The drill is arguably one of the key tools for any D.I.Y. project, with a whole range of applications. Its key tasks include drilling holes and screwing screws in and out of surfaces, but this versatility means it can be used for tasks big and small, including hanging curtains, attaching shelves or hanging pictures, through to building furniture or installing a deck.
However, if you’ve never used a drill before, it can be somewhat intimidating for beginners! Here’s our ultimate guide to using a drill.
Impact drivers are designed to direct their force downward, making them more effective for use on projects like raised garden beds and decking where you may be screwing into thicker timbers and metals. They aren’t used to drill holes, so when using an impact driver, you may need to have used a drill first to create pilot holes.
A hammer drill does everything that a drill driver does, with an added function called ‘hammer drilling’. This is ideal for drilling holes into bricks or concrete. A hammer drill uses a particular type of drill bit designed specifically for these harder materials.
You'll find most brands have drills available in brushed and brushless options. In a brushed drill, you have brushes that make contact with each other to create power. In a brushless drill, there is a motor that’s electronically controlled.
Brushless motors are generally a little bit more expensive than brushed motors, but they offer more power and higher efficiency. As such, you can typically expect to get longer run time, higher performance and less maintenance from a brushless tool.
A drill driver has a handle and a toggle, with the speed changing based on how hard you pull on the switch. There is also a switch that tells the drill to spin either clockwise or counter clockwise – one direction will drive a screw into an object, and the other direction will pull the screw out. Pushing the switch into the middle will lock the toggle.
At the top of most drills, there is a switch that allows you to change the speed of the drill. Use a lower setting when you are driving a screw and a higher speed when drilling a hole.
The type of drill bit you use depends on what you’re planning to do – some are designed to drill a hole; others are designed to drive in a screw. The chuck holds the drill in place, with the jaws tightening and gripping the bit as you rotate.
High speed steel (HSS) bits are one of the most common and are best suited for everyday drilling through wood, metal and plastics. A brad point (or w-point tip) bit is best for drilling very clean holes into wood or for jobs like dowelling, as the outside cutting edges do most of the work before the breaks through.
Masonry bits are best for drilling into bricks, concrete and stone and are usually used with hammer drills.
If you’re specifically working with metal, a cobalt drill bit works best, as it’s resistant to high temperatures and abrasion.
Screwdriver bits are exactly what they sound like, with flathead and screwdriver heads – they can make light work of assembling furniture!
For the ultimate all-in-one, opt for the multi-purpose bit, which can drill through most materials, including wood, bricks, concrete, ceramics, plastic and metal.
A cordless drill comes with an attaching battery and charger. You can buy the drills without the battery, known as a skin, which can come in handy if you start to build up your collection of power tools and don’t want to keep accumulating batteries.
To attach the battery, click it on and off at the bottom. You can get bigger batteries that will last longer, but they will make handling the drill heavier. Battery sizes are measured in amp hours (AH for short). Generally, the larger the AH the longer the battery will last.
You can also get corded drills, which come in at a lower price point and are generally lighter.
Before using any type of power drill, it’s best to put on safety goggles and in some cases, ear protection. These precautions will protect you from any debris.
To drill a hole with the drill driver or the hammer drill, load your chosen drill bit into the chuck and tighten. To drill into a plank of timber, like when building a deck, it’s best to use the drill driver in gear two.
If you want to drill into a wall or concrete surface, use the hammer drill, following the same process.
When you are finished, do the exact opposite to release the drill bit – rotate the other way and the claws will release. To put a screw into the pre-drilled hole, change to a screwdriver drill bit, line up the end and away you go. If using an impact driver, simply put the bit in the chuck and it will lock. To release the drill bit, pull back the collar and the bit will pop out.
Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.
When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.