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4 Best Cordless Drills in 2023 Australian Buying Guide

In today’s competitive market, tools need to meet far higher expectations than they used to. Being simply functional is no longer enough, so modern manufacturers have begun advancing simple tools to be more convenient, and more multipurpose.

Cordless drills might not sound like a huge leap, but with new battery technology, and more compact units, there is a lot separating the best battery drills from the budget brands in 2023.

This article aims to break down everything you need to know about cordless drills; how they work, the jargon within their specs, and what to look for when buying them. Simply put, we’re here to find you the best cordless drill possible from the best 2023 releases.

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1. DeWalt Cordless Brushless Hammer Drill Driver, 18V 4.0Ah

DeWalt Cordless Brushless Hammer Drill Driver, 18V
Best Cordless Drill in Australia

2. Makita Cordless Brushless Heavy Duty Drill Driver, 18V 5.0Ah

Makita Cordless Brushless Heavy Duty Drill Driver, 18V

3. WORX WX352.9 20V 13mm Brushless Cordless Hammer Drill

WORX 20V Brushless Cordless Hammer Drill

4. Makita DHP485SFE 18V Brushless Hammer Driver Drill Kit

Makita DHP485SFE Brushless Hammer Driver Drill Kit

Best Cordless Drill Reviews

1. DeWalt DCD805P2T-XE Cordless Brushless Hammer Drill Driver, 18V 4.0Ah

DeWalt Cordless Brushless Hammer Drill Driver, 18V 4.0Ah

DeWalt DCD805P2T-XE

If you want a good all-purpose drill that can handle everything from masonry to drywall, this cordless hammer drill, with a huge 60 Nm of torque is just the trick.

DeWalt’s manufacturing process here clearly has a few too many heads in the mix, but despite trying to push all functions into one tool, they do seem to have succeeded.

Not only is this combi drill powerful, it’s comfortable, smooth, and lightweight. The batteries come with a rapid charging unit, and the whole thing is in an indestructible box to keep the whole thing safe.

I’m not usually a fan of tools trying to be all things at once, but DeWalt has pulled this off.

Pros

  • 60 Nm of torque is great for a brushless hammer drill
  • Up to 2000 rpm in both hammer, and rotary modes
  • Lightweight
  • Double-sleeve keyless chuck
  • LED flashlight for better viewing, and area lighting when not in use
  • Adjustable torque control
  • Rapid charging
  • Magnetic bit holder for convenient storage
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • N/A

2. Makita DDF484RTE Cordless Brushless Heavy Duty Drill Driver, 18V 5.0Ah

Makita Cordless Brushless Heavy Duty Drill Driver, 18V 5.0Ah

Makita DDF484RTE 

While it’s expensive in comparison to most cordless combi drills, this drill driver from Makita is designed for harsher work.

Drill drivers like this sit somewhere between impact drivers and hammer drills, making the most of their higher-than-average torque while retaining generally high rpm and adjustable speeds.

Pros

  • 54 Nm of torque is great for drilling but less useful for driving
  • Up to 2000 rpm
  • 18V
  • Lightweight
  • LED light increases visibility
  • Cooling fan
  • Comfortable grip
  • Smart charging
  • Good battery life

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Single sleeve keyless chuck

3. WORX WX352.9 20V 13mm Brushless Cordless Hammer Drill

WORX 20V 13mm Brushless Cordless Hammer Drill

Source: amazon.com.au

Quick facts: Combination drill

I’m a big fan of Worx as a tool range. They don’t have the household name status of some brands, but they make reliable tools to suit a range of buyers.

This combi hammer drill fits right into the DIY user range though, with its lower power making it easier to control, but not powerful enough for concrete or really tough jobs.

What’s really great though is that it’s really quite a compact drill. That’s often thought of as a negative because you can sometimes control heavier tools more easily, but the small size of this well-built tool makes it easy to handle, quick to use, and super convenient.

Pros

  • Good value
  • Well built
  • Easily adjustable power & functions settings
  • Quick change chuck

Cons

  • Battery not included
  • Low powered hammer setting

4. Makita DHP485SFE 18V Brushless Hammer Driver Drill Kit

Makita DHP485SFE 18V Brushless Hammer Driver Drill Kit

Source: makita.com.au

Quick facts: Combination drill

Makita makes more powerful hammer drills than this, but for DIY use, this 1V brushless hammer drill, with battery and charger included is a brilliant tool.

It’s a combi drill, with a case included, making it ideal for homeowners who need to keep a tidy organised garage, with everything stored together in one place, and adjustable speed settings mean that you can run through masonry, as well as gently screwing into timber without ramming straight through and damaging surfaces.

It has to be said that rotary drills are significantly more powerful than these combi drills, but I swear by these quick drills that get 90% of jobs done perfectly with no fuss.

Pros

  • Battery included
  • Adjustable speed
  • Rotary drilling
  • Rotary hammer setting
  • Really well-built
  • Storage box included
  • Good value

Cons

  • Low powered hammer drill – not ideal for concrete.

Cordless Drill Top Pick for 2023

Best Cordless Drill in Australia
DeWalt Cordless Brushless Hammer Drill Driver, 18V 4.0Ah

DeWalt DCD805P2T-XE

Just because drills are priced according to quality, doesn’t mean you can’t find a great drill on a budget. Even at the lower end of modern cordless drills, there are some powerful beasts on the market.

Something proved in abundance by the DeWalt Cordless Brushless Hammer Drill Driver. For any DIY user, 23Nm is more than enough for 99% of drilling tasks, and the 200 rpm speed across both hammer and rotary settings is just brilliant. 

It’s also worth noting that cheaper drills tend to be slightly more comfortable to use. I guess it’s something to do with the lower weights, but this is a really well-designed drill, with a comfortable grip too.

Cordless Drills Tool Buyer’s Guide

What are Cordless Drills?

Best Cordless Drills Australia

Cordless drills are battery-operated tools, designed for convenience, easy storage, and quick DIY jobs. Aside from that, they are largely the same as corded drills.

Even down to voltage and torque, battery drills can match the performance of some of the best corded drills on the market.

What to Look for When Buying a Cordless Drill

Buying a new cordless drill is a big investment. Most homeowners keep cornerstone tools like drills, circular saws, and belt sanders their entire life, so it’s not an investment to take lightly. 

If you’re a regular DIYer and know what you’ll be using your drill for in advance, it’s a fairly straightforward choice; just choose a drill that’s got enough power for your most common tasks. For others, buying the best isn’t that straightforward. 

Follow our guide below to find the best cordless drill, with the most versatile functions, and most appropriate power for you, your home, and your budget.

Battery life

I honestly believe that battery life is the most important factor when choosing a cordless drill. Power is important, and so are comfort and weight, but knowing you’ve got a tool that won’t surprise you with a dead battery is a must.

Some battery powered drills have over 24 hours of continuous use in their batteries, others have just 2 hours. As well as finding a good battery range, it’s worth checking the charging speeds too. 

Some batteries can charge to full in under an hour, while others take around eight hours for full charge. And to make matters more complicated, battery life and charge time aren’t necessarily symbolic of the other, so check both in any product listing to be sure.

Power & Torque

Cordless drills are rated by Voltage (V). Anything around 18V is a decent tool but it is torque, rather than voltage, that is the most important indication of a drill’s ability.

15-30Nm is the standard torque of most drills, giving them enough drive that they won’t slow down in challenging tasks. For heavy-duty work go for a drill with 30Nm or higher, but be aware that these drills are often more expensive, and exceed the needs of most homeowners.

Best Battery Drills Australia

Chuck type

There are five common types of chuck (the tip of the drill, where drill bits are connected and fastened before use):

  • Keyed chuck
  • Double-sleeve keyless chuck
  • Single-sleeve keyless chuck
  • SDS chuck
  • Hex chuck

Keyed chucks are the most secure and work with a cogged key to give you a securely fastened drill bit every time. However, there are problems with keyed chucks, in that you need to keep the key secure and safe.

For most users that literally means tying it to the drill, which, frankly, just gets in the way.

Double-sleeve chucks are tightened by holding the lower sleeve while turning the top sleeve to loosen and tighten the chuck. These are more than enough for 90% of drilling jobs, are easy to fasten, and are generally considered the best all-around chuck type.

Single-sleeve chucks are the easiest tightening chuck available, and great for simple DIY jobs, but they fasten less securely than keyed chucks or double-sleeved chucks.

SDS chucks are specific to SDS drills and SDS drill bits. They are incredibly easy to use, and simply lock purpose-made drill bits in place by sliding the chuck up, then down.

For any other drill bit, you can buy SDS adapters. This can either mean attaching an SDS chuck to an existing keyless chuck or attaching a keyless chuck to an SDS chuck.

Either way, SDS drills can be used with most bits, given the right fittings.

Hex connections, or hex chucks, are usually fitted to cordless screwdrivers; low-powered hand tools designed for screwing, not drilling. Any drills fitted solely with hex connectors are honestly just not worth buying.

