Table of Contents
- What Are Small Cordless Drills and Why Buy a Compact Model?
- How Is a Small Cordless Drill Kit Different from Other Bulkier Options?
- The Top 5 Small Cordless Drill Types To Know
- Bosch PS31-2A 12V Max Li-ion Cordless 3/8″ Drill Driver
- Milwaukee 2504-20 M12 FUEL 12V Cordless 1/2″ Hammer Drill
- Bosch GSR18V-190B22 18V Li-ion Cordless 1/2” Drill Driver
- Makita XFD061 18V LXT Li-ion Cordless 1/2″ Drill Driver
- DeWalt DCF885C1 20V Max Li-ion Cordless 1/4″ Drill Driver
- How To Choose the Right Drill for Your Drilling Project
A cordless drill is one of the most versatile tools you can have in your home. This tool lets you tackle both indoor and outdoor projects without needing an electrical outlet nearby. Using a smaller model makes it easier to do projects in tight spaces. If you’re comparing small cordless drills to add to your toolkit, read on to learn about why you need one and what to look for.
What Are Small Cordless Drills and Why Buy a Compact Model?
Smaller cordless drills are useful for more projects than larger options. Since they’re smaller, you can get into smaller spaces.
Cordless models are also lighter and easier to carry around. You can work anywhere in the house, and you don’t have to worry about whether the electricity has been turned off before working on your project.
How Is a Small Cordless Drill Kit Different from Other Bulkier Options?
You might have turned away from buying a compact cordless drill because older models didn’t really compare to wired models in terms of power. You may have had to charge them frequently, adding downtime to your project.
But cordless handheld power drills have come a long way. Current models are just as powerful as their bulkier counterparts. They’re also lighter, so you can take them all over your house, and your hand won’t be as tired when you have to unfasten a large number of screws, bolts, and other fasteners in awkward positions.
Compact cordless drill kits come with different heads in an organized case, so you don’t have to spend a ton of time looking for the tool you need in a given situation.
The Top 5 Small Cordless Drill Types To Know
If you’re ready to ditch the wires for a sleeker, more compact drill, check out this cordless drill comparison. Each has been named the best cordless drill for home use, so your choice depends on your brand preference and additional features you find helpful.
Bosch PS31-2A 12V Max Li-ion Cordless 3/8″ Drill Driver
|Battery Amp Hours / Amperage|
|Battery/Charger||Battery and Charger Included|
|Max RPM||1300 RPM|
|Weight (pounds)||1.8 lbs.|
|Extra Features||Integrated LED light|
Why the Bosch PS31-2A 12V Max Li-ion Cordless 3/8″ Drill Driver Kit Is Great
Offering professional-grade power for most projects, the Bosch PS31-2A 12V Max Li-ion Cordless 3/8” Drill Driver Kit is a great addition to your kit. It weighs about 2 lbs., making it ideal for overhead projects and other areas where you need to unfasten screws and bolts at odd angles. The design of its heads minimizes potential damage to screw heads and grips better, making it easier to remove older screws.
This drill kit is compact and streamlined. It offers a fuel gauge that’s easy to see while you’re working, so you can tell when it’s time to change the batteries. The drill itself offers a soft-grip handle, which is great for long projects with multiple parts to fasten and unfasten. If you have arthritis or your hands get tired easily when you’re working overhead, this drill’s weight and grip make it a great option. It also has an LED light to illuminate fasteners when you’re working alone or when you don’t have someone handy with a flashlight when you need them.
If you do a lot of electrical work and other projects that require overhead work, this is a good drill for you. The kit comes with a 3/8″ sleeve jaw to hold bits securely while you’re fastening and unfastening overhead and at awkward angles. It’s smaller, so it’s also good for assembling and disassembling furniture and other items with small screws and fasteners.
Don’t let the drill’s size fool you into thinking it has no power. This drill has 25% more max torque and operates 15% faster than other similar-sized drills.
- Easy to use
- Long battery life
- Easy to see how much battery life is left
- Nice carrying case
- Magnetic tray for bits
- Battery is hard to remove
- Handle diameter might be big for users with smaller hands
- Customers have reported issues with the battery charger not working
Milwaukee 2504-20 M12 FUEL 12V Cordless 1/2″ Hammer Drill
|Battery Amp Hours / Amperage||2.0 Ah|
|Battery/Charger||Battery and Charger Not Included|
|Tool Bag||Not Included|
|Max RPM||1700 RPM|
|Weight (pounds)||2.3 lbs.|
|Certifications||CSA Listed, ETL Listed, UL Listed|
Why the Milwaukee 2504-21 M12 12V Li-ion Cordless 1/2″ Hammer Drill Driver Kit Is Great
This brushless, cordless drill is lightweight, compact, and easy to use. Its motor easily adjusts depending on your project, letting you drill through drywall, hard woods, and other surfaces with ease. This model features an e-clutch that offers consistent results.
