Which is the best cordless drill you can buy in 2021?
I have been putting off answering this question for the same reason as with prior updates – there’s really no right answer. If you take ten different people, there could be ten different cordless drills that best suit each user’s individual needs and preferences.
The following recommendations reflect my current opinions and preferences based on all of the different models I have tested and used.
Best Cordless Drill for Most Users
Best Compact Cordless Drill
Best Value 18V Cordless Drill
Best Cordless Drill for DIYers
What to Look for in a Cordless Drill
Do you agree with the following cordless drill recommendations? Disagree? Please let me know in a comment!
Best Cordless Drill for Most Users: Dewalt 20V Max 3-Speed Hammer Drill
I have tested a lot of cordless drills this year, and there are an astounding number of highly recommendable options.
If you need a heavy duty cordless drill to power through all kinds of tasks, the Dewalt 20V Max 3-speed premium brushless drills remain my top pick.
(For readers that have their own strong preferences – what would be your top pick?)
These are heavier than compact cordless drills, but also much more capable while still being comfortable and manageable to use. I say these are my top pick because there are several models, and you cannot go wrong with any of them.
My go-to for tougher drilling tasks has been the Dewalt DCD996, and I have also had great experiences with some of the higher powered versions that are based on it.
Dewalt 20V Max Brushless 3-Speed Drill Options
Here’s where things get confusing. Dewalt has 5 different 20V Max 3-speed drills, all of which are quite good and close enough to each other performance-wise when paired with batteries up to 5Ah.
- DCD991 Drill/Driver
- DCD996 Hammer Drill
- DCD997 Hammer Drill with Tool Connect
- DCD998 Hammer Drill with Power Detect
- DCD999 Hammer Drill with FlexVolt Advantage
The DCD991, DCD996, and DCD997 drills all have similar specs – up to 2000 RPM, 820 UWO max power, and 3 speed settings. DCD996 has a hammer mode for drilling into masonry materials, and the DCD997 adds wireless Tool Connect app connectivity on top of that.
The DCD998 Power Detect and DCD999 FlexVolt Advantage models give you a power boost when paired with certain batteries. The Power Detect delivers up to 29 more power when paired with an 8Ah battery, and the FlexVolt Advantage model delivers up to 42% more power when paired with a FlexVolt battery.
Even if you don’t really need the hammer drilling functionality, the DCD996 often has better promo pricing compared to DCD991 purchase options.
The DCD996 is getting a bit older now, but it’s no slouch.
I wish that Dewalt simplified their offerings a bit. I would say that the DCD996 is my default recommendation, and I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have about any of these models.
Buy Now via Amazon
Buy Now: 3-Speed Kit via Acme Tools
Buy Now: Power Detect via Acme Tools
Runner Up: Milwaukee M18 Fuel (2804)
The Milwaukee M18 Fuel remains a very popular model. It’s compact for a high-powered drill and also comfortable to use.
Dewalt vs. Milwaukee is a lot like Coke vs. Pepsi. Either brand will serve you well.
If you’re not in a rush, wait for a compelling promo – both Milwaukee and Dewalt’s flagship models, as well as other brands’ are often featured in money-saving kits or bundles.
Buy Now via Acme Tools
See Also: Combo Kit via Acme Tools
A Lighter Alternative: Dewalt 20V Max Compact Brushless DCD791
If you don’t quite need a top of the line model, the Dewalt DCD791 is still a fantastic compact brushless drill. It lacks the power of heavier duty models, but is a comfortable size and quite capable for its size. It’s getting a little long in the tooth, but remains a competitive option.
Buy Now via Amazon
Buy Now: Combo Kit via Amazon
Special Mention for Power Users: FLEX 24V Max Brushless
FLEX has recently brought a brand new line of innovative 24V Max brushless power tools to the market. I’ve still been working with some of their initial offerings, but thus far the tools have performed phenomenally well.
Flex is a site sponsor, and my time with their tools have been a lot shorter than with all of the other drills I’ve tested in recent years, and so I cannot rank them just yet. Thus far, however, I’d say that the Flex power tools are living up to their hype.
