Canadian Woodworking

Top 10 Ways to get the Most from your Cordless Drill

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.

1. Understand and use the torque selector switch

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.

2. Understand and use the clutch

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.

3. Purchase the right size/power of drill

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.

4. Don’t be afraid to put down your cordless drill

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.

5. Use quality driver bits

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.

6. Store drills for easy access

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.

7. Secure chargers for easy access and battery removal

Pulling batteries out of a charger is much easier if the charger is secured to something. It’s a little, but handy, thing.

8. Keep all drilling/boring accessories nearby in a single spot

To reduce frustration, and wasted time searching, I have almost all my drilling and driving accessories next to where I store my drills.

9. Don’t leave batteries in charger for long periods of time

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.

10. Charge and Recharge properly

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.

Were any important tips left off this list? Share your thoughts at the end of this article, on our website.

Rob Brown - [email protected]

Rob is a studio furniture maker and the editor at Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement. Instagram at @RobBrownTeaches

Any thoughts, tips or questions you can share?

Leave a comment in the section below.


  1. Advertisement

  2. my cordless drill is about one year old, but the batteries don’t keep a charge for very long. one of them won’t hold a charge at all. it is a DeWalt model.
    Any advice?

    1. DeWALT batteries have a standard 3 year warranty. Hopefully you registered your purchase John (or you haver your receipt). If you did, then contact customer support and they’ll tell you if there is a DeWALT service center in your area, or where to send the batteries for replacement/repair. Carl

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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

More Top 10 Lists

Top 10 ways to improve storage

“Out with the old” is the first step...

Top 10 essential power tools for the woodworker

These 10 power tools will make your DIY...

Top 10 DIY hand tools

Make your home maintenance and improvement jobs easier...

Username: Password: