What Do The Numbers On a Cordless Drill Mean?

What Do The Numbers On A Cordless Drill Mean

Have you ever noticed some numbers near the drill head on your drill’s dial and wondered what they mean?

If so, then you have come to the right place.

It is essential for a plumber, woodworker, handyman, carpenter, or any professional in between to have valuable tools such as drivers and drills in their arsenal.

You might not be able to make any progress in your project, or your profession for that matter, if you don’t own a power drill.

When it comes to power tools, one of the most common ones is a drill. It is also one of the most widely used devices in various labor professions.

While expert electricians, roofers, and other such workers are well aware of the machines they regularly use, you may be new to the power drill word.

If you are still in the learner’s phase, it’s best to gain all relevant knowledge in order to make the most of your power machines.

The numbers at the front, behind the chuck, and by the head of a drill serve a specific purpose; they indicate the level of torque. Use our following guide to learn all about cordless drill torque:

Cordless Drill Torque

What does torque mean and how does it impact your drill?

Torque, also known as turning affect or moment of force, is the rotational equivalent of linear force.

Like linear force that is just a simple pull or push, a torque can be defined as a twist to an object.

Now the numbers you see on the front of your power drill usually range from either 1 to 20 or 1 to 10.

The former option is believed to be the relatively better one as it offers more diverse options and also allows for a higher level of torque. These numbers basically refer to the power or amount of torque your drill applies when using a drill bit or fastener.

Adjustable torque settings on drills come in handy when making a hole or inserting a screw into a particular material, as these processes need a specific amount of power or torque to be effectively executed.

In simple words, the numbers on your drill refer to how much torque will be applied to a fastener such as a screw. Once that particular torque level is reached, the power drill will stop driving the fastener or turning at all.

How much torque does an average cordless drill have?

torque settings on a drill

As mentioned earlier, the torque of an average cordless drill goes up to 10 or 20.

Whatever drill you own, the number sequence is quite similar and typical. They all work in the same manner, no matter the maximum torque level.

How does the torque numbering sequence work?

The very first setting of torque in a drill is the number ‘1’. This is always the lowest setting as well as the least amount of torque which your power drill is capable of mastering.

Technically speaking, it is highly unlikely for you to use the number ‘1’ setting as it provides minimal torque and is only suitable to be used with short fasteners or extremely soft materials. Moreover, you might not even use any of the first 5 settings located on the torque control of your drill.

Now, moving towards the other end of the equation, the highest number on the clutch (regardless of what the number is) will provide the maximum torque for any sort of application.

That highest number greatly depends upon the type of power drill you’re using. This number also varies with different manufacturers, models, and production quality.

The higher torque settings are usually used for longer fasteners and deeper holes, especially when they are being drilled into extremely dense and hard materials.

Lastly, modern cordless drills usually come with a drill icon that is a type of maximum bypass button. This button bypasses or eliminates the clutch setting altogether and causes the drill to provide you with the highest amount of torque it can possibly muster.

Therefore, the drill drives the fastener with all of its power. This is one of the most common settings that professionals use, as they are capable of setting a fastener manually by feel or site.

How to change torque settings on a drill?

Setting Torque and how to Change
  • Here is a simple step-by-step guide to help you understand how to change and adjust the torque settings on a drill as per your personal requirements:
  • Start by locating the torque adjustment ring on your drill. It is usually located on the drill head just before the spinning drill bit.
  • Now look for a small arrow on the ring. This arrow points to the numbers and decides which torque setting will be used.
  • Turn the torque adjustment ring clockwise or anti clockwise to change the level of the torque.
  • Before you finally settle for a setting, it is best to test-run a few levels in order to find one that is suitable to your needs.
  • Select the lowest number (usually 1) to test the settings. Drill a screw into an extra scrap of wood or whatever material you are using for your final project.
  • Repeat the last step after turning the torque setting to a middle number.
  • Lastly, set the torque of your grill to the highest setting and again drill a screw into an unwanted object.
  • Remember to put the necessary pressure on the drill for maximum accuracy in the results.
  • It is important to test different setting on your desired object to understand how your cordless frill reacts to and handles it.
  • While a very low torque can be tiresome and slow, too high of a torque level can be quite difficult to handle.

What are some important factors that contribute to the torque setting?

Here are some important variables that might contribute to the torque setting of your cordless drill:

The Material You Are Drilling Into

The material you are drilling a fastener or a hole into greatly affects the torque settings.

Different materials require different levels of torque, which is why you need to compensate accordingly.

The Amount of Pressure You Are Putting

Drill Pressure and Torque

When you use clutch settings on your power drill, it is important to put sufficient amount of pressure on the drill in order to get accurate results.

The Angle You Are Using

In order to have a perfect drilling experience, you need to use a drilling angle of 90 degrees.

A little crookedness could ruin your final outcome.

More on Cordless Drill Torque

Drill Torque usage

While most high-end power drills come with a perplexing collar containing over 20 different settings that you can easily twist into and adjust according to your needs.

These are known as the clutch settings of your drill. Here is all you need to know them:

What Does the Clutch Do?

You must be well aware of the way a clutch works on a car. The drill clutch settings work in quite a similar fashion.

As soon as you pull the trigger, the drill applies all of its driving force (available torque) to the fastener. This is you indicating your drill the amount of torque you want it to apply before disengaging the motor.

Why Do You Need to Use the Clutch Settings?

Clutch Settings

The clutch settings on your cordless drill allow you to control how deep you drive a fastener in an object. This comes in handy when you’re involved in interior work.

It is important to use low torque settings when you’re driving a fastener into drywall so that it doesn’t go through it. These setting also help you install delicate and decorative hardware while avoiding any damage by overdriving.

Woodworkers also greatly benefit from these settings when they need to drive small screws but don’t want to go through the hassle of tightening them by hand.

A medium-high setting is ideal for this purpose. Lastly, the highest torque setting helps you drive fasteners into extremely tough materials such as hardwoods and pressure treated lumber.

Can You Leave Your Drill On One Torque Setting?

Torque Setting and Screws

The majority of drill users don’t understand how a drill clutch works; therefore, they just set the clutch on the highest torque and leave it that way.

However, this practice is highly discouraged among professionals.

If you aren’t concerned about one setting damaging the fastener or the object you’re fastening into, then you can leave your drill to the highest setting.

But, if you need to ensure that your finished product is clean and flawless, you’ll see that torque settings contribute greatly to the success of the process!

Now that you know all about cordless drill torque, you can test your drill on different torque levels and efficiently optimize your drilling process!

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