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How to drive screws with a drill

Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Difficulty: Beginner

Using a drill driver to insert screws can make your D.I.Y. projects quicker and easier. Whether you’re assembling furniture, hanging shelves or repairing a loose hinge, knowing how to properly use a drill driver is an important skill.


Step 1

Choose the right screw and driving bit.


First make sure you have the right type and size of screw for your project. Screws come in various lengths, diameters and thread types. It’s important to choose one that matches your material, such as wood or metal. We have used 8G x 50mm timber screws in this guide as an example. 


Additionally, you’ll need to select the appropriate driving bit for your screw head, whether it’s a Phillips, Flathead, or Torx. The driver bit should fit snugly into the screw head to prevent stripping. We have used a Phillips driver bit. 


Ensure you select a driving bit that is magnetic as they hold the screw securely, preventing it from falling off during the driving process.


Check out How to choose the right screw for the job for more expert advice.


1.1 Matching drive bit.png 1.2 Matching Phillips bit.png 1.3 Magnetic drive bit.png 1.4 Bit positioned in screw head.png

Step 2

Prepare the surface.


Use a pencil to mark the exact spot where the screw will go. This ensures accuracy and helps you stay organised.


For harder materials like wood or metal, or to prevent splitting, it’s a good idea to drill a pilot hole. Use a drill bit slightly smaller than the screw diameter to create this pilot hole, making it easier to insert the screw and providing better grip. We would use a 3mm drill bit for creating a pilot hole for 8G x 50mm screws.


A countersinking bit, which also drills the pilot hole, can be used instead so the screw head finishes flush with the surface instead of slightly proud of it. This gives a neater, professional finish. We used a 8G countersinking bit in this example to create our hole and prepare the surface for driving the screw into. 


2.1 Marking location for screw.png 2.2 Matching screw to drillbit.png 2.3 Predrilling and countersinking hole.png 2.4 Hole ready for screw.png

Step 3

Set up your drill driver.


After preparing the surface, insert the appropriate driving bit into the drill driver’s chuck and tighten it securely. Make sure the bit is straight and firmly in place.


Adjust the torque setting on your drill driver to a low to medium level. Higher torque is used for harder materials, but starting low helps prevent over-driving the screw.


Familiarise yourself with the forward and reverse functions on your drill driver. The forward function is for driving screws in, while the reverse function is for removing them.


3.1 Placing drive bit in drill chuck.png 3.2 Adjusting torque settings.png 3.3 Forward and reverse mode.png

Step 4

Drive the screw.


Hold the screw at the marked spot or pilot hole. Place the driving bit into the screw head, ensuring it is straight and perpendicular to the surface. Squeeze the trigger gently to start the drill driver, applying steady, even pressure while driving the screw in. Let the drill driver do the work—don’t push too hard. Maintaining a steady hand will help drive the screw in smoothly.


Continue driving the screw until it is flush with the surface. If your drill driver has a clutch, it will stop once the screw is fully in to prevent over-driving. Once the screw is in place, check that it’s secure, stable and flush with the surface. If it feels loose or is proud of the surface, you may need to use a slightly larger screw or drive it in a bit more.


Erase your pencil lines from the marked location to complete the job. 


Practice makes perfect, so try this out on different materials and with various types of screws to build your skills.


4.1 Placing screw in hole.png 4.2 Drive bit engaged in screw head.png 4.3 Squeezing trigger.png 5.1 Driving screw.png 5.2 Screw driving flush with surface.png 5.3 Pencil lines removed.png


  • Screws.


  • Drill driver
  • Drill bit or countersinking drill bit
  • Driver bit
  • Pencil
  • Eraser.


1.1 Matching drive bit.png

1.2 Matching Phillips bit.png

1.3 Magnetic drive bit.png

1.4 Bit positioned in screw head.png

2.1 Marking location for screw.png

2.2 Matching screw to drillbit.png

2.3 Predrilling and countersinking hole.png

2.4 Hole ready for screw.png

3.1 Placing drive bit in drill chuck.png

3.2 Adjusting torque settings.png

3.3 Forward and reverse mode.png

4.1 Placing screw in hole.png

4.2 Drive bit engaged in screw head.png

4.3 Squeezing trigger.png

5.1 Driving screw.png

5.2 Screw driving flush with surface.png

5.3 Pencil lines removed.png

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