Most cordless drills these days are also designed to drive screws, that’s why they’re called a drill driver. If you’ve never used yours as a screwdriver or have tried but haven’t had much success, here’s a complete guide to using your drill to drive screws.
Which bit do I need for screws?
The type of bit you need depends on the shape on the head of the screw. The most common is the star-shaped Phillips head. For this you’ll need a No. 2 Phillips head driver bit which is the correct size to suit most types of these screws. Other common driver bits you’ll come across are the internal hex drive for bugle head batten screws; the square drive bit for decking screws and the nutsetter hex bit which fits over roofing screws.
Which drill speed is best for driving screws?
Low speed gives you the most control over driving screws, especially for the beginner and if you’re using Phillips head bits screws which don’t lock into the head of a screw as well as other types of bits. Once you get used to using your drill as a screwdriver, you can try cranking up the speed to get through the job quicker.
Select the right action setting
The action setting is the switch on the drill with pictures of a screw, a hammer and a drill bit. Turn it to the screw setting which means the drill is ready to drive screws. The other settings are for general drilling and for putting the drill into hammer mode when you’re drilling into bricks or concrete.
What is the torque setting?
The torque setting is the adjustable collar on the drill with a whole lot of numbers on it. Torque is the turning power of the drill and the torque setting allows you to control how much force is applied to turn the screw. Putting the drill at the correct torque setting will mean you don’t overdrive the screw. Test it out at the start of the job to get the right setting to suit the job you’re doing. Generally soft materials need a low torque setting while for harder materials crank it up to a higher number.
My driver bit won’t stay in the head of the screw!
This usually happens with Phillips head screws as the head of the bit doesn’t lock into the screw as well as other bit types. If it does happen, stop immediately. The bit won’t lock back into the screw and all you’ll end up doing is stripping the head of the screw and creating an even bigger problem. Here’s a 4 Step guide to driving Phillips head screws.
- Make sure the drill is at slow speed.
- Check that the head of your bit is in good condition. A worn bit is less likely to stay in the head of the screw.
- When driving, keep pressing on the drill to keep the head of the bit in the screw. Don’t take the pressure off as you approach the material you’re screwing into, keep it on and let the torque setting stop the drill at the right spot.
- Don’t try to keep driving a screw where a bit has already slipped. Pull it out and get a new one.
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