We asked our sister site, Ideal Home, for their advice and recommendations on the best drills on the market. Its team of experts have been offering home improvement and DIY advice for nearly 100 years, so they know exactly what to look out for when testing electric drills.
Ryobi 18V ONE+ Cordless Brushless Percussion Drill
Ryobi has gone from strength to strength as the relatively new kid on the block and the company are now creating some of the best tools out there. The ONE+ battery system lets you use one type of battery across devices. In this case that means you can pair a 5Ah unit with the drill for enough power to last all day.
The drill does a great job driving screws with that powerful 10 level e-Torque sensor that cuts off when the screw is flush. It efficiently drills wood, metal and even brickwork thanks to a hammer mode and two power gears. Little extras add up to make this a tough drill to compete with. These include an LED to light up the work area, an included bit and holder, rubberised grip and perfect weight balance.
Makita 18V Combi Drill
Makita is well liked by professionals thanks to great reliability and comfort levels. By this we mean the lack of vibrations when drilling and the smooth action. That extends to this model which offers drilling, screwing and hammer drilling to cover most jobs. The use of a G-Series battery is a nice addition that allows you to fast charge to full in just one hour. Also if you opt for the package deal you get two batteries for easy swap outs.
Makita says this drill is made to a standard ‘far exceeding that of DIY products’ and that’s noticeable in use. Feedback is just right without taxing your hand when drilling – even brickwork – meaning you can keep going without worry of your wrist tiring. It wasn’t quite as well balanced as the Ryobi, nor runs quite as fast. However it does feel like it’s solid enough to keep going so long you may never need to buy another drill again.
Bosch Advanced Impact 900
When it comes to challenging drilling the Bosch Advanced Impact 900 is hard to beat. This drill packs in enough power and quality to make drilling into brick or cement like easing into wood. That’s largely thanks to the two speed gearbox coupled with a 900W motor and mains power. Yes, you will probably need to wheel out the extension cord, but you then won’t have to worry about running out of power.
The handles make this feel like you’re putting all your bodyweight behind the drill as you lazily lean and let it do all the work. This beast even collects dust as you drill so you’re left with a clean site too. And it really works. You can also use this tool for screw-driving, drilling and hammer drilling. So if you don’t mind the cord, this could be your all rounder drill. It might be a bit weighty and large for more delicate jobs.
Ryobi 18V ONE+ SDS+ Rotary Hammer Drill
This drill sure has a long name, but it encompasses a whole lot of functions. Yes it’s a drill for wood and metal, yes it’s a hammer drill for bricks and concrete. But it’s also a hammer chisel. Thanks to a handy mode dial you can switch between rotary drilling, drilling with a hammer and hammering alone. That means a chisel can be fired in and out enough to quickly and easily take down tiles or even breakup masonry.
The key here is that it’s not only versatile but it’s light and mobile too thanks to that ONE+ battery system. Of course, when you’re using a high power device like this you’ll need to opt for a larger battery. That will cost you a bit more, but it’s worth it to have enough power when you need it. While this is impressive for a battery powered SDS unit, if you go for wired you can probably get a bit more power for your buck. But for most jobs this is more than fine, while remaining conveniently wire-free.
Bosch PSR Select 3.6V Li-ion Cordless Screwdriver
If you’ve ever used the included Ikea tool for putting together flatpack furniture, you need to try it with a power tool. It’s so much faster and easier, you’ll wonder how you ever did it without a drill. For this you can opt for a more affordable unit like this Bosch. The limited 3.6V power means that while it’ll screw most things together, you’re not likely going to do much drilling.
The unique feature here is the ability to twist the cylinder unit that houses 12 drill bits, allowing you to easily change to suit the screw type. This is ideal when you don’t want to lug a box of bits about. There’s even an LED to light up the area you’re screwing, which proves invaluable in dark corner jobs. Although primarily for basic woodwork, this could still handle some light drilling, just don’t rely on it too much for this purpose. The battery will last a few jobs (90 screws-worth) easily, but takes a good four or five hours to charge.
DeWalt 18V Cordless 3 Speed Impact Driver
If you’re tasked with inserting a lot of screws, an impact driver is the tool for the job. These are more powerful than a smaller screwdriver, but more drive-focused than most drills. This unit offers 3800 blows per minute – a bit like a lighter hammer drill for wood. This means screws are eased in perfectly, leaving you to just push and watch them arrive.
