Be prepared, this article is a big one! We gathered together some of the most popular drills under £100 and put them to the test. This isn’t like a lot of the other “best of” posts you will find on the internet where you can tell the writer has never seen the products. We have got our hands on every single one of these drills and tested them head to head. There are a number of different tests coming up, things such as: drilling into brick, auger drilling, driving long screws, battery life, cost and more!
Unlike other reviewers, I haven’t included any bare tool options in this list. A bare tool is where you get the tool only with no battery or charger. I didn’t feel including these in the list was fair as the title is best cordless drills under £100, not best cordless drills that you happen to already have a battery and charger for under £100. This is why you won’t see a DeWALT, Makita or the such in this list, while undoubtedly great brands I couldn’t find one under £100 with a battery and charger included.
If you trust my expertise (thank you, it means a lot to me) then I will link my winner below for those of you who don’t want to see all the different tests. For those of you new to the website I am a joiner by trade and have been for over a decade now as well as holding a degree in building surveying. Personally, I use Makita drills day-to-day for work so I don’t have a horse in this race, which should mean I can remain unbiased throughout!
The Best Cordless Drill Under £100
A fantastic, powerful drill at an affordable price. The overall winner of our rigorous testing!
So there’s your winner, the Stanley FATMAX V20 cordless drill. This drill won our test by quite a margin, finishing consistently top or thereabouts in numerous different tests.
Test One – Auger Into Solid Oak
We start off with a fierce test, I happened to have a piece of solid oak lying around that is not much use for anything, so why not auger into it? This will surely test the power of these drills. I know, I know, this is not something you are ever likely to do, but it is a great way of testing and separating these drills. If all I did was drill a 6mm hole into pine then it would be much tougher to separate the drills out. So with that out of the way, onto the test.
The run order is as follows:
- Black and Decker
So that’s test one done. As you can see on the video it was quite close between a few of the drills with some others a ways behind. Here are the full results.
The FATMAX, Ryobi, Ingco & Bosch drills were all closely matched. This is probably what you would expect, after all these are all the more expensive drills in this test and if you were to pick a winner it would definitely be out of this bunch. The FATMAX though did manage to open a gap to the rest of the competition and took the win for the first test.
Both the Black and Decker and the MYLEK were a little further behind, but truth be told I am surprised that either of them even completed this task. Augering a hole into solid oak is a hard task for any drill, never mind ones that cost under £50 with batteries and chargers included!
Test Two – Forstner Bit
For the second test, I attached a high-quality Forstner bit to the drills and had them drill through some framing timber. Watch the video to see all of the drills in action.
The run order is as follows:
- Black and Decker
Another test down and another close finish let’s see the full results.
A strong performance from the Ryobi, just clinching the win ahead of the FATMAX. Everything else was a long way behind which is disappointing for the Ingco and Bosch.
Again I would say a good performance from our two cheaper drills in the test with the Black and Decker only just coming in behind the much more expensive Bosch.
Test Three – Drilling Into A Concrete Block
So next up it’s time to drill into some masonry, more specifically a concrete block. I chose a concrete block rather than just concrete as it should be more consistent throughout. With concrete, you may be drilling straight into a chunk of aggregate which would unfairly slow one drill down.
This could still be a lesser issue though even with a concrete block so to try and make it fairer I drilled five separate holes with each drill and then took the average time.
Again in the pursuit of fairness, each drill used a brand new 6mm DeWALT masonry drill bit, so there could be no issue with it going blunt by the time it reached the last drill. This test should be interesting as two of the drills do not feature a hammer mode, these are the Ingco and the MYLEK.
It’s really hard to tell who won that one, but we can definitely see who lost with three drills failing to drill all the way into the block. For the results I scored all the failed drills as 0 points, this will show in the final results tally.
This test is a real disappointment for the Bosch and Ryobi. neither of them seemed to have the power to finish the job, despite being some of the most expensive drills in this test. The Black & Decker also recorded a DNF but with the price point of this drill that is more expected.
