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What is torque control?

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Yellow cordless drill driver with torque control All cordless drill drivers deliver torque, but only some have a feature called torque control, which if used correctly, prevents the drill driver from delivering too much torque at one time when driving screws.

Torque control is also known as an adjustable clutch.

How does torque control work?

Driving a screw into a piece of wood with a cordless drill driver When driving in screws, the cordless drill driver will encounter resistance, making it harder to drive the screw in.
A screw at the correct depth in a piece of wood Enough torque must be delivered to overcome this resistance and drive the screw to the correct depth.
A screw driven too deep into a piece of wood If too much torque is delivered, the screw will be driven too deeply into the material or you can lose control of the drill driver and damage the work surface.
Torque control ring on a cordless drill driver A tool with torque control will have an adjustable torque control ring which allows you to pre-set a maximum level of torque for your task. Once that level is reached, the clutch will disengage the tool’s drive shaft, and stop the chuck and screwdriver bit from turning.
A gold screw driven in half way into a piece of wood When torque control kicks in, the motor inside is still turning, but the chuck and screwdriver bit have been stopped, so the screw cannot be driven any further in. If the screw has not been fully driven in when the drill driver stops, then you know that a higher level of torque is needed.
Hand holding a cordless drill driver with the finger off the speed control trigger You can then release the speed control trigger, remove the tool from the head of the screw, and adjust the torque level accordingly. This is done using the torque control ring.

Without torque control, it is easy to drive the screw too far into the material or lose control of the drill driver.