Can a Power Screwdriver Be Used as a Drill? Uncovering the Versatility of Power Tools

Power tools have revolutionized the way we approach DIY tasks, but it’s common to wonder about their versatility. Specifically, you will find many people asking: Can a power screwdriver be used as a drill?

In this article, we will explore the history, similarities, differences, and factors to consider while using these beloved tools interchangeably.

A Brief History of Power Screwdrivers and Drills

Power screwdrivers and drills are essential tools for professionals and DIY enthusiasts alike. They have come a long way since their inception in the late 1800s.

The first power drill was invented in 1895 by Arthur James Arnot and William Blanch Brain of Melbourne, Australia. Their drill was powered by compressed air and weighed over 50 pounds, which made it impractical for most applications.

In 1917, Black+Decker introduced the first portable power drill, weighing only five pounds. This breakthrough in its design made it possible for people to use it for a variety of applications without the need for a large air compressor.

On the other hand, the 1930s saw the introduction of the first power screwdriver. It was designed to quickly and easily drive screws into materials such as wood and metal.

In the following years, power screwdrivers and drills became even more powerful, efficient, and versatile, leading to the development of cordless models in the 1960s. Today, they come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are run on electricity, battery, or compressed air. They are essential tools for DIY enthusiasts and continue to evolve and improve with each passing year.

Drills vs. Power Screwdrivers

Drills and power screwdrivers share similarities like chuck sizes and bit compatibility but differ in speed, torque, and design elements.

Chuck Sizes and Bit Compatibility

When it comes to chuck size and bit compatibility, both drills and power screwdrivers use a similar mechanism to hold different types of bits. This means that you can often interchange bits between the two tools.

Most power screwdrivers come with a 1/4-inch hex chuck, while many drills feature a 3/8-inch or 1/2-inch keyless chuck. Some power screwdrivers even have adjustable chucks, allowing for a wider range of bit sizes for various tasks.

Speed and Torque

When it comes to speed and torque, power screwdrivers generally operate at a lower range compared to drills. This makes them well-suited for driving screws but may not provide enough force for drilling into hard materials like masonry or metal.

That said, some models of power screwdrivers allow for adjustable speed and torque settings. This makes them more versatile and gives you the ability to take on drilling tasks with the right bit and technique.

Design and Form Factor

Design and form factor play a crucial role in determining whether a power screwdriver can be used as a drill.

Screwdrivers tend to have a smaller build and a pistol grip for precise control, while drills are often larger with a T-handle for applying more pressure. Some even come in a convertible two-in-one design that allows them to function as both tools, making it easier to switch between driving screws and drilling holes if necessary.

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What To Consider When Using a Power Screwdriver as a Drill

When using a power screwdriver as a drill, think about power, battery life, drill bit selection, and adjustable clutch/depth control settings.

Power and Battery Life

Typically, a power screwdriver won’t be as powerful as a dedicated drill. Even so, it may suffice for small-scale applications and softer materials like drywall or thin wood.

Keep in mind that demanding tasks may drain the battery faster. As such, it is a good idea to invest in extra batteries or make sure the tool has a long battery life to avoid interruptions during your project.

Drill Bit Selection

Choose a bit that is compatible with your screwdriver’s chuck size and intended for the material you will be drilling into. Do you expect to work on wood, metal, or masonry?

Different materials may require different bit shapes and materials. So, for optimal performance and safety, take the time to familiarize yourself with the various types of drill bits available and choose accordingly.

Adjustable Clutch and Depth Control

Having an adjustable clutch allows you to control the amount of torque being applied to the screw, preventing overtightening and potential damage to the material.

Depth control helps ensure a consistent depth in your drilling, resulting in a neater, more professional finish. Ensure your power screwdriver has these features to make the conversion to a drill smoother and more efficient.

Can a Power Screwdriver Be Used as a Drill?

To convert your power screwdriver into a drill, you will first have to install the correct drill bit. Then, adjust speed, torque, clutch, and depth settings. Finally, prioritize safety and proper technique.

Step 1: Installing a Drill Bit

To install a drill bit in your power screwdriver, check first that both the tool and the bit are compatible by checking the chuck size. Then, open the chuck by turning it counterclockwise, either manually or by using a chuck key, depending on your screwdriver’s design.

Once the chuck is open, insert the shank of the drill bit, making sure it is centered and secure. Then, tighten the chuck by turning it clockwise until the drill bit is firmly held in place. Double-check for wobbling or looseness before proceeding to use it as a drill.