Their premium cordless drill is definitely worth looking at. It features anti-kickback tech, huge power – 1400 in-lbs max torque – and also a turbo speed boost mode.
Best Compact Cordless Drill: Dewalt Xtreme 12V Max
The Dewalt Xtreme 12V Max cordless drill/driver is my favorite lightweight cordless drill right now. It’s compact but not puny and powerful for its size but controllable.
I would say that this is the best cordless drill for most people, if not for 3 reasons. 1) This Dewalt packs a punch but it’s still a 12V-class brushless drill, 2) a lot of users prefer 18V/20V Max battery systems for their selection of full-size core tools (at the least), and 3) the 3/8″ chuck might not hold larger drill bit sizes or hole saw arbors.
Dewalt’s Xtreme 12V Max lineup has been steadily expanding and is far more compelling than ever before in the 12V Max system’s 11 year history.
At the time of this post, the Xtreme 12V Max drill is between promo pricing, but there’s a drill plus one-handed reciprocating saw kit that’s very aggressively priced. I would purchase that for just $10 more than the full-price drill kit. There’s also a drill plus Tstak tool box bundle.
Buy Now via Amazon
Buy Now: Drill Kit via Lowe’s
Buy Now: Drill Kit Bundle via Acme
Buy Now: Combo Kit via Lowe’s
Best Value Cordless Drill: Metabo HPT SubCompact
Metabo HPT’s 18V brushless subcompact cordless drill is a strong performer and a very good value, especially if you catch a seasonal promo.
While this drill lacks premium features, such as a more elaborate LED worklight, but this is reflected in its price.
This is also my next-best compact cordless drill pick after the Dewalt Xtreme Subcompact 12V Max model.
Buy Now via Lowe’s
Buy Now via Acme Tools
As an alternative, also consider the Metabo HPT DS18DBFL2EM kit, which is more powerful and a little more premium-featured (such as with a belt clip). It’s also a bit heavier – but certainly on-par with other compact brushless drills – but that’s the price to pay for greater performance.
This model is a $99 promo right now, making it a better value.
I have a soft spot for Metabo HPT, with my first experience with the brand being a Hitachi 18V cordless drill that offered a fantastic 3-way balance between size, performance, and value.
Runner Up: Milwaukee M12 Fuel, M12 Combo, M18 Compact Brushless
Milwaukee’s M12 Fuel hammer drill is a great tool, and on rare occasions there’s a single-battery promo kit priced at $99.
What’s special about the M12 Fuel hammer drill is that it packs a strong punch in a compact package and can rival the power of compact 18V drills, and it features a 1/2″ chuck.
Another value alternative is Milwaukee’s M12 cordless drill and impact driver combo kit, which are among the only brushed motor tools I can still recommend.
This combo kit is a seasonal “special buy at $99.” You lose power and application speed compared to the other drills featured here, but gain a compact impact driver that can more speedily drive in fasteners.
Milwaukee’s M18 compact brushless drill kit, 2801-21P also deserves a strong recommendation once or twice a year when it’s promotionally discounted to $99.
Unfortunately, like a lot of aggressively-priced cordless drill promos, there are much better buys the rest of the year.
Best Cordless Drill for DIYers: Ryobi 18V One+ HP
Ryobi’s 18V One+ HP brushless drill is quite a bit different than the brand’s other models. For one, it’s surprisingly compact for a tool with a stem-style battery pack. And, unlike some of the brand’s other cordless power tools, there are no apparent tradeoffs.
This is Ryobi’s attempt at an uncompromised compact brushless drill/driver, and I’ve been impressed with it.
Ryobi’s 18V cordless power tool system has a very broad selection of DIYer and value-minded tools and accessories. They have quite a few entry-level drill kits and combo kits at lower pricing, but if I were looking to enter a DIYer-friendly platform, this is the drill I’d want to open the door.
If you want the hammer drill version of the Ryobi 18V One+ HP compact brushless drill, there’s a 1-battery kit that’s promo priced at $99.
Buy Now: Hammer Drill via Home Depot
What to Look for in a Cordless Drill
Whether you’re taking a closer look at these models or at other brands, here are the basic questions to ask:
Do you have any cordless power tool system or brand preferences? If so, start there.
