Best Corded Drills 2020 – Reviews & Buying Guide
Despite recent advances in weight and power concerning cordless tools, corded drills remain the most powerful option on the market. They have the power you need to complete every job, while allowing you to avoid the nuisance of dealing with low or uncharged batteries.
Shopping online is supposed to take the headache out of the buying experience. There’re no salesmen, and you get to compare as many models as you want. However, online shopping has its own downsides. There are a ton of products on the market, and it’s not always possible to tell if a drill is any good from the product description alone.
Our reviews are designed to solve those problems. We cover the best corded drills of 2020 and help break them down, so you can see what’s great (and what isn’t) with each model. We’ve also included a buyer’s guide so you can learn to evaluate these tools like a pro, even if you’ve never owned one before.
Comparison of our Favorites (updated in 2020)
|Best Overall||DEWALT DWD112||
|Best Value||PORTER-CABLE PC600D||
The 5 Best Corded Drills
1. DEWALT DWD112 Corded Drill – Best Overall
The DEWALT DWD112 3/8-Inch is the model you should get if you’re looking for the best corded drill on the market today. It comes with an extremely powerful 8 amp motor, giving you the power you need to quickly complete just about any project that you can find around the house. It also comes with impressive torque. If you need to drive long screws into hardwood or are looking to complete similarly difficult tasks, you’ll be happy with this tool’s performance. The combination of these features makes this the best corded drill for woodworking.
It also comes with a variable-speed trigger, giving you a great degree of control over each project. Also included is a bubble level, which is useful for getting perfectly straight drills. We only have one complaint about this great model, and it’s that it doesn’t come with a case. It doesn’t even have a carrying bag. For the price, it’s not a bad deal. But if you want to protect this tool, you’ll need to spend more to get a case. Still, if you’re a woodworker, or just someone looking for a tool that can do it all, you’ll quickly fall in love with this model.
2. Hitachi D13VF 1/2 Inch Corded Drill
The Hitachi D13VF is another great corded drill. If you’re looking for a model that comes with a 1/2-inch bit, then you can’t go wrong with this one. It features a variable-speed trigger, so you can give each screw just the right amount of power to drive into soft or hard surfaces without any issues. This model comes with great torque too, so you won’t ever be frustrated that you can’t finish a task when using this model. The gear housing is also made from aluminum, which is superior to the plastic housings found on many drills today and leads to superior heat dissipation and a longer life.
Additionally, this model comes with a belt hook. If you’re looking for a drill that you can keep with you, this is a good choice, since you can keep it on your person without having to have it in your hands. While this model is great overall, it’s far more expensive than our top model. Even so, most buyers will probably feel like they’re getting a decent deal here.
3. PORTER-CABLE PC600D Corded Drill – Best Value
The PORTER-CABLE PC600D is a less expensive option that still packs a punch for its price. It comes with a good, 6.5 amp motor. That’s not as powerful as the top models on our list, but it’s still enough to get most jobs done in a reasonable amount of time. It also comes with a variable-speed trigger, giving you a degree of control similar to that which you can achieve with more expensive models. Since this is one of the cheapest models on our list, and since it works so well, this model earns the title of “best for the money.”
This model also comes with a rare feature—a lock-on option. If you’re working on a project that requires the trigger to be kept on for extended periods, you can reduce the stress on your hands by locking the trigger in place at the desired speed. This isn’t a feature that most people will need, but it brings a lot of value for those who do. Overall, this is a good drill. Its low price makes it a great deal, and one that most people should at least consider.
4. SKIL 6335-02 Drill (corded version)
The SKIL 6335-02 7.0 Amp drill is a model that has some things going for it but ultimately falls short in a few critical areas. On the plus side, it comes with a powerful motor. Clocking in at 7 amps, this motor has enough power to get you through most jobs that you might try to do around the house without any problem. You probably won’t want it on a construction site, but it has domestic uses. It also comes with a side-assist handle. While the weight is distributed unevenly, using the handle cancels out that problem, making it easy to control this drill.
The variable-speed trigger works well and gives you plenty of control no matter the task or the material that you’re working with. However, this model has a few issues. The handle likes to slip, which can be a pain while you’re working. There are also some quality control problems related to the motor, which means it won’t last as long as other models. Overall, this is a decent buy for the price, but not one that people will still be in love with a few years down the line.
5. Ryobi ZRD43K Corded Drills
The Ryobi ZRD43K is a discount model that some people will consider due to its very low price. There’s a chance that you’ll get good value out of this buy, but there’s also a chance that you’ll get burned. This model comes with a variable-speed trigger, so you can achieve high levels of control when working on your projects. This model also comes with a lock-on button, which some people will find very useful, and others will get no value from at all. However, the price of this tool is very low, so there’s a chance that taking a gamble on it is worth it.
This model is factory refurbished. That means it’s not new, but (in theory) it’s brought up to an acceptable or good level of quality. Whether this is accurate or not varies from unit to unit, and it leads to some people getting models that don’t work out of the box or that quickly break down. This line also seems to have issues with the factory overtightening the chuck, which renders the drill useless. Overall, this is an inexpensive model, but it’s not one that is likely to make most people happy with their purchase.
Hopefully, our reviews have already taught you some things you didn’t know about corded drills. However, if you still feel like you have more to learn before you’ll be ready to buy your next corded drill, make sure you check out this buyer’s guide. We’ve packed it full of great information about corded drills, including how you can evaluate them so that you get a model you’ll like using. We’ve also inserted information on getting a great deal, so if you’re looking for tips on maximizing the value you get out of your next purchase, this is the guide for you.
