10 Incredible Drill Hacks You Need to Know

Updated: Sep. 23, 2023

Your drill is more versatile than you think. Check out these clever hacks for your humble drill.

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Family Handyman

Electric Can Opener

This hack converts a simple kitchen can opener into a high-powered electric device. Remove the handle from a manual can opener (they usually pop off with a twist, or by removing the cotter pin) to reveal the handle axle. Insert that axle into the chuck of your drill, and presto — electric can opener.

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Power Clean

Speed up cleaning tasks by adding a brush to your drill’s attachment collection. This hack lets you deep clean hard-to-reach parts of your home. The variable speed of your drill means you won’t damage any fine materials along the way.

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HH Nail drill bit

Quick and Easy Pilot Holes

From time to time, you may find yourself working with temperamental material that’s prone to splitting when you hammer into it. The best solution is to drill a pilot hole. But what do you do if you don’t have the proper size bit on hand?

Sure, you could run to the hardware store and buy it. But why not use a nail to get your pilot hole started? Simply lop off the head of the nail, insert the nail body into your drill chuck and you’re ready to roll!

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Karel Pesorna/Shutterstock

Instant Magnetic Screw Holder

If you’ve ever struggled to retrieve fasteners or drill bits, fumbling to pull them out of a pocket while halfway through a project, then this is the hack for you!

Use a little dab of super glue, or even hot glue, on the frame of your drill. Attach a strong magnet in the perfect spot to keep screws and loose materials easily accessible while you work

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Give Yourself a Little Give

When drilling a smooth surface, it can be difficult to start a hole without “walking” the bit. Some materials are soft enough that you can use a nail set or punch to create a dimple to seat the bit. But other materials, such as glass, are more challenging.

For this hack, keep some painter’s tape and dense cardboard in your tool bag. Tape the cardboard over the area you want to drill, then use a carbide-tipped bit at low-speed to create a divot in the material. The cardboard will steady the bit. Once you have a starter hole, discard the cardboard and proceed as usual.

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drill depth starter
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A Simpler Depth Stop

Chances are, you’ve seen the trick of using electrical tape to mark a drill bit when you need to stop a hole at a specific target depth. That’s a great tip. But if you’re drilling multiple holes, that tape can get ragged pretty quickly. And once that happens, it’s no longer an accurate depth stop.

Instead, use a permanent marker to indicate the target depth and you’ll get much more use out of it before it wears down. Once you’ve finished your project, wipe the drill bit with some paint remover or Goo Gone and the ink should come right off.

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bit extender

Super-Long Bit Extender

Sometimes you need a little extra reach on your drill bit. You can run down to the local hardware store to buy an extender, but those carry a hefty price tag. If you only need the extender for a one-shot or short term project, why not make your own?

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Dixie Cup Dust Collection

Drilling directly overhead is a pain. Not only can it wear on your arms and shoulders, but the “chaff” or waste material from the hole will fall downward, almost inevitably landing on you. This is especially annoying when drilling into drywall.

Luckily, you can avoid all that mess with this easy hack. Take a Dixie cup or similar small paper cup and poke a hole in the bottom. Slide it down over your drill bit, mouth up. Then as you drill, the waste will fall into the cup!

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Vegetable and Fruit Peeler

This is probably the most fun hack on this list.

Start by putting a pre-washed screw set in the drill chuck to bite into the fruit or veggie’s core. Hold your peeler against the skin of the fruit or vegetable and let the drill rip! The peeler will make short work of the skin. Then all you have to do is back out the screw and you’re ready for the next item.

This hack works best on things like apples, where the core is tougher and won’t be eaten. But it can be adapted to deal with pretty much anything. You may opt to swap out the screw for a threaded plastic drywall anchor, which will give more bite into a softer core.

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Cheap Buffer/Grinder

Swap out your drill bit for a cloth buffer and you can polish and clean everything from shoes to diamond rings. To take things to the next level, turn the drill on its side and attach it to your workbench with a metal strap. Once it’s secured, you’ve got yourself an effective grinder, buffer or disc sander, depending on your attachment choice.