If you need help, consider these buying guides:
Best Cordless Power Tool Brand in 2021
Best Cordless Power Tool Brand for DIYers
12V Max vs. 18V/20V Max vs. 24V Max
Voltage is important, as this typically determines a drill’s physical size and weight. Power and performance can also be tied to a drill’s operating voltage, but this is not always true.
One brand’s 24V Max cordless drill is far weaker than other brands’ 18V and 20V Max offerings and even higher powered 12V Max drills.
Don’t always assume that more is better.
If I had to simplify things, I would break things down as follows:
- Light Duty: ~200 to 400 in-lbs
- Medium Duty: ~500 in-lbs
- Heavy Duty: ~600+ in-lbs
- Extreme Duty: 1000+ in-lbs
We now have cordless drills that rival the max torque of impact drivers, and has shifted classifications by quite a bit. Maximum torque specs are now double what they used to be just a few years ago.
Dewalt uses different power measurements – UWO – but you can sometimes also find torque specs for their cordless drills. There are no UWO to inch-pound conversion factors, and anyone that suggests otherwise is simply guessing.
Read More: Dewalt UWO and Torque – What it Really Means
A lot of users pay closest attention to max torque specs, but a drill’s speed ranges are also important. Let’s say you have one drill with a max speed of 1400 RPM and max torque of 500 in-lbs, and another that’s rated at 2000 RPM and 400 in-lbs. Which one will deliver the faster application speeds when drilling smaller holes?
2000 RPM is the average max motor speed for premium models. You’ll see far lower speeds in value-priced models where the rated torque specs wouldn’t otherwise be possible.
Key Features and Design Considerations
Most cordless drills have adjustable torque clutch dials, which are mainly used to achieve repeatable fastener driving depths. Some clutch dials are easier to turn than others.
Keyless chucks are standard, with more premium models featuring metal sleeves. More compact drills tend to have 3/8″ drill chucks, with 1/2″ being standard for most 18V class and higher-voltage models.
More premium models might offer different LED worklight controls, such as on Dewalt’s DCD791 compact brushless model.
Some drills don’t come with belt clips, and you can sometimes pick one up as a replacement part or accessory. If it’s important to you, check before you buy.
Compact drills usually don’t require an auxiliary handle while heavier duty models almost always come with one. Here is why powerful drills must come with secondary handles.
Battery, Charger, and Kit Configurations
Some cordless drill kits come with (1) battery, others come with (2). Battery charge capacities typically range from 1.3Ah to 5.0Ah and up.
I prefer compact 2.0Ah batteries for smaller drills, and either compact 3.0Ah or larger 5.0Ah batteries for heavier duty drills. You can use 6.0Ah and higher capacity batteries, but I’m generally not too keen on adding weight to a drill if I don’t have to, especially those that weren’t designed for today’s larger Li-ion battery sizes.
Pushing into higher power territory generally requires a beefier battery.
Charging times aren’t always published, but it’s something to consider, especially for kits that only come with a single battery. Value-priced cordless drill kits or promos tend to come with slower chargers or ones that clip onto a battery instead of the normal charging station.
What Makes a Well-Rounded Cordless Drill
The recommendations I make above are largely subjective. Application speeds are important to me, and I also like drills that are lighter and more comfortable to work with.
I have been testing and reviewing cordless drills for more than a decade, and these are the models that I would choose today.
Ergonomics are also important, but things like user comfort largely come down to preferences. One of the reasons I prefer Dewalt’s Xtreme 12V Max series is because they have slim handle grips due to system’s slide-style battery design. Because of this, Dewalt’s 12V Max tools better fit my smaller hands than models with post-style batteries. The downside is that their drill feels larger than competing models since the battery is at the end of the tool rather than inserted within the handle.
Cordless drills aren’t one-size-fits-all. I limited this post to 4 main categories, but this could easily balloon to 10 different categories, even 20.
Brushed vs. Brushless
If you’re buying a new cordless drill, go brushless.
