How to Adjust a Cordless Drill? Understanding Cordless Drills
Drills are the most popular power tool, but the number of different adjustments can be confusing to a newbie DIYer. Here’s how to set up your drill before using.
Drills are used in almost every DIY and home improvement project, but do you really know how to adjust one to maximize its effectiveness? To properly use a drill it takes more than just fitting the bit and pulling the trigger. We’re breaking down all of the drill/driver adjustments on this DeWalt drill, but these settings are universal across all brands.
Every drill has a forward and reverses control. It’s a sliding switch that indicates and changes the direction a drill is driving depending on which way it is pressed. There should be corresponding arrows on each side of the switch to help indicate direction. By setting the switch in the center position, it will lock the tool. So if your battery is charged and you can’t figure out why the drill won’t work, then make sure it’s set in either forward or reverse and not off.
Set the Speed
Most drill/drivers have two speeds, but this one has three for an even finer adjustment. The adjustable gearing provides versatility based on the task you will be performing. Setting 1 is low speed/high torque and is best for driving screws. Setting 2 is a medium speed/torque and can be used for drilling or driving. Setting 3 is the highest speed and is meant for drilling or driving fasteners. Do not adjust the speed switch unless the tool is at a complete stop, or you can damage the gearing.
Adjust the Clutch
The clutch setting is the most important feature to have dialed in. You’ll see a list of numbers from 1 to 10 or 20. These are used to set the clutch to deliver a torque range. The higher the number on the collar, the higher the torque and the larger the fastener that can be driven. To adjust your clutch, align the arrow to a lower setting and start driving a screw. If there is too much resistance, the clutch will disengage the motor. Adjust the clutch to a higher number and find the sweet spot that will drive your screw to the desired depth without disengaging the motor or overdriving the screw.
Drill and Hammer Drill Setting
Past the highest number on the clutch setting will be an icon of a drill bit. Place the arrow on the drill icon when you want to drill. If your drill is equipped with a hammer drill setting, you’ll also see a hammer icon. This setting will engage the hammer mechanism inside the drill which will deliver concussive blows behind the drill bit to assist in drilling into brick and masonry.
Note of caution: Do not use either of these settings when driving screws or fasteners. The drill will not clutch, which means the motor will not disengage but it will stall if overloaded, causing a sudden twist. This can cause a serious wrist or hand injury.
Keyless Chuck Adjustment
To attach drill and driver bits, you’ll need to open up the chuck which will spread the teeth wide enough for you to slide the bit in. Rotate the sleeve of the chuck counter-clockwise (as viewed from the front) far enough to accept the bit. Insert the bit about 3/4 of an inch and tighten the bit in place by rotating the sleeve clockwise until you hear a click or it stops. A keyless chuck is meant to only be hand tightened. With a hex bit, make sure the teeth are firmly clamped against the sides of the bit.
Pull the trigger and look for wobble. If the bit isn’t seated correctly you’ll immediately notice how much it wanders.
A shortcut for installing a bit without so much twisting is to place the drill in reverse, grasp the end of the chuck, and slowly pull the trigger to open the bit. Then drop the bit into the chuck, switch the drill into forwarding position, and slowly pull the trigger while holding the chuck in place. You’ll need to release the trigger and hand tighten to make sure the bit is seated correctly.
Hammer drills are equipped with a removable handle that, when attached, offers a little more control and leverage to push the drill into cement or brick. To attach the handle, twist it counter-clockwise to loosen it enough to slide over the front of the drill then twist it clockwise to right it around the collar.
Many cordless tools will have an indicator battery pack that will indicate how much of a charge your battery has left. Push on the battery icon to turn on the indicator light. Some tools will also have these lights built into the tool if it’s not on the battery. Many times when a battery dies, they simply stop working with no slow-down or notice. These indicators make sure there are no surprises.