Whether you’re working on an installation art piece or just hanging your work on the wall, a cordless drill is a handy tool to have around the studio. When shopping around for one, though, the considerations can be overwhelming. A good, simple rule of thumb is to err on the side of more power—it will make your life easier and your work less arduous. At the same time, you should keep portability in mind. You don’t have to stick to professional brands to find a quality product, either. If you’re ready to make your own version of Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party, peruse our favorite powerful cordless drills below.
1. Dewalt MAX Cordless Drill Combo Kit
Dewalt is a favorite of many (fun fact: some people say it’s the only brand of drill you’ll find putting together Hollywood sets), and this two-unit kit is an excellent all-purpose option. It comes with a 20-volt drill and 20-volt impact driver; the high-powered drill will be more than sufficient for most uses, but the impact driver has extra muscle to drill into dense surfaces like metal and brick. Notably, the drill has a ½-inch chuck—a rarity for a small and lightweight option.
2. Workpro Cordless Drill Driver Set
Don’t be fooled by the pink—this is not just a marketing ploy to get women to buy drills. The WORKPRO cordless drill is surprisingly powerful, fast, and lightweight. At just over 2 pounds, it’s easy to use for large projects without arm strain. But it also is a 20-volt drill with serious torque, plus a torque clutch (which allows you to adjust the torque based on the resistance in your material) with 21+1 positions. The versatility of this ⅜-inch-chuck drill makes it a must-have. And as a bonus, you likely won’t get it confused with anyone else’s drill.
3. Avid Power Cordless Drill Set
Avid Power’s 20-volt cordless drill is a great option at an entry-level price. The sturdy drill has a variable-speed trigger and a maximum speed of 550 rpm. The LED underneath the shaft illuminates shadowy corners. The kit includes 10 drill bits, 10 driver bits, and an extremely useful flexible shaft that allows you to reach spaces that even the tiniest drill won’t fit in.
4. Milwaukee Electric Tools Hammer Drill
If you anticipate drilling in hard-to-reach spaces, Milwaukee’s two-piece kit, with a hammer drill and impact driver, is a lifesaver. The lightweight drill is just 12 volts, but it provides an impressive 275 inch-pounds of torque and a maximum speed of 1,500 rpm. The small battery makes for easy portability, and it’s no trouble to carry both the drill and the impact driver together. Despite its small size, the battery outlasts the competition and recharges to full in about half an hour.
5. Black + Decker MAX Cordless Drill
For a full-size drill, Black + Decker’s 20-volt option is uncommonly lightweight and quiet. Like the Avid Power drill, this is a good tool for casual projects, but it lacks the serious force needed to handle dense materials. For use around the home and studio, though, this is a steadfast option at a good price.