The brushless motor also features an intelligent sensor that keeps the drill from overheating and dying mid-project. The all-metal chuck offers excellent grip and retains bits, so you don’t have to worry about securing the drill to older screws.
This drill’s variable speeds help you drill into a variety of materials, including wood, steel, and even concrete. If you’re working with tough material, the drill is a little slower than higher-powered models, but it will get the job done.
Because it’s lightweight, you can easily use this drill when working overhead on electrical and other wiring projects. The carrying case helps you organize your drill and bits so you can transport them throughout your house or job site.
The drill offers a gauge on the side, letting you know how much life is left in the battery. For smaller projects, the battery lasts a while, but if you’re using the drill at maximum speed for a project, you might have to charge it more than once a day.
Milwaukee tools are known for their quality. If you’re looking for a long-lasting small cordless drill kit, consider adding this one to your toolbox.
- 1,700 RPM
- 350 in./lbs. of peak torque
- Lightweight and portable
- REDLINK Plus overload protection
- More work per charge with REDLITHIUM 4.0Ah and 2.0Ah batteries
- May not be powerful enough to handle tough materials like granite
- Trigger may become unresponsive if the drill is left idle for too long
- Heavier than other high-performing 12-volt drills
Bosch GSR18V-190B22 18V Li-ion Cordless 1/2” Drill Driver
Why the Bosch GSR18V-190B22 18V Li-ion Cordless 1/2″ Drill Driver Kit Is Great
At 18 volts, this lightweight cordless drill is more equipped to help you tackle larger projects throughout your home. The motor has two speeds — one for driving and one for drilling. At 2.75 lbs., it’s light enough to carry all around your home or job site, and you can use it for overhead projects without cramping your hands.
This drill kit has a lot of power, and it’s easy to use for woodworking projects, even if you don’t enjoy predrilling holes. Since this is a second-generation model, Bosch worked some customer suggestions into the remodel. The motor is more powerful than on the first generation, and the case has room for a spare battery.
Since this drill is still pretty compact, you can use it for projects with difficult angles, like getting under the sink or pulling out fasteners in the back of your furniture. But you can also use it for simple projects, like installing flooring on hanging decor.
Users also appreciate the battery life, and there’s a gauge on the side to let you know when you need to swap out the battery and charge the old one. This drill doesn’t feature an impact setting for concrete and other super-tough projects, so you might want to consider another model if you work frequently in a home with concrete walls or if you do a lot of projects outside.
- Good battery life
- Good for home use
- Offers a good value for the price
- Comes with a carrying case
- It’s easy to change out the drill bits
- Not suitable for commercial projects and everyday use
- Sometimes, the chuck gets loose
Makita XFD061 18V LXT Li-ion Cordless 1/2″ Drill Driver
|Battery Amp Hours / Amperage||3.0 Ah|
|Battery/Charger||Battery and Charger Included|
|Max RPM||1550 RPM|
|Weight (pounds)||3.8 lbs.|
Why the Makita XFD061 18V LXT Li-ion Cordless 1/2″ Drill Driver Kit Is Great
The Makita XFD061 18V LXT Cordless Drill Kit offers a good power-to-size ratio. The battery lasts longer than comparable models, meaning you can spend less time swapping and charging it. This drill features 530 in-lbs. of maximum torque to help you drill into harder materials. It will help you create consistent fastenings even if you don’t opt to predrill a hole.
One advantage of this model is the Star protection computer controls. This is a series of technological features that keep the drill from overheating and keep you from using too much power when you don’t need to. These features help extend the battery life and add to the drill kit’s overall quality.
Its brushless motor is smooth and runs more efficiently than comparable tools with brushed motors. It has a two-speed transmission for drilling and pulling. The motor is quiet, which is great if you’re working on a project that’ll take you all day.
The charger that comes with the kit is slower than other Makita chargers. If you want your battery to charge in a hurry, look for another charger that works with this battery. The set features a carrying case, but it only has one battery. If you use your drill for multiple projects, consider getting a second battery, so you have one to use while the dead one is charging.
- Good battery life
- Brushless motor is quiet
- Strong grip
- Charger locks battery in
- Good LED light
- High quality
- Versatile use
- Only comes with one battery
- Chuck can wobble
- Might lose some amount of torque on harder surfaces
- Bulky carrying case
DeWalt DCF885C1 20V Max Li-ion Cordless 1/4″ Drill Driver
|Battery Amp Hours / Amperage||1.5 Ah|
|Battery/Charger||Battery and Charger Included|
|Max RPM||2800 RPM|
|Weight (pounds)||5.58 lbs.|
|Certifications||CSA Listed, UL Listed|
Why the DeWalt DCF885C1 20V Max Li-ion Cordless 1/4″ Drill Driver Kit Is Great
Another smaller option, this cordless drill kit is great for getting into tight spaces and working overhead. At 2.8 lbs., it’s not the lightest drill on the list, but its voltage does make it the most powerful. This drill kit is versatile enough to use in the house or in the garage. It will help you remove engine parts with ease.
