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7 surprising things you can do with a cordless drill

Lesser known tasks for this versatile tool

On left, person using mixer attachment to stir liquid in bucket. On right, person using buffer tool to shine car hood. Credit: Edward Tools / Porter-Cable

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A cordless drill is a staple of any tool collection. It’s arguably the most-used tool in my house, just between inserting screws and drilling holes. For those two tasks alone, a good cordless drill is worth every penny you might spend on it.

Driving screws and drilling holes isn’t all that a drill is good for. With the right attachments, there is so much more that a power drill can do that most people aren’t aware of.

Do you own one? You should. Here are seven things you can do around your house with a cordless drill that may surprise you.

1. Use a cordless drill as a power mixer

Person using mixer on cordless drill to mix paint. On right, silver mixing attachment piece.
Credit: Edwards Tool

Blend thick liquid materials with ease with the help of a sturdy mixer attachment.

Mixing paint, grout, epoxy, or anything else can be hard work if you’re trying to do it by hand with a regular mixing stick. However, a good drill can take a lot of that effort out, and it will complete the job faster.

All you need is a quality mixing attachment. These mixers fit right into the chuck of a standard drill. Dip the mixing end into the bucket, and pull the trigger. In just a few minutes, your paint, or whatever you’re combining, should be thoroughly mixed.

2. Strip rust off of metal with wire brushes

Wire brush attachments next to cordless drill.
Credit: Getty Images / Songsak Paname / Tilax

Working with a wire brush piece is sure to take the ‘elbow grease’ out of stripping rust.

An unfortunate reality is that some metals rust and need to be cleaned. A hand-held wire brush can do the job, but it’s labor intensive and inevitably ends with your hands covered in cuts.

A cordless drill can take on a lot of that load with a set of wire brush attachments. Pick the brush shape that best matches the contours of the rusty metal and go to town.

Always wear eye protection and a facemask. Before long, that metal will be shining like it’s brand new.

3. Make that wax or finish shine with buffing pads

People using buffing tools to shine car hoods.
Credit: Porter-Cable / Polliwell

Now your car can shine like it was intended to.

Another labor-intensive job that a cordless drill can help with is buffing. Rather than using a rag, or buying an expensive, dedicated buffer, buffing pads for your cordless drill are perfect for most people’s at-home needs.

Whether you’re putting a shiny coat of wax on your car, or reapplying finish to a dining room table, a buffing pad for your power drill can save you sweat and time. Just make sure you turn the speed on your drill way down so the pads don’t burn your finish.

4. Sand curves smooth with a sanding drum

Sanding attachment pieces.
Credit: Getty Images / Songsak Paname / Wen / Coceca

Sand to your heart’s desire–your cordless drill can handle it.

Sanding the inside of a curved piece of wood is always a challenge. It’s tough to keep the edge smooth with an orbital sander or sanding blocks, and sanding by hand is tough on your fingers.

Fortunately, many manufacturers make sanding drums for cordless drills. These cylindrical attachments take sandpaper of all different grits, and let you get into those difficult-to-reach curves. Because the sandpaper itself is curved, it’s much easier to maintain the contour of the wood without any flat spots or divots.

And, if you don’t have an orbital sander, there are also more traditional sanding discs for drills.

5. Garden easier with an auger bit

On left, tool creating hole in ground. On right, cordless drill with auger attachment.
Credit: Tcbwfy

Cut your gardening time in half with the help of an auger attachment bit.

If you’re someone who loves to garden, but digging all those holes gets to be a bit strenuous, then consider investing in an auger bit for your cordless drill.

These bits are like large screws that drive into the ground and pull the dirt up. They can dig holes through tough ground deep enough for your spring planting, saving you the time it takes to trowel out each individual hole.

6. Clean just about anything with a drill brush

Cordless drill sitting on top of bucket next to brush attachment pieces adjacent to red sports car.
Credit: Useful Products

Drill brushes are equally as versatile as cordless drills and can be used on almost any surface.

If you’re trying to tackle the caked-on mold and mildew in sheds, garages, vehicles, boats, or even your shower, then consider picking up a drill brush kit. These brushes attach right into the chuck of your drill, and give you max power spin cleaning. They can get easily into nooks and crannies where hand-held brushes might not be able to, and they don’t require nearly as much pressure.

It’s hard to get anything cleaner, faster than with a drill brush in your hand.

7. Turn your cordless drill into a lathe

Person creating a wooden baluster with tool.
Credit: Getty Images / SonerCdem

If you’re up for it, transforming your cordless drill into a lathe can be a satisfying task for aspiring woodworkers.

OK, this one is pretty advanced for many people, but it’s a lot of fun. A lathe is a tool that spins a piece of wood rapidly, while you use a chisel to shape the wood. This process is called wood turning and is how woodworkers make bowls, table legs, chess pieces, and most things that are cylindrical.

The instructions for how to turn a drill into a lathe are too complex for this article, but One Minute Workbench has an excellent build tutorial if you’re interested in trying your hand at wood turning.

Just be warned—turning wood on a lathe makes a massive mess.

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