By Tony Carrick | Published Mar 25, 2022 1:07 PM
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As one of the best-known and best-regarded names in power tools, DeWalt has a collection of drills that are highly respected by professionals and DIYers alike. One of the company’s most popular categories of power tools includes its broad range of drills.
DeWalt’s drills come in both corded and cordless models and include standard drills as well as specialty hammer and angle drills. The company’s broad collection includes affordably priced models for weekend warriors as well as high-end tools for the pro job site.
Ahead, learn about the features you can expect to find in a DeWalt drill, and don’t miss our list of some of the best DeWalt drills on the market.
Aside from corded and cordless, the biggest differentiators among DeWalt’s drills are speed and power. Ahead, learn more about how DeWalt rates its drills and other characteristics that are important to keep in mind when shopping for the best DeWalt drill.
DeWalt offers two types of drills—corded and cordless. Corded models must be plugged into a 120-volt power outlet, while cordless models take their power from lithium-ion batteries.
A corded drill, with its access to a 110-volt power supply, can produce greater torque and speed than a corded model, which is limited to a 20-volt power supply. Corded models also have access to a constant supply of electricity, so there’s no need to worry about battery life and recharging needs. DeWalt makes ⅜-inch and ½-inch corded drills.
The advantage of a cordless drill is its portability. Whereas a corded drill is tethered to a 120-volt outlet, one can take a cordless drill virtually anywhere. However, the battery adds weight, so cordless models typically weigh more than corded drills. DeWalt’s line of cordless drills includes conventional 12-volt and 20-volt drills and specialty angle and hammer drills.
As with many tool manufacturers, DeWalt’s drills come in both brushed and brushless motors. Brushless motors produce less friction than their brushed counterparts, and this has several advantages. By producing less friction, a brushless motor can handle more current without overheating, allowing it to reach a higher rpm and greater torque than a brushed motor.
A brushless motor is more energy efficient, allowing it to run up to 50 percent longer on a single battery charge than a brushed motor. And, since it produces less friction, brushless motors have a longer lifespan than their brushed brethren. Brushless motors are also more expensive to make. Hence, DeWalt’s brushless corded drills are significantly more expensive than its brushed models.
The two values that describe the cordless drill’s power are speed and torque.
DeWalt does not list the torque for its power drills, as the company believes it is not a good indication of performance. Instead, the manufacturer rates its drills by a value it calls unit watts out (UWO), which is a calculation that combines torque and speed to rate the overall power of the drill. UWO is a value created by DeWalt, so one won’t find it being used to rate any other brand of tool.
DeWalt drills vary in size and weight. These characteristics are important as they determine how easy the drill is to handle and how tight a space it can fit into. Corded models generally have larger motors, which makes them heavier and bulkier.
DeWalt’s corded drills weigh around 4 pounds and measure about 8 inches long from the back to the tip of the chuck. Its cordless models vary in size and weight from its lightest model, which weighs just 3.2 pounds and measures about 6 inches long, to its cordless hammer drill, which measures 9 inches long and weighs more than 4 pounds.
DeWalt is known for making power tools with ergonomic handles that are comfortable to grip and allow the operator to get a secure hold on the tool. All of DeWalt’s drills have an ergonomic shape that fits nicely in the hand, allowing the operator to get a secure grip on the tool.
The company isn’t stingy with the soft rubber grip which typically extends along the handle. The combination of handle shape and grip make DeWalt’s drills comfortable to hold during extended use. In addition to the handle, DeWalt’s drills also come equipped with oversize triggers that make it easier for the operator to pull even when holding the drill at off angles.
As with other brands of drills, DeWalt drills range in chuck size from ⅜-inch to ½-inch models. The chuck size refers to the maximum diameter bit that the chuck can hold. A ½-inch drill produces significantly more torque, making them better able to drill holes with larger bits or drive in larger fasteners such as lag bolts.
Drills with a ½-inch chuck typically have larger motors and batteries (if they’re cordless) in order to provide enough power to drive the larger bits they can take, which makes them heavier and bulkier. A ½-inch drill also tends to have lower max speeds than smaller ⅜-inch drills that can rotate their smaller chucks faster.
DeWalt’s cordless drills come as bare tools or in full kits with batteries, chargers, and hard plastic carrying cases. Since DeWalt’s batteries are interchangeable among most DeWalt power tools, bare tools are a more affordable option for those who already own other DeWalt cordless tools.
Most DeWalt drills come equipped with LED work lights that illuminate the work area when the drill trigger is pressed. Some DeWalt drills also include belt clips. DeWalt’s high-end pro drills come with Tool Connect, which allows the owner to track the tool’s whereabouts via a smart device. Some kits also include a DeWalt drill bit set.
The list below includes some of DeWalt’s top corded and cordless drills. It includes reasonably priced drills that can meet the needs of most DIYers as well as high-end drills that are worthy of the pro worksite.
