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Best cordless drills of 2021: Why a cordless drill is a must-have

While I opted for Ryobi’s affordable and highly-rated cordless drill, any quality drill should do — for amateur home improvers like me, anyway.
Asia women building a table in home
When I grabbed a highly-rated drill from the neon Ryobi brand at my local Home Depot, it ran me about $70— you've got plenty of cheaper options (and some higher-end ones).sinology / Getty Images

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As far as I’m concerned, everyone should own a cordless power drill if they can afford one. I got mine late last year when my wife and I moved into a new apartment in New York City — we opted for a few more inches of space given the settling reality of long-term working from home — and I've been using it regularly nearly every single weekend since. From hanging a power strip on the wall behind my TV to putting together the recently-arrived NordicTrack S22i Studio Cycle exercise bike we finally bought, I rarely approach a project these days without the drill.

It's grown especially useful to me as I'm not naturally handy with tools and I rarely start a (minor) home improvement project knowing exactly what I'm doing, opting instead for the adventure of figuring it out as I go. Sporting a motorized screwdriver in-hand to help me hasten every job (and easily undo mistakes, command-Z style) has proven nearly priceless to me. In fact, I regret taking so long to grab the relatively affordable appliance that’s saved me so many hours of work. I always felt I had to attain some level of competency with household projects first and only then earn the electric drill but, as with most things, it’s never the wrong time to take the first step.

Ryobi 12-Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Drill and Driver Kit

There are all kinds of drills out there for you to choose from: When I grabbed this highly-rated drill from the neon Ryobi brand at my local Home Depot, it ran me about $70. As you can see, its price has dropped in the months since, if you’re able to buy it ahead rather than find yourself in a pinch like I did and consequently at the mercy of brick-and-mortar prices.

Grabbing just the base model gets you a lightweight, handheld drill with a two-sided drill bit (one side Phillips and one side flat). Its battery has never run out on me during a project and I’ve gone for hours, activating the drill any time I need its magic. The 12-volt battery is removable and charges in a separate dock you can keep out of sight and a light will illuminate your work anytime you trigger the drill to action.

Ryobi A98901G 90-Piece Drilling and Driving Kit

While the two-sided drill bit that comes with the Ryobi is mostly all I need for my minor projects, I highly recommend grabbing a kit of extra attachments. I got this one (again, for more than this online price) and it’s proven worthy of its 4.8-star average rating from more than 800 reviews on Amazon. From different screw types to various drill sizes and other, more unique attachments, you should be good to go into any amateur home improvement project you stick to given your extra time at home these days. The carrying case for this kit includes a simple locking mechanism that has saved my floor several times.

Best cordless drills in 2021, according to Consumer Reports

Regardless of which electric drill you go with, you’ll likely find it’s improved your domestic workflow, perhaps even incentivizing more of it than you’d otherwise embark upon. If Ryobi’s neon look isn’t up to your stylistic caliber or you have other brands in mind, the basic output of various, affordable models should provide the same foundational value.

If you’re on the market for just such a drill, here are the best cordless drills to consider buying right now, according to the reviewers at Consumer Reports (and in alphabetical order):

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