A home renovation expert takes us through the step-by-step process of handling it, choosing bits, and loading it for a project.

By Caroline Biggs
September 16, 2020
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Bryan Gardner

Ask any contractor and they'll tell you the same: Knowing how to use a power drill is crucial when completing projects around your home. "Having a reliable cordless power drill, like the Ryobi HP Compact Series 1/2" Drill/Driver ($129, homedepot.com), in your tool arsenal allows you to work through a multitude of projects with ease," explains Ryan Duffy, senior merchant of portable power at The Home Depot. "Plus, you won't have to worry about an extension cord or being near an outlet."

However, Duffy says making sure you have the right bits and driving kits for your power drill is every bit as important as knowing how to use them. "Specific bit sizes can be purchased individually, but it is recommended to get a set of bits that include a wide range of sizes to handle almost any DIY project," he explains. "With the right attachment, drills can also be used for sanding, buffing, polishing, and more!"

Not sure if you know how to use a power drill properly? We asked Duffy to break down the basics, and here's what he had to share.

Know what to look for when shopping for a power a drill.

The first step to successfully using a power drill is to ensure you have one with the right parts. "If you are purchasing a drill for the first time, look at the number of additional tools that operate off the same battery to save you money down the road," says Duffy. "Also, look for one with a half-inch chuck so you can accept a wide variety of bits for multiple applications."

Understand the major parts of a power drill.

Before you try to use your power drill for a home project, Duffy says it's essential to know what each of the main parts of one is designed to do. "The chuck is the part of the drill that rotates and holds the drill bit, while the drill bit is the removable part of the drill that actually goes into the project's surface," he explains. "The trigger is what you squeeze to start and stop the drill's rotation, and the speed selector adjusts the speed and torque of the drill depending upon the need of the project."

Pick the right drill bit.

Duffy says the right drill bit to use will depend upon the project. "There are many different types of drill bits, but two of the most common are twist drill bits, that can be used to drill a hole to make a space for a screw or a nail, and driving bits, which can be used to drive a screw into a surface."

How to load a power drill.

Once you have the necessary bit handy, Duffy says you can load the drill. "Loosen the chuck to remove, adjust, or change out the drill bit," he says. "Then insert the bit and tighten the chuck." Once the drill is secured in place inside the chuck, your drill will be ready for use.

How to use the drill.

Duffy says the final step before powering your drill is to select the speed and clutch settings that best suit the needs of your project. "Adjust the clutch to stop the drill at the desired torque (power); this is especially handy when driving screws in delicate materials." he says. He also suggests holding the drill vertically to keep it stable, and starting at a low speed until you're more comfortable. "You can gradually speed up," he says.

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