Tool Tutorial Friday – How to Use a Cordless Drill

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you know how I feel about my cordless drill. Yes, I really do love it.

He’s my right hand man. I can’t think of a project that I have completed that I haven’t used my drill.

A cordless drill is an essential tool for any homeowner. If you don’t have one, stop reading this and go buy one! Seriously, they are that important to the DIYer!

Cordless drills can range in price from $30 – $200. The Ryobi 12 volt Lithium Ion cordless drill I use costs $79. The drill came with two batteries, a charger, a fabric case, the drill and a screwdriver bit. That should be the bare minimum that any cordless drill kit includes.

You may be curious what the volts mean. In short, the volts equals the power of the drill. The higher the voltage the stronger the drill. In all honesty, I think I need to upgrade to an 18 volt drill this year. The 12 volt has been good for 90% of the projects I complete. But, I want the 18 volt to help me drill and drive screws through harder wood.

If you are in the market for a new drill, I highly recommend a lithium-ion drill. Lithium-ion is the newest in battery technology. It lasts much longer than a traditional battery.  And, they don’t lose power as the battery runs low. It will just stop when the battery runs out.

Most drills have a torque adjustment. I rarely take mine off the high setting (because my drill isn’t super strong to begin with.) But, basically the torque is the setting where the drill disengages so that it won’t burn out the motor. If you need more torque, use a higher number. But, if you are just starting out, try it on a lower setting. Some drills have an adjustable speed setting. This is a nice feature and really helps when you need to switch from drilling through soft wood to a harder surface.

There is a button on each side that is used to change the drill rotation direction. Clockwise to drill and drive screws. Counter-clockwise to remove screws and bolts.

The chuck is the part of the drill that accepts your bits. Keyless chucks are pretty much the norm right now unless you have an older drill. Back in the day, drills came with a key to loosen the chuck. If you lost the key you were out of luck. Thank goodness for innovation!

Besides the obvious uses for a cordless drill (hole drilling, driving screws and bolts), I also use my drill to mix paint!

I bought this paint mixer attachment and use it all the time to mix new colors or just to mix paint that has separated. There is also an attachment for your drill that will dig holes in the ground when planting bulbs. I tried this attachment, but I couldn’t keep the chuck tight enough on the attachment to bore through our southern red clay ;-(.

Okay, let’s get this video started!


The viewer assumes all responsibility and liability associated with the hazards of woodworking. Pretty Handy Girl is not responsible for any errors or omissions that may be present in this tutorial. She also assumes no liability for any action or inaction of a viewer.

Please use extreme caution when using power tools. Read your tool manual thoroughly and wear protective safety gear. Take your time familiarizing yourself with a tool before using it. (If you are missing the manual, you can easily find it online by going to the manufacturer’s website or google your saw’s make and model + manual.)

Please recognize that I have tried to put together a basic cordless drill tutorial to get you started. I have tried my best to show the safest way to use them. That being said, I am not a professional (I only play one on this blog 


If you don’t own a cordless drill, I implore you to add this DIY essential to your holiday wishlist!

(I was not paid or compensated to write this post. This is my honest opinion and true feelings about my cordless drill!)

Winner announcements…

First, let me say, WOW! We had some interest in the Bogs Footwear giveaway. Rightfully so — those boots are super comfortable. I have to add a pair of McKenna’s to my Christmas wishlist this year ;-). If you didn’t win, you really need to add them to your list as well!

The winner of the Bogs Footwear gift certificate was: Jacque K. She said, “Oh wow these are GREAT! I love the McKenna and the Classic High Tuscany!”

AND, the winner of last week’s magnetic hammer was : Carla. She said, “Thank you so much!! I recently bought a compressor/finish nailer combo (awesome deal @ Home Depot!) and I hate to admit that it still scares the crap out of me. I have so many plans for it and now, thanks to your video, I’ll be much more confident about using it. Your video was my prize for the day, but if I should happen to get luckier, I’ve been wanting a smaller hammer for some of the projects I do (& I could use it for some of my sewing projects) – the 8 oz. pink magnetic hammer would be great!”

To be entered to win your own hammer from my sponsor, Tomboy Tools:

  1. Leave me a comment letting me know if you have any questions or comments on the Tool Tutorial Friday series.
  2. For a second chance to win, head over to Tomboy Tools and name one of the Tomboy tools that is available in blue (not pink!)

You really want to win one of these hammers. It is just as tough as any hammer I’ve owned. And the pink hammer insures that it will remain in YOUR toolbox, not your man’s ;-).

Have a great weekend y’all. I’ll be at the Raleigh Habitat for Humanity ReStore on Saturday for a demonstration. Hope to see some of you there!

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My advice would be to forget buying an 18V cordless drill and buy a nice corded one instead. A corded drill will always have more power, never goes dead in the middle of a project and will be lighter (no battery). Yes, it has a cord, but it is also a great drill to have in your toolbox. you might be surprised at how often you choose to use it.

We’ve got a couple of cordless drills around here. An old one that is HEAVY, but handy for bigger projects and a smaller, lighter one that is quick and easy to use.
One thing that is handy to have is a countersink bit for those times you don’t want screw heads to show.

My only problem with a cordless drill is training my husband to put the batteries back on the charger when he’s done using them! Every time I go to use it, all the batteries are dead! Any tips/suggestions for solving this problem???

Wow, I didn’t know you could remove the drill bit by hand, I have always run by depressing the counterclockwise button. I yanked my wrist hard that way and it still hurts after a year.
Great tut. Thanks.

Getting better every week, Brit! Saw a little distraction part-way through, someone making faces off camera? LOL.

We just bought our first home, inspection on Monday (SO EXCITED!!!) and I’m making a list of the tools I need in my new workshop in the partially finished basement. I’ll finally have the studio space I need for all my projects, and I’ll be leaning heavily on your tutorials in the coming months. Thanks so much for keeping this going. You’re a real asset to me, and to the DIY work that I’ve done both here in my rental, and the soon-to-be in our first home.

I recently used a Craftsman model with great torque and was sold. It made putting up window blind hardware a cinch. I have a client with 15 windows. It took me less than a half an hour to get all the hardware screwed on to the windows with this drill. It was like magic!!! I did not need to use the back up battery at all, but was good to know I had it. I will probably never use my corded drill again. Great tute – Brittany.

I WOULD LOVE TO WIN ONE OF THESE. As of now I don’t own one. I have to ask my husband to drill things for me. Love the tutorial. Thanks.

Love your tutorials! Keep ’em coming! I do have my own little cordless Black & Decker drill, but it doesn’t have a removable battery. We bought a Ryobi set of tools a couple of years ago and it had a drill, circular saw and reciprocating saw – need a tutorial on that 😉

For most jobs around here, the cordless tools really work well and my husband now saves the corded tools for the really heavy duty jobs.

I remember when your friend’s Mom, sent her daughter’s first lost tooth from Thailand to us in the mail during a snowy winter. She wasn’t quite sure what to do, not knowing our traditions. Unfortunately the light weight airline letter must have dropped out of our mailbox, and we did not find it until the snow thawed. Of course the Tooth fairy sent her a long apology letter with her money.

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