If you think drills and impact drivers are only good for making holes and fastening, you are mistaken. While that’s what they are best at, they can also do dozens of other things with the right bits and attachments. Not only that but also their primary functionality can be improved with the right accessories.
In this article, I take a look at some of the cool drill attachments that are on the market. While not all will help you with your work, I’m sure you will find at least one must-have bit for yourself in the set below so let’s jump right in.
Rotary rasp attachments (like these by Asnomy) are used for grinding off unnecessary wood or plastic. Additionally, they can be used to shape or widen holes.
The thing to keep in mind is that rotary rasp bits are not designed for long usage as they are known to damage your drill’s motor. So, don’t forget to take a break while using them.
As you continue to use them over time, remember to clean your rotary rasps off from time to time, for example by using an old toothbrush. This type of bits is not used for finishing, so you might need to do some final clean-up afterward with a file or sandpaper.
There are two main uses for these bits.
First, after you drill a large hole and realize you need it to be a little wider, you can quickly use a rotary rasp to open up the hole. Second, if you have a pattern or geometry that is undersized, you can lean on the drill a little and grind off the extra material.
Another nice use for a rotary rasp is after you make a rough cut on a radiused corner of a piece of wood. You can put the rotary rasp on your drill and clean up the corner by hand until it’s to your liking. Again, you will have to do a final polish with sandpaper to make sure the finish is up to snuff, but this bit will save a lot of time when it comes to the heavy lifting.
Flexible Drilling Shaft
This is a fun bit that inspires a lot of creativity when you think of applications.
You are no longer constrained to drilling in areas you can fit the entire hand drill in. This bit can be used in any tight space. Examples might include working inside of cabinets, in crawlspaces in your house, inside your closet, or underneath a surface.
Right-angle drill attachments serve a similar purpose although lack the amount of flexibility that shafts like this provide.
Magnetic Bit Holders and Bits
Magnetic bit holders (like this one by Makita) are a very useful piece to have for your drill as they can save a ton of time. The way they work is that they use magnets to allow you to quickly put in new screwdriver bits (as indicated by their name).
Rather than having to deal with the chuck, you can quickly take out your old metal or magnetized bit and put in a new one for doing multiple tasks in the same job or project. Similar to other bit holders, the magnetic bit holder comes in different lengths that you can pick on depending on your application.
As for magnetic bits (like these by Yakamoz), they grip screws that they’re driving better than standard bits do. Additionally, they grip the bit holder better so they’re less likely to fall out of the drill.
That said, if you are on a budget, magnetic bit holders accept even inexpensive driver tips, so you don’t have to break the bank.
If you are looking for a good set of screwdriver bits, make sure to read my guide to the best ones.
If you do drywall construction in your house and don’t have a drywall bit, you are spending too much time and money using alternatives. Drywall bits like this one make hanging drywall sheets so much quicker and easier.
They drive the screws deep enough so that they can still support the drywall, but also shallow enough so the screws won’t poke out.
If you’re just hanging a few sheets of drywall, instead of getting a screw gun you can just use a drywall bit on your hand drill. The bit is contoured so the screw is always driven the correct depth into the drywall panel.
Since the bit is optimized for drywall it will never deface or weaken the panel face. Using a standard Philips driver for drywall could be a disaster if you drive too deeply.
That said, it can also be used when building a wood deck or doing a similar project.
Self-Centering Hinge Bit
Also known as Vix bits, self-centering hinge bits make sure that every hole you drill will allow a screw to sit correctly in countersunk hardware like piano hinges.
This bit will eliminate the need to hand-drill a pilot hole for a hinge screw. If you’ve tried manually drilling a pilot hole, you might find that the result is an off-center hole, which means the screw won’t properly sit in the hinge.
Like other bits, the self-centering hinge bit comes in different nominal sizes to accommodate different projects. Guide the tapered nose on the bit into the rim of your hinge, and then deliver pressure while drilling. There is a small spring inside of the bit that will compress, as the drill bit keeps driving.
This piece of engineering means that every hole you drill will be perfectly centered and ready for you to drive the screw.
Hex bits (I recommend this MulWark set) are used especially for repairing appliances, joining sheet metal, and driving concrete fasteners. Using this bit will typically speed up your job and simplify the project.
It works like an automated hex key. Of course, the bits come in different sizes so depending on what you’re doing, you will always have the right size bit. Hex bits are to be used specifically on driving hex bolts or socket head cap screws, anything that you would otherwise need to tighten using an Allen wrench.
There is also an upgraded set of hex bits that have an o-ring in them to grip the screws and bolts more firmly as you drive them.
Right-Angle Drill Attachment
If you don’t have the constant need for a right-angle drill, it might be painful to consider buying one just for this project you have coming up. The alternative is to get an attachment for the hand drill you already have.
This “hack” will turn your standard hand drill into a fully functioning right-angle drill at a fraction of the cost.
A thing to remember is that this attachment does not have the expected output or lifespan of a true right-angle drill, though. Using this bit will work just fine for one-off projects or infrequent jobs that require this type of tool.
If this tool caught your interest, make sure to check out my guide to picking the best right-angle drill attachment.
Garden Auger Bit
If you’re a woodworker that also likes gardening, you can speed up your planting process with a garden auger bit like this one.
This bit goes in your conventional cordless hand drill and has a helical auger with a shaft in the middle that comes to a point. You push the point into the soil, pull the trigger, and push your auger into the ground. Doing this will easily create a hole of a specific diameter and depth for gardening.
They sell different diameter and length bits to make sure that you can plant flowers, vegetables, or small bushes of different sizes. Though you may not think of using power tools in the garden, this attachment could be a lot of fun and make light work of the tasks at hand.
Lastly, along the same vein of using your drill for household chores, another bit to consider is a brush attachment. It is exactly what you imagine – a bristled brush that attaches into the head of your drill.
It comes in different sizes, shapes, and bristle geometries. Personally, I recommend this set.
This bit is another unconventional bit and bridges the gap between power tools and daily life. Whether you are in a rush to brush or just looking for a more enjoyable way to do so, this bit is a must-have.
Uses for this bit can vary from cleaning surfaces around the house, giving a good wipe-down to a piece of metal before or after you work on it or brushing debris off any hard surface.
In other words, anything you would brush by hand can now be done with your drill.
There’s no doubt that drills and impact drivers are the best at their primary purpose. However, in many cases and with the right attachment, they can substitute a more expensive tool. That’s especially useful if you only need to perform a certain task once or if you are short on budget.