So you’re about to show up on the jobsite for your very first day of work. Maybe you’re young and the construction industry is completely new to you or maybe you’re coming in from a different trade, but suddenly it hits you – I don’t want to look like a total newbie on my first day! So what are the top 5 cordless drill accessories every Pro must own?
Top Five Cordless Drill Accessories Every Pro Must Own
It goes without saying that every Pro should own a good set of drill bits. But that’s kind of the catchall phrase. What most people mean when they say drill bits are the standard twist bits we use in our drills for creating holes in wood or metal. Many drill bits are made from steel and feature a black oxide coating. These are great for general tasks, but are inexpensive and need to be replaced frequently.
For the professional, two popular upgrades are worth your hard-earned dollar. The first is titanium bits. Titanium is also a bit of a misnomer – at least for OCD chemists who will tell you that it is actually a titanium nitride coding. This ceramic material increases hardness and creates a thermal barrier which gives the bit longer life in tough materials. These bits are appropriate for drilling in wood, iron, steel, aluminum, and magnesium among other metals.
However, since the titanium drill bit only uses titanium coating, it will eventually wear off and need to be replaced.
When you need to go through tough materials like cast iron and stainless steel, it’s time to turn to cobalt bits. Cobalt is an additive in the metal that is used to produce the drill bit, so its characteristics are throughout the entire bit as opposed to just a coating over the top of it. In addition to the tough materials I just mentioned, they’re also capable of being used in wood and other metals. Cobalt bits come at a higher price point, so you’ll want to pull them out only when you need them.
When you reach the end of a standard twist bit’s capacity – somewhere around a diameter of half an inch – it’s time to turn to spade bits to make bigger holes. These paddle-shaped bits typically have a brad point or a self-feed tip to get the hole started under control. From there, it shaves the wood out, creating larger chips that the paddle’s design will then eject from the hole.
Many professional level corded drills are capable of running spade bits up to about an inch and a half. However, you’ll need to check the ratings on your cordless drills. Often, these are only rated to handle spade bits up to an inch or an inch and a quarter.
Beyond the capability and capacity of spade bits, you’ll find hole saws. Hole saws use a pilot bit for a controlled start and then a wide cup to cut out a hole up to six inches in diameter. Two main types of hole saws are currently on the market – a general-purpose design and one specifically for wood.
General-purpose hole saws are often made with bimetal and are obvious because of their numerous teeth. Wood specific hole saws tend to only have 2 to 4 carbide-tipped teeth. General-purpose hole saws are good for cutting through both wood and metal while the carbide tooth designs cut through wood at a much faster rate.
It’s important to know the limitations of your drill when using a hole saw. For cordless drills, you’ll often need to drop into low-speed in order to use hole saws more than about two inches in diameter. It’s also not uncommon for a cordless drill to have a hole saw capacity of fewer than three inches.
Driver Bit Set
For most Pros, the drill is used to create holes and impact driver is used for driving screws and other fasteners. However, sometimes you only have one tool with you – the cordless drill. In that case, you’ll want to have a good driver bit set on hand. You’ll want to carry driver bits at least two inches long so they don’t get lost in the chuck as you tighten it down. This also gives the chuck more surface area to grab so the bit won’t slip.
It’s also easy to use the common one-inch bits by employing a magnetic bit holder. Some driver bit sets come with a magnetic sleeve that will hold a screw in place while you start the drive.
You can get impact rated bits if you really want to, but it’s not necessary. They’re optimized for an impact driver fastening into metal. Standard bits are just fine for work in wood and can often outperform the impact bits in it. Be sure to grab a set that includes square and Torx bits in addition to slotted and Phillips sizes.
Nut drivers are invaluable for applications where you would normally turn to use a wrench by hand. They’ll help you easily tighten or loosen a nut or bolt when using a wrench would require so much force that you’re likely to bang your knuckles in the process.
They’re helpful in a lot of applications around the jobsite, but they do have limitations. Understand that most nut drivers as a drill accessory are going to be fairly shallow. In most cases, your limit will be less than an inch of depth. They’re also going to do their best work in wood – an impact driver is the best tool if you’re bolting down against metal.
The Bottom Line
Top 5 Cordless Drill Accessories Every Pro Must Own
- Twist Bits
- Spade Bits
- Hole Saws
- Driver Bit Set
- Nut Drivers
So now that you know the top 5 cordless drill accessories every Pro must own, go out and make sure you look like a Pro on your first day! While these are great for general construction, every trade is different. What’s on your Top 5?