I just read the WORST “Best Cordless Drills of 2020” post that Google thought fit to insert into my news feed.
Seriously, it was just terrible.
They wrote up a “best cordless drills” post, but deliberately avoided 18V and 20V Max and any brushless models due to the cost.
What?! Seriously? This time of year, you can find PLENTY of very good 18V/20V Max brushless drill kits, and for less money than what that author was recommending in many years-old 12V-class brushed motor models.
Below are top-of-mind recommendations, given my vast experience with different brands’ 12V-class cordless drill offerings. If anyone wants to add to the list, or argue with my choices, let’s talk it over in comments.
Better Than Their “Best Overall” Cordless Drill Choice
They recommend the Bosch PS31 as one of the options. That’s a good drill, a bit long in the tooth, but a decent model. They recommended it at $129.
But if you’re going to spend $129, get the newer brushless model for the same money!!
They complain about a first-generation brushed motor Dewalt 12V Max cordless drill being the most expensive at $133.
Our Best Overall Cordless Drill Pick
*facepalm* Why would anyone review Dewalt’s DECADE-OLD brushed motor model at $133, when they can get a brand new Dewalt Xtreme compact 12V Max brushless drill kit at $99.
This one would be my editor’s choice – I really like Dewalt’s newest drills and drivers in this platform.
Even if you have to pay shipping (free shipping on $199+, $6.49 under that), $107 for a brushless drill kit is better than $129 for the “best overall” Bosch pick, which is also more than 10 years old.
Give it time, this kit will likely be $99 at other retailers too.
Our Best Budget Cordless Drill Pick
I reviewed the Skil PWRCore 12 brushless drill kit and was extremely surprised as to how well it performed.
This is absolutely my “best budget pick,” with Amazon pricing the kit at $63.15 at the time of this posting, but it could probably go nearly toe to toe with the above Dewalt.
My wife is asking why I’m slamming the space bar on my keyboard right now. It’s because here’s a cordless drill that’ll outperform any model featured in the professional tech website’s “best cordless drills” article. Yep, it’s got a brushless motor. And it’s HALF the price of their “best overall model.”
Also Consider this Milwaukee M12 FUEL Hammer Drill
Here’s the Milwaukee M12 Fuel brushless hammer drill kit, at the special seasonal price of $99.
This heavy duty compact drill greatly surpasses the performance of other 12V-class cordless drills, and it also has a 1/2″ keyless chuck for use with larger drill bits. This comes in handy when using accessories such as hole saws that come with a 7/16″ arbor that’s too large for other 12V-class drills’ 3/8″ chucks
I am angry now – how could anyone writing up a November “best cordless drills for 2020” buying guide ignore this model?! I could understand it if you’re focusing in 12V, 18V, 20V Max systems, where it could be lost in a sea of options. But when talking about 12V cordless drills specifically? That’s just frustrating.
Plus, this hammer drill gives you masonry drilling capabilities, should you ever need or want it. You’ll be limited to smaller holes, but that’s still better than not being able to drill into brick or other such materials at all.
Best Compact Cordless Drill and Bang for the Buck
For the only brushed motor recommendation in this post, I would draw your attention to the Makita CT232 combo kit, which comes with a 12V Max cordless drill and 1/4″ hex impact driver combo kit, priced at $99.
Yep, for less than the price of that tech site’s “best overall” Bosch PS31 pick, you get a more compact feeling Makita 12V Max CXT cordless drill, plus an impact driver that’ll you’ll be thankful for when working with longer or larger fasteners.
Amazon has this excellent kit on sale for $99, a seasonal regular.
The tech article author did mention this Makita drill, but comment about the drill-only kit being priced at $99 and higher than their straight-to-Amazon brand pick, and for performing a little lower than the Bosch.
It’s not clear what performance metric they were using – that tech author was comparing performance with respect to the number of 1″ holes per amp hour of battery charge each drill could bore into pine. What kind of spade bit? Did they change spade bits for each tool?
If you ask me, I’d look at the average time per hole drilled, and make sure to comment on the perception of how the tool felt completing such tasks.
While the PS31 might be more powerful – I haven’t compared the two directly yet – this Makita is more comfortable to me. Plus, you get the 2-tool combo kit which is a better value. And, the impact driver here will absolutely out-perform the Bosch PS31 that they recommended.
Their Best Overall Pick
This is the tech magazine writer’s best overall pick, the venerable Bosch PS31. It’s priced at $129 right now, which is a terrible price, seeing as how 1) you can get the brushless kit for this price, and 2) Bosch usually has a drill and impact driver combo kit – like the Makita – at $99 for the holiday season.
This is a decent drill, but it’s such a bad buy at $129 compared to any of the drill kits mentioned here.
Buy Now via Amazon – but don’t, pick one of the other drills discussed here
I have been planning on a “best cordless drill kit deals for Black Friday” post, and that’s still in the works. This post was hastily thrown together because I’m so angry at the terrible advice so many magazines are spewing these days.
What service does it do for readers to tell them brushless drills are too expensive, and then they go and recommend a decade-old brushed motor drill kit for $129?
Above, the Bosch PS32 cordless drill is the most expensive, at $129 like the other author’s PS31 recommendation, with Dewalt and Milwaukee better options at $99. The Makita combo kit, above, is $99. The Skil is $63.
I don’t blame the tech writer for his infuriating recommendations, I blame their editors for not providing sufficient guidance. But I guess that’s what happens when so many non-tool websites start reviewing (“reviewing”) tools for the sake of affiliate clicks and commissions.
Oh, You Really Want an 18V Drill?
18V cordless drills are too expensive? Brushless drills are too expensive?
Here’s a Metabo HPT (formerly Hitachi) 18V blacked-out brushless drill kit for $79. Step up to $99 and there are so very many more options.
But if someone says 18V and 20V Max cordless drills are too expensive for DIYers or homeowners, and brushless motors too cost-prohibitive, they obviously haven’t been following cordless power tool tech for the past few years. This kit right here dismantles the “18V and brushless drills are too expensive” argument.