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What Do The Numbers On A Cordless Drill Mean?

If you are new in the world of the cordless drill, then you might have a question in mind – what do the numbers on a cordless drill mean? The numbers indicate the torque setting that defines the rotary power of a drill. For every carpenter, woodworker, electrician, or other users of the power tools, getting acquainted with these numbers is essential. Otherwise, a professional can not get the perfect use of a power tool. Knowing about these numbers is important because you can not properly use the drill without knowing all its functions of it.

In this article, I will explain the clutch setting of a cordless drill. Additionally, I will also explain to you the gear setting and the meaning of the symbols that we commonly see on a drill. You will also know how to set up the torque of a drill for a specific project.

Numbers for torque control

In modern drills, you will see some numbers, usually from 1 to 20 near the head or clutch of a drill. As I have mentioned earlier, it represents the torque of the drill. 1 represents the lowest amount of torque and 20 represents the highest torque. Cordless drills with lower power may come with the highest torque setting of 10. However, it is the range of torque that the drill can produce.

How to adjust the torque

Find the torque adjustment numbers near the chuck of the drill. You will find it near the head and the drill bit. Now find the arrow near the numbers that will allocate the torque. A higher number will assign more torque.

The torque adjustment dial can be rotated clockwise and anticlockwise. Before starting any new project, you need to have a trial to understand the torque and then set it accordingly. At first, set the dial to the lowest number. Usually, the lowest number you will find is ‘1’. Carry out your first drill with this lowest setting to feel the torque.

Now turn the dial to the middle point of the numbers. If the highest number of the clutch setting is 20, then set the torque to 10. Now carry out another drill with the same object according to this setting. Feel the torque and try to compare it with the previous setting. The Clutch of a drill works similarly to a clutch of a car.

Finally, set the dial to the highest torque setting and carry out another drill with the same object. Now compare all the three different feelings that you have got from different torque settings. You can now set the appropriate number whatever you feel is good for you.

There is a misconception that a higher number is better for every kind of drilling project. If you set excessive torque for drilling a lighter object, then you may demolish the object and may not get the required size of the hole. On the other hand, it is difficult to handle the drill in higher torque. Setting a lower torque will make the job tedious. Therefore, you need to set it appropriately to get the best results.

What are the numbers at the gear

You will find the gear setting behind the clutch. Most of the drills have 2 or 3 different setting options. If you set the gear to the lowest number ( for example- 1), then it will provide the lowest speed and highest torque. This setting is suitable for driving screws. If you increase the setting to a higher number ( for example – 2), then it will increase the speed with a lowered torque. This setting is suitable for regular drilling and driving. Any higher gear setting will increase the speed at a lower torque. This setting is suitable for drilling or driving fasteners.

Explanation of some common symbols on the cordless drill

What do we do with a drill machine? We can use it for drilling, driving, or hammering an object. You will find some modern drills that come with three built-in modes for these different functions. When you select any specific mode, the drill will automatically set the required speed and torque for that specific setting.

Drilling symbol

You may find a black and yellow symbol that looks like a drill bit just behind the chuck of the drill. It is the drilling mode. When you are making a hole through a moderately hard object, you should select this mode. The drill will then automatically adjust the required torque and speed that is suitable for drilling operations.

Hammer symbol

Have you noticed a hammer-like symbol beside the drill bit sign? It is for the hammer mode. You can use this mode for drilling hard objects such as stone and concrete. When you select this mode, the drill will automatically set the required torque for these kinds of tough objects. It will also push the drill bit in and out to make the job easier. Therefore, the hammer mode is useful for hard surfaces when you do not want to put enough user pressure. Just change the setting and the dill will take care of the rest.

Driving symbol

You may also find a ‘driver’ bit symbol beside the hammer or drilling sign. This symbol is for converting the drill as a driver so that it perfectly gets the job done without overdriving the screw. When you are driving with a drill, setting the right amount of torque is important. Otherwise, the object may get damaged. Therefore, this automatic mode is a great help for persons who are not sure about the torque.

Frequently asked questions about the numbers and symbols on a cordless drill

In this section, I am going to discuss some common questions with answers that people have in their minds regarding the numbers and symbols of a cordless drill whether it is brushless or brushed. I think it will help you understand your drill better.

Can I leave the drill on the highest clutch setting for all kinds of projects?

The majority of the users do not know about the numbers on the clutch. Therefore, they set the clutch at the highest number and leave it forever. Setting it at the highest point will provide you with maximum torque. Therefore, this kind of setting is suitable for drilling hard objects. But if you use the drill for driving fasteners with this kind of setting, then the drill may either damage the fastener or the object you are dealing with. I will advise you to set the number according to the suggestion that I have already mentioned. Use higher torque settings for hard objects and lower torque for driving.

What are the different situations when I need to change the number on the clutch?

As I have already mentioned that the number on the clutch signifies the amount of torque. Different torque setting is required for different situations. For example, you should change the setting for different kinds of material or object you are dealing with. When drilling into a block of concrete, you have to set higher torque compared to the torque you have to set when drilling into wood. Other than this, the external pressure you are giving on the drill and the working angle are also determinants for adjusting the clutch setting.

How the numbers on the clutch signifies the different amounts of torque?

Let me explain this with an example. Assume that a drill has a maximum torque of 1000 inch-pound. If you find 1 to 10 written on the clutch, then the total amount of torque is divided into ten. Therefore, you will get 1/10 of the total torque in each setting and it will be incremental. If you set the least number ( one), then the torque you will get is 1000/10 or 100. If you increase the number by 1, the torque will increase by 100-inch pound. You will get the highest of 1000 torque when you select 10.

Are all the drills have the same number and symbols?

No. It depends on the manufacturer and the capacity of the drill. For example, some drills have 10 clutch settings. Some others may have 15 or 20 depending on the models. You will find some drills that have in-built modes for drilling, driving, and hammering. The gear setting may also be different for different manufacturers and models. But the symbols and number patterns are almost uniform for all kinds of drills.

What is the necessity of changing drilling modes?

Many of the drills come with three different modes – drive, drill, and hammer. If you change the mode as per the type of the project, you do not need to set the torque and speed manually. The tool will automatically set the required torque as per the nature of the job. Therefore, if you do not know how to set the torque or gear, then you can simply change the modes. Operating the drill in the wrong mode may generate sparks as well.

Is there any symbol for reverse?

There is no universal sign for the reverse option. Therefore, manufacturers usually do not use any signs. You will find buttons and triggers of different shapes for reverse speed.

Bottom line

Cordless drill has a hundred years of history. I think now you know what the numbers mean on a cordless or corded drill. Torque plays a vital role in the clutch setting. You can not ignore the numbers on the drill just because you are not a professional. If the setting of the drill does not match perfectly with the type of project, the object may get damaged. If you have read the article thoroughly, you have noticed that it is not rocket science to know about the signs and symbols of a cordless drill. Therefore, my final suggestion to the user is that, know about the numbers theoretically and apply them to have hands-on experience.

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