Cordless Drill/Driver UK Reviews
Thanks for taking your time to read our UK written cordless drill reviews. Here at Tool Advice we like to include as much information as we can on our reviews. In this reviews we have included a top 10 buyer rated list of drills, drills by brand and also drills by price points.
We have also included a full buyers guide. Hopefully this information will be able to point you in the right direction to get the best cordless drill that suits your exact needs.
A cordless drill/driver is one of the most popular tools for home owners in the United Kingdom. They allow you to drill into a variety of materials, and they also allow you to drive in screws to a variety of materials.
They are powered by a battery, with the most common battery size being 18 Volts. However you can also buy 10.8 Volt, 12 Volt, 14.4 Volt and 20 Volt battery options. These batteries will need to be charged and many buyers prefer to have two batteries, as they can use one, while the other one is charging.
As they are powered by a rechargeable battery, there is no need for a power cable, and that is popular with many UK buyers.
The drill/driver is a great tool to have around the home and garden and can do a wide variety of tasks, from putting up a shelf, to building a deck and general home and garden repairs and projects.
Top 10 Cordless Drills by Buyer Rating
When we were doing our research we looked at all the cordless drills that we could fine online. We then eliminated all of those drills that got bad reviews. That reduce our list considerably and left us with the highest rated products. Once that was complete, we then ranked those by the highest buyer rating, until we finally got a top 10.
Those ratings were taken from websites who sell cordless drills online. We calculated the average rating, and once completed we are happy that we got those with the highest buyer satisfaction ratings.
Our Top Buyer Rated Cordless Drills
Bosch PSB 1800
This is an 18 Volt cordless drill that comes with 2 batteries, a 1-hour charger and a carrying case. It can drill into wood, metal and concrete. It has a keyless chuck, LED worklight, 2-speed gearbox and 20 torque settings.
Dewalt 18V Cordless Combi Drill
This is an 18 Volt cordless drill that comes with 1 battery, a 1-hour charger and a carrying case. It can drill into wood, metal and concrete. It has a keyless chuck, LED worklight, 2-speed gearbox and 15 torque settings
Makita HP457DWE10 Combi Drill
This is an 18 Volt cordless drill that comes with 2 batteries, a 1-hour charger and a carrying case. It can drill into wood, metal and concrete. It has a keyless chuck, LED worklight, and 74 piece accessory set.
Bosch Cordless Hammer Drill UniversalImpact
This is an 18 Volt cordless drill that comes with 2 batteries, a 1-hour charger and a carrying case. It can drill into wood, metal and concrete. It has a single sleeve 10 mm keyless chuck, 2 speed gearbox and 20 torque settings.
Bosch GSB 120 Cordless Drill
This is a 12 Volt cordless drill that comes with 2 batteries, a 1-hour charger and a carrying case. It can drill into wood, metal and concrete. It is part of the Bosch Professional range as it has optimised torque and 2 speed gearbox.
Tacklife 12V Cordless Drill Driver
This is a 12 Volt cordless drill that comes with a battery and charger. This one has a 3/8" metal keyless chuck, 2 speeds, 19 torque settings and a 13 piece accessory kit at an affordable price.
Black+ Decker 18 V Cordless Drill Driver
This is an 18 Volt cordless drill that comes with a battery and charger. It has a 10 position clutch, an LED light, soft grip, and variable speed. The maximum drilling capacity into wood is up to 25 mm and into metal - up to 10 mm
Black and Decker 10.8 V Drill Driver
This is an 10.8 Volt cordless drill which comes with a battery and charger. This is a compact and lightweight drill with a keyless chuck and it has and LED worklight.
Terratek 13Pc Cordless Drill Driver
This is an 18 Volt cordless drill that comes with a battery and charger. Has variable speed, forward and reverse, 10 mm keyless chuck, lightweight and comes with accessories and a 2 year guarantee.
Mylek MY18VCB 18V Cordless Drill Driver
This is an affordable 18 Volt cordless drill that comes with a battery and charger. It is a single speed drill and has 19 torque settings. Comes with 13 accessories, and has a keyless chuck and LED light.
Best Cordless Drills by Price
This section is for those readers who prefer to search within a specific budget. The average price of a good quality cordless drill is anything between £80-£100. We calculated this by taking a list of 100 cordless drills and working out the average price, at a given point of time.
There are many budget drills available and they do a very good job at most home DIY tasks. You normally can buy these in a kit with some accessories so they do offer good value for money. For the heavier tasks such as fence building, deck building you will need a higher end drill/driver that has more torque, and are built for heavy duty work.
Best Cordless Drills by Brand
Some of our readers prefer to buy tools from their favourite brands. We also researched that information, and found the top 5 cordless drills that each brand sells. We have included below links to those.
