Drill Torque Guide

Is Torque Important? The Ultimate Drill Torque Guide

When you’re looking to buy a drill, torque is one of the very most confusing metrics to comprehend.

Every drill has a different amount of torque, and you know that you probably don’t need the drill with the most torque.  So that begs the big question:

How Much Torque is Enough?

Drill Torque

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To start, for those of you working in wood, the torque setting of a drill really isn’t all that important.  This is for 2 reasons:

  1. Wood is soft.  Even the cheapest drills aren’t going to struggle driving screws or bits into it.
  2. Wood is variable. Since it’s not a manufactured product like metal, the density can be inconsistent throughout the material, making it near impossible to have a “perfect” torque setting.  And that’s okay!

To be honest, the amount of torque a drill has overall doesn’t matter too much when you pay attention to the other specifications and metrics put out by the drill manufacturer.

As I just mentioned, any drill can drill into wood and do a great job.  The need for higher torque comes in when needing to drive into metal and masonry, which really should require you to have either a impact drill or hammer drill, depending on the thickness.  These drills have the capability to power through these tough materials in ways a regular drill can only hope to!

How Do I Adjust the Torque on My Drill?

Though the total amount of torque a drill provides isn’t highly important, the adjustment of the torque can be very important when doing tasks such as driving screws into pre-threaded holes, and re-assembling pre-drilled wood pieces.

For tasks like these, putting too much power into the screw can either strip out the screw, or even worse, strip out the threads of the hole you’re driving in to.

Drill Torque Guide

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The good news is that it’s really easy to adjust the torque on your drill, and that can make assembling these types of projects very easy and carefree.  Here’s how to do it:

  1. Locate the torque adjustment dial on the front of your drill, just behind the chuck.  You can see it in the picture to the right as the black dial with the yellow numbers.
  2. You’ll notice numbers going from high to low, and also a symbol of a drill bit – that means maximum torque for drilling!
  3. You can adjust your torque output by spinning this dial.  The lower the number, the less torque.  This allows you to be careful with delicate fasteners, while unleashing the full power of the drill when you need it!

Turning down the torque can really help you to take care of your projects and protect screw heads.  It’s just another great feature of modern drills that we can be thankful for!

What About Higher Torque Hammer Drills and Impact Drills?

As I alluded to above, higher torque drills can be really helpful and also give you the extra torque you need to drive into really tough surfaces.  I write into more detail about that in this post, and I really hope you’ll join me over there!


About the Author David