Best Drill Sets

Updated October 2019
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

17 Models Considered
9 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
175 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best drill sets

Last Updated October 2019

A good drill driver is a basic component of every homeowner and professional tool kit. You can often get great value by buying it as part of a drill set, and there are hundreds of options. Basic drill sets contain a selection of drill bits and drivers. Others are targeted at the DIY user, woodwork trades, electrical contractors, and auto engineers. These more complicated sets may contain other power tools such as circular saws, reciprocating saws, and lights.

Despite the huge variety of kits available, there are important aspects common to all — things that will impact on your decision regardless of the components included.

We’ve been looking at each of them so we can help you with your decision. Our recommendations provide a “best of breed” overview of the kind of drill sets available. In the following buyer’s guide, we look at what makes a good drill set in more detail.

There are lots of drill sets around, and the most comprehensive might offer the best value. However, if there are components you don’t need, choosing a smaller set will save you money.

Choosing the right drill set

With the huge variety of drill sets available, you’ll want to spend some time looking at the contents to make sure you’re getting the best match for your needs.

Large kits can provide excellent value to the right person, but they’re not for everyone. If you’re never going to need a circular saw, for example, there’s not much point in buying a set that contains one. A smaller set that will save you money would more likely be the better choice.

There are myriad solutions for homeowners and professional alike, but there is still plenty of common ground. The advice here should help you choose the drill set that offers the most appropriate combination of performance and value.

Performance for pros

If you’re thinking of upgrading from corded to cordless, or if you need a high-quality set of tools for work, this comprehensive kit offers power, reliability, and durability. It’s a well-considered selection, with each piece a valuable addition to the trade or contractor toolbox. Two batteries are provided (though one is only 1.5Ah). It requires a considerable investment, but it represents excellent value when compared to buying them all separately.

Voltage and amps

Volts and amps often cause some confusion, but they are important aspects of your drill or power tool purchase, so let’s clarify.

Volts measure the amount of power available.

  • With a budget drill set, you might only get an 8V drill/driver. It will cope with small tasks,  but it won’t have the power to drill into concrete or brick.

  • 12V drill/drivers are common and are good all-arounders. They’re often quite compact, making them easy to use.

  • 18V or 20V drills are the most powerful models currently available. These compete with corded models, and they’re the professional option.
     

Amps, or more correctly amp hours (Ah), tell you how long power can be maintained. Minimum battery size on these tools is usually 1.5Ah. Technically, that means the battery will supply a consistent 1 amp for 1.5 hours. In the real world, that doesn’t really mean much. It’s definitely not an indication of how long the tool will run before it needs recharging.

In essence, the higher the Ah rating, the longer the tool will deliver full power. Modern lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries don’t suffer the gradual drop-off in power that you get from nickel cadmium (Ni-cad). They deliver peak performance for longer, which is what you want, and then run flat relatively abruptly.

Better-quality tools come with a higher Ah battery to extend performance — perhaps 4Ah or 5Ah. The best come with two batteries, so you can keep working with one while the other recharges. Be careful, though: sometimes both are 2Ah, which we would look at as a practical minimum. Often, you’ll get a 4Ah “primary” battery, which is great, but the second might only be 1.5Ah. If you’re not expecting it, that can be a disappointing discovery.

Run times and recharge times will have a big impact if you need to work consistently. Manufacturers tend to quote figures taken under “ideal conditions,” so we’d be a little more conservative. Also bear in mind that while higher Ah batteries run longer, they also take longer to recharge.

DID YOU KNOW?

Do you need a general-purpose drill set or something trade specific? Some sets come with extensive drill bit collections; some come with dozens of drivers; some come with mechanic’s tools.

DID YOU KNOW?

Cordless power tools use either brush or brushless motors. The latter tend to make much better use of battery power.

Other factors to consider

  • If you’re buying a set of power tools, check the specifications of each individual unit. Some sets seem impressive at first, but think about whether every item in the set would be of value to you. The set you’re considering might contain things like drill grinders, tire inflators, or even radios. Do you really need them?