Dewalt and Makita are the higher end brands who mainly make drill/drivers for professionals. Other brands such as Bosch, Ryobi are still expensive but they do make excellent drills. Brands such as Black and Decker, Mylek and Terratek are the more affordable brands, and they still make good general purpose drill/drivers.
Cordless Drill UK Buying Guide
Here at Tool Advice we like to include a full buyers guide for tools. We have included below a full and detailed guide.
Component Parts of a Cordless Drill/Driver
In the diagram just below, we show you the key component parts of a typical cordless drill/driver. When the battery is attached, you squeeze the trigger, which engages the motor and the gearbox, to turn the chuck. All the other parts then serve their own purpose as you can see below.
Battery Capacity and Performance
The performance of any cordless drill/driver will almost always come down to the quality of the battery. Now it's not just the battery as these have other components, but the battery is certainly vitally important to the effectiveness of any drill/driver that you buy.
Almost every brand uses Lithium-Ion batteries which are much better than the older style NiCad batteries. Li-Ion batteries have no memory effect and virtually no self-discharge that produces maximum productivity and less downtime.
We would highly recommend that you only ever buy Li-Ion batteries as they are much superior to any other type.
Lithium-Ion batteries have two main characteristics:
- Voltage - They come in different voltages that include 10.8, 12, 14.4, 18 and 20 Volts. - Higher voltage generally means more power
- Current - Batteries also come in different current settings (Ampere Hours) and usually the higher the Ampere Hours rating, the longer the battery will last
The Ampere Hours rating usually refers to the cell size and these can differ from 3.0 Ah to 5.0 Ah and many other sizes (bigger is better and usually more expensive) For example a 5.0 Ah battery has 66% more runtime than a standard 3.0 Ah battery pack.
Lower voltage drill/drivers are usually lighter than the bigger voltage drill/drivers.They may not have the same power but they are still powerful enough for most jobs around the home and garden. They are also more compact and better for working either overhead or in tight and confined spaces.
Battery pack prices vary a lot from as cheap as £25 and up to around £120. The price depends on the brand and the quality rating. The good news is that most brands make batteries that are then compatible with other cordless tools of the same brand. So an 18V Dewalt battery could be used in a cordless drill, a cordless impact driver, a cordless circular saw etc.
You can buy these tools as bare tools only, so not supplied with a battery, and that makes them slightly cheaper and you can still use the same battery.
These batteries do of course need to be charged and for that you need a charger. When you buy some cordless drill/drivers they do come with the drill/driver, a battery and a charger. These chargers vary in how quickly they charge the battery. The better brands usually have chargers that do a full charge in one hour.
Battery indicator - Many of the higher end cordless tools will have an indicator battery pack. That shows how much charge you have left in your battery.
Just about every drill/driver will have a forward and reverse setting and this can be charged usually by some type of sliding switch. That switch can be set to forward, reverse and when left in the middle effectively locks the drill. The main reason for the reverse action is to be able to remove screws.
When the tool is being used as a driver to drive in screws it turns clockwise to push the screw into the wood. To remove the screw you switch to reverse and the drill/driver then turns anticlockwise and removes the screw.
This feature should be available on every drill/driver that you buy. Only the very cheap models will have forward only.
The vast majority of drill/drivers will have 2 speeds. You can get single speed drills and some of the higher end models will have 3 speeds. Many new drill/driver uses may not be familiar with these so we have explained them below:
- Setting 1 - this is a low speed/high torque and is perfect for driving screws
- Setting 2 is a medium speed/torque and can be used for drilling or driving
- Setting 3 is the highest speed and is meant for drilling or driving fasteners
If you have only two settings then setting 1 is for driving screws and setting 2 will be for all drilling or driving. These speed options can make a tremendous difference to the use of your drill/driver.
Never adjust the speed switch unless the drill/driver is fully stopped, as it can damage the gears.
Torque Settings Explained (Clutch Settings)
Torque is the force the drill produces to turn an object. You may also hear this referred to as clutch settings.
Many people mix up torque settings with the speed the drill turns at. They are not the same thing. Torque is simply about the force the drill uses.
Various drills will have different ranges of torque settings. The most popular torque ranges are 1 to 15 or 1 to 20.
You normally see numbers on the collar of the drill just above the chuck, and those are the torque settings. The higher the number on the collar, the higher the torque and the larger the fastener that can be driven into a material.
A common mistake made by many users is that they set this at the highest setting and use it for everything. You shouldn't do that as it will over drive screws and bury them into the wood. Start at a low setting and work your way up until you find the sweet spot that will drive your screw in, without over driving the screw into the material.
