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1 October 2020

Top 10 drilling tips

Whether you're using a corded electric or cordless drill, watch our video with our top 10 tips for drilling into a range of different surfaces.
Woman using a drill
Liz Ransome-Croker

Whatever type of drill you buy, knowing how best to use it and the features available will help make DIY tasks a lot easier.

Watch our video and read on below for the top 10 things to keep in mind to make drilling easy and free from any DIY disasters.

If you're looking for a new drill, you can find out which cordless drills did best in our tests on concrete, metal, sandstone and wood by visiting our Best Buy cordless drills page.

You can also find out which electric and cordless drill brands were rated highest by drill owners, based on factors including value for money, reliability and build quality - one scored an impressive 91% while the worst scored just 62%.

Top 10 drilling tips

1. Hidden pipes and cables Always check for hidden pipes or cables before drilling. The areas above below and either side of a switch or socket are no-go areas.

2. Battery costs Check out the cost of replacement batteries before buying a cordless drill. The battery can cost more than you paid for the whole kit, so go for a drill with two batteries.

3. Drill bits Choose the right drill bit for the job: masonry, metal or wood.

4. Hammer drilling Don't select the hammer action if the drill bit is rotary and non-hammer.

5. Drilling hard materials On hard materials such as concrete, prevent the drill bit overheating by regularly withdrawing from the hole.

6. Avoid drills jamming When drilling downwards pull the drill out regularly to clear the dust and prevent the drill bit jamming.

7. Tungsten drill bits Don’t plunge tungsten carbide-tipped drill bits into cold water to cool them – if you do this, it could crack the weld.

8. Using a drill Select different speeds for drilling brick, metal and wood; low speeds for brick and higher speeds for metal and wood. Most brickwork can be drilled with rotary drill bits without hammer action.

9. Cheap drill bits Avoid drill-bit sets that offer hundreds of pieces for less than £20. They’re likely to make your drill work harder than it should.

10. Cooling the drill If the motor on your electric drill starts to warm up too much and smell, remove the drill from the hole and run it at full speed with no load. This will draw air into the windings and cool the motor down.

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