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First Drill Chuck

5 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Bought My First Drill

Two seemingly short years ago, I purchased my first drill.  This came after a few years of using drills at work, so I figured I was an expert.  Makes sense, right?  After all, I used various drills on a daily basis, so I figured I could buy a consumer drill without any problem.

Still, there are a number of things I’ve since discovered that I wish I knew before buying.  Here’s my top 5:

5 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Bought My First Drill

1. Chuck Size Matters

First Drill Chuck

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If you are serious about doing some intense woodworking, chuck size matters.  About 6 months into my drill ownership, I realized that I wanted to make some pretty big holes with a hole saw into a piece of furniture I was making.  So, I naturally made my way to the hardware store and started browsing the hole saw kits…

What I found frustrated me- all of the saws that made big holes also had a 1/2″ chuck, and I didn’t!  I was used to the drills at work with 1/2″ chucks, and I didn’t even think about it before buying!

So, I had to borrow a drill from a friend to make the holes, lesson learned!

2. Battery Voltage

If you spend any time in the tool aisle, you know that there are a bunch of different voltages of drills.  They range from 7.2 volts, like this Skil all the way up to 36 or more volts like this DeWalt.

So what voltage do you need?

You probably do not need the highest voltage drill out there.  A 12v drill or similar is perfect for around the home tasks, while an 18v drill is better for sinking long screws, drilling through thick materials and making hole saw cuts.

Even higher voltage drills and impact drills exist and are perfect for extra-tough duty work, but aren’t necessary for the average homeowner or hobbyist.

3. LED Guide Light

When I first bought a drill, I thought that the LED guide light was just a “frilly” feature.  You know, something that companies tack onto drills to bring up the price.

Then, I bought a cordless screwdriver and realized how wrong I was.  The screwdriver featured an LED guide light, and it’s actually a really helpful feature.  Often times, I’m drilling or screwing in a dark corner, or the drill itself puts a shadow on my target.  Having an LED guide light allows me to hit my target accurately, every single time.

It’s not just a “frilly” add-on, LED guide lights are actually really helpful!

4. Spare Batteries

Drill Batteries

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My first drill purchase was for my own home use, so I figured I’d only use it for a few minutes here and there, and then a little longer for large projects.  Being the cheapskate that I am, I decided against a spare battery to save some money.

I quickly realized that I was wasting my time by only having one battery.  It seemed that I always ran out of juice at the wrong time, whether I got distracted by the kids, had to make more holes than intended or just forgot to put the battery on it’s charger.

Whatever it was that happened, I was still out of power.  And when you’ve got no power, you’re not getting anything done, which really stinks when you have a minute to work!  So, buy a spare battery, and keep it charged and standing by so you can always get work done!

5. Spade bits and Hole Saws Are Worth the Cost!

Ever try and drill out a big hole from a ton of little holes?  Even if you do a great job, it’s a ton of work.

How about using a jigsaw to make a 4″ circular hole? Good luck!  Even if you’re Michaelangelo, your hands aren’t steady enough with a pulsing saw to make that circle perfect.

As I alluded to above, hole saws and spade bits can really be helpful.  Anytime that you need to drill a hole bigger than your chuck size(1/2″ or 3/8″), you’ll need one of these 2 specialized tools.  It’s a great way to make a bunch of perfect, identical holes for all sorts of projects!

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About the Author David