The best DeWalt drill

Bob Beacham

DeWalt cordless drills are very popular, and rightly so. As an all-around choice, they're tough to beat. However, for all-day heavy-duty drilling, we still prefer the consistent power of a corded tool.

DeWalt's reputation for quality corded and cordless drills is unrivaled. With more than 40 different models, they offer something for everyone, from weekend DIYers to full-time tradespeople. The challenge is picking the right one for your needs.

We've compiled this buying guide to help you choose the right drill, and we've also made a few recommendations at the end. Our top pick, the DeWalt 20V Cordless Combo Kit, includes a powerful three-speed hammer drill/driver with two batteries, plus an excellent selection of complementary tools that can tackle a host of jobs at home or on the jobsite.

Considerations when choosing DeWalt drills

Power source

When you're choosing a DeWalt drill, there's the inevitable question of whether to go for corded or cordless. In terms of power, Dewalt's 20V Max and Max XR are market leaders. If you're looking for a general purpose drill/driver, cordless is probably the way to go. Investing in the highest Amp hour (Ah) rating you can afford when choosing batteries gives you extended working time, too.

When it comes to more power-intensive tasks, the choice is not so straightforward. Large drill bits and heavy-duty tasks can sap batteries quickly. DeWalt's cordless SDS and rotary hammer drills are undoubtedly competitive, but power demands are high. A corded version has the advantage of running all day without worrying about charging. The same goes for more specialized tools like the high-power spade-handled model.

There are also budget considerations -- comparable corded models are noticeably less expensive. However, if you buy several compatible cordless tools (like the combo kit) the extra expense of batteries is spread over all of them, so it has less of an impact.


Specialized tools

The wide range of DeWalt drills means it's worth taking a closer look if you have regular tasks that are challenging for a standard drill/driver. For example, DeWalt produces a 20V Max right-angle drill. It can reach into very tight spaces and is particularly popular with kitchen and cabinet fitters. There are several mid-handled versions that offer particularly good balance and flexible grip. SDS models not only offer extreme drilling depth but can also accept chisels for light demolition work.


Chucks range from 3/8-inch -- common on light-duty models -- through 1/2-inch on the majority up to 1 inch or even larger on some rotary hammers. It defines the size of drill bit the tool can take, so it's a good indication of purpose.

Speed range

A wide speed range (rpm) gives good flexibility. Having two or three speed ranges is even better. High torque isn't necessary on a general purpose tool but is a definite plus when driving large drill bits. These tools may also feature an additional multi-position front handle, giving better grip and allowing you to exert more pressure.

LED lights

Most DeWalt 20V Max cordless drills have useful LED work lights.


On more powerful models, triggers can be quite large. This makes them easier to operate when you're wearing gloves. It's a small point but underlines DeWalt's attention to detail.


Buying a DeWalt drill is an investment in quality. You pay around $60 for an entry-level seven-amp corded model with a 3/8-inch chuck. A bare 20V cordless costs around $100, plus another $20 or so for a hammer version. Hugely powerful rotary SDS drills start at about $150. These are competitive prices for tools of this standard, and DeWalt drills usually outlast lower-quality brands many times over.


Q. What does the XR mean on DeWalt drills?

A. XR signifies the drill has a brushless motor. These last longer and make much more efficient use of battery power than older brush motors. You also see XR on high-performance DeWalt batteries.

Q. I have an older 18V DeWalt drill. Can I use the 20V Max or MAX XR batteries?

A. Not directly, but DeWalt does make an adapter. However, we recommend considering a new 20V drill as soon as possible. You'll notice a big improvement in power and run time.

DeWalt drills we recommend

Best of the best: DeWalt's 20V Max Cordless Drill Five-Tool Combo Kit

Our take: Superb quality tool collection for the DIY enthusiast or professional.

What we like: Well thought out kit provides tremendous versatility. Excellent three-speed hammer drill has 1/2-inch self-tightening chuck. Includes two saws, impact driver, lamp, charger, bag, and two 3Ah batteries.

What we dislike: Not much. Not the latest XR models but still very capable tools.

Best bang for your buck: DeWalt's 20V Max Cordless Drill/Driver Kit

Our take: High performance for home or jobsite.

What we like: Twin speeds for efficient drilling and driving. 1/2-inch keyless chuck gives rapid secure tightening. 15-speed clutch. Comes with battery, charger, and useful carry bag.

What we dislike: There have been problems with battery charging, but none reported recently.

Choice 3: DeWalt's 10-Amp Corded Electric Drill

Our take: Powerful model designed for use with large spade, auger, and forstner bits.

What we like: Heavy-duty 1/2-inch chuck. Variable speed motor with overload protection to prevent burnout. Metal gear housing for added durability on the jobsite. 360-degree side handle for maximum grip and control.

What we dislike: Very little. Rare instances of motor failure.

Bob Beacham is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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