Can a Cordless Drill be used as a Screwdriver?

Every woodworker or a DIY enthusiast will undoubtedly fancy the acquisition of a multi-purpose tool. A 2-in-1 tool saves on the cost of purchasing a second model and keeps on space and convenience at work. A versatile tool is an essential addition to your tool collection. Having a tool that can enable you to make round holes and drive fasteners in the name of drill and use it for screwing (installing) and unscrewing (removing) screws in the name of a screwdriver will make your woodworking job easy and efficient. However, one question that individuals often pose is, Can A cordless Drill be used as a screwdriver?

Yes. You can effectively use a cordless drill as a screwdriver. Using a cordless drill as a screwdriver is both time-saving and secure. However, the efficiency and precision at which you can use the drill as a screwdriver and get your project done to your satisfaction require you to consider specific tips that I have illustrated in this article.

Can A Cordless Drill be used as a Screwdriver? Yes. The picture shows a drill in use to unscrew screws on the door lock

Factors to Consider when using a cordless drill as a screwdriver

Back off the clutch

Every drill gets equipped with torque control, also called a clutch, located behind the chuck of the drill. The clasp is calibrated with specific numbers that indicate the amount of torque that can be produced by the drill.  

If you intend to use the drill as a screw, then you must efficiently learn how to utilize the slip clutch since it monitors the amount of torque you are applying on your project, whether it is for screwing or unscrewing screws. In a case the right amount of torque is not applied, the chuck will stop turning as the clutch will back off, which will inhibit the drill from getting used as a screwdriver. 

Another aspect that you must learn when you want to use a cordless drill as a multi-tool is the nature of the speed. For instance, when a slip clutch has a higher speed, such a drill can be used as a driver for large and fat screws while a slip clutch with low speed is applied in projects where small and thin screws are driven or removed.

Moreover, when learning about the speed and the amount of torque applied, it is essential to determine the nature of the material you are working on. For example, if you need to drive the screw into a soft material like fir, cedar or pine, you must ensure that you lower the speed and torque to prevent the destruction of the material. Conversely, hardwoods like mahogany or oak will require high speed and torque, which makes the nature of material an essential factor of consideration.

Have the right bit in place 

You cannot go wrong on the bit-type you want to use when a cordless drill is used as a screwdriver. Perhaps the most relevant aspect of the question; can a cordless drill be used as a screwdriver? When you have the right bit in place, you can, no doubt, use a drill as a driver.

Ensure that you choose the correct screwdriver bit as the screw you intend to use. This, however, should not be an issue because the metal of the bit contains the bit information. Moreover, if you are still in doubt about whether you have chosen the right bit, you can take further precautions by holding the bit at a 45-degree angle on the screw. The practice will help you determine if you are using the right bit if the screw does not fall off and stays in the bit.

The screw should be firmly held

Another essential precaution you must take when you want to use a cordless drill as a driver is to keep the screw secure. The screw can sometimes slip off the board while in use. However, suppose you want to ensure this does not happen. In that case, you need to carefully grip the sides and hold the screw on the spot until the screw gets into the material to appoint where slipping cannot occur, as a measure to enhance the safety of using the tool.

Make Clearance hole 

Learning to drive the screw without making a crack on the board is as important as learning how to control the slip clutch. To ensure proper use of the cordless drill as a driver without damaging the board, you can pre-drill a hole into the board that is the same as the diameter of the screw. The clearance hole you are making will allow the screw to effectively pass through the board without making cracks to the material, hence a practical precaution.

Utilize the magnetic bit tip holder 

Another precaution that you need to take when you intend to use a drill as a screwdriver is to use a magnetic bit tip holder, which facilitates the easy and convenient changing of the bits to guarantee that you can complete your job easily and fast. Most importantly, the holder also helps improve the length of the drill bits, and this will allow you to reach the screws, deep inside the board or drive them to the required extent.

Moreover, the holder will allow you to hold the metal screw in place to improve your driving job of the screw inside the board. 

