobs you need to tackle. 
With 24 clutch settings and a 2 speed gearbox (0-500rpm and 0-1800rpm) you have a great deal of control with this power drill.
All your drill and driver bits are held steady in the 13mm all metal chuck’s grip, and being solid metal means that it will last longer than plastic types.
 Like our other products, this drill has a built in LED light so you can work in dark or poorly lit areas. It weighs 2.6 kilogrmas and measures 40 x 10.2 x 20.5 cm.

  • 18V battery produces 50N.m of torque
  • Very well built and will last a long time if treated right
  • 2 speed gearbox 0-500rpm and 0-1500rpm
  • 24 torque settings with clutch
  • All metal 13mm chuck for better grip of drill and driver bits
  • Comes with 2 batteries and a charger
  • Comes with soft carry bag
  • LED worklight for working in dark areas
  • Compact size and weight

The Dewalt 18V cordless combi drill is a little larger than some of our other reviews, but it also feels more substantial and heavy duty too.
 The 18V lithium ion battery provides plenty of power and torque, so much in fact that you need to be careful to hold on to it tightly, or use both hands! The battery will fully charge in an hour and will last a surprisingly long time before you have to charge it again. 
The hammer drill has a very powerful action and this tool will make quick work of most tasks, whether it be drilling holes or pulling out screws.
An LED light illuminates when you pull the trigger, allowing you to work in places with poor lighting conditions.
Like the Ryobi power drill above, the 13mm keyless chuck is made of all metal and provides a lot of grip to go along with the excellent power of this tool. There is also a switch for forward and reverse and a rubberized comfortable grip.
This is an excellent tool that has been getting positive reviews from nearly all its customers.

  • 18V battery charges quickly and lasts a long time
  • Excellent build quality. Feels very heavy duty and durable.
  • This a very powerful cordless power drill with a lot of torque
  • Powerful hammer action
  • Very versatile tool, good for a wide range of jobs
  • Keyless all metal chuck mfor better grip of your drill and driver bits and easy changes
  • LED worklight
  • Forward and reverse functions
  • Comfortable to hold and lightweight

Conclusion

Power drills have been around for a long time. The first patented one was in Australia in 1889 by men named Arthur James Arnot and William Blanch Blain. 
Since then these tools have evolved and most now are dual usage as a drill and driver.
These days the 2 most popular variations are the corded and cordless power drills. Corded drills were more popular in the past, despite the obvious drawback of not having complete freedom of movement, as they offered the user better performance and could be used for a much longer duration.

However with advances in technology this trend is changing. Since the invention of lithium ion batteries, cordless drills now have far more power than before and last much longer, as well as being completely mobile and less hassle to store away. All of these factors have led to an increase of good quality cordless power drills on the market. Some people still prefer a corded power drill for the extra power it lends, and if mobility isn’t an issue, or you have some pretty heavy duty material to drill through, a corded model may be the best option.

So, that brings us to the end of our best cordless power drill reviews. We hope we have been helpful to you in some way, and invite you to look at our other pages on this site.


About Terry Smith

I’m Terry Smith from gardentoolbox.co.uk, a professional landscape designer, hobbyist gardener, and barbecue fanatic with 20 years experience building and restoring. So as you go through my site you'll watch me document some of the professional garden installs I make as well as the major projects I take on at home. While sharing those experiences and guiding you, I'll be recommending some great tools I use to enable this along the way so you can really buy in confidence. Always feel free to pop me a message: info@gardentoolbox.co.uk

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