The only reasons to go with a brushed motor cordless drill is if you are constrained to a very tight budget and are shopping for either an entry-level drill or budget-minded cordless power tool combo kit.
Questions and Reader Recommendations
Do you agree with my cordless drill picks, or would recommend something different?
Do you have any questions or requests?
I finished my basement using a circular saw and the Milwaukee M12 Fuel hammer drill and impact driver combo. At 12 V, I’ll generally recommend Milwaukee over DeWalt just based on the number and variety of tools in the platform. That said, cordless drills have matured to the point where there isn’t really a wrong choice as long as the tool is comfortable to use.
I don’t have a method to measure the speed, but my M12 fuel hammer drill (4ah battery) rated at 1700rpm compared to my Ryobi brushless 18v (4ah battery) rated at 1800rpm is a night and day difference.
Either the Ryobi is under rated, or the Milwaukee is over rated, but the Ryobi drills holes in soft wood waayy faster than the Milwaukee. For general purpose drilling tasks speed is king. For more precision and control, the weight and trigger response of the Milwaukee is immensely better than the Ryobi. For power, brushless Ryobi all the way.
Bonus thoughts: For heavy drilling of holes in steel, I still reach for my 8amp corded Hitachi. Only my hole hawg can put 2in+ holes in dense treated lumber without complaining.
There’s a special drill for everything, but for most tasks I’ll complain less if I have my cordless 18v Ryobi.
rpm are always rated in no load speeds, whats more likely is the exact same load is simply affecting the ryobi significantly less in your scenario
interesting update. Surprised to see the dewalt items still recommended vs other offerings.
I like the 791 and I like that it’s made here with electronics probably from china or ?
They do need to discontinue a few items. Though it’s nice to still get a top line performing tool without the connect features.
For the Dewalt tools that are made in the USA with domestic and global components, the parts come from everywhere. I saw motors being wound at the USA facility, shafts came in from another USA plant, electronic control boards and switches came from a supplier in Asia, and I believe the tool housings were made here.
Everything was programmed, tested, and QC’ed at the USA factory.
Things could have changed since then, but I was impressed at how much they strived to keep here. With limited capacity, only certain tools are built here.
I really thought my preferences would have changed, which is partially why it took me so long to put together this update, but Dewalt drills continue to impress.
I think most of the list is sound recommendations. My main use drill/drivers are a pair of Dewalt 990s. This is an earlier model but if the newer ones are anything like it they can take tons of use and abuse. I very rarely have to drill into masonry, and when I do it tends to be for large fasteners, so I tend not to favor a hammer feature in my normal drills. If I need that I’ll go get a proper rotary hammer with SDS or SDS max bits.
Also regarding power: I think the newer cordless drills are already capable of wrist-breaking levels of torque. I know my older 990’s are strong enough to hurt a careless operator, and the specs on the newer drills are even higher, especially the Flexvolt Advantage models. If someone needs “more power” than that I can’t imagine a similar pattern drill like the Flex being significantly better because it’s still limited by the same ergonomics. IMHO an application like that calls for a fundamentally different style of drill where the operator has better handles for controlling that kind of power. A stud-and-joist type of drill is called for here, not just a normal pistol-grip drill with a bigger motor in it.
Increasingly the answer depends on the strength of the platform. If someone is already invested in M18, they are not going to buy the Dewalt because it’s just a little better than the Fuel.
For buyers looking to enter a new platform, the discussion is different. Dewalt has a really strong platform, so if your Hammer Drill is the primary tool, then it could totally be the deciding factor.
I’m looking to replace Ryobi as my primary platform, and I’m struggling to figure out where to go. Most of my tools are in the m12 line, which I really enjoy, but every now and then I need more power. I’ve had a brand new Ryobi Brushless Recip saw go up in smoke, and I’ve seen a couple other people experience the same thing with the newer tools.
Primarily, I’m a woodworker, so Jigsaws and Circular saws are my primary 18V tools. I ended up with a free 18V Bosch Dust Collector (bundled with a corded rotary hammer), but I just can’t bite the bullet on Bosch. I’d love to read a comparison of the strengths and weaknesses of the various platforms.
