Your power drill is capable of so much more than simply going through holes and tightening screws – with the right accessories; you can turn your single tool into a multi-functional super machine. That means more space in your garage, less money spent on different tools, and a more convenient way to tackle DIY projects. A diverse drill accessories can help you reach far-away or tight spaces, drill between wall studs, power through metals, and even help you mix paint or cement.
Depending on the type of work you do, some accessories will be more appealing to you than others – some might come in handy once in a blue moon, while others might be used just as often as your standard cordless drill accessories. But most importantly, don’t get blinded by huge and cheap assortments. Quality always comes at a price.
Whenever you buy any adapter or attachment, it’s important to make sure that it’s compatible with your specific cordless or corded drill – if you’re buying the drill accessories kit as a gift for the handy person in your life, don’t assume that they’re all the same.
While there are dozens of different tool accessories out there, we’ve compiled a list of the ones we’ve found to be the most useful for day-to-day projects and repairs.
1. Drill Bit Extensions
While you probably won’t need to use them very often, drill bit accessories can be a lifesaver in certain situations. These extensions are essentially just an elongated drill bit and can range anywhere from 4 to 30 inches in length. To use, just attach the extension to the chuck and attach your piece to the extension.
A drill bit extension can help you get into tight corners and other places you wouldn’t normally be able to reach, such as the inside of a wall. Even if you could reach the area without an extension, sticking your entire hand into a small space can obscure your vision – an extension allows you to see better what you’re doing. A drill bit extension is also handy in a tight attic space with hard to reach corners.
While most drill bit extensions are used for drilling holes and tightening screws, some can be used to unclog drains. An electric drain snake offers more power than a manual snake, allowing you to dislodge more stubborn clogs. In general, it’s a good idea to keep a variety of extension lengths and types on hand so that you can be prepared for any situation.
2. Metal Shears
Not to be confused with the kind used to shear sheep, these tool accessories are used to cut through sheet metal and trim a variety of other materials, including roofing slates, corrugated siding, vinyl flooring, aluminum flashing, HVAC duct board, and cement siding.
A metal shear attachment can turn your electric drill into a powerful machine, and unlike manual metal shears, the accessory leaves the material with a smooth edge, which saves you from getting a nasty cut (you should still wear protective gloves though). And of course, using machine-powered shears is much easier and much faster than cutting by hand, especially when attached to a cordless drill.
The greatest benefits to using a metal shear attachment are versatility and precision. When attached to a cordless drill, you can take it anywhere, from the roof to the backyard. Electric shears are also capable of making more precise cross-cuts, circular cuts, and trapezoidal shapes from corrugated metal.
The average metal shear attachment costs anywhere from $20 to $200, depending on the cutting strength that you want. This accessory is a must-have for anyone who does work with metal roofing.
3. Right-Angle Attachment
As a drill bit extension, a right-angle attachment can help you get into tight spaces. But instead of elongating the bit, a right-angle attachment allows you to get in at a 90-degree angle. Just attach the adapter to the chuck, set the bit in the adapter, and drill.
Say you need to go through a hole in a wooden wall stud. If the space between that stud and the next one over is smaller than the length of your machine, there’s no way you’re going to be able to create a straight hole – it will be forced at an angle. A right-angle attachment changes your drill from a straight line to an “L” shape, allowing you to get into that tight space and make a straight hole without the body of the drill getting in the way.
Right-angle attachment kits vary in price, ranging anywhere from $20 to $100. If you do a lot of HVAC work, steel framing, or just need to install some small cabinets or shelves, it’s well worth the investment.
4. Power Mixer
If you’re planning on doing some repainting around the house, a power mixer or electric drill accessory will make your life much easier. Stirring paint or primer by hand with a wooden stick takes time, tires out your arms, and makes a mess as paint splashes over the sides – an electric power mixer eliminates all of these problems and makes mixing a breeze.
A power mixer can do more than just mixing paint – it can be used to mix small volumes of concrete, drywall, and grout. Compared to hand-mixing, a machine-powered mixer creates a much smoother, well-blended mixture with fewer air bubbles.
The simple attachment is relatively cheap, with most costing under $10, which is all the more reason to add it to your collection of accessories. While most power mixer attachments are made of metal and resemble a classic kitchen beater, they can also be made of rubber.
For more heavy-duty work, such as mixing large 25-gallon volumes, there are more high-power mixers that can handle the job, but these will usually cost you between $100 and $200.
It Pays to Be Prepared
There are a few things more frustrating than having to pause a project because you don’t have the right tool for the job. Drill accessory kits are a safe option since they usually include everything you’ll ever need (and then some), but if you know what you’re about it may be more cost-effective to buy the accessories you need separately.
However, you choose to go about it, keeping the right drill accessories handy can prevent annoying project setbacks and improve the efficiency of your work.