Cordless drills are the most popular of battery operated tools, and when they can also do a combination of things to act as a driver as well it’s no wonder. Impact drivers use torque and a hammer and anvil arrangement to force screws in, while the drill simply uses a motor and rotation alone; Drill driver combinations actually work as both so you’re getting a combination tool that is the best of both worlds. When it comes to choosing the best cordless drill-driver you’ve got a whole lot more versatility than a driver alone, but you’re also getting slightly less power. Many kits actually have combinations with both tools together so you can get lucky and get both tools for the same price or you can choose a combination tool instead. When it comes to choosing a drill-driver you want to look at the RPMs and the power of the motor itself, especially if you’re planning on using it for tough jobs or long periods of time as well as the torque level.
Bosch DDB181-02 18-Volt Lithium-Ion 1/2-Inch Compact Tough Drill/Driver Kit with 2 Batteries, Charger and Contractor Bag
With a compact profile this tool easily gets into tight spaces, and it’s also lightweight which makes using it for long periods of time easy. It offers 350in.lb of torque, which isn’t really comparable to a full impact driver but still better than a drill alone.
It has 1300 RPM which isn’t great for drilling so it’s only about a mid-level. There’s a two speed transmission which helps to optimize screwing and drilling though there’s not a variable speed trigger. The 18V battery is powerful enough and provides long life.
The kit also comes with a case, battery, and charger as well as a single bit. It has a keyless chuck design similar to an impact driver with a ½ inch drive.
The 1300 RPM is pretty weak, it’s not great for driving screws, especially large ones. While it is small and compact that’s also a problem if you have larger hands to be able to switch it fully into reverse.
DEWALT DC970K-2 18-Volt Compact Drill/Driver Kit
Dewalt has a good name and a reputation for standing behind their products. At only 1500 RPM this is a decent motor but it’s crippled with the 1.2Amp battery that comes with it. Fortunately you can swap that out for a higher capacity. The unit itself is only just over 5lb so it’s still fairly portable and at 9” in length it’s definitely not the biggest, though it’s still bigger than Dewalt’s own impact driver. The unit goes up to 380Watts of power and comes with two batteries, charger, and carry bag. The quick charger works in under an hour which means it’s perfect for swapping between batteries and continuing to work.
The clutch slips on this a little which means sometimes the bit won’t turn, and over time the chuck becomes loose so it no longer holds bits. It’s got a shelf life of up to two years so while it’s not that impressive it’s longer than some of the less powerful models.
Makita CT200RW 18V Compact Lithium-Ion Cordless Combo Kit, 2-Piece
With 1500 RPM the motor is just as powerful as the Dewalt, but it’s also got a max torque of 480in.lb which is impressive and easily outdoes the Bosch and the Dewalt. With a weight of only 2.8lb the drill driver is very impressive.
You’re also getting two tools with this kit for the cost of one of the other competitors. The fast charger can charge the battery in 25 minutes, putting everyone else’s to shame.
The impact driver also has impressive specs with a speed of up to 3200 RPM and a max torque of 1420in.lb if the drill-driver won’t do it then the impact driver will.
There’s no job this pair can’t handle together. It also comes with a handy storage bag.
Probably the biggest downside here is that you have two tools instead of one. This is really more of a drill and impact driver rather than a drill-driver (though the drill is supposed to be, why would you use that when you’ve got a better impact driver right there?).
The batteries are also a little finicky and may give out quickly, or stop working suddenly.
BLACK+DECKER LDX120C 20-Volt MAX Lithium-Ion Cordless Drill/Driver
This is the bargain model with a price that’s less than half of any other here. You’re getting a light and almost flimsy tool here but it will work for the basics.
A 20V battery has a decent life and coupled with an 11 position clutch means you’ll have a significant work time.
The design is light at just under 4lb and small which makes it easy to use in tight spots. It has a 3/8” chuck which is a little bigger than some of the others. Also features an on board light so you can see what you’re doing.
With a maximum work life of an hour and a speed of only 650RPM you are definitely getting what you pay for with this.
It’s the baby version of everything else, and it’s nothing more than a fancy ended drill, but if you’re on a tight budget this is about the best you’ll get.
Hitachi DS18DSAL 18-Volt 1/2-Inch Lithium-Ion Cordless Drill/Driver (Includes 2 Batteries + Flashlight)
with 460in.lb of torque this is comparable to the Makita in power and it’s also got an impressive 22 gear clutch that has 22 different drive settings as well as the single drill mode. The chuck is a standard 1/2” and there’s also a two speed variable trigger.
It has a work light included as well as two batteries and a carrying case. The 18V battery is lightweight enough that it doesn’t make much of an impact on the 3.5lb tool, which, at only 8 inches in length, is very maneuverable.
It has 1500 RPM so the motor is just as powerful as most others and also offers 460in.lb of torque so it’s comparable to the Makita.
The light is actually a separate tool, so you’ll have to sit it somewhere or hold it to see what you’re doing.
The battery clips seem to be the weak spot as they snap easily. It has the power it says it does but the casing is flimsy so it’s not necessarily up to heavy work.
While the more expensive Makita wins on torque it’s still two separate tools. If you’re determined that you need a drill-driver which comes in one piece the Hitachi is about even with both the Bosch only it’s got more torque for not much more in price.