For example a low torque of 3 or so, will easily drive a 1" screw into a piece of softwood.
To drive a 2" screw into a piece of hard wood will take a higher setting, somewhere around 8-10.
You do need to experiment with your own drill/driver as torque varies quite a bit between brands and models of drill/drivers.
For anyone who has been buying drill/drivers over a period of time, they will have noticed that torque ratings have been increasing in size.
They have actually now got to the point where some of the settings are at levels beyond what is actually needed to complete drilling and driving applications. As such some manufacturers like Dewalt now measure the performance of a drill as a combination of speed and torque, and they call this measurement power.
Some cordless drills have a hammer action and some have not. The hammer action on a cordless drill/driver allows the user to be able to drill into all types of masonry. The combination of a hammer drill and a masonry bit allow you to drill brick, block, mortar and cement based products.
The hammer action is measured in bumps per minute (bpm)
As most people will know drills and drivers have rotational speeds, and in most cases a variety of speeds. The hammer action adds a bumping or hammer action to the drill, which helps drill through tougher materials.
On the drill shown to the right, you can see numbers on the collar and those refer exclusively to torque settings.
There is also a separate setting for drilling that has the drill symbol. There is also a hammer drilling option which is identified by the hammer.
Keyless Drill Chucks Explained
Almost every cordless drill/driver uses a keyless chuck. The heavier corded hammer drills will use a chuck key to open and close the chuck, and you can really tighten the chuck up to keep the drill bit very secure and prevent it from slipping.
Cordless drills mainly use keyless chucks, and the chuck is opened and tightened by hand
With a cordless drill/driver you will also use drill bits and driver bits. You place those into the chuck which you can open and close by turning the chuck clockwise to tighten and anticlockwise to open up. Drill bits can then be inserted up to about 3/4" deep to hold them securely in place.
Driver bits are best placed into an extension bit holder, and the bit holder then put into the chuck.
All cordless drill drivers have a 3-jawed chuck.
In some models you can open the chuck with one hand. Others need to hands as you hold the collar with one hand, and then turn the chuck with the other hand.
Inside the housing of a cordless drill driver you will find a gearbox. The purpose of this is to transfer power from the motor to the chuck. This is completed in the form of torque and speed, which we have explained above. Cheaper models will usually only have a single gear.
With a single gear drill/driver, the gear is controlled by the speed control trigger when you squeeze it. You have some control over the speed and the range will be about 0-600 rpm but no higher.
The higher end models will have 2 gears and some will even have 3 gears. The more gears a drill/driver has, then the wider range of speeds it can offer the end user.
The speed range will vary depending on the brand and model. First gear will give you a low speed range, whereas second gear will have a much faster range. Typical values are 0-350 rpm and 0-1200 rpm, but please note these vary depending on the drill/driver model.
Having more gears are only needed if you plan on working with a variety of materials and screw sizes. They will let you be able to do a wider variety of tasks. That is because you can control the amount of power being delivered, and have much better control.
No Load Speeds
This is a setting that you will see tool manufacturers referring to in their specifications. It is simply the speed the drill is capable of turning at when it isn't actually doing any type of drilling or driving. It basically tells you what is the maximum output of the motor.
Manufacturers provide this no-load speed because once the drill/driver begins driving screws or drilling, its maximum speed will vary depending on how demanding the task is. As an example driving in shorter screws vs driving in longer screws. The speed the drill/driver works at will slow down depending on the actual load of the task you are doing.
The importance of "no load speed" is that, the higher this is to begin with the better. A drill/driver with a no load speed of 1400 rpm will perform better than a drill/driver with a no load speed of 1200 rpm, when drilling or driving under various loads.
LED Work Light
Many cordless tools now have some form of work light. When the trigger is squeezed on a cordless drill/driver a small LED light, which usually sits under the chuck comes on. This helps brighten up the area that you are working on. This can be helpful if working in a poorly lit environment, or in confined spaces.
Most newer drill/drivers has these as standard, and they do continue to improve their visibility.
The basic drill/drivers have a single LED light, and some of the higher end models use a couple of LED lights.
Cordless Drill Driver Accessories
The typical accessories that are bought to use with these drill/drivers are:
- Detachable bit holders - one end goes into the driver, and a driver bit goes in the other end. It extends the length of the drill/driver but also makes the end have longer reach. These are usually magnetic so they can hold in the various types of driving bits
- Screwdriver bits - a selection of bits for driving in screws with different type of heads such as straight or Pozi
- Drill bits - a selection of either wood, metal or masonry bits
The Review Team
This is our small but effective product research team who do all the hard work in the background. Geoff and Enda both have a long construction background and Judy takes care of all the web design and heads up the bigger research team.