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What accessories are available for
hand drills and braces?

Shop for Hand Drills and Braces

There are many different accessories and drill bits available for hand drills and braces The main accessory you will need to go with your hand drill or brace is a drill bit of some description. There are a huge range of drill bits available.
Key factors will affect the choice of drill bit you use with your hand drill or brace The one you should use will be influenced by four key factors:

  1. The type of chuck your hand drill or brace has
  2. The size of hole you need to drill
  3. The material you are drilling into
  4. Whether you are using a hand drill or a brace

Drill bits

Twist drill bit can be used to drill wood, metal and plastic

Twist drill bits

The type of drill bit most commonly used with hand drills and braces is the twist drill bit.

The main reason for this is that it is the most versatile bit, as it’s suitable to many types of wood as well as plastic and metal.

Brad point drill bit are used to drill wood. They are more accurate and give a better finish than twist drill bits

Brad point drill bits

Another commonly used drill bit with hand drills and braces is the brad point drill bit. It is designed to drill wood and plastic.

The sharp point at the tip of a brad point drill bit makes it more accurate than a twist drill bit, and less likely to slip on the workpiece surface and damage it.

Most drill bits have a round shank although some may be available with tapered square or hexagonal shanks such as this twist drill bit, which may make them easier to fit in the chucks of some hand drills and braces. Both twist and brad point drill bits usually come with a round shank that is designed for use in a 3 or 4 jaw chuck.

Although it may be possible to find some with a hexagonal, square, or tapered shank, you may still need to use an adaptor if you wish to use one with a 2 jaw or split frame chuck.

Auger bits

Auger bits look different to other drill bits as they are designed to drill larger diameter holes than twist or brad point bits Auger bits are designed for drilling large holes in wood.

Auger bits are more suited to use in braces than hand drills, due to the larger hole they create, which requires more torque to achieve.

The parts of an auger can look a bit different to other drill bits. They have a screw feed tip, spur, cutting lip, spiral twists and a shank with either a hexagonal or square tang end Auger bits are more likely to have a hexagon or square tang shank, than other drill bits. This means it is usually possible to fit them in 2 jaw chucks unlike round shank drill bits.

Augers with square tangs can also be used in braces that have a spilt frame chuck.

Screwdriver bits

Selection of different screwdriver bits each designed to turn a different type of fastener. There are many different screwdriver bits available, each one is designed to turn a different type of fastener.

Insert screwdriver bits are typically around 25mm (1″) in length while power bits are most frequently 50mm (2″) long, although longer ones are also available. Some of the most common types are listed below.

Wonkee Donkee says: "Power bits have longer shanks, so can be secured straight in the chucks of hand drills and braces, whereas insert bits are shorter and usually require a bit holder."
Slot type screwdriver bit and fastener

Slot

This is the most basic type of screwdriver bit. Slot head fasteners were the first to be developed, and have been used for centuries. They are the easiest and cheapest fasteners to produce, and this is why they are still in use today.

Philips type screwdriver bit and fastener

Phillips

The Phillips was invented by Henry F. Phillips. This type of screw head was designed before torque sensing drivers, such as torque wrenches were widely available. As such, it is specifically designed to cam out, preventing the fastener from damaging the workpiece and instead damages the screwdriver bit, which can more easily be replaced.

Philips screwdriver bits are labelled as PH and come in sizes ranging from PH0000 (smallest) up to PH4 (largest).

Pozidriv screwdriver bit and screw

Pozidriv

The pozidriv differs from the Phillips head screw in that it has a second, less well-defined cross indented into the head of the fastener. Unlike the Phillips screw and drivers, pozidriv screws and drivers have straight-sided flanks and this, coupled with the second cross indentation, reduces the risk of camming out. Pozidrive heads also allow more torque to be applied to the fastener.

Pozidriv screws are often used in woodworking and aviation. To help distinguish from Phillips head screwdriver bits, pozidriv bits are labelled PZ.

Torx type screwdriver bit and fastener

Torx (Hexlobe or Star)

The Hexlobe bit is almost always referred to by its original brand name of Torx. Torx bits are labelled and sized by the designation ‘T’ followed by a number, and range from T1 to T100.

They are most frequently seen in electronic equipment such as computer hard drives, but are also becoming increasingly popular in the automotive and construction industry.

Bit adaptors

Square tang adaptors allow you to use a greater variety of drill bits or screwdriver bits As it can be difficult to get some drill bits to fit in 2 jaw or split frame chucks, it is possible to buy an adaptor that makes it easier.

Adaptors have a square tapered tang that will fit into 2 jaw and split frame chucks and allow a wider variety of drills, screwdriver bits, and even sockets to be used with your hand drill or brace.

Adaptors hold drill bits in place with a securing screw that pinches them and screwdriver bits with a magnet at the base of the hexagonal recess of the bit holder. Bit adaptors that are designed to enable you to hold a drill or auger bit, have a securing screw that is used to pinch and hold the drill bit secure in the bit adaptor.

Screwdriver bit adaptors that do not have a securing screw have a hexagonal female recess that matches the hexagonal shank of the screwdriver bit. Once located in the recess a magnet at the base prevents the screwdriver bit from sliding out.

Bit holders

There are many different types of screwdriver bit holders available each is designed to be better at holding a certain type of bit of performing a certain task. They all come with a hexagonal shaft though. Bit holdersĀ are designed to hold screwdriver bits for driving screws and other fasteners. Using a bit holder will allow you to quickly and easily change from a bit designed for one type of fastener head to another. They can also increase the reach of the screwdriver bit you are using.

Bit holders have a hexagonal shaft, and so can be fitted in most chucks. They should fit in both 2 and 4 jaw chucks, although a 3 jaw chuck will give a stronger grip of the bit as there is more contact between the bit shaft and chuck jaws.

Breast plate

On some older hand drill models, it was possible to replace the handle with a breast plate. This enabled the user to apply more pressure through the drill for drilling hard materials such as metal.

Modern hand drills are either sold as heavy duty hand drills with a breast plate fitted or are lighter hand drills without a breast plate. This is mainly because demand for hand drills has become more specialised now that most people favour powered drills.