Changing Drill Bits: A Step-by-Step Guide

Video how to put a bit into a drill

Have you ever found yourself needing to change a drill bit but not knowing where to start? Look no further! In this guide, I will walk you through the process step-by-step, regardless of the type of drill you have. Whether it’s a DeWALT, Black and Decker, Milwaukee, Makita, Ryobi, or Craftsman, the same methods apply. With this easy-to-follow guide, you’ll become a pro at removing and inserting bits in your drill in no time. Let’s get started!

Changing Drill Bits: A Step-by-Step Guide

What is a Drill Chuck?

Before we dive into the process of changing a drill bit, let’s first understand what a drill chuck is. The drill chuck, often referred to as simply a chuck, is a clamp that holds the bit in place at the end of a drill. It is powered by the drill’s motor and rotates as you turn the drill on and off. The chuck has adjustable jaws that tighten or loosen around the bit, allowing you to remove or insert a new one.

Closeup of a drill chuck

Types of Chucks

Different types of chucks are found in power drills and impact drivers. Power drills typically come with either a keyed chuck or a keyless chuck, while impact drivers have a collet. Let’s take a closer look at each type:

Keyed Chuck

A keyed chuck requires a special tool called a chuck key to tighten and loosen its jaws. The chuck key is an L-shaped wrench with teeth that fits into the chuck’s side. To use a keyed chuck, insert the bit and turn the chuck key clockwise to tighten the chuck. To remove a bit, turn the key counterclockwise to loosen the chuck’s jaws. Take note that losing the chuck key may prevent you from changing the bit.

Fingers holding a drill chuck key

Keyless Chuck

Many modern drills come with a keyless chuck, eliminating the need for extra tools. To use a keyless chuck, hold the drill’s body and rotate the chuck clockwise to tighten or counterclockwise to loosen. Some drills have a two-part keyless chuck, while others have a one-part chuck. The method may vary slightly depending on the type of keyless chuck your drill has.

Hands gripping either side of a drill


Unlike drills, impact drivers utilize a collet to secure the bit. The collet is a sleeve or band that clamps the bit in place. To insert a bit into a collet, pull the collet away from the impact driver’s body, slide the bit in until it is fully seated, release the collet, and lightly tug on the bit to ensure it’s secure.

Fingers gripping an impact driver

How to Change a Drill Bit: Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1. Safety First: Disconnect the Power

Before attempting to change a bit, ensure your drill is powered off. Remove the battery or unplug it from the electrical outlet to prevent any accidents.

Step 2. Open the Jaws

Check if the chuck’s jaws are closed or not opened wide enough. If they are, you’ll need to open them to insert or remove a bit. The method to open the jaws may vary depending on the type of chuck your drill has—refer to the instructions provided for your specific drill.

Step 3. Insert the Bit

Once the jaws are open, insert the new bit straight and centered into the chuck. Take note that misaligned bits can lead to off-center drilling or driving. Ensure the bit is correctly positioned, then tighten the chuck securely around the bit. Again, the method may vary depending on your drill’s chuck type.

Step 4. Ready to Drill or Drive

With the new bit in place, you can now reconnect the power to your drill and get ready to use it. Remember to exercise caution when handling drill bits as they can become hot with use.


Q: How do I know what type of chuck my drill has?
A: Check the manual or look for visual cues on your drill. Keyed chucks will have a visible keyhole, while keyless chucks may have markings or instructions on how to operate them.

Q: Can I use different types of bits with my drill?
A: Yes, most drills allow you to switch between different types of bits, such as screwdriver bits and drill bits. However, it’s essential to use the appropriate bit for the task at hand.

Q: Are all drill bits interchangeable between brands?
A: In general, drill bits are interchangeable between brands as long as they have the same shank type (e.g., round or hexagonal). However, it’s always a good idea to check the compatibility of your specific drill and bit.


Changing a drill bit is a fundamental skill for any DIY enthusiast. By following this step-by-step guide, you can confidently remove and insert bits in your drill, regardless of the chuck type. Remember to prioritize safety and exercise caution when handling drill bits, as they can become hot during use. Now that you have the knowledge, you’re ready to tackle your next project with ease!

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