Electric Drill Ultimate Guide

Lady drilling into a wall

Electric drills have become a common household item. They are used for any number of projects, from simple DIY jobs like putting up shelves to more advanced construction jobs. But electric drills come in many different shapes and sizes, and knowing which one you need can be difficult. In this guide, we will cover the basics about electric drill types, both cordless and corded, their uses, and what you should consider before buying an electric drill!

Electric drill description

An electric drill is a hand-operated tool that makes it possible to quickly bore a hole in most materials. This is achieved with the help of an electric motor and rotating drill bit, which turns at high speeds within the drilled material.

Most electric drills these days come with carrying cases for easy transport from one place to another. They also often have an LED light built-in which is helpful when working in dim spaces such as crawl spaces under houses or attics where there might not be enough natural light available for adequate visibility around corners etcetera…

Electric drills come in two main types: cordless or corded. Cordless drills are more popular because they give you greater freedom of movement as opposed to corded drills which need to be in proximity of an electric outlet. However, cordless drills will need to be recharged after prolonged usage and they may also have a shorter battery life than corded drills.

Electric drills are used for drilling holes through metal, wood or plastic among other materials but their uses extend beyond this list as well.

Electric drill torque settings

Most modern electric drills have a torque setting that allows the user to adjust how much rotational force is applied to what they are drilling. This is useful if you are using your drill as a drill/driver whereby you can actually use the drill to drive a screw to fix something into place.

Electric drill torque settings are determined by the size of the head on the bit you use and how much force is applied to it while drilling. The bigger the head, (usually), the more torque that will be generated from your electric drill’s motor which means greater power for heavier tasks like driving screws or bolts.

What is the use of electric drill

As I mentioned above, drills can be used for a number of uses such as:

A. Drilling holes into materials that are too hard to mark or cut through with a saw, such as brick and concrete

B. Fixing screws in place for things like shelves

C. Driving bolts in tight spaces where it would be difficult to use a traditional screwdriver because of the size- this is known as drilling while driving (or sometimes called “chasing”)

D. Polishing metals which can create an amazing finish when done properly)

E. Using your electric drill’s chuck (which means opening up the front part of your electric drill housing and then tightening one end of something onto it- usually either another piece of metal or wood) onto threaded rods/bolts so you can work on them

When were electric drills invented?

The electric drill is a genius invention that has been in use for over 100 years.

Who invented electric drill

It was invented by Arthur James Arnot and William Blanch Brain of Melbourne, Australia who patented the electric drill in 1889.

Electric drill inventor

The first portable handheld drill was created by Wilhelm & Carl Fein of Stuttgart, Germany when they made their patent application on May 26th 1895. In 1917 Black & Decker developed the trigger-switch pistol grip which allows operators to hold drills like pistols allowing them more control while drilling holes with it.

Electric drill how to use

Next, we will explain how to use electric drill. Using an electric drill is very straightforward:

  • When using an electric drill, make sure you have chosen bits appropriate for whatever material is being drilled into: metal drills need specialised bits for metal, wood drills for wood etc.
  • Bits are available in various sizes and shapes such as HSS (high-speed steel) or carbide tipped. Carbide tips will last much longer but are more expensive to buy initially although they do save on the long-term cost of running your electric drill due to decreased wear and tear.
  • There is no such thing as a quiet electric drill, so you may need to wear ear protection as well as a face mask and goggle to protect your eyes and lungs from any dust produced whilst drilling during electric drill use.
  • The first thing is to make sure that your electric drill is plugged in. Ensuring that a cordless drill has enough charge in order for it to work properly. Drilling with a cordless power tool will not only drain its battery faster but can also cause damage if done repeatedly at high speeds without fully charging.
  • Set the desired drill speed (slow, medium, or fast).
  • Select the size of drill bit required for the desired corresponding hole
  • Next, you tighten down the chuck around your electric drill bit.
  • Then you place that electric drill bit onto whatever surface needs to be drilled into.
  • Pull the drill’s trigger and press it firmly against what needs to be drilled.
  • Start slowly with controlled pressure until the desired depth is reached for that particular hole. It’s best not to over-penetrate so as to prevent damage from accidental contact with nearby objects or surfaces such as floors and walls.
  • Once you have drilled to the desired depth, withdraw the drill bit from the hole and release the trigger on the drill.
  • Once complete, remove your electric drill bit by unscrewing it from the chuck of your cordless power tool and then store it away in its designated place if required. Use caution here as the drill bit may be hot from the friction caused by drilling.