I really like the value of the Skil 20V line. It seems like a good spiritual successor to Ryobi. Flex is too heavy and too expensive for my needs. Makita was my top contender, but 40V line debut leads me to believe that 18V is now a stepchild for them. Milwaukee M18 has just about everything I’d want, including a barrel grip jigsaw. Depending on the sales this fall, I might catch a good deal on bundle.
I’d also like to replace many of my Ryobi tools. Also having issues with my reciprocating saw, but the first generation brushless. My rotary hammer (brushed model) has a wobble that can’t be fixed. The shoe on my circular saw flexes too much and changes bevel angle when adjusting depth. Variable speed triggers all start out linear, then shoot up to full speed after you get to approximately half the rated speed.
Overall they are adequate tools for the price, but the deals haven’t been as good recently so I’m not looking to add to my collection at this point.
I think Kobalt’s XTR hammer drill deserves a mention, too. It has anti-kickback and is much more comfortable in the hand than the Flex IMO.
I also like the Gen 3 M18 Fuel but it feels unbalanced, like 70% of the weight is in the front towards the chuck. I really hate that it doesn’t have a mechanical clutch. A drill that powerful at that small a size should be a perfect all-rounder, but the clutch won’t stop if you’re doing more delicate work.
One thing these two both have that DeWalt needs to work on is a solid toggle switch. I like DeWalt’s ergonomics in general but their toggle switches always feel cheap and chintzy with a lot of play. Unfortunately this continued into their 12v line as well.
The first-gen Makita subcompact is my favorite all-around drill. Fits like a glove, chuck stops on a dime after release, and balanced weight. Were it not for Metabo HPT’s (incredibly dated) decision not to include any type of battery gauge on their 1.5 or 3ah batteries I’d give it a recommendation as well.
It was really hard to leave out the Kobalt XTR.
I donated my combo kit last year, but kept a separate drill they also sent over. It worked beautifully well, especially when paired with a compact 4.0Ah battery.
Mixed availability made me hesitation, since the XTR kits only seems to be stocked around major holiday shopping seasons.
I tolerate the Makita subcompact but it feels too small to me, especially when trying to rotate the toque clutch. This wouldn’t be a problem for a one-drill user, but I tend to rotate to it, and the muscle memory never stuck. It requires a different touch, and this led to frustrations whenever I’d try to use it for driving tasks.
My Metabo HPT/Hitachi Triple Hammer has a battery fuel gauge on the tool itself, and I’m not sure why they don’t have this on their batteries.
Then again, a fuel gauge can have downsides. I have to keep an eye on my Makita batteries, as they tend to fully self-drain. I presume this is due to the battery fuel gauge, but none of the other cordless brands’ batteries do the same. It’s not a big deal for regular users, but some of my spares are used less frequently, leading to longer periods of disuse. And then when I need the, they’re completely dead whereas other brands’ Li-ion batteries are read to go.
philip s john
I agree with it all. I have both top drills by red and yellow. Not sure we need any more power. I am a big guy and I often drill 3/4 into metal. Using the clutch is great for safety when drilling this big. They are great for part time masonry drilling. I believe the dewalt 12v ergonomics especially with battery slide on is better than red too. Milwaukee is greater at many tools…. several being mechanic tools. But dewalt has greater potential. Milwaukee needs work on water ingress. And stop making the usless expensive HO tools that just kill the battery at 18 volts. What a huge mistake they have made with some HO tools.
On a side note about UWO, I always check European and Australian dewalt sites since they have to post hard and soft torque specs, so for the DCD999 it has 126 NM of hard torque or around 1100 in/lbs
philip s john
That good info. I was calculating 1265 max torque. Now I wonder if your numbers are with 999 and flexvolt bat or reg battery. I thought Milwaukee was at 1200 and dewalt 996 felt the same!
After using my M12 installation driver for a recent remodel, I think it’s criminal that none of the multi-head drivers were included, milwaukee or otherwise. These things are incredibly versatile, and have plenty of power to get things done. Aside from bosch, there’s not really any 18V equilivents yet unfortunately, but I’m hoping more tool manufacturers jump on that bandwagon.
