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How to change the power drill bit?


Need help changing a power drill bit? BISON will walk you through it step-by-step so you can make any changes, no matter what power drill you have!

Not sure how to insert a drill bit into your power drill? I’ve got you covered no matter what type you are! The same methods apply to all brand power drills. 

With this easy-to-follow guide, you can confidently remove and insert bits in your power drill to tackle your next project. Let’s begin!


What is a drill chuck?

Drill chuck, often simply called a chuck, is a clamp that holds the end of a drill bit in place. The drill’s motor powers the chuck and rotates when you turn the drill on and off.

An adjustable chuck has jaws that tighten around the bit when you turn it in one direction and loosen to allow you to remove or insert a fresh bit when you turn it in the opposite direction. 

With its adjustable jaws, a drill chuck allows you to switch between different shapes and sizes of bits, such as round or hexagonal shanks. The shank is the smooth part of the bit which is inserted into the chuck.

It allows you to switch between different bits, such as drill bits and screwdriver bits. Driver bits are commonly used to drive screws and other fasteners, while drill bits drill holes in wood, metal and plastic materials.

Chuck types

Power drills come with two types of chucks, keyless or keyed, while impact drivers have a different kind of chuck called a collet.

How you change the drill bit depends on the chuck of your power drill. Here’s how to find out what type of chuck your drill has:

Keyless chuck

Many latest drills come with a keyless chuck, which requires no additional tools to tighten or loosen.

To use this style, you place the back of the chuck close to the body of the drill and turn the front. Turning clockwise tightens the chuck while turning counterclockwise loosens it.

Drill chuck key / keyed chuck

A special tool called a chuck key is required to tighten and loosen the jaws of a keyed chuck. Typically, this device resembles an L-shaped wrench with a handle on one end and teeth that fit into the side of the drill chuck on the other.

You insert the bit to use a keyed chuck, ensuring it is centered in the jaws. The chuck is then tightened and the bit is held in position by turning the wrench clockwise. To remove a bit, turn the key counter-clockwise to loosen the chuck’s jaws.

The downside to a keyed chuck is that if you lose the key, you won’t be able to replace the bit. Anyone who has had a drill with a keyed chuck understands the panic when you misplace the key!

How to insert a drill bit into a drill with a keyless chuck?

#Step 1. Safety first: Disconnect power

Before you replace the bit, please disconnect the power to your drill by removing the battery or unplugging it from the electrical outlet.

#Step 2. Open the jaws

You will need to open the jaws of your chuck if they are closed, not wide enough to insert the bit, or if the chuck already has a bit.

  1. Two-part chuck: Hold the back of the two-part chuck (closer to the body of the drill) and rotate the front counterclockwise with your other hand to open the jaws.

  2. One-part chuck: Hold the drill body with one hand and turn the chuck counterclockwise with your other hand to open the jaws.

If your drill already has a bit, you can remove it now. If the bit does not come out, widen the chuck’s jaws until it can be removed.

#Step 3. Enter the bit

Please insert your new bit into the open jaws, ensuring it is straight and centered.

Drill bits can sometimes get stuck between two of the three jaws, causing the bit to spin off-center, making it impossible to drill holes or drive screws. If your bit is attached incorrectly, loosen the chuck and reposition it so it is centered in all three jaws.

When the bit is positioned correctly, turn the chuck to close it tightly around it.

  1. Hold the back part while rotating the front part clockwise if you have a two-part chuck.

  2. If you have a one-part chuck, hold the body of the drill and turn the chuck clockwise to rotate it slightly.

#Step 4: Drive or drill

Once your new bit is in place, you can mount your drill or install the battery, and you’re ready to drive or drill!

These steps can be reversed to remove the bit. But be careful when removing the drill bits as they become hot with use.


How to insert a drill bit into a drill with a keyed chuck?

#Step 1. Safety first: Disconnect power

Before changing the bit on your drill, unplug it from the power outlet or remove the battery to prevent any potential problems.

#Step 2. Open the jaws

The chuck key must be inserted into the chuck's side and turned anticlockwise to release the jaws.

#Step 3. Enter the bit

Slide the new bit into the open jaws, ensuring it’s straight and centered.

Once you have the bit positioned correctly, you can insert the chuck key into the side of the chuck and turn it clockwise to close the jaws around the bit. Once the bit is placed, you may reconnect the power and use the power drill!


Safety tips while changing power drill bits

Here are some important safety considerations to keep in mind:

  • Power off: Before starting, ensure the power tool is off and unplugged from the power source. Do not attempt to replace the drill bit while the device is still connected to power.

  • Use the correct tools: Always use the correct tools when changing a drill bit. If your drill requires a key, use the appropriate one.

  • Wear protective gear: Protect yourself by wearing appropriate protective gear. This may include safety glasses to protect your eyes from flying debris and gloves for hand protection.

  • Avoid loose clothing: Loose clothing or dangling jewellery can get caught during the drilling, causing accidents. So, wear tight-fitting clothes and remove any potential hazards.

  • Inspect the bit: Before installing a new bit, inspect it for any damage. A broken or damaged part may break during operation and potentially cause injury.

Removing a drill bit from a damaged chuck

If your chuck gets jammed, you don’t need to remove the entire chuck. Often all it takes is a slight tap with a hammer on the drill key or center sleeve to make the drill chuck passable and open. Here are some ways to remove a drill bit from a damaged chuck:

  • Grab the chuck and run the drill in reverse.

  • Soak the head in lubricants to loosen it a bit. 

  • Tap the bit into the chuck, which helps free the jaws inward.

  • Hit with a hammer multiple times.

  • Use a strap wrench.

What if you lose your chuck key?

Although a chuck key is essential for loosening a keyed chuck, there are other ways to do it. So, if you are still looking for chuck key, don’t worry. You will need a screwdriver and a drill bit to open the keyed chuck. First, you need to insert the plain end of the drill bits into one of the three holes around the chuck. Then set the tip of the screwdriver into one of the teeth of the chuck gear. It would help if you placed the drill bit and screwdriver, on top of each other, in a cross pattern. Next, use the drill bit to leverage the screwdriver and slowly rotate the chuck.

You can also use pliers to loosen the chuck. Place the drill bit in the chuck hole as before to hold the chuck stationary and hold the gear firmly with pliers. Now, you can slowly turn the drill chuck to loosen the jaw.


BISON hope this guide has been helpful in demonstrating how to change a drill bit. You can confidently remove and insert bits into your power drill no matter what type of chuck it has. If you're still unsure or simply looking to buy a new power drill or drill bits, feel free to reach out to us.

BISON offer a wide range of quality power drills and drill bits suitable for all your drilling needs. BISON team is always on hand to offer advice and recommendations to ensure you find the perfect tool for your business. 

Note: This article provides general guidance only. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions when using power tools.

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