The Top Ten Reviews Gold Award for cordless drills goes to the Makita XFD10R for several reasons. Chief among them is the fact that it scored the highest in our user experience survey. It has a very good battery life and recharges in just half an hour. And the ergonomically designed soft rubber grip is comfortable in your hand. It offers 21 clutch settings so you can adjust the drill to fit your task. It’s also lightweight, durable and versatile. It’s equipped with dual LED lights so you can use the drill even when the lighting isn’t perfect. When you buy this drill, it comes with an additional battery, charger and carrying case. There’s very little to complain about with this tool.
To evaluate the best cordless drills available, we gathered a team of more than a dozen expert reviewers to put each tool through its paces. They then judged the drills based on their balance, handling, power, weight and grip. When the reviewer survey was complete, the Makita XFD10R had the highest overall score, receiving an A+ grade for user experience. Comments from our reviewers included “Really light and balanced,” “Real comfortable to hold, great power” and “Best for small hands, good balance between power and size.”
We also performed a battery test for each of the drills. The test consisted of attaching a fully charged battery, taping the trigger down and timing how long it took for the power to completely drain. The average time it took for the drills to die was 39 minutes. Makita beat this time by a good margin – 47 minutes. This is good, but the longest lasting battery (on the Milwaukee 2703-22) went for over an hour before giving out.
It only takes 30 minutes to recharge the battery – the quickest charge time we encountered. And since you get an extra battery, you should never run out of power if you keep one of them on the charger.
This cordless drill has a maximum turning speed of 1,900 RPM, which is the second highest among the tools we considered. But it lacks a bit in the maximum amount of torque it can produce: 480 inch-pounds. This is about the average among the drills we reviewed. It’s enough to get most jobs done, but two other drills we evaluated provide up to 650 inch-pounds of torque.
At 3.3 pounds, this is one of the lightest drills you can buy. It also has a soft rubber grip and an ergonomic handle. This combination makes it a very comfortable tool to hold, and you won’t wear out your hand if you use it for an extended period.
The drill also has 21 clutch settings, which are perhaps the most misunderstood settings on cordless drills. The clutch is designed to disengage the drill from the drive train (in other words, to stop drilling) when it meets a certain level of resistance. This enables you to fasten two objects together without bottoming out or stripping the screw. The benefit of having 21 clutch settings gives you precise control over how deep you insert a screw.
The dual LED lights on this cordless drill allows you to see what you’re doing clearly, even in darkened environments.
The Makita XFD10R comes with a hard case that holds the tool, batteries and charger, making it portable and easy to store. The case also protects the tool from damage during transport to a jobsite.
The attached belt lop allows you to quickly stow the tool so both of your hands can be free to do other things. It’s especially convenient when you move up and down ladders or from one part of the job site to another. It’s a commonly found feature, but not all drills have it.
This drill comes with a battery meter to let you know how much juice you have in real time. Running out of power half way through drilling a hole risks damaging both the tool and the bit.
It lacks on-tool bit storage; most of the other drills we reviewed at least have a spot where you can store a screwdriver bit so you can drive in a quick screw without having to search for the bit you need.
Despite being an overall great drill, it has a remarkably short warranty period. Makita offers a one-year warranty on the drill itself, and a three-year period for the batteries. The tool warranty is the shortest of all the cordless drills we evaluated. Other drills we tested went up to five years, and one even has a lifetime warranty.
In our evaluation of the best cordless drills, the Makita XFD10R is our top pick. This is mainly due to the excellent reception it received among our team of expert reviewers as they used the drill. It also has good battery life, quick recharge time, dual LED work lights and more. Nearly everyone should be happy with this versatile tool.