  • Lots of modern power tools have LED lamps, which are great for lighting up dark corners when you’re working but don’t have much range. If you want decent illumination, look for a kit that includes a separate torch.

  • Soft grips add comfort. They can make quite a difference if you’re using a tool all day.

  • It’s often difficult to tell tool and component quality with sets that include hammers, pliers, sockets, and so on. In our experience, you generally get what you pay for. If you’re an occasional user, a budget-priced drill set might well be all you need. If you’re going to use the tools a lot and you need to rely on them, invest in quality.

  • Two good indicators of overall performance and durability are the manufacturer’s warranty (which we feel reflects their confidence in their products) and actual user feedback.

  • Bags are often supplied with power tool sets. They aren’t always of the best quality, so it’s best to assume you’ll need an alternative at some point. If there are lots of smaller components, it’s nice to see a hard case to organize them. Having pieces rattling around in the bottom of a soft carryall can be frustrating.

EXPERT TIP

All the drill sets we looked at included at least one battery, but two is a definite advantage. It’s nice not to have to keep swapping a battery from one tool to another.


Staff  | BestReviews

Drill set prices

While we usually like to give some guidance on prices, it’s almost impossible to compare inexpensive, mid-range, and expensive versions because they’re seldom the same.

You could pay as little as $50 for a drill and a set of general-purpose household tools. You could pay in excess of $500 for a contractor set that contains cordless saws, impact driver, grinder, work light, and the like.

The sheer variety on offer, by everyone from budget tool makers to well-known brands, means you can pretty much specify the drill set you need and make your decision based on relative price, performance, and quality.

Handy household help

This 68-piece kit contains a multitude of useful tools for all those must-do tasks and DIY projects around the home. Unlike some competitors who only offer basic models, it includes the company’s powerful, fully featured 20V cordless drill. The carry bag provides easy portability and convenient storage. These are quality products from a respected brand at a surprisingly low price.

Other products we considered

The WorkPro Pink Cordless 20V Drill Driver is a basic kit that every home needs. The drill features two speeds, 21 torque settings, and a built-in work light. You get a selection of drill bits and drivers, all in a matching bag.

The Bosch 12V Drill & Impact Driver Kit will be particularly useful for those who work in confined spaces. The clever design incorporates the batteries within the handle (rather than stuck out on the end), so they’re remarkably compact, yet they still deliver plenty of performance.

The Ryobi 18-Volt 6-Piece Combo Kit will appeal to those who need a versatile collection of tools at a reasonable price. This set is particularly highly rated by owners, and overall quality is underlined by a three-year warranty.

You can never have too high an amp hour rating (Ah). Though 4Ah and 5Ah batteries are more expensive, they maintain consistent power and allow you to work for longer between recharges.

FAQ

Q. Is there much difference between 18V and 20V power?

A. Actually, there is no difference. 20 volts is the maximum output when you first pull the trigger. It then drops to a nominal 18 volts, the output under normal conditions. So in essence they are the same; it’s just that some manufacturers quote the higher figure.

Q. Are different manufacturer batteries compatible with each other?

A. You might expect so, particularly when big-name brands are owned by the same company. Unfortunately, although the chemistry inside is largely the same, case design means they’re unlikely to fit physically. A few adapters exist, so you might be lucky, but they aren’t common.

Q. What is the drill clutch for?

A. When you’re driving a screw or other fixing, it’s easy to use too much power and damage the head. That will make it nearly impossible to remove if you need to in future. The clutch allows you to reduce the maximum power exerted. Once you reach the preset, the clutch will slip so you can’t over-tighten. It also rattles loudly to let you know!

The team that worked on this review
  • Bob
    Bob
    Writer
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Katie
    Katie
    Editorial Director
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor

BestReviews wants to be better. Please take our 3-minute survey,
and give us feedback about your visit today.

Take Survey