Best compact drills

In previous years, if you wanted a lightweight drill with more compact dimensions, you would need to purchase lower voltage sacrificing power, performance, and features. That is not the case anymore.  In fact, an argument could be make that most people do not need a full size since today’s compact drills pack a lot of punch.  In this article, we will take a look at the best compact drills on the market for home owners and do-it-yourselfers (DIY).

As usual, I will provide standouts in various categories including one overall winner for best overall value.  Make sure to read through the Cordless drill buying guide to better understand the types of drills and key considerations with each drill on this list.  Where possible, I will provide links to the individual kit and the combo kit (drill driver and impact drill).  


  • Best Overall Value
  • Best in Power
  • Best Budget Option

The Process

In the interest of simplicity and availability, I do not look at every compact drill made by every manufacturer.  I am focusing on compact drill lineups from mainstream brands that you can find in most hardware stores and online. 
For this article, we will be looking at both drill drivers and impact drills.  If a brand does not offer a standout compact lineup in any of the categories, they may not be represented.
Click “Shop this article” to jump to all tools mentioned in this article by category.

Best Overall Value

Ryobi ONE+ 18V Compact

Price: $ | Power: DIY | Warranty: 3 years

It is no surprise that Ryobi was able to snag best value with this set up.  Both tools offer solid power with entry level pricing.  In a combo kit, you get the batteries, charger, and bag for just slightly more than if you bought the two tools on their own.

Another great value option…

Makita 18V LXT Sub-compact – This combo kit is a solid option from Makita.  Comparable priced with Ryobi and a similar warranty, the Makita is a great value for compact drilling.  If it weren’t for Ryobi’s power, these would be neck and neck in overall value.    Buy Now (combo kit) 

Best in Power

Ridgid 18v Sub-compact

Price: $$ | Power: DIY | Warranty: Limited Lifetime

Ridgid 18V Sub-compact drill combo kit is not only a great value option but has class leading power.  Not typically known for the highest in performance, Ridgid obviously wanted to make a statement with these sub-compact tools.  In addition, the drill driver is only 2.3 lbs while the impact drill is only 2 lbs.  Pretty sweet!

Other great power options…

Milwaukee 18V Compact – Consistently taking a spot in the best in power category, Milwaukee compact tools are no exception.  They are small, powerful, and definitely a top of the line choice for any home improvement or DIY project.  Buy Now (combo kit) 

Dewalt Atomic 20V Max – I cannot say enough good things about the entire Atomic lineup.  It may actually be my favorite largely because there are so many tools to choose from.  If the price would come down a bit, this would certainly be the best value option. Buy Now (combo kit) 

Best Budget Option

Skil PWR Core 20V Compact

Price: $ | Power: DIY | Warranty: 5 years

Skil has really put their consumer in mind when making these compact tools.  They have cool features like the halo light and a 5 minute battery charger.  You may think that features like that come with a premium price tag but the entire combo kit is only about $150.  That’s right!  $150 for both drills, batteries, and charger.  Impressive!

Another great budget option…

Metabo HPT 18V Sub-compact – Only about $20 more than the Skil combo kit, the Metabo sub-compact set is a great budget option that actually has the lightest drill of them all coming at just 1.9 lbs.  Buy Now (combo kit) 

Shop this article

Using the links in this article is a great way to support Project Hammer and this content.

Best Overall Value

Best in Power

Best Budget Options

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top