The drill is a tool that should have a space in every homeowner’s tool collection. You don’t have to be an expert with tools to benefit from the utility of a power drill every once in a while.
But as ubiquitous and essential as these tools are, they can also be fairly hard to purchase. What makes the process so difficult?
There really are a lot of options out there—and that means a lot of duds. It is possible to find the good among the bad, but it takes time and research. Who has the time for that? Fortunately for you, we do.
We’ve taken a deep survey of the world of 18v cordless drills. We found the best options, and the worst, and we made this list to reflect our findings. We’ve even included a buying guide to further help you make your decision.
So, without further ado, read on for some 18v cordless drill reviews!
|DEWALT DC970K-2 18-Volt Kit|
|Bosch DDB181-02 Set||1 year||4.5/5|
|BLACK+DECKER GC1801 18-Volt Drill/Driver|
Best for the Money
|Masterworks MW312||2 years||4.1/5|
|Genesis GCD18BK 18 Volt Cordless||2 years||3.9/5|
The DeWalt DC970K won the day as far as we are concerned. Buyers familiar with DeWalt’s reputation won’t be surprised to find that it’s our top pick. The company has a massive reputation in the world of tools for the simple fact that they have been making great stuff for a very long time.
This tool is certainly a good indication of why their name has stood the test of time. It features a tough exterior that will ensure the drill is durable and resistant to vibrations.
It also features a lot of workability. The rotations per minute range is between 0-1500 so you’ll be able to take an individualized approach to each job.
It’s also built with a very compact design so that you will have easy access to those tight awkward spaces that so often come up as you’re doing jobs around the house.
Last but not least, you also get a good battery life here. It can run for 1.2 hours at a time before needing a recharge, and you even get a backup battery so that something will always be ready to go.
In terms of issues, there’s only one that we found. Price. DeWalt is as well-known for being expensive as they are for making good stuff.
Still, if you want the best gear you can get, you’ve got to be willing to pay for it.
Bosch is another great company and the DDB181 is another great tool. This compact drill features a low weight to reduce fatigue throughout the course of your work sessions.
It also features 350 pounds of torque and a maximum RPM of 1300, which should be a versatile enough range to apply to most jobs.
Nevertheless, there are a couple of problems that kept the Bosch out of our top choice slot.
The biggest problem pertains to the tool’s value. This tool is actually more expensive than the DeWalt, but doesn’t really beat out any of its features.
It also isn’t quite as tough as the DeWalt. This could be a product of the measures the manufacturer took to cut the weight of the tool. Parts of the drill, particularly by the chuck, feel a little bit unstable.
Still, if you aren’t so keen on the DeWalt, the Bosch can certainly serve as a high-quality alternative.
You can always count on Black and Decker to make a good tool at a good price. That is exactly what they did with our “best for the money” pick, the GC1801.
At one fourth the price of the last two tools on this list, this is something for budget buyers to keep in mind.
The features are a little bit simpler here, but the Black and Decker still has got it where it counts. A 2-hour battery life, a 24 position chuck, and a compact build are all features that make the tool more versatile and easy to use over the course of a long day.
Of course, there are a few flaws keeping this drill out of our top two. For one thing, the battery can take half a day to recharge, so you’ll want to be careful to keep your gear juiced up.
It’s also not very durable, which means you won’t use it for heavy-duty jobs.
Bottom line? This is the sort of drill you buy for basic, around-the-house tasks.
Second to last, we look at this Masterworks drill. The MW312 shows quite a bit of promise with its features. A moderate price tag, 19 stop clutch positions (for maximized control), and a variable-speed trigger with stops between 0-1350 RPM all make for a tool that most homeowners will be pleased with.
On the flipside though, it also features an unreliable battery and a build that won’t survive heavy-duty use. This is what you would call a starter drill. Those who are considering the DeWalt and the Bosch probably won’t think much of this one.
However, if you are a new homeowner considering their first drill, this might be an option to keep in mind.
Last but not least, we have the Genesis. This is the sort of drill you get if price is your primary decision-making factor. It features a price tag that is about as low as you can ever expect to encounter with a drill.
Unfortunately, that is about all that this drill has going for it. The battery is a big problem. Not only does it not last for very long, but many users report that it will stop working altogether after a relatively short span of time.
The design is also peculiar. The drill is very top-heavy which makes it awkward to use for long periods.
That said, if you’re willing to overlook these things, the price is hard to beat.