What wasn’t expected was the performance from the MYLEK, managing to complete the job where more expensive drills failed.
At the top of the results, the FATMAX once again came away as the winner but it was very close between that and the ingco with only 0.6 of a second in it. I did find it strange how only the FATMAX of the hammer drills managed to complete this test. I repeated it again and again but the Bosch, Ryobi and Black & Decker always ran out of power. I will say that the batteries were fully charged before each test to give all of the cordless drills equal footing, so this was not a battery running out of juice issue.
Test Four – Battery Test
So a big part of any cordless drill is the battery. If the drill is excellent in every respect but the battery dies in five minutes then it is a crap cordless drill. So with that in mind, I knew my test had to include a battery portion.
For this test, I got a large piece of softwood timber and some chunky, long screws. I charged all the batteries up to full before driving the screws into the wood. I would then count how many screws the drill could drive in before dying.
A note for this test is that not all of the drills have the same capacity of the battery. So we should be expecting strong results from the FATMAX and INGCO which both have 2Ah batteries whereas the rest of the drills all have 1.5Ah batteries.
So, onto the results of the battery test.
This is a great result for the Bosch, showing it has a great battery in there, despite having a smaller battery than the Ingco and FATMAX it came out on top. Then the two 2Ah batteries were closely matched and again all of the other 1.5Ah batteries were again closely matched.
For me, the biggest surprise here is how well the Black and Decker and MYLEK batteries performed. With cheaper tools, one of the common ways to cut costs is cheap batteries but seemingly these two still contain good quality cells.
So we have seen how the batteries performed, now it’s time to see what’s inside of them! You can tell a lot about a battery by the quality of cell used, so I decided to open up all of the battery packs and see what was inside. (note that I couldn’t open up the Bosch to see what was inside. The bosch was kindly lent to me by bosch so I didn’t feel comfortable opening it up)
Above is the MYLEK pack. Unfortunately, we don’t get much info on the cells themselves as there is nothing printed on the wrapper at all. One interesting thing though is the temperature sensor that you can see. This will cut the battery off if it gets too hot to prevent damage and even potentially fire. I would expect this on the more expensive drills but I am pleasantly surprised that it features here on the cheapest drill in the test.
So the Stanley FATMAX contains Samsung 20R cells. This is fantastic news if you are planning on getting on the FATMAX V20 platform. Samsung makes some of the best 18650 cells out there and the 20R are great cells.
The pack consists of five cells in series. This is what turns it into an 18v battery as each cell is 3.6v (3.6 x 5 = 18) so to make the battery capacity bigger you will need to add another 5 cells in parallel which would double the capacity, this is why bigger capacity batteries soon get very expensive.
Test Five – Drilling Into Brick
Next up is another drilling test. This is one that will really affect you though if you were to buy one of these drills. You could need to drill into brick for lots of reasons and you want to know that your chosen drill is up to the task, so let’s see how they get on.
So again we have the 6mm DeWalt bits from the concrete test so each masonry bit is equally worn and nearly new. This will just help ensure that it is the drill that we are seeing the difference in and not the drill bit.
There was one clear winner here and again it was the FATMAX. All of the drills managed this test quite easily even the two without a hammer mode. So if you are planning on getting one of these drills you can be assured that you will be able to drill holes in brick walls.
A surprise showing for the Mylek here, performing very strongly. I would have expected more from the Bosch and also the Ingco going off its other performances.
Test Five – Drill Race
This one is a head to head race to drive some long screws in and out of softwood. I have included this as part of the test as it is a great illustration of the difference in power between the drills. Nothing quite shows the gap between them as much as seeing them go up head to head.
There was one clear winner in this test with the FATMAX absolutely destroying the competition. Honourable mentions for the Ingco, Black & Decker and Mylek which all put in brave performances.
So you have seen all of the drills in action, but how do they compare in price? Let’s have a look.
*Note that every drill has differences in what’s included, I have tried to make note of that on the graphic below*