The point of getting a corded drill instead of a cordless one is to maximize the power you can get out of your tool.
Power in corded drills is typically measured in amps. At a bare minimum, you should look for a model with at least 6 amps of power. That will give you enough power to complete just about any domestic job. Any less than that, and you’ll have difficulty tackling tougher projects, while easier projects will take longer.
Seven to 9 amp drills have more power, and they’re generally the ones that you should be looking at when you shop for a corded drill. These will make short work of most projects, and at the upper end of that range, you may be able to drill into concrete or brick—as long as you’re not looking to make giant holes.
Within this range, you should be able to complete most kinds of tasks. An increase in power also generally means that you can get the same jobs done faster, which saves you time and money in the long run.
Weight is another important factor when working with a corded drill. Even though they come with a battery, most cordless drills are lighter than corded drills. At first glance, this doesn’t make much sense, since the corded drill has fewer parts.
However, the difference in weight can be largely attributed to a single factor: corded drills are much more powerful. (Though it varies from model to model, they’re around four to five times more powerful than their cordless counterparts.) They have larger motors, and these motors weigh more.
When it comes to weight, you generally won’t find a good corded drill that weighs 3 pounds or less, which is possible with cordless drills. The lightest corded models are about 3.5 pounds, which puts them about on par with the heavier cordless drills.
Most corded drills weigh about 4 pounds, and heavier ones can be as much as 5 pounds. In most cases, you won’t want one that weighs more than that. This is a tool that you’re going to be frequently repositioning, and sometimes you’re going to be using it in tight spaces.
While a pound, or even half a pound, may not sound like much, a 3.5-pound drill is 12.5 percent lighter than a 4-pound drill. That’s significant, and something that you’ll feel while you use your tool. If you’re only going to use your tool occasionally, you won’t need a super light drill. But if it’s something you’ll use a lot, having a lightweight model will definitely come in handy.
A lot of manufacturers make a big deal about how much torque their tools put out, but it’s not necessarily that big of a deal. Unless you’re a construction worker, a woodworker, or in some other profession that regularly tests the drill’s maximum torque, it probably won’t make a difference.
In fact, applying too much torque in certain situations can damage the surface you’re working on. If you’re hanging drywall or working on an application with weak or damaged screws, too much torque can lead you to tearing up the drywall (an expensive error) or stripping the screw, which can lead to a lot of frustration.
Consequently, whether or not you apply the right amount of torque is more important than having a higher amount of torque.
The part of the tool that is responsible for the torque is the clutch. In the past, drills only came with one clutch setting, which meant that you applied one amount of torque no matter what. Today’s cordless drills often come with variable clutches, though an increasing number of corded drills also come with them.
More commonly, corded drills feature a variable-speed trigger. Even though you can’t adjust the torque, you can achieve high levels of control by starting slow and gradually ramping up.
A few extra features can be found on corded drills that, while they don’t add a lot of value, might make or break a drill for certain customers.
One of these is a trigger lock-on button. With a cordless drill, you’ll probably only require it if you use your drill to polish or sand a surface, or if you use the drill to mix paint. These aren’t tasks that everyone’s going to need to do, but some people will like being able to use their drill in this way, and it’s harder without a lock-on button.
Another feature of questionable value is a side-assist handle. This is commonly found on impact drivers due to their higher levels of torque, though you sometimes find them on powerful corded drills as well. Is it worthwhile to have one? Ultimately, it boils down to a matter of taste. Drills with a side-assist handle tend to be less weight-balanced, but they also give you more ways to control the drill.
Which corded drill is right for you?
Finding the right drill for you isn’t all about the price tag. Many shoppers start the buying process by looking at the cheapest and most expensive options. The truth is that, unfortunately, that’s a great way to end up with a tool you won’t like all that much. How much you enjoy a tool is a better indicator of its value than how much you spend on it. We all know of instances where either a cheaper product performed better or a costlier one lead to disappointment.
A better strategy begins by looking at the features that you know you’ll use and that will lead to an enjoyable experience. Once you’ve figured that out, try making a list of the drills that come with those features and then choosing one you like from that list. To get the best overall value for your money, rank those drills by price and get the cheapest one.
The DEWALT DWD112 3/8-Inch is our favorite model and the best corded drill for woodworking, due to its powerful 8 amp motor, bubble level, and incredible torque. The Hitachi D13VF is the model you’ll want to get if you’re looking for a great 1/2-inch drill; it comes with great torque, aluminum gear housing, and a belt hook—only its high price keeps it out of the top spot. The PORTER-CABLE PC600D comes with a good motor and a variable-speed trigger, and its low price means that it’s the best value for the money on our list. The SKIL 6335-02 7.0 Amp drill comes with a powerful motor and a side-assist handle, though its problems with quality control mean that it ultimately falls to fourth on our list. The Ryobi ZRD43K is a refurbished model that has some good features, but it also leaves customers often dealing with the downsides of refurbished tools.
We hope that our reviews and buyer’s guide have given you insight into what makes for a great corded drill. We also hope that it’s helped you find the model you’ll love using at a price that won’t break the bank.
- Comparison of our Favorites (updated in 2020)
- The 5 Best Corded Drills
- Buyer’s Guide