Cordless drills are ubiquitous, but not everyone uses them correctly. Here are 10 ways to extend the life of your drill and get it to perform better.
By Rob Brown
Photos by Rob Brown
While using the ‘Low’ setting, the chuck rotates slower when the trigger is completely pulled, but with more torque. The ‘High’ setting is used when there is less resistance from the drilling/driving operation, and you want a higher chuck RPM. I usually use the High setting and feather the trigger, and only switch to the Low setting when required.
The clutch tells the drill how much maximum power to transfer into the chuck, and will stop transferring power to the chuck if too much resistance is met. If you want to drive a series of small screws into soft material without sinking the screw head below the surface it’s a good idea to use a very low chuck setting. If you’re driving large screws, or are drilling holes, use the highest setting, often marked with a twist drill bit.
If you’re building small projects a big, powerful drill is going to be hard to manipulate, will cost more money and may even ruin the odd project if it’s not used with great care. On the other hand, a small cordless drill will die a fast death if it’s asked to do too much.
Some tasks are too much for the average cordless drill. If you’re drilling multiple, larger holes you’re likely much better off using your corded drill or drill press.
When driving screws my anger reaches a peak when the driver bit I’m using doesn’t grip the screw properly. Sometimes it’s because of cheap screws or not driving straight into the screw, but usually the culprit is a poor driver bit. Pitch any of your bits that don’t work well. Life is too short for poor driver bits.
I used to store my five cordless drills in a jumbled bunch on a worksurface. Needless to say, this added to the frustration in my day, and the damage done to my drills. Some sort of storage rack or shelf works wonders when it comes to organization.
Pulling batteries out of a charger is much easier if the charger is secured to something. It’s a little, but handy, thing.
To reduce frustration, and wasted time searching, I have almost all my drilling and driving accessories next to where I store my drills.
Some chargers shut off when the battery is charged, but many don’t. Make a habit of removing your battery from the charger at the end of the day. Using your battery regularly also extends its life.
Charge completely, and don’t over-drain your batteries. Leave the battery in charger until it’s 100% full, and remove from drill as soon as you notice a reduction in power.
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