The Different Features of your Cordless Drill explained

By understanding the different features of a cordless drill you can make an informed decision when purchasing. For more information on Drills and Drivers click this link.

Your new cordless drill will be made up of;

  • A trigger
  • A keyless chuck
  • Chuck jaws
  • Clutch
  • Speed switch
  • Forward and reverse switch
  • Handle
  • Battery (either Lithium Ion or NiCad) and charger

The trigger

You can control the speed with the trigger button; the trigger controls the rotation speed

Keyless chuck

  • Locked chucks are mostly a thing of the past now (so no more “Lost the key?” excuses!
  • New chucks are known as ratcheting keyless chucks and are easy to use manually doing away with having to use a key

Chuck jaws

The jaws are the metal parts that hold the bit in place, as you tighten the chuck you can see the jaws moving towards each other and squeezing the drill bit tight, thus holding it in place

The clutch

  • The clutch is the part that connects the chuck to the body of the drill.
  • You will find some cordless drills come with multiple settings for the clutch to change the resistance or torque or twisting force
  • This feature is used for precision drilling or when you do not want to drill too far into something, for example a drywall, it also allows for consistency in drilling

Speed switch

  • 2 speed settings means dual speed transmission which work to set the maximum rpm, usually 300 rpm and 800 rpm
  • Both settings will also depend on the amount of pressure you place on the trigger
  • When you need a slow steady drilling action for fastening you can use the slower speed
  • When you want to bore a hole you can use a faster speed

Forward and reverse switch

  • For the most obvious actions of putting screws in and taking them out
  • For the less obvious action of wriggling the drill out if it gets a bit stuck

2 types if handle

  • Again, fairly obvious but look for an ergonomic handle with good grip
  • Look for one that is easy to hold and grip
  • Original handles were like pistol grips which does allow you to apply pressure higher up allowing more force to be used


  • New T-handles are considered to be a better shape for most handling
  • The t-handle base flares to prevent the hand slipping and also accommodates the battery
  • It provides better balance
  • It can be easier to get into tight spaces because it means the hand is not in the way


  • The battery is placed at the bottom of the handle
  • The battery is the power of the drill
  • They come in different voltages and this will be reflected in the price of your drill
  • The more volts the battery has the more power the drill will have
  • Look for an absolute minimum of 9V or better still 12V of power

2 main types of battery


  • The latest technology dictates Lithium-Ion batteries and they;
  • Hold charge a lot longer whilst in use
  • Are more compact and lightweight
  • You can charge them regardless of how much charge they have
  • They charge quickly (look for a “fast” charger)


  • They are more expensive than NiCad batteries
  • They do not like to work in cold temperatures
  • The shelf life is currently only 2 to 3 years regardless of how much or how little you use it
  • Look out for constant improvements on this technology


  • Are bulkier and heavier than the newer lithium-ion
  • It can be overcharged if left too long on the charger, causing damage


  • They do work well in cold temperatures
  • They do have a long shelf life

Remember that it is a lot easier and cheaper to get the whole package including a drill, batteries x 2 and charger together, rather than deciding later that you need a spare battery.

If you have to dispose of old defunct batteries make sure you comply with local authority guidelines or check the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s website for further information on battery disposal.

Batteries cannot be thrown in with garbage, they are toxic and they can explode!

Your new cordless drill will come with an instruction manual and it will explain how to charge the battery. Following the instruction manual will mean your power tool will last its maximum shelf life without letting you down.