BEST OVERALL1 DEWALT ATOMIC 20-Volt MAX Cordless Brushless Compact Photo: amazon.com Check Latest Price
Perhaps the best DeWalt cordless drill is the Atomic 20-Volt MAX, which represents the mid-tier of the company’s collection of power drills. Its 340-UWO rating is powerful enough to turn its ½-inch chuck up to 1,650 rpm. Those impressive numbers are in part due to a two-speed brushless motor and 20-volt MAX lithium-ion battery.
Despite packing quite a punch, the DeWalt Atomic 20-Volt MAX is surprisingly compact at just 6.3 inches from front to back with a total weight of just 2.4 pounds. Couple that compact size with an ergonomic handle that conforms to the contours of the hand with a soft grip and this drill is a great option for long projects or those who may struggle with bulkier drills. Other handy features include a built-in LED work light and a tool belt clip.
Get the DeWalt Atomic 20-Volt MAX cordless brushless drill at The Home Depot or on Amazon.
BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK2 DEWALT 20V Max Cordless Drill / Driver Kit (DCD771C2) Photo: amazon.com Check Latest Price
The brushed motor version of DeWalt’s line of 20-volt MAX drills is the most affordable of its cordless offerings, but it’s certainly no slouch. Though not as fast as some of its higher-priced brothers, it’s not far off with a max speed of 1,500 rpm. That’s impressive, given its ½-inch chuck size and 300-UWO rating. While that may not quite cut it at the construction site, that’s more than enough power to handle most DIY projects.
The drill is noticeably longer and heavier than DeWalt’s premium cordless drills at 8.5 inches long with a total weight of 3.6 pounds. This bulkier size makes it a bit more cumbersome to use for long periods and can limit the drill’s ability to fit into tight spaces. However, with an ergonomic handle and grip that’s comparable to DeWalt’s top-tier drills, this affordable model is still quite comfortable to wield.
Get the DeWalt 20V MAX cordless drill (DCD771C2) on Amazon or at The Home Depot.
UPGRADE PICK3 DEWALT Variable Speed, 1/2-Inch, 10.5-Amp (DWD220) Photo: amazon.com Check Latest Price
Bigger jobs demand a corded drill with a powerful motor that can produce ample torque. With its 10.5-amp motor, DeWalt’s top-of-the-line corded drill can generate enough power to bore holes up to 3⅝ inches in diameter with a hole saw or 1½ inches in diameter with an auger. It also includes handy safety features that prevent the drill from overheating. Its E-Clutch system reduces the motor’s torque if it encounters resistance that could damage the motor.
To ensure the operator is able to control all of that torque safely, the drill comes equipped with a side handle that allows the user to get a firm two-handed grip on the drill, helping to prevent wrist injuries. A metal housing on the front of the unit provides added durability, making it suitable for a pro job site.
Get the DeWalt variable speed drill (DWD220) at The Home Depot or on Amazon.
BEST CORDED DRILL4 DEWALT Corded Drill, 8.0-Amp, 3/8-Inch, (DWD115K) Photo: amazon.com Check Latest Price
One of the most noticeable features of DeWalt’s ⅜-inch drill is its mid-handle grip. This variation on the standard pistol style found with most corded drills adds balance that makes it easier to use with one hand. That makes it easier to manage the impressive 2,500 rpm its 8-amp motor can produce. Other notable features include a variable speed reverse trigger that makes it easier to remove a stuck bit or to back out screws and a keyless chuck (a feature typically not found on corded drills) that allows for fast bit changes.
Most of DeWalt’s drills are made to take a licking and keep on ticking, and this model is no different. Its hard outer shell can endure a pro construction site and even a stray rain shower thanks to its IP65 rating.
Get the DeWalt 8 Amp drill kit (DWD115K) at The Home Depot or on Amazon.
BEST HAMMER DRILL5 DEWALT 20-Volt MAX Cordless 1/2 in. Hammer Drill Photo: amazon.com Check Latest Price
The best DeWalt hammer drill is also the most expensive cordless drill the tool manufacturer offers, but it’s also the most powerful. It uses a 60-volt/20-volt FlexVolt battery—the most powerful DeWalt battery—to give this drill unparalleled power and battery life. It gives the brushless motor enough juice to produce a max speed of 2,250 rpm with a UWO rating of 340. A detachable side handle allows one to get a firm two-handed grip on the drill.
The DeWalt battery also carries an impressive 6 amp-hour size, which gives it about four times the runtime of standard 1.5 amp-hour batteries. While all that power is nice, the beefier battery does add noticeably more weight, bringing the drill to a hefty 3.54 pounds not including the battery. It includes an LED work light that’s much brighter than what’s found on the other drills, and it has a battery power gauge.
Get the DeWalt Atomic 20V MAX hammer drill at The Home Depot.
BEST FOR PROS6 DEWALT 20-Volt MAX XR with Tool Connect 1/2 in. Drill Photo: amazon.com Check Latest Price
Power tools are expensive, and while it may be easy to keep up with them in a home shop, it can be a challenge for professional contractors managing multiple workers and cordless drills. This cordless hammer drill helps its owner keep tabs on it with DeWalt’s Tool Connect feature that allows the owner to track and find its location via an app on a smartphone.
