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New cordless drill test reveals four Best Buys

With prices ranging from £40-£300, our latest tests found some great bargain options, as well as two terrible Don’t Buys

We’ve put 15 of the bestselling cordless drill-drivers and combi drills head to head, and uncovered four new Best Buys and two Don’t Buys.

Ranging from as little as £40 to well over £300, the cordless drill market has plenty to choose from. But we’ve found a huge difference in performance – the best in our tests scored 78%, while the worst achieved a frankly dismal 29%. It’s important to make sure you know just what you’re getting before you hit the shops.

Read on to find out more about our tests and the key things you should know before buying your drill, or head straight to our drill reviews to find out which models passed with flying colours, and which struggled with even the most basic tasks.

The best and worst

Our tests found some fantastic drills, with one acing all the most important tests and earning an admirable test score of 78%.

At the other end of the spectrum, two Don’t Buys are definitely ones to avoid. The worst, which scored an awful 29%, struggled to drill into metal and stone, and failed our endurance tests – it slowed down to a third of its original speed over a 33-hour on-and-off test.

How we test drills

There’s more to a good drill than its drilling performance. While the ability to drill into a range of materials is an important aspect of our testing, we also conduct a range of other assessments, from how easy each drill is to control when driving screws to how long the battery lasts after a charge.

You should be able to rely on your drill for years, so we test each one for its endurance over a 33-hour on-and-off running time, to simulate years of sporadic use. Some develop defects or reductions in spin speed in that time, while others continue to perform just as well.

A Best Buy model should pass this test with no problems, proving itself to be a quality power tool that you can depend on for years to come.

Read our guide to how we test drills to find out more about the testing process.

Buying a drill: everything you need to know

One of the first things to consider before buying your drill is which type to get. Cordless drills can generally be split into two types:

  • Drill-drivers are specifically designed to drill holes and drive screws, and will be suitable for most DIY jobs around the house.
  • Combination drills also have a hammer-action function, which gives short, sharp thrusts for drilling into heavy-duty materials, such as bricks, paving slabs or concrete.

Scroll down to find the full list of reviews, which will tell you exactly what you need to know about each model. For more details, including a breakdown of all the features to look out for, visit our page on how to buy the best cordless drill. Once you’ve decided what you need, head to our survey results for the best DIY shops to find out where to make your purchase.

Top drilling tips

  1. Always check for hidden pipes and cables before drilling. You can do this using a magnetic stud finder. As a rule, avoid the areas above, below and in-line of switches and sockets. If you have doubts, disconnect the electricity before you begin.
  2. Make sure you use the right kind of drill bit for the job. For hard materials, you’ll need a tungsten carbide tip.
  3. When screwdriving, it can be tricky to get just the right torque setting. Start with the lowest setting and then work your way up – when you get the right one, the drill should stop as soon as the screw head is flush with the surface.

If you think the job might be too big for you, it may be safer to turn to a registered local tradesperson instead. Head to Which? Trusted Traders to find local companies endorsed by Which? that should be able to help.

The latest drill reviews

Drill-driver reviews*

Combi drill reviews*

*All prices correct as of 8 February 2018

 

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