How to Use a Cordless Drill as a Screwdriver 

It is important to note that a drill can be effectively used as a screwdriver and applied to numerous applications. Even though I have illustrated some of the measures or factors you need to consider when using a drill to drive screws, someone will ask, how do the exercises use to drive the screws? Some people even call the drill drivers but have not realized the reason behind the name. The drill’s ability to drive the screws into materials of different material types makes them appropriate for use as screwdrivers. If you have not done this, you must give it a try. 

  • Ensure the drill is at the lowest speed-before you begin using a drill as a screwdriver, first ensure that you have set the speed to the lowest level, especially when you are a first user. The low speed is a precaution for your safety and the material you want to work on. 
  • The second step is to assess the head of your bit and guarantee it is in good condition. A bit that is worn out will not stay in the head of the screw, resulting in inefficiency in accomplishing your project.
  • The third step is to drive the screw. When driving the screw, you need to keep pressing on the drill to ensure that the head of the bit remains in the screw. You should also ensure that you have not taken the pressure off as you approach the material you are screwing into, keep it on, and ensure that you let the torque setting stop the drill at the right spot.
  • Lastly, ensure that you do not keep driving the screw where it has already slipped. If that happens, you should pull out the bit and insert a new one.

When you effectively follow these steps, you will use a cordless drill as a screwdriver. Following the above steps helps keep you safe when you are using the tool and helps keep safe the material you are using. This makes a cordless drill an ideal tool that can be used as a screwdriver. 

Cordless Drill vs. Cordless Screwdriver 

Unlike the traditional screwdrivers, the cordless types are many improved versions since they are powered by the battery that does not limit you to working in a single location. Still, you can carry the tool to different workstations. This is the same case with the cordless drill. The units are powered by lithium-ion batteries that give them enough power for sufficient runtime for most of the DIY projects. 

However, despite the similarities in the source of power. It is important to note specific differences between the cordless drill and screwdriver and the various applications where each can be put to. 

The cordless screwdrivers have the following properties;

  • Lightweight and a compact design that makes them ideal for assembly-based jobs. The compact design ensures that you can easily store them within the garage and carry them to different workstations due to their lightweight design.
  • They are a great companion to the drill. 
  • The screwdrivers are also ideal for the screws that can be easy to overdrive or over-torque 

However, the cordless screwdrivers lack certain features that make them completely different from the drills unless enhanced.  

  • The cordless screwdrivers are not high-powered 
  • They are not built for drilling holes in different materials especially on hard surfaces 
  • They are not suitable for applications that require high torque

Such limitations are why DIY enthusiasts should have a cordless drill with the power to get applied to different material types. The cordless drills are;

  • Highly powered and can be used for a wide range of applications 
  • The cordless drills can be used in projects that require high torque applications 
  • The drills are suited for making holes on boards made from different materials.
  • The drills also boast a compact design and are lightweight.

Safety Measures when using a Cordless Drill as a screwdriver 

Determine when to use a reverse switch on the drill 

The first precaution that you need to take is to determine when to utilize a reverse switch on the drill. All the power drills have a forward (clockwise) and reverse (counter-clockwise) switch that is usually placed right above the trigger. 

After you have done your drilling job, it is essential that you set the bit direction to reverse-spin it counterclockwise so that the bit comes out of the hole quickly and cleanly. The reverse mode is also integral in the case because it will help remove the other fasteners and screws. 

Do not leave a bit behind

The second precaution is to ensure there is no bit left behind. You should ensure that you drill with an on-board bit holder that is both times saving and hassle since the bits that you will need are often and easily accessible.

You should shed light on your work with an LED

Working on a well-lit environment should be your priority when using a drill. Some of the drills are fitted with LED lights that help illuminate the surfaces where you are working on. The practice can be a life-saver when you are screwing or drilling in an enclosed space or in a tight place where the lighting is compromised.

The video below shows how you can use a cordless drill as a screwdriver

Conclusion 

With the massive benefits attached to the cordless drills and due to their wide applications, you must consider buying a cordless drill, which by following the measures I have described in the article, can be used as a screwdriver. Also, with the steps illustrated in this guide, the question on ‘can a cordless drill be used as a screwdriver?’ is adequately answered. You can use a cordless drill as a screwdriver. 

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