One feature that makes this drill kit unique is its ring LED light. With three different lights, this drill illuminates all the parts you’re working on, which is great for tinkering with engines. This drill kit is compact and lightweight, with a 1/4″ hex chuck that takes 1” bit tips. This one comes with a nylon carrying case you can transport from room to room. Since this drill is lighter, you may need to apply more pressure to keep the fasteners straight when driving into harder materials.
If you prefer a brushless motor, DeWalt offers one, but since this one has a brush it has less torque than a comparable brushless model. The DeWalt brand is known for high quality and durability. If you take care of this drill by storing it in a dry place, it should last for a while.
The drill itself features an ergonomic handle. If you use it often, you’ll probably notice fewer hand cramps. Anyone who has arthritis but still enjoys home projects should check out this drill kit.
- Easy to maneuver
- Ergonomic handle
- 3 LED ring lights
- Good value for the money
- High quality
- Versatile use
- Not enough torque for bigger projects
- Doesn’t work on lugnuts
- You have to buy extra drill bits
How To Choose the Right Drill for Your Drilling Project
This cordless drill comparison highlights features of the best compact cordless drills. They’re all lightweight and durable, with good battery life and features that make it easy to complete your project. If you’re shopping for cordless handheld power drills, first consider what you’ll be using them for.
If you’re interested in heavy-duty drilling, you should move up a size, as most compact drills don’t have enough torque to drill into concrete or hard woods. They’re also less effective on tire bolts, car axles, and other car components with tight fasteners.
Other features might be more or less desirable, depending on your preferences. You should consider the drill’s grip. You might want a comfortable drill, so your hands hurt less after a long day of work. Or you could look for one that pivots for tight spaces.
You can add attachments to some cordless drills that make them more versatile. Check the user manual or do some additional research to see if your drill offers attachments for sanding, buffing, cement and paint mixing, or other house tasks you may have.
Check the kit to see how many drill bits come with it. Some of them only offer a few basic sizes, and you have to buy additional drill bits to round out your kit.
The compact cordless drills covered here are great for regular household projects. But if you want to cut into concrete, masonry, and other hard surfaces, look for a kit with hammer mode. This feature mimics how you would hammer a nail, and it’s great for masonry.
Consider the chuck size. Most drills offer 3/8” chucks, but you can buy a 1/4″ or 1/2″ for different projects. Half-inch chucks are better for heavier projects.
Corded tools have a continuous power supply, so you don’t have to stop what you’re doing like you would need to with battery-powered tools. Since the power doesn’t fade as you get into your project, your corded tools will be more consistent in terms of performance. Cordless tools aren’t as powerful when the battery gets low. Corded drills typically offer more torque than cordless models.
However, cordless models are lighter and easier to carry around. Since there’s no need to store a cord, these drills are smaller, and they tend to fit in tighter spaces than their corded counterparts. You can also use them for a wider range of projects. If you’re working in the yard or in a new build, you don’t have to bring extension cords or a source of electricity.
Brushless motors use magnets to generate power, while brushed models are made of carbon. A brushless motor doesn’t generate friction as you work, and it’s less prone to overheating. Many brushless models like those covered above have smart features that let the motor adjust the torque and speed during your project.
A brushless motor is easier to maintain. You just need to dust them and keep them clean. You don’t have to replace worn-out brushes. Tools with brushed motors are usually cheaper than brushless models, but are generally less powerful and break down sooner than brushless models if both are cleaned and stored properly.
Cordless drills with more voltage have more power. The 18-volt and 20-volt models featured are more powerful, but that may not mean they’re right for your project. Cordless motors are more powerful than ever, and current 12-volt models are as powerful as older 18-volt cordless drills.
Another advantage of 12-volt cordless drills is the weight. Since larger volt models need larger batteries, they’re often heavier and bulkier. If you’re working on engines or in all the nooks and crannies within your house, you might prefer a 12-volt. Batteries with lower voltages, including 12-volts, also take less time to charge so that you can get back to your projects more quickly.
On the other hand, an 18-volt drill will run longer than its 12-volt counterpart. If you need your drill for a long time, you may prefer the drill with more power.
For most home renovation projects, a small cordless drill will do the job, helping you remove and install fasteners and drill without hurting your wrists. But if you’re working on heavier projects, like masonry, you’re better off with a bigger model with more power.
Bigger cordless drills have features including hammering that make them more effective for heavy-duty jobs. They may also come with more drill bits and attachments that make your heavy-duty projects easier. If you’re working in the garage, your small cordless drill might not work on lug nuts and other tight fasteners, so you could move up a size.
Most small cordless drills aren’t durable enough for commercial use. Since they’re smaller with less power, you have to charge them more often, and they might not offer the right level of torque for projects like framing and flooring, where you would need sturdier drills. If you do a lot of heavy-duty projects and repairs, look for a bigger drill.