Step 2: Selecting the Appropriate Speed and Torque Settings

To ensure optimal performance while using your power screwdriver as a drill, you need to choose the appropriate speed and torque settings. Start by checking the manufacturer’s recommended speeds for the material you are working with.

Keep in mind that lower speeds typically generate more torque, which is suitable for drilling through hard materials like metal. On the other hand, faster speeds are ideal for softer materials like wood.

Some power screwdrivers even offer variable speed control, allowing you to fine-tune the settings according to your needs. Additionally, if your screwdriver has an adjustable clutch, set it to the highest torque setting for drilling purposes.

Step 3: Adjusting the Clutch and Depth Control for Drilling

The adjustable clutch helps prevent overdriving or stripping the screws, as it disengages the motor once a certain level of resistance is met. For drilling, set the clutch to its highest setting to ensure maximum power.

Depth control (when available) allows you to set a stopping point for the drill bit. Determine the appropriate depth for your project, and adjust the setting accordingly to prevent damaging the material or drilling too deep.

Always monitor the torque during drilling and adjust the settings as needed for the best results.

Step 4: Safety and Proper Technique

Wear safety goggles and gloves, secure the material you’re drilling, maintain a steady pressure, and avoid excessive force. Most importantly, let the tool do the work, avoiding side-to-side movement of the drill bit to prevent damage or breakage.

Power Screwdrivers That Can Also Work as Drills

Before wrapping up, let’s look at a few notable examples of power screwdrivers that can pull double-duty as drills to give you an idea of the range of options available. These models offer a good balance of power and versatility and showcase just how far power tools have come in recent years.

1. BLACK+DECKER PD600 Cordless Screwdriver

The BLACK+DECKER PD600 has a pivoting handle and boasts 80 in-lbs. of torque. This model is compatible with a wide range of drill bits. What’s more, it can easily handle various drilling tasks thanks to its adjustable speed and torque settings.

2. Bosch 12V Max 2-Speed Pocket Driver Kit (PS21-2A)

Another good example is the Bosch PS21-2A. This pocket-sized power screwdriver is compact and lightweight, but it possesses enough power to drive screws and drill holes with ease. Its variable speed and adjustable clutch are ideal for precision work.

3. DeWalt DCF610S2

The DeWalt DCF610S2 Screwdriver Kit is also an excellent option, offering a versatile power tool with an ergonomic design. With 160 unit watts out of power, adjustable torque settings, and compatibility with numerous drill bits, this model proves that size doesn’t always matter when it comes to drilling capabilities.

Of course, these are just a few examples, and many other power screwdrivers will have similar qualities. Keep your eyes open for these features when looking to purchase a power screwdriver that can pull double-duty as a drill.

Will a Power Screwdriver Work as a Drill?

Utilizing power screwdrivers as drills offer convenience and cost savings. The only problem is that it has limited capacity for heavy-duty tasks.


This versatile tool can save you money and space by fulfilling the role of two separate power tools. It is also typically more lightweight and compact than a traditional drill, so it is easier to handle for extended periods and in tight spaces.

Additionally, the adjustable torque settings found in many power screwdrivers can help limit damage to delicate surfaces when drilling. Overall, using a power screwdriver as a drill can be an efficient and effective solution for a variety of tasks.


While using a power screwdriver as a drill can be convenient, it does come with limitations. These include lower torque and slower drilling speeds compared to dedicated drills, especially when drilling into tougher materials.

Moreover, power screwdrivers may lack certain features, such as a keyed chuck or hammer action. These limitations make them less versatile for certain tasks.

Overall, you will find that using a power screwdriver as a drill works well for light-duty drilling tasks. However, a dedicated drill would still be better suited for heavy-duty and professional applications.

Should You Use a Power Screwdriver as a Drill?

Using a power screwdriver as a drill is possible due to their similarities in design and function. However, it is crucial to consider factors like power, battery life, and bit selection. In doing this, knowing how to convert your power screwdriver and practicing safe techniques is key.

While there are undeniable benefits, like versatility and cost-effectiveness, limitations, such as lower torque and drilling speed, make a dedicated drill more suitable for heavy-duty tasks.

So, can a power screwdriver be used as a drill? In the end, weighing the pros and cons will help you determine the feasibility of using a power screwdriver as a drill in specific applications, ensuring perfect results every time.

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