The drill is arguably one of the key tools for any D.I.Y. project, with a whole range of applications. Its key tasks include drilling holes and screwing screws in and out of surfaces, but this versatility means it can be used for tasks big and small, including hanging curtains, attaching shelves or hanging pictures, through to building furniture or installing a deck.
However, if you’ve never used a drill before, it can be somewhat intimidating for beginners! Here’s our ultimate guide to using a drill.
You'll find most brands have drills available in brushed and brushless options. In a brushed drill, you have brushes that each other to create power. In a brushless drill, there is a motor that’s electronically controlled.
Brushless motors are generally a little bit more expensive than brushed motors, but they offer more power and higher efficiency. As such, you can typically expect to get longer run time, higher performance and less maintenance from a brushless tool.
A drill driver has a handle and a toggle, with the speed changing based on how hard you pull on the switch. There is also a switch that tells the drill to spin either clockwise or – one direction will drive a screw into an object, and the other direction will pull the screw out. Pushing the switch into the middle will lock the toggle.
At the top of most drills, there is a switch that allows you to change the speed of the drill. Usea lower setting when you are driving a screw and a higher speed when drilling a hole.
The type of drill bit you use depends on what you’re planning to do – some are designed to drill a hole; others are designed to drive in a screw. The chuck holds the drill in place, with the jaws tightening and gripping the bit as you rotate.
High speed steel (HSS) bits are one of the most common and are best suited for everyday drilling through wood, metal and plastics. A brad point (or w-point tip) bit is best for drilling very clean holes into wood or for jobs like dowelling, as the outside cutting edges do most of the work before the breaks through.
Masonry bits are best for drilling into bricks, concrete and stone and are usually used with hammer drills.
If you’re specifically working with metal, a cobalt drill bit works best, as it’s resistant to high temperatures and abrasion.
Screwdriver bits are exactly what they sound like, with flathead and screwdriver heads – they can make light work of assembling furniture!
For the ultimate all-in-one, opt for the multi-purpose bit, which can drill through most materials, including wood, bricks, concrete, ceramics, plastic and metal.
A cordless drill comes with an attaching battery and charger. You can buy the drills without the battery, known as a skin, which can come in handy if you start to build up your collection of power tools and don’t want to keep accumulating batteries.
To attach the battery, click it on and off at the bottom. You can get bigger batteries that will last longer, but they will make handling the drill heavier. Battery sizes are measured in amp hours (AH for short). Generally, the larger the AH the longer the battery will last.
You can also get corded drills, which come in at a lower price point and are generally lighter.
Before using any type of power drill, it’s best to put on safety goggles and in some cases, ear protection. These precautions will protect you from any debris.
To drill a hole with the drill driver or the hammer drill, load your chosen drill bit into the chuck and tighten. To drill into a plank of timber, like when building a deck, it’s best to use the drill driver in gear two.
If you want to drill into a wall or concrete surface, use the hammer drill, following the same process.
When you are finished, do the exact opposite to release the drill bit – rotate the other way and the claws will release. To put a screw into the pre-drilled hole, change to a screwdriver drill bit, line up the end and away you go. If using an impact driver, simply put the bit in the chuck and it will lock. To release the drill bit, pull back the collar and the bit will pop out.