How to Use a Keyless Drill Chuck News & Opinion

How to Use a Keyless Drill Chuck | You Might Be 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 we come across quite a few users that are actually using it incorrectly.


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.


How to Use a Keyless Drill Chuck

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. We see a lot of folks in the field (and are sometimes guilty of it ourselves), just hold the chuck and press the trigger until the bit is held in place. Some people have more success than others, but it doesn’t always engage the locking mechanism properly.

You need to make sure you turn the chuck by hand until you feel it ratchet down.

So here how you use a keyless drill chuck more effectively:

  1. Hold your favorite drill or driver bit and turn the chuck until the teeth engage the bit (you can use the trigger to help if you prefer).
  2. Hand crank the chuck tighter until you feel it ratchet down. That’s it – simple!

Once you’re ratcheting the locking mechanism down, 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 that help you drop fewer bits? Let us know 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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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

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


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


Where are the actual Instructions?