In addition to this useful feature for keeping tabs on tools, this hammer drill also boasts pro-level power with its ability to reach speeds of up to 2,000 rpm and a UWO of 820. It’s powered by DeWalt’s XR lithium-ion batteries, which provide 33 percent more battery life than standard batteries. Despite its power output, this drill remains surprisingly nimble at 7.5 inches from front to back with a total weight of 3.6 pounds. Other notable features include a three-mode LED work light.
Get the DeWalt 20-Volt MAX XR with Tool Connect at The Home Depot.
BEST COMPACT7 DEWALT 20V MAX Right Angle Drill/Driver (DCD740C1) Photo: amazon.com Check Latest Price
Plumbing, cabinet installation, and other projects that take place in tight spaces demand a drill that can fit into nooks and crannies. DeWalt’s take on this specialized power tool makes it one of the best. With a head that measures just 4 inches long, it can get into tight areas that standard cordless drills can’t reach.
It features a housing that’s covered almost entirely in an ergonomic grip, and it has a long trigger that covers nearly half the tool’s front. This design makes it easier to operate in cramped quarters by allowing the user to grip the drill from various angles while still being able to engage the trigger. Despite its compact size, DeWalt’s angle drill can reach impressive speeds of up to 2,000 rpm. Other useful features include an extra bright LED work light that provides ample lighting when working in darker crevices.
Get the DeWalt 20V MAX right angle cordless drill on Amazon or at The Home Depot.
BEST 12-VOLT DRILL8 DEWALT XTREME 12-volt Max 3/8-in Cordless Drill Photo: amazon.com Check Latest Price
Most 12-volt cordless drills are suited for lighter tasks such as mounting a hook in the bathroom and other odd jobs around the home. DeWalt’s 12-volt ⅜-inch model is an exception. It sports a brushless motor that gives it significantly more power than a standard 12-volt drill, evident in its 250-UWO rating and its ability to reach maximum speeds of 1,500 rpm. While it may not be on par with DeWalt’s 20-volt cordless drills, it has plenty of juice to handle bigger DIY projects.
DeWalt’s 12-volt drill also runs off 2 amp-hour rechargeable batteries, giving it a longer runtime than those equipped with smaller 1.5 amp-hour batteries. And since it measures just 6 inches long and weighs only 2.7 pounds, it’s easy to handle and can fit into tight spots, making it the best drill for beginners. The DeWalt Xtreme also includes useful features found on its premium cordless drills, including an LED work light and a battery indicator that lets users know just how much juice is left in the battery.
Get the DeWalt Xtreme 12-volt Max cordless drill at Lowe’s.
For its ability to put out 1,650 rpm and its 340-UWO rating, the DeWalt Atomic 20-Volt MAX Cordless Brushless Drill is a great option for serious DIYers and many pros. Those looking for a more affordable DeWalt drill may want to consider the DeWalt 20V Max Cordless Drill with its 300-UWO rating and ability to reach 1,500 rpm.
In selecting the best of DeWalt’s collection of drills, we considered a variety of criteria. Although DeWalt is considered to be one of the premium brands in power tools, its collection of drills covers a surprisingly broad price spectrum. With that in mind, we selected drills to suit different needs.
We included models for DIYers that provide enough power for home projects while still being reasonably priced. For pros, we chose higher-end DeWalt drills that offer the UWO, rpm, and, in the case of cordless drills, battery life needed to complete more extreme projects. While DeWalt’s cordless drills dominate its collection, we made sure to include entries on our list to feature its corded collections of drills as well.
When shopping for a DeWalt cordless drill, choose one that meets your needs without overpaying for one that has more power than you’ll ever use. Below, learn more about the size and power you may need and other important factors to consider when shopping for one of these DeWalt tools.
Power drills are used for two main applications: drilling holes and driving in fasteners. Cordless drills are ideal for drilling small holes or driving in screws. Larger, more powerful corded drills are typically used for drilling larger holes with spade bits and augers and driving in larger fasteners, such as lag bolts.
A ⅜-inch drill will handle most needs for DIYers. If you plan on driving in a fair amount of larger fasteners, such as bolts, or drilling holes that are more than ½-inch in diameter, it may be a good idea to purchase a ½-inch drill that can handle those duties.
It depends on what you plan to use the drill for. If you need a drill to perform smaller jobs around the house, then a 12-volt drill is the way to go. If you’re planning on completing bigger carpentry projects, then it’s a good idea to go with an 18-volt or 20-volt drill.
Most DeWalt drills vary in the amount of torque and speed they produce. Aside from power, most DeWalt drills have very similar features.
DeWalt is based in the U.S. and has manufacturing facilities in the U.S., Mexico, Brazil, China, Italy, the U.K., and the Czech Republic.
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