How to Use a Cordless Drill

Cordless drills are an essential piece of equipment for any home repair or construction project. There are many makes and models available, ranging in price from $20 to $400 or more. Even a low-priced kit will often have useful features, so it is important not to judge drill quality only by price.

power drill

However, no matter how much you pay for your drill, you will not get the full benefit of its features and performance if you do not know how to use it properly.

How to Use a Cordless Drill: Step by Step Guide

power drill

Step 1 – Plug the drill into an appropriate power source

Because drills are cordless, you do not have to plug them directly into a wall socket. This gives you much more flexibility in deciding where and how to use your drill. However, cords exist for a reason so never attempt to power your drill using alternative sources such as car batteries or solar power.

Step 2 – Decide what you want to do and choose your drill bit

Drills come in a wide variety of sizes, ranging from 0-3/8″ up to 1-3/4″. The larger the number, the greater size and power of drill bit that can be used. There are also several different types of drill bit available for different purposes.

Step 3 – Choose your speed setting

Most drills are variable speed, which means you can choose the correct RPM (revolutions per minute) for whatever job you are doing. For most drilling jobs around the house, use a medium to high RPM setting. For driving screws in or out, use the lowest RPM possible.

Step 4 – Drill your hole or drive in your screws

drilling holes

If you are drilling a hole, just press the trigger button and move the drill slowly up and down in whatever direction is required to create a smooth, even hole in whatever material you are working on. If you are screwing into wood, it may be necessary to start the screw in with a conventional screwdriver before you attach it to the drill.

Step 5 – Put your drill bits away

When you are done using your drill, never leave it with the bit still attached. Drill bits should always be stored separately to prevent loss or damage. If you do accidentally lose or break a bit, buy a replacement. Bits are inexpensive and come in many different shapes and sizes so there is always one suitable for your drill.

Step 6 – Unplug your drill

When you are done using your cordless drill, always unplug it. If you do not, the battery will eventually lose its charge and become useless. If you are in the middle of a project with one hand occupied holding or moving something, make sure there is someone else around who can switch off the power for you.

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What is Torque?

hammer drill setting

The torque setting on every cordless drill may be adjusted via the clutch. The dial on the front of the drill next to the chuck is used to engage and disengage the clutch. Use a larger number if more torque is required. However, for screws being driven into softwoods, use a lower speed for greater protection and less risk of running over the fasteners. Use a smaller number to manage how you drill screws into wood.

Even with the torque setting adjusted correctly, you may still hear some snapping when driving screws in. This is to be expected and can be prevented by using a slow speed for driving in the screw.

What is Chuck Size?

The chuck size of a cordless drill determines the maximum diameter of the drill bit that can be inserted. Drills with smaller chucks are more likely to strip out screws so it is worth investing in a model with at least an 11 mm (7/16″) or 12 mm (15/32″) chuck.

What is RPM?

When you are using your cordless drill, the speed at which the chuck rotates determines the number of revolutions per minute. This setting ensures that screws go in straight and cleanly to prevent splitting or cracking. Use a higher RPM setting for driving screws into harder materials.

What is Voltage?

drilling wood

Voltage is an indication of the output capability of a cordless drill. Higher voltage drills produce more torque and speed, which makes them ideal for drilling hard materials such as brick or masonry as well as driving larger screws into harder woods.

What is Keyless Chuck?

A keyless chuck is a good feature to look for when you are buying your cordless drill. This feature allows you to tighten and loosen the chuck quickly and easily with a simple twist action, which means there is less risk of damaging your bit or stripping out screws as often happens when using a conventional chuck.

Cordless Drill Battery

Drill batteries come in different voltages and sizes. Most cordless drills have the same type of battery, which means that you can purchase a replacement when yours has run out of power. If you are doing a large project, this feature is essential. There will be times when it is impractical to use an extension cord, which is when you rely on your battery power.

drilling large holes

Cordless Drill Battery Charger?

A cordless drill battery charger is an additional feature that can be invaluable for extended projects or long periods of work. A quick charge time means that your cordless drill will be ready to go again within minutes rather than hours.

Cordless Drill Charging Indicator

All cordless drill batteries have an indicator that shows you how much charge is left in the battery. It has four lights that show if your battery has between 25-100%, 25-75%, 25-50% and 0-25% of its power left.

How to Use a Cordless Drill Summary

cordless tools

Cordless drills are becoming more popular because of their flexibility, but new users can often find them difficult to operate. However, with the right knowledge and practice it is possible for anyone to use a cordless drill properly. By following these simple steps, you will quickly become an expert user.

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