How to Change a Drill Bit

Video how to put a drill head into a drill

Changing a drill bit is an essential skill that every DIYer needs to learn. However, for those who are new to power tools, the task can be a bit intimidating. But fear not! This guide will walk you through the process of changing a drill bit, taking away the confusion and giving you the confidence to tackle any project.

How to Change a Drill Bit

Parts of a Drill

Before we dive into the steps, let’s familiarize ourselves with the different parts of a drill:

  • Jaws: These are also known as the collet and they hold the drill bit in place.
  • Chuck: The chuck surrounds the jaws and opens and closes them.
  • Direction Selector: Located above the trigger, this determines the direction in which the chuck will spin.
  • Trigger: The trigger controls the flow of energy from the battery to the motor and determines the speed at which the chuck spins.

Knowing these parts and how they work will make changing bits or installing drill attachments much easier.

Parts of a Drill

How to Change Drill Bits With a Keyless Chuck

Most modern cordless power drills have keyless chucks, which means you don’t need any special tools to loosen or tighten the chuck. Here’s how to change the bit on a drill with a keyless chuck:

Step 1: Switch the drill into the counter-clockwise position.

Hold the drill with one hand on the grip and the other on the chuck. Push the direction selector all the way to the right to put the drill in counter-clockwise mode. This allows you to loosen the chuck by using the trigger and motor.

Step 2: Gently squeeze the trigger.

To prevent the bit from falling out during this step, point the trigger slightly upward. Grip the chuck with one hand and gently squeeze the trigger. The chuck will twist slightly, releasing the bit and allowing the chuck to spin freely. Release the trigger, lock the direction selector in the middle position, and remove the bit from the jaws.

Step 3: Insert the new bit and tighten.

Insert the new bit into the chuck’s jaws. Grip the chuck firmly, push the selector all the way to the left, and gently squeeze the trigger until the jaws close on the bit. Release the trigger and give the chuck a quick twist by hand to ensure a secure grip.

Changing Drill Bits

How to Change Drill Bits with a Keyed Chuck

Corded power drills or drill presses often use keyed chucks, which require a special wrench to clamp down or loosen the bit. Here’s how to remove a drill bit and replace it in a keyed chuck:

Step 1: Unplug the tool and fit the wrench in the chuck.

Safety first! Unplug the tool to avoid accidental triggering. Locate the key and insert it into one of the holes on the chuck. Make sure the small knob on the end of the key fits inside the hole and mesh the key’s teeth with the chuck’s teeth.

Step 2: Twist the key to open the chuck.

Apply firm pressure on the key and twist it counter-clockwise to open the chuck’s jaws. The teeth on the key will spin the teeth on the chuck like a set of gears. Once the pressure releases from the jaws, remove the key and twist the chuck by hand to fully open the jaws. Be careful not to let the bit fall out during this step.

Step 3: Insert the new bit and twist the chuck closed.

For larger bits, loosen the chuck by hand until the bit fits inside. For smaller bits, tighten the chuck by hand until the bit sits centered between the jaws. Tighten the chuck onto the bit as much as possible by hand before placing the key back in the chuck. Twist the key clockwise to clamp the jaws down on the bit.

Changing Drill Bits with a Keyed Chuck

How to Change Bits on an Impact Driver

Impact drivers have a unique chuck called “quick release” that makes changing bits a breeze. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Grip the base of the chuck and pull.

Impact drivers use spring-loaded chucks with ball detents inside to grip the bits. Grip the base of the chuck between your thumb and forefinger and pull the chuck away from the front of the tool. The bit will be free, but it might not fall out. Grip both the bit and the chuck, sliding them forward at the same time to release the bit.

Step 2: Place the new bit in the chuck.

Tip the impact driver upward and place the new bit inside the chuck. Impact driver bits have hex-shaped bases, so make sure to align them properly. The bit might not snap into the chuck yet, so keep the driver pointing upwards to prevent the bit from falling out.

Step 3: Pull the chuck forward to seat the bit.

While still holding the impact driver upwards, pull the chuck forward to release the detents and allow the bit to drop into place. You may need to jiggle the impact driver a bit or even push the bit in while holding the chuck open. Once the bit drops into the driver, release the chuck and pull on the bit to ensure it’s securely seated.

Changing Bits on an Impact Driver


Q: Can I use any drill bit with any drill?

A: Not all drill bits are compatible with all drills. Check the manufacturer’s instructions or the product specifications to ensure that the drill bit you intend to use is suitable for your drill.

Q: How often should I change my drill bit?

A: The frequency of changing drill bits depends on the type of material being drilled, the hardness of the drill bit, and the intensity of use. As a general rule, it’s a good idea to inspect the drill bit regularly for wear and replace it if it becomes dull or damaged.

Q: Can I use an impact driver to drill holes?

A: Impact drivers are primarily designed for driving screws and fasteners. While they can be used to drill holes, they are not as efficient as a dedicated drill. For drilling tasks, it’s best to use a drill specifically designed for the job.


Now that you know how to change a drill bit, you can confidently tackle any project. Remember to always prioritize safety and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. With practice, you’ll become a pro at changing drill bits and be ready to take on any DIY project that comes your way.

For more information on choosing the best drill press for working with metal, visit Best Drill Press For Metal. Happy drilling!

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