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How we test cordless drills

Boring holes is never a boring job for our lab experts.


Most home handypersons – and even the less handy – would agree that a drill is the most useful power tool to own. So our experts put cordless drills to the test, driving screws and drilling holes by the hundred into soft and hard timber, to find the ones that have the best drilling performance, torque and ease of use.

Our expert testers

CHOICE maintains a highly professional NATA-accredited laboratory and the vast majority of our product testing is done in-house. Our cordless drill test is no exception.

Many of our product test methods are based on Australian technical standards, but for products like drills, where there aren't any particular official performance standards, we devise a test method based on practical tests to cover how the product is typically used by people.

How we choose what we test

We test cordless drills/drivers as these are the most popular type of drill for home users. Our aim is to test popular consumer-grade and entry-level professional equipment which is readily available at major retailers like Bunnings and Mitre 10.

We survey manufacturers to find out about their range of products, we check market sales information, and we also check for any member requests to test specific brands or models. From this information we put together a final list that goes to our buyers.

They then head out to the retailers and purchase each product, just as a regular consumer would. We do this so we can be sure the products are the same as any consumer would find them and not 'tweaked' in any way.

How we test cordless drills

Drilling score

This is based on the time taken to drill 10 holes with a 13mm spade bit through 45mm hardwood (we use spotted gum). The faster the time, the better the score.

Torque score

This is based on screwing TEK screws of two different sizes (14G 50mm and 14G 75mm, 25 of each) into treated pine (96mm deep). The more screws screwed in (fully flush with the wood), the higher the score.

Ease of use

The drills are assessed for weight and balance, as well as grip comfort.

How we score cordless drills

The overall score is made up of:

  • ease of use (40%)
  • drilling performance (30%)
  • torque (30%).

We recommend cordless drill models with a CHOICE Expert Rating of 80% or more.

Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.