The connection will be loose, and any adapted drill bit can move and snap without proper care.

Comfort / Grip

While most cordless drills are simple tools with a rear handle, there are some with exceptionally comfortable grips and T-Bar handles that help give you, the user, more control. T-Bar handles are ideal for masonry or stone drilling, but not really needed for most timber work. 

As a general rule though, find a drill that feels right. If the handle looks comfortable, it probably is, and if it’s a good weight to hold, it’ll be comfortable to use.

Brushless Motors

This isn’t just a rule for battery powered drills. It should be applied to any cordless power tool. Brushless motors massively increase battery efficiency, increase battery life, and help increase power in turn.

Any cordless drill that isn’t manufactured with a brushless motor can overheat, causing damage to the tool, and becoming a risk in the workshop.

Different Types of Cordless Drills

How to Choose a Cordless Drill

Cordless Hammer Drills & Combi Drills

Hammer drills come in a few different forms, but typical cordless hammer drills have one function – drill. The advantage of hammer drills over standard drills is that they come with a basic option to drill smoothly into timber or flick to the pulsing drill action of the hammer drill setting.

While the drill will still rotate, the added pulsing helps to break through tough concrete or stone work. It’s also worth noting that combi drills and hammer drills are the same thing.

The functions are the same, but most manufacturers have a preference for one of the other.

Click here for our review of the best hammer drills available for 2023.

Cordless Rotary Drills

Cordless rotary drills are actually pretty hard to come by these days. With no hammer setting, combi drill options, or anything else they are a great budget choice for anyone looking for a simple drill, but we’d strongly advise looking for a similarly priced hammer drill, which does that same job, with a few added extras.

Cordless Impact Drivers

Impact drivers are designed for screwing rather than drilling but are an excellent tool to have in your arsenal. While they are not strictly drills, they will work with any hex drill bit, providing higher torque, and putting more power behind screws.

Impact drivers are ideal for drywall, or removing stubborn screws. They are also lighter and easier to use for repetitive jobs.

Cordless SDS Drills

SDS drills are perfect for masonry and stone work. They have more power than a standard hammer drill, and their chucks are more secure. However, SDS drills only work with specialist drill bits so are not for everyday use or DIY applications.

Cordless Drills Safety Guide

Any cordless drill is automatically safer than a corded drill, for one simple reason; there’s no trip hazard. Corded tools are ideal for quick, convenient use, without the need to charge tools, but by removing the wire, you’re keeping a safer work area, and minimising risk.

A man using a cordless drill

Other than that, standard safety rules for drilling apply:

  • Wear goggles when drilling any material (splinters, debris, and dust can damage your eyes from stone, timber, or plastic).
  • Wear comfortable gloves for heavy-duty work to reduce vibrations and improve grip.
  • Clean and dry surfaces before drilling to avoid gumming, or potential electric shock.
  • Store cordless drills and their batteries in a dry space, and ideally disconnect the battery from the drill while not in use.

Cordless Drills Frequently Asked Questions

How many volts does it take to drill into wood?

Cordless drills with a voltage of 14V or more are adequate for light-duty timber work. However, 18V or higher is recommended for more heavy-duty work, masonry, or stone.

The higher voltage gives you a wider range of speeds (on most drills) and less chance of jamming.

Can a cordless screwdriver be used as a drill?

Some cordless screwdrivers can be used as drills, with the right hex drill bit, and the appropriate setting. In most cases there is a switch on the side of your cordless screwdriver, indicating a drill symbol. This changes the torque but uses more power.

Can I screw directly into wood?

With self-tapping, or self-driving screws, you can screw directly into timber. However, the biggest risk with any woodwork is splitting, by forcing a screw into timber without first creating a cavity.

Some timber can take being screwed directly, but as a safety (and financial) precaution, always drill first, then screw.

For more workshop tool reviews and buying guide, be sure to check out our list below:

Wrapping Up Our Cordless Drill Product Review and Buying Guide

Cordless drills come with such variable specs that it really can be challenging to know what you need. Hopefully, we’ve managed to help demystify some of the jargon, and break down the complicated specs surrounding these handy tools, so you can get on your way to find the best cordless drill possible.

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About the author 

Gary Clarke

Hi, I'm Gary Clarke, gardening enthusiast and former landscaper. I have had privilege of sharing my gardening knowledge at Aussie Green Thumb since early 2020.

I have a passion for using native Australian plants in Aussie gardens and I always try to promote growing fruit trees and vegetable gardens whenever possible.

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