I’ve used/currently use a few of the models mentioned. The dewalt that was picked for best overall is a beast, but I’d not want to be using it all day, every day. The compact dewalt is really comfy to hold, as is the two milwaukee M18 drills mentioned. The M18 brushless (not fuel) is my main drill for woodworking for anything the installation driver won’t handle (which isn’t much). The M18 fuel I have for bigger things like big hole saws.
Personally I’d not buy a brushed tool in 2021 and forward.
As far as I am aware the original rand for the multihead drills was festool. They have an 18v that is well regarded by woodworkers.
Yeah, festool was the first, then the others followed fairly recently. I know milwaukee has an 18V version in their patent filings. They just need to release the thing already…
Please forgive my Red Vs Yellow commentary here… but I believe, at this point, Milwaukee and DeWALT Pro Drills are On Par with eachother, save for one downside to the Milwaukee. The Locked-At-90-degrees torque handle.
Put the two on a table, and tell me I have to to drill a hole, in a tight space, and I’m going to need to make use of the hammer function to make it happen… I’m grabbing the DeWALT… Because on the fly, I can find the most comfortable position to put that handle, in 360 degrees from the main grip, without hesitation to do the job, as described. I’m locked into Left or Right for the Milwaukee. So, I’d get the DeWALT first every time.
Now, if the question was simply an open space… In front of me, at my feet, over my head… the DeWALT needs a fresh battery? Fine, I’ll grab the Milwaukee, and get the same results as I would the DeWALT, even though the ergonomics are a fraction less comfortable than the DeWALT. So, really… Both these issues come down to Ergonomics. Ease of use. Not power, quality, or runtime. That’s the line, and I don’t see that as a bad thing. Milwaukee isn’t any better or worse for their ergonomic choices, DeWALT is just the right tool for a wider variety of jobs due to those ergonomics.
As to personal preferences for Drills… I’m… still rocking the Brushed models… I have a DCD 985, and 785 compact, both Hammerdrills (just in case)… But if I could get a full-featured next-gen model of Brushless DeWALT… I’d go for whatever FlexVolt Advantage + Bluetooth Connect edition they may want to put together. In fact, if I could make 100% of my Tool Linup Bluetooth Connect, plus FlexVOLT Advantage, I would. I know there’s the Bluetooth Tool Connect adapter for every 20 Volt tool, but one has to ask… does it kill the FlexVOLT Advantage feature to use them together? Or do we have to wait for the featured tools that have both features?
And, yeah… You couldn’t pay me enough to use the Flex brand… I’ve been touched by the DeWALT… I’m infected, and there’s no saving me.
No problem with any of this list with the exception of the m12 fuel hammer drill. That thing is a gutless wonder, it’s very sturdy and seems well built.
I picked up the 996 on special when doing a recent reno and it’s a beast. Handled 4″+ holes in 1-1/4″ think plywood with ease. The newer models have me intrigued but the 996 saves its purpose well. I do prefer the longer handle of the newer models more though.
The 791 used to be my go to for smaller jobs but the girlfriend’s preference for the DeWalt 12V line has found me using the Xtreme drill over the 791 time and time again. The earlier Milwaukee M12 drills were nice as well but the Gen 2 turned me off. The grip and balance was not as comfortable as previous gens.
I have the Dewalt 996 & a Milwaukee M-12. Both are real nice.
I let my 996 rust shut working underground, and I keep meaning to grab the 999. Problem is my 791 and the the 12v work so damn good I’ve got no reason to replace the 3 speed lol Got the 470 for big stuff. Close to the same issue with the impacts-between the 3 speed 12v 3/8’s and new 12v 1/2″ I haven’t touched the 20v 3/8’s in forever, and only occasionally reach for the mid torque, let alone the 899. Good problems to have I suppose. I’d be all over a FV 1/2″+ though lol be good to go with just that and the 12v I think.
Like someone else said, if you want to find out Dewalt torque specs on drills, check their European or Australian sites, if they offer the same model there it will show you the torque rating. (You will possibly have to convert Nm to Lb-Ft.) Dewalt only uses UWO in North America.