How to use electric drill for screws

When using a cordless drill as a drill/driver, you follow the steps in a similar way with a few exceptions:

  • Instead of a drill bit, you need to select the appropriate driver bit for the screw that you need to screw in.
  • There are many screwdriver bits including Phillips, flat-head pozidriv and hex bits.
  • The Phillips driver bit is used mainly with screws that have a cross pattern on the shaft of the screw.
  • Flathead screws will require a straight-sided or slot-headed drill/driver bit to penetrate them fully before you can turn it clockwise into place.
  • Hex heads are usually found in structural hardware and have a square slot.
  • Next, you will need to choose a torque setting on the drill.
  • The torque setting is the number of pounds of force necessary to fully penetrate a screw with that particular bit, before turning it in place.
  • For most screws you will need between 0-100 lbs/ft or about .03-.33 ft.-lbs/in., but this varies depending on what type of material you are drilling into.

Once you have chosen and inserted your driver bit into the chuck and tightened it and chosen your torque setting, you are ready to drive in the screw:

  • Hold the screw in one hand and offer it up to the material that you want to drill it into.
  • With your other hand, pick up the drill/driver and place the driver bit into and against the head of the screw.
  • Whilst pushing slightly, start to squeeze the trigger on the drill until the driver bit engages with the head of the screw and the screw begins to turn.
  • Once the screw starts to bite into the material that you are screwing into, whilst holding the drill as straight as possible, keep squeezing the trigger on the drill until you have completed drilling in your screw.
  • You can stop and rest if you need to, before continuing with any other screws.

Is an electric screwdriver the same as a drill?

As well as Drill Drivers, Impact Drivers and regular screwdrivers, you can also purchase Electric Screwdrivers. These are different to drills because they typically only have one torque setting and the motor is less powerful than a drill and turns at a slower speed. These are dedicated to the job of screwing in screws.

Can an electric screwdriver drill holes?

Although it may be possible to find a way to fit a drill bit into an electric screwdriver, most drill bits are incompatible with an electric screwdriver as they use a push-fit fitting rather than a drill chuck for holding bits. Therefore, it is not easily possible to drill holes using an electric screwdriver.

Other Drill Uses:

As well as drilling holes and screwing in screws, drills have been used by many makers in very unique and interesting ways using an electric drill jig to achieve things that are otherwise difficult to achieve such as:

Electric drill press

A drill press is a more heavyweight kind of drill that is used to create holes in a workpiece. These drills are usually mounted on a bench and have the ability to set different depths, angles, and spindle speeds for greater versatility.

There are jigs available that you can insert your portable drill into that will turn your electric drill into a pillar drill or drill press.

Electric drill grinder

If you don’t have an angle grinder, you can also use your electric drill to grind and sand.

A cordless drill can also be used to cut drywall with a circular saw attachment, or for light demolition work on wood-framed buildings like knocking out plaster walls or flooring.

The electric drill is an extremely versatile tool that has many uses beyond the obvious hole making functions!

Electric drill ice auger

Electric drills can be used for cutting holes into ice for fishing.

They can also be used as an ice auger to drill holes for bait and lures or flagging, which is a technique of marking locations on the water surface by attaching flags at regular intervals using cordage attached to a weighted float.

There are many other ways that electric drills have been put into use in the past!

Electric drill lathe

A lathe is used for shaping metal or wood, by holding the material against an abrasive surface with precision-made cutting tools at varying angles. It can also remove excess material from around square stock for example and turning round!

It is possible to turn an electric drill into a lathe by creating a bespoke jig that holds the drill at one end, has a free-spinning section at the other end which holds a length of wood in place. The drill spins the wood and simulates the ability of a lathe.

