Tool Tip: Cordless Power Drill

Another post about tools…we know what you’re thinking, “C’mon ladies, where are the pretty pictures and styled vignettes?” Yeah, yeah, yeah…we get it! But we think it’s so important for our fellow rookies to not be intimidated by the word “power tool.” Instead, we want you to be confident the next time you have a DIY project that involves those 2 scary words. So we’re back at it with “Tool Talk Tuesday.”

Last week, we chatted about the palm sander and 2 lucky readers (Kim & Ericka) even received their own sanders courtesy of RYOBI. Today we want to dive into one of the most popular tools out there…the cordless power drill.

How to Use a Cordless Drill: the cordless drill for rookies | DIY Playbook

What does it do? A drill is a tool fitted with a drill bit to bore holes into various materials or fasten materials together. A cordless drill is operated by a rechargeable battery. The attachment is gripped by a chuck and is rotated when gripped.

What projects would I use this for? Ummmm…pretty much anything and everything! A drill can come in handy if you’re putting a piece of furniture together and you need to fasten parts together with screws. It also comes in handy if you want to hang something on a wall and need to create holes for anchors. It is one of the most convenient tools and will help make any DIY project go that much faster.

How much does it cost? The price varies depending on the model and power in the drill. This 12 volt Skil drill cost about $45 from Home Depot. But if you’re looking for lots of power (18-20 Volt) then they can cost around $150. For the general home improvement projects we do, we’ve only ever needed a 12 volt drill.

What projects have you used it for? Wow, many projects on DIY Playbook have involved drills including our Ikea shelves, Ikea dresser hack, B’s DIY desk, hanging curtains, C’s white TV stand, and many more!

A good cordless drill should come with it's own case for easy transport to different projects!
How do I store it? Ours came with a nice little zippered bag to hold all of the accessories…because there is a lot that comes with a drill! This little bag holds the drill, the drill charger, and all of our drill bits. It’s like a handy dandy little purse full of DIY goodness.  I’ve often just grabbed this little bag and headed to Bridget’s house for a day full of DIY.
The drill charger is another critical part of the cordless drill. If you can't power the drill, it's of no use to you!
How often do I have to charge it? Because we’re not using our drill all day, every day, I feel like we don’t really need to charge it that often. I can install some shelves, put a piece of furniture together, and hang a gallery wall…and my lil’ drill will still be alive and kicking! But it does give you more power and “juice” if it is fully charged. So after a big project, remember to charge that baby up. You’ll thank yourself when you go to start that next project and it’s all ready for some DIY action.
Wondering How to Use a Cordless Drill? They aren't as scary as they might appear.

What’s with all of the “bits”? This totally confused us at first too. We thought once you had a drill, you simply put one attachment on and you were ready to go. Nope…not the case at all. A drill comes with many accessories and sometimes those bits can be a well a bit confusing (pardon the tool talk humor). Let’s break it down for ya…

When learning how to use a cordless drill, you also need to learn about screwdriver bits.

Screwdriver Bits: Some bits are inserted directly into the chuck. But most need to be put into the “bit holder.” The Black & Decker piece in the above picture is the bit holder. I have a large case of various bits (like the 3 small ones in the above picture) and these are inserted into the holder. The screwdriver bits are used just like a screwdriver. There are flat heads and Phillips heads…just like with normal handheld screwdrivers.

Remember, when using a cordless drill - the type of screwdriver bit you use will change with the job.
Projects that require a drill might need a phillips drill bit, a flat head drill bit or a square drill bit. You should know the difference.

The bits in the above picture do not need to be inserted into a holder. Instead they’re put directly into the chuck. I have about a dozen different sizes and kinds that I pick and choose from depending on my project’s needs.

Some projects require the use of metal drill bits. These are useful for creating a hole.
Metal Drill Bits:  These are used to drill small and long holes into different types of materials. I mainly use them when drilling into walls. I’ll create a deep hole with a drill bit, and then insert an anchor if I’m trying to hang a heavy item. I have a wide variety of metal drill bits with varying widths.
Paddle bits are used to make pretty big holes. You might use them with your cordless drill, but probably not very often.

Paddle Bits: Out of all of the bits, I probably use paddle bits the least, simply because I don’t do many projects that require them. A paddle bit is used to bore large, wide holes. They come in various sizes and will create a hole based on the size of the paddle bit. You simple put the tip on the center of your hole, and then use force to drill all the way through until you have a large circle. I used this to create holes on the back of our TV stand, so we could then pull our cords and wires through to the other side.

Here's how the 1 inch paddle bit looks on the cordless drill.
Another critical part about how to Use a Cordless Drill is understanding the forward and reverse switch!

How do I use the drill? A drill is operated by a trigger located on the handle of the base. You simple press this and the chuck will rotate. You can change the direction of the rotation by flipping the forward/reverse switch on the back of the drill. For example, if you’re trying to take a screw out of a piece of furniture then you would want the drill to go in reverse/counter-clockwise.

Most drills will also have a button on the top that regulates the torque and the speed. Higher torque is better for driving screws. While higher speed is better for drilling holes. You can easily move back and forth between the two options.

It's also good to understand the torque switch on a cordless drill.

Any rookie tips I should know? First and foremost, do not be scared of a cordless power drill! Using a new tool can be intimidating at first, but there is no reason to be scared of this one. The likelihood that you’ll hurt yourself or damage your home is slim to none. Just go slow, practice, and enjoy it! Power tools are meant to assist your project, and a drill will do just that. Once you start using one, you’ll wonder how you ever got by without it.

Learn all about How to Use a Cordless Drill in this simple tutorial.

So there’s the breakdown of this not-so-scary power tool. We hope that you’ll now feel like you can pick this baby up and do projects all by yourself. No reason to call your boyfriend/dad/husband over the next time you have to put something together. Grab that drill of yours (fully charged of course!) and get to work. We promise you’ll do great and maybe even get a little arm workout in using your very own cordless power drill.

Congrats to our RYOBI Palm Sanding Winners Kim & Ericka! We hope you heart your new sander… check your email for more details. And a huge thank you to everyone who entered; stay tuned for some more free giveaways coming your way soon.