I have the Dewalt DCD 796 which has the same specs as the DCD 791 (pictured above) but also has the collar for mounting a removable stabilizing handle like the DCD 996 (also above). It’s not a make or break feature, but it’s particularly handy when using the hammer drill feature in tight spaces or at awkward angles where you can’t position yourself directly behind/above the hole you are drilling.
I’ve used the more powerful DCD 996 and it’s great, but most of my drilling applications involve woodworking or small aggregate masonry like cinder block where dealing with the additional size and weight of the DCD 996 is not worth the bump in power. So for me, having a lighter weight drill that can easily handle medium duty hammer drill tasks makes it my go to cordless daily driver.
I was surprised the skil 12v drills weren’t mentioned, especially with the diy price point they are tiered with.
Agreed. Nice tools. Sometimes the prices are absurdly cheap. I’ve got the entire line, save for the jigsaw and lights.
Lots of good choices here. It’s amazing how far the tech and competition in this space have come!
Your top pick strikes me as too big/heavy for many uses. It can do everything, but at what cost in $ and weight. I prefer something more maneuverable as my main drill, then supplement with impact, SDS, etc for the tasks that need them.
I think Stuart’s point with that pick was “what if you only had one drill that needed to do everything”. Under that assumption I think it’s a solid recommendation. I do agree that I’d rather use a drill that lacks a hammer function for most of my drilling and then use a proper rotary hammer for masonry applications, a 2-handle joist drill for big auger bits or self-feeds, an impact driver for fasteners…but now we’re talking four tools and are moving beyond the idea of one tool for everything. It’s not a cheap drill either, but I don’t think it’s poor value given what it is capable of doing–after all, buying a “main drill” and supplementing it with multiple specialty drills costs a lot more.
That’s also why I have compact drill picks.
Personally, I prefer a compact drill for most tasks, and then I grab the Dewalt or other heavier duty drill when needed.
There’s one caveat to keep in mind. A heavier duty drill can usually do everything a more compact drill can do, but a compact drill can not always do the work of a more powerful drill.
If I had to choose one, I’d reluctantly part with my compact drills sooner.
Stuart, many thanks for your efforts and reviews, they have been very helpful.
Recent purchased Dewalt dcd998 hammer drill due to many positive reviews. I used it a couple time and it became very hot and when I move the drill it sounded internal pieces were loose and thinking of return it to get the Flex hammerdrill due to its lifetime warranty when purchased and registered by the end of 2021 or the Metabo Hpt hammerdrill as well was on my radar.
I would appreciate what your impression of the Flex and Metabo please. Thank you for your feedback.
Thank you, I appreciate it!
It sounds like your drill could be defective. If in your shoes I would have returned it for an exchange before moving to an alternative.
I’ve been a fan of Flex and have a soft spot for Metabo HPT (both are site sponsors right now). The Flex is going to be a little heavier due to its power and the size of its battery. Metabo HPT has some good promos right now, and that might be a deciding factor. I went with Hitachi/Metabo HPT for that reason quite a few years ago for my first 18V-sized drill.
The Flex early adopter warranty is enticing, and you should also be aware that their parent company has been in the cordless power tool business for very many years. Meaning, the warranty extension is nice, but the company has also spent years making reliable tools.
If you’re on the fence, or don’t want to bother with a replacement for your DCD998, any of the three brands should suit you well. If you have any particular criteria or preferences, I can try to help you narrow down the options, or point you in the direction I would go.
Stuart, you are a class act and true professional.
I am humbled that you responded quickly and took the time to assist me.
So…………is a 2023 update viable? A lot of new DeWalt models out. I think the Next Gen Kobalt can give Ryobi a run for the DIY slot since Lowes seems recommitted to the brand. Stacked lithium options. Next Gen Milwaukee.
I’m not surprised to see Dewalt as the #1 choice for cordless drills. I own several Dewalt 20v cordless tools, as well as their cordless tripod light that will really light up a dark area. I would recommend Dewalt over Milwaukee any day. They also build some power tools in the USA, and are owned by a U.S. parent company.