What is a Reversible Drill?

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  • Written By: Ken Black
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 08 October 2019
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A reversible drill is a drill that is simply able to be reversed from a clockwise direction to a counter clockwise direction. This can help when using a drill to drive screws. In fact, this is likely the only advantage to a reversible drill.

The mechanics of a reversible drill are relatively simple. The motor that causes the clockwise motion is often the same motor responsible for the counter clockwise motion. However, in doing this, the process involved is slightly more complicated, and therefore the drill may not operate as well in one direction as the other. This may be a consideration, especially if a reversible drill is not truly needed.

Not all drills are reversible. Those only intending to use a drill with a standard drill bit, or set of drill bits, may find a non-reversible drill to be their best option. This is because a reversible drill can be considered a multi-functioning tool. As such, without a specialization, it may not do everything quite as well as specific tools. While this may not be true of all reversible drill models, the lower end models tend to underperform the most, as may be expected with any tool.


The reason why the reversible drill is good for those who wish to use the drill to both drive screws and remove screws is because of the nature of the screw. The grooves of most screws dictate they will go in when being driven clockwise and come out when being rotated in the opposite direction. Therefore, it is important to have a drill that can do both rotations, if that is the desire. The advantage of using a drill to drive and remove screws is one of power and torque. Many times, an automatic screw driver may not have as much power as a drill. Therefore, when putting screws into tougher materials, or when trying to remove a screw that seems stuck into place, a drill may be a good choice.

The reversible drill truly makes no difference when it comes to drilling holes or sawing holes, as some drills are capable of. If the drill bit gets stuck, simply engaging the motor and turning the drill bit while pulling out should remove it easily enough, even if it is going clockwise. Thus, there really is no advantage to reversing directions in these types of situations.

The price ranges for a reversible drill run the gambit. They can easily be found for less than $50 US Dollars (USD). However, the good quality ones are likely to cost near $100 USD or more, depending on what type of quality an individual may want. They are often powered by electricity, both corded and batteries, but air-powered drills are also available.


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