How to Use a Keyless Drill Chuck News & Opinion

How to Use a Keyless Drill Chuck | You’ve (Probably) Been Doing it Wrong!


The invention of keyless drill chucks was a game-changer for making drills easier to use. If I asked if you know how to use a keyless drill chuck, you might be tempted to throw something at me for insulting your intelligence. But let’s hold off on that for right now, because the majority of cordless drill users we come across are actually using it incorrectly.

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Chuck History 101

If you’re not up to speed on your drill design history, many of us started with a keyed chuck. It’s that mysterious-looking thing that clips to the cord on your Dad’s old drill. When you insert it into a hole on the chuck, it creates a gear system that allows you to tighten or loosen it. Lose the key and you’re out of luck.

How to Use a Keyless Drill Chuck

Keyless drill chucks came along and I think we all breathed a sigh of relief when we used it for the first time. Instead of using a key, all you have to do is twist the chuck until you feel it tighten down on your bit and start drilling. Most have a ratcheting action that you can feel as it tightens.

There are actually two kinds of keyless drill chucks: standard (or non-locking) and locking. Most professional level and many DIY/Prosumer models have a locking keyless chuck.

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How to Use a Keyless Drill Chuck with a Lock

Have you ever drilling a hole or set a screw only for the bit to slip right out?

That’s what the locking mechanism is designed to prevent.

It’s super-simple to see if your drill has this feature (and to use it).

  1. Insert your favorite drill or driver bit and tighten the chuck down the way you always do.
  2. Turn it in a loosening direction slowly. If your drill has a locking chuck, you’ll feel it slip into it and hold. That’s it – simple!

If your chuck doesn’t have a lock, it will simply loosen. For those drills, just tighten it down and go.

On locking chucks, the locking position doesn’t prevent you from continuing to loosen your chuck. It just provides a holding. From the lock position, twist it in the unlocking direction to overcome that point and it’s free.

Once you know how to use a keyless chuck that has a lock, you should experience fewer instances of your bit slipping out. It might also reduce the amount of ribbing you get from your friends.

Hammer Drill vs Drill | Skil PWRCore20 Heavy-Duty Brushless Hammer Drill Concrete Drill

Did you try it? Let us know what drill you’re using and if it has a locking mechanism in the comments below!

Want to know more about the drill in the photos? It’s a Skil PWRCore 20 brushless hammer drill that you can read more about here or purchase on Amazon.

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krashtdPaul LyonselspodulateJoseph RyanGdstutts Recent comment authors
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krashtd
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krashtd

I have found that the new RIDGID Octane Hammer Drill is one of the most polarizing as to who does and doesn’t know about locking keyless chucks. This drill is notorious for its braking mechanism being too aggressive and the sudden hard stops will loosen bits like clockwork, to the point of being nearly unusable as it loosens every few hard-stop intervals. I’ve seen people use channel locks to tighten the chuck beyond it’s intended threshold and still have the bit fall out after a few uses. RIDGID was supposed to update new production of this model with firmware to… Read more »

Paul Lyons
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Paul Lyons

I’ve felt what you describe on my drills over many years and never knew this!

elspodulate
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elspodulate

yeah. i learnt from a pro joiner that you should always finish tighten by hand without using the drills power. you get a tighter fit and it is true. i have done that ever since

Gdstutts
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Gdstutts

Where are the actual Instructions?