This drill also has an impressive 30 minute charge time so you can keep going on schedule even with one battery. This is the best tool for putting together a shed or fence, where a lot of monotonous screwdriver work is required. An LED light and three speed, 205Nm brushless motor for longevity are good bonuses.
Makita LXT Cordless 18V Li-Ion Angle Drill Driver
Sometimes a drill is just too big to get in behind the screw you need to fix in place. This is where an angled drill is ideal as it offers the power of a drill, meaning you can still drive in a screw without needing to get your weight right behind it.
This Makita model isn’t cheap but that’s because it’s built to a high standard. Since you’re often leaning at odd angles you want there to be no give in the drill itself so this metallic build quality and 13.7Nm of torque are invaluable. The LED light is also a nice touch that’s handy as you’re often using this is drill in awkward dark spaces.
Those are our picks of the best electric drill. If you’re still unsure which is right for you check out our indepth buying guide below.
Why do I need a drill?
Ever needed to hang a picture correctly, put up solid shelves, hang a gate or build a fence? How about starting a woodwork project or building furniture quickly? For any of these tasks, you’ll need a drill.
A drill will allow you to make holes to hang deep hooks and screws which are strong, reliable and safe for suspending items. And those pesky Ikea flatpack purchases are a breeze to construct with a handy drill.
How much should I spend on a drill?
This depends on the drill type. If you’re going for a corded drill, there’s no dodgy battery to worry about. For that reason you can go for an affordable option and still get a good, reliable drill. Corded drills are often more affordable than battery models. However, if you’re going for a battery powered drill that needs to work harder, it’s worth shelling out a little more for a good model.
When it comes to drills, it’s often the case that the more you spend, the better the drill. This means more lasting power, longer battery life and faster charging. Brushless or not is another factor. Brushless drills offer a more compact motor that’s made in a way to produce less heat meaning it’s more durable. In the case of battery operated drills it can also mean a longer battery life. But, of course, you’ll pay a premium for that brushless advantage.
So you can spend anywhere from £30 up to £300 on a new drill. You might choose to spend less on a rotary drill and the rest of your budget on an SDS or hammer drill. Then you’re covered for most jobs without the worry of straining the rotary drill. You can use the SDS drill for bigger jobs like drilling into hard walls.
How to buy the best drill for you
The best place to start when buying a drill is the job in hand. You probably have a reason to buy the drill and it’s likely to be fairly specific. Of course, you may want to have a drill for future jobs too. There are two main categories of drill – the cordless hand drill and corded hand drill. Sub categories are rotary drills, drivers and SDS hammer drills. Combi drills combine some of these categories.
1. Rotary drills
These drills, as the name suggests, use rotating chucks to drill holes in different materials. While the corded variants can rotate faster and with less vibrations, the cordless models are a lot more convenient and mobile.
These are all about screwing in and removing screws at high speeds. Impact drivers, for example, offer higher rotational torque and fast paced tapping. This means they’re adept at helping you screw into wood quickly and easily – perfect for fencing.
3. SDS hammer drills
These Self Direct System units are heavy duty drills which use a hammer function to beat the drill as it rotates. This is ideal for drilling into tough materials like brickwork. In many cases they have the ability to turn off the rotation to allow a chisel to be used with an in and out motion. Many also offer the option to just have the drill on.
4. Combi drills
These combine a drill and the nudging effect of a driver or weaker hammer drill. While these can do most jobs they may not do any particular one as well as a separate drill might be able to.
What other key questions do I need to ask?
Once you’ve established the main job the drill is for, and any potential future jobs, you should be ready to pick a drill. Your budget should help you decide if you want to opt for wired or a wireless drill and if you need one or a few. So what next?
Essentially the higher voltage you go for, the more powerful the drill. More power makes drilling easier but will cost you in battery life, weight and price. A minimum for most screw drilling is a 14.4V model. Below that is fine for soft wood drilling or easy screw driving. If you plan on masonry drilling you’ll need 18V, at least.
While you can opt for own brands from the likes of Wickes, you might be advised to go for a well known name like Makita or Bosch. A well known brand means the price goes up. However, it also means you’re paying for years of experience and refinement resulting in the very best drill for your money. And you’ll have more peace of mind on durability.
If you invest in a good quality drill check the warranty. If it has a decent warranty you can happily use it knowing it won’t give way.
Make sure to check out Ideal Home for more DIY and home improvement advice