Video showing how a drill can be turned into a lathe using a jig!

Electric drill mixer

Using a mixer paddle drill bit in your drill, you can mix paint, mortar or other substances with water or other liquids.

Electric drill outboard motor

The humble electric drill has even been used as an outboard motor to propel boats in the absence of an electric motor.

Cordless drills are handy because they don’t need electricity to work so you can take them just about anywhere and use them for a variety of tasks.

Video showing how someone used an electric drill to power a boat!

Electric drill troubleshooting

If your cordless drill is not running, there may be a problem with either the battery or the charger. If you have an old-fashioned corded electric drill, you might need to replace some of the wiring in order for it to work properly again.

As with most motors, some use brushes which get worn out and need to be replaced.

If you hear a high pitched noise, your electric drill may have too much pressure on the gears or it’s not aligned properly so that teeth are rubbing together. This can cause damage over time if left unchecked.

Electric drill troubleshooting

Electric drill losing power

There are several different types of motors used in cordless drills including brushed, brushless, permanent magnet direct current (PMDC) and variable speed reversible motors. These motors can need routine maintenance and as such it is always prudent to check the manual before proceeding.

Some cordless electric drills will work with a power tool battery charger, but many are not compatible due to different voltages and amperage ratings.

It is important that you know what your drill needs in order for it to be properly charged up so as to avoid costly repairs.

Electric drill repair manual

Most technicians and repair agents will be able to perform a repair using the correct parts and tools.

It’s also worth checking out your drill manual for any troubleshooting tips in performing these repairs on your own before taking it into an agent of some kind.

Many drills can be repaired easily by their owners as they only need cleaning or replacing brushes, springs etc.

Electric drill repairs near me

If your electric drill is still under warranty then you should contact the manufacturer of it.

If your electric drill is out of warranty and you need a repair then there are many companies that offer repairs for them, but not all will perform successful repairs so be careful what company to choose before sending off your tool for any kind of fix.

You can find repair agents by searching online or by looking in the phone book directory.

Video demonstrating how to diagnose and repair a power hand drill

Which electric drill to buy?

If you’re in the market for an electric drill then there are hundreds of makes and models to choose from.

Some of the costlier drills have more features and better ergonomics which make them worth it for professional use.

There are cheaper cordless electric drills that can be used in small jobs, or you could even buy a corded drill if you want something powerful without having to purchase batteries separately.

The perfect electric drill depends on how much work, weight and surface area needs to be drilled because different types will suit different needs.

If you’re buying an electric drill for professional use, it’s worth considering the cost of replacing batteries and buying spare parts as these costs can add up quickly.

It’s important to keep in mind that with cordless drills there is a limit on how long they last before recharging: anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours depending on usage.

Drills are also powerful tools so make sure to purchase one that does not have more power than necessary because this might result in accidents due to overuse or misuse.

You should always wear proper clothing when working – which includes eye protection, heavy-duty gloves and boots if appropriate – but be mindful of metal fragments flying off while drilling into surfaces like steel or concrete!

If you would like to see an in-depth review of what I consider to be the best electric drills, then visit my other post, ‘What Is the Best Drill for Home Use?’


Whatever drill you decide to buy, they’re a sturdy and useful tool to have in your arsenal. They can be used for a plethora of uses and form the basis of most homeowner or DIY’ers toolkit.

Whatever drill you choose, an electric drill is a powerful tool that can be used for many different purposes. It allows you to make holes in concrete, wood or metal. This article has covered some great information on how drills work and what they are capable of doing as well as providing advice on what to do if your drill doesn’t work!

I hope this blog has helped you to understand the many different types of electric drills and their uses. If you are looking for some advice on what drill to buy, we recommend that you consider the advantages and disadvantages of cordless drills versus plug-in ones before making a purchase decision.

If all this sounds like it would come in handy, go out there and get yourself the best electric drill possible!

What is the best drill for home use?

If you are looking for a new drill, then feel free to take a look at my Buyers Guide – What Is the Best Drill for Home Use?

Electric Drill Ultimate Guide

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