DIY Tools

9 Handy Uses for Your Cordless Drill/Driver

Some folks swear by their wet saws for cutting tile, while others couldn’t bear to part with their trim router. But there's at least one power tool that any DIYer worth his salt keeps within reach and uses at least weekly—the cordless drill and driver. It’s portable and can be used for everything from hanging pictures to framing a house. But to those in the know, a cordless drill can help out with plenty of other tasks as well. Its rotating motor and adjustable chuck mean you can insert all kinds of things and make them spin—and this flexibility, it turns out, can be quite handy. Here are 9 new ways to use a cordless drill/driver.

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Drill a Little Hole

Drilling pilot holes and countersink holes is essential for achieving a quality finish—so why not use a special set of tapered bits specially designed for the task? Most of the simple twist bits sold at hardware stores are actually designed to drill metal in a low-speed drill press, so consider upgrading to a set of brad-point bits designed for wood.

Make a Big Hole

If you work outside the standard drill bit set, you’ll find numerous options for creating larger, perfectly round holes. Keep in mind that a specialty bit always creates a better round cut than a keyhole saw or jigsaw. Use one for cutting holes for recessed lighting in the ceiling or for plumbing pipes in floor joists—or for cabinets, countertops, or even an outdoor shower.

Drive Everything

Most drills come with the standard flat and Phillips driver bits, which are essential for driving screws and bolts. By adding a set of hex drivers to your arsenal, you’ll be able to speed up assembly of flat-pack furniture and more easily take apart household items for maintenance and repair.

Mix Paint, Grout, and Concrete

Much like the hand mixer in your kitchen, a cordless drill outfitted with speciality mixing bits can be used to stir all kinds of things, such as multiple cans of paint for consistent color. Eggbeater-style mixers for concrete, mortar, thinset, and grout are also available.

Sand Curved Surfaces

Flat sandpaper and sanding blocks are great for flat surfaces, but wood curves and arcs call for a curved sanding tool. Use your cordless drill and a sanding drum to give a smooth surface to even the most irregular shapes.

Grind Metal and Remove Rust

If you don’t own a handheld angle grinder, you can use an attachment that chucks into your cordless drill and lets you use wheels designed for angle grinders. Alternatively, pick up a brush bit to use with your drill to remove rust from iron, steel tools, and household items.

Twist Wires

Looking to run multiple wires along the same length? Simply place each of them into your drill chuck and spin it for a neat bundle of safely intertwined wires. This technique also works for twisting steel cable to hang items from the ceiling, such as garage or basement lighting.

Create Strong, Hidden Joints

Many DIYers forgo the biscuit jointer for a pocket-screw jig, which—in conjunction with your indispensable cordless drill—allows you to build furniture, frames, and nearly anything you’d like with hidden, angled joints. The Kreg series of jigs enables you to use standard screws to safely and securely join wood in minutes, with no visible hardware.

Make a Turbo-Charged Pepper Mill

What workshop would be complete without a—pepper mill? Well, all right, this one’s just for fun. Check out this handy trick for boosting your pepper grinder. America’s Test Kitchen has all the details.

For More…

If you are interested in more tips and tricks around the house, consider:

16 New Ways to Store Kitchen Necessities

10 Handy Household Uses for Vinegar

10 “Zero Dollar” Storage Hacks