The five picks listed above are all good in their own way, but how can you know which features are right for you? If you feel like there’s more you need to know about the world of drills, we can help with that.
One of the most important factors to consider as you pick out your drill is the size. Drills can get pretty bulky which can be an issue for a couple of reasons.
On the one hand, bulky drills are going to be cumbersome. They may not feel too heavy at first, but over the course of a long day on the job, that will change.
The other problem is that they also are going to have a harder time accessing tight locations.
Compact drills can be just as powerful as their bulky counterparts while also being easier to handle.
As you consider the size of the drill, remember to think about how handleable that bulk will be throughout the course of a working day.
There is an increasingly big emphasis on ergonomics in tools these days. The ergonomic tool is going to be designed with features that are optimized to be used comfortably by the human hand.
It sounds so basic it’s almost laughable, right? But for a long time comfort was an afterthought in tool design, if it factored in at all.
These days, ergonomic tools aren’t so hard to find. But don’t take these features for granted either. Lots of tools still don’t have them, so pay attention as you buy. Ergonomic tools are better for your long-term health, so be sure to keep an eye out for this feature.
There are other factors that you’re going to want to think about as well. They aren’t necessary but they can be nice to have: Magnetic tips, LED lights, and so on.
These features are going to make the drill a little bit easier to use. They will also make it a little bit more expensive. Do you need to get them?
No, of course not. Remember, drills were around long before LED lights ever entered into the equation.
That said, if you know that you’ll be working in a lot of dark, awkward spaces, a feature like LED mounted lights can be really handy to have. It all comes down to a matter of inventorying your needs, and buying something with the appropriate set of features.
Some people get a little bit snobby about brand-name recognition when it comes to tools. And other people don’t care at all.
Does brand-name recognition matter with drills? Sort of. Remember that a brand isn’t just a name. It’s also a reputation. For instance, DeWalt has a massive brand name, but they earned it by making great tools for many years.
If you’ve never heard of a company, there might be a reason for it. You just need be sensible. You can buy from a company like Harbor Freight, for example, if you don’t want to spend a lot of money, but you shouldn’t buy from a brand that is an obvious rip-off.
If the tool breaks down the first time that you use it, that cheap price tag that attracted you to it in the first place suddenly gets a lot more expensive.
Speaking of expensive, you’re also going to want to factor cost into your decision. Professional caliber drills can easily run you several hundreds of dollars. A more basic beginner option could be a tenth of that price.
Most buyers are probably going to need something in between these two extremes. You don’t need to spend tons to get something that will perform the way pro options do.
However, there is merit to spending wisely on features that will be of value to you for a long time to come.
Paying for quality is always a good idea in the long-term. Better tools will last longer, saving you money in the long run.
But there is more to it than that. It can also be worthwhile to buy something with a set of features that are good enough to last you for a long time. Maybe you won’t need LED lights right now, but you could later down the line.
Maybe you don’t need 18v of power at this time, but you can imagine a job in the future where you will need it.
Bottom line? Buy a drill that you won’t have any need to replace for a long time to come. That’s how you’ll get the best return on your investment.
All of the drills that we looked at in this list are cordless. However, as you survey your options you will quickly find that there are also lots of corded units available.
Corded drills are usually more affordable than cordless ones, which is a plus. Though they also used to be associated with more power, modern tech has, for the most part, closed that gap.
And of course, corded drills will be able to run for as long as they’re plugged into an outlet, which gives them an obvious advantage over cordless drills.
The big difference is in mobility. If you want a tool that will allow you to be as free as possible with your movement, there is no getting around the need for a cordless unit.
Last but not least, there is always the matter of battery life to keep in mind. Since cordless drills are dependent on their batteries, it becomes very important to get something that can run for an adequate amount of time.
You definitely don’t want to get a battery that will constantly need to be recharged, so buy smart. The more battery life you can get, the better off you will be.
With the 18v cordless drill reviews out of the way, it’s now time to start thinking about your decision.
Naturally, we like at least something about every option on our list. They’re all going to be good options for someone. It is just a matter of what you’re looking for.
However, if you’re looking for a staff pick, we do have a couple of recommendations that you might like.
If you want quality, and you’re willing to pay more to get it, the DeWalt DC970K is going to be the tool for you. That said, if you’re hoping to get something that combines value with quality, you should think about picking up the Black and Decker. We made it our “best for the money” pick because it’s affordable while still being great at what it does.
But hey. Now you’re well-educated in the world of drills. You can make your own informed decision.
We also took a look at 20v lithium-ion drills here.
Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!